By Tom Ertl
Dear Alabama Christians,
In my 50 years of following national political races I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one as strange as the current U.S. Senate race in your state.
First, we had the national Republican Party in the September Senate run-off working against the state’s more popular candidate Judge Roy Moore in favor of their establishment candidate, and former D.C. lobbyist, Luther Strange. The D.C. Republicans flooded Strange with money only to see him lose by a significant 9-point margin.
Then, in the general election, this very same GOP-Washington establishment continues to undermine Moore in favor of electing a Senator from the Democratic Party. We might have to go all the way back to Goldwater to find anything that resembles these unusual political circumstances.
In their attempt to destroy their own candidate, the Republican hierarchy has colluded with their media nemesis, The Washington Post, to promote a smear campaign against Judge Roy Moore.
GOP – WASHINGTON POST COLLUSION
On November 9th, 2017, The Washington Post broke the story of four women with their alleged accounts of their 38-year-old dating experience with Roy Moore. As soon as the story broke, the usual cast of “Swamp” creatures surfaced with feigned outrage demanding that Moore step down from the race. McConnell, McCain, Flake, and Romney issued their immediate demand without any examination of facts. Their instant condemnation of Moore gave evidence of their orchestration. Within days, other GOP establishment elites including Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, chimed in to condemn Moore.
The Washington Post describes the accuser’s claims of dates they went on with Moore when they were in their late teens. The more serious charge of the four was given by Leigh Corfman who alleged that, when she was 14, Moore sexually assaulted her.
Corfman would have been the key witness in bringing down Moore, but within days, substantial credibility issues of this witness were uncovered when it was found out that Corfman had been married three times, filed bankruptcy three times, and had accused three pastors of sexual misconduct. The last of these points completely discredited her testimony, but the national press and the GOP establishment continue to repeat the allegations as though they were true.
The Post story further crumbled when one of the accusers, Debbie Gibson, turned out to be a Democrat operative, having worked for Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and at the time was campaigning for Doug Jones.
So when the initial round of accusers lacked the hoped-for effect, the establishment rolled out one Beverly Young Nelson on November 13, accompanied by none other than the infamous feminist, Gloria Allred, all set for a prime time New York City press conference. Should we expect anyone less than Ms. Allred for such an event?
Ms. Nelson produced a tearful scene of Moore taking her in his car when she was 16 years old behind a restaurant and sexually assaulting her. It was compelling theater complete with a yearbook signature, tears, tissues, and comforting hugs from Ms. Allred. So convincing was the display that at the time it moved some conservatives away from Moore.
But like Ms. Corfman, upon closer examination of the evidence, Ms. Nelson’s accounts also started crumbling. Within hours, photos of the yearbook were examined and found to be a forgery. Ms. Nelson’s step-son went public, declaring his step-mother’s allegations to be “one hundred percent lies” and on the following day, evidence surfaced revealing that Judge Moore had presided over Ms. Nelson’s 1999 divorce without her objection. A second Moore accuser totally discredited!
By this time the citizens of Alabama were starting to awaken to the lies and smear campaign against Judge Moore.
SAUL ALINSKY TACTICS
The tactics used against Judge Moore are right out of the Marxist, Saul Alinsky’s playbook in his Rules for Radicals.
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
“If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.”
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
“Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”
The opposition to Judge Roy Moore used a classic Alinsky approach of destroying the man, not his ideas. They know they cannot win the election debate over issues that affect the people of Alabama so they sought to destroy the person.
THE FALSE WITNESS BUSINESS MODEL
Always throughout human history, a deep pool of false witnesses has been available anytime and at any price, and 2017 Alabama is not an exception.
Usually, in the more public high-profile cases where corrupt men procure their liars, they do a more thorough job of vetting their false witnesses. Ms. Corfman and Ms. Nelson’s credibility was destroyed so quickly that we can conclude that their organizers have been very sloppy in their recruitment and orchestration.
Alabama Christians, do you think that the four women who came out at the same time on November 9 to give their story to The Washington Post did this spontaneously after 38 years had elapsed? Do you think Ms. Nelson also, after 38 plus years, had a sudden inspiration to call Gloria Allred to help ease her pain?
No and no. All of this has been orchestrated by political agents looking to destroy a good man. Can you imagine the expense, time, and research these men must have gone through to coordinate these attacks on Judge Moore? We also know from our own biblical history, false witnesses do not come without a cost.
Let me also ask you your thoughts on The Washington Post. Do you think that this deep-state paper which has continually labored to keep the pedophilia and assorted sexual perversions of their political associates under wraps, now on November 9, suddenly became concerned with the welfare of women in Alabama dating from 1977? Has The Washington Post suddenly seen the light about the moral condition of the country and its politicians?
No, not at all. BUT THEY KNOW YOU DO. They know that the Christian people of Alabama demand character in their political leaders while across the political aisle; issues of character are mostly irrelevant.
Thus, we have the real purpose of The Washington Post article: to orchestrate a smear campaign against Moore in order to suppress the Christian vote in the Alabama Senate race.
These people know the mind of the average Christian and their desire for godly character and public morality. If they can take the experience of dating younger women and turn it into the perception of an under-age sexual assault, then they would have driven a permanent wedge between Christian voters and their Christian candidate.
My call to the Christian community in Alabama is to stop being naïve. Seek to know how the world works. YOU ARE BEING PLAYED. Being played is defined as:
“Lied to, set up to be taken advantage of. To be cheated by a setup of actions or circumstances that have been deliberately planned.”
Do you think that instead of being emotionally manipulated by false reports it would be prudent to reserve judgment until the facts are discerned? Do you think the proverb applies to the circumstances regarding Judge Moore?
“The first one to present his case seems right, until another comes forward and questions him.” Proverbs 18:17
BEARING FALSE WITNESS 38 YEARS LATER
In times past, bearing false witness (or more commonly known today as ‘slander’) came with severe penalties. In the case laws of the Bible, slander came with a greater civil penalty than many sexual sins and thievery. One can always restore a stolen bike or a car but how can a good name be restored after it is dragged through the mud with lies and deceit?
As a Christian, should not your outrage and anger be directed at these false witnesses and those who have orchestrated such lies?
For these women to bring up accusations based on an alleged incident 38 years ago is on its face, absurd. This is why in the Christian West we have “Statutes of Limitation” written into our legal system.
Sir William Blackstone, the most respected jurist who greatly impacted early American jurisprudence, wrote in his Commentaries on the Laws of England:
“The use of these statutes of limitation is to preserve the peace of the kingdom and to prevent those innumerable perjuries which might ensue if a man were allowed to bring an action for an injury committed at any distance of time.”
If the ruling establishment is successful in Judge Moore’s election defeat, then what Christian man in Alabama or the nation would not be susceptible to the same defamation when allegations, by themselves, become the new standard for guilt?
Conservatives across the country have written much about the out of state influences in your Senate race. There is an ever-growing number of Alabamians who realize that their Senate election is being manipulated by political operatives in Washington, D.C. They do not view this kindly.
The tide has taken a turn in the second week after the Post story broke. Many national commentators including President Trump are now taking a more reserved position, declaring: “Let the people of Alabama decide their own election.”
Christian, naiveté is not a virtue. Be aware of the deceptions of this world and the devices of how corrupt men manipulate both mind and emotion for their political purposes. Use your common sense and biblical wisdom to understand the recent events in your state.
Your Senate race has garnered national attention because it is one of the most important ones in decades, important because it will help determine the leadership and future direction of the Republican Party and to the eventual restoration of the American republic.
This election goes beyond a battle between two opposite political views and candidates of Moore vs. Jones. It is also a battle against two forces with two different visions for the future of the GOP. The players are McConnell and Ryan on one side, representing the older establishment, globalist, Bush wing of the Republican Party vs. Steve Bannon and President Trump, who embody the America-First, anti-globalist, economic nationalism movement.
NOT voting for Judge Moore on December 12, is a vote for partial-birth abortion, same-sex marriage, globalism, open borders and a liberal Supreme Court.
Finally, remember the account in Genesis 39 when Joseph was falsely accused of a sexual assault by Potiphar’s wife. Joseph spent two years in an Egyptian prison before he was vindicated. We don’t have two years to wait. Judge Roy Moore needs to be vindicated by the people of Alabama on December 12.
Tom Ertl is a home builder in Tallahassee, Florida and is a member of a local Presbyterian Church (PCA). For over three decades Tom has worked with various Christian political organizations, including Freedom Council in the 80s. He is a former member of the Council for National Policy and has served on various Christian ministry and political boards. He is also a publisher of Christian historical and theological works and is a regular columnist for NewsWithViewes. E-Mail Tom Ertl: [email protected]
House passes General Fund Budget
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.
The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”
Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.
The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.
Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.
Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.
The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.
Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.
The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.
Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.
The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.
In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.
SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.
Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”
State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”
The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.
The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.
The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.
The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.
Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.
SB185 passed 101-0.
Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.
Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1 for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.
SB215 passed the House 87-0.
The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.
State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.
SB231 passed 87-2.
The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.
The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.
The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.
Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.
Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.
Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.
Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday
By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.
Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.
Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.
The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.
Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.
Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.
Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.
Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.
Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.
Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.
The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.
Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.
It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.
Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor
By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.
The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.
Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.
Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.
Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.
- Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)
Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.
Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.
The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.
Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.
House OKs bill to clarify consulting contracts by state legislators
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill to try to clarify how legislators accept consulting contracts under Alabama’s 2010 ethics law. Some pundits have suggested that House Bill 387 is actually designed to weaken the existing ethics law.
Sponsor state Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa, argues that the legislation is merely a clarification and is intended to prevent legislators from inadvertently crossing the line into illegality.
Wingo said that his bill would require legislators to notify the Alabama Ethics Commission that they have entered into a consulting agreement in an area outside of their normal scope of work.
State Rep. Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, said, “I have never understood why members of this body were allowed to take contracts as consultants or counselors.”
Wingo said, “Never do I use the word counselor in my bill; it is consulting.”
Beckman asked, “Are we going to be getting into an area where every time we turn around we create a bureaucratic nightmare where we have to go get an opinion. These opinions whether it is orally or written don’t hold up in a court of law.” Beckman said, “We are serving the people here but we get this admonition that we can still be a consultant if we get an opinion.”
Wingo said, “This does not apply to professions where a member is currently licensed.”
Beckman said, “I would like to see more opinions coming out of the Ethics Commission. Right now we have the Ethics Commission competing with the Attorney General’s office over who has more authority.”
State Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, said,”This happened to a friend of mine. He just got out of prison. He was a state senator and had a written letter from the Ethics Commission which his lawyer read at trial and the jury convicted him anyway.”
Rogers never named his friend, but reporters think he was talking about former state Sen. Edward Browning ‘E. B.’ McClain who spent over 22 years in the legislature until he was convicted on 47 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, bribery, and money laundry in 2009.
A federal jury found that McClain and the Rev. Samuel Pettagrue were guilty in a scheme where McClain would secure public funds for Pettagrue’s community programs and then receive a kickback once the funds were in hand. McClain was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison. McClain was not prosecuted under the Alabama ethics law as the state has a much weaker ethics statute then. The current ethics law was passed in 2010.
Rogers said, “If they offer me a consulting contract for a field like aerospace engineering that I know nothing about they are trying to pay me off. If you can already be a consultant for something you know about why would you seek a consulting contract for something you don’t know about.
Rogers this is how they can pay you off for your vote.”
State Rep. Artis “A.J.” McCampbell said, “I don’t like making changes to things like this because we get into things called unintended consequences.”
McCampbell was reading from the bill and Wingo said, “You are reading from the original version it has completely changed.” “We worked tirelessly on this bill with the Ethics Commission this is not a fly by night bill.”
“If a member of the legislature enters into a contract to do a consulting contract outside of their normal field of work this bill requires that they consult with the Ethics Commission first,” Wingo said. “It is up to the member to notify the Ethics Commission not to the company or person offering them the money.”
State Representative Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said, “Everybody but legislators are allowed to do contract work up to $30,000.”
Rep. Wingo said, “This is not intended to be a roadblock.”
State Representative Arnold Mooney, R-Indian Springs, said, “The whole purpose of this is not to prevent members from doing work in your field.” “What you are doing is offering to protect me.”
State Representative John Knight, D-Montgomery, asked Wingo what the Alabama Attorney General said about this legislation.
Wingo replied, “I have not contacted the Attorney General.”
Knight responded, “Something from the Ethics Commission does not carry a lot of protection from the Attorney General. We have seen that in the past. I think the Attorney General and the Ethics Commission should be in agreement in the working on this.”
Wingo answered, “Maybe this is a first step.”
Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, asked, “Do we have anybody doing work outside of their regular scope of work?”
Wingo answered, “Yes I think so.”
Wingo said, “If we had had this bill four or five years ago maybe we could have been spared the embarrassment that this body experienced with the former Speaker.”
Wingo was referring to former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard who was convicted of 12 counts of felony ethics violations in June 2016. Ironically, Hubbard is largely responsible for creating the ethics law that he was found guilty of violating 11 times in his relentless pursuit of outside contracts and personal wealth.
Unlike McClain, however, Hubbard has not yet served any of this sentence.
House Bill 387 passed 67-0 with 26 legislators abstaining.
The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.
(Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group’s Lisa Osborn in 2009 was consulted in this report.)