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Roy Moore’s Disingenuous Defense

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“Disingenuous” in this case is equivalent to “dishonest,” but that’s a Roy Moore standard—recall how he dishonestly said that he received no salary from his charity when in fact he was paid $180,000 per year. Oops.

Charles Bethea reports in the New Yorker:

On Tuesday, Sean Hannity, who had been an emphatic supporter of the Senate candidate Roy Moore, gave the embattled Republican twenty-four hours to explain the allegations of sexual molestation and misconduct made against him by an increasing number of women in Alabama. Several women allege that Moore touched, pursued, or even assaulted them when he was an assistant district attorney in his early thirties and they were much younger—in one case, as young as fourteen. Moore allegedly approached some of these women at the mall in Gadsden, Alabama, where his behavior troubled many local residents.
“You must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies that I just showed,” Hannity said on his Fox News show. Hannity seemed particularly concerned about Moore’s fifth accuser, Beverly Young Nelson. When Nelson made her allegations public, on Tuesday, appearing at a press conference alongside her lawyer, Gloria Allred, she brought along an old high-school yearbook of hers that appeared to have Moore’s signature below a personal note. It read, “To a sweeter more beautiful girl, I could not say, ‘Merry Christmas.’ ” This yearbook note was intended to help corroborate Nelson’s claim that she and Moore knew each other, a claim that Moore has denied.
On Wednesday evening, Moore released an open letter in response to Hannity. It began by seeking sympathy. “I am suffering,” he wrote. Moore then attempted to cast doubt on the “false allegations” against him in a few different ways. Regarding Nelson, Moore referenced the accuser’s divorce, for which he was the presiding judge. Nelson, Moore wrote, “was party to a divorce action before me in Etowah County Circuit Court in 1999. No motion was made for me to recuse.” Moore went on to wonder at the notion that this “apparently caused her no distress at a time that was 18 years closer to the alleged assault,” while now, “talking before the cameras about the supposed assault, she seemingly could not contain her emotions.”
This morning, I corresponded with a prominent Alabama attorney who reviewed the filings in Nelson’s 1999 divorce case. Based on those filings, the attorney insisted, Moore’s claims in the open letter are “completely disingenuous.” Nelson, this attorney told me, “was never before Moore,” since the divorce was not litigated. Rather, as court documents show, the divorce was filed, continued, and then dismissed. “These are all unilateral actions by the lawyer for the plaintiff,” the attorney went on. “A lawyer for the other side never even appeared. It is doubtful that these documents were even given to Nelson.” In any case, the attorney told me, Moore, whose signature is only on the motion for dismissal—not the original filing or motion to continue—had no actual discretion over the case.
“When an agreed motion to dismiss is filed, Moore would have no discretion and have to sign,” the attorney continued. “Most likely, he never even looked at the parties’ names and Beverly had a different last name by then anyway.” The attorney concluded, “Moore’s lawyer’s statement that Beverly Nelson was before Moore in court and never objected to this circumstance was a lie.”
As ThinkProgress noted earlier today, the claim that Moore made in his statement was reiterated by his attorneys on Wednesday evening. “As it turns out, in 1999, Ms. Nelson filed a divorce action against her then-husband, Mr. Harris,” the lawyer Phillip Jauregui said at a press conference. “Guess who that case was before? It was filed in Etowah County, and the judge assigned was Roy S. Moore, circuit judge of Etowah County. There was contact.” ThinkProgress reviewed the case file, and concluded that there was no contact.
Nelson’s divorce attorney, Rodney Ward, still practices in Gadsden. He concurred with this attorney’s analysis of Nelson’s divorce case. “I reviewed my file, and there was no hearing set in front of Judge Moore,” Ward told me this morning. “Looking at a copy of the order, it looks like Moore didn’t sign it. It looks like it was stamped by his assistant.” Had Beverly Nelson known who the presiding judge was, Ward went on, “my client would have filed a motion to have the judge recuse himself, to have a different judge appointed. So I don’t even think she knew who the judge was. It was only, like, sixty days from the time the divorce was filed to the time it was dismissed. Maybe ninety.” Ward concluded, “If Moore is claiming that she appeared in front of him, I do not believe that’s true.”
Hannity, meanwhile,  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 November 2017 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Election, GOP, Law

Roy Moore seems not to think very well.

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From a NY Times report from Alan Blinder and Jonathan Martin:

“People have waited until four weeks prior to the general election to bring their complaints,” Mr. Moore, 70, said during a Veterans Day event in Vestavia Hills, Ala., near Birmingham. “That’s not a coincidence — it’s an intentional act to stop a campaign.”

Roy doesn’t really grasp what happens when someone runs for a prominent office like US Senator: newspapers go to work to learn everything they can about the candidate, do a lot of interviews and talk to a lot of people, and in so doing they discover things, which they report. If he were not running for the US Senate, that sort of investigative reporting would not be worth doing, but as soon as he and Luther Strange were battling it out in the GOP primary, good newspapers (not just the Alabama press) went to work and spent the time and money to see what they could learn.

One thing the Washington Post learned early on was that old Roy simply lied outright that he received no salary from the charity on whose behalf he worked. In fact, he was paid $180,000 per year. No one contradicts that, and it proves Roy Moore is a liar, and a liar who lies to make himself look good.

That was not discovered before his campaign because no one really dug into it.

The same thing with his penchant for dating underage girls when he was in his 30’s. That this (and his hidden salary) came to light now is indeed no coincidence. It came to light because, in view of the high office for which he is running, investigative journalists are looking more closely at his life.

I’m surprised he doesn’t understand that, but I think old Roy is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He seems to think that this was known all along but held back until his campaign. No, the campaign itself triggered a closer inspection, an inspection that he failed.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 November 2017 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Election, GOP

Uh-oh: Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32

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This may have quite an impact on Roy Moore’s campaign, though it should be noted that when Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, his supporters shrugged it off. But I think the mood today is different, and in particular the pedophilic aspects of the Roy Moore encounter may be problematic given how strenuously he emphasizes what a religious person he is.

Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites report in the Washington Post:

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.

Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.

Of the four women, the youngest at the time was Corfman, who is the only one who says she had sexual contact with Moore that went beyond kissing. She says they did not have intercourse.

In a written statement, Moore denied the allegations. . .

Continue reading.

From the BBC report:

Alabama’s state auditor Jim Zeigler came under fire on Thursday for his remarks defending Mr Moore.

He was quoted as saying that even if the Washington Post report were true, “it’s much ado about very little”.

Mr Zeigler told the Washington Times newspaper: “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

Written by LeisureGuy

9 November 2017 at 10:51 am

Posted in Election, GOP

Brave Enough to Be Angry

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Lindy West has a strong op-ed in the NY Times:

Last month, an Access Hollywood correspondent asked the actress Uma Thurman to comment on abuse of power in Hollywood, presumably in light of the sexual assault allegations against the producer Harvey Weinstein. Speaking slowly and deliberately, through gritted teeth, Thurman responded, “I don’t have a tidy soundbite for you, because I’ve learned — I am not a child — and I have learned that when I’ve spoken in anger I usually regret the way I express myself. So I’ve been waiting to feel less angry. And when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.”

Thurman is seething, like we have all been seething, in our various states of breaking open or, as Thurman chooses, waiting. We are seething at how long we have been ignored, seething for the ones who were long ago punished for telling the truth, seething for being told all of our lives that we have no right to seethe. Thurman’s rage is palpable yet contained, conveying not just the tempestuous depths of #MeToo but a profound understanding of the ways that female anger is received and weaponized against women.

In the past few months alone we’ve seen Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, pilloried by the far right for criticizing Donald Trump’s anemic response to Hurricane Maria (“We are dying here,” Cruz told the news media, “I am mad as hell.”) and the Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson deluged with abuse after she characterized Trump’s call to the military widow Myeshia Johnson as “insensitive” and “an insult.” Both Cruz and Wilson were directly targeted by the president on Twitter, then incessantly memed and regurgitated and redigested and rememed by his obedient online horde.

Just this week, Juli Briskman, a government contractor, lost her jobafter a photo of her flipping off the presidential motorcade went viral. Solange, Britney Spears, Sinead O’Connor, the Dixie Chicks, Rosie O’Donnell — I struggle to think of women who lost their tempers in public and didn’t face ridicule, temporary ruin, or both. And we don’t even have to be angry to be called angry. Accusations of being an “angry black woman” chased Michelle Obama throughout her tenure at the White House, despite eight years of unflappable poise (black women suffer disproportionately under this paradigm). The decades-long smearing of Hillary Clinton as an unhinged shrew culminated one year ago today when, despite maintaining a preternatural calm throughout the most brutal campaign in living memory, she lost the election to masculinity’s apoplectic id.

Like every other feminist with a public platform, I am perpetually cast as a disapproving scold. But what’s the alternative? To approve? I do not approve.

Not only are women expected to weather sexual violence, intimate partner violence, workplace discrimination, institutional subordination, the expectation of free domestic labor, the blame for our own victimization, and all the subtler, invisible cuts that undermine us daily, we are not even allowed to be angry about it. Close your eyes and think of America.

We are expected to keep quiet about the men who prey upon us, as though their predation was our choice, not theirs. We are expected to sit quietly as men debate whether or not the state should be allowed to forcibly use our bodies as incubators. We are expected to not complain as we are diminished, degraded and discredited.

We are expected to agree (and we comply!) with the paternal admonition that it is irresponsible and hyperemotional to request one female president after 241 years of male ones — because that would be tokenism, anti-democratic and dangerous — as though generations of white male politicians haven’t proven themselves utterly disinterested in caring for the needs of communities to which they do not belong. As though white men’s monopolistic death-grip on power in America doesn’t belie precisely the kind of “identity politics” they claim to abhor. As though competent, qualified women are so thin on the ground that even a concerted, sincere, large-scale search for one would be a long shot, and any resulting candidate a compromise.

Meanwhile, as a reminder of the bar for male competence, Donald Trump is the president.

Tuesday, voters — some angry, some hopeful despite themselves — went to the polls and told a different story: the first openly trans woman elected to the Virginia legislature, a surge of female Democratic candidates across the nation, many of them victorious.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 November 2017 at 11:41 am

Some interesting reversals in yesterday’s vote: Republican official who mocked the Women’s March defeated by woman he inspired to run

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Anton Woronczuk reports in Revere Press:

A New Jersey Republican official known for posting a misogynist meme and sporting Confederate flag memorabilia lost a local election on Tuesday — to a woman.

Ashley Bennett, a 32-year-old Democrat, defeated incumbent John Carman for the Atlantic County freeholder seat.

Carman had posted a detestable meme on the day of the Women’s March — perhaps the largest demonstration in world history — asking, “will the woman’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?”

Bennett told the Associated Press that she ran partly in response to Carman’s meme. “I was angry about (the Facebook meme), because elected officials shouldn’t be on social media mocking and belittling people who are expressing their concerns about their community and the nation,” she said.

Carman’s loss came on the same day as Danica Roem defeated anti-LGBTQ Republican Bob Marshall, becoming the first openly transgender person elected to the Virginia state legislature.

The defeats of Carman and Marshall suggest  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 November 2017 at 8:50 am

Posted in Election

Donna Brazile and the Latest Great Hillary Scandal

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Kevin Drum has a good analysis that suggests we should all calm down. (And it’s worth noting that Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat and Hillary Clinton is, so it’s scarcely surprising that the Democratic National Committee would support the Democratic candidate.) Drum writes:

I’ve gotten lots of requests to comment on Donna Brazile’s “sensational,” “shocking,” “blockbuster” book excerpt in Politico yesterday. The reason I haven’t, to be honest, is that the more I dive into it the less sure I am what really happened. So let’s start with a short summary of what went down:

  • After 2012, President Obama basically left the Democratic National Committee broke.
  • Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the DNC chair, did little to address this. Also, pretty much everyone agrees she was a crappy chair for a variety of other reasons.
  • In mid-2015, Hillary Clinton set up a “joint fundraising agreement” with the DNC.
  • The gist of the JFA was that Clinton would raise tons of money by asking rich donors for roughly $350,000 each in both 2015 and 2016. This is way above normal contribution limits, but it was legal because it bundled together donations to Clinton, the DNC, and 33 state parties. Clinton’s campaign would then split up the money and send it to the appropriate places.
  • However, the money for the state parties was mostly routed immediately back to the DNC for things like building voter lists. That was the deal the states accepted when they signed onto the JFA. Depending on your outlook, this is either slightly shady or just a smart way for state parties to help finance things that will help them in the long run.
  • Although states didn’t get much actual cash from the JFA during primary season, they did get it during the general election. So states did pretty well in the end.
  • Bernie Sanders was also offered the opportunity to set up a JFA, but he decided to go the small-dollar route instead.

So far, there’s nothing new here. It was all reported long ago and litigated during the campaign. Whatever you thought about it back then, feel free to continue thinking. But then Brazile added one more thing: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 November 2017 at 10:27 am

Posted in Democrats, Election

Unsealed Documents Show That Kris Kobach Is Dead Set on Suppressing the Right to Vote

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Orion Danjuma, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program, reports:

For almost a year, Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, has struggled to hide the truth about his efforts to lobby the Trump administration to make it much harder for Americans to vote. Part of that struggle ended today when a federal court ordered excerpts of Kris Kobach’s testimony disclosed along with other documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in our challenge to his restrictive voter registration regime.

The unsealed materials confirm what many have suspected: Kobach has a ready-made plan to gut core voting rights protections enshrined in federal law. And he has been covertly lobbying Trump’s team and other officials from day one to sell them the falsehood that noncitizens are swinging elections.

As the de facto head of President Trump’s election commission, Kobach has positioned himself to lead an all-out assault on the right to vote.

Here are three big plays from Kobach’s voter suppression playbook.

Play 1: Disenfranchise new voters with severe registration restrictions

Before Kris Kobach took office as secretary of state, Kansans could register to vote the same way that people do in virtually every other state in the country: by submitting a sworn oath of citizenship under penalty of perjury. In 2013, Kobach implemented a law he had pushed through the Kansas Legislature two years earlier, requiring people to track down a citizenship document — such as a passport or birth certificate — or be barred from the ballot box. The new system proved disastrous for ordinary voters.

Large numbers of citizens — disproportionately minorities — don’t have a passport or birth certificate on hand and don’t have the money to obtain replacement documents. By December 2015, more than 35,000Kansans had been disenfranchised — approximately 14 percent of all registration applications since the requirement went into effect. The National Voter Registration Act — popularly known as the Motor-Voter law — prohibits unduly harsh registration rules and requires that states make voter registration easy and straightforward.

Kobach’s severe documentation requirements violated the NVRA so we sued. In October 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit blocked the requirement for people registering at DMVs. The opinion by a George W. Bush-appointed judge found that Kobach’s law had caused a “mass denial of a fundamental constitutional right.” The court noted that before a state could impose such sweeping restrictions, there would need to be proof that significant numbers of noncitizens were actually registering to vote. But Kobach had no evidence of any real problem. He could only offer “pure speculation” that hordes of invisible immigrants were hiding out in voting booths.

Play 2: If the law doesn’t let you suppress the vote, pull some strings to get rid of the law

Without evidence or legal arguments in his favor, Kobach’s next move was to try to eviscerate the NVRA itself. As Kobach knew, and the ACLU had made clear in court, the NVRA would need to be completely rewritten for a state official like Kobach to have the authority to impose such severe restrictions on the right to vote: . . .

Continue reading.

Do read the whole thing. The GOP seems to be going all-out to destroy American democracy.

The GOP doesn’t want those likely to vote Democratic to be able to cast their ballot. That’s it, pure and simple. They really don’t care about the law, only about holding power.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 October 2017 at 7:36 am

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