Monday, December 29, 2008

Quinn on the isolated Blagojevich and his Palace Guard

Quinn said the Guv isolated. That Quinn hadn't spoken to him since August. Quinn could have started a blog before the complaint. Why the wait? What was stopping Quinn from speaking like this much earlier? Would Paul Simon or Paul Douglas have reminded silent the way he and Obama have?

If the Guv is nuts, he has a defense. What's the defense of the sane who knew and remained silent in the face of this disgrace?


Legal Insurrection: Got News For You -- Emanuel and Jarrett Will Testify, And The Blagojevich Impeachment Trial Will Be Delayed

The Insurgent writes,
The media is all atwitter over the decision of the Illinois House committee considering articles of impeachment against Gov. Rod Blagojevich to deny the request by Blagojevich's attorneys to subpoena Obama aides Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett. The House decision comes at the request of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who is concerned that the subpoenas may interfere in the criminal case against Blagojevich.

The media has it both right and wrong. Right, the House apparently made the decision not to issue subpoenas. Wrong, that Emanuel and Jarrett won't have to testify at some point. The media is failing to draw the distinction between the House proceedings drafting articles of impeachment, and the actual trial.
The full link, but the guts of it is this,
The key provisions are the requirement that the Senators do justice "according to law," and that the Chief Justice "shall preside." While there will be plenty of legal arguments over what this means, it is clear that these provisions impose a higher level of due process than the purely legislative House proceedings, which are not limited by such provisions.
Justice according to law....something the Guv's fellow Democrats --and supporters in 2006-- quick to strip away. They won't win.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Blagojevich Blogging

State Senator Lou Lang (D-Skokie) on Genson's request to call Emanuel and Jarrett as witnesses.
Genson is demanding the lawmakers subpoena Rahm Emanuel, Obama's incoming chief of staff, as well as longtime adviser Valerie Jarrett, saying Blagojevich can't get a fair impeachment hearing without them.

"This is a smoke screen," said Lang, whose committee will meet again Monday. "He's asking for subpoenas of witnesses he knows the U.S. attorney does not want us to have, and I, for one, am not going to allow him to turn this into a circus or sideshow."
Neither Genson or Fitzgerald run the impeachment hearing. Lang and his fellow Blagojevich supporters from 2006 run it. They owe Illinoisans an explanation why Blagojevich can't defend himself now. Don't blame Fitz. The Legislature can call whom they wish. They don't need Fitz's blessings.

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Rahm's word: Rahm the Enforcer
In her 2007 book about the Clintons, “For Love of Politics,” Sally Bedell Smith describes an incident in which an unnamed Clinton administration official colorfully denigrates then-Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, at the time one of Washington’s most powerful Democrats, after Moynihan criticized Clinton’s transition.

“Big deal,” a ‘top administration official’ told Time magazine, adding, “he’s not one of us … he couldn’t obstruct us even if he wanted to. The gridlock is broken. It’s all Democratic now. We’ll roll right over him if we have to.”

Emanuel called the senator’s office after the story appeared, promising to fire whoever gave the quote to Time. A horrified Clinton echoed the promise, saying “We know it was someone who didn’t know us.”

But as the late senator’s personal papers showed, Emanuel’s promise was disingenuous, to say the least. At a dinner with the Time reporter, Moynihan was told that the “big deal” quote came from none other than Emanuel.
The disingenuous need Genson's cross examination.

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Legal Insurrection on the NY Times Clinton Blagojevich double standard.
Why the difference in treatment? Why not give Blagojevich the same presumption of innocence given President Clinton? Both Clinton and Blagojevich were accused of using executive power to garner campaign contributions, both were accused but not yet convicted of crimes while in office, and both presided over a government impeded by the scandals surrounding their offices.

Just a guess. In the Clinton case, the NY Times was protecting Clinton, so Clinton could not be thrown overboard. In the Blagojevich case, the NY Times is protecting Obama, so Blagojevich should go quickly and quietly.
Tell me it ain't so.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Foggy Day Blagojevich Blogging

An open post for the Day on the Guv.

Trib.com: Gov. Rod Blagojevich's lawyer criticized by lawmakers
Genson said the panel was using Fitzgerald's request [to stay clear of his witnesses] as cover to deny Blagojevich a fair impeachment hearing. Genson suggested last week he was considering a potential challenge to the impeachment in federal court.

"They are railroading him," Genson said Friday. "If a person is telling the truth, what difference does it make if he tells it twice? How does that hurt their case? That's just the legislature and Mr. Fitzgerald trying to put a reality on something that doesn't make sense."
Genson's got a point. The explosive charge is the Gov auctioning off Obama's seat. If there is a conspiracy here, we need both sides of it to talk.

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Chicago via Sri Lanka: Chicago - America’s ‘most theatrically corrupt’ city
Either way, the gut reaction of most Chicagoans to the FBI complaint against Governor Rod Blagojevich, outlining his baroque plans, to "monetise" Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat was not shock or even disgust. It was surprise that he had been so reckless as to discuss them on a bugged telephone. To this day, Illinois campaign finance laws are astonishingly lax – there is no cap on the amount of cash a politician can solicit.
Takes two to chat on a phone. That at least two reckless fools in this theater.

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A neat interactive time line on key Blagojevich events. HT Blagojevich Blog

We sell more seats than the Governor!



Chicago area's Leather Creations ad via The Cleveland Reader

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fitzmas Day Blagojevich Chat

A lawyer at last night's Christmas Eve party told me it takes everyone to make a criminal conspiracy. One party can't conspire alone so if the other did nothing wrong, it's no conspiracy. I imagine that's where Genson is going with this: Blagojevich's Lawyers Seek Subpoenaes for Emanuel, Jackson Jr.
Lawyers for embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich want two key aides to President-elect Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. subpoenaed, according to Chicago media reports.

Blagojevich's legal team has asked the Illinois House panel that members of Obama's incoming administration testify before the House impeachment committee, including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, WBBM-TV and the Chicago Sun-Times reported late Wednesday.

Ed Genson, Blagojevich's chief lawyer, said testimony from the aides will prove the governor's insistence that he did nothing illegal to fill Obama's now vacant U.S. Senate seat.

The news comes days after Obama's team released an internal review that confirmed no "inappropriate" discussions had taken place in the Blagojevich probe.

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Leo over at Leo's Blog takes Politico to task: Politico Now Blaming Obama for Having 'No Role' in Picking Replacement Senator
So first they condemn Obama for potential shenanigans with Blago over the nomination of a replacement senator and when that's found to be complete rubbish, they then go after him because he played "no role" in a nomination process that he has absolutely no legal part to play.

This "necessarily raises the question": Is one of the qualifications for working for Politico that you have to be a totally clueless idiot? Does anyone still think these dolts have any credibility?
They'd build some credibility if they asked Team Obama for their lists to replace Biden and Clinton too, or was this just a Blagojevich thing?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jackson Jr on Emanuel's list

Sweet notes J3 was on the list after all,
The Obama list
Jackson
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
Comptroller Dan Hynes
Illinois Veterans Affairs Chief Tammy Duckworth

added later
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Chicago Urban League Chief Cheryle Jackson, former Blagojevich spokesman.
Did they have preferred lists for the Clinton and Biden seats too?

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A quote on the Michelle Obama Valerie Jarret connections pulled from this: Better than WTTW's panel on Obama-Blago: Berkowitz w/Peraica on Obama, Jarrett & Daley; the McKennas and the Illinois Combine. Cable & Streaming
Jeff Berkowitz: There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the political office as a family heirloom, stupid.

Cmsr. Tony Peraica: There’s nothing wrong with any of it on its face, but if you look below the surface, there are all these troubling relationships where certain individuals are picking others and bringing them along and giving them cushy positions, whether it is in the hospital, non-profit sector or for profit sector, whether it is at the Habitat, whether it is at the City [of Chicago], whether it is at any of the city’s agencies and there is this cross pollination that in a culture of corruption brings about these kind of unhealthy relationships in a one sided, one party [Democratic] system that we have here in Cook County in the State of Illinois. So, all of that contributes to the culture of corruption that we find ourselves in now which is going to receive national and international attention for the next months and years ahead of us.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, now we get into the Illinois Democratic Party, right? Where offices are family heirlooms, right?

Cmsr. Tony Peraica: That’s right.

Jeff Berkowitz: That’s what we are talking about, really.

Cmsr. Tony Peraica: It’s aristocracy, at it best, yes.
So much for merit promotion. It's all about The List in Illinois.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Scott Turow: Even Blago is Presumed Innocent

Scott Turow looks at Blagojevich's defense and reminds us the worst is yet to come.
What Fitzgerald charged in the complaint is an astonishing and appalling pattern of extortion and bribery involving numerous completed crimes. Blagojevich awarded state contracts and state jobs to giant campaign contributors. The only real defense for Blagojevich is to blame those quid pro quos on his aides and fundraisers and claim he was clueless. And that dog will not hunt. Not only does the government have at least four witnesses who were deep in the scheme who will say that Blagojevich was fully knowledgeable, but the roster of witnesses of is all but certain to grow as Blagojevich intimates caught on the wiretaps make their own deals over time.
Auctioning Obama's Senate seat small potatoes maybe compared to the full case Fitz will make. The Gov will blame and maybe that dog won't hunt but it will be interesting to watch the list of intimates grow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rod and Rahm in better times

Emanuel and Blagojevich announcing Illinois's purchase of imported drugs. One of the deeds the Illinois House will probably impeach Blagojevich. You need to get into the video about 8 minutes to hear Rahm.



H/T Chicago Daily Observer

Blagojevich explains to California's Willie Brown

The Gov calls Willie Brown: Illinois governor seems to be growing stronger. Brown writes,
I can't go into details, but my impression is that the whole mess started because the governor had been considering appointing a political rival, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, to the Senate so she wouldn't be able to run against him when he went up for re-election in 2010.

Apparently, Obama's people weren't happy about the idea of Madigan coming to Washington, and there were some pretty heated conversations between Blagojevich and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, which I understand will burn your ears off.
Brown writes the last thing Democrats want is a Illinois Senate race requiring Obama to campaign to save the seat for a party. A referendum on Obama before he's even really started.

The Guv's got a few cards left, and he's using them.

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I'll keep this open for my Sunday bleepgate posting...

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AP via LA Daily News: Raum [sic] Emanuel ties to Rod Blagojevich troublesome

The AP can't spell his first name but it sure sounds like someone is leaking stories to get the Bus in gear for a crush on Rahm.
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod Blagojevich is legendary in Illinois political circles for not picking up the phone or returning calls, even from important figures such as the state's senior senator, Dick Durbin.

But there was always one call Blagojevich regularly took, say his aides, and that was from Rahm Emanuel: his congressman, his one-time campaign adviser and, more recently and more troubling for Emanuel, one of his contacts with President-elect Barack Obama's transition staff.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blagojevich - I Will Fight, I Will Fight, I Will Fight Until My Last Breath

Governor Blagojevich deserves a post all his own for this Press Conference.



Joe the Libertarian offers some advice,
Well, first off he is doing the right thing by proclaiming his innocence. Pay-to-play has always been part of Illinois politics, under Ryan, Edgar, and many other politicians. I find it hypocritical that he's being criticized for doing a pretty decent job as Governor just because he allows money to influence him. In DC that would be called lobbying, not bribery. If the trains run on time and the streets are clean, who cares if he makes a little extra on the side; it's cheaper than giving him a raise.

Second he should appoint a placeholder for Obama's Senate seat. My preferred choice is Jim Oberweis...why? Simple, Oberweis is considered a gadfly by now and disliked by not only Democrats but also a majority of Republican (I happen to like him and agree with him most of the time). Also, he is extremely wealthy and would make the 2010 primaries and possibly general election interesting. Also, by appointing a Republican like Oberweis would be a major snub to the Democrats that have stabbed him in the back and weaken the Republican's criticism of him.

Finally, he should dish out the dirt on Obama. What did Obama know and when did he know it? A prominent politician like Obama knows what goes on in his state. I bet he even offered money to Blagojevich to consider his preferred candidate. Hopefully we will find the truth.

Keep fighting the good fight Blago!!!!!!!
Oberweis, geez that would be a hoot.

Batchelor: Blago Fights Lynching

A classic pic from RBO from a post channeling John Batchor's Blago Fights Lynching.

Batchlor on the Gov's Press Conf yesterday,
The worst news today was for the Obama team, because when Blago “answers every allegation that comes my way,” he is going to do it in a fashion that makes certain Rahm Emanuel is in the frame. Mr. Obama has gone to the 50th State. The Obama transition report on the contacts between Blago and Rahm Emanuel (left) is still scheduled for Monday 22.

The slow motion leaking all week, first that there were 21 contacts, now that Blago and Emanuel spoke directly, is designed to soften the headlines. It will not work if we get a chance to see the vulgarity in its glory.

Also, the Rahm and Blago mentions of Valerie Jarrett will not read unambiguously. This is a political story, not a criminal story. And the risk to Emanuel is also the risk to President-Elect Barack Obama (PEBO), and it will go on for months as Blago fights.
It's going to be a hot January in Chicago.

LaHood over the Pork Barrel

Obama's going to govern the country the same way Daley governed Chicago. Competent Chiefs that garner praise from Corporate Republicans, and contracts as the glue that holds the coalition together. Here's AP's Jim Shuhr in SJ-R.com on the guy managing the contracts: LaHood will be key in big public works plan
Retiring Rep. Ray LaHood ranks among his state’s leaders when it comes to bringing federal money home to Illinois. As Barack Obama’s transportation secretary, LaHood would apply those skills on a much grander scale.

For starters, if confirmed by the Senate, he will be looked upon to oversee the monster public works program President-elect Obama has promised as a means of jolting the nation’s down-in-the-dumps economy back to life.

Keep Love in your heart: the Rod Blagojevich story

This is hysterical. Via ILGOP



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I'll keep this post open for weekend Bleepgate postings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Crack of Dawn Blago Post

Sneed wrote yesterday Fitz has Rahm on tape 21 times talking about BHO's replacemenet. I don't think it matters what's said, I don't think he can bleeping survive 21 exposures to his bleeping style.

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SJ-R.com Can Blagojevich beat impeachment?
Lawmakers don’t expect Blagojevich to show up for the proceedings, but they do expect surrogates to put up a strong fight.

“I think he (Blagojevich) will make allegations and throw a lot against the wall. He’s done that in the past,” said Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock. “It’s not going to be pretty. Democracy rarely is.”
Gov wan't playing-to-play by himself. Illinois needs a strong fight to clear out all the boodlers.
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Riehl World View: Uh "O", ... Connect These Two Dots
Allegedly Jessie Jackson Jr. has talked to the Feds about Blago since 2006 when he feels he was the target of a $25,000 shakedown over his wife being up for a slot with the state lottery. Now recall Jackson senior suggesting he'd like to remove a certain part of Obama's anatomy for "talking down to black people" on this "faith based," whatever he was referring to. There may well might be more to the animosity than that. In a sense, there are two camps emerging as Obama was definitely a Blago guy given his high profile in support of Blago's political campaigns. One of them the very same one in which Jackson Jr. felt he was the target of a shakedown.

Inject some serious bad blood between groups of people, all inside players in a Chicago now engulfed in scandal, and it might lead to all sorts of interesting information coming out.
Yep, it's not going to be pretty.

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Garrad McClendon Live had Judy Baar Topinka on his show. Catch the very last moments of the interview where Judy says Fitz should put a wire tap on the Cook County Board.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crack of Dawn Blago Post

Real Clear Barack Obama posts Batchelor: “We’re going to fight this case with a profile on Ed “The Devil’s Advocate” Genson.
...Ed Genson is a Chicago guy.

He will call favors.

We can expect that many possible villains will now emerge whose presence will mitigate the tale, such as billionaire Sam Zell for entertaining creepy deals about his Tribune, such as Rahm Emanuel for muscling a list of candidates on Blago on Election Day.

Would Ed Genson start telling stories about the President-Elect?

The reputation is that he will do almost anything to win. This is the Devil’s Advocate, meaning he is a veteran of taking on the self-elected and heroic such as Patrick Fitzgerald and Barack Obama.



*****
Backyard Conservative finds a Zorn column from 2006: Where's old Pat Quinn?
The new Pat Quinn -- next in line to lead the state should he and Blagojevich win a second term in November-- says he's “satisfied" by the explanations Blagojevich has offered to date about the considerable hints of corruption swirling around him.

(Though Dan Curry suggests here that Quinn's response to My Big Fat Birthday Gift suggests that Quinn has been a mere partisan agitator all along. Thus concludes Dan Curry Week at Change of Subject.)

But Quinn said no, he remains true to his principles: “I never made accusations against people unless I knew concrete facts.”

I dunno, I told him. The old Pat Quinn I remember so fondly wouldn’t have stopped asking questions until he got those facts.
Also see Dems Renege on Special Election
Statement from Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna on Democrats killing the special election legislation:

“Tonight the world has seen up close the hypocrisy of Illinois politics.

“The only thing more audacious than Democrats proposing a special election and going back on their word is that they did it in full view of the public.

“Speaker Madigan first supported a vote on special elections legislation and make no mistake, his actions tonight directly benefit the Democratic Party.

“Our grassroots campaign for a special election continues and we call on all Illinois Democrats who run government here and in Washington to speak on the record immediately about what happened here today.

“The people of Illinois deserve better."

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Illinois Plantation

A comment from Lincolnlander over at today's Daily Herald. Illinois's Plantation Politics without Louisiana's warmth.
The decline of the Republican party as a principled and meaningful alternative to the Machine has permitted the Machine and its creatures like Blago to run roughshod across the state. Much of the blame must rest with "Big Jim" who took the Republican party down the path to George Ryan whose corrupt attitudes and political positions differed in few meaningful ways from those of the Machine. Principled Republicans like Peter Fitzgerald and Steve Rauschenberger were pushed to the side as the party forgot the honest, middle-class voters who were the natural Republican constituency and the natural resistance to Blagocratic and Machine values.

The result has been the transformation of Illinois into a modern plantation, a cold-weather version of Louisiana where a corrupt white elite exchanges its kickbacks on the foundation of massive non-white poverty. It's particularly offensive that this transformation has been accomplished as we approach the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, a man whose life was devoted to individual freedom and human dignity and whose values would be only so much toilet paper to Blago and the Machine that controls "The Land of Lincoln."
About sums up today's Illinois.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Reverese Spin on Obama's negotiations with Blagojevich

Dan Curry nails the really troubling thing about the Rahm Rod chats. They weren't illegal. They were really stupid. They didn't achieve the objective and badly compromised the Prez Elect. A real amateur job
If Obama had a preference for his replacement, he simply could have written a letter to Blagojevich and released it to the public. Period. Any contacts beyond that amount to a negotiation. And Obama should have known better to negotiate with a man about to be indicted. It also should have dawned on Obama’s camp that he was about to take control of the Justice Department and that a key witness in the Blagojevich Operation Board Games investigation (Tony Rezko) was also a close friend of the President-Elect’s. A further entanglement is an Operation Board Games subpoena on the joint house-land sale Obama and Rezko undertook.

If Obama can’t sniff trouble in the above circumstances, we are in big trouble when he sizes up foreign adversaries.
Tom Roeser with a similar take.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kass on Blagojevich's Political Commitment Hearing

I take it for granted others don't know Lisa Madigan is Mike Madigan's daughter.

Kass below explaining Illinois politics and the fierce need to keep the Guv from lashing out during an impeachment proceeding. H/T RBO

Holder to recuse himself if Attorney General from Chicago Politics?

That's what AP's Peter Yost writes today: Would new AG Holder exit Chicago corruption probe?

Yost missed the real question though. Chicago's CBS TV was picking it up even before the Blagojevich Federal Compliant,
Holder may face questions about a potential conflict of interest.

Four-and-a-half years ago, he held a news conference in Chicago at the Thompson Center. He had accepted a $300,000 assignment from Rod Blagojevich: Should a company whose chairman had been fined for violating gambling rules in Illinois be allowed to build a half-billion dollar casino in Rosemont?

In the end, it didn't happen. Holder got into a jurisdictional dispute with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and he did not get the free and total access to all the documents he wanted.
Given our Guv's Pay-to-Play style, the real question is what did Holder have to do for a 300k deal with the Guv? It would had to have been more thant f***** apppreciation.

It’s a disgrace! New Statesman forced to apologize to Nadhmi Auchi

A cross post from the Real Barack Obama.

Nadhmi Auchi, Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, April 2004 Chicago
auchi-blagojevich-close-up

Many months have passed since RBO began updating readers about the on-going webscrubbing at the behest of Iraqi-British billionaire businessman Nadhmi Auchi. The most recent version was the Auchi Webscrub-O-Matic 7.0.

Today, we bring to you the latest chapter in this saga. Prominently posted on the front page of The New Statesman we find an apology to Mr. Auchi:

new-statesman-apology-12-12-08Nadhmi Auchi - apology

We recently published links to articles originally published by others which made serious allegations about Nadhmi Auchi. A number of these allegations have now been withdrawn by their original UK publishers on the grounds that they contained significant inaccuracies and we fully accept that to be the case. We should like to offer our sincere apologies to Mr Auchi for any distress he has suffered as a result of our linking to the articles.


Disgraceful!

Saturday's All Day Gov Post

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AP: Obama aides won't discuss Ill. governor probe
President-elect Barack Obama is refusing to answer any questions about the internal review he has ordered into Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's alleged efforts to sell his former Senate seat, saying he will do so when the examination is finished.
The silence here may not be over a crime but humiliation that the Serbian kid from Armitage and Cicero cleaned their clocks in negotiations.

Teheran, Moscow, Havana, and all sorts of nasty folks will parse that transcript for pointers.

***
Dan Curry posts youtubes of old ads and writes
These campaign commercials from 2002 and 2006 attacking Il. Gov. Rod Blagojevich for corruption pinpoint what was known in Illinois at crucial junctures.

The 2006 ads are first and show the mature nature of the federal investigations against Blagojevich. Despite this, many Illinois Democrats endorsed him, including President-Elect Barack Obama. They will have to answer for putting their party before the citizens of Illinois.
I've played Claude Rains from Casablanca over in my head every time I've watched an Illinois Democrat react the past few days.



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Victoria Toensing: Fitzgerald Should Keep His Opinions to Himself
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's "conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave," according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. But Mr. Fitzgerald's statement would, at the very least, make well-regarded former Attorney General Robert Jackson flinch in his. Almost seven decades ago, Jackson admonished a meeting of U.S. attorneys that they should be dedicated "to the spirit of fair play and decency . . . . A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power . . . ."
She's right. Fitz and the FBI guy should start blogs if they want to Editorialize.

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Jeff Berkowitz on O'Riley... Obama aligned with the Paul Simon / Paul Douglas wing of the Illinois Democratic Party? That wing is buried I'm afraid and no one carried that banner against the Gov in 2002 or 2006.

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If the Gov bamboozled savvy lawyers like Corboy we are in sad shape in Illinois: Local contributors denounce Blagojevich
Philip “Flip” Corboy Jr., of the Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio, called it a “sad situation.”

“I, like every other person in this state, feel cheated and let down,” Corboy told The State Journal-Register. “He was elected to do a job and we’re ... now learning he probably couldn’t care less about the people. And that’s always disappointing.

“I’m embarrassed on one hand and disappointed on the other. When it all gets mushed up together, I really feel sorry for the people of Illinois. We know we deserve better.”

The Springfield-based Trial Lawyers Association was among the largest local contributors listed on Blagojevich’s campaign finance reports in the last two reporting periods.
Let's not compound Illinois's humiliation feigning stupidity. Everyone knew what was going on, and none knew less than those kicking points.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Who's Blagojevich's Iraqi Guy; Nadhmi Auchi or Aiham Alsammarae?

H/T Rich Miller's Capital Fax today. Check Jon Stewart out from last night. Note Blagojevich saying this on the phone,
“How’s Tony doing? [Scene cut] The Iraqi guy? You gonna talk to him today about the other stuff?”




Here's the Gov back at that dinner for Auchi at the Four Seasons standing between Auchi and Alsammarae. Pick the Iraqi the Gov was asking about the other stuff?



Update: Harry from Harry's place laments how one Iraqi guy used UK libel laws,
...it is a genuine national disgrace that it is impossible in the United Kingdom to post links to material which may be readily found with anybody with the slightest degree of skill and intelligence, or to make comments about public figures whose conduct is a matter of public record.

Faced with a determined and wealthy opponent, and the state of British libel laws, the only option is - more often than not - to capitulate or be utterly destroyed.

For those of you who live in a country which respects Freedom of Expression: I envy you.
Come to Chicago and dine with the heavy hitters expect to play ball. Don't hide behind the Ump when we sports fans heckle. It's not sportsman like and just down right wimpy.

The Rahm Rod Chats

Chicago Fox News reporting Emanuel, Blagojevich, and Harris had multiple conversations about Obama's replacement and they will certainly be on Fitz's tapes.

That should be no surprize. I would expect that. I would expect a quarter of the conversations to be bleeped too.

So why deny them? Why hide?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rahm Emanuel: walls closing in; air getting thin

From the Sun Times with H/T American Thinker. So much for multi tasking.
Emanuel was uncharacteristically absent from Obama’s news conference this morning. He was spotted two hours later in the lobby of Chicago’s City Hall. He was there to listen to his two children performing in a concert with their school, Anshe Emet.

A Sun-Times reporter pressed him to comment about whether he was the emissary named in the criminal complaint.

“You’re wasting your time,” Emanuel said. “I’m not going to say a word to you. I’m going to do this with my children. Dont do that. I’m a father. I have two kids. I’m not going to do it.”

Asked, “Can’t you do both?” Emanuel replied, “I’m not as capable as you. I’m going to be a father. I’m allowed to be a father,” and he pushed the reporter’s digital recorder away.

Illinois's tradition of public service

From the Prez Elect's Press Conference,
"We have to reclaim a tradition of public service that is about people and their lives and their hopes and their dreams, and it isn't about 'what's in it for me'. And I think the public trust has been violated. Let me absolutely clear, I do not think that the governor at this point can effective serve the people of Illinois," Obama said.
If I recall the full conference he only named Paul Douglas and Paul Simon. Then as an after thought he threw in Durbin's name. (I'd question that but let's let it pass.) I asked myself can't he name anyone else? Ogilvie maybe? Dirksen? Chuck Percy? I mean there have to be a few others.

Governor Quinn?

Please, spare Illinois this,
SPRINGFIELD —
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn defended his running mate’s integrity Thursday, saying he saw nothing wrong with the governor’s 7-year-old daughter getting a $1,500 check from a family friend whose wife just got a state job.

“He’s always been a person who’s honest and one of integrity,” said
Quinn, appearing at a Capitol news conference. “I have confidence the
governor does the right thing all the time.”

Daily Herald, September 16, 2006

Rod, Barack, and Dick: Caption Contest

This has become so popular, that I guess it's time for a caption contest.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ABC Blog: Obama Transition Web Site 'Open for Questions' -- Except on Blagojevich

Looks like this post below was removed from Obama's transition website per ABC Blog,
"Will you explain your true connection to all your corrupt buddies? A picture is worth a thousand words. If this is not adoring enough of you then i guess it must be flagged." - anty lopez, manhattan
Anty Lopez linked back to a picture on my blog that caused some offense I guess.

Update: Politico's Ben Smith has the story with a screen scrap showing the post on the transition website with the comments removed for inappropriate content.

AP: Illinois governor ignores Obama's call to resign

The AP,
CHICAGO – His career in shreds, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich clung defiantly to power Wednesday, ignoring a call to step down from President-elect Barack Obama and a warning that Senate Democrats will not let him appoint a new senator from the state.

"Everyone is calling for his head," said Barbara Flynn Currie, a leader in the Illinois Senate and, like the governor, a Democrat.
Obama should walk on over to the State of Illinois building for a chat with the Gov. It would be good practice for that personal diplomacy he talked about in the debates. Sitting down with tought leaders to find a solution to conflicts.

Crains: All U.S. Democratic senators call on Blagojevich to resign


This rubs me the wrong way... from Crains,
A letter signed by all 50 U.S. Democratic senators Wednesday called on Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign, stating that "under no circumstances" should he appoint someone to fill the vacant Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.
...and the Senators conclude with,
"We do not prejudge the outcome of the criminal charges against you or question your constitutional right to contest those charges," the letter continued. "But for the good of the Senate and our nation, we implore you to refrain from making an appointment to the Senate."
These folks are inviting a poke in the nose from the Gov. Democrats throughout the country have been silent for years about the Guv. Let the Illinois legislature and constitution work their ways and judge our Guv.


Update: Ray Hannia asks
I am not defending our scandal-plagued Governor, Rod Blagojevich, or his equally foul-mouthed wife. But I will defend the law. And the law is clear. Blagojevich is our governor and remains our governor until either he decides to resign or is convicted of a crime.

Illinois is not Iraq where you are guilty until proven innocent.

As US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald noted, Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty, although I really question the timing of his announcement. Was it to really end a “political crime spree” or was it to help the Chicago Tribune.

Blagojevich’s critics, including the Ivory Tower Editorial board at the bankrupt Chicago Tribune, are arguing passionately and in press releases, speeches, public appearances, campaign fundraisers and in endless media interviews that Blagojevich “can no longer be an effective governor” so therefore he “must” resign.

Since when has Blagojevich ever been an “effective” governor? He has been stymied since day one by Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, the state’s de facto governor. When have any of his critics, especially those coveting the governor’s office, ever called Blagojevich an “effective” governor?
Read the whole thing. I don't know about the covert aid to Trib angle, but I don't think voters in Illinois think the rest of the crowd of politicans in Illinois that much better than our Gov. Let the process work it's course.xp Illinoize

Obama peddles Calendars and Blagojevich peddles a Senate seat

An email I just received.

Daley sells Chicago's parking meters, the Gov sells Obama's seat in the Senate, and Obama's selling calendars. Great...just great....
Bill --

It's been just over a month since Election Day, and we're getting ready to change America.

We can't do it alone, and we can't do it in a single day.

But thanks to supporters like you, change is coming.

Show your support for our ongoing movement with an Obama four-year calendar -- or share one as a holiday gift.

Make a donation of $35 and get a limited edition, full-color calendar featuring photos of President-elect Obama and his family from the campaign trail:

You can also donate just $25 and get an Obama winter hat:

https://donate.barackobama.com/hat

Your donation will support the Democratic National Committee, which did so much to strengthen this campaign over the past two years.

The DNC will continue to support change -- but it also needs to retire the debt it accumulated by putting everything on the line for victory in 2008.

Get a four-year Obama calendar with your donation of $35 or more:

https://donate.barackobama.com/calendar

If you order by December 15th, delivery is guaranteed before December 25th.

Thank you for your continued support,

Obama for America

All day Blagojevich Post

A post I plan to keep open all day for Blagojevich blogging.
***
Blagojevich and Obama post-elections meetings. via RBO

Nov 5th per WHQA
Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

That's one of Obama's first priorities today.

He's meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.
Dec 1st and 2nd per WMBD/WYZZ
The governor will meet Monday and Tuesday Philadelphia with Barack Obama. Their discussion will focus on Illinois' $2 billion deficit and how the Land of Lincoln will manage its 2009 fiscal year.
more from KHQA
Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it. Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement.

***
Rich Miller is reporting ABC says Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr is Senate Candidate #5
Jackson Jr. said this morning he was contacted yesterday by federal prosecutors in Chicago who he said “asked me to come in and share with them my insights and thoughts about the selection process.”

***
Email this AM from a friend,

Wonder if we can just appoint Ron Santo to be the Senator
***

Marc Aminder's speculation on a special election and Kirk as the GOP's candidate.
3. A special election is called, Blagojevich signs the bill; or he vetoes it, the legislature overrides the veto and a date is set; some Democrats in the state believe that this scenario will benefit Republican Mark Kirk, because Democrats will have a nasty, long, primary season to fight about Blagojevich and who was closest to him. Kirk will probably have a clear field, lots of money, and a very simple change/anti-corruption message.
I hadn't thought about a special election at all, or who the GOP would run in one. Considering the Gov's indictment hardly a black swan event, that's surprizing.

***
BlagoGate: Real Clear Barack Obama has been all over it. The Obama connection here and plenty of videos here.

***
Paglia: What do the Clintons have on Obama?
Given Obama's elaborate deference to the Clintons, beginning with his over-accommodation of them at the Democratic convention in August, a nagging question has floated around the Web: What do the Clintons have on him? No one doubts that the Clinton opposition research team was turning over every rock in its mission to propel Hillary into the White House. There's an information vacuum here that conspiracy theorists have been rushing to fill.
Call me conspiracy theorist I guess but I suspect Maliki knows plenty on the Alsammarae, Rezko, and Auchi deals too.

***
The Volokh Conspiracy writes The Blagojevich Timeline: Everything Fits Easily Except Obama's Monday Denial and closes with a link to Katie Allison Granju's wise advise.
Lying is never a good idea. It's an especially bad idea when the person who has just been arrested apparently hates you, and would likely love to see you taken down with him. Plus, this sort of pointless lie just fuels the flames for those who are looking for reasons to discredit you and shame you. It makes their job awfully easy.

No more lies, please, Mr. President-Elect. Come clean on whatever your dealings have been with Blagojevich in this matter, and let's put it behind us and move on.

And did I mention the no more lying part?


***
Foster's (D IL-14th) statement on the Gov,
“Today is a sad day for the state of Illinois, as the allegations that have been presented against the Governor are appalling. The public trust has been damaged and it is time for the Governor to resign. In this new era of change, it is my sincere hope that individuals at the local, state and federal levels will work to restore the public’s confidence in our government and our elected officials.”
I wonder what Foster thinks has changed?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sakharov Prize 2008 awarded to Hu Jia

From the EP's Press Release,
The European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded this year to Chinese political activist Hu Jia, EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering announced in Strasbourg today. The prize ceremony will take place in Strasbourg on 17 December.

Hu Jia is a prominent human rights activist and dissident in the People's Republic of China. He has embraced a wide range of causes, including environmental issues, HIV/AIDS advocacy and a call for an official enquiry into the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. He has also acted as a coordinator of the "barefoot lawyers movement".

Mr Pöttering said: "By awarding the Sakharov Prize to Hu Jia, the European Parliament firmly and resolutely acknowledges the daily struggle for freedom of all Chinese human rights defenders."
Also the LA Times story

Der Spiegel: Why Europeans Love Obama

Beth Arnold's interview with Bernard-Henri Lévy
SALON: So you are saying that you believe the left can end up committing the same sins as the right? Because I think in the United States we have been fighting for tolerance in so many ways -- tolerance for gays, civil rights ...

Lévy: These battles, of course, you fought. I fought ... And it is won. It is achieved. Barack Obama being a candidate for the presidency and maybe -- I hope -- elected means that the fight is won, more or less. Frankly a country where racism is sued in front of lawyers, a country where the women won the power of preventing discrimination and so on, this is great. This is a huge cultural revolution, which America led.

But in the name of tolerance there can be also some crimes -- not committed but veiled ... For example, those who tell us that we have to be tolerant of the radical Islamist movements. Those who tell us that being tolerant means trying to understand their reasons and their justifications. Those who tell us that, about women, to veil the face of a woman is just a customary habit, which we Westerners are not allowed to judge according to the standard of human rights. This is a very bad thing.

This idea that every habit should be respected, every custom should be accepted because it belongs to a whole and that if we take a piece, we break the whole -- this is one of the counter-effects of tolerance. And you have in America a lot of people who said, why should you ask the Indian people to resign the pattern of the castes that belong to their culture? Why should you oblige this or that tribe, people in Africa, to resign the excision of the clitoris of the little girl? It belongs to their culture ...
Battles fought and won but those new crimes are lingering.

Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth on Bush, Darfur, and the International Criminal Court

HRW's Ken Roth on Bush and Darfur: Bush Does the Right Thing for Darfur
Human Rights Watch rarely lauds the Bush administration. But when it comes to supporting international efforts to prosecute Sudanese leaders for their slaughter in Darfur, the administration so far has it right.
And the conclusion,
The Bush administration's support for accountability is a logical consequence of its longstanding commitment to end atrocities in Darfur. It also reflects a broader reassessment of the ICC.

Contrary to early fears, the ICC has acted with restraint and professionalism. Its prosecutions, whether of the warlords of eastern Congo, the child-soldier recruiters of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army or the killers of Khartoum, all accord with U.S. interests, as well as basic decency. President-elect Barack Obama should continue that approach, and embrace the ICC as an important tool to combat mass atrocities.
Let's see if Obama is up for the challenge.

NextGov: Issues with Obama's YouTube Addresses

NextGov picks up an issue I've been wondering about. Obama's use of cookies from his websites.
CNet blogger Chris Soghoian challenges President-Elect Barack Obama in a Monday posting to "ditch" YouTube as the platform for (what seemingly may be) his periodic addresses to the nation. Soghoian argues that Obama should host the videos on a government server. He points out that by embedding the YouTube video on Change.gov, the Obama team has introduced persistent cookies on the site, which is in violation of government policy, and an act not mentioned in the Change.gov privacy policy. (Soghoian links to a Government Executive article on the subject.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chi Town News: Low turnout for Obama in Chicago's black wards

This surprized me... a bit,
Alderman Emma Mitts worked hard in the days before the presidential election to ensure that citizens in her West Side ward would take advantage of the opportunity to vote for the country's first black president.

She encouraged constituents to participate in early voting, and pushed a ride-sharing program to make sure transportation difficulties didn't keep people from casting their ballot.

Even so, turnout in her majority black ward was lower than the city average, and less than during the 2004 presidential election. Her ward is not unique.

Despite the popular perception that Sen. Barack Obama won the presidency on a tidal wave of enthusiasm in the African-American community, turnout in Chicago's majority black wards was lower than in other wards, according to a Daily News analysis of voting data.
The Prez may want to stop by Pulaski and Madison and tell all what's going to Change.

xp Illinoize

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Daily Herald: DuPage board chief eyes running for state office

Todays' Daily Herald,
DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom is hinting at a possible run for statewide office in two years.

"I'm interested in doing what I can to turn things around (in Springfield), and I'm not exactly sure what that may be at this point," he said. "It may be to continue doing exactly what I'm doing right now, it may to be very involved in the selection of the next slate and it may be to potentially be a candidate. Time will tell on those issues."

Schillerstrom made those remarks during a taping Friday of the WBBM NewsRadio 780 program "At Issue" that will air at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Somehow I don't think he's the change the Illinois GOP needs. Follow the comments over at the DH on this story. They're good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Health Care blog

With Health Care reform the coming topic, I figure it's time to start up the Health Care blog again.

Quentin Young's Policy of "Reality and Shame"

Photo HT Real Barack Obama


Quentin Young qutoed below from in an interview with NYT in 1991.

Docs will suffer a little shame, including Young, rather than go broke treating the poor on Uncle Sam's nickle.

Reality worth keeping in mind with the looming Health Care reform plans. Doc's aren't going to work cheap. They'll suffer the shame instead.
With low fees pushing doctors away from Medicaid patients, the medical tradition of charitable service to those who can pay very little or nothing at all has been sorely tested.

Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and a longtime champion of liberal causes, has strict rules on the number of Medicaid patients he will see because otherwise, he said, "I'd go broke."

He calls his policy a mix of "reality and shame." Dr. Young said that if doctors refused to treat patients based on race instead of a Medicaid card "there would be Federal protection."

"The health status for people represented by Medicaid is declining," he said. "The people are shunted about. Either they are rejected by competent physicians or are very often put into clinics that abuse the system, with very little gain in health.

"It's a reflection of the powerlessness of the poor," he said, "and the hardening heart of American that is ominous."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008 - Joint Contracting Command -Iraq/Afghanistan

Kane's McConnaughy on bloggers

Kane County Board Chair Karen McConnaughay on bloggers in today's Daily Herald,
Part of the difficulty with the changing communication and political scene is the impact of unchecked blogging and the infusion of inexperienced candidates who spend entire campaigns on the attack, McConnaughay said.

"Because of blogging, people can say anything they want," McConnaughay said. "They don't have to justify it. They can just say it. If you're sitting in a position of incumbency you spend all your time trying to deconstruct the nonsense."

McConnaughay also said candidates should earn some basic government experience before running for high offices.

"There's less discipline in the parties to really groom people and really try them out," McConnaughay said. "Good places to try out candidates for offices are the library districts and park boards. You have people today who have this idea that they just feel like running for office and have no idea what the office is about. This isn't about the Democrats. It's about candidates in general no matter what party. Wouldn't you want to start by being a county board member or on your local city council?"
Sounds to me like McConnaughay has Oberweis in mind more than bloggers, and it sure wasn't unchecked mouths of bloggers that contributed to the defeat of the likes of Ruth Munson in the growing hispanic communities of Kane.

Kane GOP has problems but unchecked bloggers sure aren't part of it.

xp Illinoize

Saturday, November 08, 2008

“Bush Dog” Rahm on war in Iraq

I've agreed with Rahm on policy but his hypocrisy (and Illinois corruption) won't let me ever vote Democrat again. Democrats have done America great damage talking out of both sides of their mouths like this. Read it about the guy Liberals, Progressives, and UUs in the West Burbs were calling a "Bush Dog".

And this from on of those hero's of progressives from the CD next to me,
According to Spidel, Emanuel worked against Cegelis because of her support for withdrawal from Iraq and her outspoken opposition to "free trade" legislation like the Central American Free Trade Agreement. "In 2006 the DCCC was Emanuel's personal weapon. He executed based on his needs. He needed votes on 'free trade' legislation that he supports, and he knew that [Cegelis] was one of the Democrats who would vote her own way," Spidel said.

Spidel said that Emanuel worked to defeat Cegelis because she represented a threat to the established Illinois Democrats and because she did not seek their approval before running. "Chicago politics is a family. If you didn't go into the city and kiss certain rings, you were not given certain resources like Political Action Committee lists and donor lists. Cegelis' success hurt some egos and the party didn't like their lack of control," Spidel said.
Going to be quite a four years.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I think there are a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax at a point down the road and recover some of this money.

We're well into the crazy season of Prez Politics...

...but a good press release by Grassley asking questions we won't get any answers too.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY ON CHAIRMAN FRANK'S EXPLANATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC STIMULUS PLAN, SPENDING, AND FUTURE TAX INCREASES - CHARLES GRASSLEY

2498 words

22 October 2008

Government Press Releases by CQ Transcriptions

English

(C) 2008 CQ Transcriptions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



For Immediate Release

Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley on Chairman Frank's Explanation of the Democratic Stimulus Plan, Spending, and Future Tax Increases

October 22, 2008

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank is a leading architect of bicameral Democratic fiscal policy. Chairman Frank, who led the negotiations for House Democrats in the recently-enacted financial sector rescue legislation, appeared on CNBC's "Closing Bell" show Monday afternoon. Chairman Frank summed up the relationship between the additional spending, perhaps as much as $300 billion, the deficit impact of the spending, and future tax increases to restrain the deficit.

Chairman Frank stated: "I think at this point, there needs to be a focus on an immediate increase in spending and I think this is a time when deficit fear has to take a second seat.... I believe later on there should be tax increases. Speaking personally, I think there are a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax at a point down the road and recover some of this money."

Chairman Frank may be giving us an honest assessment of what the grand fiscal plan is. Notice how spending is attached only to the word "increase"; nowhere is the word "cut" or "reduction" attached to the word "spending". The word "deficit" is used. Only the words "tax" and "increase" are connected.

The Senate Finance Committee conducted four hearings on tax reform this year. At each hearing, I asked a basic question about revenue neutrality, meaning that a new tax system brings in the same level of revenue as the current system. There are two ways to measure revenue neutrality. One way is to measure it against current law. The other way is to measure it against current policy. If current law is used, then a revenue-neutral plan means that we have to increase taxes. The tax increase is equal to the current-year levels of bipartisan tax relief, which is set to expire in 2011. That would mean tax reform would carry with it an automatic tax increase of between 20 percent and 30 percent, to be allocated across all individual taxpayers. If we measure revenue neutrality against current policy, then a tax reform exercise doesn't include a built-in tax increase of at least 20 percent to 30 percent. I'm very interested in pursuing tax reform in a bipartisan manner, but it is important to get this ground rule straight before we start the exercise. No one from the other side has answered this key question, but we're beginning to get some clues.

On August 14, 2008, Austan Goolsbee and Jason Furman, senior economic advisors to Sen. Obama, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. In the op-ed, Goolsbee and Furman adopted the current policy baseline. The only exception would be tax increases for single taxpayers above $200,000 of AGI and married taxpayers above $250,000 of AGI. They stated that Sen. Obama, if elected President, would aim for a tax system that kept federal revenues at their post-WW II historic average of 18.2 percent of GDP.

In recent days, leading opinion makers on the left have revised their positions on deficits. Now, with an Obama presidency a probability in their eyes, the fiscal effects of the government intervention in the financial system, and Sen. Obama's desire to significantly deficit spend for new social welfare programs, the leading opinion makers now seek to legitimize near-term outsize deficits (see the following New York Times article and the attached chart comparing the deficit impacts of the McCain and Obama plans).

Chairman Frank may have connected the dots on the whole plan. A President Obama will significantly deficit spend and then plan a tax increase "at a point down the road."

As we all know, the only serious revenue available under current law is in revoking the tax benefits of the bipartisan tax relief of 2001 and 2003 for the next two years - 2009 and 2010. So, if, by "down the road" Chairman Frank means two years from now, there is no revenue against the current law baseline. So, to what is he referring? Perhaps Democrats on the Hill, who have refused to rule out revisiting the current policy baseline in a tax reform environment, are considering tapping that source for the additional 20 percent to 30 percent in revenue it will bring in.

The leading Democratic fiscal policy makers, including Sen. Obama and his team, should be asked to reconcile these positions:

1. Does Sen. Obama stick by the August 14th Goolsbee/Furman op-ed which states that Sen. Obama's goal is to leave the federal tax take at historical levels of the economy?

2. If elected, is Sen. Obama going to insist on this position regardless of what is apparently a contrary position of leading Hill fiscal policy makers, like Chairman Frank?

3. If the answer is yes, then is Sen. Obama willing to disavow Chairman Frank's plans for a future tax hike?

4. Does Sen. Obama agree that a tax reform exercise doesn't change his stated goal of leaving the current level of taxation, 18.2 percent of GDP, in place?

5. If, as the combined analyses of the Tax Policy Center and the National Taxpayers Union Foundation show, Sen. Obama's tax and spend plans impact the deficit by at least $100 billion per year more than Sen. McCain's plans, and Sen. Obama wants to leave the federal tax take at 18.2 percent of GDP, how does Sen. Obama plan to reduce spending to reduce deficits?

If Congress drafts another economic stimulus package in November, it should include tax relief. I want to do what does the most good, and I think one of the best economic stimulus packages we can have would be some reductions of taxes because that encourages investment. I think we do need a stimulus package. It isn't so much if we need one or not. It's how it's structured. If we structure it in such a way that we're setting ourselves up for tax increases later, I would oppose it.

The New York Times

October 20, 2008

Deficit Rises, and Consensus Is to Let It Grow

By LOUIS UCHITELLE and ROBERT PEAR

Like water rushing over a river's banks, the federal government's rapidly mounting expenses are overwhelming the federal budget and increasing an already swollen deficit.

The bank bailout, in the latest big outlay, could cost $250 billion in just the next few weeks, and a newly proposed stimulus package would have $150 billion or more flowing from Washington before the next president takes office in January.

Adding to the damage is that tax revenues fall as the economy weakens; this is likely just as the government needs hundreds of billions of dollars to repair the financial system. The nation's wars are growing more costly, as fighting spreads in Afghanistan. And a declining economy swells outlays for unemployment insurance, food stamps and other federal aid.

But the extra spending, a sore point in normal times, has been widely accepted on both sides of the political aisle as necessary to salvage the banking system and avert another Great Depression.

"Right now would not be the time to balance the budget," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan Washington group that normally pushes the opposite message.

Confronted with a hugely expensive economic crisis, Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike have elected to pay the bill mainly by borrowing money rather than cutting spending or raising taxes. But while the borrowing is relatively inexpensive for the government in a weak economy, the cost will become a bigger burden as growth returns and interest rates rise.

In addition, outlays for Medicare and Social Security are expected to balloon as the first baby boomers reach full retirement age in the next three years.

"The next president will inherit a fiscal and economic mess of historic proportions," said Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. "It will take years to dig our way out."

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the deficit in the current fiscal year, which started this month, will reach roughly $700 billion, up more than 50 percent from the previous year. Measured as a percentage of all the nation's economic activity, the deficit, at 5 percent, would rival those of the early 1980s, when a severe recession combined with stepped-up federal spending and Reagan-era tax cuts resulted in huge budget shortfalls.

Resorting to credit has long been the American solution for dealing with expensive crises - as long as the solution has wide public support. Fighting World War II certainly had that support. Even now many Americans tolerate running up the deficit to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost $11 billion a month combined. And so far there is wide support for an initial outlay of at least $250 billion for a rescue of the financial system, if that will stabilize banks and prevent a calamitous recession.

"There are extreme circumstances when a larger national debt is accepted as the lesser of two evils," said Robert J. Barbera, chief economist at the Investment Technology Group, a research and trading firm.

There are also assumptions that help to make America's deficits tolerable, even logical.

One is that people all over the world are willing, even eager, to lend to the United States, confident that the world's most powerful nation will always repay on time, whatever its current difficulties.

"So far the market is showing that it is quite willing to finance our needs," said Stephen S. McMillin, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Lenders are accepting interest rates of 4 percent or less, often much less, to buy what they consider super-safe American debt in the form of Treasury securities. The 4 percent rate means that the annual cost of borrowing an extra $1 trillion is $40 billion, a modest sum in a nearly $14 trillion economy, helping to explain why the current growing deficit has encountered little political resistance so far.

But if recent history repeats itself, the deficit is likely to be an issue again when the economy recovers.

Interest rates typically rise during a recovery, so the low cost of servicing the nation's debt will not last - unless a recession set off by the banking crisis endures, repeating the Japanese experience in the 1990s and perhaps even stripping the United States and the dollar of their pre-eminent status.

The assumption is that will not happen, and as the economy recovers, the private sector will step up its demand for credit, making interest rates rise.

Higher rates in turn would increase the cost of financing the deficit, and there would probably be more pressure to reduce it through cuts in spending. That happened in the late 1980s, as Congress and the White House coped with the swollen Reagan deficits. The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, with its attempt to put a ceiling on deficits, came out of this period.

Another assumption, also based on 60 years of post-World War II experience, is that although the economy is sliding into recession, in a year or two that recession will end and the national income (also known as the gross domestic product) will expand once again.

When that happens, the national debt - the accumulated borrowing to finance all the annual deficits - will shrink in relation to the income available to pay off the debt.

The nation's debt as a percentage of all economic activity, while growing alarmingly now, is not at historic highs. The portion held outside the American government, here and abroad, in the form of Treasury securities was $5.8 trillion at the end of last month.

That is a relatively modest 40.8 percent of the nation's annual income, far below the 109 percent coming out of World War II or the nearly 50 percent in much of the 1990s.

Put another way, if the entire national income were dedicated to debt repayment, the debt would be paid off in less than five months. For most of the years since 1940, paying down the debt would have taken longer, putting a greater strain on income.

Still, these are not ordinary times. The banking system is broken, and the national economy, in response, is plunging toward recession in a manner that evokes comparisons with the Great Depression. To soften the blow, the administration and Congress ran up a record $455 billion deficit in the just-ended 2008 fiscal year, and they are en route to a shortfall of $700 billion or more this year.

"I do think we need to be ready for a very significant increase in the budget deficit," said Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Apart from the war spending, outlays for unemployment insurance have risen by one-third and spending on food stamps has increased 13 percent over the last 12 months. Congress has agreed to expand education benefits for veterans of the current wars, and last spring it authorized $168 billion for a stimulus package, most of it in the form of tax rebate checks. Now the Democratic Congressional leadership is pushing for another stimulus of at least that much.

All of this is happening as tax revenues are falling, particularly corporate tax receipts, which were down $66 billion, or 18 percent, in the fiscal year that just ended. The decline accelerated in September.

Many Republicans would probably go along with two elements in the stimulus package proposed by the Democrats - a tax cut of some sort and extended unemployment benefits. But they resist stepped- up spending on public works projects and a temporary increase in federal aid to the states.

Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the House Republican whip, said the stimulus bill should not be used to finance "a huge public works plan" or to bail out "states that spent a lot more money than they should have on Medicaid and other social programs."

To pay for the surge in spending - and the shortfall in taxes - the federal government increased the national debt by $768 billion over the last year, to the present $5.8 trillion, with $300 billion of that amount going to the Federal Reserve for a variety of rescue initiatives for the financial system.

The outlays swell as each day brings fresh reports of a financial system that is costly to repair and a rapidly sinking economy in need of a leg up.

"The deficit is a burden in a long-term sense," Mr. Barbera, the economist, said, "but it is small beer compared to the concerns of the moment."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Col Morgenthaler and Campanion Security

The odd thing about the Morgenthaler chat with Campansion Security is did Morgenthaler really thing any Iraqi's brought to Illinois for training on AK-47s would stay put? That they wouldn't skip out for the good life in the US?

When I worked in Baghdad the young guys I worked with all wanted to go to California. They had watched the OC on TV and they all wanted to go to Orange County. They all wanted to know if I had ever been there.

There's plenty Morgenthaler isn't remembering on this deal

via Illinois Review
Transcript of Morgenthaler’s Denial of Meeting with Ayham al-Samarrai

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ 49:50

TEB: “What Iraqi official did you meet with in June.”

JM: “I didn’t… I didn’t meet with any Iraqi officials.”

TEB: “Um… the Iraq Minister of Electricity.”

JM: “There was supposed to be a meeting, he wasn’t there. I just met with the retired police officers.”

TEB: “You claimed travel for it.”

JM: “I traveled to meet with him, he wha… he did not arrive.”

TEB: “He did not arrive.”

JM: “He was not there.”

TEB: “So the meeting didn’t take place.”

JM: “It just took place with the representatives of the company. The meeting took place but the Iraqi… I don’t know if he went back that morning, or what happened, but he wasn’t there.”

TEB: “Who exactly was it that you are supposed to meet with? Who was that Iraqi minister of electricity.”

JM: “I don’t remember his name.”

TEB: “Was it the current one?”

JM: “It was supposed… it was supposed… it was supposed to be the current one.”

TEB: “Not Al Sammarie?”

JM: “No it was supposed to be the current one, who came after him.”


هو فعل أي شيء حقا Morgenthaler العراقيين الى إلينوي للتدريب على بنادق 47s سيبقون؟ أنها لن القفز خارج لحياة جيدة في الولايات المتحدة؟

عندما كنت أعمل في بغداد اللاعبين الشباب عملت مع جميع يريد الذهاب الى كاليفورنيا. وكانت اللجنة التنظيمية وشاهد على التلفزيون وأنهم جميعا كانوا يريدون الذهاب الى مقاطعة أورانج. بل كان الجميع يريدون معرفة ما إذا كان هناك أي وقت مضى.

هناك الكثير Morgenthaler لا تذكر على هذه الصفقة

من خلال استعراض إلينوي

نسخة من Morgenthaler رفض الاجتماع مع ايهم السامرائي

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ 49:50

TEB : "ما المسؤول العراقي هل التقيتم مع في حزيران / يونيو".

JM : "لم أكن أنا... لم يجتمع مع أي مسؤولين في الحكومة العراقية."

TEB : "... العراق ام وزير الكهرباء".

JM : "كان هناك من المفترض أن يكون الاجتماع ، انه لم يكن هناك. أنا فقط اجتمع مع ضباط الشرطة المتقاعدين. "

TEB : "أنت المطالب به للسفر".

JM : "سافرت للاجتماع معه ، وها انه... انه لم يصل".

TEB : "انه لم تصل".

JM : "وقال إنه ليس هناك".

TEB : "لذا فإن اللقاء لم يتم."

JM : "انه مجرد جرت مع ممثلي الشركة. وقد عقد الاجتماع العراقي... ولكن لا أعرف ما اذا كان عاد في صباح ذلك اليوم ، أو ما حدث ، لكنه لم يكن موجودا. "

TEB : "من بالضبط كان لكم أن المفترض أن يجتمع مع؟ وكان أن وزير الكهرباء العراقي ".

JM : "لا اتذكر اسمه."

TEB : "هل كانت الحالية واحدة؟"

JM : "كان من المفترض أنه كان من المفترض...... كان من المفترض ان يكون واحد الحالية."

TEB : "ليس Al Sammarie؟"

JM : "لا أنه كان من المفترض ان يكون واحد الحالي ، الذي جاء من بعده".


Casey Mulligan: An Economy you can Bank On

U of C Economist Casey Mulligan in today's NYT:
It turns out that John McCain, who was widely mocked for saying that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong,” was actually right. We’re in a financial crisis, not an economic crisis. We’re not entering a second Great Depression.

How do we know? Well, the economy outside the financial sector is healthier than it seems.
Problem is Gov can take a financial crisis and turn it into an economic crisis if they don't think straight.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

John Murtagh on Bill Ayers

I have a hard time understanding how anyone could have been involved with the left even just socially in Chicago and New York in the 80s and not know who Bill Ayers was.

Obama, Ayers, Radical Education and Chicago Schools still can't teach kids to read

Millions spent on radical education projects wouldn't have been half bad if the kids could at least read Marx, Lenin, and Mao. Heck someone of them would become neo-cons in a decade. But the Chicago Annenberg Challanged flopped on that even.

The new McCain ad on Ayers. Alsammare, Rezko and the Chamchamal power plant deal ought to be next.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rasmussen on Illinois Con Con: 60% for it

I'm voting for it. I want to get back to three Reps per Senate District with three votes I can cast as a block for a single Rep.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Jordan Lystad
Consitutional Convention Coalition
701-219-5923
press@conconyes.org

"YES" VOTE ON CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION PULLS AHEAD IN NEW ILLINOIS POLL AS PEOPLE SEEK DIRECT TOOL FOR CHANGE

CHICAGO-A new statewide poll shows that nearly 60 percent of Illinois voters favor a constitutional convention giving citizens the opportunity to reform state government directly.

Rasmussen Reports recently conducted a survey of 1,000 likely voters throughout Illinois. Over 82 percent believe that state government is headed in the wrong direction, and nearly 70 percent disapprove of the way the legislature conducts business. Further, 70 percent of voters want the ability to recall their elected officials. Overall, the results show that citizens are looking for real change in state government. Results have a 4 percent margin of error.

"People have lost faith in their state government and want the tools to reform it," said State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock). "As elected officials it is our duty to restore people's trust and help provide these tools. The best way for people to reclaim their government is by voting for a Constitutional Convention."

Available to voters every 20 years, a constitutional convention will give people influence in decision-making and force accountability in Springfield. No longer will politicians be able to undermine the democratic process and run unopposed. Nor would they be able to cherry pick their constituents through redistricting. A convention would also give people the opportunity to make education and health care funding priorities in the budget.

"It has been four decades since there has been any significant change in Illinois," Franks said. "The opportunity to hold a Constitutional Convention comes around once every generation. For those 82 percent of citizens frustrated with the direction of government, voting for a convention will give them the tools necessary to change directions. Barack Obama says, ‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.' This same statement applies to the voters in Illinois."

"It is important for people dissatisfied with their government to understand that they themselves hold the power in deciding what, if anything, needs to be changed in our constitution," said Judy Baar Topinka, former Republican Treasurer and member of the ConCon Yes committee said, "The best part is that any suggested changes made to the constitution will come back to the voters before they are enacted. The people have the final word."

John Murtagh on Bill Ayers

From John Murtagh on the Weathermen's attack on his home when he was a kid.
Murtagh believes the relationship between the Obamas, Ayers and Dohrn goes back 30 years, to Michelle Obama's time at Sidley Austin, a law firm that also employed Dohrn.

Murtagh doesn't blame Obama for what Ayers and his friends did. He blames Obama for picking a man like Ayers as a friend and mentor - and then covering up the friendship.

In politics, things get complicated. Truth becomes hard to find. But not this.

"The night they attacked our home, they also firebombed an army recruiting station out in Brooklyn and police patrol cars outside of Greenwich Village," notes Murtagh. "Three weeks later, they accidentally blew themselves up. They intended to attack the officer's club at Fort Dix."

Lay your cards on the table, says Murtagh. "Obama's free to associate with Dohrn and Ayers; that's his right," he tells me. "But don't hide the relationship, and be forthcoming and let people decide the significance of it for themselves."

Rezko says: neither Sen. Obama nor I did anything wrong

Clout Street has the video here. He repeats this stuff on Rezko's letter five times,
And I would point out he sent a letter, Tony Rezko sent a letter to a federal judge where he expressly said that neither Sen. Obama nor I did anything wrong and now we've got to respect the process as we've been consistently doing and just let it all unfold…"
What a guy to have your side our Gov.