Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Mr. Corruption retains his job as CEO of Alabama politics and fired Mr.New Day to rehire Mr.Same Old Day.

When you're the party in power, you don't turn around and incorporate with your political enemy and expect anyone to take you seriously. It's nonsensical, hypocritical and disingenuous on its face, and whoever is advising the republican party in Alabama we hope they continue because it's just too much fun to watch. But what this nonsense really says is that politics in this state is all about the money, the political payback and Mr. Corruption is still in charge of Goat Hill on both sides of the aisle.

----Paul Hamrick was recently tapped by Senator Waggoner to be the PR man for the Republican Senate Majority Caucus.

For those not familiar with who Mr. Hamrick is, he was involved in the huge scandal of HealthSouth which led to the conviction of former Alabama governor Siegleman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Mr. Hamrick was eventually found not guilty of 7 counts of racketeering and taking bribes, but he did not come out of the scandal unscathed and damaged goods in the public eye, and in some political views.

Hamnrick was also employed by the political hit machine Matrix Group that has far too much influence in Alabama politics and has the dubious distinction of the ability to destroy a political career in the blink of an eye.

Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner, a former VP with HealthSouth (scrubbed from his legislative page) thought that hiring Hamrick was a fine idea.

Waggoner decided unilaterally to hire Paul Hamrick, and what's happened since then has been a proverbial maelstrom of controversy that may end in Waggoner being stripped of his post. We won't lie, that couldn't happen to a more deserving political dinosaur than Waggoner, who's single-handedly destroyed the republican's message before the legislature starts their first session in March.

We're enjoying this immensely because we never bought into that "new day in Alabama politics" crap to begin with. There isn't a politician in this state that would know what ethics was if it bit them on their backsides and held on for all it's worth. They're all tone deaf to the people, and spend most of their time tripping over lobbyists for special interests on their way to the legislative floor to vote on legislation that has real consequences on the populace. Nine times out of ten, it's in favor of the special interests fat cats rather than Alabama.

And that benefits a lot of our politicians, who are by and large, business men who will also reap profits from the same political favors. Mr. Corruption runs the machine and his orders are to cut deals and grow the 'company.'

----In another glaring example of political favoritism and the fleecing of taxpayers on the federal and state level, the Northern Beltline (aka Zombie Highway) has been broken down into actual cost per mile: $90,000,000.00.

This is BARD's mule train trail, the Beltline project is, and anything they're involved in should always be viewed with a skeptical eye and a close examination for the potential for corruption. More often than not, you'll find it. In this case, BARD Big Mules Drummond Coal and US Steel are large landowner's in the route of the Beltline and they'll make millions in this deal.

They have their cheerleaders for the project in Alabama Senator "King of Pork" Richard Shelby and the mouse that roared for big coal Representative Spencer Bachus:
"While I can't speak to the accuracy of the Federal Highway Administration's new cost estimate for the Northern Beltline, I do know this is a critical infrastructure project for our state, and I will continue to work to fund it expeditiously," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, agreed: "The completion of the Northern Beltline is a high priority for the Birmingham region and retains my total support." 
These are the same perpetually tone deaf Aladumba politicians, who rail against the "out of control federal spending by the Obama administration" when the cameras and press are present, and they think they are addressing a receptive republican audience. Potential voters and donors you betcha. Tell 'em what they want to hear.

Federal spending is a real problem unless it affects their own pet projects and the pockets of their big corporate donors. For these two spend-it-faster-than-they-can-print-it Alabama porkers to support the project, in this current economy, despite huge public outcries of NO, shows who they really take orders from--Mr. Corruption.

----BP "Master of Disaster" Ken Feinberg is at it again with his own brand of nonsense "I'm impartial, but BP pays me" and claims to be a bastion of fairness and transparency.

The post oil spill claims process has been a total fiasco of epic proportions, and transparency has been eternally absent from the process thanks to Mr. Feinberg being large and in charge of the whole system. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility is Feinberg's brainchild and he is vehemently resisting calls for measures of oversight of the program claiming incredulously that:
“The openness and transparency with which the GCCF has conducted itself is unparalleled in the history of the statute and nothing short of extraordinary,” they said in the filing. “The facts regarding the GCCF’s performance show that it should be the ideal against which future, large-scale OPA claims handling should be measured.” 
Orange Beach, Alabama Mayor  Tony Kennon wins the prize for retort of the day for his view on Feinberg's claim:
Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon laughed for about 15 seconds after a reporter read the quote to him.
“Sounds to me like he had one too many mimosas,” Kennon said. “With all due respect, the man is either delusional or the greatest demagogue I’ve ever met. There is zero accountability, zero transparency. For him to make that statement, someone should step in and relieve him of his duties immediately.” 
Bravo Mayor Kennon and very well said!

Courthouse News Service has an interesting article on Feinberg and the GCCF that might have started the call for oversight.

----In a story from the Gadsden Times on February 22, we learn that the Friday before Governor Riley left office, he transferred (at the request of *Luther Strange) $7.9 million dollars from the state's BP account of "unrestricted funds" to the AG's office to help with "ongoing litigation and anti gambling efforts" according to the legislative memo.
*(Who is this 'Strange' man and is he really looking out for Alabama's interests in handling the BP case? History seems to suggest otherwise.)
Strange admits to requesting the money to "stave off red ink in his office totaling about $8 million." How did he know that? He wasn't even in office yet. Outgoing AG Troy King said he knew nothing of the transfer that was handled by Riley's chief of staff, Dave Stewart, who now works for law firm Bradley, Arant, Boult & Cummings.

Questions are raised about Luther Strange's new 'hammer of corruption' Michael Hart in the article too:
Senator Roger Bedford said Riley was rewarding cronies, particularly former assistant Attorney General Matt Hart who returned to the AG’s office from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in northern Alabama in order to prosecute white collar crime and public corruption.
Riley said he doesn’t know Hart except by name.
Riley said something similar when asked about the source of the $12 million in Abramoff tainted Indian gaming money contributed to his election campaign: "I didn't know what the source of the money was."

This smacks of cronyism and political payback. Maybe this was a down payment for Strange to "look after Riley's children." $7.9 million would have gone a long way to our education system that is now facing proration AGAIN, if it was going to moved around for something other than what it was intended for.

We've become a corporation nation with no semblance of the political system our forefathers envisioned-- politics has all but disappeared to be replaced with the machine of big business and corporate lawyers. Whether it's Alabama, or federal, it's all the same company: Corruption, Inc.

Alabama has become so adept at political corruption we've provided endless material to the national news outlets for years, and if nothing else, at least the state is consistent--consistently crooked in both of its political parties and its ability to garner bad press.

Mr. Corruption is so proud. He's proud of his company and his elected employees. They serve him and his ideals with unwavering loyalty, and there will be no corporate shakeup anytime soon with his lead man Mr. Same Old Day cracking the whip on the Mules of Goat Hill.

**Podcast of interview with Senator Del Marsh defending Jabo Waggoner's decision to hire Hamrick. Marsh just doesn't get it.
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  1. Made my day again Max. Good stuff!

  2. You know what Jabo is thinking, he's said it during more than one political dust-up: "They'll forget this by the time the next election rolls around."
    Talk radio is burning up with this topic, nothing in the Birmingham News, what a shocker. That editorial by Press-Register's Talbot you linked is a good one, why couldn't the Bham News do that?
    Okay, admittedly that is not a serious question, we know why.
    Leland Whaley backs up the call for Jabo to be out. He says he's hearing the same thing.
    That NB is a project that is insanity on the loose. They're trying to rationalize building it right now in a hurry because costs will only go higher. They're stupid beyond belief with that argument.
    Feinberg doesn't want any rules, typical.
    Really good story today Max.

  3. The pic looks a bit like Robert Geddie, he loves his Wayfarers!
    Jabo should be run out on a rail for this huge, I would say misstep, but it's probably more likely a favor from the HS days.

  4. Oh Gawd can these newly elected idiots do anything else to embarrass the state?
    This is getting to be a daily occurrence of stupidity!!!

  5. You are exactly right in your summations Max.
    Good work!

  6. You know why all this stuff keeps happening don't you people? Because you don't raise enough hell with your politicians and hold them accountable for what they're doing!
    You just go along to get along and keep electing these crooks to office!
    Wake the hell up!
    The machine is complicit in this too because they have bought and paid for judges on the bench all over the state that will rule the way they want them to.
    Don't believe me? Start educating yourself about PACS and look at the campaign donations records for yourself.

  7. This is a disaster with no master for the republicans. I'm hearing spin that the new blood (younger politicians) will right the sinking ship, but I don't believe it.
    They all went right along with the old guard to begin with.
    Riley, oh the devil that he is, is he trying to blame the transfer of millions all on Dave Stewart? It sounds that way in the article.
    Who is going to ask Mr. Stewart a few questions about the transaction? Same goes for Riley.
    How in the hell do you justify $8 million to the incoming AG with all the other needs Alabama has???????

  8. We're a hot mess of corruption and crooks and liars. John Grisham could have a field day in Alabama. Somebody call him..

  9. Shelby and Bachus are sitting up their in Washington doing their damnedest to defund the Dodd Frank Act, which is a Wall Street reform act, and they have the nerve to justify $90 million a mile on a highway?
    We're on Mars now right? This is insane!

  10. BP money is supposed to be for oil spill related uses. NOT for the new AG to balance his books!
    Explain yourself Mr. Strange!
    You too Riley and Stewart!

  11. Who sat around in a room and decided 'Hey Mikey, let's hire our political opponents!'
    That would be these new republicans in name only and one tottering old country Dr. who fancies himself a governor wouldn't it?
    Honestly, can you believe Bentley ride in a old horse drawn carriage up the streets of Montgomery on Inauguration Day?
    That should have given you all a big clue!

  12. Where we are at the moment? They just passed GO. The year is underway. Hold on to your seats, bumpy road ahead.

  13. How to fritter away all your political capital in one easy step: Put Jabo Waggoner at the head of the heap and elect all republicans.
    These guys are like Barney Fife when he takes the bullet out of his pocket, and I so agree it is deliriously amusing to watch!

  14. Can we have a do over on the last election PLEASE!

  15. Max is right about the machine and Mr. Corruption (love that btw) they don't care about us, we're the peons to their perceived royal asses!

  16. To a reader named PET who put the following comment up on the Talbot column on the Al.com forum, please link back to the original article (OURS) if you are going to lift our work.

    PET February 23, 2011 at 2:10PM

    We're a corporation nation and there is no semblance of a political system as our forefathers envisioned-- politics has all but disappeared to be replaced with the machine of big business. Whether it's Alabama, or federal, it's all the same company: Corruption, Inc.

    Alabama has gotten so good at this that we have been the subject of countless articles in national news outlets for years, and if nothing else, at least the state is consistent--consistently crooked in both of its political parties.

    Mr. Corruption is proud of his company, and his elected employees. They serve him and his ideals with unwavering loyalty, and they're will be no corporate shakeup anytime soon with his lead man Mr. Same Old Day cracking the whip on the Mules of Goat Hill.

    (We didn't write this, which was part of the comment)
    Riley and Luther you are steadily whipping the mule at Goat Hill being Bentley!

  17. Uh oh not cool PET.
    I'm sure you meant well, but never take somebody's stuff without giving them credit by linking back to the original!
    The Riley section is very intriguing..he's such a disgrace.

  18. And all the lawyers chanted:

    Feinberg, Feinberg he's our man!
    If he can't screw them no can!

    I see Senator Pittman is weighing in on Jabo's stellar move, boy that's the kettle calling the pot black.

  19. Bob Riley is a disgrace. And so our his "children" like jabo and trip pittman.
    Pittman is a proven crook and isn't it strange that nothing is happening to him?

  20. Good one GB, can't you just picture them drunk as sailors and acting like frat boys doing the cheer?

  21. Cowboy rule: no takin' yer buddy's stuff PET.

  22. Watch for the next bloodsport to be the young guns against the old bulls in the republican party.
    Only problem is that old bulls don't get to be old from being weak.
    Those crafty old boys will annihilate the young ones if they step to far into their power circle.
    This will make for interesting spectating. Maybe similar to the Roman coliseums.
    I can hardly wait.

  23. Tim "Grinder Pump" Kant and Trip "Boom-Boom" Pittman are a couple of the many REPUBLICAN THIEVES running wild in Baldwin County. They must have donated to Luther Stranges's governor's campaign fund. God this state is disgusting. To think that people believe Alabama is part of the United States is sillier than the notion of "good guvmint" in Dixie.

  24. Ain't no "good guvmint" in Dixie gal.
    Lot's o' varmints, scalawags, no-counts, weasels, rats and robbers though.
    Republican and thief and liar are fast becoming synonymous terms.

  25. Let the state arm twisting begin!
    Fresh from their Washington swoop down, the developer vultures are set to meet with the Goat Hill clowns. Development or roads planned for your community? Watch out....

    BBA to Meet With State Lawmakers in March

    Little Jimmy Sumner of the ethics commission will be there to just to make sure all the politicians know exactly how to get around the new laws.

  26. It's enough to not even want to get out bed in the morning. Everywhere you turn there's one dirty deal after another being pulled off by men who claim to be good public servants and looking out for our interests.
    I have yet to see it from one so far. And I have lived a long time.

  27. I'm hearing whispers of Steve French, the soundly defeated one from Mt. Brook, still lurking around. What the hell is that all about?

  28. Hey Al, I saw that too on Doc's comment forum, what the hell indeed. Jabo loves him and is not happy he was defeated.
    Should be interesting today to hear all the excuses and rhetoric in response to the monkey business in Monkeytown. I'll be taking copious notes.

  29. I hope for some insight from Bob Martin on some of these shenanigans very soon. Next day still no story in the Birmingham News. They mean it when they say "this is our story."
    They print the story they want you to hear.


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