Saturday, November 17, 2007

What Country Are We Living In?

In Stalin's Soviet Union, in Hussein's Iraq, in Franco's Spain, in Hitler's Germany, and in many third world countries, citizens were afraid to speak against their government, because they would be arrested and imprisoned. There might be a trial, but it would certainly not be fair, because it was with their judges and their rules. We call these citizen's "political prisoners", because they did not commit a crime - they were imprisoned for their political beliefs.

In America, we are horrified by these dictators, and we're so glad we live in a country where that never happens. But we would be wrong, because there are political prisoners in America - and Mississippi - right now!

I am not joking, and I am not exaggerating. This is really happening, and it is heartbreaking to the victims and their families. I am going to tell you about only one such victim, but there are many more. The evidence and the facts are out there for anyone to read – and are listed at the end of this article.

See these little angels? Two days after Christmas, their granddaddy will become a political prisoner. How old will they be when he sees them again?



See this woman? She was a public school teacher with a Masters Degree, until she had to retire on disability. She has multiple sclerosis. Now she's about to lose her life partner and helpmate. She depends on him to take care of her, since she is unable to do for herself. On their 36th anniversary, her husband has to report to a federal penitentiary. What will happen to her?

Who is this man? He's a fairly normal, average man with kids and grandkids. He lives in Gulfport, where he's an Elder in the Presbyterian Church - and even taught Sunday school. He's a lawyer, and like most lawyers in a small town, he practiced general law, and he's had several local legal positions, like Family Law Master. He's not a big time, wealthy trial lawyer, but he's been able to provide a decent living for his family.

In what seemed to be an appropriate career move, he decided to run for Chancery Judge, where a good deal of his law practice took place. Chancery Court does not deal in criminal law and does not have jury trials. It typically deals with family law, corporations, real estate, etc. It generally decides issues and rights, not guilt or innocence. He had to borrow money from a bank for his campaign. A lawyer friend guaranteed that loan for him. He got elected and was doing what he thought was a good job, and he liked what he was doing. Then a nightmare descended out of the blue on him and his family.

Curl up in front of your computer, while I tell you a long, convoluted, and very scary story.

The main goal of the Republican takeover of America was to make the country "friendly" to large, wealthy corporations; in particular insurance, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and of course, oil. They basically want to take the country back to the age of the Robber Barons, when corporations were free to do whatever they wanted. Since the people benefiting from this were a very small part of the population, they had to court enough citizens to win elections. By giving the conservative Christians whatever they wanted and by appealing to racism, they were able to win elections without hurting their major goal at all.

They still had two problems to address. One was there were still enough Democrats around to make their dismantling of regulations a little more difficult. But far more significant was that the legal system of our country was (shock, shock) still protecting people. So they began their very successful attack on the legal system.

One of Karl Rove's first successes was to take over the Alabama Supreme Court. It worked so well, they moved to other states - Mississippi being one of the first. They hated Mississippi. This was where a lowly State Attorney General and his merry band of trial lawyers brought the vaunted Tobacco Companies to their knees big time - and cost them billions of dollars. Not only that, but the merry band of trial attorneys got wealthy in their endeavor and gave huge contributions to the dangerous Democratics. To really rub salt in the wound, their very expensive campaign in 2000 to take over the Mississippi Supreme Court failed, due largely to the contributions of those same trial attorneys.

Well, these are macho men, and they could not take this sitting down. This meant war! They had to teach Mississippi a lesson! In order to do that, they would have to break a few laws. But hey, laws are for the little people – they don’t apply to the important people like them.

So Karl Rove et al just sicced the FBI and Justice Department on evil Mississippi. (These agencies used to belong to the American people, but not any longer.) Suddenly swarms of FBI agents were in Mississippi going through the campaign records of the aforementioned Supreme Court campaigns. The biggest contributor to these campaigns was one Dickie Scruggs. However, this particular lawyer was declared off limits. For one thing he was a BIG time contributor to Bush/Cheney ($250,000!) and he was the brother in law of the Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, Trent Lott. Sorry, boys – keep your hands off our guy. One of the FBI Agents that objected to this was suddenly transferred to Guatemala. Bet he learned his lesson!

So instead they decided to pick on Paul Minor. He was a major contributor to Democratic candidates and causes, and he fought like a banchee against the corporate takeover of the Mississippi Supreme Court. This guy was even a founder of a group that provided free legal assistance to the poor and colored folk. How more subversive could he be? They decided he was the perfect poster boy for the evil trial attorney. Now they just had to find some crime he committed.

Oh, goodie, he loaned money to Oliver Diaz for his campaign, one of the winning judges on the Supreme Court whom they hated anyway. Surely that’s against the law. Sorry, but not in Mississippi – it’s perfectly legal. (By the way, Diaz was a Republican. However, he didn’t render decisions friendly to corporations, so too bad about him.)

Fortunately, Washington had a very compliant US Attorney to prosecute the case. Remember that the U S Justice Department had a secret list of US Attorneys that it intended to fire because they weren’t prosecuting Democrats, like a good little US Attorney is supposed to do. Well, guess who was originally on this list? Mississippi US Attorney Dunn Lampton! Lampton may be a Republican, but he ain’t stupid – and he sure isn’t ethical. He must have said to himself, I’d better find me a Democrat to prosecute real quick, or I’ll be out of a job. Of course, the fact that he had a gazillion conflicts of interest with the defendants didn’t bother him in the least. Remember, the law means nothing to these guys.

So Lampton conjured up these unbelievably ridiculous charges against Diaz – so ridiculous that they had to include his ex wife in order for them to remotely look plausible. He also found himself a nice obediant Judge, Henry Wingate, who was trying desperately to get Bush to appoint him to a higher court.

Since the case against Diaz was so incredibly weak, they added a couple of other judges just to be on the safe side. They added a Circuit Judge (John Whitfield) and a Chancery Judge (Wes Teel). These guys must have wondered what the hell they did to deserve this! Really nothing would have attracted them to the prosecution. They were simply a means of getting to Minor, since they accepted perfectly legal campaign loans from him.

In the meantime, the Knight in Shining Armor, Haley Barbour (one of the major architects of the Republican takeover in Washington) polished off his forgotten Southern drawl and rode back to his home state to rescue it from these evil devils, the trial attorneys. Of course, all those big corporations, who stood to lose billions more if something wasn’t done, sent BIG bucks to Sir Haley, their ol’ buddy who had also gotten quite wealthy representing these corporations as a lobbyist in Washington.

Just as Sir Haley arrived for his gubernatorial campaign, our political victims were under heavy attack from local media, with information leaked from “sources close to the investigation”. Of course, it’s against the law to leak grand jury information. But remember, the law means nothing to these guys. These leaks not only helped Sir Haley’s campaign, but they made everyone think these poor victims were corrupt criminals, which always helps with potential jurors. It sure worked with me. I admit I thought they were guilty, until just recently.

Conveniently just 90 days before Sir Haley’s election, with great fanfare, Lampton announced the indictments of our five political victims: The target Paul Minor; the judges Diaz, Whitfield, and Teel; and Diaz’s poor former wife.

Mission Accomplished! Sir Haley was crowned King of Mississippi. Remember this was a close election and undoubtedly would have turned out differently without all these illegal shenanigans. In addition, donations to Democrats from Mississippi trial attorneys disappeared, giving Republicans a huge financial advantage that exists to this day – and resulted in their control of the Supreme Court. In the old America, you didn’t have to risk going to jail just because you supported a political candidate. No longer true in Mississippi.

Diaz was acquitted in his first trial, so Lampton quickly filed new charges against him. He was acquitted again and has returned to the Supreme Court. Jennifer Diaz settled out of court – she wasn’t going through this nightmare. The first trial for the other three resulted in a hung jury. Lampton is batting zero about now and sweating bullets.

Not to worry. Lampton and his judge just changed the rules. A magic wand was waived, and the evidence that seemed to help the defendants in the first trial, wasn’t allowed in the second trial. Remember the law means nothing to these guys. This time the three remaining victims (Minor, Whitfield, and Teel) were convicted and sent to prison.

The pictures at the beginning of this article are the family of Judge Wes Teel. He has committed no crimes. He was one of many, many candidates that Paul Minor legally helped. He gave him nothing in return – the evidence proves that. Judge Teel and his codefendants are just victims of a Justice Department run amok. They are political prisoners, pure and simple.

These men will eventually be cleared, but it will take years. In the meantime, who will take care of Judge Teel’s wife?

This is a scary story, because the United States Justice Department is imprisoning innocent citizens for purely political reasons, and quieting political dissent through fear. I’ve just told you about Mississippi, but it’s happening all across the country, in Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin – the list keeps growing.

Is this America, or one of those dictatorships? What country are we living in?

If you want to help, contact the U S House Judiciary, which is holding hearings on this attack on our country’s values – and they may be the only ones powerful enough to bring justice to these political prisoners.

UPDATE: Maybe Dunn Lampton is stupid after all. Word is he's trumping up more charges on Diaz. Unbelievable!

References:
Judge Wes Teel’s personal blog
Mississippi Corruption in the Spotlight: article in The Natchez Blog
55 articles by Roger Shuler on his blog Legal Schnauzer
Scott Horton’s column No Comment in Harper’s Magazine:
Alabama Case: 41 articles

Cross posted at Cottonmouth Blog

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

One must remember that the Republican Party is the most evil organization in the United States. This is just one of many assaults on democracy by the Bush White House. Keep in mind that society as envisioned by Republicans is not one of democracy and equality, but feudalism.

Bush, Chaney and Rumsfeld should be taken to the Hague in leg irons for their assaults on the values Western civilization hold sacred. These three miscreants are responsible for launching a war that is illegal under international law, violation of the Geneva Conventions, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and over three thousand U.S. Soldiers. Add to that the fact that they have violated the U.S. Constitution, they should also be hung for treason.

Bush's presidency has been a reign of blood and terror.

Anonymous said...

Y'all are nuts!!!

After reading this diatribe I'm kinda missing the days of reading about DNA on blue dresses! BWAH!

Casey Ann said...

I'm afraid we're not nuts. Like it or not, it's the truth. There's a small percentage of people (getting smaller all the time) who still support the President, but most have been forced to face reality.

Anonymous said...

Casey- I agree with you 100%...what are we becoming in a country that was built on individual freedoms when people are villified for exercising their freedom of speech against the current administration? In the south, you are considered a traitor, unAmerican, and un patriotic if you dare question Bush's Iraq policy. Look at the Dixie Chicks...death threats? WoW! I have started to believe that maybe this guy is a reincarnation of Adolph Hitler except Hitler at least appeared to be reasonably intelligent. Bush is a puppet of a much more highly developed machine. Sounds like some bad fiction, right? Well, its fiction that's come to life.

Anonymous said...

When you limited your information sources to the Jackson Free Press and the NY Times that explains alot about yourselve. A good starting point would be last Wednesday's WSJ on Hood, Scuggs, and Moore and real corruption.

Casey Ann said...

You nonthinking Republicans always amaze me.

First, since you can't rebut anything I've said, you attack - and then change the subject.

Secondly, your definition of corruption is awfully strange. Our Attorney General has gone to bat for the homeowners of the State who were victimized once by Katrina and then again by their insurance companies. Surprise, the insurance companies sues. This is corruption? Hardly.

Corruption is when you subvert the US Department of Justice for political purposes and throw innocent people in jail.

One day you'll learn.

Anonymous said...

How can you expect freedom and democracy from an administration run by a President that was never elected in the first place? Bush was appointed President. His 2004 victory cannot be considered valid because he was never elected to begin with. Justice cannot be based on injustice.

Anonymous said...

And just who do conservatives believe to be valid sources for news and information? Fox News? Bill O'Reilly? Sean Hannity? Ann Coulter? Rush Limbaugh? Or maybe Peter Rinaldi suits them better? The complaint about Casey's sources are ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully there will be changes in the Bush Justice Department with a new attorney general. Not only the FBI, but the Secret Service has been politicized by this administration also, being used to keep protesters away from presidential appearances.

Anonymous said...

This is indeed the "Imperial Presidency", to quote Noam Chomsky.

Wes said...

I know a litle bit about Casey Ann's subject matter. Trust me, she got it right. It is hard for ordinary people to imagine that such enormous plots of evil purportion can take place in the halls of our own government.

We simply do not wish to believe such wrongdoing can take place.

Did you ever hear of Watergate? The Teapot Dome Scandal? Poor old President Grant's corrupt administration? Did you ?

The salient point of the US Attorney scandal and our case is that no political party once in power should use the terrible power of the criminal justice system to destroy its political opponents.

Should the Democrats gain the White House in 2008 it will be just as wrong to attack their political oppopnents by recklessely indicting them for political gain.

Political batttles should be fought at the ballot box - not in the jury box.

Believe me, I know.

Anonymous said...

Let's see...after reviewing the election polls from this site it is obvious most of the regular posters/readers aren't in the majority. I'm still waiting for Casey Ann to come back and make her comments following the election. And I quote...
"I'll be back after the election to brag and eat crow." Casey Ann 10/31/07 (Yep...Halloween. How appropriate!)

Yep...nuts!!! BWAH!

Casey Ann said...

I did it on Election Day. http://natchezms.blogspot.com/2007/11/i-blew-it-big-time.html

And we're still not nuts.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that Republican bloggers cannot refute any of the facts of this case, but only reply with hysterical diatribes. Not that one expects more from a political party with a "don't confuse me with facts" approach to issues.

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:12,
If you will look at polls taken over the last two years, you will see that Bush supporters are the minority. If anything, opposing W is just piling on.

Anonymous said...

Well I am a republican (normally) And I have read several variations of this story. I have to say it is probably largely true.

I am sure both sides fight dirty - dirty tricks and intimidation is used by both sides (The Clinton White house were rather talented in this regard) The Republicans are keen to make inroads into MS politics Haley is a master tactician and very powerful. He was determined to beat Musgrove (Who I did vote for in 1999 - because Parker was a total Moron)

I have been on the wrong side of the MS Republican Party - they are very well funded and have excellent resources - Having seen first hand what "dirt" they found on a candidate daring to run against their Republican I find this story rather plausible.

I though don't think the Republican Party is the most evil organization in the USA. I worry that both sides are so determined to win that they flout bend or break the Law.

This could develop into a major scandal - time will tell.

Anonymous said...

the Republican party rules and will continue to flourish and grow. It will not be long until the democrats are null and void. praise the lawd.

Casey Ann said...

And what other fantasies do you have?