Have you ever wondered what corruption looks like, live and in color? Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to be a regular citizen being cheated in George W. Bush's America, right here in 2008? Have you ever wondered what justice looks like in Karl Rove's Alabama, the state where Turd Blossom made his national reputation by turning our state courts into a corrupt Republican enclave.
If you ever have wondered about any of these things, we are about to enlighten you here at Legal Schnauzer. As I've been writing about for months, government officials in Shelby County, Alabama, have been threatening to auction my house (and my wife's house) in order to satisfy a "judgment" in the grand total of $1,525.
Neither the opposing party nor his attorney has ever even asked for the money--no phone call, no demand letter, nothing. In fact, the supposed "judgment" sat around gathering mold for three-plus years; never heard a thing about it. But when I started writing this blog in June 2007, giving voice to the judicial and government corruption I've witnessed in Alabama, someone suddenly got interested in that "judgment." Someone clearly wanted my voice quieted.
That somebody was Pelham, Alabama, attorney William E. Swatek, who filed a writ of execution that prompted Shelby County Sheriff's deputies to threaten first our cars and then our house. Bill Swatek is not just any corrupt attorney. He is a proud practitioner of a special kind of corruption. You might say he's turned it into an art form, considering that he has a record of unethical behavior going back almost 30 years.
And here is something particularly important about Bill Swatek: His son, Dax Swatek, is a Montgomery-based Republican consultant who has served as a campaign manager for both Governor Bob Riley and U.S. Attorney Alice Martin. Dax Swatek also has worked closely for Bill Canary. And Bill Canary has close ties to Karl Rove. And we all know who Karl Rove has close ties to.
If you are at all familiar with the Don Siegelman case, you don't need an introduction to any of those names I just mentioned. They are central to the story that landed the former Alabama Governor in federal prison. They also are central to the unfolding story of corruption in the Bush Justice Department, a tale that is likely to turn into perhaps the worst scandal in the nation's history over the next 12 to 24 months--if a Democratic Congress has the guts to the get to the bottom of it.
The videos you are about to see, on one level, look like a frustrated, exasperated citizen in the middle of nowhere, crying out for justice to authorities who clearly don't give a rip what the law says. Seen on one level, these videos are just about one couple's pain. This is all taking place in a backwater called Columbiana, Alabama, so why should anyone care?
But the attorney in the video, the sleazeball bidding on my house, is Bill Swatek. And I laid out his political lineage above. He has a pretty direct connection right to the Bush White House. And that has allowed him to get away with repeatedly cheating my wife and me--even though public records show we are hardly Swatek's only victims. He's been cheating people for almost 30 years, but Republicans in Karl Rove's Alabama protect him like the Golden Goose.
So come along for my video journey through the ethical morass that has enveloped Alabama and much of our nation over the past eight years. Many historians already are saying George W. Bush is likely to go down as the worst president in American history. The scenes you are about to see are one of many reasons why.
Some of you might have wondered what it was like to sit in the courtroom and watch Don Siegelman be railroaded and hauled off to prison in chains. The videos you are about to see might give you a little taste for what that was like.
That was a criminal case, and mine is a civil matter. That involved loss of freedom, and mine involves loss of clear title to my house.
I don't mean to imply that my pain remotely compares to what the former governor has been through. But cameras, to my knowledge, weren't allowed in the Siegelman courtroom, so the vast majority of Americans have no idea what that looked like, what that felt like.
So maybe we can help fill in that gap. We'll give you a little taste of what injustice is really like--on the front line, in a war for America's soul.
Those videos are coming next.