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Monday, December 20, 2010

Here Is More Evidence That Republicans Think Americans Are Stupid

Bob Riley

One of the "endearing" qualities of modern conservatives is that they seem to think they can say most anything, and a large chunk of the American public will believe them. Sadly, conservatives often are right about this.

Consider the recent actions of Alabama Governor Bob Riley. As his two terms are winding down, he called the Alabama Legislature into special session to address a package of ethics legislation. The seven bills were passed, and Riley is expected to sign them today. The whole process seems to have raised hardly any eyebrows among the masses.

No one in the mainstream press, that we are aware of, raised questions about Riley's past actions regarding ethics bills. No one pointed out that putting Bob Riley in charge of ethics is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank.

Is Bob Riley genuinely interested in ethics reform? His history indicates the answer is no. In 2007, a bipartisan ethics bill was passed in the House and Senate by a combined vote of 131-0. It landed on Riley's desk, and he refused to sign it.

Why? The bill, sponsored by Rep. Marcel Black (D-Muscle Shoals), would have expanded the definition of a lobbyist to include people who attempt to influence the awarding of state contracts that are not competitively bid. And that meant Riley's children, Rob Riley and Minda Riley Campbell, would have been inhibited in their efforts to make money off no-bid state contracts. Reported the Associated Press back in '07:

"It is widely held in Montgomery that Governor Riley's children lobby their father on behalf of entities desiring no-bid state contracts," Senate Majority Leader Zeb Little, D-Cullman, said.

"This legislation would have further shined the light of day on the lobbying activities of the governor's family, but Governor Riley vetoed the bill," Little said in a statement Tuesday.

According to a recent report in the Tuskegee News, the package that Riley is expected to sign today does not address no-bid contracts. Gee, isn't that a shock? Perhaps the governor wants Rob, Minda, and other family members to be able to continue sucking off the state teat--even after he's out of office. Our guess is that they will be happy to do that.

What is the real motivating force behind Bob Riley's ethics package? Senate Bill 2 will ban public employees from using payroll deduction to pay dues to the Alabama Education Association (AEA) and Alabama State Employees Association. Critics say that measure is driving the Riley's ethics train, and it's designed as payback for the AEA's efforts to defeat Bradley Bryne, who was to be Riley's hand-picked successor. With AEA's help, Robert Bentley beat Byrne in the Republican primary and then beat Democrat Ron Sparks in the general election.

It's hard to see how payroll deduction of dues to a professional organization can be viewed as an ethics matter, and Rep. Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) isn't buying it:

Opponents, mostly Democrats, said the bill had nothing to do with ethics and everything to do with Riley getting even with the AEA teachers' lobby, which supported Bentley in the Republican primary and runoff for governor over Bradley Byrne, who was Riley's favorite.

"I think that was purely a personal vendetta," Ford said. "All the other bills were a smoke screen just to get that bill passed."

Throughout Riley's tenure, he has been protected by Leura Canary, a Bush-appointed U.S. attorney in Montgomery. But if historians ever uncover the truth about the Riley years, he probably will go down as the most corrupt governor in Alabama history. Powerful evidence suggests that Riley:

* Benefited from election-night vote theft in Baldwin County, Alabama, giving him a razor-thin edge over Democrat incumbent Don Siegelman in the 2002 election;

* Benefited from $13-million of Mississippi gaming money that was laundered through GOP felon Jack Abramoff;

* Benefited from millions of Mississippi Choctaw gaming money that was distributed directly to the Riley campaign, according to public statements from former aide Bill Johnson.

* Misspent more than $340,000, which was intended to help elect candidates and instead went to anti-gambling initiatives.

* Saw his term winding down in 2010 as a string of mysterious deaths cropped up on Alabama's political landscape.

That's just the tip of a rather large iceberg. But Bob Riley is Alabama's Teflon governor. And quite a few of our citizens seem to believe he truly is interested in ethics reform. Of course, these same Alabamians have been buying GOP lines that originated with Ronald Reagan some 30 years ago.

You know the ones:

* We can cut tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and increase defense spending and have no problems with deficits.

* Deregulation is the way to free up businesses to drive the American economy. We can count on companies like Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns to do the right thing.

Those two tenets of the GOP gospel, adopted by George W. Bush from 2000 to 2008, are among the leading reasons we now are experiencing the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Here is one other reason that Bob Riley might be pushing ethics reform: We are hearing from multiple sources that the governor seriously is considering a run for president in 2012. One source says GOP kingmaker Karl Rove long has been fascinated by Riley because of the latter's resemblance to Ronald Reagan. With the GOP torn in one direction by Sarah Palin and in another direction by Mitt Romney, Riley apparently sees an opportunity to step in, with his poofed up 'do, and assume the role as "heir to the Reagan legacy"--such as it is. We even hear that Riley, like Reagan, insists he never dyes his hair. Gee, what a set of genes that guy's got!

Closing out his term with "ethics reform" might be an effort by Riley to paper over all the sleaze that has marked his term in office. For the rational folks who have witnessed Riley's actions in office, the notion of him running for president is laughable. He should be getting fitted for an orange jumpsuit on his way to federal prison. But with Eric Holder heading the U.S. Department of Justice, that isn't likely to happen. And if Riley were to run for the nation's highest office, God only knows how many people might vote for him because he he has . . . such nice hair. And he looks like . . . you know who.

Based on the 2010 midterm-election results, many Americans continue to fall for the same conservative con game, so who is to say that Bob Riley can't become president

Maybe modern conservatives are right about at least one thing. Maybe Americans really are stupid.


mark said...

Roger for editor in chief of the Birmingham News! You've done more reporting from your chair than all the "reporters" in Alabama put together.
You know, just when you think the idiocracy can't get any worse, the GOP comes up with something else. And the Democrats don't seem to be able to stand up to them, at all.
Good luck to Alabamastan! From a reader in Mississippistan.

Molli said...

Agree with Mark. Where are the investigative reporters in AL? I have been following Riley closely and Schnauzer is a great source for real information. I might have to leave the country if Riley is president. Scary scary thought.

Robby Scott Hill said...

The Republican idea of law & justice is absolutely right! OUT OF THE DARK AGES These guys will be rolling back the Magna Carta & making Bob Riley the new King John before you know it.

Robby Scott Hill said...

As a former customer contract administrator at the EPIK Communications subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, I have personal experience with Enron, WorldCom, Tyco. EPIK was the 4th largest creditor of Enron Broadband. Guess what happened when Enron Broadband's sister subsidiary, Florida Gas Transmission Co., got behind on over a million dollars worth of pipeline right of way fees for a transmission line across South Alabama & Mobile Bay?
Riley just let them go ahead and build & use that pipeline and I never saw the payments. Billions of dollars worth of natural gas flow through that pipeline every year & the Alabama taxpayer is cheated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Gas_Transmission

Robby Scott Hill said...

The law firm of Johnston, Barton, Proctor & Rose is headquartered in the Colonial Brookwood Center. That's the same building as Southern Natural Gas Company, the current operator of the Florida Gas Transmission pipeline. According to his official bio. on the firm website, Mr. Rose: "Recently represented two former HealthSouth executives (not Mr. Scrushy) who were indicted separately, one of whom was acquitted on all counts after a month long jury trial; the other's indictment was dismissed with prejudice." http://www.johnstonbarton.com/members/view.php?cn=21

legalschnauzer said...


Interesting stuff. I wonder who those HealthSouth execs were. Interestng to read of lawyers bragging about stuff like this on their Web sites.

Circuit Judge Robert Vance, hubby of U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, used to be with JBPR. I personally have witnessed Robert Vance serve as a pimp for lawyers from major Bham firms--I'm talking specifically of Jesse P. Evans III and Michael Odom, now with Haskell Slaughter.

Evans and Odom committed blatant legal malpractice in my case--the kind of stuff that, in a different profession, would have gotten a doctor canned, probably for good. They got off scot free. Didn't even have to testify under oath because Vance unlawfully granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.

My impression is that both Vances are all about protecting the legal establishment. In theory, the Vances are Democrats. In reality, they are out to protect the interests of the legal profession, even crooked lawyers like Evans and Odom, over all else.

Don't look for Joyce White Vance to accomplish much of anything during her time as U.S. attorney. She is an improvement on Alice Martin, but that isn't saying much.

Also, Dems need to get someone of integrity to run against Robert Vance. His father might have been an outstanding person. But Jr. is a glorified whore--or pimp, whichever role you prefer to put him in.

Robby Scott Hill said...

The Alabama State Bar was very concerned with my allegedly poor job performance at the Alabama Department of Conservation, but what can we count on the Alabama State Bar doing about the continuing efforts of the Alabama Lawyer siblings Rob Riley & Miranda Riley Campbell to circumvent the State's competitive bid laws & ethics laws?

What we really need is an ethics law that prevents lawyers from converting to lobbyist mode at the flick of a checkbook & brings lobbying within the definition of the practice of law. Using the knowledge you have gained in the practice of law to legally extort money as a lobbyist is an art form that currently has no consequences. A real ethics law would provide consequences for these lawyer/lobbyists.

Robby Scott Hill said...

I agree Roger. They are protecting the legal establishment & that's one reason why young lawyers & legal professionals are having trouble finding work. It is the establishment that is being protected to the peril of young legal professionals who are being devoured by the old sharks who run the legal establishment. Your case is an example of the feeding frenzy spilling outside the legal profession. These corrupt lawyers will go after anyone like you who knows too much & tries to expose what's going on and thereby cost them money.

legalschnauzer said...


They've not only attacked me, they've attacked my wife, caused her to be cheated out of her job. How low is that?

Now, neither one of us can support ourselves in the state of Alabama. How cowardly and pathetic is that? You go behind someone's back and cheat them out of their jobs, all because they point out the blatant corruption in your profession. And it's corruption they all know is there. In fact, I'm sure most lawyers know about way more courtroom shenanigans than I do. But they want to shoot the messenger. And they've done much the same thing to you.

These people are such cowards that they can't confront you face to face. And if they send a comment to your blog, it's always anonymous. Law schools must have surgical suites on site for removal of spines when new students enter the hallowed halls.

I would love just once for a lawyer to have the guts to call or e-mail me and discuss the issues I've raised on this blog. Or to send a comment with their real name on it. They won't do it because they can't defend the indefensible.

MaxShelby said...

Let's not forget Jabo Waggoner's involvement with HealthSouth, which he conveniently leaves off of his legislative bio.
Crooks in, crooks out.
Barbour will never let Riley outmaneuver him in a presidential run, I don't think.
Unless Barbour's past makes him too hot to be at the top of the ticket. I have no doubt these two boys have running mate aspirations.
Investigative reporting in Alabama? Dead.
What was at the Bham News walked out the door two years ago described by John Archibald as "500 years of reporting experience gone in two years."
I hear Kathryn Bouma is still very bitter from her mistreatment by the BN.
News editor Siddall, a fetus at 41 years of age in the news business, has no interest in factual reporting.

Claude said...

lmao...I like that pasword stealer Robby.My message for them is this.You will never defeat my communist army.We are going to restore justice too.You will all be hanged for breaking your oaths.I will watch with a pepsi and some popcorn while they disembowel and hang you from the second flooR BALCONY(important..lolz).And ,we will laugh our asseS off while every lobbyist and lawyer not of the communist faith will be killed.End of that story though.The thing we should organize against is paying for the war.As a christian,you are obliged not to finance the killing of your brothers and sisters.We are all in this together or else it isn't worth living by any of the cool people,so.I quit my job months ago and I think all of you should quit too.I think running your own business is a good idea but working for any corporation is just a sin.We all need to save our souls or we all perish.