Illinois flag with its bicentennial counterpart

By John Ruberry

In honor of Illinois’ bicentennial, Kerry Lester of the Daily Herald compiled a list of Illinois’ best-known leaders. There is some good in it–Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, and some bad. Ethel Kennedy? Robert F. Kennedy’s widow was born in Chicago but grew up in Connecticut. And besides, her contributions don’t amount to very much.

Illinois has a well-deserved reputation for corruption. So I have put together my own list, the 14 Worst Leaders from Illinois.

My “hall of shame” by no means exonerates anyone not named.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

She is one of two people on both lists. Clinton is a former first lady, US senator, US secretary of state, and of course, the first major party presidential nominee. She was born in Chicago and grew up in suburban Park Ridge. Smoke, but as of yet, no fire has engulfed HRC’s public career. Clinton was implicated, but never charged in the Whitewater Scandal. Two years after her Whitewater billing records from the Rose Law Firm were subpoenaed, they mysteriously appeared in the White House living quarters. While secretary of state under Barack Obama, she used a home-brewed private email server. Her handling of those emails was deemed “extremely careless” two years ago by FBI director James Comey. After our consulate in Benghazi was overrun by terrorists in 2012, leading to the death of our ambassador to Libya as well as three other Americans, Clinton spread the lie that a YouTube video inspired the barbarians

I could go on and on about Clinton, but I have other names on my naughty list.

Richard M. Daley

Chicago’s mayor from 1989-2011, Daley’s father, Richard J who was mayor for nearly as long., had a strong background in public finance which allowed Chicago to escape the fiscal problems cities such as those New York and Cleveland suffered in the 1970s. Richie Daley inherited his dad’s name but not his financial acumen. Chicago’s public pensions are the worst-funded of any major city in the country. Property tax increases signed into law to right the ship by his successor, Rahm Emanuel, are probably just buying time; besides, the tax hikes are likely a key reason why Chicago is the only major city with a declining population.

Len Small

After two Democrats it’s time for our first Republican. Lennington “Len” Small of Kankakee was governor of Illinois from 1921-1929. While governor he was indicted for embezzling money during his time as state treasurer. He was found not guilty, but eight of the jurors on his trial later received state jobs. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

George Ryan

Another Kankakee GOPer, Ryan got in trouble for his scandalous eight years as Illinois secretary of state. Under Ryan, who once was speaker of the state House, the SoS office was enmeshed in a driver’s licenses for bribes scandal. Elected governor in 1998, after his one-term in that post Ryan was convicted of corruption involving perjury and bribery. His scandal was one of the few political ones that involved fatalities. On Election Day in 1994–Ryan was re-elected secretary of state that day–a truck driver who obtained his license by bribery caused an accident where six children from Chicago were killed.

Paul Powell

Like Ryan, Powell served as speaker of the state House before his election as secretary of state. His personal motto was “There’s only one thing worse than a defeated politician, and that’s a broke one.” Illinoisans who needed their license plates renewed were instructed to make their checks out to “Paul Powell.” What could go wrong? Powell died in office in 1970. The executor of his estate discovered over $800,000 in cash in the Springfield hotel suite where the southern Illinois self-servant lived, including some stuffed in a shoebox. His tombstone reads “Here lies a lifelong Democrat.”

Official House portrait of Hastert

Dennis Hastert

Before his election to Congress in 1986, Hastert, a Republican, was a teacher and a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. He later became speaker of that House. But at Yorkville he was a serial child molester. He was sent to prison not over those assaults, but for lying to federal officials about banking activity involving payments to one of his victims.

Jesse Jackson

He’s on that other list too. Jesse Jackson, the “poverty pimp” civil rights leader, has done little if anything to alleviate the problems of the people he claims to represent, Chicago’s minority poor. His half-brother, Noah Robinson, is serving a life sentence for racketeering and murder-for-hire. Jackson utilized his then-powerful Rainbow/PUSH organization to elect his son, Jesse Jr, to Congress and his daughter-in-law, Junior’s wife, as a Chicago alderman. Both went to prison over misuse of campaign funds.

Illinois & Michigan Canal at LaSalle, IL

Joel Matteson

We have to go to the pre-Civil War era for Matteson. The Illinois & Michigan Canal is the reason Chicago is the Midwest’s great city, not Milwaukee or St. Louis. But the canal faced enormous financial difficulties before its completion in 1848. Scrip was utilized by Illinois to fund the canal but in 1859 it was discovered that Matteson, a Democrat who was governor from 1853-1857, converted some of that scrip for personal use. Matteson was investigated but never charged in the case.

Antoin “Tony” Rezko

An immigrant from Syria, Rezko essentially was a collector of Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama and Governor Rod Blagojevich. Rezko engineered the mysterious land deal that made Obama’s purchase of his South Side Chicago mansion affordable. But his role as a fixer for Governor Rod Blagojevich earned him a trip to prison.

Rod Blagojevich

The most recent Illinois governor to be sentenced to prison, the Chicago Democrat attempted to sell the Senate seat of Barack Obama to the highest bidder. He essentially transformed the governor’s office into a vast pay-to-play operation. He’s still a federal inmate. Outside of the corruption, Blago was a still terrible governor. Illinois’ precarious financial situation grew much worse during his six years in Springfield, lowlighted by a two-year long pension payment holiday. State House Speaker Michael Madigan–another speaker!–played a large role in that debacle. We’ll be learning more about Madigan a little later. As for Blagojevich, amazingly he is the only Illinois governor to be impeached and removed from office.

William Hale Thompson

Blogger where the 1967 Detroit riot began

Chicago’s last Republican mayor, Thompson served two stints in office–from 1915-1923 and from 1927-1931. Thompson let Al Capone and other gangsters run wild during Prohibition. After the death of “Big Bill” in 1944, nearly $2 million in cash was found not in a shoebox, nor in Al Capone’s vault,  but in a safe deposit box.

Otto Kerner

You might have heard his name in the news lately as Kerner, a Democratic governor from 1961-1968, served as the chairman of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, better known as the Kerner Commission, which explored the causes of the 1967 urban riots. It was released 50 years ago last month. But in 1961 Kerner received a bribe of race track stock, which only came to light after the woman who paid him off him listed that expenditure on her federal income tax return because she viewed it as a legitimate business expense. Who can blame her for that opinion of Illinois? By the time the bribe was revealed Kerner was serving as a federal appeals judge. Facing certain impeachment, he resigned. Kerner was released from prison early for health reasons and died in disgrace shortly afterwards.

Carol Moseley Braun

Capitalizing on anger over the testimony of Anita Hill against Judge Clarence Thomas over reputed sexual harassment during his US Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Braun went from being Cook County Recorder of Deeds to the US Senate in 1992, becoming the first African-American woman to serve in the upper chamber. Even before her election, scandal percolated for Braun over allegations that she and her campaign manager, Kgosie Matthews, who was also her fiancée, diverted campaign funds for personal use. The Chicago Democrat blew off her Senate orientation meetings and instead took a nearly month-long vacation in South Africa with Matthews. What followed was a mind-bogging and ethically challenged six years in the Senate. Matthews was a citizen of South Africa–foreign meddling anyone?–and he was also at one time a paid lobbyist for Nigeria, which was then run by a murderous dictator, Sani Abacha. Over the objections of the Congressional Black Caucus, Braun visited Abacha while she was a senator.

During the ’92 campaign, it came to light three years earlier that inheritance money belonging to her mother, a nursing home patient, was split between Braun and two siblings, instead of being used to reimburse Medicaid. Once the scam became public Braun promptly paid Medicaid $15,000.

Matthews was later accused of sexual harassment of female campaign workers. Braun was elected during what was then called “the Year of the Woman.”

Braun and Matthews–he later left the country–were never charged with crimes.

Michael Madigan

Like Richard M. Daley, Madigan has modeled his public life on that of Richie’s dad, the first Mayor Daley. But like the son, Madigan, who has been speaker of the state House for 33 of the last 35 years, the Boss of Illinois is inept in regards to government finance, which is why last year Reuters declared him “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.”  Madigan, yet another Chicagoan, is also the chairman of the state Democratic Party. The “speaker for life” runs the House with an iron fist and his gerrymandering abuse is an insult to democracy. He’s the poster child for the admonition, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs from Illinois at Marathon Pundit.

by baldilocks

Tom Mboya

When the students of the Mboya Airlift were hand-picked to come to America, it was for a specific purpose: to educate demonstrably gifted Kenyan and Tanzanian students in the Western tradition and to send them home to be the leaders and information venders of their countries—preparation for independence from the European colonial powers. One of these students was my biological father, journalist Philip Ochieng.

That was in the late fifties to early sixties and most of the students did return home. The Airlift was a privately funded endeavor by the likes of the Ford Foundation, the Kennedy Foundation, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harry Belafonte. I’m sure that there have been other experiments like it.

The recent tempest regarding President Trump’s alleged description of Haiti and African countries as s**tholes got me thinking again about this vehicle for my presence on earth and the concept of it. I believe it was an attempt to create an elite in the two countries – a rulership. If the intent was to lift these countries up close to the economic and social level of the freer Western nations, I’d say that it failed. But I doubt that this was the intent of the two foundations involved — though Mr. Belafonte, Mr. Robinson, and Dr. King, undoubtedly had nothing but the best of intentions.

A nation cannot be transformed through its leaders alone. But it can be manipulated by indoctrinating leaders and planting them.

In 1965, the US Congress passed a new immigration law and LBJ signed it. Suddenly, there was a flood of immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and other non-European nations. Here came the Third World’s go-getters and risk-takers: the rest of the gifted students. And they’re still coming.

Meanwhile, back home, their friends and relatives remained mostly resigned to the old ways: kleptocracies, tribal wars, criminal cartels, monstrous pollution, deadly disease, etc.

I’ve seen a lot of outrage about the remarks from Haiti immigrants and immigrants from African countries. Some African leaders are calling for President Trump to apologize. Typical floor-showing.

But I’ve seen only one immigrant — a Nigerian — talk about going back home and making a difference there. Good luck, bro.

Most of the immigrants from the Third World thrive here and do not return to their countries of origin because it’s a lot easier and more profitable to stay here, have their children born as Americans, and raise them in relative safety and prosperity. And who can blame them? I certainly don’t.

But let’s stop pretending that they left some idyllic Trump-less places of beauty and peace. They left places that were dirty, stinky, dangerous and which have leaders who are blatantly corrupt.

A.K.A. …

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

by baldilocks

Nearly all major news agencies have been reporting on the recent Islamic terror attacks in Paris: the ambush of Charlie Hebdo journalists and responding police officers and the hostage-murders at a Kosher grocery store. But those of us who pay closer attention to what’s going on in the world know about this also.

abubakar-shekau
Newsweek say that this is Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. (YouTube)

Hundreds of bodies – too many to count – remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist [sic] attack that Amnesty International described as the “deadliest massacre” in the history of Boko Haram.

[…]

District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents.

“The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous,” Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for poorly armed civilians in a defence group that fights Boko Haram, told the Associated Press.

He said the civilian fighters gave up on trying to count all the bodies. “No one could attend to the corpses and even the seriously injured ones who may have died by now,” Gava said.

An Amnesty International statement said there are reports the town was razed and as many as 2,000 people killed.

Boko Haram’s previous high body count in Nigeria was achieved last year: 600.

It’s interesting to note that the name ‘Boko Haram’ means ‘books forbidden’—that is, books for girls and women. However, I doubt that any of these demonic vessels are, themselves, making their way through the Great Books.

Also interesting: how the mainstream media treats Islamic terror in Europe as compared to how they are recently treating far worse attacks in Africa and in other places which are openly acknowledged to be Muslim lands. There’s not much outrage. But, this wasn’t always so.

Here’s why this slightly smaller, Nigerian version of 9/11 gets less coverage in the mainstream media: the continent is conceded as theirs—or so the designated reporters of the news now believe.

We’ll see how long it takes for Europe to be deemed Muslim. French Jews aren’t waiting around for the announcement this time.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

 

…so I’m sure it will work in Nigeria:

Boko Haram has “claimed responsibility for bomb attacks and shoot-and-run killings in the past year, including attacks on military and police personnel, community and religious leaders as well as politicians,” and these craven quislings are apologizing to them, instead of insisting that Boko Haram should apologize to all free people. But here’s the thing: Bauchi state governor Isa Yuguda and the ex-governor of neighbouring Gombe state Danjuma Goje are just doing the same thing that Western leaders are doing in different ways every day: capitulating to jihad.

BTW if you don’t know who Molly Norris is and aren’t still outraged that she, an American is living in hiding in America due to Jihadi death threats you ought to be.

You know can we stop pretending that Iran is anything other than a thug state?

Iran is claiming there was a “misunderstanding” when its arms, mislabeled as “building supplies,” were seized last month at a Nigerian port.

Oh a Misunderstanding that’s it we always misplace Artillery rockets and ordnance are always accidentally packed in creates labeled building supplies:

According to the Associated Press, there were concerns that the arms were headed for Nigerian politicians who intended to respond with violence if they lost in upcoming elections.

And the left wants to trust these guys with nukes? Well never fear the Nigerians aren’t taking this lying down:

if an investigation proved Iran had violated United Nations sanctions and international law, the African nation would consider reporting the Islamic Republic to the U.N.

Oh THAT’S gonna scare them.

I suspect we won’t take Iran seriously until there is a big creator in Tel Avi. But I also suspect there are more than a few people who consider that a feature and not a bug.