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The memory of a beloved pet inspires one couple's fight against injustice.

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    U.S. Judge R. David Proctor
    U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor is violating black-letter law from two circuits in an apparent effort to ensure we do not receive justice for the police beating, arrest, and five-month incarceration I endured in Shelby County, Alabama -- a case that was so off-the-charts unlawful it received national and international news coverage. Proctor is trying to execute his chicanery by concocting a term, and an idea, that does not exist under the law.

    Perhaps Proctor deserves high marks for creativity. But when it comes to ethics, and his willingness to uphold the law (as he took an oath to do), he is an abject failure.

    We've shown that Proctor cited a case from the Seventh Circuit -- Bryan v. Johnson, 821 F. 2d 455 (7th Cir., 1987) -- in an effort to keep the court from issuing summonses and effecting service, as it is required by law to do for in forma pauperis (IFP) litigants, a status for which two judges (including Proctor) have found we are qualified.

    Bryan, of course, is not controlling law in the Eleventh Circuit, which covers Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. But we have found Eleventh Circuit law that is based largely on Bryan and reaches the same conclusion. The case is styled Herrick v. Collins, 914 F. 2d 228, (11th Cir., 1990), and its key finding is as follows:

    “We hold, accordingly, that when the district court has granted an in forma pauperis motion and required payment of a partial filing fee, the court MUST issue the summons.”

    Proctor granted our IFP motion and required us to pay a partial filing fee, which we did. Is there any excuse then for him to get it wrong on simple law from his own circuit? I can't think of one.

    Here is how Proctor screwed up -- and it almost certainly was not accidental. He coined the phrase "partial IFP status" to support his claim that we were not entitled to have court-issued service. There is no such status, under the law; you either are IFP, with no obligation to pay fees, or you are IFP with an obligation to pay a partial fee. Either way, you are an IFP litigant, and the court is required to issue summonses and effect service on your behalf.

    This is the third post we have published, with timely citations to law, that shows the actual law on this issue.

    What is the purpose of partial payments for some IFP parties? A case styled Irons v. Pennsylvania, 407 F. Supp. 746 (M.D., PA, 1976) explains. It also is spelled out in numerous law-journal articles.

    Partial payment plans are designed to help curb the indiscriminate filing of frivolous lawsuits `by weeding out those [actions] where it appears the plaintiff himself has some financial resources but has such a lack of good faith in his action that he is unwilling to make any contribution, however small, towards meeting its filing costs.

    What have we learned? There is no such thing as "partial IFP status." Partial IFP payments do exist, and they are designed to discourage the filing of frivolous lawsuits. Once Proctor ordered us to make a partial payment, and we paid it, we had cleared the bar for frivolous lawsuits, and the court had to complete service on our behalf. (Our Rule 60 motion challenging Proctor's rulings is embedded at the end of this post.)

    In fact, under the law, Proctor does not have authority to keep that process from happening.

    (To be continued)

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    Peyton Lacy
    An attorney in the Birmingham office of a law firm known around the country for defending employers facing discrimination lawsuits is among paying customers at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Webs site, records show.

    Peyton Lacy, who is "of counsel" at Ogletree Deakins, has 44 years of experience in labor and employment law. (Note: If a lawyer is listed under "labor and employment," that almost certainly means he defends companies that are alleged to have cheated one or more employees. If a lawyer practices "employment discrimination" law, that means he represents plaintiffs, the employees who claim to have been cheated. My research indicates that for every one employment-discrimination lawyer, there are 100 or more labor and employment lawyers. Gee, I wonder where the money is? What a balanced "justice system" we have.)

    Assuming that most companies who are accused of cheating employees actually have cheated them -- and experience tells me that probably is the case -- Peyton Lacy makes his living by defending cheaters. It should be no surprise then that his name appears at Ashley Madison, a site geared specifically for individuals who seek to cheat on their spouses.

    Ogletree Deakins is a major player on the labor law scene. It has 49 offices in 27 states and provides services in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, England, Germany, Australia, Mexico, and Canada. Its Birmingham office is downtown in the Wells Fargo Bank Building.

    Lacy's bio makes him sound like a distinguished fellow:

    He graduated with a J.D. degree from the University of Alabama in 1965, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Alabama Law Review and a member of the Farrah Order of Jurisprudence. In addition to a traditional labor law practice, Mr. Lacy defends individual and class employment litigation cases in both federal and state court, handles traditional labor law matters for employers including negotiation and arbitration, and counsels employers on preventive measures in both areas. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in 1962 and was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa.

    So, why is Lacy fooling around on Ashley Madison. We sought comment from him multiple times, but have yet to receive a reply.

    Public records show that, as of 2008, Lacy was married to Dorothy Gartrell and they lived at 421 Old Brook Circle in north Shelby County. It's not clear if that union still is intact, but Ms. Gartrell apparently has been involved in a number of business ventures over the years.


    (1) Edgar C. Gentle III -- attorney at Gentle Turner Sexton and Harbison, Birmingham, AL (3/8/16)

    (2) Stewart Springer -- attorney, solo practice in Birmingham, AL. (3/9/16)

    (3) Richard W. "Dick" Bell -- attorney, solo practice in Birmingham, AL (3/14/16)

    (4) Robert M.N. Palmer -- attorney and bar association president in Springfield, MO (3/15/16)

    (5) Thomas Plouff -- attorney, who is licensed in Alabama and has a practice in Chicago (3/17/16)

    (9) Randy Bates -- executive VP and member of board of directors, Golden Flake (10/5/16)

    (10) Reid Carpenter -- attorney, Lightfoot Franklin White, Birmingham (10/6/16)

    (11) Scott Sink -- exec. VP, McGriff Seibels Williams, Birmingham (10/11/16)

    (12) Russell Byrne -- VP for information systems, Bromberg's, Birmingham (10/17/16)

    (13) Rob Waudby -- district manager, Skyline Steel, Birmingham (10/24/16)

    (14) Paul Wells -- VP, Protective Life, Birmingham (10/25/16)

    (15) Brian Shulman -- CEO, LTS Education Systems, Birmingham (10/26/16)

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    (From ballotpedia.org)
    Is a Missouri Democrat trying to unseat GOP incumbent Roy Blunt in the U.S. Senate by jumping in bed with social conservatives? Is Democrat Jason Kander attempting to attract rural votes, especially from farmers, by playing to their right-wing predilections on social issues? The fine print in Raise Your Hands For Kids (RYH4K), a nonprofit that Kander controls and which purports to boost child health in Missouri by raising taxes on cigarettes, indicates the answer is yes.

    That suggests those who claim to be concerned about "life" and "child health" have  formed an uneasy alliance with Big Tobacco, which probably causes more death and poor health than any other industry in America.

    The Kander Memo, a heavily sourced, 127-page document released by a group of anonymous Missouri citizens, suggests that RYH4K is a glorified political slush fund for Kander -- with $5 million coming from individual donors ($2 million) and R.J. Reynolds ($3 million), which is likely to benefit from enhanced market share and sharply increased taxes on its discount competitors. (The Kander Memo is embedded at the end of this post.)

    RYH4K's willingness to cater to right-wing groups adds another level of intrigue to the battle over Amendment 3, which will be on the November 8 ballot. An article at The Kansas City Pitch shines major light on that subject. Dated August 23, 2016, and titled "Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the country. Why does a tobacco company want to raise it?" the piece suggests the Show-Me State can produce some strange bedfellows.

    Reporter David Martin begins by interviewing Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California–San Francisco, who admits Amendment 3 has him flummoxed:

    In 1994, the Brown and Williamson tobacco company sued the California Board of Regents in an effort to keep Glantz from making public the sensitive company documents he had received from a whistleblower. The university prevailed, and Glantz and his colleagues wrote an influential Journal of the American Medical Association paper based on the documents, which showed that the tobacco industry knew nicotine was addictive and that smoking caused cancer.

    Yet even he marvels at the ballot initiative that Missouri voters will consider this fall to raise the tax on major cigarette brands by 60 cents a pack.

    Glantz has seen just about everything the tobacco industry can throw at him, but he's never seen anything like RYH4K and Amendment 3:

    The most unusual aspect of the proposal is that it’s being financed largely by a cigarette manufacturer. RAI Services Company has given more than $2.6 million to Raise Your Hand for Kids, the campaign committee leading the push for the new tax. “RAI” stands for Reynolds American Inc., the parent of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., maker of Newport, Camel and Pall Mall.

    “I’ve never seen an instance where a cigarette company went to the ballot with a tax before,” Glantz tells The Pitch.

    The tactic caught people off-guard. In February, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s editorial board described the tobacco tax initiative as a “sound proposal” and made no mention of R.J. Reynolds’ involvement. Two months later, the paper rescinded its endorsement. But in a sign of how strange this story is, the paper made its about-face for reasons other than the cigarette company’s influence.

    The Post-Dispatch, it turns out, was baffled by fine print in the RYH4K proposal. Kansas City Pitch explains:

    The size and speed of the tax increases are not the only objections to the Raise Your Hand for Kids initiative. The amendment contains several sentences restricting the money from being spent on abortion services, though public funding for abortions is already prohibited in Missouri. The amendment also states that the money can’t be used for embryonic stem-cell research.

    The insertion of the stem-cell language dismayed groups promoting scientific research in Missouri. “We were shocked,” says Dena Ladd, the executive director of the Missouri Cures Education Foundation, which worked to pass the 2006 amendment to the state constitution that protects any stem-cell research and therapy in Missouri that is legal under federal law.

    Missouri Cures and other scientific groups worry that the proposed amendment could chip away at the protections they’ve secured. Ladd tells The Pitch that her group met with the organizers of Raise Your Hand for Kids and asked them to remove the language about stem cells. They refused.

    In March, Missouri Cures announced its opposition the Raise Your Hand for Kids initiative, calling it “North Carolina–based Big Tobacco’s proposed amendment to change Missouri’s Constitution.” Missouri Cures faulted the campaign for allowing “anti-research activists,” which is to say anti-abortion rights groups, to insert the language about stem cells.

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch backed away from RYH4K when it became aware of the language regarding abortion rights and stem-cell research. It remains unclear how the language got in there, but it appears that right-wing groups pushed for it, and Kander was unwilling to stand up to them.

    That should leave Missouri voters, especially Democrats, with this question: "Does Jason Kander stand for much of anything, other than getting elected?"

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    (From cbc.ca)
    Legal Schnauzer's coverage of the Ashley Madison story, which has been more extensive and specific than that of any other U.S. news site, is about to take a twist. And it's one we did not see coming.

    Our research of Ashley Madison data shows that two high-powered female attorneys, both from one of the most prominent law firms in downtown Birmingham, have husbands who have cheated on them -- or tried to cheat on them -- via the notorious extramarital-affairs Web site.

    For what firm do the women work? Why, it's our old "pals" at Bradley Arant, the folks who took millions in state dollars to supposedly fight gambling under corrupt former GOP governor Bob Riley.

    In an additional touch of irony, one of the women is married to a fellow lawyer, also employed at a downtown Birmingham firm. I guess you call that a case of "intramural cheating (or attempted cheating). The other female lawyer is married to a high-ranking executive at a Birmingham-based business.

    The women work at Bradley Arant, which has taken millions of public dollars in recent years. Also, Bradley Arant has represented sleazy businessman Ted Rollins, who has built student housing at four public universities in Alabama and used our corrupt courts to unleash a monstrous cheat job on his ex wife Sherry Carroll Rollins and their two daughters, Sarah and Emma.

    Ironically, a female lawyer named Dawn Sharff has been one of Ted Rollins prime representatives at Bradley Arant. Neither Ms. Sharff, nor anyone else at Bradley Arant, has shown any sign that she cares when one of her revenue-generating clients leaves his ex wife and daughters almost destitute for years.

    Wouldn't it be ironic if Dawn Sharff, one of Ted Rollins chief henchpersons, proved to be one of the Bradley Arant lawyers with a little trouble on the home front? Hmmm.

    In essence, Bradley Arant has shown it has no respect for women outside the firm. Now we are about to show that certain husbands have no respect for their wives, who work inside the firm. Put another way, a couple of the firm's female lawyers are about to be exposed as victims of the "Ashley Madison culture," which seeks to make money by making it easy for men to cheat on their wives.

    This story should be of interest to all Alabama taxpayers. After all, Bradley Arant has shown a tendency to use our public infrastructure to feather its own nest -- or the nests of its hyper-wealthy clients. Now, in a sense, the feathers are about to come home to roost.

    Details are coming soon here at Legal Schnauzer. Meanwhile, we can ponder this question: Do the female lawyers of Bradley Arant know their husbands have been trying to cheat on them, or will that news come as a bit of a jolt?

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    David Shuler
    Have you ever had someone say or write something about you that was so vile and nasty -- and disconnected from the truth -- that you wondered if the person had experienced a psychological break with reality? Have you ever wondered why such a person would hold such ill will, when you've done nothing to cause it?

    My experience with such behavior came from my brother, attorney David Shuler of Springfield, Missouri. And he did not communicate the ugly stuff to me directly -- or to someone we both know or are related to. Nope, he put it in a letter to a judge, just one day before a hearing here in Missouri on landlord Trent Cowherd's efforts to unlawfully evict my wife, Carol, and me.

    That means my brother's letter, expressing ill will toward me that I can't begin to explain, is part of the court file. And that means it is a public record that anyone can see. With that in mind, I'm going to make it available here for anyone to see. (Full letter is embedded at the end of this post.)

    Amazingly, my brother states in the letter that he intends to work on behalf of landlord Trent Cowherd -- and against Carol and me. David gives no indication that he's going to do anything on behalf of his supposed client -- our mother, Gondy Shuler, whom Cowherd wrongfully sued because she was co-signer on our lease. Evidence strongly suggests that David wanted Cowherd to sue our mother so he would have an excuse to be involved in the case and help work against Carol and me. Cowherd immediately dropped its claim against our mother once the eviction was complete.

    How low can a family member go to stab you in the back? I can't imagine how one could go any lower than my brother already has gone.

    Because my brother's letter was part of a court case, it goes way beyond one sibling expressing distaste, disgust, resentment, jealousy, etc. with another sibling. The letter, addressed to Judge Kelly Halford Rose, was blatantly prejudicial and likely played a major role in the eviction that resulted in one deputy pointing an assault rifle at my head and another breaking Carol's arm. It also was an ex parte communication that never should have been in the record and probably violates Missouri bar rules.

    During the eviction hearing, I moved for Rose to recuse herself due to the prejudicial letter. As I expected, she denied the motion -- harrumphing and striking her best self-righteous pose.

    Let's go over a few key sections of the letter. You can decide for yourself if it was likely to be prejudicial for the judge to whom it was addressed. You also might ask yourself this question: What on earth was David Shuler thinking when he wrote this, and why does he hold such obvious resentment toward his brother? (Note: I asked David at least three times, maybe four, to serve me with a copy of the letter; as a party to the case, I was entitled to a service copy. He never sent me one, so I got my own copy. If he was proud of his handiwork, why didn't he want to share it? Or is it possible he didn't think I would discover the letter?)

    Here is the opening paragraph:

    Dear Judge Halford:
    I am writing regarding the above referenced case. Roger Shuler is my brother who has been estranged from my family for approximately 25 years. Recently, a family friend helped him relocate to the Missouri area. Unfortunately, my 85 year old mother made the mistake of agreeing to co-sign a lease for Roger with Trent Cowherd Construction. She agreed to pay his moving expenses and his rent for thirteen months to help him get back on his feet. She never dreamed that Roger Shuler would then refuse to pay his rent and/or vacate the property.

    Let's interject a few facts here:

    (1) I've not been estranged from my family for 25 years; my family has been estranged from me. In 1992, three years after Carol and I had been married, my mother let me know via a phone conversation that Carol "wasn't raised like me" and that "Carol was trying to come between me and my family." I responded by saying that Carol and I had taken five trips as a couple -- one was our honeymoon to Destin, Florida, and the other four were to Springfield, MO, to visit my family. If Carol was trying to "come between me and my family," she sure had a funny way of doing it --agreeing to go on four round trips of more than 1,000 miles each. I had never heard Carol say anything unkind about anyone in my family and her actions told me she thoroughly enjoyed each of our trips to the Midwest. (Note: My mother's curious statements came not long after she and my father, and maybe David, had visited us in Birmingham. It was a political year, and I said something to the effect that I thought it was interesting a guy from Arkansas [Bill Clinton] could become president, given that many of our relatives, including my mother, are from Arkansas, and the state generally has been seen as a backwater with little influence on the national scene. My mother said one of my brothers certainly would not be voting for Clinton because of the abortion-rights issue. I said that was fine with me, but Carol and I supported Clinton and abortion rights. I thought that was the end of it, no problem, but I now think culture-war politics played a large role in our family split. Of course, David mentions none of that in his letter to the judge. He gives the impression that I'm 100 percent responsible for any estrangement.) For the record, I hoped for years that we would receive a genuine apology and life would go on -- with an extended family I had always thought was pretty good. When it became clear no apology was forthcoming, we stayed in touch somewhat with the Missouri side of the family, but we made no more trips to the Midwest. That was my decision, not Carol's. I didn't want to subject her to an ugly environment, and I thought we could do better things with our time.

    Judge Kelly H. Rose
    (2) I never refused to pay rent or vacate the property. Rather, Carol and I were planning to actually follow the lease, which called for it to go month-to-month at the end of 13 months, with us picking up the rent payments. Before that could happen, we got a notice to vacate attached to our door. When I called the Cowherd office to inquire about it, I was told we got the notice because we had failed to sign a new lease, in our name, now that the co-signer wanted off the agreement. I asked the woman on the other end of the line if she could point to a provision in the lease that required us to sign a new lease, even though we already had one. She couldn't point to such a provision, because there wasn't one, but she then said they were unilaterally invoking their right not to rent to us and force us out -- on a whim, you might say. But this was contrary to what she had just told me -- that they wanted us out because we were determined to follow the actual language of the lease -- not something they were pulling out of their fannies. Ultimately, the woman said Cowherd was going to take legal action to force us out, whether we paid the rent or not (and that is contrary to Missouri law). In other words, I didn't "refuse" to pay the rent; I didn't pay it because the landlord told me not to pay, citing grounds that were not in the lease. I captured this conversation on audiotape and entered it into the public record, so there is no doubt about what really happened. A Cowherd representative admitted on the stand there was no provision in the rental agreement that would require us to sign a new lease, acknowledging they were violating the contract we had with them.

    Here is a second section of my brother's letter, and this one makes me wonder if he actually went to law school -- of if he learned anything while he was there:

    My purpose in writing this letter is to let you know that I intend to appear on behalf of my mother. Gondolyn Shuler intends to cooperate with the Petititioner (Trent Cowherd) in the matter and assist in any way to help them regain possession of the rental property currently occupied by Mr. Shuler.

    I've read this probably a dozen times or so, and it still blows my mind. What do we learn?

    (1) Landlord Trent Cowherd is suing my mother, Gondy Shuler, but she is going to "assist them in any way to help them regain possession of the rental property." How often does a person sue you, and you vow to help them -- against your own son. What kind of mother do I have? I don't have an answer to that question anymore.

    (2) David Shuler is admitting that he has no reason to represent Gondy Shuler. His entire goal is to help Trent Cowherd, doing his best to hurt Carol and me in the process.

    I don't claim to be an expert on legal ethics, but this sounds real close to a fraud on the court. David Shuler's role in the case was to represent his client, Gondy Shuler, but it's clear his real goal was to help Trent Cowherd.

    Gee, I can't understand why I have a hard time trusting anything my brother or mother might say these days.

    I did confront my brother via e-mail about his letter, and you might find his response interesting. We will address that in an upcoming post. For now, here is the full letter:

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
    Your IP : - Country : - City:
    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!
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    What happens when a politician thinks a scandal has blown over, and he more or less has gotten away with certain unsavory acts? If Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is an indicator, he becomes an insufferable, arrogant prick. Given Merrill's close ties to former Governor Bob Riley and his son, Rob "Uday" Riley, it's quite possible that Merrill was an insufferable, arrogant prick all along.

    Merrill removed all doubt this week when his comments in a documentary about American barriers to ballot access came to light.  Numerous states have approved, or are considering, plans to allow all eligible citizens to automatically be registered to vote. But Merrill snorts and ruffles his feathers when presented with such ideas, calling them the “sorry and lazy way out.” (See video above.)

    Speaking of "sorry," Merrill seems to have forgotten the ugly extramarital affair in his not-too-distant past. We, however, have not forgotten reports from multiple sources that Merrill has "issues" in Huntsville. We have the name of a person and a business in Huntsville with interesting "ties" to Merrill, and we are very close to having that story nailed down for publication.

    Merrill is not in a great position to play the "holier than thou" card on ballot access -- or any other issue -- but he did it anyway in the documentary interview. From an article at Think Progress by Kira Lerner:

    Five states have approved plans to allow all eligible citizens to automatically be registered to vote, unless they opt-out, and dozens more are considering following suit.

    But Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) opposes such a practice, calling it the “sorry and lazy way out.”

    “I don’t think that just because your birthday comes around, you should be registered to vote,” he said in an interview with Brian Jenkins, the director of a documentary about America’s various barriers to ballot access.

    Merrill, a Republican, then starts harrumphing and claiming such plans cheapen the work of civil-rights icons like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks:

    “These people fought — some of them were beaten, some of them were killed — because of their desire to ensure that everybody that wanted to had the right to register to vote and participate in the process,” he said.
    “I’m not going to cheapen the work they did, I’m not going to embarrass them by allowing somebody that’s too sorry to get up off their rear end to go register to vote… because they think they deserve the right because they’ve turned 18,” he continued, growing angry.

    It's nice to see that Merrill can make value judgments about others, given revelations in early 2015 about his own extramarital affair.  The right-wing mainstream press did its best to keep the story under wraps, but we broke it here on January 29, 2015. Merrill ultimately went to al.com to shoo the problem away by offering some of the most preposterous excuses in the history of straying spouses.

    Al.com columnist Kyle Whitmire admitted he had court documents prior to the 2014 election that provided details about an extramarital affair involving an unnamed politician. A deposition from a divorce case in Tuscaloosa Circuit Court styled Bryan Scott Brinyark v. Mildred Murphree Brinyark revealed the politician to be Merrill -- and it's possible he never would have been elected Secretary of State, and his political career would have been over, had Whitmire not taken the deposition and "stuck it away."

    Keep in mind that Merrill is not just any old Alabama politico. He's made it clear that he considers himself to be gubernatorial timber, and with his ties to the Riley Machine, he likely has the backing to make a serious run for it. In fact, Merrill probably was posturing for an upcoming governor's race -- playing to his right-wing base and their race-based fears -- when he became indignant during the interview about voting access. From Think Progress:

    In the interview, Merrill also compared automatic registration to giving everyone on a sports team a trophy for participation. “You only get a trophy if you win,” he said emphatically.

    “Just because you turned 18 doesn’t give you the right to do anything,” he continued. “I think it’s the sorry, lazy way out, and it shows no initiative.”

    When the interviewer points out that voters still have to take the initiative to go to a polling place to cast a ballot, Merrill adds that he’s not “attracted to lazy people, or sorry people, or people that don’t want to get involved.”

    “If you’re too sorry and lazy to get up off of your rear and to go register to vote, or to register electronically, and then to go vote, then you don’t deserve that privilege,” he said.

    Court documents show that Merrill certainly was willing to "get off his rear" and "take the initiative" when it came to Millie Brinyark. In fact, it's clear he was "attracted" to her and found her to be quite the "trophy." Consider these statements from Ms. Brinyark's deposition regarding one interaction with Merrill: (A section of the deposition is embedded at the end of this post.)

    A: John came to talk to me, and he came again and talked to me, and then I met with him that Sunday afternoon, and he had--he had been very sexual in his conversations and -- 
    Q: Toward you? 
    A: Yes. 
    Q: In an inappropriate manner? 
    A: Yes. 
    Q: In what way? 
    A: Just he talked about he had to have sex all the time and -- 
    Q: He wanted to have it with you? 
    A: Uh-huh.

    Ms. Brinyark then provides plenty of details on how physical things became:

    Q: Did he touch, caress, and/or kiss your breasts?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Did you do the same for him?
    A: Yes.
    Q: So you touched his unexposed penis?
    A: Yes.
    Q. And did either one of y'all have oral sex with the other?
    A: Yes.
    Q: How many times?
    A: Just once.
    Q: Both for each other?
    A: No.
    Q: Him for you--did he commit or perform oral sex on you?
    A: No.
    Q: You performed oral sex on him?
    A: Yes.

    This is not the kind of information that appears at Merrill's bio on the Secretary of State Web site. Instead, you get this kind of thing, from one of our posts on the scandal:

    During the 2014 campaign, Merrill was a favorite of the pro-business and religious communities, picking up endorsements from the Business Council of Alabama (led by Bill Canary), Alabama Conservative Christians, the National Rifle Association, Alabama Farmers Federation, and the Alabama Association of Realtors. . . . 
    Merrill's official biography at the Secretary of State Web site says he is a deacon at Calvary Baptist Church and has served as a Sunday School teacher.

    How did Merrill sweep the Brinyark scandal under the rug? He went to his pals at the al.com, met with four "journalists" and fessed up -- sort of.  He admitted to having an extramarital "sexual encounter," but denied receiving oral sex. (Try not to laugh when you read that last sentence -- or the following, from Legal Schnauzer.)

    In a sworn deposition, defendant Millie Brinyark provided graphic details about a sexually charged relationship with the married Merrill. In an interview with four al.com journalists on Tuesday (Feb. 3), Merrill supported much of Brinyark's testimony, primarily denying that he received oral sex and that he was the sexual aggressor.

    According to al.com, Merrill claims to be the victim of a "smear campaign" by unnamed individuals who widely circulated portions of the deposition to the press, politicians, members of his church, and others. How can it be a smear campaign when it involves public documents, about testimony that Merrill largely admits is true? The al.com journalists apparently did not ask Merrill that question.

    John Merrill apparently thinks Alabamians are stupid enough to believe a woman would admit, under oath, to providing him with oral sex when she really hadn't.

    Merrill also seems to think the Brinyark scandal is neatly tucked away. It isn't -- and neither are his "issues" in Huntsville, which could break at any moment.

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    R. David Proctor
    A federal judge who is trying to block our rights as in forma pauperis (IFP) litigants to have the court effect service in a civil-rights lawsuit is acting beyond his authority. U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor, in a case involving my unlawful incarceration in Shelby County, Alabama, also is unlawfully trying to hold us, as pro se litigants (representing ourselves), to the same standards imposed upon lawyers.

    Those are two more reasons, of about a half dozen or more, that Proctor's actions in what we call "The Jail Case" (Shuler, et al v. Duke, et al) are unlawful -- and they have forced us to waste time and judicial resources to seek review with the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. It's a classic illustration that many federal judges do not give a rip about wasting the taxpayer funds that support their cushy existence. (Links to previous posts in this series are at the end this post.)

    Why is Proctor acting outside his authority? In so many words, a judge cannot lawfully do much in a case where defendants have not been served. Without service, The Jail Case essentially has not started and Proctor has no authority over defendants. That means Proctor largely should stay out of it until the clerk's office has completed service on our behalf, as it is required to do for IFP litigants. But Proctor has stepped way beyond his authority to block the clerk's office from completing service.

    Proctor has taken several proper steps in our case: He has granted IFP status, required us to pay a partial filing fee of $200 (which we timely paid), and in so doing, found that our claims were not frivolous. That's pretty much where his authority ends at this point in the litigation. An article at Fordham Law Review spells this out:

    "Section 1915(c) . . .  directs officers of the court to issue summons when an IFP complaint is filed, and to serve process for IFP plaintiffs. Neither the Rules nor the IFP statute vests a judge with discretion to intervene at this stage of the pleadings to determine whether the clerk may issue a summons." Thus, courts reason that under the postfiling delayed dismissal approach an IFP complaint may not be dismissed before issuance of process.

    Anyone with sixth-grade reading skills should be able to comprehend this. A judge has no "discretion to intervene at this stage," and an "IFP complaint may not be dismissed before issuance of process." Does Proctor have sub-par reading skills? I doubt that. He simply is trying to cheat us, and he's quite transparent about what he is doing.

    Proctor even resorts to a juvenile mindset as part of his con game. He repeatedly has called us "frequent filers," which he apparently considers a clever reference to the fact we have been involved in several federal cases. Specifically, he uses this sobriquet in an apparent attempt to hold us to the same standards as an attorney, or a party represented by an attorney. Is this lawful? No, it is not -- as spelled out in a case styled Kilgo v. Ricks 983 F.2d 189 (11th Cir. 1993):

    As already noted, Kilgo (a state prisoner) evidently has tried to comply with the district court's orders to complete these forms, but gave up in despair. It may be that Kilgo despaired too easily, but a district court which holds pro se litigants to the same standards as trained practitioners may end up routinely rejecting meritorious claims for failure to prosecute. This course we cannot approve. Unless the court is willing to guide pro se litigants through the obstacle course it has set up, or to allow them to skip some of the less substantive obstacles, it should not erect unnecessary procedural barriers which many pro se litigants will have great difficulty surmounting without the assistance of counsel.

    I might know more about legal procedure than most folks, but this is the first time we have dealt with the in forma pauperis process. Despite that, our research indicates we have have gotten it right, suggesting we know more about the process than does Proctor.

    The Kilgo case also helps illustrate that Proctor unjustly dismissed our case because of alleged delays on our end. In fact, Proctor himself caused the delays by interjecting himself at a stage where he has no authority. But either way, Kilgo makes it clear that Proctor acted unlawfully:

    Mere delay will not suffice; "[a] finding of such extreme circumstances necessary to support the sanction of dismissal must, at a minimum, be based on evidence of willful delay; simple negligence does not warrant dismissal."

    Proctor has proven that he is a glorified con man wearing a robe. As part of our effort to have the Eleventh Circuit correct his mistakes, we will seek to have Proctor removed from the case.


    Proctor creates bogus legal terms in civil-rights case (Nov. 1, 2016)

    Proctor abuses "pauperis" law (Oct. 31, 2016)

    Proctor tramples law that governs treatment of indigent litigants (Oct. 27, 2016)

    Fighting back in federal court against unlawful incarceration and wrongful foreclosure (Oct. 25, 2016)

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    James Dixon
    (From facebook.co
    A managing director at one of the nation's oldest and largest privately owned financial-services companies is among paying customers at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, records show.

    James Dixon has been at Sterne Agee for 22 years. Stifel Financial Services acquired Sterne Agee in June 2015, and Dixon became managing director, Southeast Region, for Stifel. His title might soon change because Stifel is set to sell Sterne Agee to INTL FCStone Inc., a financial services company with roots in commodities. The sale affects about 600 independent reps and advisers.

    Sterne Agee is going through turbulent times, but it has a storied history. From the firm's LinkedIn page:

    Founded in 1901, Sterne Agee is one of the oldest and largest privately owned financial services firms in the nation. Through a team of over 2,000 financial professionals, Sterne Agee offers comprehensive wealth management and investment services to a diverse client base including corporations, municipalities and individual investors. The Firm maintains custody of nearly $26 billion in client assets and has offices nationwide, as well as an office in London.

    Dixon has a significant stake in that history, and images from his Facebook page indicate the affiliation with Sterne Agee has helped him secure an enviable lifestyle. Rita Dixon, James' wife, has a Facebook page that also features images suggesting an upper-class lifestyle.

    Rita Dixon (right) and friends
    (From facebook.com)

    They have two sons, and the family lives at 11 Clarendon Road in Mountain Brook, one of the Birmingham area's most desirable locations. Property records show the house is valued at more than $962,000, but our guess is that the actual sales price would be well north of $1 million.

    With all of that going for him, why would James Dixon fool around on Ashley Madison? We don't know because he has not responded to our requests for comment.


    (1) Edgar C. Gentle III -- attorney at Gentle Turner Sexton and Harbison, Birmingham, AL (3/8/16)

    (2) Stewart Springer -- attorney, solo practice in Birmingham, AL. (3/9/16)

    (3) Richard W. "Dick" Bell -- attorney, solo practice in Birmingham, AL (3/14/16)

    (4) Robert M.N. Palmer -- attorney and bar association president in Springfield, MO (3/15/16)

    (5) Thomas Plouff -- attorney, who is licensed in Alabama and has a practice in Chicago (3/17/16)

    (9) Randy Bates -- executive VP and member of board of directors, Golden Flake (10/5/16)

    (10) Reid Carpenter -- attorney, Lightfoot Franklin White, Birmingham (10/6/16)

    (11) Scott Sink -- exec. VP, McGriff Seibels Williams, Birmingham (10/11/16)

    (12) Russell Byrne -- VP for information systems, Bromberg's, Birmingham (10/17/16)

    (13) Rob Waudby -- district manager, Skyline Steel, Birmingham (10/24/16)

    (14) Paul Wells -- VP, Protective Life, Birmingham (10/25/16)

    (15) Brian Shulman -- CEO, LTS Education Systems, Birmingham (10/26/16)

    (16) Peyton Lacy -- attorney, Ogletree Deakins, Birmingham (11/1/16)

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    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
    Americans will go to the polls today -- finally -- after what many experts have called the most bizarre and sophomoric campaign in U.S. history. (That last description, in my view, is an insult to sophomores everywhere.) Who could have imagined one year ago that candidates in a nationally televised debate would compare the supposed correlation between hand size and penis size in men? Who could have imagined that a candidate would be caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, and his poll numbers actually have improved since then? Who could have imagined that one of the two major parties would put forth a candidate who won mainly because he was better than anyone else at lobbing verbal spitballs, a skill most of us perfect in the third grade and then go on to more productive pursuits -- like making fart sounds with our armpits?

    Hillary Clinton, the only remotely qualified candidate running, is expected to win the presidency -- and let's pray to God she does, or we are likely to wake up soon to an American many of us don't recognize, and I don't mean that in a good way. Clinton, in fact, probably has the most solid credentials (on paper) of any candidate since George H. W. Bush, and yet Donald Trump -- whose only qualification is that he makes for compelling reality TV -- is turning it into a real race, according to most polls.

    That reminds us you could call this "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly campaign," with emphasis on the last two categories. And yes, Clint Eastwood piped up just the other day to say something ignorant about politics. (How could a man who has directed and acted in so many top-notch motion pictures, be such a political putz? How could a man known for going almost entire movies without saying a word now open his yap regularly to reveal that, in terms of national governance, he makes you root for the serial killers in those old Dirty Harry movies?)

    With Eastwood in mind, let's consider three lessons that likely are to come from this election -- and they all involve the South:

    The Ugly

    I've probably said this on the blog before, but it bears repeating: Alabama has the most unrealized potential of any state in the country. It has extraordinary beauty, with majestic mountains to the north and the Gulf of Mexico (with some of the world's most gorgeous beaches) to the south; it has ample natural resources, from coal to fertile crop land to stunning rivers and streams (plus an ocean, did we mention an ocean?); it's got one of the nation's most prime locations, roughly between New Orleans to the south, Memphis to the west, Nashville to the north, Atlanta to the east, and Jacksonville/Tampa/Orlando/Miami to the south.

    So why does Alabama rank in the bottom 10 of almost every quality-of-life survey taken in the past 30 to 40 years? Why does Alabama rank high when it's good to rank low, and low when it's good to rank high? Only one answer comes to mind -- Alabama is home to too many stupid people.

    To be fair, Alabama is home to some of the finest, brightest people I've known. But they seem to be offset by yahoos who jump out from behind every magnolia and pine tree at voting time. That's how we end up with a former Speaker of the House, former chief justice of the Supreme Court, and a governor (who hopefully will be former soon) who have been convicted, suspended, and investigated for a variety of improper/unlawful acts. And that doesn't even count the most corrupt former official in the modern era -- Governor Bob Riley, with assistance from his son, Rob "Uday" Riley.

    Some polls have shown that Alabama is likely to go stronger for Trump than any other state. The "thinking" among many in "The Heart of Dixie" seems to be; "He's the most unqualified and dangerous presidential candidate in American history -- with ties to Russia that make even me nervous -- but he plays to my white nationalistic pride, so by God, he's my man!"

    Historians will spend years trying to figure out how any individual American could vote for Donald Trump -- and how any state could go for him overwhelmingly. Look for historians to be spending a lot of time on the back roads of Alabama, posing a question that has only one answer: Alabama would be one of our top 10 states in all meaningful categories, except it is home to a disproportionate share of stupid people; that's why Donald Trump will cruise to victory there today.

    The Bad

    A report just four days ago shows that we have 868 fewer polling places since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in a June 2013 case called Shelby County v. Holder. Almost half of counties that once had to approve voting changes with the federal government have cut polling places.

    The Shelby County in the court case's title is in Alabama. In fact, it's the place my wife, Carol, and I called home for roughly 25 years -- until deputies beat me and threw me in jail and forced us into a bogus foreclosure, all because I unmasked legal and political corruption on this blog. Yes, I was thrown in jail for blogging -- a story that always made my fellow inmates howl with laughter -- but that's the kind of place Shelby County can be. Just south of Birmingham, it generally is considered the fastest growing county in the state, and one of the fastest growing in the country. But its government base is in a backwoods town called Columbiana, and it is so right-leaning that many local elections don't have a single Democratic candidate.

    Shelby County is the place where white nationalism and race-based political fears have come to thrive. It's also the place where almost all white officials -- and many white residents -- cannot tell (or even see) the truth, no matter the circumstances. For example, veteran Shelby County attorney Frank "Butch" Ellis (or his surrogates) argued key provisions of the Voting Rights Act no longer were needed because people in places like Shelby County had grown up enough to finally eat at the adults table come election time, giving everyone a fair chance to vote for the candidate of their choice. Butch Ellis, unfortunately, has family ties to the segregationist Dixiecrats of the late 1940s and notoriously racist Birmingham public safety commissioner Bull Connor.

    No one should be surprised that Ellis' words were a lie. It's clear now the goal was to suppress voting opportunities, especially for minorities. From an article at The Nation, focusing largely on Texas:
    Texas has closed more than 400 polling places, more than any other state in the study. “Almost half of all Texas counties in our sample closed polling places since Shelby, resulting in 403 fewer voting locations for the 2016 election than in past years,” according to the Leadership Conference.

    Medina County, a heavily Republican area in South Texas, closed a polling place in the town of Natalia, which is 75 percent Latino and the only Democratic-leaning part of the county. “We’ve had a polling place for at least the last six decades,” Emilio Flores, a local activist and registered Republican, told me. When Flores asked the county elections administrator, Patricia Barton, how low-income and disabled Latino voters were supposed to vote without a polling place in their town, he said she told him, “If you think it’s such a big issue, why don’t you shuttle them yourself?” Last week the county commission approved a polling place in Natalia for Election Day after local activists like Flores raised alarms, but Medina County will have only eight polling places in 2016, down from 14 in 2012.

    That clearly is the result right-wingers in Shelby County, Alabama, wanted. It might be the most important issue to come out of the 2016 election, and it likely will require Congressional action to override the U.S. Supreme Court. Butch Ellis and his ilk have proven they still have the mindset of children when it comes to voting rights.

    The Good

    Could the GOP's stranglehold on the South be loosening? A report yesterday from ThinkProgresssuggests the answer is yes -- and the right-wing's vice-like grip might even take a slight hit today.

    Demographic shifts -- especially in North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas -- indicate the South might be moving, oh so slowly, to the political left, or at least toward the center. ThinkProgress notes that Barack Obama and his supporters had to wait almost two days in 2008 to learn they had held off John McCain in North Carolina, by less than half a percentage point.

    In 2012, Obama lost the South by a resounding 7 points. Hillary Clinton heads into today's elections trailing in polls by 1 point across the region. From ThinkProgress:

    Now, in the final days of the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are virtually tied in North Carolina. But what began as a “moment” has, since the 2008 race, matured into a movement.Trump still has an overall lead in the South, but his polling advantage is shockingly slim compared to those of prior Republican candidates. Whereas Obama lost the region by a solid seven points in 2012, Clinton is behind by just a single percentage point, and conservative states long thought to be GOP strongholds are now securely in the “toss-up” column.

    Naysayers will dismiss this year as a fluke, brought on by the unprecedented weakness of the current Republican nominee. But although Trump’s unpopularity has no doubt helped to put more of the South in play, deeper structural forces are also driving the region’s political evolution. Demographic trends and grassroots organizing have been nudging the South left for years. The same forces that turned Virginia into a reliably Democratic state and delivered North Carolina to Barack Obama in 2008 carried then-Texas State Senator Wendy Davis through a now legendary 11 hour abortion rights filibuster in 2013.They also drove scores of Southern racial justice activists to rally against white-on-black violence; in Charlotte, North Carolina, following the killing of a black man by police, and in Charleston, South Carolina, after the murder of black churchgoers by a white supremacist.

    As dreadful as this election season has been -- and it's been plenty dreadful -- perhaps it will bring positive change in its wake. Perhaps Congress will reinstate the guts of the Voting Rights Act that were decimated by Shelby v. Holder. Perhaps today's results will add to the signs that the GOP no longer holds a complete lock on the South.

    It's clearly too much to ask that Alabama lead any kind of progressive change in the South. But North Carolina, Georgia, or Texas might do it; if just one of them goes blue, that would signal progress -- and maybe it will be the kind that not even James Comey and his dubious FBI can stop.

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    Trump victory speech
    (From cnn.com)
    As America wakes this morning to the grim reality that Donald Trump is our president-elect, many probably are wondering if yesterday was just a bad dream. Others are connected enough to reality that they have thought of fleeing to Canada -- in numbers large enough last night to shut down the Web site for the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) service.

    Here in Middle America, in what serves as the Schnauzer household for now, two overriding questions come to mind:

    (1) Can the election results be trusted, and did Hillary Clinton really lose?

    (2) Is the rest of the country about to get a taste of the sort of institutional abuse my wife, Carol, and I have been experiencing for roughly 16 years?

    The answer to question No. 1, in my view, is no. Vice News published an article yesterday morning titled "How To Hack An Election: Six Things to Watch for on Election Day." It set the stage for the atmosphere surrounding the 2016 election for months:

    Fear of cybersecurity threats has plagued the 2016 presidential election since June when the Democratic National Committee site was hacked, with the U.S. government later determining the culprits were associated with Russian intelligence. Since then, a steady trickle of leaked emails, large-scale attacks, and escalating (if vague) threats of cyberwarfare between the U.S. and Russia have cast a shadow over November 8, and beyond. WikiLeaks dumped more than 8,000 new emails hacked from the DNC Sunday night, less than 48 hours before Election Day.

    This is from a late October CNN article titled "Vladimir Putin Is Trying To Hack The Election. What should U.S. Do?"

    In a tight race, cyber bad actors don't need to disrupt everything. They just need to hit a few counties in Pennsylvania or Florida, two big battleground states that use electronic voting but in some precincts do not use verifiable paper audit trails to confirm results.

    Pennsylvania and Florida are not alone. Thirteen other states lack paper audit trails in either all or some voting locations. . . .

    Finally, the US government needs to start attributing election-related breaches as quickly as possible unless there is a compelling intelligence reason not to. For months, the Russian government's election hacking was the worst-kept secret in Washington; everyone knew it, but the White House refused to acknowledge it. This sends all the wrong signals, emboldening bad actors to do more tomorrow than they did today.

    Officials at the highest levels in Washington knew Putin and Co. were trying to break into our house -- and we did not have a halfway decent lock on the door.

    The Vice News article spells out six prime scenarios for hacking a U.S. election. Maybe it's my journalism background on overdrive, but this one jumps out to me:

    Hacking the Associated Press

    Remember when the Syrian Electronic Army hacked AP’s Twitter account and claimed the White House was under attack and briefly wiped $140 billion off the S and P 500? Well, now imagine something similar happening on Tuesday.

    The Associated Press is the media outlet which all others rely on when calling the election results. Covering over 3,000 county election centers, AP has an unrivaled insight into election results and plays a critical role in the way election results are reported.

    But, aside from getting its social media accounts hacked, how else could AP be vulnerable to an attack?

    F-Secure’s Sean Sullivan found that AP’s Vote Count website, where clerks enter the numbers reported by stringers, was publicly available and not behind any sort of DDoS mitigation service. With access, hackers could enter false results that could temporarily spread misinformation throughout the country.

    Were those accurate numbers that Wolf Blitzer, John King, and the like were reading to you last night? In today's world of digital chicanery, the answer is "not necessarily."

    As for question No. 2, it's hard for anyone other than Carol and me to grasp what we've been through during the 16-year legal nightmare described in this blog. But here are some of the realities of Life in SchnauzerWorld:

    * The justice system is unreliable, with judges routinely issuing orders that run contrary to law -- and lawyers, who have a professional duty to report such malfeasance, refusing to report it. In other words, the U.S. Constitution means nothing, and rights that supposedly are federally guaranteed are routinely trampled;

    * The workplace becomes the site of fear, intimidation, and false charges. Both you and your spouse are cheated out of your jobs, based on allegations that have no connection to reality. Naturally, you have no union, and no coworker is about to stand up for you. Given your age, with a bogus termination on your record, you not only have lost a job, but a career -- with almost no hope of ever gaining comparable employment. And once you have a baseless arrest and conviction on your record, and your credit rating has been ruined, you have almost no chance of landing any job; (See item below.)

    * Law enforcement becomes your enemy, arresting a journalist (me) for the "crime" of blogging and sending me to jail for five months, even attempting multiple times to arrest my wife. Evidence shows I was the one being beaten up by cops, but I am charged with "resisting arrest" and convicted. The law says you can't be convicted for "resisting" an arrest that was unlawful in the first place, but the law doesn't apply in this new reality;

    * Law enforcement becomes a physical menace -- beating you up inside your own home and dousing you with pepper spray, all with no sign or mention of a warrant, no criminal charge of any kind. This happens in one state (which went for Trump yesterday), then later in another state (which also went for Trump) officers burst into your apartment for an "eviction," which by law was stayed because we had timely filed a Notice of Appeal, and you and your wife have multiple assault weapons and pistols pointed at you. Ultimately, three officers surround your wife, slam her violently to the ground, yank on her arms, put her in handcuffs, and take her to jail -- where someone notices her arms are purple; she is taken to a nearby hospital, where X-rays show her left arm has been snapped in two so severely that it will require trauma surgery; and

    * Financial systems become riddled with corruption, featuring bogus foreclosures, where your home of 25 years can be stolen out from underneath you for political reasons. Is your financial information available to prying eyes? Probably, yes.

    In a Trump presidency -- given the obvious signs that he is a sociopath, a narcissist, and a hypersensitive blowhard -- life likely will be much like this for an alarming number of Americans. In fact, U.S. life in general might become worse than anything we've experienced.

    No wonder some folks are looking for the first train to Canada.

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
    Your IP : - Country : - City:
    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!
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    From emaze.com
    If you don't find it possible that Russian hackers tampered with U.S. election results on behalf of Vladimir Putin -- and I find it both possible and likely -- you probably have to face a grim reality here on our shores: Race relations in America are way worse than many of us thought.

    A considerable amount of election analysis suggests the presidential contest was more than a race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton -- it was a referendum on the eight years of our first black president, Barack Obama. If that's the case, the resulting picture is not pretty.

    Throughout election night, on any television network, analysts and number crunchers kept saying "rural counties" (comprised of mostly white people) were going for Trump. It didn't matter if the state in questions was Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, or other -- white country folks were turning out in droves for Trump.

    This is not breaking news in a normal presidential election -- in fact, I kept thinking, "Are they rehashing numbers from Bush v. Kerry in 2004?" But this hardly was a normal election. Republicans, in their primaries, had chosen Trump, probably the most unqualified, poorly suited presidential candidate in American history. And the notion that a New York City-based billionaire developer understood the problems of country white folks -- or was capable of doing anything about them -- was laughable.

    So why were they turning out in mass to support Trump? Part of the answer might come from a commentary at The Guardianby Thomas Frank (author of What's the Matter With Kansas? and other insightful works). Consider these words from Frank:

    What happened on Tuesday is a disaster, both for liberalism and for the world. As President Trump goes about settling scores with his former rivals, picking fights with other countries, and unleashing his special deportation police on this group and that, we will all soon have cause to regret his ascension to the presidential throne. 
    What we need to focus on now is the obvious question: what the hell went wrong? What species of cluelessness guided our Democratic leaders as they went about losing what they told us was the most important election of our lifetimes? Start at the top. Why, oh why, did it have to be Hillary Clinton? 
    Yes, she has an impressive resume; yes, she worked hard on the campaign trail. But she was exactly the wrong candidate for this angry, populist moment. An insider when the country was screaming for an outsider. A technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine.

    Frank was taking the "Hillary Clinton was the wrong candidate" road, which I don't necessarily agree with. After all, Democratic primary voters chose her over three other candidates, so it's not like someone handed her the nomination; she earned it, as did Trump. Clinton, according to all reasonable analysis, wiped the floor with Trump in all three presidential debates. Plus, if Russian hackers determined the outcome for Trump, any Democrat was doomed.

    But let's consider that last sentence above, the one highlight in yellow, from Thomas Frank. Why would the country want "to take a sledgehammer to the machine"? That phrase points directly at Obama and rural racism.

    It's beyond debate that Obama inherited a shipwreck from George W. Bush, and slowly guided America back to a more prosperous path. Can life still be tough in farm country? I'm sure it can, but I'm not aware of much (or any) evidence that suggests Obama is to blame for that. If anything, he has kept things from being even worse than they would have been under John McCain and Mitt Romney.

    So it makes no sense for white country folks to turn out in droves to support Donald Trump -- unless the thought that a black man had resided at the White House for eight years was too much for their racist hearts to bear, and they weren't about to support Hillary Clinton, who had been appointed to a key cabinet post under Obama.

    Josh Moon, of Alabama Political Reporter,put it in the most blunt terms I've seen: Writes Moon:

    The third reason Trump won is America is filled with racists.

    I don’t care if you don’t want to hear it. It’s true.

    Since the election of President Obama in 2008, the growth of race-based hate groups has exploded. The hateful rhetoric surrounding racial discussions is at an all-time high, and much of that is due to the very purposeful division of this country by conservative groups.

    They have spent the last eight years convincing many of those stupid white people I mentioned above that Obama was plotting to steal their hard earned money and turn it over to the black people so they can buy spinning rims and lobster with food stamps. Through Fox News, dozens of fake-news websites and hundreds of conservative talking heads on radio, they have spread a message of fear and anger to a group of people who took the bait and swallowed it.

    It’s so bad that a good chunk of this country believe that crime rates are up (they’re down drastically), murder rates are at all-time highs (also down) and that cops are being shot by black “thugs” at record rates (also down).

    The misplaced anger from these gullible racists was evident at Trump rallies, and he stoked it.

    That’s why it was so easy for his followers to dismiss his crass comments about women, to look the other way when nude photos of his wife from a magazine shoot hit the media, to ignore his admitted ignorance of world affairs, to be unconcerned that he wouldn’t turn over his tax returns to support his grand claims of business successes and to belittle any attempt to point out Trump’s toddler-like temperament in every setting.

    They didn’t care. They could only see the anger.

    I would like to find something wrong about Moon's analysis, but I can't disagree with a word. I'm here in Missouri, where I grew up, and I'm told a family member has made it a habit of referring to Michelle Obama as a "man" and a "gorilla." Guess what. He's white and lives out in the sticks.

    I guess it's easier for me to think (hope?) Russian hackers interfered with our election. That can be investigated and perhaps corrected -- although I have no idea how.

    To think white country folks voted for a carnival barker like Donald Trump, simply to repudiate a mostly successful president because of his black skin . . . well, I'm not sure that problem ever will be corrected.

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    R. David Proctor
    What is U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor trying to accomplish by denying service by the court, which is required by law for indigent parties such as Carol and me, in a civil-rights lawsuit we've brought over my unlawful incarceration in Shelby County, Alabama? Experience has taught us that it is hard to think along with a corrupt mind. But legal research allows us to make an educated guess about Proctor's motives.

    Proctor likely is trying to force us to re-file our case so that it now can be dismissed as untimely, outside the statute of limitations. That will allow him to protect certain defendants (fellow U.S. Judge William H. "Bill" Pryor, GOP operative Rob Riley, etc.) from discovery and a possible trial on the merits, which is likely to yield all sorts of ugly truths about GOP elites in Alabama.

    How does this work? Proctor dismissed our case "without prejudice," meaning it can be re-filed (on the same issues) as a new case. Some might say, "Well, just re-file it and get on with things." But it's not that easy. Our original complaint clearly was filed within the two-year statute of limitations -- on March 26, 2016, exactly two years after my release from jail. Proctor has no way, under the law, to sweep that case under the rug as "untimely."

    But he stepped in to cut off service by the court, even though he already had taken action to show the claims were not frivolous and required us to pay a $200 partial filing fee. Once Proctor had taken those actions, he no longer had authority over the case, until the court had issued summonses, conducted service on our behalf, and allowed defendants to file answers.

    Proctor stepped in and exercised his authority anyway, acting as if the law governing such situations does not exist. What is the law when you re-file a case that has been dismissed without prejudice? It's not easy to provide an answer to that one because the law is less than straightforward, tossing out a number of "ifs, ands, and buts."

    A case styled Stein v. Reynolds Securities Inc. 667 F. 2d 33 (11th Cir., 1982), however, suggests a re-filed complaint in our case would be outside the statute of limitations. From Stein:

    Stein contends that the period of limitations was tolled by the filing of his initial suit in 1976, despite the fact that the district court subsequently dismissed this action for failure to prosecute. We disagree. The fact that dismissal of an earlier suit was without prejudice does not authorize a subsequent suit brought outside of the otherwise binding period of limitations.

    The finding in Stein strongly suggests that Proctor is acting unlawfully to force us to re-file a complaint that will be outside the limitations period. To be sure, some fairly complicated case law suggests a re-filed complaint might be timely in our case. This leads to some fairly arcane legal questions, such as: (1) Would our re-filed complaint "relate back" to the original filing? (2) Would the limitations period in our case be "equitably tolled"?

    A sufficient answer to these two questions would make this post unwieldy and much too long. The simple answer is this: Judge Proctor has created  a hoop, out of thin air, that we should not have to jump through. And this hoop enhances the likelihood that our case will be dismissed as untimely.

    We think this explains Proctor's actions, and it provides insight into how the mind of a compromised judge works to deny justice for regular folks.

    Previously in this series:

    Proctor acts way outside his authority in wrongful-incarceration case (Nov. 7, 2016)

    Proctor creates bogus legal terms in civil-rights case (Nov. 1, 2016)

    Proctor abuses "pauperis" law (Oct. 31, 2016)

    Proctor tramples law that governs treatment of indigent litigants (Oct. 27, 2016)

    Fighting back in federal court against unlawful incarceration and wrongful foreclosure (Oct. 25, 2016)

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    Barack Obama helped lay the groundwork for
    Donald Trump's ascension to the White House
    (From mcclatchydc.com)
    What is the most important lesson Americans should take from the election debacle that now is one week old? I submit it is this: If you choose to turn a blind eye to injustice, it almost certainly will come back to bite you in the ass.

    Who taught us that lesson? Why, it was President Barack Obama himself. Democrats have spent the past seven days pointing fingers in all directions -- at Hillary Clinton, as a candidate who was too flawed to win; at moderates, who failed to get behind Bernie Sanders, a candidate who could have beaten Donald Trump; at the DNC and former chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz, who tried to stick a fork in Sanders' momentum.

    Lost in all the self-flagellation is much attention for the man who probably deserves the bulk of the blame, and that would be Obama.

    Why? Well, the Obama presidency probably was destined to end badly before it even started. That's because in January 2009, just days before his inauguration, Obama said he was going to "look forward, not backwards" regarding issues of flaming criminality during the George W. Bush administration.

    How numb-headed was that statement? New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, in a piece titled "Forgive and forget?" and dated Jan. 15, 2009, provided powerful insight. Wrote Krugman:

    During the Reagan years, the Iran-contra conspirators violated the Constitution in the name of national security. But the first President Bush pardoned the major malefactors, and when the White House finally changed hands the political and media establishment gave Bill Clinton the same advice it’s giving Mr. Obama: let sleeping scandals lie. Sure enough, the second Bush administration picked up right where the Iran-contra conspirators left off — which isn’t too surprising when you bear in mind that Mr. Bush actually hired some of those conspirators.

    Now, it’s true that a serious investigation of Bush-era abuses would make Washington an uncomfortable place, both for those who abused power and those who acted as their enablers or apologists. And these people have a lot of friends. But the price of protecting their comfort would be high: If we whitewash the abuses of the past eight years, we’ll guarantee that they will happen again.

    Meanwhile, about Mr. Obama: while it’s probably in his short-term political interests to forgive and forget, next week he’s going to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s not a conditional oath to be honored only when it’s convenient.

    And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make.

    How did Obama's nonsensical stance -- if it was our nation's stance to never look backwards, no crime ever would be investigated or prosecuted -- come back to bite him in the fanny? How has it led to a scenario, under an unqualified president who appears to have despotic tendencies, that could become more nightmarish than many of us can imagine? Let's spell it out in five simple steps:

    (1) A discredited GOP brand remains afloat

    A genuine investigation of the Bush administration probably would have led to dozens, maybe hundreds, of criminal convictions. The sight of Rove, Chaney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, and others heading off to prison in orange jumpsuits probably would have caused even the most heart-headed conservatives to say, "You know, I'm starting to get the feeling that reflexively voting straight GOP might not be such a good thing. Maybe I need to study up a bit, or just stay home on election day." Under that scenario, Democrats probably take back both chambers of Congress in 2012 or '14, and the 2016 presidential race is not even close -- regardless of who the general-election candidate turned out to be. And Obama gets much of his agenda passed, without obstruction from Republicans. Obama might have truly been a great president if he had not worked against his own interests by giving GOP crooks a free pass.

    (2) Inattention to justice emboldens Russian hackers

    One day after the election, Wired published a story titled "Trump's win signals open season for Russia's political hackers." It shows Russian hacks go way beyond the U.S., with at least a dozen European organizations targeted by a state-linked hacking group called Fancy Bear, or APT28, since summer 2016. From the Wired article:

    Following Donald Trump’s presidential win, and even in the weeks leading up to it, cybersecurity and foreign-policy watchers have warned that Russia’s government-sponsored hackers would be emboldened by the success of the recent string of intrusions and data dumps, including the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Security firms that analyzed the breaches, and US intelligence agencies, have both linked those attacks to the Kremlin. That Russia perceives those operations as successful, experts say, will only encourage similar hacks aimed at shifting elections and sowing distrust of political processes in Western democracies, particularly those in Europe.“What they’ll learn from this is, ‘We did it, we got away with it, we got the outcome we wanted,'” says James Lewis, a cybersecurity-focused fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This will only increase their desire to intervene.”

    Why shouldn't Russian hackers feel free to act brazenly? The U.S. did nothing about apparent domestic election theft in 2000 (Florida) and 2004 (Ohio) at the presidential level -- not to mention the likely stolen Alabama governor's race in 2002 between Republican Bob Riley and Democrat Don Siegelman. A reasonable Russian hacker must be saying to himself, perhaps at this very moment, "I have nothing to fear. Obama is a proven wuss, and his Justice Department doesn't scare me in the least." From Wired:

    Russia’s shift to bold, barely covert hacking operations has also no doubt stemmed partly from a sense of impunity. American intelligence agencies took months to publicly name the Russian government as the source of the DNC hack that came to light in July. Even then, the response has been murky: Despite Vice President Joe Biden’s assurances that the US would be “sending a message” to Putin intended to have “maximum impact,” it’s not clear if or how that counterattack happened.

    Trump’s win may now delay America’s response or reduce its efficacy. . . . Even if the Obama administration carries out its response before Trump’s inauguration, Putin may doubt that any policy of deterrence would carry over to Trump’s administration -- particularly given the fondness for Putin that Trump expressed on the campaign trail, his weak support for NATO, and the doubts Trump has publicly cast on attributing the DNC hack to Russia. After January, America’s account of grievances against Russia’s hackers could be wiped clean.

    (3) Obama appoints a partisan hack to head the FBI

    While James Comey enjoys a reputation for integrity among many politicos, an October 13, 2016, article at Salon shows many knew he was a "preening, partisan hack" from the outset. Comey's outlandish, wildly improper statements regarding the Clinton "e-mail scandal" might have alone turned the election toward Trump: From Salon:

    Liberals who lived through the ’90s and the endless Whitewater probe that went nowhere met President Barack Obama’s appointment of James Comey as director of the FBI with a primal scream of “Are you kidding me?” It was inconceivable that, just as former president Bill Clinton had foolishly appointed a Republican FBI director, Louis Freeh, who saw it as his primary duty to investigate a president he did not respect, a Democratic president was appointing a GOP lawyer to the same job 20 years later in an even more toxic political environment. . . .

    It’s not as if the Democrats were unaware that Comey’s reputation for being nonpartisan was bunk before the White House inexplicably tapped him for FBI director. He first came to public attention as the deputy special counsel for the Senate committee investigating Whitewater. In a foreshadowing of his testimony last summer, he and his committee were unable to find any criminal wrongdoing by Bill and Hillary Clinton in the Whitewater matter but nonetheless decided to issue a public report filled with aspersions and innuendo accusing the Clintons of hiding secrets and engaging in misconduct. That’s par for the GOP course with its congressional witch hunts, but beyond the pale for an FBI director.

    (4) Obama's legacy sinks in the sunset

    In the days and weeks leading to Election Day 2016, much was written about Obama's legacy. And, in fact, he had built a substantial record of achievement. As a white male (living in Alabama at the time), I'm the rare bird in my species who voted for Obama twice. And I would not take back either vote. In my view, Obama saved us from a Great Depression II -- and for that alone, he deserves our everlasting thanks. That makes his dismal record on justice issues even more difficult to swallow. And it brings sadness to think that by the end of Trump's first term, we probably will be back on the edge of another recession or depression. After all, Trumps's economic policies are nothing but refried Reaganism and George W. Bushism, and both of those led to recessions. As a number of commentators already have stated, Obama's legacy is toast, with many of his achievements set to vanish. Obama did this to himself.

    (5) Governance by organized crime

    Perhaps worst of all, Obama has left all of us vulnerable to governance by organized crime. That hits close to home because Carol and I have experienced 16 years' worth of legal miseries driven by glorified organized crime. It's become clear to us that America's court houses, law firms, and law-enforcement agencies are riddled with organized crime.

    If hackers did act on behalf of Trump, at Vladimir Putin's insistence . . . well, Putin's ties to organized crime are well known. Consider this July 2016 article from Newsweek, titled "Putin welcomes return of the Russian Mafia." From the article:

    At home and abroad, Russia’s gangsters and spooks are often closely connected. Criminals are suspected in assassinations of Chechen rebels in Turkey; Russian cybercriminals have been used to fight the Kremlin’s virtual wars in Georgia and Ukraine and to crack into German and Polish government systems; and cigarette smugglers in the Baltics appear to have been used to raise funds for Russian political influence operations.

    The traffic goes both ways too, with Russian intelligence and security officers often corrupted into working for the criminals.

    The reason for the crossover is clear: Russia is engaged in a geopolitical struggle with the West but lacks the economic and soft power of its adversary. As such, it must take advantage of covert and unconventional tactics to make up for this deficit. From this perspective, criminal networks are an obvious asset.

    Even if you take Putin out of the equation, consider Donald Trump's own ties to the mob, as portrayed in an article at billmoyers.com:

    Last December, a Good Morning America piece by the network’s investigative master Brian Ross touched on one tendril [of Trump's mob ties]: Trump’s relationship with a twice-convicted felon, the Russian émigré Felix Sater, who (along with several other felons) occupied office space in Trump Tower. On air, Ross reported that Donald Trump had testified under oath in a civil lawsuit that Sater “helped develop the Trump SoHo hotel and condominium in New York City.” Online, in a simultaneous piece co-written with Matthew Mosk, Ross noted that in 1991, Sater got into an argument with a commodities broker at the bar of a New York restaurant, smashed a margarita glass and with the broken-off stem, slashed the man in the cheek and neck, breaking his cheek and jaw, severing nerves and lacerating his face and jaw. The victim required 110 stitches. Sater was convicted of first-degree assault and sent to prison in 1993. Then, in 2000, he pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges for running a $40 million “pump and dump” stock scam and for, as Mosk and Ross wrote, “collaborating with members of four New York mob families.” Sater served no time, however, because the FBI testified at his sentencing hearing that he was “an important witness on both mob-related and national security matters.”

    Boy, sounds like "President Trump" has associated with some sweet fellows.

    Roughly two months ago, The Wall Street Journal published a piece titled "Donald Trump and the Mob." Here is a "highlight," from a summary at People magazine:

    As a young real estate developer in Atlantic City, Donald Trump dealt with people who had ties to organized crime, according to a new Wall Street Journal examination of his career.

    The Journal reports that although Trump knew a business partner in Atlantic City had connections to “unsavory” people and although an FBI agent advised him in a sit-down that there were easier ways to invest, Trump nevertheless went ahead with plans to break ground in Atlantic City. He would ultimately go on to own four casinos there.

    People Trump dealt with as a real estate developer in New York also had ties to the mob, according to the Journal.

    Among these people were Kenneth Shapiro, who was identified by law enforcement as an agent of Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo; Robert LiButti, a gambler convicted of tax fraud who was banned from New York racetracks; and John A. Cody, a union leader found guilty of racketeering, the Journal reports.

    Meanwhile, we've discovered a piece at tdmsresearch.com, which shows that exit polls conducted by Edison Research have Hillary Clinton winning four battleground states -- North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. From the post:

    With these states Clinton wins the Electoral College with a count of 302 versus 205 for Trump. Clinton also won the national exit poll by 3.2% and holds a narrow lead in the national vote count still in progress.

    Exit polls were conducted in 28 states. In 23 states the discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote count favored Trump. In 13 of these states the discrepancies favoring Trump exceeded the margin of error of the state.

    Translation: It's possible Hillary Clinton actually won the race in a landslide. Gee, can't imagine why anyone would question the computerized vote counts in this election -- or the legitimacy of the Trump presidency.

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    Craig O'Dear
    (From bryancave.com)
    A Missouri "Super Lawyer" who has been listed among the top 500 litigators in the United States and is known for representing clients in high-stakes business and class-action cases throughout the U.S. and abroad, appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site.

    Craig S. O'Dear is a partner in the Kansas City office of Bryan Cave. He earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri Science and Technology) and went on to Vanderbilt University for a law degree. He now handles a range of cases, including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, antitrust law violations, negligence, federal and state wage and hour law violations, and alleged violations of consumer protection.

    With headquarters in St. Louis, Bryan Cave has 27 offices worldwide and generated about $617 million in revenue for 2015.

    According to his Twitter page, O'Dear is the father of three children -- Sydney, Cullen, and Cormac -- and is an avid photographer, pilot, and motorcyclist. O'Dear's children, one of whom appears to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, are prominently featured on his Facebook page.

    Public records indicate O'Dear was divorced in 1992 and married Stephanie Doolin O'Dear in 1995. She is head of marketing at EMPOWER Retirement and also has worked at J.P. Morgan, Martech, and SPACES magazine.

    Stephanie O'Dear has a blog called ChicMatters, and she is considered one of the Kansas City areas top "fashionistas," with extensive experience in beauty and style. Her sense of fashion is on display at her Facebook page, which says she earned an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    Stephanie O'Dear
    (From Facebook)
    Public records show that Craig and Stephanie O'Dear divorced in 2011. We sought comment from Craig O'Dear for this post, and his only words initially were: "Mr. Shuler: I just received your email. What information do you have supporting the allegations in your email?"

    My response?

    Mr. O'Dear:

    I have a copy of the Missouri list of paying Ashley Madison customers. A number of IT professionals helped me obtain and decipher the list. This isn't the free list, where people can make fake accounts for Barack Obama, etc. It's the list of paying customers, and it includes your name, plus supporting data. I haven't seen the supporting data for your entry, but I have run similar data on a number of posts and plan to get that for others soon. I contacted you because I wanted to give you an opportunity to comment.

    Not long after that, both Mr. and Mrs. O'Dear became quite talkative about the subject. In fact, they said they have reconciled and now are living together again as a family; they do not say specifically that they have remarried. We will provide their full responses in upcoming posts.

    (To be continued)

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    U.S. Judge Bill Pryor
    (WARNING: This report includes an explicit photograph at the end of the post. It is a higher-resolution version of the Bill Pryor photo we first ran in fall 2013, not long before my arrest in Shelby County, Alabama. The photo we originally ran was from a scan of a paper copy. The new version has appeared at two gay-porn Web sites (at least) and is of significantly higher quality than the original. Also below are links to the Web sites that have published the higher-quality photo. The photograph was captured from a gay porn Web site and features full-frontal male nudity. If you do not wish to view such an image, please do not scroll to the bottom of this post.)

    Our reports on nude photographs of federal judge Bill Pryor, which appeared at a prominent gay-pornography Web site in the 1990s, spread rapidly around the Web yesterday, apparently because Pryor is on President-elect Donald Trump's list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

    That suggests news is red hot if it involves a whack job or hypocrite who might be appointed by Trump. We're not sure if Pryor is a whack job, but as a virulently anti-gay politico from Alabama, he certainly is a hypocrite of world-class dimensions.

    Interest is not likely to cool down anytime soon because we recently received a second nude photograph of Pryor, and it appears to be from the same photo session -- while Pryor was a student at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe), before going on to law school at Tulane University. The photos were presented to a veteran Alabama GOP political figure in the late 1990s, and he promptly exclaimed, "Holy cow, that's Bill Pryor! I'm meeting with him this afternoon!" A veteran female journalist in Birmingham had a similar reaction when she saw the photos.

    Our original reports on the Pryor gay-porn story included one full-frontal image (we later found a "redacted" version with his genital region blacked out), plus two pages from "WizardBoy Gallery No. 19," which includes mostly head shots of 10 young men, including one who is listed as "Bill Pryor." A tagline at the gallery says, "Thanks, Ernie!" and we believe we have tracked down Ernie's identity. The photos apparently were taken in the 1980s and were published in several print publications before finding their way to the Web at badpuppy.com, which has grown to become a "super store" of gay-porn images.

    The full set of Pryor photos includes 8-12 images, but we've only had the one image, which became an Internet sensation yesterday. Our Pryor photo file increased a few weeks back when a reader from Oakland, California, sent me a second image of Pryor -- in a slightly different pose, but in lighting and a setting (with similar photographic techniques) that suggest the picture is from the same session that produced the first Pryor photo.

    We've tracked the second image to at least two Tumblr sites, which both appear to originate in Europe. Our research on the photo is continuing, but I am convinced that it is of a young U.S. Judge Bill Pryor, and once our due diligence is complete, we will be running the picture (unless something indicates the photo isn't legit, and I see no sign of that now). That could come in a matter of days.

    Our blog traffic yesterday skyrocketed, coming from big hitters like Facebook and Reddit, plus a variety of other sites --abovethelaw.comnewnownext.compopjustice.com the gailygrind.com, occupydemocrats.com, disqus.com, pinknews.co.uk, and towleroad.com.

    The piece at TowleRoad is titled "SCOTUS: Cruz Is Out, But Trump Might Appoint Homophobic Judge Who Allegedly Posed for Gay Adult Photos." From reporter Sean Mandell:

    Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on Wednesday that president-elect Trump will stick to its previously announced list of SCOTUS appointees when it comes to naming Antonin Scalia’s replacement–a list that does not include Ted Cruz but does include William Pryor, a virulently anti-gay judge who is rumored to have posed for gay adult photographs.

    Trump’s campaign released its initial list of potential SCOTUS picks in May, which included Pryor. The campaigned then added another 10 names to that list in September. . . .

    The list of 21, much like the leaked short list of Trump’s potential cabinet appointees, is a who’s who of bigots who would be dangerous to the LGBT community if put on the Court.

    Pryor has been getting heaps of attention given his staunchly anti-LGBT positions — he defended Texas’ anti-sodomy law, compared homosexuality to pedophilia, and has been called the “most demonstrably antigay judicial nominee in recent memory” by Lambda Legal — and because he allegedly posed for pornographic photos intended for gay men while he was in college.

    Pryor probably is high on the list of 21 because of his close (and I do mean close) ties to U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who reportedly has his pick of cabinet posts in a Trump administration.

    As for us, we've had our fair share of honors and attention since Legal Schnauzer started in June 2007. We were ranked among the top 50 law blogs in North America (No. 37, with a bullet, we think), according to a survey by a Chicago-based media-relations software and research company called Cision. We were the only truly independent blog on the list, not tied to any law firm, law school, justice-related organization, or media company. In fall 2013, I was unlawfully arrested and sent to jail for five months because of my reporting on court corruption in Alabama, and that story received international attention. I'm the only U.S. journalist to be incarcerated since 2006. and apparently the only one in U.S. history to be arrested because of an unlawful preliminary-injunction in a case of alleged defamation.

    I'm not sure how you know when something has "gone viral" on the Web, but Legal Schnauzer has received more than 35,000 page views in less than 48 hours. My memory is that we've reached one-day highs of 10,000 or so page views, and I think we've hit that several times -- maybe a half dozen or more. But 32,000 page views in roughly one day is an awful lot for any blog that doesn't regularly feature celebrity news or pornography. By our standards, at a blog focusing on legal and court-related corruption, the Pryor posts, I'd say, have gone viral.

    (Note: These numbers are from the more "conservative" of two stat services that I use. The other tends to produce numbers that are roughly twice those of the first service. In the past two days, however, the "liberal" stat service has gone crazy. It says we had more than 157,000 page views yesterday and more than 135,000 -- and counting -- today. Not sure what explains the different numbers between the two stat services. The second one is Google based, as is my blog platform. The first one is independent of the blog platform.)

    We might soon have a second Pryor-porn photo, just as Donald Trump could be set to nominate him to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the nation's highest court.

    As noted in our warning at the beginning of this post, we have discovered Bill Pryor Picture No. 1 at two gay-porn Web sites. Here are links to the photo at those sites. Below that is a higher-resolution version of the photo, of much higher quality than the one we originally ran.

    The material at these links and the photo below them definitely are NSFW. If you do not wish to view such images, please do not scroll down any further:



    Nude Bill Pryor
     in relatively high resolution
    (From fansgay.com)

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
    Your IP : - Country : - City:
    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!
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    Jeff Sessions
    (From bbc.com)
    Donald Trump's announcement today that he would nominate U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as attorney general met with widespread praise from Alabama's conservative community. Meanwhile, I was among a number of progressives from around the country who took a highly critical view of the nomination.

    Appearing on the San Francisco-based Peter B. Collins Show, I said Sessions was an awful choice to lead the nation's justice department. "It's like (picking) Tiny Tim to conduct the New York Philharmonic," I said. Collins said Trump was putting together a "cabinet of deplorables."

    Here are more of my thoughts on Jeff Sessions, from today's interview with Peter B. Collins:

    "It's hard to imagine a worse pick, a worse nomination. (Sessions) is a dreadful human being, he's a racist, and that's well on the record. He's been rejected already for a federal judgeship because of his racist comments. He's called a prominent black attorney in Alabama "boy." He's spoken disparagingly of civil-rights organizations. He's intentionally tried to gloss over civil-rights cases, not prosecute them. He's very much against immigration and for extremist approaches to that.

    I don't think the rule of law means anything to him, I don't think he has any integrity. Alabama has maybe the worst so-called justice system in the United States and probably would fall well below the justice systems of many third-world countries.

    Collins noted that the Riley political machine has helped create an environment of corruption in Alabama since at least 2002. Where does Sessions fit in what Collins characterized as a "cesspool"?

    He has been U.S. Senator for that whole time. He's tied to Bob Riley. He helped put Mark Fuller on the federal bench, who is largely responsible for Don Siegelman being in prison. . . . And the Rileys, I know this personally . . . this is a preview for people. For people who think we need to give Donald Trump a chance, that he's not that bad . . . no, he's worse than bad if he's picking people like Jeff Sessions.

    I pointed out to Collins that this is not just wild-eyed opinion, or guesswork, for me. I've seen firsthand the ugly environment corrupt Republicans have created in Alabama:

    I've lived through it. I had Alabama cops come in my garage, inside my house, with no warrant, and beat me up, drag me off, and spray with mace.  My wife, they tried to get her . . . and had they gotten both of us, we probably would have been murdered. I've written that, so its not like you just happened to catch me at an emotional moment.

    Peter B. Collins
    These people are as bad as it can get, they are organized crime, worse than the mafia. The notion of Jeff Sessions being attorney general of the United States . . . it's like Tiny Tim conducting the New York Philharmonic.

    What's next? Collins and I touched on that:

    We are heading for dark, dark days if we don't get to the bottom of how Donald Trump got elected, if Russian hackers were involved.

    Pryor is listed among 21 people Trump would consider as Supreme Court nominees. In my judgment, Bill Pryor is at the top of that list, he's No. 1. It has nothing to do with qualifications; it's his ties to Jeff Sessions.

    And Bill Pryor is the height of hypocrisy. He has absolute ties to 1990s gay pornography.

    The full interview can be heard at the following link. Just scroll to the bottom and click on the audio file.

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    A redacted version of the nude Bill Pryor photo,
    which apparently caused some readers to
    become verklempt and complain to Google.
    Legal Schnauzer readers are getting a preview of what life might be like under a President Donald Trump. It comes in the form of a warning about "objectionable content" on our blog, which began to appear last Thursday after a post about an explosion in reader traffic related to our reporting on U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor and his nude appearances in 1980s and '90s gay pornography.

    On the surface, it appears a "groundswell" of disturbed readers (maybe as few as 1) complained to Google (owner of the platform we use for Legal Schnauzer) about a nude photo we included of Pryor at the bottom of the Thursday post -- after not one, but two, warnings (one at the top of the post in bold letters) that advised readers who did not wish to view a naked judge to not scroll past the end of the post.

    So what does it appear that somebody did? Naturally, they ignored both warnings, scrolled past the final words in the post, and became verklempt at the sight of Bill Pryor and his erect penis -- an image we ran twice back in September 2013, apparently without causing fainting or other symptoms. The only reason we ran the full-frontal version of the image this time -- we generally had been running a redacted version, with a black box placed strategically over Pryor's genitals -- was that we had found a higher-resolution version of the earlier photo and figured readers might as well see the whole thing.

    After all, the story is about a prominent legal figure who posed nude while he was in college, so inclusion of a nude photo should not be a shock to anyone. As I read the Google content policy, it is not a violation to include nudity that has news, educational, or artistic value. (Note: Google's content policy seems to change regularly, so I'm not sure if I'm looking at the current one or not.)

    Here is what readers have begun to see when they call up Legal Schnauzer. In the Web biz, it's called an "interstitial warning":

    Content Warning

    Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about our content policies, please visit the Blogger Terms of Service.

    I do not wish to continue

    The reader only has to click on "I understand and I wish to continue" to reach Legal Schnauzer, so it's not as if a major hurdle has been placed in our path. But there is a larger issue at play.

    Donald Trump has listed Pryor as one of 21 individuals he would consider prime candidates to be nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court -- and thanks to the death of Antonin Scalia, and Republican efforts to block Obama nominee Merrick Garland, we will have an opening at the outset of the Trump era. Thanks to his close ties to U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Trump's nominee as attorney general, Pryor probably is at, or near, the top of Trump's list.

    That makes Pryor's background in gay porn a potentially national news story come early 2017. With our discovery of a second Pryor nude photo, which we will be publishing soon (multiple knowledgeable individuals connected to Louisiana have confirmed it is him), that story could become super-sized big.

    We are in the process of getting the interstitial warning removed. It is not justified under Google policy, and it almost certainly is based on bogus "concerns." Readers who complained likely don't care one iota about nudity, but they do care about accurate reporting on Bill Pryor, the kind that yanks his gay-porn past into public view. This provides insight, we think, into the Trump mindset. In a battle between the First Amendment and censorship, the president-elect and his followers are likely to side with "the c word" every time.

    In fact, the "objectionable content" warning is a form of light, or threatened, censorship. We are in the process of getting the warning removed. If Google is hard-headed about it, I always have the option of moving to another platform.

    Were the complaints that landed at Google -- again, it could be as few as one -- really about nudity? Of course not. They were about politics, about protecting Bill Pryor so that Team Trump still will think highly of him, even though he has dabbled in gay porn and probably lied about it once already to the FBI and Congress, during his original confirmation to the federal bench.

    Lying to Congress and the FBI, by the way, is a crime. If proven, it could not only keep Pryor off the Supreme Court, it could get him booted from the bench altogether and land him in a federal prison. This is from a recent report about retired U.S. General James Cartwright, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI:

    Cartwright's guilty plea was for his false statements to FBI agents, not for speaking to the reporters, said Cartwright's attorney Gregory Craig, of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom, in a separate statement: "His effort to prevent publication of information that might harm American lives of national security does not constitute a violation of any law."

    Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the hearing. A false statements conviction carries a maximum prison sentence of five years, but prosecutors and Cartwright's attorneys agreed his offense merited a sentence ranging from zero to six months.

    We explained in a previous post how a future confirmation hearing could prove hazardous for Pryor:

    What is the public to make of revelations that Pryor once was featured on a gay porn Web site? It clearly raises questions about rank hypocrisy, dating to the beginnings of Pryor's political career. It also raises the specter of Pryor being ethically compromised to the point that he is the victim of not-so-subtle blackmail, forced to participate in rulings that he knows are unlawful, at risk of his secrets being revealed. Most importantly, federal nominees typically are asked during the confirmation process about potentially embarrassing or compromising information in their backgrounds. If Pryor failed to disclose the gay-porn photographs, or did not answer a specific question truthfully under oath, it could be grounds for a Senate investigation.

    Is Pryor narcissistic and vainglorious enough to risk five years in the federal slammer by letting Donald Trump nominate him to the nation's highest court? Does Pryor think he can shoot for SCOTUS because Jeff Sessions will protect him from possible criminal charges? I would say the answer to those questions is yes -- in fact, even asking them makes me chuckle. Pryor long ago proved that he has an estimation of his abilities, and characteristics, that is far beyond reality.

    That trait, which might have driven Pryor to appear in gay porn to begin with, could make for some very interesting news in the coming year.

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    Bill Pryor, from badpuppy.com
    The Web's best-known fact-checking site has weighed in on the story of U.S. District Judge Bill Pryor and a nude photo of him that appeared at several gay-pornography media outlets in the 1980s and '90s. We broke the Pryor-porn story in September 2013, and interest in it skyrocketed recently in the wake of Donald Trump's election, with the possibility that Pryor will be nominated to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Snopes.com reportedly attracted 7 to 8 million unique visits in one month during 2010, making it almost certainly the most widely read fact-checking site on the Web. With a recent post titled "Derobed: A photograph of a nude young man has been claimed to picture Judge William Pryor, a potential Supreme Court nominee,"Snopes has applied its research capabilities to a story that has been big in Alabama and the Southeast for some time -- and might soon become a story of national importance.

    What is Snopes conclusion about the Pryor story? It labels the story as "unproven." Does that bother me? Absolutely not. For one, I welcome the analysis of  a widely read, and generally respected, site such as Snopes. Two, despite its solid reputation, Snopes' analysis of this story has problems; the site gets key facts wrong, and it's analysis is flawed. I, however, am happy to have the attention for a story that could soon be vitally important to America's future.

    From the Snopes article, by Dan Evon:

    CLAIM: A photograph of a nude young man pictures Judge William Pryor, a potential Supreme Court nominee.

    ORIGIN:Judge William H. Pryor of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has been in the news lately, both because his name reportedly appeared on President-Elect Donald Trump's definitive list of potential Supreme Court nominees, and because while serving as Alabama's attorney general Pryor filed an amicus brief in support of a Texas anti-sodomy law.

    It was with some sense of irony, then, that in November 2016, an old image purportedly showing William Pryor posing nude for a gay porn magazine as a young man was recirculated online in November 2016:

    Snopes gave us credit for breaking the story, and we appreciate that, although we object to the characterization that the "rumor" originated with our Web site. We didn't engage in rumor dissemination; we engaged in journalism:

    The rumor that Pryor once posed nude for a gay porn magazine originated with a web site called "Legal Schnauzer" back in 2013. That web site claimed that the photograph "likely appeared in at least one print publication in the 1980s" and was later published by the web site Badpuppy.com in 1997. However, the former reference is too vague to verify, and we were unable to find the image on Badpuppy. (Legal Schnauzer claims the image was removed from Badpuppy, but not before the Alabama Bureau of Investigations managed to capture a screenshot of it.)

    Where does Snopes go off the tracks? It starts here, with a paragraph that is below a redacted version of the nude Pryor photo we first published:

    The assertion that the above-displayed photograph is a picture of Judge William Pryor is based on three factors: a supposed headshot of the model appears next to the name "Bill Pryor," colleagues of the judge reportedly saw the photograph and exclaimed that it looked like him, and that the model and Pryor both allegedly have "strabismus" (i.e., crossed-eyes). 
    Whatever the evidence provided by Legal Schnauzer, the alleged opinion of two unidentified officials isn't proof of anything. Furthermore, while whoever posed for the photograph may resemble Pryor at first glance, a side-by-side comparison shows that certain features (such as the nose) seemingly don't match.

    What problems are present here?

    (1) Snopes ignores the fact that we interviewed two former state law-enforcement officials who were directly involving in investigating the photos out of concern that Pryor, then Alabama's freshly named attorney general, might be vulnerable to blackmail. Snopes apparently glossed over this paragraph from our original report on the Pryor photos:

    Alabama law-enforcement officials became aware of the photos at badpuppy.com in 1997, not long before Governor Fob James appointed Pryor attorney general. An investigation ensued, and multiple officials familiar with that process have told Legal Schnauzer that the photos are, in fact, of the Bill Pryor who now sits on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Sources say the photos were taken while Pryor was a student at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe) from 1980 to 1984.

    Bottom line? Our reporting was not based on just the three factors Snopes lists above. It also was based on interviews with multiple law-enforcement officials who were directly involved in the matter and said their investigation showed the nude individual was "the" Bill Pryor.

    (2) Snopes claims the noses in the two photos do not match, but it does not say how. The older Pryor weighs more than the younger Pryor, and his face is more full, but I see no other difference in the noses. Snopes fails to mention that both images clearly do involve strabismus and attached earlobes.

    Finally, we have this from Snopes:

    But perhaps the most unbelievable aspect of this claim is simply that this photograph, which the Alabama Bureau of Investigations (ABI) and public officials have allegedly known about since the 1990s, has never been directly linked to Pryor. The judge, who was nominated to the Eleventh Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2003, told the Justice Integrity Project in 2013 that:

    "I have been smeared by a widely discredited blogger with a political agenda. His allegations have now been picked up by other bloggers. The person in the unsourced, undated photographs is not me, and I deny these allegations. I have been twice vetted by the FBI, including as recently as this past year; I have won two contested statewide elections; and I have been in the public eye for almost twenty years. I will not dignify these disgraceful accusations with any further comment."

    The first highlighted section simply is not true. Multiple law-enforcement officials have directly linked the photo to Pryor, based on their investigation, which took them to Monroe, Louisiana, where Pryor went to college.

    The second highlighted section does not tell the whole story. Pryor did not tell the Justice Integrity Project (JIP) anything in 2013. In fact, he apparently did not speak to JIP publisher Andrew Kreig at all, and definitely did not take any questions. Instead, Pryor had a former law clerk named Jennifer Bandy issue the "official statement"Snopes cites above.

    Does Snopes reveal Andrew Kreig's assessment, based on research that included an attempt to interview Pryor, which Snopes apparently made no effort to do? No, it doesn't, but here is the conclusion that Kreig reached:

    My opinion is that the photo is Pryor more likely than not, despite his denial.

    Perhaps Snopes and Dan Evon would be wise to provide their audience with more context to this story. They could inform their readers that I broke the Pryor story on September 17, 2013, and one week later, Alabama deputies (in groups of two and three, always with multiple vehicles) started regularly appearing at our house, with no lawful grounds for trampling all over our property. Less than one month after the show of law-enforcement thuggery began, a deputy walked into our garage (without showing a warrant, stating he had a warrant, or stating his reasons for being present), beat me up, doused me with pepper spray and hauled me to the Shelby County Jail for a five-month stay -- all with no legal grounds for doing so.

    I became the only American journalist since 2006 to be incarcerated -- and apparently the only one in American history to be arrested over a preliminary injunction that is unlawful in a defamation case under 230 years of First Amendment law. Is it a coincidence that this happened just weeks after I broke the story of Bill Pryor's youthful foray into gay porn?

    I don't think so, and I would invite an inquiry from Snopes into the really important, and disturbing, aspects of this story. Dan Evon likely has no idea how deep the ugliness goes -- and it even includes an effort to have a bogus "content warning" placed on my blog.

    An in-depth inquiry would show that the individual in the nude photo is, in fact, "the" Bill Pryor -- and the judge and his allies, in a show of Stalinesque force, had a journalist kidnapped and thrown in jail for reporting accurately on the story.

    Life in America likely will get ugly under Donald Trump, and the Pryor story provides a glimpse of how far entitled, white right-wingers will go when they feel threatened by the truth.

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    Jeff Sessions
    Alabama conservatives are trying to rewrite history in an effort to pave the way for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-AL) confirmation as attorney general under president-elect Donald Trump. The public, hopefully, will not fall for it.

    At least two prominent Alabama Republicans in recent days have made statements hinting that liberals blocked Sessions ascension to a federal judgeship after he had been nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. The truth, however, is that Republicans controlled the U.S. Senate at the time, and they controlled the Senate Judiciary Committee that rejected Sessions.

    Heck, the committee chairman was Strom Thurmond (R-SC). If you are too racist for Strom Thurmond, that's pretty powerful stuff.

    U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) is practicing a campaign of deceit on behalf of Sessions. Here is her comment from an article at Alabama Political Reporter (APR):

    Rep. Roby said, “You know, we’ve seen these attacks before. Washington liberals kept Senator Sessions from an appointment to the federal bench during the Reagan Administration using these same tactics. . . . "

    Roby, of course, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Sessions in the Senate, so it's little wonder she is willing to con the public in an effort to push his confirmation as AG. She's thinking "career move, career move!"

    Bill Armistead joined Roby in piling on the barnyard feces. From APR:

    Former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said on social media, “The liberal media and Democrats don’t want you to read the Weekly Standard because people will find out that Sen. Jeff Sessions is not a racist as they are making him out to be. They KNOW he’s not but that’s the only thing they can fabricate to accuse him of since his conservative voting record can’t be attacked. So they play the race card every time a conservative is put up for something in hopes of bringing them down. This time they will not succeed! They played the race card on him in 1986 after President Reagan nominated him to a federal judgeship. This will not work again.

    Well, Mr. Armistead, it worked once because members of your party, Republicans, directed a process that concluded Jeff Sessions' history of racist remarks and actions made him unsuitable for the bench. And you, a Republican, look pretty stupid accusing someone else of playing the "race card." From a report at Democracy Now!

    Sessions [once] was in the seat of the nominee. President Ronald Reagan had nominated Jeff Sessions to be a US district judge in 1986. At that time, Reagan had already appointed some 200 judges throughout the federal system, and Republicans held the majority on committee.

    But Sessions became only the second man in fifty years to not be recommended for confirmation. Two Republicans, including Arlen Specter, voted against him. His fellow senator from Alabama, Howell Heflin, also voted against him, citing, quote, “reasonable doubts” over Sessions’ ability to be “fair and impartial.”

    The comments from Roby and Armistead tell us two things:

    (1) Republicans of 2016, unlike some of their predecessors from 30 years ago, are fundamentally dishonest;

    (2) When postmodern Republicans have nothing of substance to say, which is much of time, all they can do is whip out the word "liberal" as if it were a curse word.

    No wonder Republicans nominated a buffoon like Donald Trump. They don't have the intellectual capacity and integrity to govern -- and Trump fits into their dysfunctional orbit perfectly.

    At the link below is a transcript of the Sessions hearings from 1986. You will notice the committee contains such "liberal stalwarts" as Alan Simpson (Wyoming), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Charles Grassley (Iowa), Jeremiah Denton (Alabama), Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), and Mitch McConnell (Kentucky). You also will notice that Republicans on the committee outnumber Democrats, 10-8. And the chairman is that paragon of liberality, Strom Thurmond (South Carolina).

    This all tells us that Roby and Armistead are stupid, lazy, or practitioners of con artistry. I would suggest they likely are all three.

    Senate Judiciary Hearing on Jeff Sessions' nomination for federal judgeship, 1986:

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    Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason
    Alabama Governor Robert Bentley asked a security chief for help breaking up with "First Mistress" Rebekah Caldwell Mason -- and it looked like the plan was going to work until Bentley walked in the room and undid all the progress the security guy had made. Thus, the extramarital relationship between Bentley and Mason continued -- and it was, in fact, a physical affair, as any sentient being should have been able to tell from news reports over the past 15 months or so. At one point, Mason made a special request to have a couch placed in her office. Hmmm, wonder why she was in need of a couch?

    Those are perhaps the most laughably insightful moments from a wrongful-termination lawsuit former security director Wendell Ray Lewis filed this week. The suit is filled with sordid and buffoonish moments from the Bentley/Mason soap opera, but it really is not funny. It probably leaves a reasonable reader asking, "This guy talks tough about immigration and 'bloodthirsty Mexicans,' but he doesn't have the courage to break up with his girlfriend? That's the kind of 'fearless leadership' Alabama's had for six years? This guy is like a 10-year-old boy staring in amazement at his morning erection. Good grief!"

    Good grief, indeed. But when you consider how much state property and funds apparently were used to facilitate the Bentley/Mason affair . . . well, the laughter starts to die down in a hurry. From Chip Brownlee's report at Alabama Political Reporter (APR):

    The lawsuit . . . lays out . . . Lewis’ final year as the Governor’s top body guard and the affair he says he witnessed. In the 50-page brief, Lewis and his attorneys summarize sordid details of Bentley’s alleged relationship with Mason.

    Their affair — which the Governor now claims is over — dated back to at least spring 2014, when Lewis said he first learned of the possibility that the Governor could be involved with Mason, according to the lawsuit. Lewis said Paul Bentley, the Governor’s son, told him that they suspected an affair in May 2014.

    Lewis — who headed the Governor’s security detail, traveled everywhere with him and had an office in the capitol across the hall from the Governor — said he observed Mason entering the Governor’s office for hours on end in private, alone with the Governor.

    “[Lewis] could see anyone coming or going, and could take note of how long someone had been in the Governor’s office,” the lawsuit says. “There were times when [Lewis] would observe Rebekah Mason coming out of the Governor’s office, with her hair all messed up, and straightening up her skirt as she emerged from the Governor’s office, after having been in there for hours.

    Bentley has tried to convince the public that his relationship with Mason went no further than "inappropriate remarks" -- "dirty talk," if you will, as caught on an audio recording that became public in March of this year. Even the press largely has fallen for it, calling it an "alleged affair" or a case of Bentley making "inappropriate statements." The press conveniently forgot that key statements involved Bentley's fond reminisces of fondling Mason's breasts and exploring her nether regions.

    That, folks, is a physical affair -- straight from the governor's own mouth -- by any definition I'm aware of. But if that doesn't work for some folks, we now have Lewis' word for it. And we learn that Bentley's former wife of 50 years, Dianne, and at least one of his sons, played a major role in breaking the story wide open. From Lewis' complaint:

    Three days later on May 7, 2014, after Lewis first learned of the affair from Bentley’s son, Lewis was summoned to Bentley’s office on Capitol Hill, according to the suit. He went in and found the Governor, accompanied by Mason, crying:

    “Lewis asked, ‘Governor, what is going on?’ Bentley replied, ‘Dianne has accused me of having an affair, and she has a recording.’ He added that his wife, Dianne, had a recording, but had given it to his son (Paul). The Governor asked Lewis to go talk to Paul. Lewis inquired, ‘What do you want me to do?’ The Governor replied, ‘Find out if he has a recording.’ He sent Mason out of the office, and she went up to the Lt. Governor’s conference room.

    "Bentley then replied, ‘Ray, I am embarrassed for you to hear what’s on that recording. It’s between Rebekah and I. I am ashamed of what came out of my mouth.’ Lewis inquired, ‘Governor, are you telling me that this is true?’ ‘Yes,’ replied the Governor, ‘I am ashamed of what I have done.’"

    Following is a section from the lawsuit that indicates Alabama has been led by a dysfunctional doofus:

    After finding out about the relationship, Lewis says, he began pleading with the governor to end it because he was afraid Bentley could get into trouble for using state vehicles and planes to facilitate the affair. When Lewis confronted the Governor, Bentley asked Lewis to “break-up with Rebekah” for him, according to the lawsuit.

    In Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey’s conference room, Lewis attempted to end the affair for Bentley for over an hour. Lewis thought he was successful ending the affair, with both Bentley and Mason agreeing it should end. Nevertheless, Bentley came in and began “rubbing and massaging Mason’s shoulders, stroking her hair and saying, “Baby, it’s gonna be alright,” the lawsuit says.

    But it wasn’t over, the lawsuit alleges. For the next year, until Lewis retired in early 2015, Bentley and Mason continued their affair despite Lewis’s repeated attempts to convince them both to quit seeing each other.

    Here is a key section from the Lewis complaint:

    Lewis and the Governor were sitting in Lewis' truck, at the airport about to get on a plane. Lewis asked the Governor, "Governor, there's a lot of talk going on. Was it a physical relationship? After initially hemming and hawing, the Governor replied, reluctantly but clearly, "Yeah, it was physical."

    To what extent did Bentley abuse the use of state funds and property to facilitate and cover up the affair? Lewis' complaint provides insight:

    * Mason would visit the Governor at the Governor’s Mansion while Dianne Bentley was away. But after finding out that Ms. Bentley had knowledge of Mason’s name on visitor logs, Mason and Bentley began meeting at the Blount House, which kept no logs.

    * Bentley leased planes for his campaign because private planes didn’t have to keep manifests. On the planes, “Mason would sit across from the Governor and discreetly touch his leg.”

    * Bentley would regularly have Lewis pick Mason up in a state car or on the state helicopter. They would even swap Mason for Jennifer Ardis, Bentley’s former director of communications, on the manifests so that Mason would go undetected.

    * The Governor met, on at least one occasion, with Mason at a private lake house with no security present.

    * Bentley would routinely carry three cell phones, his State phone, his personal phone and a third phone, which Lewis says Bentley used to communicate with Mason. He also had separate email accounts. 
    * Based on Lewis' complaint, Bentley might be in trouble well beyond his official capacity as governor.

    The lawsuit provides evidence that Bentley abused his privileges as a licensed physician:

    Bentley, a licensed physician, wrote a drug prescription for Mason. And, on at least one occasion, according to the lawsuit, Bentley ordered Viagra in Ms. Bentley’s name, and had it shipped to the Governor’s Mansion.

    Writing a prescription for someone who likely is not your patient? Fraudulently writing a prescription in someone else's name? Are these the kinds of acts that can cause a doctor to lose his license? The answer likely is yes.

    Below is the full Lewis lawsuit:

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