“For much of the time since 1877 the era was portrayed as a sordid era, “an orgy of corruption and misgovernment. . .presided over by unscrupulous carpetbaggers (Northerners who ventured South to reap the spoils of office), scalawags, and ignorant and childlike people who were incapable of responsibly exercising the political power that had been thrust upon them”
|Thomas Nast 1872|
We don’t believe their proclamations of "Christian conservative ethical leadership" because of what the history of the Alabama legislature has demonstrated over and over again: they’re for sale to the highest bidder and the presence of corporate and legal special interests in the new administration shows how they all got there---they rode into Montgomery on the backs of the Big Mules.
And now they owe them, big time.
Let’s play a little game of pin the tale on the Mule to demonstrate our point:
(Multiple choice, choose the correct answer, answer key follows)
1. Which answer best describes super lobbyist Michael J. Davis of Balch & Bingham?
a) He’s the Bentley Transition Team Foundation Inaugural Ball money collector.
b) Was a former Field Director for Senator Jeff Sessions ($67,300 Balch &Bingham 2008 cycle)
c) Was paid $1,000,000,000 by the state of Alabama 1998-2004 for his services (JeffCo SD is a client too, but they claim they're "broke")
d) Employed by the law firm that represented ExxonMobil (Atty. David Boyd) in the appeal against the State of Alabama costing the state billions in natural gas royalties.(Governor Riley did not ask the Alabama Supreme Court to reconsider their $3.6 billion dollar decision. Why? Protecting a certain law firm perhaps?)
e) All of the above
2. What’s missing from the ethics reforms the lame duck session of the Alabama Legislature is meeting on this week?
a) Term limits
b) Stiffening the penalty for violating ethics rules (subpoena power is only half of the solution)
c) Passing legislation to end or severely limit the amount of money an unopposed candidate can raise while running for re-election (this is just another form of money laundering)
d) Ending the practice of paying lobbyists to represent the state of Alabama in Washington who turn around and contribute huge sums through their firms to state elected legislators, especially “King of Pork” Senator Shelby who is the chairman of the federal steering committee. (Since he has strong, influential control over federal money earmarks, why do we need to pay Mr. Davis one million and Van Scoyoc $860,000? Extra points for a good answer.)
e) Requiring lobbyists to report all of their meetings with elected officials, who they are representing and enter the data into a main database available to the public each week of session.
f) No lobbyists in the state house for 48 hours before a bill is voted on and no payments to any legislators period (that includes our major universities and corporate "gifting")
g) Before a vote is taken on a bill, put it online and allow the public to view the bill and comment on it
h) all of the above
Why can’t we believe what the new administration is promising us on reforms?
a) Governor-elect Bentley has loaded up his transition team with BARD’s Big Mules, the nefarious creator of BARD, Stephen E. Bradley and members of their law firm Balch & Bingham
b) Huge campaign contributions came from these sources, many hidden through PAC to PAC transfers (hidden if you don't know which ones, but we do)
c) These corporate special interests work against Alabamians and are self-preservationists first and foremost
d) The TT members are largely anti-reformers based on their history
e) All of the above
After the first era of Reconstruction, the era of Redemption followed in the South, and shortly after came the birth of the Black Belt Big Mule Coalition in the early 1900s, which ushered in another age of enslavement by large factory owners and steel giants like USS Steel (current BARD member) and the rights of blacks in the south reverted back to Civil War standards, and worse. Poor whites were also the target of these white politicians and industrial giants who instituted a "one party rule" so that both groups were completely removed from the political process. It was a bad time in the South and the effects linger over the history of Alabama today.
That's not a history to be proud of but that's the Mule way: no change and unmitigated absolute power.
And now our newly elected Governor has surrounded himself with the modern day remnants of the BBBMC now called the "New Mules." It's still a Mule no matter how fancy the plow is.
You are who you choose keep company with "Dr. Dr." Bentley.
And we're not buying what you're hawking, medicine man. It can all be undone with amendments that only the legislators vote on, not the people.
Our history in this state of long-standing political ethics problems hangs over us today like the ghosts of Alabama’s past, and we’re not free from our sordid history if we continue on with the old ways of corruption and misgovernment that defined the scalawags and carpetbaggers who once raided Alabama with wild abandon.
Because they're still here.
Answer key: 1.e 2. h 3.e
*Update WSFA TV video Riley mouthpiece Jeff Emerson video. Listen carefully around the 2:05 mark.