Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Scalawags and Home Grown Carpetbaggers

Eric Foner 1995 on Reconstruction in the South
“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
In light of the recent elections in Alabama we’re beginning to see the rise of a third Reconstruction era presided over by the same old Mules and special interests that don’t want real reform in Alabama. There is no dawning of a “new day in Alabama politics” and the promises of ethics reforms and sweeping out corruption, that many of the republicans ran on, is nothing more than the words of scalawag politicians who owe their political hides to the carpetbaggers from within.

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.

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  1. Mules can kick hard, but yours ain't so bad either Max. Damn good!

  2. What the hell??????
    A million smacks? For what? To convince Pork man Shelby? This is outrageous!!!!!

  3. Those prices for attending the coronation are higher than most people in the state make in year, is this really necessary? I don't see any leading indicators of fiscal responsibility here.
    I agree with you Sam, Shelby's got a lot of power for federal funds and I don't see the real necessity for a hired bag man. As for the rest, more of the same in this backwards state.

  4. Alabama Mule and Show Pony Show
    When: December 8, 2010
    Where: Goat Hill Montgomery
    Contact: Governor's office

  5. Want a recession proof job? Become an Alabama politician! Requirements: ability to lie with a straight face, have powerful lobbyists friends and must be able to party hardy three months in the spring of each year.

  6. One of the elephants in the room, literally, is the ability to defang any bill with amendments and even if the public raises hell about it the damage is done. Once they pass those, they are almost impossible to pull back. Good point among many.

  7. There is an absence of vox populi in Alabama.
    Once they're elected they have no use for the people's voice anymore. Who has their ear more than the citizens...LOBBYISTS!

  8. Where's the bill so we can look at it before the public hearing????

  9. HT--

    Governor's Press Release
    Scroll down for links.

    Keep in mind this is from the Gov's office and he's big on appearances.


  10. Grats, knew you would have it.

  11. That's Governor posturing and not the actual legislative bill you know. He's offering his suggestions, but the legislature, lobbyists and special interests will write the actual legislation. After the public hearing.
    How about another public hearing once the bill is written and ready for a vote?

  12. Word is the Governor's office will stream the public hearing online at their website....

  13. ANON--

    We hear that too and it's on the Gov's page that they will do so. King Riley will be addressing his subjects before the public hearing.

    Wonder how many complaints we'll hear that parking was a problem? See today's issue of the Montgomery Advertiser for the push to not pass the lobbyist legislation because it will have a huge impact on Montgomery eateries.

    Find your way to the local Waffle House and Jack's boys. $25.00 a day is plenty to feed yourself on, ask most of Alabama. Ridiculous.

    Wonder when the buy a date businesses will complain too?


  14. Now just a damn minute, don't they already get a daily per diem that covers their feed? Use some of that should be illegal and ridiculously high pay raise, capital gains from office and whatever else little goody money they have access to.
    Cut this off! Bad idea!!!!

  15. Do you think Mayor Strange has asked any of these so called soon to be "disadvantaged" eateries to require their employees to sign confidentiality agreements? People who live in Monkeytown are well aware of the shenanigans that go on after hours when the legislature is in session. Nothings going to be any different with this current bunch, bet on that. Crooks and liars, smoke and mirrors. SOSDD

  16. If Montgomery is complaining that should be a clear signal that they are waaaay to used to the flow of bad money.

  17. Transition team foundation? Excuse me? That makes all the money coming in tax exempt! This is dirty, dirty, dirty and expected from a lobbyist. But waitaminute, he had to have approval didn't he? How about an explanation Doc? Are we going to see a full accounting of this or is it going to be one of those, "well we put it in this general fund and that general fund" game of hide n seek?
    When you told the voters you weren't going to take a salary you meant it didn't you? You don't have to apparently.

  18. Add this to the list Initiative and Referendum so we can recall the skunks who fail to live up to their promises.

  19. Two things:
    1. Make the ethics commission independent, including their budget and have a vote of the key members by the people. No more governor gets to appoint his buddies business.
    2. Bar any legislator from being paid by any governmental agency while serving, no more double dipping.
    One more, get rid of the callous Pat Roberts in the AGs office. He's long outlived his usefulness.

  20. Rewriting the infamous words of GW: "Corruption now, Corruption Tomorrow, Corruption forever!"

  21. I don't think any of them care a whit if they anger the voters again because they'll have 4 years to line their personal pockets. And you can bet they will.

  22. 6:00 and the live feed is not up yet, just a promo for Performa technologies.


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