Ann Richards, the last Democratic governor of Texas to date, is wrongly credited with a famous statement about George H.W. Bush, that he was “born on third base and thought he hit a triple.”
But you can say the same thing about former US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), the son of the famed civil rights leader; or if you dislike him, you may see the elder Jackson as a prominent shakedown practitioner who is in the racism business.
Last week the Chicago Tribune reported that Jackson, who served 22 months in prison for looting his campaign fund to purchase luxury goods and celebrity memorabilia, including items related to Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson, is collecting $138,000 in government benefits, including $100,000 in workers compensation for suffering from bipolar disorder and depression, which he is only entitled to if Junior’s job caused those ailments. And that is what his lawyer claims. The $100K is not taxable while the remainder of his government cache, whichcomes from Social Security disability payments, is taxable.
Jackson’s wife, Sandi, who was a participant in the scheme, also served a prison term–not concurrently with Junior–which allowed a parent to stay at home to care for their children. The former Chicago alderman–she served in that office while residing in Washington–was released from prison last October. She filed for divorce two months later. Presumably Sandi received the fur coats purchased from her husband’s campaign fund. It is from the couple’s divorce proceedings that Jesse Jr’s benefits largesse were discovered.
Jesse Jackson Sr’s Chicago-based Rainbow/Push operation provided the foot soldiers to place the younger Jackson in Congress in an open seat election in Illinois’ 2nd congressional district after Mel Reynolds resigned his office after being convicted for having sex with a minor and related charges. Reynolds’ predecessor was “Goofy Gus” Savage, a black racist and another sexual predator.
That makes three scumbags in a row in Illinois’ 2nd. So far Jackson’s successor, Robyn Kelley, a reliable vote for the Democratic caucus, hasn’t embarrassed the voters of Chicago’s South Side and southern suburbs.
The 2nd is a very safe gerrymandered Democratic district that was created to obscure the truth that the black population of Chicago is rapidly declining. Like everyone else, African-Americans don’t like crime, rotten services, and failing public schools. To keep his seat in Congress all Junior had to do was behave.
Craig Holman, of the watchdog group Public Citizen, called Jackson’s disability boon “breathtaking.”
“I can’t imagine in any way that his bipolar disorder would have been caused in any way by his congressional duties,” Holman told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s really troubling to see someone who goes to prison for corruption coming out of prison (and collecting that money).”
But Holman is not from Chicago so it’s easy to understand why Jackson’s hubris is unimaginable to him.
The Tribune’s estimable columnist John Kass remarked a few days ago, with Jackson partially in mind, “Forget everything your parents told you about crime. Crime does pay. Especially in Chicago.”
It pays in sickness and in health, before prison, and after prison.
“Decent people shouldn’t live here. They’d be happier someplace else.”
Jack Napier/The Joker in Batman.
Often, I’m asked, “Why is Chicago so corrupt?” The short answer? It’s always been that way.
Now let me expand a bit.
Earlier this month the Department of Justice released a report that excoriated the Chicago Police Department for use of excessive force, slipshod training, and soft discipline within its ranks. The report was produced because of the shooting in 2014–with sixteen bullets–of an unarmed teen black Laquan McDonald by a white Chicago cop.
It wasn’t the Chicago cops who shaped the police culture. The political corruption and cynicism of politicians over decades in a one-party Democratic machine town shaped the culture.
Kass adds that it was City Hall that sat on the damning police video of McDonald getting shot. It was released over a year later–seven months after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was releected. Kass, without mentioning his name, reminded readers that longtime CPD chief of detectives, William Hanhardt, was placed in that position by his political friends. Hanhardt, a mob cop, ran a jewelry theft ring while he was chasing select other bad guys.
But why is Chicago so corrupt?
Chicago, like other Midwestern cities, was settled first by New Englanders and upstate New Yorkers, white Anglo-Saxon protestants mainly. But Irish people fleeing the Potato Famine and seeking work on such projects as the Illinois & Michigan Canal, along with Germans, were the first wave of immigrants to Chicago. My great-great grandfather, another John Ruberry, was part of this wave. But the Irish already knew English and the arguably more numerous Germans initially did not. Which meant that the Irish were able to qualify for government jobs. Then some of them made the logical next step–run for political office.
The eighteenth-century Irish were unwilling subjects of the British Empire–they viewed government as an alien force and many didn’t see anything wrong with stealing from that government. Old habits are hard to break–and many Irish-Americans saw public service as an opportunity to stuff their pockets with bribes and kickbacks–and to place their friends and relatives in other government positions. Or to offer other friends and relatives government contracts, who might reward their patrons with “gifts.”
So Chicago’s culture of corruption was born.
Other immigrants followed–many with similar backgrounds. Poles didn’t have their own nation for the entire 18th century, the majority of Chicago’s Italian immigrants came from southern Italy, and there was no love between them and the Italian royal house, which emerged from the northern half of the peninsula. The Czechs and the Croatians were part of Austria-Hungary.
Even newcomers to Chicago who were Americans fit the bill.
Until the mid-1960s blacks who came to Chicago as part of the Great Migration were subject to Jim Crow laws and could not vote. Clearly local government was not their government. Puerto Rican corruption is even worse than that of Chicago.
You can make the same argument about Mexico, the latest source of mass-immigration to Chicago.
Another Chicago newspaper columnist, the legendary Mike Royko, often quipped that Chicago’s official slogan should be “Where’s mine?”
My point is not to demonize any group but to explain how Chicago got to the unhappy place where it is. For instance, my father, another John Ruberry–he went by Jack–once told my mother, “I’d like to work in politics.” She replied, “That will never work out–you are too honest.” My dad was 100-percent Irish-American. And yes, my mother was right–and my father never ran for public office. This decent man moved his family out of Chicago in 1968.
Meanwhile, Chicago, and yes, the rest of Illinois is a cesspool of cronyism and corruption.
Oh, you WASPs, particularly Republican ones reading this post–I’m coming for you.
Much is made of Chicago not having a Republican mayor since 1931. But that mayor was William Hale Thompson, a Boston-born Protestant who was probably Chicago’s most corrupt mayor. Thompson was a protector and sponsor of Al Capone. Thompson, a crook, was able to reap dishonest benefits from a crooked bureaucracy that was already in place. After his death two safe deposit boxes containing nearly $2 million were discovered. Although Thompson’s successor, Czech immigrant Anton Cermak, founded the modern Chicago Democratic machine, he was a better mayor than Thompson.
I began with a quote from one Batman movie and I’ll end this post with a quote from another, this time from Batman Begins.
The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome, loaded trade ships with plague rats, burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence, we return to restore the balance.
Chicago is clearly in decline. Payoffs to public-sector union members, pensions that weren’t properly funded, gave Chicagoans–including of course the decent ones–their largest property tax hike ever two years ago, followed by more tax increases last year. No serious person believes there won’t be more soon. Last year more Chicagoans were murdered than those killed in New York City and Los Angeles–combined.
Chicago is at its lowest population in one hundred years, coincidentally, that was when Chicago was still a boom town and William Hale Thompson was mayor.
While there is no League of Shadows, Chicago is long overdue for a check against human corruption.
Where is Chicago’s Bruce Wayne?
Or its Bruce Waynes?
And no, I’m not calling for bubonic plague in Chicago. The city is emptying out just fine on its own.
John Ruberry, a decent man who moved his family out of Chicago in 1999, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.
On the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks, Jeremiah Wright, then Obama’s pastor, bellowed, “God d–n America” and “America’s chickens are coming home to roost” from the pulpit of his Chicago church.
Two nights from now President Barack Obama will give his farewell address in Chicago, his adopted hometown. The Hawaii-born 44th president moved to Chicago a year after graduating from college where he worked, with at best mixed success, as a community organizer on the Far South Side. It’s an area still beset by violence and poverty with no hope of a turnaround thirty years after Obama left that post so he could attend Harvard law school.
It was in 1996 Chicago where Obama launched his political career. One of his first campaign stops–perhaps his first–was at the home of his friends, unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Eight years later another Chicagoan, state Senate President Emil Jones Jr, put Obama’s name on some key bills that bolstered his liberal credentials. Obama scored a surprise win in the Democratic US Senate primary, and after the Republican nominee imploded, he easily won in the general election.
You know the rest of the story.
However, Obama was not a slam-dunk in the 2008 presidential election against John McCain–what we now call the Great Recession sealed the deal–and America elected its first black president.
Chicago is still recovering from the ’08 economic collapse. Of the nation’s 35-largest cities, Chicago has the largest percentage of underwater home mortgages.Two years ago Chicago enacted its largest property tax hike in history, the impetus for it was to pay for underfunded municipal pension funds. What does this have to do with Obama? Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931, Obama is the most hyper-partisan president in memory. Along the White House ride for Obama was Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisor and “Berlin Wall,” the former slumlord was a deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. It’s Daley, not his successor, former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who bears the responsibility for the Chicago pension debacle. But Chicago’s generous municipal pensions are political payback for public-sector unions, who’ve been an arm of the Democratic Party in all but name for decades.
Obama has always been very cozy government labor unions.
Two years ago–under Emanuel’s watch–Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s bonds, and those of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District to junk. Other rating services haven’t followed suit yet, but they absolutely don’t view Chicago favorably.
Chicago’s population is at it lowest level in 100 years.
Last year at least 762 people were murdered in Chicago–an appalling 57 percent increase over the year before. Chicago suffered more killings than New York City and Los Angeles–combined. One of the reasons cited for the soaring murder rate was Rahm Emanuel’s inept handling of the shooting of unarmed black teen Laquan McDonald–with sixteen bullets–by a white cop, all of which has compelled Chicago Police officers to use less aggressive law enforcement tactics. Chicago is a hotbed for Black Lives Matter activists. The outgoing president has been supportive of this radical group, which deems racist the statement All Lives Matter.
That leads to last week’s racist atrocity in Chicago, the torturing of a white special needs man–thirty minutes of which was streamed live on Facebook–by four blacks in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. The victim was bound, gagged, beaten, slashed, forced to drink toilet water, and coerced to say “F–k Donald Trump” and “F–k white people.”
Two months earlier in another West Side neighborhood a white man was pulled from his car and brutally beaten by four blacks. That attack was captured on video, the assailants screamed, “You voted Trump” and “Beat his a–.” While the victim was indeed a Trump voter–yes, there are a few in Illinois besides me–he told authorities that there was no way the thugs could have known that. There was no Trump bumper sticker on his car–he was white and that was enough provocation for these creeps.
Obama’s chickens–and those of Chicago Democrats–have come home to roost.
Our collectivist president has practiced identity politics for his entire adult life. which for the most part means race politics. Us versus them. And as a collectivist Obama has appointed himself as the savior to put the pieces back together.
But breaking things is much easier than putting them back together.
Some final thoughts.
As a public service I am recommending that if you are planning to attend Chicago’s McCormick Place address, please use public transportation. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 45 of our 50 states. With the exception of Detroit, the worst-maintained streets and roads I’ve encountered are in Chicago. And while you’re driving around potholes and crevices, please beware of Chicago’s ubiquitous red light and speeding cameras. An astounding 1.9 million traffic camera tickets were issued between 2010 and 2015. Chicago has 2.7 million or so residents. Most of those tickets were written while Emanuel was mayor.
Someone needs to come up with a misery index for big cities like Chicago, which should include such items as corruption, low high school graduation rates, unfunded pension obligations, red light cameras, crumbling infrastructure, population loss, taxes, and yes of course, crime.
Perhaps Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s amiable pal who is an economics professor at the University of Chicago, can absolve himself of leftism and get to work on this much-needed project.
Thank God I left Chicago for the suburbs nearly two decades ago.
And Obama, at least for now, won’t live in Chicago after he moves out of White House next week. He’ll probably only return to visit his presidential library.
John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Chicago area resident who writes the Marathon Pundit blog. The Chicago Convention and Tourism Board had no input in composing this blog entry.
Type “Detroit revival” or “Detroit comeback” into your Google search box and you’ll collect a lot of hits and discover glowing yarns about the turnaround of what was once one of America’s greatest cities. Here’s one from Forbes just last week. There is even a Pure Michigan TV commercial about Detroit.
But as John Adams once famously wrote, “Facts are stubborn things.”
Yes, there is a Detroit bounceback underway but it is centered in downtown and the neighborhoods that border it. That’s it.
Then there are the facts.
The fiscal year for Detroit Public Schools ends on June 30. On July 1 there is no money for summer school or physical upkeep, unless the state rushes in for a rescue. Such a rescue should not be confused with a proposed $720 million one that will deal with DPS’ long-term debt.
Adding an exclamation point to the problems of DPS last week was a former school principal who pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks from an allegedly crooked supplier. A dozen other DPS officials, most of them former principals, have also been charged with collecting kickbacks.
When I visited Detroit last summer I ventured into the neighborhoods outside of its downtown ring. Places like Grixdale. This is a typical 21st century Grixdale block that in 1950 that had twenty homes each with wage earners with fat wallets: Two occupied homes, two abandoned homes, the rest are rubbished filled vacant lots with coarse weeds.
Detroit has some millstones that will impede its recovery. Its commercial property tax rates are the highest in the nation and city services are substandard. Detroiters are burdened with a municipal income tax and possible future Detroit residents who want to dip their toe in the Motor City water by taking a job in the city are subject to a commuter tax. And Detroit is still a very violent city.
Another politician has shamed the Land of Lincoln.
Prosecutors in the bank fraud case against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert filed documents late Friday outlining his sexual abuse of four male students while he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in rural northern Illinois.
One of the victims collected over $1 million in hush money from the longest-serving Republican speaker in history, and it was Hastert’s shifting explanations for his cash bank withdrawals that led to his indictment last year. Hastert pleaded guilty last fall and he’s awaiting sentencing.
Among the revelations from the filing is that the coach sat in a La-Z-Boy chair while watching his wrestlers shower.
So many Illinois pols have disgraced Illinois. I’ll name just a few.
In 1856 Governor Joel Matteson discovered unredeemed scrip that was used to pay Illinois & Michigan Canal contractors when the state ran out of cash after the Panic of 1837. He cashed that scrip.
Len Small was governor for most of the 1920s. He was indicted in 1924 for embezzlement and money-laundering charges that dated back to his time as state treasurer. Small was found not guilty but eight of the jurors on his trial later received state jobs. He was accused of selling pardons too.
While Small was governor Chicago Mayor William Hale Thompson was essentially the political arm of Al Capone.
Other Prairie State governors who went to prison include Otto Kerner, who was convicted on mail fraud charges related to the illegal gift of racetrack stock, George Ryan, who ran a scandal-plagued office during his two terms as secretary of state, and Rod Blagojevich, who attempted to shake down a children’s hospital and tried to sell a US Senate seat, among other things.
Another secretary of state, Paul Powell, directed Illinoisans writing checks for license plate or driver’s license renewals to make the checks out to him, not the secretary of state’s office. What could go wrong with that? Powell died in office in 1970 and a few days after his passing over $800,000 in cash was found in his Springfield hotel room, including some in a shoe box.
US Rep. Mel Reynolds of Chicago didn’t even serve a full term in Washington but he still found himself in legal trouble in the 1990s for sexual assault, child pornography, and bank fraud. His prison sentence was commuted in one of Bill Clinton’s midnight pardons of 2001.
Reynolds is in legal trouble again for alleging not filing income taxes.
Some of these “public servants” were Republicans. Some were Democrats.
The world has a new Islamic republic. On Friday Gambia’s strongman president, Yahya Jammeh, declared the impoverished west African nation that is almost completely surrounded by Senegal, a Muslim state. Other such nations are Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Mauritania–none of which are well-known for freedom or prosperity.
Jammeh promises freedom of religion to the citizens of Africa’s smallest non-island nation.
Jeffrey Smith, a senior advocacy officer at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights told Al Jazeera that day, “Gambia is not a country of laws but is rather ruled by the whims of Yahya Jammeh.”
Jammeh seized control of Gambia in a bloodless coup in 1994 and while there have been elections since then, of course in the African tradition he has won each with resounding majorities.
What of those whims that Smith mentioned?
Jammeh detests gays. In speech given earlier this year the despot warned them, “If you do it [in Gambia] I will slit your throat,” adding, “if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”
Until his suicide on September 1, Fox Lake, Illinois police lieutenant Joseph Gliniewicz, was a similar felonious phenomenon.
Until last week this was the narrative of the cop nicknamed “GI Joe.” The veteran police officer, who was scheduled to retire in two weeks, was murdered after he chased three men into a wooded area. On Labor Day crowds lined his 18-mile long funeral procession, held signs, and gave salutes as Gliniewicz’ hearse rolled past. GI Joe was portrayed as a selfless volunteer with the Fox Lake post of the Police Explorers, a group that mentors young people considering careers in law enforcement.
For several days after Gliniewicz’ death national media reported from Fox Lake, their helicopters flew over Fox Lake as it showed cops scouring the woods and wetlands outside of Fox Lake as they searched for evidence and the suspects.
Last week Lake County officials revealed that Gliniewicz’ death was an elaborately staged suicide so it would look like a murder. Taking one’s life is sadly somewhat common among police officers, but this Fox Lake suicide revealed a different malady–Illinois-style corruption.
Fox Lake administrator Anne Marrin was investigating GI Joe for embezzlement of Explorers funds; Gliniewicz was allegedly using that cash to make mortgage payments, adult web site subscriptions, vacations, and health club memberships. Text messages from Gliniewicz suggest the he may have been considering framing Ferrin for drunk driving or cocaine possession. And it can’t get worse, can it? It can. GI Jerk was considering contacting a motorcycle gang to put a hit on Marrin.
The creepy cop had a mistress–there is nothing illegal about that–but investigators are now looking into the possibility that Gliniewicz arranged a phony marriage between that woman and his son, who was in the army, so she could fraudulently collect military benefits.
In 2003 it was revealed that Gliniewicz served a thirty-day suspension for sexual harassment.
Yes, GI Joe was a one-man crime wave.
Well, at least for now that is the situation, because there are reports Gliniewicz’ wife and one of his sons are under criminal investigation. And it’s hard to believe that at least some members of the Fox Lake police department didn’t at least suspect that GI Joe was a crook.
And with corruption so rampant among Illinois government, it’s possible that some of his co-workers just threw their hands in the air and exclaimed, “That’s the way it is Illinois and there is no way to change it.”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” Edmund Burke once said.
And there is plenty of nothing going on in corrupt Illinois.
One more item: As bad as Illinois is, nearly all police officers are honest here.
John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinois resident, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.
Malone:lf you walk through this door, you’re walking into a world of trouble. There’s no turning back. Do you understand?
The Untouchables 1987
Sen Jefferson Smith:Mr. President. I stand guilty as framed! Because Section 40 is GRAFT! And I was ready to say so, I was ready to tell you that a certain man of my state, a Mr. James Taylor, wanted to put through this dam for his own profit. A man who controls a political machine! And controls everything else worth controlling in my state! Yes, and even a man powerful enough to control Congressmen, and I saw three of them in his room the day I went up to see him…And this same man, Mr. James Taylor, came down here and offered me a seat in this Senate for the next twenty years if I voted for a dam that he knew and I knew was a fraud. BUT if I dared to open my mouth against that dam, he promised to break me in two. All right, I got up here and I started to open my mouth and the long and powerful arm of Mr. James Taylor reached into this sacred chamber and grabbed me by the scruff of the neck…
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939
During the first Iraq war the day that people remember is the toppling of Saddam’s statue (I tend to remember it because it was my wedding anniversary.) but a lot of people forget that after Baghdad fell Saddam’s forces held out a bit longer. It wasn’t until the end of the Month that major combat was declared over.
One might consider it foolish to continue to fight for Saddam once Baghdad was gone, but this ignores a vital fact. They weren’t fighting so much for Saddam but for their perks.
One of the facts of life is any tyranny, while it produces trouble for most, also creates some winners.
It’s axiomatic that if you didn’t play ball with Saddam you took your life into your hands but conversely a lot of people made a very comfortable living keeping the cogs of Saddam’s murder machine going from building the palaces and keeping them clean.
And police states invariably have a lot of paperwork and record keeping someone has to do that, someone provides the supplies, the paper the tech support etc etc etc.
It is the same thing with say a local drug dealer, he buys the expensive car, his front businesses for laundering money employ plenty of folks and hires the big law firm (think The Good Wife) to keep him out of jail.
The bottom line if you go along, you get a piece of the pie and that piece might make your life a whole lot easier.
The Exact same principle works with Liberalism.
When you extract money from the taxpayer to pay for NPR, Planned Parenthood or for liberal friendly NGO’s the taxpayers might be the losers but there are plenty of winners.
The top management of those organization of course do very well, but they have employees, they have staff, their offices buy everything from equipment to stationery.
With the welfare state it’s even bigger, on the government side you have to create a bureaucracy. That involves some well-paying management jobs that can go to political friends, and plenty of low-level employment in positions not subject to the normal risks of a bad economy.
And with NGO’s it’s even better, not only do the top dogs get a very comfortable living but your staff isn’t subject to civil service rules so you have the power to provide jobs, full time, part time and interns within a depressed community. That’s real influence.
And on the receiving side, you know where that next meal is coming, you know the money is supposed to be there. There is no incentive to try to do something better for yourself in fact it’s a disincentive because once you are no longer one of the people on the receiving end of these benefits, you are someone who is paying for it.
Now imagine how those people would react if someone threatened to take it away.
the government employee unions — which failed to block his legislation, failed to recall him, and failed to take back the state legislature — still have it in for him.
“Stokes was a state prison guard for 32 years and is now retired. Waiting for his takeout order at Milwaukee’s Water Street Brewery, Stokes couldn’t even name Walker’s opponent. That she was running against Walker was enough for him….I saw the health care was free, and I thought that was a pretty sweet deal,” the woman tells me at the Capital Tap Haus in Madison. “I had been in the private sector and I felt like half my paycheck was going to insurance.”
and that hate, from start to finish is completely understandable this man put it best.
Ron, a bartender at Buck Bradley’s in Milwaukee for more than 20 years, is backing Walker again. He understands the unions’ anger: “If someone yanked away your gravy train, would you be happy?” Ron asks with a laugh…“They don’t like their safety blanket being taken away,”
A Brazilian economist has shown a near-exact correlation between last Sunday’s presidential election voting choices and each state’s welfare ratios. Sure enough, handouts are the lifeblood of the left. … In a Twitter post, Amorim showed a near-exact correlation among Brazil’s states’ welfare dependency and their votes for leftist Workers Party incumbent Rousseff. Virtually every state that went for Rousseff has at least 25% of the population dependent on Brazil’s Bolsa Familia welfare program of cash for single mothers, given for keeping children vaccinated and in school. States with less than 25% of the population on Bolsa Familia overwhelmingly went for Neves and his policies of growth.
A lot of new Tea Party voters were shocked at the tactics used to repress them and attack them, but it’s completely understandable. Control of the government means control of where or IF money is spent and the people who are getting it will do all they can, legal or otherwise, to keep those dollars flowing.
And if that means rolling over you, so be it. They are not going to give up their fiefdoms without a fight.
Robin:Those I kill die from misusing the trust that Richard left with them. And the worst of these is Richard’s own brother.
King Richard (in disguise):Oh! Then you blame Prince John.
Robin:No, I blame Richard.
The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938
But I want to say one thing to the American people, I want you to listen to me, I’m going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss. Lewinsky. I never told anyone to lie, not a single time, ever. These allegations are false and I need to go back to work for the American People. Thank you!
President Bill Clinton
Yesterday on DaTechGuy on DaRadio during Da Magnificent Panel we were (surprise, surprise) discussing Chris Christie and the bridge business. The subject of the neverending press conference came up and the question became what this the right move. It created an incredible contrast to the president so much so that Media Matters literally argued that the GOP would use that contrast to attack the president, which by an odd coincidence is exactly what I had already advised them to do.
The consensus was that politically Christie did what he had to do. A strong denial and answering questions to the point where no member of the press could pretend he was ducking.
In the middle of the discussion a terrible thought occurred to me. What Christie did was clearly the right political move if he was wasn’t involved, but what if he was up to it to his neck?
What if Christie is just a self centered bastard who only wants to save his job and his possible prospects for a White House bid at all costs? If that was the case and his goal then politically, what is the right move?
I asked the question and the general agreement was the right political move was exactly what he did..
The move would be to do what he did, use the power of his office to delay any disclosure, insist he already answered all the questions (and point to the length of the press conference in his case to back it up) and count on any party officials who know otherwise to keep silent and aides to do so to on the theory that pols don’t hire people who sell them.
Now there was a time when such a brazen dishonorable calculation was extremely rare. James Curley for example used that calculation to keep Tip O’Neill quiet after stealing a party election from him. That silence paid off for Tip. It launched O’Neill rise in leadership first in Massachusetts, turning it blue and then in the House leading to his speakership.
But even in Curley’s case his actions (he arranged for the numbers in a party election to be transposed so O’Neills results were reported as Curley’s & vice versa) wasn’t public knowledge, O’Neill dropped the fight before it became public knowledge, Curley was never put in the position to lie directly to the general public over his acts.
Instead of grand denials those under suspicion tended to keep silent to see if the evidence would come out or a party leaders or big donors would approach the person privately and say something like:
“Listen you can’t take the party down with you, make your apologies, resign and at best we can slowly rehabilitate you and at worse will take care of you.”
Maybe that conversation would come at the start of the scandal if the party knew there was some there there, maybe it would come father down the road when it became clear that the press or investigator would find the truth or, maybe like with Nixon when the smoking guns proving direct lies to the people came out backers would approach him and say bluntly: Sorry we just can’t back you up anymore …
…then came Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton for those too young used an impressionable young intern for sex in the white house abusing his position as president (what in the private sector would be considered sexual harassment). When it came out he lied directly to the American people, lied under oath in court and even lied to his advisers (if you believe his advisers that is). When Kenneth Starr was appointed to investigate his and his advisers obstructed the investigation at every turn the party energized activists to defend him (That where Move on.org came from) and you actually had the Newsweek blog (sorry I mean magazine, it wasn’t just online then) sitting on evidence that was eventually leaked to Drudge.
Yet when the Starr Report came out and the vote for impeachment was coming, while republican after republicans took the time to read the report and the evidence that was submitted to them but not the public at the time, not a single democrat in the house did the same. They didn’t want to know.
And when the impeachment vote came and went against him in the house ( coincidentally the president decided that was a perfect time to launch a missile strike on Iraq) Democrats en masse lined up behind Bill Clinton as Al Gore pronounced him “One of our greatest presidents” in a press event at the while house.
The party didn’t tell him to leave, the Democrats many still in congress didn’t reject him and he not only survived his trial in the Senate but is still celebrated by the left and the media to this day.
Remember this was the president. If sexual harassment in the White House lying to the American people’s face and doing the same under oath to a grand jury doesn’t disqualify you from the White House or the support of your party & activists why would any such behavior disqualify a person from any lesser office.
And people wonder why folks like Filner & Weiner figured they could get away with it and why the occupant of this White House doesn’t worry about the scandals from Benghazi to the IRS?
I don’t know if Chris Christie was directly involved in those lane closures in New Jersey. His decision to fire principles involved rather than like Nixon in Watergate becoming involved via a coverup would suggest otherwise.
But if he was involved, and got up and lied through is teeth to the American people and you wonder why he thought he could get away with it, you need to look no father than President Bill Clinton and all those who enabled him, including the American People.
Update: The video for those too young to remember:
It’s Sunday, a new week which is a good thing because the last two weeks have not been very successful.
Well that’s not entirely true, we’ve had fair traffic but not only have we failed to make goal to secure the mortgage and pay DaMagnificent Seven plus our new villager the first two weeks combined didn’t manage to come up to a single week’s goal
But we’re back again, with a $345 goal for the week to try and start to move the ball forward toward getting the mortgage and the writers paid this month.
Once we manage that then we’ll worry about catching up on the ground we’re behind.
Of course if we can get 58 1/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month the bills will be paid every week and the problem will be solved on a more permanent basis.
Illinois may be the Land of Lincoln, but it is also the land of the corrupt George Ryan, Rod Blagojevich, Tony Rezko, and Jesse Jackson Jr.
In Chicago, thirty-one alderman have been convicted of crimes since 1972.
From “Honest Abe” to a national joke: What went wrong?
The root of the problem is ethnicity and Chicago. While the Irish were never the predominant group of immigrants in what has been the most populous city in the state since the 1840s, unlike the Germans–who were more numerous–the Irish spoke English and quickly inserted themselves into politics and government work. But in the old country they were reluctant subjects of Great Britain–government to them was an alien and often hostile force. So what’s the harm in stealing from it? That attitude crossed the Atlantic. Polish and Italians who came later had similar grievances. Poland was carved up by Russia, Prussia, and Austria in the 18th century–it didn’t regain its independence until 1918. Until sometime around 1980, there were more Poles living in Chicago than any city in the world–including Warsaw. The Italian immigrants who came to Chicago were mostly from the southern part of the peninsula or from Sicily–parts of Italy that didn’t care much for its royal family, the monarchy was abolished in 1946.
Blacks from the Deep South began migrating to Chicago in large numbers during World War I and the flow didn’t end until 1970. Victims of Jim Crow laws and worse, some African-Americans fell to the temptation of Chicago corruption too.
What about the rest of the state? Well, like an honest kid taking a test in a room full of cheaters–who gets a “B” while the cheaters get “A” grades, some downstaters threw up their hands and joined in the thievery. When he died in 1970, Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell, who was from small town just north of the Ohio River, over $800,000 in cash was found in shoe boxes in his hotel suite near the state capitol.
In short, corruption has become a habit in my home state. In a small way, I’ve benefited from it. A great uncle of mine worked for the Cook County Forest Preserve District. He had dinner with my parents at our home–and he had such a wonderful time–he promised my parents a gift. The very next day Forest Preserve workers delivered a picnic table–with county markings on it, to our home. Many times I’ve eaten on that table.