U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) has long tried to align himself with Barack Obama. So it is ironic that Davis' thoughtless comments in a book about Obama might have derailed any hopes the congressman had of being elected Alabama's governor in 2010.
Quotes in Gwen Ifill's The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama reveal Davis to be a calculating politician who cares more about his career arc than matters of right and wrong. And they indicate that Davis' high-profile service on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee was done mostly for show rather than from a genuine desire to get to the bottom of the apparent politicization of the U.S. Justice Department under George W. Bush.
Perhaps most disturbing is the indication that Davis isn't remotely interested in ensuring that wrongdoers in the Bush administration are held accountable.
As someone who has suffered greatly because of Republican goons associated with the Bush DOJ, I find Davis' words patently offensive. And from where I sit, it appears that Davis has spent so much time in the rarefied air of Washington, D.C., that he's lost all sense of how public corruption harms real people--not to mention our very democracy.
It's hard to determine which of Davis' statements is most offensive. But here are two that jump out to me:
* He expects most Alabamians to ignore the Siegelman "controversy"--Let's see, Congressman, let's consider other issues Alabamians are likely to ignore: global warming, war crimes, gun violence, Middle East unrest, income disparity, growing rates of obesity and infant mortality, regressive taxation, an antiquated and racist constitution, insufficient funding of basic state services . . . we could go on and on. But you get the idea; Alabamians ignore a lot of issues. Does that mean none of them are worthy of your attention? Have you ever heard of leadership, of trying to education the public about issues that should be important to them? And by the way, the Siegelman case is not a "controversy." The alleged transaction between Siegelman and Richard Scrushy was not a bribe under the law, the judge gave the jury unlawful instructions, and the whole charade was orchestrated by Karl Rove, Bill Canary and other GOP goons to imprison a Democrat they could not beat at the ballot box. Evidence, public documents, and sworn statements show that there is nothing "controversial" about the Siegelman case; he was railroaded, simple as that. The only controversy is whether congressmen like you are going to make a serious attempt to get at the truth.
* He is counting on the Siegelman case to "fade away" well before 2010--Is Davis serious? The Siegelman case is the best known example of political prosecution, but it is hardly the only one. The Paul Minor case in Mississippi, the Georgia Thompson case in Wisconsin, and Cyril Wecht case in Pennsylvania are among many others. And that doesn't even get into the Bush administration's firings of nine U.S. attorneys for political reasons. The Siegelman case is part of a much larger criminal pattern that cannot possibly be resolved well before 2010. Is your solution to public wrongs to hope they "fade away," Congressman? Should Americans hope that memories of Watergate fade away? Should Jews let memories of the Holocaust fade away? Was Martin Luther King driven by a desire to see that wrongs committed against blacks would "fade away?" Your shallowness and self-centeredness is sickening at a time when Barack Obama is trying to bring real change to America, to appeal to our better natures, to hold government and individuals accountable. You apparently just appeal to what is convenient and expedient--for you.
By the way, what's with this statement that you "barely know" Don Siegelman? Are you so desperate to win favor with white conservative voters that you will sell out one of the state's most popular Democrats? Don't think that's a smart track toward gaining your party's nomination for governor.
And what does it matter that you "barely know" Don Siegelman? How is that relevant? Crimes committed by Bush officials only matter if the victim is someone you know well?
I imagine you don't know Huntsville defense contractor Alex Latifi at all. But prosecutors under the direction of Bush goon Alice Martin intentionally ruined his prosperous business with a bogus investigation, apparently because Mr. Latifi is of Iranian descent and a supporter of the Democratic Party. Does the pain Mr. Latifi has suffered matter to you? What about his employees who have been put out of work because of Alice Martin? Do they matter?
You certainly don't know me and my wife, Mrs. Schnauzer. But it might be interesting for you to meet with us, so we could show you what we've experienced from our efforts to expose corruption in Alabama state courts and tie it in with the larger Bush DOJ story. Here are just a few things we could show you:
* A copy of the case file in which a neighbor with a lengthy criminal record filed a lawsuit against me that was so bogus it had to be dismissed in a few months time. The file would show you how Republican judges in Shelby County repeatedly made unlawful rulings to keep the case going, costing us and taxpayers thousands of dollars.
* A copy of the disciplinary history of William E. Swatek, the attorney who filed the bogus lawsuit. Swatek has a 30-year history of unethical actions, including a suspension of his license, but Alabama judges protect him like fine china. Why? Because his son, Dax Swatek, is a GOP "consultant" with ties to Bill Canary and Karl Rove.
* A copy of the bogus sheriff's deed Bill Swatek had placed on our house in an effort to stop me from blogging about GOP corruption in Alabama.
* Copies of numerous anonymous threats I've received on my blog, including one specifically threatening my job at UAB.
* Documents that I was unlawfully terminated at UAB, and it was driven by pressure from Alabama GOP powerbrokers.
* A copy of our credit history before these legal problems began and copies of the charming communications we now receive from third-party debt buyers because our lives' savings have been essentially stolen by corrupt lawyers and judges in Alabama.
This is just a small portion of what we could show you. It would illustrate what can happen to real people when they stand up to the corrupt Bushies who have turned our justice system into a political weapon.
But you probably aren't interested, are you? Your weak attempt at an explanation in today's Birmingham News falls terribly flat with me. You say you want to avoid any confusion over your views on "an important matter." If the matter is so important, why do you want it to fade away?
I agree that Ifill's book is "insightful"--very insightful on what you are really all about.
Don Siegelman has repeatedly said his case is not just about him. It is about a broken justice system that can harm any citizen. "If they can do this to me, as former governor of the state, they can do it to you," Siegelman has said.
That's not just a theoretical statement here at Legal Schnauzer. We know from firsthand experience that Siegelman is right on target.
So Congressman, what about the regular people whose lives have been brought to the edge of ruin by a corrupt Justice Department? Do they matter to you? Or do you hope we will fade away?
Do you have the spine required to actually lead the people of Alabama? Doesn't look like it at this point.
Here's an idea: If you get tired of serving in Congress and can't earn the governorship, why don't you try to become president of UAB. The university's current leaders take their directions from the Bill Canary/Bob Riley/Alice Martin axis of evil.
Heck, the University of Alabama System's chancellor, Malcolm Portera, is a prominent member of Canary's Business Council of Alabama. Based on the testimony of Republican whistleblower Jill Simpson, Canary has turned the BCA into little more than a criminal syndicate. But does that concern Portera? Nah.
UAB's leaders have proven they have no conscience, and your statements to Gwen Ifill indicate you don't have much of a conscience either. You should fit right in with the UAB crowd.