Just like business, politics is better for us all with competition



Art Parker

By Art Parker

From the time we went to press last week I have talked to many folks in the Republican Party about the Roy Moore situation. It is hard to believe that there are people who support him unconditionally, even if he did commit some or all of the horrible acts alleged.

But does any of this make a difference?

Besides the people, the major players are the Alabama GOP, the U.S.  and the U.S. Supreme Court. Let me explain why and how only one particular vote will stop all of this.

If the Alabama GOP disqualifies Moore before the election it will not remove his name from the ballot due to Alabama law even though he can never serve in the office he seeks. The people can still vote for Moore and if his name garners more than a majority of votes cast he will not be elected and the election becomes null and void. Why? Because Moore is not a qualified candidate and his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, failed to receive a majority. Hold on to that thought and let’s move to the second scenario.

If the GOP does not disqualify Moore then he remains a qualified candidate on the ballot, and with a majority of votes he would be elected to the United States Senate. Does this mean he will serve? Possibly no. Why? Several of my Washington sources confirm that Republicans in the Senate do not want Moore there after the numerous sex allegations have been made. The word is that the Senate Republicans will not seat him but simply expel him. How?

These are the critical passages of Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members…Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Yes, the Senate can kick out a duly elected member of the Senate.

There seems to be no doubt in my mind that the Republicans in the Senate will attempt to expel Moore, but they must have cooperation from the Democrats to do so. Moore will be among the 52 GOP Senators but I doubt that he will vote to expel himself (Of course nothing he does surprises me). That leaves 51 Republicans to expel Moore and, if all vote the same,  they will need 16 Dems to obtain the two thirds majority needed for expulsion. This puts the Dems in a tight spot since they are the primary party that screams about equality, fair treatment, etc. If they don’t vote to expel Moore then it will appear as if they support a sex predator. But the Dems may want ole’ Roy to be there because he will be a great excuse for anything. Whenever they want to point the finger at those terrible Republicans they will often mention Moore’s name first.

The final unknown is the US Supreme Court. If Moore gets SCOTUS to hear him he can even win in the long run since there is some court precedent in his favor.

So, what will happen? I don’t know but I sense more embarrassment for the State of Alabama. There is only one way to avoid further embarrassment. If we do that then this long nightmare is over.

This is not an endorsement of Jones but I do believe that everyone who usually votes Republican needs to strongly consider voting in the other direction this time. It may taste bad and you may not confess to doing it. However, if Jones is elected it will let the Republicans know one thing they do not understand.

It will let them know they have some competition. It may stop that party from slinging crap on the wall knowing they got the votes to make it stick. The same thing the Democrats did when they had no competition.

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A mess called the Alabama GOP



Art Parker

By Art Parker

On October 5th of this year, in this space, I mentioned that Alabama politics was the gift that kept on giving to a newspaper columnist. As far as the last week is concerned Christmas came about six weeks early thanks to our bombastic and controversial former Chief Justice, Roy Moore.
By now you have heard all of the allegations. To assure that the core of the controversy is uncovered let me remind you that several women claim, that when they were teenagers, Roy Moore made sexual advances towards them when he was a young assistant DA in Etowah County. These allegations would be controversial regardless of the named guilty party, but the allegations zip through a dark night’s sky like a blazing meteor since the accused is a bellowing, self-righteous, self-proclaimed Christian named Roy Moore, who is a candidate for the United States Senate.
Many question the allegations because of the timing, and yes, I must say it causes me to be a bit suspicious. Just a wee little bit.
The reactions to the allegations by Moore’s fellow Republicans is the real gift of the week. Those reactions cause me to think even less of the GOP (please remember that I think BOTH the GOP and Democratic Party are the biggest problems in this country-they are extremely corrupt and for the most part a collection of lying, greedy, self-enriching scumbags).
The Toronto Star published a very informative report last week. Yes, Roy Moore is so controversial that news he creates not only goes outside the borders of Alabama, but outside U.S. borders as well. I guess this makes Alabama politics the gift that keeps on giving to all media in North America. On Friday the Star reported that several GOP county party chairman would still vote for Moore even if the allegations were true.
But the reaction that really got my attention came from David Hall, the GOP chairman in Marion County in northwest Alabama, who reportedly said that there was nothing wrong with a 30 something year old man dating a 16-year old girl.
I couldn’t help but wonder about this Hall guy so I called quite a few friends across the state active in the GOP. Turns out Hall is a candidate for a house seat in the Legislature. He is on the powerful 21-member state GOP Steering Committee-the most powerful body in the state GOP. Also, the Poarch Creek Indians are thus far the largest contributor to his campaign (outside of loans he personally made to his campaign).
These reactions and additional information make me wonder if the GOP has become the party of grown men pursuing teenage girls and accepting gambling money. Perhaps acceptance of either depends on who is doing the pursuing, who is doing the giving and who is receiving.
Beyond the allegations come two items I believe that signal guilt by Moore. Moore has refused to a public debate with his opponent, Doug Jones. What I find interesting is that Moore’s biggest refusal came just one day before the sexual harassment story broke. Instead of just saying he would not debate, Moore made a big deal about the “disparity” between himself and Jones and therefore no need to debate. Believe me, the last thing Roy Moore wants to do now is debate his opponent. I feel certain that the Moore campaign saw these allegations coming and made sure they established their anti-debate position. In my mind, this gives substance to the allegations. Secondly, there was a former assistant DA that served with Moore in Etowah County that confirmed that Moore dated high school girls at the time. Teresa Jones told CNN that Moore’s practice was “common knowledge” back then and said, “We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall.” Since the former co-worker made her statements more women have come forward making claims consistent with others.
The bottom line of all of this is not limited to who is the real Roy Moore. It creates doubt about the identity of the Alabama Republican Party, especially when Republicans say they will vote for this character even if the allegations are true. Just don’t vote for a Democrat no matter what ‘our guys’ do.
To further minimize the integrity of the GOP one of Moore’s primary opponents, Mo Brooks, said the GOP agenda was “vastly more important than contested sexual allegations.” Brooks’ comment confirms my belief that he is one of the biggest idiots in our state. The GOP is the party of personal responsibility (which I fully agree with). How can a responsible parent place a political party agenda ahead of the proper upbringing, health, welfare and safety of their own child?
What does the party really stand for and can its members be trusted? Since coming into power about a decade ago, the Alabama GOP has given us plenty of reason to distrust it and distrust its politicians.
That trend seems to be continuing.

Arrest the politicians, not the voters



Art Parker

By Art Parker

Last week the fire of one of my pet peeves was reignited.  Last Friday Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) announced that 674 voters broke Alabama law with the act of crossover voting. Merrill said he was handing over the names to prosecutors. The new state law makes it a felony to vote in the runoff of the party other than the one that you voted for in the primary.

Believe me, this is an old horse that has been whupped to death a million times. The difference in the whupping is that the voters could be prosecuted this time. Merrill supposedly told the AP that the law was going to be enforced and it was the right thing to do.

I don’t have a problem enforcing a law and it is the right thing to do. What I don’t like is creating and maintaining ridiculous, unfair laws that should never be on the books in the first place. Furthermore, I find it hilarious that our Secretary of State wants to play Elliot Ness with voters breaking election laws while his office does nothing to help nab the hundreds of politicians that break campaign finance laws, even though their campaign reports are filed with his office.

This is not old. The citizen is the bad guy once again while crooked politicians can do no harm.

Last year the Legislature created the statute that people who crossover vote could be facing up to ten years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Last year when the bill was introduced Terri Lathan, chair of the Alabama Republican Party, made a football analogy regarding cross over voting. Something like this… imagine if Alabama football coach Nick Saban chose the players for the Auburn football team. Or vice versa with Auburn coach Gus Malzahn choosing the Alabama football team.    I get it. But what about the people of this state choosing their team? Remember the words, “of the people, by the people and for the people?    It is the people’s government. Abraham Lincoln did not say, “Of the party, by the party and for the party.”

Our elections need rules, no doubt, but telling someone they can only vote from one list because of their previous vote is unfair to voter.

But fairness is just part of the problem. The real problem is that I am having my voting right restricted. And, it is not just my voting rights in question, it is the fact that I am paying to conduct an election for a political party.

I could spend all day telling you how much the taxpayers spend to hold primary election to benefit the two political parties only. This is wrong. If I am paying for it I should be able to choose freely between those running for office without a political party prohibiting me from engaging in the democratic process.It is my belief that if the political parties want to hold a primary to choose their candidates then they should pay for it. Plain and simple, and then they can come up with their own rules and do things their way. They can decide nominations by good looks, mud wrestling, votes or any other method they decide. They just need to pay their own bills and not expect the taxpayers to pay.

I have long held in my mind that the political parties are the most evil force in American politics and government. Their purpose is to elect who they wish so that the elected can be controlled by the parties, not the taxpaying citizens. Just look at this last senate election. The various parts of the Republican money mafia poured about $30 million into Luther Strange’s failed campaign. As I said the week before the election, Luther is of no value to us if elected. He will be too busy kissing the rings of Republican godfathers instead of listening to us.

The bottom line is that the parties should pay for their own primary elections. Yes, the government should pay for the general election when the people decide from the final list placed before them, and the people have no fear of voting the way they desire.