The Alabama Public Service Commission kicked off a meeting on power rates last week with a prayer against gay marriage and reproductive rights. John Delwin Jordan, who was at the meeting to testify on behalf of the Prattville Tea Party, opened up the meeting in prayer after receiving a laudatory introduction by Twinkle Cavanaugh, the head of the PSC.
After asking attendees if they believed in the power of prayer, Jordan concluded his prayer by lamenting, “We’ve taken you out of our schools; we’ve taken you out of our prayers; we’ve murdered your children; we’ve said it’s OK to have same-sex marriage, God. We have sinned.”
Birmingham News columnist John Archibald writes that the sectarian, political prayer may have helped Cavanaugh frame the debate over the PSC’s pro-corporate bent:
She gets – and Alabama Power gets – exactly what they want. They want the issue lost in passionate belief, an ideological tussle designed to pit tree-huggers against coal miners, conservationists against those concerned with jobs, liberals against conservatives.
Which is the best reason to remember what these hearings are about.
They are about Alabama Power's rate structure. Period. It is a structure – though debated to near incomprehension at these hearings – that is high for residential customers and low for industry. It allows the company to write off an $8 million salary for CEO Charles McCrary as Operations and Maintenance, at a government-regulated monopoly.
It lets the company take a return on equity 30-40 percent higher than the national average, according to testimony today that was not disputed, and allows it to take hundreds of millions in higher profits that could be saved by ratepayers and pumped back into the economy.
WorldNetDaily must be pleased with this “scoop”: former GOP congressman and third party presidential candidate Virgil Goode has joined Alabama Republican activist Hugh McInnish in filing a lawsuit arguing that President Obama is not eligible to be president.
But the story gets better: the attorney representing them is Larry Klayman.
And the story gets even better: the judge hearing the case is none other than Roy Moore.
Moore, who was recently returned to office as chief justice of Alabama’s state Supreme Court after he was removed from the post in 2003 for refusing to obey a court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument, is no fan of Obama.
WND also notes that Moore has defended birther hero Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, who said he won’t follow deployment orders because he deemed any order from Obama to be illegitimate, and the increasingly unstable Klayman has praised Moore’s “integrity and legal acumen.”
Now, 2012 Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode and Alabama Republican Party leader Hugh McInnish are asking the state’s highest court to force Secretary of State Beth Chapman to verify that all candidates on the state’s 2012 ballot were eligible to serve.
Attorney Larry Klayman, founder of the Washington, D.C.-watch dog Judicial Watch and now head of Freedom Watch, filed the appeal Tuesday with the Alabama Supreme Court, asking for oral arguments.
“We are hopeful that Chief Justice Moore and the rest of the jurists on the Alabama Supreme Court will follow the law,” Klayman told WND.
Klayman says he and his team “have great respect for Chief Justice Moore and his integrity and legal acumen.”
“He is one courageous and brave man. There are few in this country.”
The case is an appeal of a dismissal by the Montgomery Circuit Court.
In his brief, Klayman says “credible evidence and information from an official source” was presented to Chapman before the election indicating Obama might not have been qualified for Oval Office.
The complaint argues Chapman failed her constitutional duty as secretary of state to verify the eligibility of candidates.
Moore is on the record questioning Obama’s eligibility.
In an interview with WND in 2010, he defended Lt. Col Terrence Lakin’s demand that President Obama prove his eligibility as commander in chief as a condition of obeying deployment orders.
Moore said he had seen no convincing evidence that Obama is a natural-born citizen and much evidence that suggests he is not.
Moore said Lakin “not only has a right to follow his personal convictions under the Constitution, he has a duty.”
“And if the authority running the efforts of the war is not a citizen in violation of the Constitution, the order is unlawful,” he said.
Klayman asserts the secretary of state “has an affirmative duty that stems from her oath of office under both the U.S. and Alabama Constitutions, to protect the citizens from fraud and other misconduct by candidates.”
As a result of her refusal to investigate the qualifications of candidates for president, Klayman says, “a person believed to be unqualified for that office has been elected.”
The remedy, he said, “is to require each candidate to do what every teenager is required to do to get a learner’s permit.”
“It is to produce a bona fide birth certificate … and the Secretary of State is the official to cause that to happen.”
McInnish is a member of the Madison County Republican Executive Committee and also sits on the state Republican Executive Committee.
Citing the investigation of Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse, Klayman says Chapman “gained knowledge from an official source that there was probable cause to believe the Barack Obama had not met a certifying qualification.”
The appeal brief notes McInnish visited the secretary of state’s office Feb. 2, 2012, and spoke with the deputy secretary of state, Emily Thompson, in Chapman’s absence.
Moore told WND in an interview after his election last November that the country must return to a standard in which the rule of law prevails over politics.
He said Obama violated the Constitution when he bombed Libya, because the Constitution stipulates only Congress shall declare war.
“No president has the power to violate constitutional restraints of power,” Moore said.
“The Constitution is the rule of law, and [my job is] to uphold the rule of law.” Government’s job, Moore said, is to secure and protect those rights.
“There is little regard for the Constitution in the courts today, even the U.S. Supreme Court.”
In 2009 the National Governors Association announced the Common Core State Standards Initiative to develop educational benchmarks that states can voluntarily adopt, and it has since turned into a right-wing boogeyman.
Social conservative commentators have leveled harsh attacks against Common Core and now are working to convince lawmakers in the forty-five states which have adopted the standards to blocks its implementation. Republican legislators in the Alabama State Senate and House have proposed bills to repeal the board of education’s decision to approve Common Core, which State Sen. Dick Brebaker warned would “give the federal government a way to drive the education agenda here in Alabama.”
During a speech at the Wetumpka Tea Party, Elois Zeanah of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women compared the adoption of Common Core to the indoctrination of children in Nazi Germany, with President Obama teaching children and imposing an “anti-Christian, anti-capitalism, anti-America…pro-homosexuality, illegal immigration, unions, environmentalism, gun control, feminism and social justice” curriculum.
“They are going to force us to pay to indoctrinate our own kids,” Zeanah warned, “this is not a novel like ‘1994’ [sic], it’s Common Core.”
Sen. Rand Paul isn’t the only prominent Republican hanging out with birthers these days. Next month, RNC chairman Reince Preibus and Wisconson Sen. Ron Johnson will travel to Alabama to headline a dinner hosted by state GOP chairman Bill Armistead. Armistead raised eyebrows last year when he publicly recommended “Dreams From My Real Father,” a “documentary” that promotes the alternate birther theory that President Obama somehow inherited a Marxist worldview from his “real father” Frank Marshall Davis. Somewhat unbelievably, Armistead stated that he had “verified that it is factual, all of it.”
Interestingly, Priebus and Johnson will be stepping into the middle of a fight over whether Armistead will keep his job. (He faces a challenger backed by his longtime rival, state House Speaker Mike Hubbard.) Charles Dean at the Birmingham News reports that Priebus might be attending as a political favored to Armistead:
Some saw Tuesday's late announcement by Armistead that Priebus had accepted the invitation to attend the dinner as a sign that maybe Armistead had convinced the GOP national party chairman to support him.
Late last week Armistead announced that he was supporting Priebus for a second term as Republican Party Chairman. So far Priebus is unopposed for a second term but rumors have persisted for months that a challenger might step up.
UPDATE: The RNC tells the Birmingham News that Priebus is not taking sides in the party chairmanship race.
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice-elect Roy Moore appeared on City On A Hill Radio to lash out at marriage equality and the theory of evolution, warning that they undermine the Constitution. Moore, who has argued that same-sex marriage leads to divine punishment and will “destroy this country,” maintained that the Founding Fathers “would be up in arms” over President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality as it will “destroy the very foundation” of America.
What we’re doing in this country is—if Washington and Jefferson and Madison, name one, if they were alive today would be up in arms. None of them, federalists or antifederalists, never believed that it would come to this. Those that were for big government like Hamilton, Washington, Adams would never have believed that our courts would be doing what they’re doing today, that people would be trying to change the definition of marriage. We don’t take a moment just to stop and clear our eyes and our ears and think: what is happening when a President of the United States can get up and say we need to redefine marriage? You know, when they do that they are attempting to destroy the very foundation on which this country was built.
Moore also denied the theory of evolution and said it was warping people’s understanding of the Constitution by covering up its Biblical precepts. “Evolution has so distorted our way of thinking,” Moore said, “we know we were created but they say we evolved from whatever, something out of the ocean, you’ve got to understand that evolution affects your mental processes.” He explained that evolution makes people think that they are “smarter” than their predecessors while the Constitution shows that “human nature doesn’t change.”
Barbara Moore: Judge Moore I want to ask you, as you read the United States Constitution you can see that biblical concepts and precepts are within that Constitution, everything from separation of powers because of the sinful nature of man, and I would think that any Bible believing Christian would feel that when they look at our United States Constitution, wouldn’t you say?
Roy Moore: I think they don’t and I think there’s a reason they don’t and I think the reason like you see it maybe because you’ve studied a little bit but I think it’s not evident to those who have lost the knowledge of God. What I mean to say by that is you know we started by teaching history at the beginning of the program and it’s like going to football games and seeing who wins and who loses and going to football games and forgetting the rules. If you know the rules it makes the game more interesting because you know there is some way they get to the end of the game and win or lose and you got to go by the rules. We’re not going by the rules because we don’t think the rules matter anymore.
Evolution has so distorted our way of thinking. It’s not just about where we came from. Of course, we know we were created but they say we evolved from whatever, something out of the ocean, you’ve got to understand that evolution affects your mental processes. When you think you have evolved then you think you’re better than those who have gone before you. If you’re better than those who have gone before you then you won’t make the same mistakes, you won’t think the same way, you know better, you’re smarter. The point is, human nature doesn’t change and human nature is what the Constitution sought to restrain.
The New York Times recently reported that there were lots of Republicans in Alabama who were concerned about the possibility of seeing disgraced "Ten Commandments Judge" Roy Moore return to his seat on the state Supreme Court after being removed from that very position back in 2003.
The Times reports that "many in the Alabama business and legal establishment, a community that is overwhelmingly and faithfully Republican, are privately despondent over the prospect of a Moore victory and its effect on the state’s image," and it is easy to see why, since Moore is the sort of politician who shows up at anti-abortion rallies, as he did this weekend, and proceeds to tell the audience that "Satan is out to destroy everything that God has created" and has convinced many in this nation to support things like abortion and gay marriage, which is why God "has a controversy with the inhabitants of this land, and until we reject those evils, we shall suffer accordingly":
Joel Gilbert, the filmmaker behind the theory that President Obama inherited a Marxist worldview from his “real father” Frank Marshall Davis – a theory adopted this week by the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party -- spoke last month with right-wing radio host Michael Savage.
Gilbert told Savage that Obama’s 2008 “Change” slogan was actually “a code word for a revolution to end capitalism” and assured listeners that by the end of his second term, the president will “achieve what he wants, which is to make America irreversibly socialist.” Part of this transformation, Gilbert said, is that “the middle class’ health care is going to be given away to poor and illegals.”
Savage: How is Obama’s campaign different this time around?
Gilbert: Well, what’s different is he was being very general and vague about ‘hope and change’ and everybody just read into it what they wanted, nobody really knew what ‘change’ meant from the socialist point of view. ‘Change’ is a code word for a revolution to end capitalism. Now his Marxist ideology is just coming through loud and clear. His entire campaign is based on the top one percent, of the breathtaking greed of a few. He talks about how the rich don’t pay their fair share. Well, anybody can just Google it and see that the top income brackets do pay up to 40 percent of income and it kind of goes down from there. So his entire campaign is based on this lie, this absurd notion that we don’t have a fair tax system. But this is the classic Marxist rhetoric that Obama would have gotten during this indoctrination from his real father, Frank Marshall Davis.
Gilbert: National healthcare is simply a socialist tool to eliminate the middle and upper classes. So for Obama, poor quality, long waits and high taxes in this national health care doesn’t matter. It’s just a socialist tool. For Obama in the next term, the middle class’ health care is going to be given away to poor and illegals. Middle class’ employers are going to be taxed and regulated out of business. And the middle class’ retirement will evaporate into a bankrupt, socialist state, and Obama will achieve what he wants, which is to make America irreversibly socialist without anyone ever realizing how it happened.
Speaking to a Republican women’s group in Alabama yesterday, state GOP chairman Bill Armistead recommended to his audience a fringe birther movie that claims that President Obama’s real father is American labor activist Frank Marshall Davis, according Mobile Press-Register political editor George Talbot, who was reporting the event on Twitter:
The movie Armistead reportedly recommended, “Dreams From My Real Father,” represents a breakout fringe of the birther movement. The film, according to its director Joel Gilbert, “presents the case that Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist Party USA organizer and propagandist, was Obama's real father, both biological and ideological, and indoctrinated Obama with a political foundation in Marxism and an anti-White world view.”
A trailer for the film cuts to various right-wing bogeymen including Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and ACORN in between misleadingly edited snippets of speeches by the president and Michelle Obama:
Gilbert’s film has divided the birther movement, since its assertion that Davis is Obama’s real father would seem to be incompatible with the theory that the president was born in Kenya. Jerome Corsi of World Net Daily, apparently untroubled by the contradiction, has embraced the film. Birther leader Orly Taitz, however, claims that by promoting the film, Corsi is “trying to kill the case by making up an American citizen father for Obama.”
Thanks to an aggressive campaign by Gilbert, “Dreams From My Real Father” has had a remarkably wide reach. In September, the New York Post ran a full-page ad for the movie. Yesterday, World Net Daily reported that Gilbert has sent 1 million copies of the film to households in Ohio and plans to send 1 million more out in swing states. Gilbert and Corsi both fault the mainstream media for ignoring their film, which Gilbert claims they’re doing “because they support national health care.”
In a National Press Club appearance this summer, Gilbert expanded on his theory, claiming that Obama and strategist David Axelrod were both “red diaper babies,” born of communist parents to carry on the cause; that Obama is pursuing Davis’s “dreams of a forced imposition of a classic Stalinist-Marxist agenda upon America at home and abroad”; and that Obama worked with ACORN to cause the subprime mortgage crisis as part of a plan to “use minorities and the poor to collapse capitalism.”
This is the first we’ve heard of a political leader embracing Gilbert’s conspiracy theory. Armistead is a former state senator who a became the Alabama GOP Chairman last year.
UPDATE: Talbot has posted some more of the context of Armistead's remarks:
“We have to win this election. This is about our country. Our country will not be the same,” Armistead said. “I’m convinced, if Obama wins, our children and grandchildren will not live under the same conditions that we’ve lived in these wonderful years. Obama has a different ideology than we do.”
Armistead suggested that audience members see the movie '2016: Obama’s America,' a documentary by conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza that is critical of the president.
“If you haven’t seen it, you should,” he said. “But I’m going to tell you about another movie. The name of it is ‘Dreams From My Real Father.’ That is absolutely frightening. I’ve seen it. I verified that it is factual, all of it. People can determine.”
Last month we reported on a suspicious move by the Alabama Educational Television Commission, which oversees Alabama Public Television, to fire two television managers potentially over a disagreement on airing a series produced by right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton. It appeared that the two managers did not feel comfortable airing Barton’s discredited and partisan “history” material, which was pushed on them by a local Republican official and member of the commission.
Allan Pizatto, who along with fellow manager Pauline Howland was fired by the commission, has now filed a civil suit which “alleges that commissioners violated the state's Open Meetings Act by discussing Pizzato's job performance during a closed executive session.” “The suit also reveals that Pizzato's attorneys have been unable to obtain from the commission's attorneys audio recordings and other related materials from the March and June commission meetings,” Current Public Media reports, “During those meetings, disagreements between Pizzato and commissioners surfaced over religious programming, and commission members imposed a new mission statement for the station.”
According to the lawsuit [pdf], “certain members of the Commission wanted to impose their own personal, political and religious views” on the commission and staff to guide the station’s programming, and at least one commissioner “has publicly expressed support for and aligned himself with a political group with a stated goal of defunding public broadcasting.” The Plaintiff also notes that a mass exodus of staffer and fundraisers followed the firings and that a number of commissioners “made threats against the Plaintiff.”
From the beginning of his tenure as Executive Director of Alabama Public Television in 2000 until his termination, Plaintiff received near universal acclaim for his leadership including, until recent months, from members of the Commission.
Several months ago, it became clear that certain members of the Commission wanted to impose their own personal, political and religious views on other members of the Commission, the programming that aired on Alabama Public Television, the staff, and the direction of the station itself.
Certain members of the Commission have also made threats against Plaintiff.
After the terminations of Plaintiff and Howland, all of the active, non-Commission members of Alabama Educational Television Foundation Authority, a statutorily-created public nonprofit fundraising entity, and five of the seven members of the Alabama Television Foundation Board of Directors, a private entity charged with helping Alabama Public Television raise money, resigned from their respective entities.
The mass resignation of these individuals represented the virtual eradication of the independent business and community leaders who served Alabama Public Television in a fundraising capacity.
At least one of the Commissioners has publicly expressed support for and aligned himself with a political group with a stated goal of defunding public broadcasting. This conflicts with the Commission’s statutory duty of controlling and supervising the use of channels reserved by the Federal Communications Commission to Alabama for noncommercial, educational use.
Alabama’s Roy Moore, the Republican Party’s nominee for Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court who in 2003 was removed from the same post after he refused to move a Ten Commandments monument he installed in the courthouse rotunda, spoke to Steve Deace last week to register his disapproval with the Supreme Court’s rulings on Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 and the health care reform law.
He maintained that the Court, by striking down parts of SB 1070 while upholding the Affordable Care Act, have given undocumented immigrants more rights than citizens. “I’m curious what would happen if an Arizona policeman arrests an illegal alien going to a health care facility without a green card and find out that they haven’t paid the individual mandate, are they to be detained or released or what?” Moore asked, even though undocumented immigrants are not covered in the law. “Steve, do we have less rights than people that have no right to be here?” he continued.
Later, he warned that “false religions” are taking hold in America and as a result “Christians are being persecuted while people of a religion foreign to our country are doing what they want.” Moore, who earlier warned that secular government leads to Sharia law, appeared to twist Thomas Jefferson’s Bill for Religious Freedom, where Jefferson said that governments throughout history have established and imposed religions forcibly on their people, to attack non-Christian minorities:
Moore: Thomas Jefferson in his Bill for Religious Freedom said that would happen, when men presume to restrict your freedom then they will allow false religions to come into your country and it all began when he said ‘well aware that the opinions and beliefs of man depend not upon their own will but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds that almighty God hath created the mind free.’ You see he recognized that God gives him that freedom of conscience and when men come in and try to restrict it what happens is false religions come in and that’s what’s happening in our country today. Christians are being persecuted while people of a religion foreign to our country are doing what they want.
In no uncertain terms, David Barton is not a historian, but a hyper-partisan political activist whose writings have been so repeatedly and thoroughly debunked that he is not taken seriously outside of certain conservative circles. Indeed, right-wing figures regularly hail Barton, whose only degree is a B.A. in religious education from Oral Roberts University, as not just a historian but perhaps even the greatest historian.
Since Barton’s discredited claims about American history have such a following it was no surprise to see that a member of the Alabama Educational Television Commission pressured the state’s educational public television outlet to air one of Barton’s “history” series. And yesterday, the Current Public Media blog reported that Alabama Public Television managers Allan Pizzato and Pauline Howland were fired possibly after refusing a request from commissioner Rodney Herring, a Republican Party official and donor, to broadcast Barton’s program:
The Alabama Educational Television Commission came out of an executive session Tuesday afternoon and ordered veteran pubcaster Allan Pizzato and his deputy Pauline Howland to clean out their desks and leave APT’s headquarters in Birmingham.
Pizzato had served 12 years as executive director of APT, a statewide network governed by a board of seven political appointees.
Howland, deputy director and chief financial officer, described the firings in an interview with Current and said she was "baffled" by the dismissals. But she also recalled how Pizzato had asked staff in April for advice about a series of videos that AETC commissioners wanted APT to air.
The videos featured David Barton, an evangelical minister and conservative activist whose publications and media appearances promote his theories about the religious intentions of America’s founders. He frequently appears on political commentary programs hosted by conservative Glenn Beck.
AETC Commissioner Rodney Herring, an Opelika-based chiropractor, had provided the series to APT for broadcast consideration. Herring joined the commission last year and was elected board secretary in January. As of late Wednesday evening, Herring did not return a voice message from Current.
Kyle Whitmire of the weekly newspaper Weld for Birmingham also reported on the firings and pressure from “members of the commission to air programing produced by David Barton”:
Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told Weld on Tuesday that APTV executive director Allan Pizzato and chief financial officer Pauline Howland were ordered to clean out their desks and escorted from the building on Tuesday, and the two executives were not allowed to speak to staff or explain the change on the premises. The sources requested anonymity because they are not authorized to make public statements about APTV’s internal affairs.
In recent months, APTV has been pressured by members of the commission to air programing produced by David Barton, a Texas evangelist. Barton’s organization, Wall Builders, has produced a series of videos promoting a religious conservative view of American History. The Wall Builders website explains its purpose is to promote Christian religious values.
As Kyle has noted, Barton’s new “Building on the American Heritage Series” features not only the same faux-history but also Creationist and anti-choice claims, demands for greater intolerance of gays and lesbians and an appeal for the criminalization of homosexuality:
But this kind of rhetoric may find its way onto Alabama’s public television soon, all under the guise of “history.”