The Presidential scoreboard



By Josh Moon

Over the weekend, the same Facebook post kept popping up on my feed. It was, essentially, a long whine about how poorly Donald Trump has been treated by pretty much everyone since becoming president, and at the end there was a list of names of regular people who were announcing their support for the pathetic human. 

   I was not shocked to find that most of the names were from Alabama. 

  Why people in one of the poorest states in America — a state filled with lower-middle class and poor workers — ever supported this billionaire conman is strange enough, but why they’re still supporting him today is a complete mystery to me. 

  The only answer that even makes sense is that maybe these men and women are wrapped so tightly in the conservative news bubble — with Fox News and Breitbart and the like serving as the American version of state-run news — they don’t know how badly this grifter has lied to them. 

   So, let’s go to the scoreboard — using Trump’s own words — and take a look at just how ridiculous still supporting this guy is.  

Let’s start with …

   “I’m gonna say, ‘Mexico, this is not going to continue, you’re going to pay for that wall,’ and they will pay for the wall.” — Donald Trump, Aug. 5, 2015

  Not only has zero miles of border wall been built, you won’t believe who’s paying for that YUGE wall. Here’s a hint: It’s not Mexico, and it looks a lot like the person you see in the mirror. 

    “We will repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare. You will be able to choose your own doctor again.” — Donald Trump, July 22, 2016

  You’ll be shocked to discover that Obamacare was not repealed. And there was no Trump health care plan that covered everyone for much less, as he also promised. The plan he did introduce — so awful that even Congressional Republicans didn’t have the heart to pass it — cost ten times as much and covered 20 million fewer people. 

    “We will bring back coal and get clean coal” to “put you back to work.”  — Donald Trump, July 28, 2016

    Since Trump took office, coal jobs have continued to decline. Almost as if it’s an outdated energy resource that’s being replaced by less costly, more efficient resources. Because that’s exactly what’s happening. Which is why the last president — you remember, the black guy you thought was Satan — tried to give you job training in those new technologies. Instead, you trusted the billionaire who literally thought “clean coal” meant scrubbing the black off. Good call. 

    “When I see the crumbling roads and bridges, or the dilapidated airports or the factories moving overseas to Mexico, or to other countries for that matter, I know these problems can all be fixed, but not by Hillary Clinton. Only by me.” — Donald Trump, June 22, 2016.

     We’re well over a year into this presidency now and Trump has just dumped out his “plan” for infrastructure — an utterly impossible dream that would be unworkable even if he hadn’t ballooned the annual deficit with his stupid tax cuts for the wealthy. 

    “On day one of a Trump administration, the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China a currency manipulator.” — Donald Trump, Nov. 9, 2015 (Wall Street Journal)

     Still not labeled a currency manipulator on Day 475.

     “We are getting rid of the carried interest loophole.” — Donald Trump, Aug. 11, 2016

    Narrator voice: He did not get rid of the carried interest loophole. 

    “I’m so much more into the middle class who have just been absolutely forgotten in our country. Everybody’s getting a tax cut, especially the middle class.” – Donald Trump, May, 2016

     Funny story: the tax plan will actually benefit the middle class the least, with the top 1 percent receiving 84 percent of the cuts by 2024 and 53 percent of Americans actually paying more. And it doesn’t stop there.

     Trump has been engulfed in scandal since his first day, when he started a stupid fight over his inauguration crowd size, and has slowly eroded any decency associated with the office of U.S. president. He’s been caught paying off a porn star, has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault, has spent more on golf vacations in one year than Obama did in three, has run through more White House staff than most presidents do in two terms and he’s employed some of the swampiest of swampy DC insiders. 

     And none of that even touches on the ongoing Mueller investigation, which has already led to four Trump associates being indicted and the raid of Trump’s lawyer’s office. 

      Yet, still, these people are signing their names in support of this clown. 

      I guess this is how Kim Jong Un remains in power.

Not even trying to hide corruption



By Josh Moon

The corruption within Alabama’s state government doesn’t surprise me anymore. The brazenness of that corruption does. Seriously, these people aren’t even hiding it anymore.

   Former Republican majority leader Micky Hammon, before being busted, convicted and shipped off to federal prison, actually told a reporter about his illegal deal with a health care company.

   Former Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard was scheduling official meetings and whining in emails about the ethics laws — the laws he helped pass — before he was busted.

Former Republican Gov. Robert Bentley and former Republican Attorney General Luther Strange stood in front of a room full of reporters and tried to pretend that Bentley wasn’t under investigation by Strange’s office, even after Strange wrote a letter all but saying he was. And he was.

   I mean, maybe there’s an argument to be made that our people are more stupid than brazen, and they’re simply too ignorant to recognize that we all see what they’re doing. But that’s not a lot of comfort.

  Because we seem to have reached a point in this state where corruption and shadiness is the norm.

   We simply expect the crooked deals and underhanded payoffs and backroom politics. So much so that our politicians aren’t really hiding it anymore.

   Perfect example: Steve Marshall.

Take a quick look through our interim AG’s campaign finance records sometime. And prepare to be amazed.

   Not necessarily at the amount of the donations, although that figure, at well over $1 million raised so far — for a gig that pays $168,000 annually — should be scandal enough. But look at who’s giving.

    On Feb. 26, a $2,500 donation came in from the Riley and Jackson law firm. That’s the firm of former Gov. Bob Riley’s son, Rob Riley. That firm also shares office space with Bob Riley’s consulting firm.

   But more importantly to Steve Marshall, and the attorneys working for him at the AG’s public corruption unit, Rob Riley is currently representing Mike Hubbard in his appeal against a case brought by that aforementioned AG’s public corruption unit.

   So the current AG is taking in donations from the attorneys of a convicted felon who was one of the most powerful men in the state.


  But in Marshall’s case, not at all out of the ordinary.

   Because Marshall has indirectly hauled in tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Jimmy Rane and Will Brooke — two wealthy and prominent business owners, and major political donors, who were caught up in the Hubbard conviction.

   And here’s the fun backstory there: Rane and Brooke could technically still be indicted for their roles in giving Hubbard money. Of the 12 felony counts against Hubbard, two involved in Rane and Brooke. And with a grand jury still empaneled in Lee County …

   But no biggie to Marshall. He’ll take their cash.

   And why not? In fairness to him, now that HB317 — a bill that altered the definitions of who is deemed a lobbyist under Alabama law — has passed and is awaiting the governor’s signature, it’s not clear how Rane and Brooke would now be defined under the law.

   Yeah, sure, he took in most of the cash before this bill was even introduced. And yes, if you want to get all nitpicky, he was out there publicly pushing for the passage of this bill. (Really, sarcasm on pause for a minute, when’s the last time you remember an attorney general pushing for major exceptions to the ethics laws, particularly those that define who is and isn’t a lobbyist?)

   But then, it’s not like he’s the top law enforcement official in the state or something.

   I mean, is there anything that defines Alabama politics better than the state’s top law enforcement official accepting campaign donations from an indicted felon’s attorneys during the appeals process and from two subjects in an ongoing investigation being conducted by his office?

   And doing all of it right out in the open for everyone to see.

   Maybe it’s just what we’ve come to expect, and accept, in this state.

Listen to the GOP



By Josh Moon

Thank you, Alabama Republicans. For folks like me, a progressive living in this regressive state, the uphill climb towards electing a good number of forward-thinking, intelligence-valuing lawmakers in this state often seems roughly equivalent to scaling Everest with asthma.

   Then there are days like the final ones of the 2018 legislative session, when you guys give me that glimmer of hope. Yeah, sure, it’s by doing awful, awful things — that I really shouldn’t feel good about — but I’m choosing the positive outlook.

   Hopefully your crookedness and callousness will eventually lead to your demise.

   At least, that’s what I believe. Otherwise, there’s simply no hope left for this place, and I can’t believe that. There are too many good and decent people here.

   So, I choose to believe that eventually, the sins of these ignorant men and women will be their undoing.

   And there are signs this is true.

  When Doug Jones beat Roy Moore last December for a U.S. Senate seat, that victory was mostly oversold nationally as evidence of a Democratic resurgence.

   It wasn’t. Moore was the worst candidate in modern political history and had the absolute worst campaign — one filled with grifters, con artists, carnival barkers and half-wits — in the complete history of politics.

   But that doesn’t mean there was no progress at all.

   Black voters were particularly organized and energized in that race, turning out in numbers that rivaled minority participation in President Obama’s 2008 run. That’s an ominous sign for Republican lawmakers who have never, not one single time, bothered to alter or soften their positions to better attract minority voters.

   Speaking of, that same group of Republicans just balked at passing a bill that would require demographic data be compiled on all traffic stops in the state and then that information studied to identify issues with racial profiling.

A sitting black senator brought this bill, and did so after detailing his personal experience being stopped in his own neighborhood without cause. Other black lawmakers shared their experiences with racial profiling by police. Former cops who are now lawmakers admitted on the floor of the House that racial profiling is a problem within Alabama police forces.

And yet, a bill that would have simply gathered the data, studied it and allowed the attorney general’s office to take corrective action was voted down.

   For minority citizens in this state, this isn’t a political issue. It’s a life-or-death issue. And for a minority voting bloc that was already motivated, adding in a dash of anger and legitimate fear certainly won’t hurt the turnout numbers.

   Speaking of anger …  

   There aren’t many more anger-inducing acts than a bunch of elite lawmakers carving legal exceptions for themselves and their millionaire pals.

   That was the case with HB317, a rewrite of state ethics laws that exclude “economic developers” from lobbying laws. It is an obvious and clumsy scam — one designed to hopefully get investigators off the backs of state officials and powerful businessmen.

    Make no mistake about it, it is not an exception that aids the average Alabamian or in any way bolsters economic development.

   And here’s how you know that: When asked repeatedly by Democrats (and even some skeptical Republicans) to name one instance in which economic developers being required to register as lobbyists had hurt Alabama’s economic development projects, no one could.

   Not one.

   Hell, they couldn’t even make up an example.

  Yet, with nearly half of Senate Republicans and every Democrat voting against this thing, and with 22 Republican abstentions in the House, this crooked bill passed.

   These are the types of bills that very often represent a turning point for governments. You can only beat down, ignore and rob groups of people for so long before they take a stand. And at this point, the groups due to take a stand are overwhelming.

   If you’re a black voter, this conservative government isn’t working for you. If you’re a Hispanic voter, this conservative government isn’t working for you. If you’re a regular working stiff, this conservative government isn’t working for you. If you’re a woman, this conservative government isn’t working for you.

   The Alabama Republican Party spent the 2018 legislative session screaming this at all of you.

   Maybe you should listen.