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Opinion | Roy Moore: Carrying sore loser to the extreme

Joey Kennedy

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Attorney Paula Cobia was succinct in describing disgraced former Chief Justice Roy Moore’s defamation and conspiracy lawsuit filed this week against four women who accused him of molesting or harassing them and a man Moore claims has a vendetta against him.

“It’s a garbage complaint,” Cobia said in a telephone interview.

Cobia represents one of the women being sued, Tina Johnson. Others named in the lawsuit are Leigh Corfman, Debbie Gibson, Beverly Nelson, and Richard Hagedorn. There were also 1-19 “fictitious defendants.” That’s bizarre; if they’re “fictitious,” they don’t exist.

After reading the suit, it’s easy to understand how Cobia came to her conclusion. I’m no lawyer, but I can read. There’s just nothing there.

No smoking gun. No gun, period. Not even decent bullets lying around.

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Alabama Political Reporter’s Josh Moon got it right, too, in his Tuesday column: “Roy Moore filed a conspiracy theorist’s manifesto dressed up like a lawsuit.”

Opinion | Roy Moore is back with a new lawsuit, same craziness

Another attorney, Michael J. Evans, agrees, calling the suit “frivolous” in a Facebook posting. “Roy and his wife, Kayla, claim they are the victims of a conspiracy,” writes Evans. “I believe they were actually reaping the consequences of their own actions. If there was a conspiracy, in my opinion, it was not on the part of the women. Moore might want to consider things done on his own behalf by the political operatives he brought in from out of state.”

For her part, Cobia, who is representing Johnson gratis, said the lawsuit “really doesn’t set out any facts that would prove any type of conspiracy.” Moore’s lawyer for the suit, Melissa Isaak, even admitted, Cobia said, that “she’s not well-versed on the facts.”

Oddly, Moore’s suit does not include The Washington Post, which won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the accusations of the women, who Post reporters sought out. The women didn’t come forward as a group. The Post went to them as individuals.

The women “didn’t know each other,” Cobia said, which makes the conspiracy pretty difficult to sustain.

“Honestly, I think he (Moore) wanted to try to look relevant,” Cobia said. “I think it’s a money grab, or an attempt at a money grab, and an attempt for him to stay relevant in the public eye. … I think the well was running dry from his other emails.”

Moore has been raising money from supporters for a defense fund in a lawsuit filed against him by Corfman. Moore probably thinks the lawsuit he filed this week gives him another platform on which to hit-up his supporters for donations.

“He wants his followers to give him money, but he’s also asking for compensatory and punitive damages to enrich himself,” Cobia said. “There’s nothing in that complaint that sets for any type of conspiracy.”

The sexual misconduct and molesting accusations against Moore were published by the Post not long before December’s special election for the U.S. Senate, which was won by Democrat Doug Jones.

The Post reporting was thorough and credible, and underscored now by the Pulitzer Prize the newspaper won in April.

“He’s (Moore) kind of carrying sore loser to the extreme here,” Cobia said. “The powerful conspirators who would have the money to fund this big conspiracy, they’re not named.

And Cobia believes Moore will find a way never to be deposed, because he would then be under oath.

The worst result of the lawsuit, Cobia believes, is that it once again opens these women up to harassment and threats. Cobia’s client Johnson lost her house in a mysterious fire. Others involved in the case have been threatened, she said.

This is a big ol’ mess, for sure. But one created not by the women Moore molested or stalked, but, rather, by Moore himself. Until this “Christian” comes to that understanding, we likely can expect more of the same from Moore.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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Opinion | Can’t write too much about voting until it’s too late

Joey Kennedy

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Yes, I’ve been writing about voting a lot over the past few weeks. I’ll likely continue until the Tuesday, Nov. 6, midterm elections where, in Alabama, we also elect a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, justices to the state Supreme Court, and other constitutional offices.

There also are a limited number of local elections. Some constitutional amendments are on the ballot, so voters need to know about those.

And Alabama elects the seven members of the Alabama delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. There could be some competitive races between Republican incumbents and Democrats in some of those races.

Most important for potential voters: Monday, Oct. 22, is the last day people qualified to vote can register to vote. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of young voters who just turned 18 who aren’t registered. They need to so they can have a voice in the Nov. 6 elections.

And others, who have just felt they had no reason to vote are potential voters as well. But they have to be registered.

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Alabama is one of many states where Republicans, led by Secretary of State John Merrill, is trying to keep non-Republican voters away from the ballot box.

Republican efforts to suppress the vote have been successful over the past several elections. Republicans claim that it’s important to control the ballot to keep at-the-polls voter fraud at bay. That, despite studies that repeatedly have shown that there is very little voter fraud at the polls. It’s a guise Republicans use to keep voters they don’t like at home.

In Alabama, voters need to get to the polls. We have an unelected governor, Republican Kay Ivey, who refuses to debate her opponent, Tuscaloosa mayor and Democrat Walt Maddox.

Clearly, Maddox is much more qualified than Ivey, but Ivey, like most Republicans, are refusing to debate their Democratic Party opponents. That’s because they know if they go head-to-head with their more qualified Democratic rivals, they’ll be unmasked.

Just ask yourself: What have Republicans truly done to make Alabama a better state to live in? Sure, they tout a strong economy and new industries coming to Alabama. The truth is, those jobs were coming here anyway. And as far as the economy, this resurgence started under President Barack Obama, not Donald Trump. That’s the fact. That’s the truth. Low-information voters who would rather support Russia than a Democrat will never admit it, but facts don’t lie. Republicans do.

Point to one real effort Republican members of the Alabama congressional delegation have made to improve Alabama. What they are doing is folding under the Crazy Town politics of Donald Trump. The result, of course is that these “fiscal conservatives” have allowed the national deficit and debt to explode.

Year after year, the deficit is what Republicans pounded Democrats for, even as Democrats helped bring the deficit under control. Now, it’s expected with those Republican tax cuts for billionaires passed this year, the debt will go up at least $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future. That’s not being fiscally responsible, but too many voters don’t seem to care if their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to be in debt for the rest of their lives.

And on a whole range of issues, from climate change to protecting the environment to health care, Republicans are on the wrong side of history and the issues.

Important for older voters, many of whom vote overwhelmingly for Republicans, the GOP is targeting Medicare and Social Security to bring down the deficit they created with their tax cuts. The rich get their big tax breaks, while Social Security recipients and Medicare users face cuts that will hit them hard in their pocketbooks.

People will die because of their decisions.

Republicans stoke hate for the very diversity that helps make our country great. They are the party of white nationalists. They claim they care for children, yet allow the government to remove children from refugee families seeking asylum in the United States and throw them into cages. They revictimize women who have been sexually assaulted and raped.

What should we expect when a sexual assaulter occupies the White House and a sexual predator runs for the U.S. Senate on the Republican ticket?

This we’re-better-than-anyone nationalism Republicans love so much is not making America greater. It’s making America uglier than it’s ever been since slavery and the Indian wars of the 19th century and before.

So, yeah, I’m likely to write about voting for a few more weeks. Smart voters must make it to the polls this time. What we might become permanently isn’t very pretty if they don’t.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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Opinion | In the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh disaster, let’s finally start living well

Joey Kennedy

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Folks, Brett Kavanaugh is now a justice on the United States Supreme Court. We can’t do anything about that. For now.

This man, who despite credible accusations that he is a sexual predator, still didn’t deserve a place on the highest court in the land even if no accusations had been made. Kavanaugh showed he could easily become unhinged in his bizarre testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, even rudely challenging questioners when they asked about his excessive drinking and sex games as a high school and college student. He lied to the Judiciary Committee and America, even before that disturbing day following the brave testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. His crocodile tears and mock anger were embarrassing.

The cloud Kavanaugh brings to the Supreme Court will remain until he dies, but, seriously, there’s nothing we can do now. When Donald Trump, a sexual predator himself, apologizes to Kavanaugh for him having to answer for his bad behavior, we know Trump has little respect for the court, or women, or, indeed, humanity.

So here we are. We’re angry, sure, and we have a right to be. Even the one woman who could have made a difference, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, turned her back on the many women who have been raped and sexually assaulted during their lives, to vote for a man credibly accused of sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl and others.

Old, angry white men — knowing they won’t be in power much longer or even among the majority in this diverse, growing nation of non-white citizens — rammed through Kavanaugh’s nomination, even as a great majority of Americans opposed it. The geezers have to live with what they’ve done, as does beer-loving boofer Kavanaugh, who will always have a tattered reputation among decent people, no matter how long he serves on the Supreme Court. They won a battle; however, friends, this is a war.

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And that war, we can win.

Our voices can be heard. Let’s not let our anger and depression and frustration over what happened during the torture of the Kavanaugh confirmation make us forget the power we do have.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill predicts that just 35 percent to 40 percent of Alabama’s more than 3.3 million active and inactive registered voters will turn out of the Nov. 6 elections.

I think turnout will be much higher. And I think that, finally, Democrats and Independents will swamp Republicans in overall numbers at the polls. I’m not being naïve; it’s likely Republicans will still win most races – voters in Alabama have a long history of voting against their best interests and Republicans know their gerrymandering. The hot-button issues Republicans love to mine – immigration, abortion, LGBTQ rights, race issues, even their evangelical god – will drive many low-information voters to the polls.

Still, a lot of smart voters will be there, too. So I expect some surprises on Nov. 6. I don’t think Republicans, so comfortable in their arrogance, have any idea what kind of giant they have awakened.

With the #MeToo movement energizing women, the March for Our Lives movement motivating young voters and others disturbed about gun violence, the failure to protect young immigrants and children now in danger of deportation inspiring families from all ethnic backgrounds, the cruel attack on access to affordable health care rousing those without easy access to doctors and hospitals – Republicans may have stirred up voters in a way we have never seen during our lifetimes.

Yes, even here in Red, Red, Red Alabama.

I mean: Really? Fewer than half of Alabama’s voters showing up in less than a month for the election of our governor, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and other important offices? A 65 percent level of apathy in the wake of Kavanaugh and the re-victimization of thousands and thousands of women raped and sexually assaulted by men during their lives? In a day when our elected representatives refuse to pass reasonable gun restrictions and mental health reforms? When race relations are getting worse, not better? While our gay and lesbian friends and family members are openly being discriminated against? As millionaires and billionaires are getting whopping tax cuts, but hard-working individuals can’t even earn a living wage, and lawmakers are actively working to prevent them from doing so?

Sixty-five percent of Alabama voters staying home during next month’s election?

Maybe so. But perhaps not.

We need to take a Xanax, tap down our anger and misery over Brett Kavanaugh claiming his soiled seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, and work hard during the next month and weeks to make certain voters know who is running for office, who they’re voting for, why they’re voting for them, and then, dammit, turn up at the polls in record numbers to actually vote.

My wife, Veronica, often says: “The best revenge is living well.”

Let’s get out and vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and let’s finally start living well.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column ever week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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Opinion | Let’s vote against dysfunction and disaster

Joey Kennedy

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Hey, you! Yeah, you, that person out there thinking your vote doesn’t matter.

It does.

On the cusp of state elections in Alabama and vital midterm elections nationally, your vote matters more than ever. Dear nonvoter: You cannot sit this one out. You need to get registered to vote if you aren’t, and you need to make plans to actually cast that vote if you are.

The election for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, chief justice of the state Supreme Court and other statewide offices is Tuesday, Nov. 6. A new Alabama Legislature will be elected, too. Alabama and the nation will choose a new Congress that day, 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives (seven here in Alabama) and 35 members of the U.S. Senate (33 regular elections and two special elections).

Alabama doesn’t have a U.S. Senate race; we decided ours in December of 2017 when Democrat Doug Jones won in a special election against Republican Roy Moore, an accused child predator endorsed by just about every Republican in Alabama and nationally, including President Donald Trump, an accused sexual predator himself. Jones is completing the term of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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If you’re still wondering how important your vote is, look no farther than the disaster of Donald Trump.

Just this week, Trump was mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a political rally. Ford is the woman accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when she was 15 years old. Ford’s account during a Senate Judiciary hearing last week was very credible, while Kavanaugh came off as a, well, drunken teen.

Regardless of Ford’s accusations, it’s clear now that Kavanaugh lied to the Senate multiple times, about multiple issues, yet he’s still in the running for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Leave it to a sexual predator (Trump) to nominate another sexual predator (Kavanaugh) to a lifetime position on the nation’s highest court.

And Republicans, who apparently haven’t met a sexual predator they don’t like, appear poised to confirm Kavanaugh, even as additional reports prove that not only was Kavanaugh a heavy drinker in high school and college, but a belligerent, obnoxious heavy drinker who helped start at least one bar fight while a student at Yale. It looked like he wanted to start a fight with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Rarely has white privilege been on display like it was when Kavanaugh showed his unjudicial temperament to a nation watching on TV. Plus, he’s whiney, especially about his calendars.

Your vote matters. It matters a lot. Even in disturbingly Red Alabama it matters. That was underscored no more clearly than in Jones’ victory in December.

Even with child sexual molestation accusations hanging over his head, Moore nearly beat Jones, a person of high integrity with no hint of scandal on his record. Moore, even before The Washington Post outed his proclivity for teenaged girls, had already been kicked off the state Supreme Court twice for failing to follow the law. But if not for a high turnout for Jones, especially from African-American women, Moore would have won.

The Republican nominee this year for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Tom Parker, is a close Moore associate. That alone should give voters pause, especially considering that Judge Robert Vance is the Democratic nominee. Vance is a well-respected judge who is superbly qualified to lead the state’s court system. It should be no contest.

Indeed, there are many well-qualified Democrats running against Republicans across Alabama, but perhaps none more qualified than Vance. We should be bone-weary of a Supreme Court led by megalomaniacs who won’t even follow the state and national constitutions they swear to uphold. Dear voters, Moore and Parker have emerged from the same mold.

For governor, Democrat Walt Maddox, the accomplished mayor of Tuscaloosa, is vastly more qualified than current Republican governor Kay Ivey, who took over for another disgraced Republican, Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley, boob grabber. Except for ribbon cuttings and highly controlled events, Ivey has been invisible during this campaign.

Ivey, almost literally, is a ghost.

You don’t think one or two votes matter? Consider where we are today: A White House in disarray, with a conspiracy-theorist president who is racist, misogynous, xenophobic, homophobic, in love with Russia and North Korea, a pathological liar, a tax-scam criminal, and an embarrassment to decent people.

If you’re not embarrassed by Trump, you need to seriously self-examine your own perspective of decency.

And here’s the kicker: Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 3.5 million votes. Trump won the Electoral College, but if just 80,000 more votes across Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin had gone to Clinton, she’d be president today and we wouldn’t be deluged with all this disorder day in and day out.

Clinton ran a horrible campaign – she took those three states for granted, and that mistake gave us our current, (mostly) man-made, unnatural disaster.

Had Clinton just done one point better in each of those states, she’d have won the Electoral College, too. Yet, there were tens of thousands of likely Clinton voters who just stayed home and didn’t vote.

You don’t think your vote counts? Well, dammit, it does.

It truly does!

When we don’t vote, and vote smart, we often get what we deserve: Confusion, corruption, mobocracy, and more bad stuff.

We can begin to end our disturbing dysfunction one month from now. Let’s do this.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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Opinion | An election with a difference

Joey Kennedy

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The last full month of campaigning for the Nov. 6, General Election starts Monday, and unless voters demand more of Republicans running for office, Alabamians will likely see more of what they’ve been seeing so far this campaign season: Not a whole lot.

That’s too bad, because for the first time in a long while, voters truly have real choices, if they’re into choices, that is.

For voters who only care who has an “R” or a “D” by their names – no matter how qualified (or unqualified) a candidate is – it’s already a lost cause.

In Alabama, it could very well go that way.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, never elected to that position, remains practically invisible. She shows up at ribbon cuttings and industry announcements, but does little else. She steadfastly refuses to debate Democratic Party nominee Walt Maddox, the successful mayor of Tuscaloosa, apparently because she’s scared to death she can’t hold her own against Maddox.

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True, observers wonder whether Ivey is even all there – and, of course, she’s not. I’m not talking about Ivey’s mental or physical health, though that is a concern. I’m talking about Ivey showing up anywhere that anyone might ask a hard question.

For the most part, Republicans across the board have dodged debates as frantically as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has dodged an impartial investigation into his alleged sexual assault of girls when he was a too-frequently drunk young man in high school and college.

Republicans, on both the state and national level, have made it clear they want nothing to do with accountability. Led by their party’s oligarch, Donald Trump, they have managed to alienate just about every group in the country but Angry White Men.

Over the past couple years, Republicans (overwhelmingly white males) have offended:

— Millions of women with their insensitivity to the #MeToo movement and their determination to dictate what women are legally allowed to do with their bodies.

— Immigrants with their cage-the-children, split-up-families policies and aversion to allowing political asylum to discarded refugees.

— African-Americans with their #WhiteLivesMatterMoreThanBlackLivesMatter rhetoric and race-baiting political campaigns.

— The LGBTQ community with their homophobic language and anti-gay policies.

— Victims of senseless gun violence and their families with their “A Firearm in Every Palm” mind-set and their Arm-Teachers-with-Pistols-Instead-of-Textbooks mentality.

— The environmental and conservation communities with their “More Fossil Fuels” crusades and science-challenged opposition to anything designed to check climate change.

That’s not all. Republicans have opposed raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid to the working poor, maintaining health insurance protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and keeping the social safety net in place for the nation’s profoundly poor men, women, and children.

Big tax cuts for billion-dollar corporations and millionaires are just fine with these Republicans, even as they increase the nation’s national debt by trillions of dollars and turn their backs on a once-proud legacy of fiscal responsibility.

Those receiving Social Security and Medicare should be afraid – very afraid – because Republicans are targeting those programs as well, and nothing good will come if Republicans prevail.

So, yes, in the upcoming midterm election, voters have real choices. They can vote for the practically invisible Republicans, simply because they have an “R” after their names, or take their chances on candidates who have promised to make a true Difference with a big “D” – and  have made it clear to voters the specific policies they’ll support and why they support them.

This isn’t complicated. Alabamians can vote for their best interests – or against them. Our history says we’ll vote against them, but we haven’t had this kind of election in a long, long time. There will be surprises. Many eligible voters who have stayed home in the past are motivated as never before this year.

If those men and women who mean-spirited Republicans have consistently, intentionally offended and marginalized over the past few years actually vote, it might truly be the very last gasp of the Angry White Man.

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving group, either.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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Opinion | Roy Moore: Carrying sore loser to the extreme

by Joey Kennedy Read Time: 3 min
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