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Scott Beason

GOP Supermajority Costs State Another $230k - For Nothing

by: countrycat

Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:42:35 AM CDT

Thank you, Scott Beason.  So far, your signature anti-immigrant legislation, HB56, has stuck the whole state in Beason lines, hurt Alabama farmers, captured foreign auto executives, stained the state's reputation around the world, and cost real money that the state does not have:

Alabama has agreed to pay $230,000 in lawyer fees as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that stemmed from the state’s ill-fated, far-reaching immigration law, the Southern Poverty Law Center said today.

The state already agreed to pay $350,000 last year as part of the settlement in another immigration law case, bringing the two year payout total to $580,000 for plaintiffs' legal fees.

Today’s settlement is from a 2011 lawsuit filed by fair housing advocates and two individuals who were denied or facing denial of their mobile home registration tags, under a provision of HB 56, which the Alabama Legislature passed in 2011.

Since the official Republican line in 2011 was that the law had "no unintended consequences," I guess we can assume this is part of the supermajority's job creation plan - for lawyers.

 

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"Have You No Sense of Decency?" Why Alabama Republicans Need A History Lesson

by: countrycat

Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:12:59 AM CDT

It takes a special kind of doofus to defend the late, red-baiting, list-waving Senator Joseph McCarthy - & Alabama has at least two of them working on our state's education policy. State Senator (and US House Candidate) Scott Beason & Talladega County Republican Party Chairman Danny Hubbard are either deliberately whitewashing history, totally clueless - or both.Scott Beason

Speaking to the Anniston Star recently, they had this to say:

McCarthy was right about most of the people he accused, Beason claims.

"So we're comparing the McCarthy investigations of the 1950s, in which he turned out to be right, with the Salem witch hunts," Beason said.
[...]
Hubbard put some of the flags in Beason's textbook. He said he didn't flag "The Crucible," but he thinks Beason was right to do so. Joe McCarthy, he said, was right.

"Now that all the records are out, it's clear that McCarthy didn't go far enough," he said.


Let's keep in mind how & why Senator McCarthy's name itself became a word in the dictionary:
 
1. the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, especially of pro-Communist activity, in many instances unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence.

2. the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.

And let's compare that to some recent antics in the Alabama Republican Party:

  • Accusations of disloyalty - Prominent birther, State Republican Committee member, and former Congressional candidate Hugh McInnish has been beating this drum for years:  "In my white paper I will present what I believe is conclusive evidence that the Obama birth certificate is a forgery and Obama himself a forgerer. Do you realize what that would mean? Just think of it! It would mean that the most powerful nation in the world is under the direction of a felon. It might mean, as some legal expert contend, that all of his executive actions are null and void."
  • Accusations of pro-Communist activity:  In September 2012 AL State GOP Chair Bill Armistead urged everyone to see a birther movie  which, "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.”
Well, those first two certainly fit the rest of the definition:  "unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence."
 
It's no surprise that this McCarthy rehab effort is part of the right wing's fight against Common Core standards.  The wing nuts are the worst enemy of standards opponents - many of whom have quite valid concerns about the high-stakes testing and corporate involvement in education.
 
And it's no surprise that the TEA Party conspiracists & birthers (aka.. the GOP base) look with longing to those thrilling days of yesteryear when a politician only had to wave a sheet of paper containing a mythical "list of Communists," and a fearful populace would fall into line - at least temporarily.
 
But those days are gone.  Chain email crap like this won't bring them back.  Please children, go back to squabbling amongst yourselves about whether President Obama had a Marxist Kenyan or American Communist father or whether the black helicopters are taking you to a FEMA camp or a secret Marxist prison and stop trying to impose your anti-intellectual, revisionist fantasies and paranoia on our state's public students.
 
Note: thanks to Special Counsel for the Army Joseph N. Welch, for inspiring this title.
 
 
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Senator Scott Beason - Another Legislator We Won't Miss Calls It Quits In 2014

by: countrycat

Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 15:30:00 PM CST

It appears that Scott Beason & his Montgomery roommate, Shadrack McGill, had the same idea this election year: get the heck out of the legislature.  Now, in McGill's case, no doubt he either saw the handwriting on the wall (I'm sure he'll appreciate that Biblical idiom) or - more likely - someone in the GOP leadership read it to him.  Perhaps he got an important Facebook message from an admirer..... Alabama Republican clown car

Senator Scott Beason's reasons for retirement are less clear.  Speculation is that he may make a run for governor or for Congress (he finished far behind Spencer Bachus in the 2012 primary, but Bachus is retiring this year), or perhaps he's just going to open a little joke shop somewhere.

For whatever reasons, the greusome twosome is departing the legislature and Alabama may be the better for it.

The danger for Democrats is that Republicans will have enough sense to nominate/elect replacements who are smart enough to avoid the kind of verbal gaffes and fireworks that made Beason & McGill, by turns, hilarious to watch and embarrassments to the State of Alabama.

Who could forget the noteriety Beason brought to the state?

It would be a pity if Democrats helped the GOP avoid another legislator trainwreck by interfering in the Republican primary.  Yes, I've said this so often, I should just save it in a file to cut & paste, but here goes again:

Will Democrats in SD-8 jump into the fray [...] and help the GOP nominate a candidate who looks better on the outside and may know enough to moderate his mouth?  Because the results in the legislature will be the same if we keep this a GOP-held seat.

And by doing so, Democrats will make Clemmons' job (or whomever is the nominee) that much harder in the general election.  So, I'm begging you, Alabama Democratic voters.... vote in your own darn primary so we get the very best candidates possible to challenge the Republicans.

Stop helping the Republicans tamp down on the crazy because it just makes our job harder when we try to rebuild the Democratic Party in the state.

We already have a great candidate for SD-08, Horace Clemmons.  It's a winnable race, so please support the Democrat who stood up early to challenge McGill.   Beason's seat as it's now gerrymandered is probably not winnable, but never say never. 

We do have opportunities for pick-ups: look at the clown car that's already full just down the road in Hoover's HD-43 (Mary Sue "a baby is the largest organ in a woman's body" McClurkin's district).

Democratic candidates in Alabama can win if they get in the race and if Democrats support them.  The clowns are leaving the legislative circus: let's fill their seats with serious legislators interested in solving real problems.

 

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"Fetal Personhood" and Its Real World Practice

by: julie

Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:58:14 AM CST

I will continue to post a short note or story every day about fetal personhood and the wider GOP War on Women. As Dr. Abston has posted an excellent diary on the implications of restricting insurance coverage for contraception, this will be a sideline.

Today's note is a story that received wide circulation, but I think it bears remembrance:

Savita was 31 when she died after being denied an abortion during a second trimester miscarriage. As a dentist, she not only felt the infection in her body, she understood it. According to her husband she asked repeatedly for the medical staff at her Irish hospital to end the failed pregnancy that was poisoning her blood and would ultimately cause her organs to fail. She was told, “This is a Catholic country.” She had wanted a baby. Then she merely wanted to have less pain and to live. Instead, thanks to what Catholic ethicists call their “culture of life” she is dead.

The Difference Between a Dying Fetus and a Dying Woman--11/20/12

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Shadrack McGill Introduces SB205: Fetal "Personhood"

by: julie

Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 15:48:05 PM CST

 Breaking---

Shadrack McGill (R-8) and his Merry Band of Beef Wits have now introduced a fetal personhood bill in the Alabama Senate -SB205.

This bill would define the term "persons" to include all human beings resulting from the union of the male sperm with the female egg either from sexual intercourse or in the case of in vitro fertilization, the fertilized egg or eggs relied on by a physician for implantation in the uterus. --synopsis

Let's meet the Beef Wits: Scott Beason is well known for creating 6 hour waits to renew car tags. Gerald Allen thinks that classics like "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "The Color  Purple" should be "dumped in a hole and buried". Rusty Glover is an Eagle Forum member (along with Beason) who a mere 5 years ago was fulminating in the legislature about the "North American Union Conspiracy". Many tax dollars and much time later...crickets. Then there's Greg Reed - a Tiny Ayatollah in waiting - he's also backing Dial on the Ten Commandments, and can't wait to get his hands into medical practice by restricting pain medication from the chronically ill. MD? Nope. But hey, when did that ever stop our Duly Elected Leaders from playing Dr. Kildare three months a year? 

In the Legislature, it's helpful to be a lawyer. I think Allen managed to pass the Alabama Bar, so he should know better. Shad McGill "attended" community college, and Beason got a degree in geology. Glover is a high school teacher.

 Lawmakers who support personhood acknowledge their bills would violate federal law. But that's the point.

"By simply passing this bill, the lawsuits will come," said Rep. John LaBruzzo, a Republican from Metairie, La.

CFC 6/4/11

Well, Alabama never backed off from a lawsuit yet. We've already spent close to a million dollars on Roy Moore's fanaticism, and I'm sure we'll spend considerably more on this one. Moore is another "personhood" nut, so they have that base covered.

What will happen if personhood passes? Oh, not much.

Except:

1. No birth control except condoms

2. Prison for women who attempt to rid themselves of an unwanted pregnancy. (Iowa is trying for felony)

3.  Ectopic pregnancies are still pregnancies, so you'll just have to suffer, Mom.

4. No in vitro fertilization, because the unused eggs are left out. 

5. Women who suffer a natural miscarriage will be subject to criminal investigation and possibly prosecuted.

These are the Alabama Ayatollahs. Their ideal world is one where women "know their place" and stay in the kitchen where they belong. Can the hijab be far behind? N. Carolina is already considering giving 6 months in jail to any breast feeding woman who inadvertently bares a nipple. No country in the world save Ireland, which has been under the thumb of the Vatican for centuries, is introducing these sorts of laws.

Leave it to Bama.

 

 

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Alabama's HB56 & The GOP's New Interest In The Hispanic/Latino Vote

by: countrycat

Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 08:23:38 AM CST

Taking a cue from their failed presidential nominee, the GOP establishment has decided to abruptly pivot on an important issue.  The party that cheered for "empty the clip,"show me your papers," & "self deportation" has now seen the demographic handwriting on the wall.  They want to "deal with immigration" and take the issue off the table in future elections.

That long, low howl of protest you hear is undoubtedly coming from Scott Beason.

Writing for Forbes, Rick Ungar cites these poll results:

...Obama carried the Latino vote by a 75-23 margin—more than the roughly 70-30 split indicated by the exit polls—with voter turnout in the demographic totaling a full 10 percent of the total vote.

According to Stanford University’s Gary Segura, the professor who conducted the poll, the Latino vote delivered 5.4 percent of President Obama’s vote total, considerably more than Obama’s final lead over his challenger in the popular vote.

And so now, the GOP flip-flopping is a breathtaking spectacle that would make Romney proud.  Sean Hannity led off with the announcement that he had "evolved" on the issue.  Evolution?  Oh my....

Radio and television hotspur Sean Hannity — who for years has spit the word “amnesty” like an epithet — declared Thursday that he has “evolved” and now supports creating a “pathway” to citizenship for those already in the country illegally.
[...]
The Fox star put his animus toward the issue on display again and again. [...] He listened politely as right-wing virago Michelle Malkin suggested that Democrats wanted amnesty so they could “recruit more illegal aliens, so they can turn them into Democratic voters.”

But this sudden interest in a more moderate approach to immigration will face a good deal of pushback from the GOP base.  They're already grumbling about it on right wing blogs like Redstate.  For example:

The Tea Party tried working WITHIN the Republican party, it is time to go rogue and LEAVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY in the DUST. THEY ARE THE Minority, not us. IT is time for MASSIVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.

----------

To those who preach moderation I say: look at the vibrant GOP in the Northeast part of the nation (and now California). Have you noticed moderate Scott Brown, incumbent, lost to the 1/32 Cherokee? Have you noticed that "the most electable" moderate Mitt Romney just got his (and our) butts whumped -- in an election that should have been a cake-walk for us?

We're not sure how this fight will play out, but one thing is certain.  It will be delicious to watch:

“We’re going back to the party of Shogun-type dynasties, where the Tea Party has their coalition, and the moderates have their coalition, and it’s going to be a battle to see who comes out on top,” said Luis ­Alvarado, a Republican strategist in Los Angeles with expertise on Latino voting patterns.

And how will the Alabama GOP react if/when the national party abandons its "self deportation" stance?  I can't wait to find out.

 

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Scott Beason's Signature Legislation Brings In A Whole New Set of Immigrants

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

African refugees relocate to Alabama to fill jobs after immigration law scared off Hispanic/Latino workers.  Remember the GOP's brash assertion that Alabama citizens would line up after HB-56 took effect?  No, he wasn't talking about the Beason lines... he meant "line up" to fill all those jobs that the "illegals" were taking.

As so often happens when Senator Beason opens his mouth, he had no idea what he was talking about.  As Bloomberg reports:

Republican state Senator Scott Beason, a sponsor, said at a news conference last year that the restrictions on undocumented workers would “put thousands of native Alabamians back in the work force.”

Instead, it caused a labor shortage that resulted in the importation of hundreds of legal African and Haitian refugees, and Puerto Ricans, according to interviews with workers, advocacy organizations and businesses. Most were recruited by the poultry industry, in a segment of the economy that has been a heavy employer of undocumented workers, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington research group.
[...]
Wayne Farms found Eritreans, displaced by war and conflict, and other Africans through East Coast Labor Solutions LLC, a Fairlea, West Virginia-based labor broker. East Coast has about 200 workers in Alabama, owner Ray Wiley said in an interview.

Most of these worker have landed in Albertville and I, for one, certainly hope that some of the African workers stay to open restaurants because Eritrean food is awesome!

But this article should raise a BIG red flag: these workers are being provided by "labor brokers" and the last time those guys were in the news, they were employing hapless "guest workers" in near sweatshop conditions in Huntsville at the Cinram DVD facility.

The workers are employed by Ambassador staffing agency. Ambassador distributed workers, upon arrival, among 20 local landlords. Circumstances varied greatly, but some workers reported paying as much as $300 per person per month to share a small, furnished apartment with three or more roommates.

In one case in November, The Times found four Jamaican women who paid a combined $1,200 a month for an apartment with busted plumbing and no heat that had rented for $450. 

In February, the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama, a nonprofit agency based in Birmingham, and the NAACP began questioning housing for foreign workers in Huntsville.

Landlords "were charging some of the people $300 per bed," in "roach-infested" apartments, Jerry Burnet, chair of the state housing committee for the NAACP, told The Times last month. "They've got a little small bed, like you have in a barracks, and they were putting three in each room."

Wormsby said HUD opened the formal investigation after receiving the complaints gathered by the NAACP and the Fair Housing Center.

At the same time, Cinram was scarfing up tax breaks for its low-wage labor scheme.

Remember though... compared to Gov. Mitt Romney's little paen to Chinese slave labor working conditions, Cinram was a real "worker's paradise."  From his now-famous Q&A to wealthy supporters last Spring:

And they work in these huge factories, they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room. 

These types of working conditions are a feature, not a bug in the Republican plan for working Americans.

So I'd suggest that we give Senator Beason a nice little Bronx cheer for yet another of his "unintended consequences" to the immigration bill.  He's managed to exchange one set of low wage workers who have little or no leverage or ability to demand fair wages & safe working conditions with another set.  And yet... maybe it wasn't "unintended" after all!

Labor brokers have a shady reputation all over the world, from South Africa, to New Zealand, to Canada, and yes... in the US.  Global Research studied the plight of these mobile, temporary workers and the description sounds depressingly familiar:

On top of low wages, no benefits, and no legal right to unionize, these workers face the constant threat of deportation if they speak out against their employer. It is within this context that we must understand the crash that six months ago killed 11 farm workers, including 9 migrants from Peru, near the Canadian town of Waterloo. Since the accident there has been no government investigation into the transportation and living conditions of migrant farm workers in Canada and fleeting media coverage. Like South Africa, migrant farm workers in Canada live in isolated rural areas, often housed directly on the farms, where they often experience severe discrimination and racism.

Don't get me wrong: I'm thrilled that some of these refugees have a chance at building a better life in a stable community with a decent job.  But we need to be vigilant and make sure that's actually the case.  Because past history has shown us clearly that these desperate people are willing to accept low wages, terrible working conditions, and are ripe for exploitation.

Anybody want to explain how this is an improvement?

 

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Medicaid Expansion In Alabama Will Create Thousands Of Jobs - Does the GOP Supermajority Care?

by: countrycat

Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:00:00 AM CDT

Hey Gov. Bentley!  Here's an easy way to add jobs in Alabama. The Medicaid expansion portion of the Affordable Care Act could create up to 62,000 new jobs in Alabama (PDF) - with the bulk of the money coming from the Federal government. Could the expected refusal of the GOP legislative supermajority to expand health insurance access to some of the poorest residents cost the party votes in 2014?

In a 2007 study, researchers at Stanford University argue that Federal stimulus spending - including matching Medicaid funds (the amount the feds contribute compared to the states) increases employment by 3.8 job years - 3.2 of which are outside government, health, & education sectors.  Furthermore, the study calculates that jobs created by this spending have a cost-per-job of $26,000.

Now, let's compare the ACA plan to expand Medicaid (and cover people who now find affordable health care out of reach) with other schemes by the legislature to encourage job creation:

Yes, each of these deals comes with spinoff jobs - local restaurants, construction workers, car dealers, etc. etc.  But so does Medicaid expansion!  Compare the cost per job with Medicaid expansion - $26,000 - with any of these budget-busters listed above.

Why is it that Alabama's political leaders are so much more interested in handing out wads of free money to corporations and so indifferent to the financial and health struggles of its own citizens?

And how is it that the vast majority of these guys flaunt their so-called "Christian beliefs" at every opportunity - using them to justify everything from "anti-Sharia Law legislation" to decreased pay for teachers

Hello... Senators McGill, Beason, Rep. Hubbard, Gov. Bentley, etc.... check the dictionary.  When Jesus used the phrase "suffer the children," He wasn't planning to increase their suffering, but hoping they would draw near so He could ameliorate it. Yeah.  Words have more than one meaning - and you can't make up your own.

Medicaid expansion adds jobs and relieves suffering.  It's a win/win.  So of course, the Alabama GOP will oppose it.

hat tip to Greg Varner for pointing out this study....

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Conservative Christians Denounce Alabama Style Immigration Approach

by: mooncat

Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 13:59:54 PM CDT

Republicans know they're on the far right edge of the fringe, hanging out in the chilly breeze, when they've lost James Dobson's Focus on the Family group.  That's where Republican hard-liners on immigration such as Scott Beason, Robert Bentley and ... yes, Mitt Romney ... find themselves today.

Tom Minnery, the senior vice president of policy for one evangelical group, Focus on the Family, said many of the 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants should be free to “come out of the shadows” and “begin the process of restitution” leading to attaining legal residency.

Mr. Minnery spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference called to announce that more than 150 Christian evangelical leaders, including from the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Association of Evangelicals, were endorsing an overhaul of immigration policy.

The evangelical leaders expressed opposition to such notions as “self-deportation,” which Mr. Romney favored in a Republican debate and which urges strict enforcement of laws to encourage illegal immigrant workers to leave the country.

Laws like ours here in Alabama are intended to make life for undocumented immigrants so hellish --  racial profiling, questioning school kids, long lines, denial of water, power and sewer service, etc. -- that they will simply leave, thus saving the cost of deporting them.  It's a cruel approach to the immigration problem, and as we have said time and again, UNCHRISTIAN.  

And this is not an isolated incidence of conservatives trying to walk back the zenophobia.  Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had this to say at an immigration conference (several prominent right-wing speakers) in Atlanta earlier this week:

“This Republican party – and not to make this partisan – has done a terrible job talking about this issue in a way that’s very anti-Hispanic, and anti-immigrant, and I think that’s very, very unfortunate," he said. "And whether or not Gov. Romney can recover from that remains to be seen.”

It's about time groups like Focus on the Family and others who claim to support Christian values begin to voice opposition to these laws. 

The remorse is political, too.  With large hispanic populations in several swing states, Republican strategists are beginning to voice concern about their party's obsession with publicly beating up on brown people.  Polls indicate the immigration hard-line hurts Romney's chances in several key states

Mitt Romney's stance in favor of Arizona's immigration law makes Hispanic voters in the key swing states of Nevada, New Mexico and Florida less likely to vote for him, says a new poll from Project New America and Public Policy Polling.


Alberto Gonzales says a flip-flop on immigration would be worth the political risk for Romney.  Jeb Bush says he needs "broader immigration ideas."  What does Mitt Romney say?
 
     
 
So far Mitt Romney is sticking by his previous statements -- Arizona's law should be "a model," the "answer is self-deportation" and his promise to veto the DREAM Act. 
 
Stay tuned, I sense another Romney flip-flop on the horizon.
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Gov. Dr. Bentley Is Named To Hall Of Shame

by: mooncat

Thu May 31, 2012 at 19:33:12 PM CDT

Robert BentleyCongratulations are in order for our Governor.  Immigrants’ List (IL), a bipartisan political action committee, unveiled the inductees into their second annual Local Hall of Shame, including Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R)The list 'honors' the ten worst anti-immigrant local politicians in America. 

Yay, Alabama!  We're in the top -- or should I say the bottom -- 10 ... AGAIN!  HB56 author Sen. Scott Beason (R) made the list last year.

When you’re paying higher prices for food this fall – stretching your paycheck even further – you can thank Robert Bentley for costing you money.

Gov. Bentley signed Alabama’s notorious HB 56 (the "worst in the nation" anti-immigration law). It starts with "papers, please" mandates, and adds to it. He wants K-12 public schools to investigate the documentation of every student. A provision tries to stop the undocumented from attending public colleges or universities. It bans landlords from renting to the undocumented, requires every business to investigate employees, and churches have pushed back against a portion prohibiting the transporting or harboring of undocumented immigrants. Occupying the same governor’s mansion once occupied by George Wallace, Bentley is a sad reminder that we still have yet to overcome.

Immigrants’ List Board Member Ted Ruthizer said “Bentley’s worst-in-America immigration law is causing Alabama to become one of the least welcoming places in the U.S. for businesses to locate and create jobs. We’re a better country than this.”

Didn't somebody say "R" is for reverse progress?  It's certainly true with Gov. Dr. Bentley at the helm.

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Unhappy About Crossovers, Scott Beason Introduces Party Registration Bill In Special Session

by: countrycat

Mon May 21, 2012 at 13:00:00 PM CDT

Wow... this "special session to deal with redistricting" has expanded to include everything from mandatory drug testing to immigration.  And now Scott Beason has a new cause: party registration & closed primaries.  Wonder if his primary election loss to Rep. Spencer Bachus has anything to do with his new cause....Scott Beason

Or maybe it's just that Beason agrees with Cullman County GOP chair, Ken Brown, that Democrats have been "interfering" in GOP primary elections. 

Beason's bill is SB15. Here's the synopsis:

Under existing law, an elector may choose which party's primary to vote in.

This bill would require an elector to register a party affiliation in order to receive the party's ballot in the primary election.

This bill would allow an elector who remains unaffiliated to vote only in non-partisan races in a primary.

Now, there appears to be a flaw with Beason's bill - aren't you surprised?   There could be a Constitutional issues here.  Surprised?  In Tashijan v Republican Party of Connecticut:

the United States Supreme Court determined that Connecticut’s closed primary law was unconstitutional. The Connecticut closed primary law “[required] voters in any political party primary to be registered members of that party.”

The Republican Party of Connecticut, however, wanted to allow independents to vote in the Republican primary if they so chose. The problem with this closed primary law was that it prevented the Republican Party from allowing independent “registered voters not affiliated with any party to vote in Republican primaries for federal and statewide offices.”

Since the Republican Party of Connecticut was not able to choose who it wanted to vote in the primary, the United States Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, stated that the closed primary law in Connecticut “impermissibly burdens the right of the Party and its members protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Since this bill is in no way related to redistricting or any other issues in Gov. Bentley's call for a special session, it's my understanding that Beason had to have "unanimous consent" to present this bill.

Does that mean that the party registration bill has wide support in the Legislature?  Or is it simply a way for them to keep Beason occupied with a loser bill while the rest of the Legislature gets some real work done?

 

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Alabama Legislature: War On Women Continues Into the Special Session

by: mooncat

Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:11:42 AM CDT

The GOP War on Women is nothing if not tenacious.  Even though the Governor's Proclamation calling the Legislature into "extraordinary session" does not mention abortion, a Republican State Senator is still prosecuting the War on Women, even into the special session.  GOPers didn't pass all the reproductive restrictions they wanted in the regular session, so they're back in the special session -- which the citizens of Alabama are paying for by the day.

Sen. Scott Beason, taking time out from his war on immigrants and his war on aborigines and his war on fellow legislators, has filed SB27 to be taken up in the special session.  To refresh, the Governor called this special session to deal with 5 items of business the Legislature didn't finish in their regular session:

  • Reapportionment
  • Refinancing of bonds
  • Disposition of use tax funds
  • Changes to the immigration law
  • Tobacco settlement funds

Notice, abortion is not on this list.  Because of that absence, by law, Beason's bill to impose new regulations on abortion clinics and reproductive health centers in Alabama would have to pass with a 2/3rds majority.  SB27 is a Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers or "TRAP" bill:

"TRAP" laws single out the medical practices of doctors who provide abortions, and impose on them requirements that are different and more burdensome than those imposed on other medical practices. For example, such regulations may require that abortions be performed in far more sophisticated and expensive facilities than are necessary to ensure the provision of safe procedures. Compliance with these physical plant requirements may require extensive renovations or be physically impossible in existing facilities. TRAP laws may also allow unannounced state inspections, even when patients are present. These excessive and unnecessary government regulations increase the cost and scarcity of abortion services, harming women's health and inhibiting their reproductive choices.  

Beason's SB27 is a close copy of Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin's (also R) HB223 TRAP bill which passed the State House in the regular session but died in the Senate.  Let's hope this one dies in the special session as well.

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In Scott We Trust

by: mooncat

Thu May 17, 2012 at 15:02:55 PM CDT

Would You Trust Scott Beason?There was a heartwarming moment in the Alabama Senate yesterday.

No, I don't mean the moment when members of the group Alabama’s Conscience fell to their knees, praying and singing, in front of the entrance to the Senate chambers.  I suspect watching members of Alabama's Conscience handcuffed and dragged away while shouting "An injustice to one is an injustice to all," just gave Alabama xenophobes a Chris Mathews style tingly thrill up their legs -- mostly because it's so hard to warm hearts of cold hard stone.

The heartwarming moment I'm talking about came later, after the arrest of the people praying at the Senate door, when Senators took up one last ill-conceived immigration bill ... and voted to once again put their trust in Scott Beason.

Senate Republicans' faith in Beason is really touching.  Here is a man who made national headlines -- NOT in a good way -- for saying Republicans should "empty the clip" against immigration.  He has a string of disasters to his credit.  He secretly recorded conversations with fellow legislators for the FBI, almost single handedly touching off the monumental BingoGate prosecution.  He then proceeded to sabotage that prosecution his horrible performance on the witness stand.  Remember "aborigines," anyone?  

Beason's Republican colleagues were so embarrassed by his BingoGate antics that they eventually stripped him of his chairmanship of the powerful Rules Committee.  But deep down, they still trust him.  God only knows why.

Last year Republicans turned to Beason to craft an immigration law.  He farmed that task out to a bigot in a turkey blind and brought back HB56, perhaps the most infamous law in the nation.  Scott Beason told his Senate buddies to vote for HB56 last year and, trusting in Scott, they did so, even though many later lamented the "unintended consequences" of the law and admitted they acted in haste had no idea what it would really do.  They put their faith in Scott Beason last year and he let them down.

So .... after Beason led them down the primrose path last year, who did Senate Republicans turn to yesterday, with only hours left to fix Beason's immigration mess?  In a moment of childlike faith, they turned to none other than ... Scott Beason!!! ... to get them out of the mess he got them into.

It was heartwarming, in a sad, sick sort of way, to see these adult Senators who had been repeatedly bit on the you-know-what by Scott Beason's bad advice give him yet another chance to screw them (and Alabama) over.  They took a bill which had been debated by the public and the legislature for months and, in an appalling leap of faith, swapped it out for a brand new 63 page substitute offered by Scott Beason.  A substitute widely held to be even worse than Beason's original and which I doubt most Senators had even read, let alone understood.  Only one Republican (Bill Holtzclaw) voted against the Beason substitution and one Democrat (Jerry Fielding) voted for it.  Fielding was also the only Democrat to vote for passage of the Beason substitution, which passed 20 to 7.

Childlike faith.  Seriously, I know 12 year olds who could do a more competent job of legislating than these jokers.

Republican Senators -- and their cohorts in the House -- may have faith in Scott Beason, but the Governor darned sure doesn't.  He's already vetoed Beason's latest monstrosity and told the legislature to do it over in a special session.

Will they keep the faith in Scott, or will Senate Republicans grow up and get it right this time?

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Let's Hope The AL GOP Super-majority Doesn't Think Of This.....

by: countrycat

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 16:41:52 PM CDT

Texas Republican lawmakers are fired up at the prospect of a tough new voter id law.  But they aren't nearly as excited by the thought that voters might read their emails & memos about the legislation.  So you have to wonder if some Texas legislators have an "Aborigine problem..."alabama voter id laws

From Talking Points Memo:

The state of Texas wants the discussions their Republican legislators had about passing a voter ID law to stay secret.

Texas, which sued the federal government in an attempt to have their voter ID law approved, said in a court filing last month that “communications between members of the state legislature, communications between state legislators and their staff, and communications between state legislators and their constituents” should be protected by legislative privilege. The state also tried to prevent officials with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division from deposing legislators who supported the voter ID legislation known as SB 14.

Why might legislators want to keep discussions about legislation "private?"  Just ask Scott Beason, the former chair of the powerful Senate Rules Committee.

Texas likely has good reason to want to keep their internal communications on the voter ID law under wraps: emails uncovered in the course of a suit over Texas redistricting maps showed that members of Congress tried to dilute the impact of Hispanic voters by spreading them out between their districts.

“I would think that the fact that embarrassing and problematic information came out in the Texas redistricting case… would make them want to keep embarrassing info out,” Bagenstos said.

It wouldn't be surprising to anyone if the Alabama GOP super-majority in the legislature seizes on this tactic.  They've already shown that they prefer fewer encounters with voters and have no problem passing toothless ethics legislation. It's not a leap to think that the less we know about their antics, the better off they are.

Hey, if I were a GOP legislator in any state, I wouldn't want people monitoring my activities either...

 

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

A Majority Of Alabamians Want Immigration Law Changed

by: mooncat

Fri Mar 23, 2012 at 11:23:57 AM CDT

A new poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research, found that fewer than 20 percent of Alabamians are comfortable allowing Alabama's Beason-Hammon immigration law to remain unchanged.  The law, also known as HB56, has made negative headlines around the nation and the world.  Alabamians realize this law was a mistake and needs to be corrected.

Regardless of political affiliation, clear majorities want changes made to the new immigration law.

53% of Republican voters said the law needs changes.  58% of Democrats and 64% of African-Americans want the law changed as do an eye-opening 60% of independent voters.

"As more and more Alabamians from all walks of life feel the impact of this harsh overreaching law, it's clear that the legislature must repeal HB 56," states Zayne Smith of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice.  "HB 56 has harmed our economy, threatens to interfere with our churches and has set Alabama's pathway towards being a more racially tolerant state back many years.  You can’t tweak hate, the only solution to get Alabama back on the right track is to repeal HB 56," Smith continued.

This harsh immigration law will cost Alabama billions of dollars every year and the longer it stays in effect, the more damage it will do to our economy and our public image.  Public opinion says change it, but the wiser course would be to repeal HB56 altogether.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Spencer Bachus, Credit Unions & Backscratching Politics

by: mooncat

Fri Mar 23, 2012 at 07:22:02 AM CDT

Spencer BachusRep. Spencer Bachus (R, AL-06) believes "Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks".  Now the credit union industry hopes a PAC infusion during Bachus' recent GOP primary will convince him to extend that philosophy to credit unions as well.  Here is Richard Gose, a senior VP at the Credit Union National Association, bragging to an industry conference about helping Bachus:

"The chairman of the financial service committee had a tough race -- a group, anti-incumbent group dropped a lot of money in right at the end of his primary, and he was sitting there, he needed some help," Gose says, "so we stepped up to the plate, and tried to help. And he was luckily successful and will be here with us I think and will be meeting and talking with many of you."

The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (a PAC) ran about $28,000 worth of radio ads supporting Bachus against primary challenger Scott Beason.  Why is the credit union lobby so anxious to have Spencer Bachus in their debt? 

Bachus chairs the powerful House Financial Services Committee and Congress is currently considering new regulations on small lenders.  There's a fierce battle for advantage between credit unions and community banks.

Bachus had an itch.  The credit union lobby scratched it.  Now credit unions have an itch ...

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Not Guilty! All Bingo Defendants Cleared On All Counts

by: mooncat

Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 11:57:42 AM CST

Milton McGregor, Sen. Harri Anne Smith, former Sens. Larry Means and Jim Preuitt, lobbyist Tom Coker and Country Crossing spokesman Jay Walker -- a jury has found every single one of them NOT GUILTY on all counts.

This is NOT GUILTY phase II of the bingo trials.  Phase I was last summer when another jury cleared the defendants on several countsTwo of the original defendants, Sen. Quinton Ross (D) and lobbyist Bob Geddie were cleared on all counts at that time.

Sadly, another defendant, former state employee Ray Crosby, died of natural causes in January.  He was over $600,000 in debt -- legal expenses accounted for a good portion of that -- and had recently filed for bankruptcy.  A friend said Crosby had heart trouble and was "extremely stressed from the trial" and ensuing financial issues.  Reasonable people can connect the dots and figure out that the bingo trial sure didn't help him survive his heart problems.

The legal expenses to the defendants -- who have now all been found NOT GUILTY -- are staggering.  Sen. Quinton Ross has legal bills of over $1 million as a result of these unfounded charges.  Larry Means expects his to amount to $400,000 or so.  I can't imagine what McGregor's legal bills will be.  One top Republican even feels bad enough about this mess to contribute to Ross' legal defense fund.  Nothing can bring Ray Crosby back to life, but it seems unjust that the surviving defendants are stuck with these legal expenses as a result of the witch hunt engineered by Scott Beason and his Republican friends.

If there were any justice, Beason and the ALGOP -- they owe their legislative supermajorities to the October 2010 bingo indictment -- would foot the legal bills, not only for the men and woman who have been found NOT GUILTY, but for the United States as well.  Fat chance.

Scott Beason still has this bald-faced lie on his candidate website:

Scott has also been a leader in fighting political corruption which enabled the arrest and conviction of the key players in the Alabama bingo scandal. 

What convictions, Scott?  What key players?  Two juries heard the evidence and didn't find any of the defendants guilty of anything Beason accused them of.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Spencer Bachus In Trouble? Good News For Democrats in AL-06!

by: countrycat

Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 06:00:00 AM CST

The national Republican "Establishment" is circling the wagons around former Governor Mitt Romney and the Alabama GOP "Establishment" is offering the same favor to beleaguered Congressman/Insider Trader Spencer Bachus (AL-06).  The Birmingham News reports that Senator Sessions endorsed Bachus. Senator Shelby helpfully donated $10,000 to the campaign.

Sen. Richard Shelby's leadership political action committee gave $10,000 to Bachus' campaign account; Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, gave $4,000 from his campaign account; and Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, gave $1,000 from her campaign account, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission reports.

Bachus is blaming Democrats for his problems - certainly that's easier than taking responsibility....

A new advertisement showing in Alabama, where Mr. Bachus is facing a primary challenge, blames “liberal Washington reporters,” but then credits “news reporters” with being clear that “the attacks are false,” as headlines roll across the screens. The voice-over says,  “Obama’s Democrat allies want to destroy Spencer Bachus,” and adds that such efforts are propping up his opponent in the March 13 primary, Scott Beason.

Rep. Bachus faces Alabama State Senator Scott Beason, the proud parent of Alabama's noxious anti-immigration bill.  Beason took a break from spying on fellow legislators, recording his own racist remarks, winning a coveted Left in Alabama award, and checking Santa Claus' "papers" to mount a campaign for Congress.  Check out jthomas666's diary for a report of some rather interesting polling in the race.

No matter which Republican "wins" the AL-06 race, the real winner is the Democratic candidate in the district.  There are two vying in the primary - so all you folks in that district stay the heck out of the GOP primary and help choose your Democratic candidate!!

Democrats can choose from:

William BarnesTrussville lawyer William D. Barnes, who mounted a spirited campaign against Richard Shelby in 2008.  Sadly, he was even opposed by some in the leadership in his own party. Thank heavens that crew is no longer running the show!

From the Birmingham News:

Barnes cites transportation and infrastructure projects as a way to jump-start economic growth. "Members of Congress can provide funding for his or her district to improve roads, bridges, parks, etc.," Barnes said. "This will provide needed jobs and improve our quality of living." He said the work should be paid for with either new revenue, spending cuts or a combination of both, and he opposes tax breaks for American companies that ship jobs overseas. 
[...]
Barnes said abortion is a legal choice for women as established by the U.S. Supreme Court.
[...]
Barnes gave a specific list of conditions that must be met before American military intervention: clear and present threat to the national security of the U.S. or its allies; clear and present threat to human life; substantiated needs for the intervention; and a clear exit strategy.

Barnes for Congress Web site      Barnes for Congress FB page

 

Penny Bailey HugginsRetired USAF colonel Penny Huggins Bailey, who left active duty service after 24 years in the Air Force. She grew up in Leeds.

Penny Bailey Web site     Penny Bailey for Congress FB page

From the Birmingham News:

Bailey said the last people who want to go to war are soldiers and their families, but they do so if they're called.

"Every aspect of diplomacy should be exercised and every political avenue explored before we resort to obligating the lives of the great brave men and women in our armed forces," she said. "Establishing a certain criteria for military intervention would be impossible as no two issues, conflicts or situations are the same."
[...]
On abortion, Bailey said Americans don't want government telling them what they can or can't do in their personal lives.

"That is not freedom," she said; abortion is legal and a woman has the right to make decisions concerning her own body. However, she said her family has benefited from three generations of adoptions, and she prefers adoption over abortion.

Barnes gave a specific list of conditions that must be met before American military intervention: clear and present threat to the national security of the U.S. or its allies; clear and present threat to human life; substantiated needs for the intervention; and a clear exit strategy.

Many thanks to both candidates for standing up for Democratic principles and Alabama.  We certainly deserve better leadership than we've been getting from our current AL-06 congressman.  And if you think Scott Beason is a disaster as a State Senator... imagine him in Congress!

Vote in the March 13 Democratic primary!

Reminder to anyone running for delegate as a Democrat.... we'd love to have you post a diary about why you're running.  Make sure you include your congressional district.  We'll front-page the entries, but don't wait until the last minute!

 

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Who Will Be Your Valentine Tomorrow?

by: mooncat

Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 16:48:54 PM CST

One Heart One Alabama RallyHow about your fellow man? 

Go big for Valentine's Day this year at the One Heart One Alabama Rally and Lobby Day to Repeal HB56

Help send a message to our state legislators that HB56 is not Alabama.

February 14 is the kick-off of a series of lobby days to show legislators that Alabamians want HB56 to be repealed immediately. We cannot continue to let our state suffer under this economic, moral and civil rights crisis. WE LOVE ALABAMA!

Place: Alabama State House, 11 South Union Street, Montgomery.

Last week Scott Beason stood on the Capitol steps and told Tea Partiers that Alabama's draconian immigration law is "one of the best ones in the country."  His audience for this pronouncement?  "About 100 people."

The crowd asking for repeal will be many times that, so if you don't want to spend a lonely Valentine's Day, come to the One Heart One Alabama Rally.   

This is the defining civil rights issue of the day.  Don't sit on the sidelines.  Learn more from the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Ethics Investigation Targets Spencer Bachus (R, AL-06)

by: mooncat

Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:15:00 PM CST


Spencer BachusSpencer Bachus got to bask in the glow of that insider trading bill for, oh, two or three whole hours yesterday.  Then news broke that the Office of Congressional Ethics* is investigating the Birmingham area Congressman for ... what else? ... insider trading.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent investigative agency, opened its probe late last year after focusing on numerous suspicious trades on Bachus’s annual financial disclosure forms, the individuals said. OCE investigators have notified Bachus that he is under investigation and that they have found probable cause to believe insider-trading violations have occurred.

Bachus said he welcomes the opportunity to set the record straight.  Yeah, the same way I look forward to a colonoscopy. 

Bachus' challengers were quick to take advantage of the Bachus investigation. 

Republican Scott Beason said, “Alabamians need to be sure that their Representative is looking out for them, not lining his own pockets.  It is now clearer than ever that we need to send new leadership to clean up the corruption and unethical behavior in Washington.”  

William Barnes, one of Bachus' Democratic challengers, was also pointed in his comments on the OCE investigation:

Since 1993, Congressman Bachus has represented the interests of Wall Street bankers in Congress. This is according to the Republican ideology of serving Big Business and Big Oil. When Congressman Bachus became the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, he stated that his job was to “serve the banks.” He voted for bailout of Wall Street by taxpayers (TARP), but then voted against legislation designed to prevent future Wall Street meltdowns. Rep. Bachus accepts campaign contributions from large international banks and investment firms. Congressman Bachus should be more concerned with honestly serving the people in the 6th District, instead of banks and himself.

I call on the people of Alabama’s 6th Congressional District to conduct a serious evaluation of Congressman Bachus career. Is this who we want to represent us in Washington D.C.?

Bachus' first "career evaluation" by voters will be in the March 13 Republican primary.  It's time to start cleaning out the cesspool.


*The OCE is an independent, non-partisan entity created in 2008 and charged with "reviewing allegations of misconduct against Members, officers, and staff of the United States House of Representatives."

Discuss :: (3 Comments)
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