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March 09, 2008

Scott Horton on the US Attorney scandal you've never heard of

In his latest column, Scott Horton of Harper's exposes the machinations of loyal Bushie Alice Martin, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

Having taken over the judiciary and the governorship, Alabama Republicans are finally making their move on their State's legislative branch.

Alice Martin is doing her level best to disenfranchise Democratic state legislators in Alabama with spurious political prosecutions. Legislators who also draw salaries from two-year colleges are in Martin's cross-hairs--a predominantly black and Democratic cohort, needless to say. Just read Horton's recitation of the grim details and decide for yourselves.

The Don Siegelman case wasn't an isolated incident. Political prosecutions have become standard operating procedure in Alabama, under the direct tutelage of current and recent occupants of the White House.

I urge you all to read Horton's latest column: Alice Martin's War. It's a brave piece of reporting that will challenge any complacency you might have left about the security of democracy in the United States.

This can happen here. I would argue that a lot of the shenanigans that have been going on in Alabama recently are aided and abetted by the self-serving myth that it can't. 


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2 year colleges are pretty valuable institutions. I know that the big universities are likely more important, but a lot of people just want to get a 2 year degree and start a job as a technician at a hospital, etc. Those jobs grease the gears of society.

If the teachers and professors at those institutions can't run for office and keep their job, won't either the quality of the teaching or the quality of the legislature decline? This assumes that the winners of the elections are the ones who can best represent their district, and that the current professors are also qualified for their positions.

Ah, I read the link from Scott Horton's article. They're also investigating economic development contracts. Contracting can be a source of corruption, and they have one conviction already.

As far as closing a loophole and saying that legislators can't contract with 2 year universities - that's still a bridge too far.

"This can happen here."

Can, does and will. I don't hear any indications from either the Clinton or Obama camps that criminals like Martin have anything to fear from them, and the latter don't seem very concerned about it themselves. All of which tells me the slide towards dictatorship the Bush administration began these last eight years is not going to be arrested regardless of who occupies the White House next year.

Complacency about our democracy I don't have. It's utter, abject despondency.

Let's take it as a given that Martin's targeting the Democratic legislators is a partisan political act. Is there any independent evidence regarding whether the community college system of Alabama is corrupt, regularly rewarding politically connected insiders with questionable payments?

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