Tag Archives: Chicago

The Tattlesnake – East Coast Blizzard Buries Snow-Job Political Futures Edition

Your Tattler remembers well the Chicago blizzard of 1979 that buried the city under several feet of the stuff, along with the political future of Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic. Days after the snow stopped, the side streets were still not plowed, main arteries were narrow two-lane ruts in the snow, and parking was a matter of driving into a snow bank and digging your car out the next day. If that was not aggravating enough, Bilandic had the chutzpah to go on TV and assure Chicagoans all was well and that things had been plowed – including designated public parking areas – that were not. The anger of city-dwellers reached the boiling point over those jaw-dropping pronouncements and, in one of those incredible political miracles, Daley Machine inheritor Bilandic lost his sure-thing nomination to Jane Byrne in the Democratic primary, and Byrne went on to become Chicago’s first woman mayor.

New York City’s independent ‘No Labels’ Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently forgot the lesson of Bilandic, if he ever learned it. Yes, voters often have short memories, but not when it comes to the tangible physical and mental stress engendered by a massive snowstorm. Seeing your expensively-attired billionaire mayor, appearing dry and comfortable on TV, braying that everything is fine, all that can be done is being done, and to stop complaining, is not the message snow-besieged proles want to hear. I think this stunt finishes Bloomberg’s future in politics, just as NYC Mayor John V. Lindsay’s presidential ambitions were plowed under by his failure to adequately respond to a Big Apple blizzard 41 years ago.

Next door, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the GOP’s emerging Golden Boy already declining in popularity back home from his managerial incompetence – he lost $400 million in federal aid for state public education due to bumbled paperwork, for one – and obsessive Republican addiction to cutting any program, including state pensions, that benefits the ‘little guy’ while protecting his wealthy benefactors from economic pain, will likewise see his political future melting like a Newark snowball in June, as the clueless Guv has remained on vacation in warm and sunny Disney World in the aftermath of the crippling storm. Christie has, as yet, made no public announcement or curtailed his vacation in order to deal with his state’s weather crisis – perhaps an acknowledgement that his blustery Tony Soprano style of governing may intimidate some, but not Mother Nature.

Massive blizzards demonstrate the need for full-capacity city and state services during a time of crisis, the very things manic cost-cutters like Bloomberg and Christie have put on the chopping block; and the need for leadership that understands what’s happening on the ground, even when that ground is covered with snow; something these conservative budget-balancers forget, to their political peril.

President Bloomberg? President Christie? Fuhgedabouit!

© 2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.

The Tattlesnake Fitzgerald Finally Indicts Blagojevich for Jaywalking Edition

19 Charges Against Blago, 16 of Them Felonies, But Not Much St. Pat the Prosecutor Can Hang His Halo On

The AP has reported that federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald finally indicted impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich yesterday, April 2, on 16 felony charges, including conspiracy, attempted extortion, wire fraud and racketeering.

This all stinks to high heaven Fitzgerald needs four months to indict a guy who, in his words, was on a “crime spree” and then doesn’t even have a press conference to announce the particulars of the indictment? Quite a bit different from the media circus he ringmastered last December to drive Blago from office. Plus, his key witness is apparently the jailed slimebucket Tony Rezko. Rezko is doing hard time in solitary and might be amenable to saying whatever Mr. Fed wants to hear to shave off some months from his sentence not what you’d call a stellar witness.

Charges that Blago used his influence to arrange job interviews for his wife with companies doing business with the state where she wasn’t hired, used ‘improper influence’ (did he have a gun?) to block efforts to consolidate state retirement funds, held up taxpayer money to fix the Tribune Company’s privately-owned Wrigley Field, and ‘discussed the possibility’ of having Fitzgerald replaced tip off the flop-sweat desperation of a prosecutor trying to pad his case. Privately ‘discussing the possibility’ of removing a prosecutor, blocking the consolidation of state funds desired by a corporation, withholding taxpayer money for a private sports enterprise, and arranging job interviews for your wife are now illegal? Fitzgerald is going to be mighty busy from now on, prosecuting every single politician in Illinois.

Also named in the charges is a ‘Candidate A’ that some of the TV Talking Heads are claiming is Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. The allegation is that Candidate A was offered Obama’s vacated US Senate seat in return for a contribution to Blago’s campaign of $1.5 million. All well and good, except Jackson has already categorically denied that he discussed any kind of deal with Blago or his staff.

According to Jim Warren, formerly of the Chicago Tribune, speaking on Chris Matthews’ Hardball last night, there is little in these 16 counts that was not brought out in Fitzgerald’s press conference last December. If so, Fitzy is armed with 16 counts of wet noodle here he supposedly has wiretaps that have Blago discussing bribes, but no actual bribes taking place. He might be able to make a thin-beef conspiracy charge stick but, then again, does he really want Blago and his staff taking the stand to expose the way the sausage is made in Springfield by both the Dems and GOP?

Regular Tattlesnake readers know that I have a friend who has 20 years experience with non-profit organizations trying to bring health care to everyone in Illinois. She reports that Blago was the only governor, and one of the few statehouse politicians, who ever took the issue seriously, and even appointed a liaison to the non-profit health care groups, with the aim of instituting single-payer universal health care for every Illinois resident. For this, and other progressive ideas, such as supporting unions and cracking down on the mortgage-lending industry, Blago was loathed by the corporate Powers-That-Be who have been trying to get rid of him since he took office. On the Republican side, the attacks have been spearheaded by the Chicago Tribune, and on the Dem side by Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, a corrupt leftover from the old Daddy Daley Chicago Machine who wants his daughter Lisa, currently the Illinois AG, to be governor someday.

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The Tattlesnake After Blago the Deluge? Edition

“How many legs does a dog have, if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
— Abraham Lincoln

Last Thursday, Illinois Speaker of the House and state Democratic Party Chair Mike Madigan finally managed, with the help of Patrick “Spotless Mind” Fitzgerald, the bankrupt Chicago Tribune editorial board, and their cohort in the national Big Media, to get rid of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 14 articles of impeachment that are quaint and laughable compared to the blatant offenses of Bush and Cheney. Among the horrible crimes Blago committed were abusing his power by making it easier for senior citizens to get their drugs at cheap Canadian prices; bringing health care to uninsured kids, and helping poor women get regular mammograms and cancer treatment. Seriously. Since Blago bypassed, apparently legally, the corrupt lead-asses in the state General Assembly, they called this an abuse of power. Of course the main charge that he tried to sell the US Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama was based entirely on Fitzgerald’s lip-licking public readings of excerpts of wiretapped tapes the actual full tapes have yet to be released — and remain unproven in a court of law. Here are a few things the BM, in its haste to bury Blago under ridicule, have missed:

— I live in Illinois and have known for years that Blago was not popular with the state Power Elite comprised of corporations, wealthy country-clubbers of both parties, the mortgage-lending industry, the bankers, the conservative Chicago Tribune, and the for-profit health insurance creeps. In fact, these various groups, through their mouthpieces at the Trib editorial board and elsewhere, have been trying to impeach ‘The Rod’ for years, but they needed the supposedly bias-free imprimatur of Fitzgerald’s bizarre press conference on December 9, 2008, following Blago’s arrest he had yet to indict Blago, and hasn’t to this day — to bring it to a head.

— I also know a trustworthy woman who has worked for various organizations for more than two decades to bring health care to uninsured Illinoisans. She claims Blagojevich was the first Illinois governor to listen and take action, action that would have resulted, eventually, in universal health care for every Illinois resident. This alone, she says, made him a pariah among most IL politicians who rake in campaign contributions from the for-profit health care industry and he had that industry shaking in its boots universal health care in a state the size of Illinois? It would be the beginning of the end of for-profit insurers across the land. This had to be nipped in the bud before it got out of hand.

Speaker Madigan is an Old-School Chicago machine politician who has amassed immense power in Springfield and committed every public vice he’s imputed to Blago. (If you think Blago has a foul mouth on him, spend a few minutes off camera with Mike or any of Daley’s Army this is the way pols talk in Chicago.) He also wants his daughter Lisa, currently the Illinois Attorney General, to be governor and Blago stood in the way. Make no mistake, Pat Quinn may have been sworn in as governor on January 29, but the real power is Madigan who controls the purse strings, both in state government appropriations and Dem party politics. That’s how he got many of these State House toads to go along he no doubt threatened he would throw official Dem party support to another candidate in the next primary, thereby guaranteeing they would lose their cushy seats in the legislature. (Some of these slack-jawed monkeys aren’t fit for much else; a good portion of them might drown in a rainstorm if they looked up.) Of course, he didn’t have to convince the Republicans they all needed drool cups at the prospect of impeaching Blago.

— You’ve heard the old line that a Grand Jury will indict a ham sandwich. Illinois’ rules of impeachment are so lax you can be removed from office for just talking about that ham sandwich on the phone.

— Just in case, as is likely, Fitzgerald isn’t able to prove his corruption charges in a court of law (he may even quietly drop the charges now that the mission has been accomplished), Illinois lawmakers added an extra fillip to the impeachment indictment Blagojevich is now barred from holding elective office in the state for life, so he won’t be in the hair of the health care apparatus and Corprocracy ever again, even if he’s cleared of corruption charges in court. They thought of everything.

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The Tattlesnake Big Media Blago Beat Blow Out Edition

Bored and Lazy Big Media Drooling to Catch Obama in Blagojevich Dragnet

Have you noticed? The Big Media have been desperately trying to shoehorn Barack Obama into the ethical problems of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, even though there’s not a particle of evidence that he was in any way involved. The Chris Matthews Crank-It-Up-Loud-and-Stupid Machine over at MSNBC presented a good example of the ugly process in action:

“MATTHEWS: Barack Obama, of course, rose to political power in a city, Chicago, in a state, Illinois, known for corruption. But Fitzgerald made clear that Obama was not implicated today. Here he is, quote, ‘The complaint makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever.’ Obama said this afternoon that he had no contact with Governor Blagojevich over who was gonna fill that Senate seat.

“Still, there are many unanswered questions, including that one. What conversation did occur between Blagojevich and Barack Obama about who would fill his Senate seat once he became president? Obama said this afternoon there were none at all.

“What conversations, if any, did Governor Blagojevich have with Rahm Emanuel about his replacement as a Democratic candidate in the special election in Chicago? Will this Illinois scandal in any way distract Obama from dealing with the financial crisis? What happens to Obama’s Senate seat now? Who gets to fill it? The disgraced indicted governor? The state legislature? Who? And what is it about Illinois that seems to make the state’s politics so relentlessly corrupt?”
— Chris Matthews, “Hardball,” Dec. 9, 2008, as quoted by Media Matters.

Jeepers, Tweety, that’s one Olympic leap of pure, empty, pull-it-out-your-keester speculation. Wasn’t Matthews once seen in a public men’s room in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the Republican National Convention? Wasn’t Sen. Larry Craig convicted of soliciting men for sex in a similar place? What does this say about Matthews? And what is it about Minneapolis that seems to attract so many gay men to their public facilities? There are some ‘unanswered questions’ concerning Mr. Matthews’ conduct in Minneapolis during the Republican National Convention and the American people demand answers. (See the way this works? Take even the most tenuous, ridiculous association and blow it out of proportion ending with the dire ‘unanswered questions’ malarkey. There are always ‘unanswered questions’ about everyone and everything it’s just that most of them are time wasting and ludicrous. Eating in a restaurant where mobsters occasionally dine does not make you a Mafia kingpin, except in the RNC’s Bizarro World of infinite guilt-by-association and silly questions.)

As far as the ‘relentlessly corrupt’ Illinois, Tweety and his pals should check some other states such as Alaska, Alabama and Florida, all of which ranked ahead of Illinois in the number of political scandals between 1998 and 2007. Wait, as Jamison Foser at Media Matters recently noted, USA Today already did: “[O]n a per-capita basis … Illinois ranks 18th for the number of public corruption convictions the federal government has won from 1998 through 2007”

This is the line of ‘logic’ being used as the BM line up to slather over yet another invented ‘scandal’ for Obama — already they’re trying to make this his ‘Blagogate.’ Even the New York Times has the green-eyeshade on backwards as it attempts to conflate Obama’s passing acquaintance with Blago with involvement in some sort of shady business with the Rodster. As Eric Boehlert points out:

“The larger point is that in order for the Beltway press to gin up the Blago story this week, basic journalism guidelines had to be set aside and in some cases brazenly ignored. That’s the only way this story worked because simply reporting the facts as presented by the prosecutors would have made it painfully clear that, in terms of Obama’s involvement, there was none. In fact, Obama had thwarted Blago’s money-making scheme.”

But the worst of the bad lot was Liz Sidoti of the (Guilt By) Associated Press. In her December 10th article “Analysis: Scandal threatens to dog Obama,” she actually kicked off with these two vapid, meaningless paragraphs:

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