The Alabama case is a microcosm of the Bush Imperium at almost every level: financial corruption, subversion of the law, rampant deceit and abuse of process -- and a cowed, co-opted press to help bury the government's wrongdoing. Siegelman is facing up to 30 years in prison for charges which were so transparently false that they had earlier been dismissed, with prejudice, by an honest judge. But Rove and his operatives merely shopped the case around to a more compliant judge -- one riddled with the kind of flagrant conflicts-of-interest that are meat and drink to the Bushist crowd.
But Siegelman -- whose conviction will doubtless be appealed and almost certainly overturned at some point -- is by no means the only victim in this caper. Dana Simpson, a Republican lawyer who had been a staunch opponent of Siegelman, was so disgusted at the backroom court-rigging by Rove's gang that she filed a sworn affadavit revealing the set-up. The reaction to her "disloyalty" to the Bush gang has been severe. As Horton tells it:
She’s been smeared as “crazy” and as a “disgruntled contract bidder.” And something nastier: after her intention to speak became known, Simpson’s house was burned to the ground, and her car was driven off the road and totaled. Clearly, there are some very powerful people in Alabama who feel threatened...However, those who have dismissed Simpson are in for a very rude surprise. Her affidavit stands up on every point, and there is substantial evidence which will corroborate its details.
As Horton notes, the Siegelman case is just one of many instances of a wide-ranging scheme to turn the federal courts into a political arm of the Bush Faction. As more evidence of this Stalinist-style perversion becomes known, we will doubtless see more rough treatment like that doled out to Dana Simpson, and not just in relation to the court-perversion operation. As the Bush gang's tenure in office nears its end, the frantic thugs will face the possibility of prosecution for a number of high crimes, and they will resort increasingly to physical intimidation to cow or silence witnesses.
Does that sound far-fetched? Then consider this: at every single point, the Bush Administration's depradations have turned out to be even worse than originally thought. For example, the "bad apples" of the "incident" at Abu Ghraib turned out to be the products of a deliberate, knowing, thorough-going, worldwide system of torture formally created and officially approved by the White House itself. The "investigation" of 9/11 -- which had to be forced on the Bush gang in the first place -- turned out to be an ludicrous whitewash, directed by a close colleague of Condi Rice who later went on the State Department payroll. The "shaky evidence" for launching a war of aggression against Iraq turned out to be a pack of falsehoods that were known to be falsehoods by the war's perpetrators, just as the "unforeseen chaos" that erupted in the wake of the invasion turned out to have been predicted beforehand with remarkable precision by government agencies. The illegal wiretaps on "foreign terrorists" turned out to be part of a secret nationwide system of domestic espionage that has caught untold millions of innocent Americans in its web. The "routine firing" of a few federal attorneys turned out to be the tip of a vast iceberg of legal and judicial corruption. The "all clear" on deadly chemicals at Ground Zero in the days following 9/11 turns out to have been a deliberate deceit that has already killed many selfless rescue and reconstruction workers, and will kill many more in the years to come.
Given all this (which still just barely scratches the surface), can anyone seriously doubt that we will see more house-burnings, more car wrecks -- and worse -- from these two-bit Borgias in their bloodstained twilight?
You should read the whole piece by Horton (on Harper's "No Comment" blog) -- a wonderful essay that ranges far and deep, from Atticus Finch to the Scottsboro Boys to the letters of Cicero, to set the filthy corruption of Rove and Bush in its full and proper context. ***