Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Death Threats And Corruption In Alabama's GOP Primary


Robert Johnson can make all Alabamans proud; Bill Johnson is another sleazy Republican bottom feeder

Before you start getting all sentimental about Bill Johnson, one of the Republican hopefuls for the party's Alabama gubernatorial nomination, let me remind you that he's a right-wing extremist who thinks any woman who gets an abortion should serve time in prison (as should the doctor who performs the constitutionally protected procedure). The other 6 Republicans in the race also are fanatically anti-choice and the two Democrats-- Ron Sparks and Artur Davis-- won't say how they feel about it. Johnson goes further than some of the other Republicans by calling for a constitutional amendment that prohibits abortion even if it means life or death for the mother or the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, which is a far bigger problem in Alabama than in most states. Get the picture?

Johnson, a former member of Governor Bob Riley's cabinet-- he headed the Department of Economic and Community Affairs for the past six years-- blew the whistle on Riley for being in cahoots with Jack Abramoff and accepted $13 million in bribes and payoffs from the Choctaw Indians, Now that this is touching the entire GOP leadership in Alabama, Johnson has been getting a series of death threats.

Yesterday, Alabama blog Legal Schnauzer gives the threats a look over in the murky context of Alabama Republican politics and finds the whole thing pretty par for the course.
Just ask Alabama attorney Jill Simpson, a former Republican operative who revealed a GOP conspiracy to initiate a political prosecution against former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman. In the weeks and months after her revelations, Simpson experienced a mysterious house fire and saw her vehicle run off the road.

I've called the GOP tactics financial terrorism. And I've experienced them personally. I've received more threatening anonymous comments on my blog than I can count. And they have not been idle threats.

After a February 2008 post about connections between U.S. Attorney Alice Martin and Alabama GOP political consultant Dax Swatek, we received an anonymous comment: "Nut case, yours is comong (sic)."

After an April 2008 post, we received an anonymous comment claiming that I was blogging at work, and my employer, UAB, needed to be notified. On the date in question, I was taking a vacation day, so I was not blogging at work--then or any other time.

Roughly a month later, I was fired at UAB, after 19 years on the job, amid vague allegations that I was blogging at work. For the record, UAB's own IT expert testified at my grievance hearing that those allegations were not true. But did someone with GOP political ties get in the ears of UAB leaders and pressure them to unlawfully fire me? Sure looks that way. And evidence suggests it was all because I was writing a blog that was critical of the Bush Justice Department and it's handling of various political prosecutions, including the Siegelman case.

If I can't quite get all that sympathetic for someone who feels a woman raped and impregnated by her grandpa needs to carry the pregnancy to term, Jill Simpson says she is very worried for Johnson. "He bravely spoke out about Alabama Republican corruption and now has received a death threat. I know what that is like. It is my belief that the DOJ should give him and others protection from this gang of thugs, but as of yet, have not done so... I take the threat to him very seriously and hope law enforcement does as well. I once was proud to be a Republican, but these actions sadden me. Then again, you only have to look at the current leadership to understand these are thugs, not Republicans." There must be some fine point I'm missing in that distinction!



At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alabamans might be proud of Robert Johnson, but he's in fact from Mississippi.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Thanks! His birth was a longtime mystery although now it's generally accepted that he was born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi in either 1911 or '12 and lived in Tennessee, Arkansas and in Robinsonville (Mississippi)-- everywhere in the area except Alabama. I must have mixed him up with Jimmy Buffett or Sun Ra.


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