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Aaron M. Renn writes about what he calls Chicago’s “demographic disaster” in City Journal:

Begin with Chicago’s population decline during the 2000s, an exodus of more than 200,000 people that wiped out the previous decade’s gains. Of the 15 largest cities in the United States in 2010, Chicago was the only one that lost population; indeed, it suffered the second-highest total loss of any city, sandwiched between first-place Detroit and third-place, hurricane-wrecked New Orleans. While New York’s and L.A.’s populations clocked in at record highs in 2010, Chicago’s dropped to a level not seen since 1910. Chicago is also being “Europeanized,” with poorer minorities leaving the center of the city and forced to its inner suburbs: 175,000 of those 200,000 lost people were black.

The second Mayor Daley took a striking number of vacations in Paris, and brought back some highly publicized good ideas, like floodlighting bridges over the Chicago River at night just because it looks cool. I suspect, however, that the most important idea he brought back from Paris was that Americans were nuts to let violent poor people push them out of their own great cities.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization 
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The New York Times explains the “background” of Obama’s new chief of staff, William M. Daley:
He is a top executive at JPMorgan Chase, where he is paid as much as $5 million a year and supervises the Washington lobbying efforts of the nation’s second-largest bank. He also serves on the board of directors at Boeing, the giant military contractor, and Abbott Laboratories, the global drug company, which has billions of dollars at stake in the overhaul of the health care system. 
Funny, I always thought Bill Daley was a big shot (e.g., he’s head of JP Morgan Chase’s “Office of Corporate Social Responsibility”) because his father had been mayor of Chicago for 20 years and his brother for 22.
Obama’s chief of staff picks (first, Rahm Emanuel, now a Daley) suggest he still doesn’t seem to know many people outside of Chicago. It’s not like he knew Emanuel or Daley well in Chicago, it’s just that he knows them less less well than non-Chicagoans. Who will be Obama’s next chief of staff? Mike Ditka? Oprah’s friend Gayle? Stedman Graham?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization, Politics 
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A reader writes regarding the video of the gang fight in a Chicago school in which a 16-year-old passerby was killed.

This is where I grew up.

What’s sad is, the crime was a lot higher when I was in elementary school (900 murders a year versus 400 murders a year today).

However, the media attention is greater today since:
1. this crime happens on the south side of chicago
2. Barack Obama lives on the south side of chicago

The Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh are sending the message to Obama and Rahm “fix your house before you try to fix mine”.

This is actually the neighborhood Barack Obama “organized” as a community organizer. If you read his books, he talks about helping people in the Altgeld Gardens community, and one of the gangs in this fight lived in the Altgeld Gardens community.

Obama’s career consists largely of Failing Upward. It’s nice work if you can get it. (That said, Obama’s lightweightness compares favorably to our last President’s, who would have lost in a Presidential election in which the only other candidates were his siblings and the only voters his parents.)

• Tags: Chicagoization 
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Continuing my recent Chicago nostalgia-fest, here’s an article from Chicago Magazine by liberal investigative reporter John Conroy, whose career has been dedicated to exposing the use of torture by Chicago area cops on black suspects. In “A Mugging on Lake Street,” however, the muggee was Conroy. While riding his bike westbound on Lake Street under the El tracks through the West Side of Chicago (which my in-laws were driven out of by violence in 1970) to his home in Oak Park, he was knocked unconscious by a 16 year old black kid. No robbery, no apparent motive other than racial hatred.

Not long after, I was talking about the incident with my neighbor and fellow journalist Alex Kotlowitz, interpreter of racial maladies in There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River. I mentioned the coincidence of hearing the same thing from two such different sources. “I don’t think there is any question that it had to do with race,” Kotlowitz said. (Our initial conversation was over the fence, and I recently asked him to reconstruct his perception.) “There is some surmising here, but what other explanation is there for it? It is not like they had some animosity toward bikers.”

But he found the notion of a hate crime problematic. It presumes, he said, that the assailant acted out of racism, which by Kotlowitz’s definition requires a belief that one’s race is superior to another’s. “In this instance, I don’t think he felt superior. I think probably he felt diminished in some way and that was part of the lashing out.”

Modern liberal thought consists largely of dressing “Who? Whom?” up in sophisticated-sounding verbiage.

Speaking of the Lake Street El, my paternal grandfather used to ride the Lake Street Elevated Line everyday from his home in Oak Park, which native son Ernest Hemingway famously called a town of “broad lawns and narrow minds.” Despite Hemingway’s put-down, Oak Park produced perhaps the two most celebrated American artistic geniuses of the first half of the 20th Century in Hemingway, and Frank Lloyd Wright, who developed his Prairie Style while living there from age 22. Wright designed about a dozen houses within a block of my grandfather’s (non-Wright) place.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization, Crime 
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Here’s a video of a riot in my old neighborhood, Uptown, whose slogan is “Chicago’s Most Entertaining Neighborhood.” (It’s home to the Riviera and Aragon concert halls.)

This bottle-throwing brouhaha took place at the corner of Sheridan and Leland, two blocks inland from the lakefront at 4700 North, on August 13, 2009 at just after 9 pm. (The audio portion of the video is Not Safe For Work.)

Nobody brought a gun, so this gang fight has a certain old-fashioned West Side Story / Beat It sense of innocence, but commenters say they heard three shots fired the next night.

I used to live six blocks north and one block east. My rule was that no matter how desperately I was searching for a parking place late at night … never park south of Lawrence (4800 North).

Good rule.

This part of Uptown, south of Lawrence and a little north of Wrigley Field, is in the 46th Ward, overseen since 1987 by Alderwoman Helen Shiller, who had once founded a white auxiliary wing of the Black Panthers. Aldermen have a lot of power over what kind of development happens in their wards. Shiller chose to pack as many poor and dysfunctional people as she could into her otherwise attractive lakefront ward to drive away yuppie voters. The late Mike Royko once said “Shiller’s main motive was that she was building a political power base which included as many winos as she could drag to the voting booth.”

All through the 1990s, we hoped Mayor Daley’s candidates would oust her so we could someday park south of Lawrence (it seemed a humble enough ambition), but Shiller narrowly survived multiple challenges. Finally, after we left Chicago, she and Daley struck a deal and now they are allies. (Here’s Shiller’s weaselly statement on the riot.)

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization, Crime 
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Patrick Fitzgerald has a fun job. The chief federal prosecutor in Chicago enjoys a “target-rich environment.” Besides nailing two Illinois governors, Tony Rezko, Conrad Black (and even Scooter Libby on a sojourn in D.C.), there are the colorful local characters. Here’s a 2001 story that caught my eye for no particular reason:

Former chief of detectives admits masterminding jewel theft ring
William Hanhardt agrees to pay $4.8 million in restitution, faces up to 12 years in prison.

By The Associated Press CHICAGO — Wearing the bright orange jumpsuit of a federal prisoner, the Chicago Police Department’s former chief of detectives pleaded guilty Thursday to masterminding $5 million in jewelry thefts.

William Hanhardt, 72, admitted to capping a 33-year career as one of the city’s boldest crime-busting detectives by leading a band of thieves who pulled eight heists in seven states over more than a decade.

Hanhardt agreed to pay $4,845,000 in restitution for stolen jewelry, gems and watches and faces as much as a dozen years in prison.

“It’s remarkable that a person who was chief of detectives of the Chicago Police Department admits to being part of a racketeering conspiracy,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said afterward. …

Prosecutors had said previously that Hanhardt, although retired from the force, had been able to make use of police computers to get information about such matters as car rentals by jewelry salesmen. Many of the thefts were from automobiles parked by unsuspecting salesmen. …

Law enforcement officials say the first of the heists took place in Wisconsin in 1984, two years before Hanhardt retired from the force.

“It’s our evidence that for decades Bill Hanhardt has been a corrupt policeman,” said Gary Shapiro, former chief of the federal organized crime strike force and now first assistant U.S. attorney. …

Prosecutors said the gang’s operations were among the most sophisticated they have ever encountered, with smoke grenades, fake beards and mustaches, listening devices and other high-tech paraphernalia.

A Chicago reader asserts:

Hanhardt the ex Chief of Detectives, Chi, was also noted for his uncanny ability to find criminals and solve crimes. Became the Chief of Detectives because of that.

His uncanny ability was because he was in cahoots with the Chi mafia from the start. The Outfit would throw little fish to him and maybe big fish from time to time so Hanhardt would establish credentials as the go to man to solve crimes. The mafia gave away their own folks or those associated with them so Hanhardt would rise in the ranks.

So, who will Fitzgerald round out his career with? Mayor Daley really wants the 2016 Olympics for Chicago, so cornering Daley would be a fun international incident.

That reminds me … Now that Obama wants to put himself in charge of the health care industry, it’s interesting to reflect on his experience with healthcare finance.

The Obama family knows all about waste in the health care industry. Back when Mr. Obama was merely the chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee, Mrs. Obama got paid $122,000 annually as the University of Chicago Hospitals community outrage coordinator. When he got promoted to U.S. Senator, she got a $195,000 raise. When she quit, her job turned out to so incredibly important that the position she filled was eliminated.

Part of Obama’s vast range of health care finance experience comes from an important health bill, Senate Bill 1332, the “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” that Obama, as committee chairman, recommended to the Illinois Senate floor for passage in 2003.

Tony Rezko is in prison in large part for packing the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board with five of his lackeys so they would approve hospital construction in which he had an interest. That Board used to have 15 members, making it hard for Rezko to corrupt the majority, but in 2003, a bill passed the Illinois legislature reducing the number of members from 15 to 9. And who was the chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee that recommended that bill? Why, Rezko’s $250,000 friend, Barack Obama.

As far as I can tell, Rezko is still in jail awaiting sentencing for his conviction on 16 counts of corruption in Fitzgerald’s 2008 prosecution of him. He was supposed to be sentenced last January 6th, but, if that ever happened, nobody told Google.

Even more strikingly, the press seems to have lost all interest in the fact that a convicted racketeer who is a fairly close friend and business associate of the President of the United States remains unsentenced, and thus has an incentive to spills the beans to the nation’s bravest prosecutor about important friends of his.

Could never ever happen, you say? Certainly, but keep in mind that in 1973, the Vice President of the United States resigned over local statehouse corruption in his past.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization 
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In on Sunday evening, I’ll have a column pointing out the multiple ironies in Slate’s 5000 word article last week deploring the excessively objective and lamentably non-random 2003 New Haven fire department test (since discarded, with the approval of Sonia Sotomayor) on which Frank Ricci earned a promotion.

In the meantime, here’s a great John Kass column from the Chicago Tribune on February 14, 2009 (or as the day is known in Chicago history, St. Valentine’s Day) that’s highly relevant to the Ricci case. The background is that in the 1990s, Chicago spent a fortune on devising the perfect unbiased police and fire promotion civil service tests. When the test creation process was complete, everybody in Chicago agreed that, finally, a non-discriminatory test had been perfected. Of course, it turned out that whites ended up earning 95% of the scores high enough for promotion, so a political firestorm ensued. For a while, Mayor Richard M. Daley stoutly defended a test on which no expense had been spared, but eventually he caved in and announced that some of the top scorers would get promotions but other worthies would get promotions too, based on “merit” in order to bring “diversity” to leadership positions. This “merit” system was extended to firefighters.

A much more sophisticated system than the simple-minded one under which Frank Ricci earned a promotion, no? So much more thoughtful and nuanced! Who cares about Civil Service laws against political hackery and nepotism when the concept of diversity is at stake?

In what squeaky-clean city would a fire department lieutenant known as “Matches,” convicted of multiple arsons—including one sparked at an elementary school—feel that he’s still entitled to his taxpayer-funded pension of $50,000 per year?

Oh, don’t pretend you don’t know the city.

It’s Chicago, which must be the epicenter of political reform now that Mayor Richard Daley’s guys are running the White House and the U.S. Census, and are about to wet the beaks of federal road and bridge contractors.

It’s also the same city where you’ll need 28 quarters in your pocket just to park for two hours at a metered space, thanks to Daley’s new parking deal. But perhaps the only Chicagoan with pockets thick enough for that many quarters is none other than the famous John “Quarters” Boyle himself.

Years ago, Quarters was convicted of stealing millions of dollars in quarters from the state toll roads. After his punishment, he received a cushy city job. Daley told me politics had nothing to do with it, but all the while Quarters was getting out the vote with The Coalition for Better Government, a pro-Daley patronage army of payroll hacks, tough guys and felons.

Sadly, Quarters is now back in federal prison, this time for taking more than $200,000 in bribes in the mayor’s Hired Truck scandal. But Quarters is keeping his mouth shut. And as he sits tight, his brother wants a pension.

Oops! I’m such a chumbolone that I forgot an important detail: The convicted bribe-taker John “Quarters” Boyle and the fire lieutenant/arsonist Jeffrey “Matches” Boyle are brothers. That’s the Chicago Way.

In 2006, Matches Boyle was sentenced to six years behind bars after pleading guilty to setting multiple fires on the Northwest Side and in neighboring Park Ridge. Matches pleaded guilty to eight fires, but admitted to setting more than 20 others.

What’s fascinating—since Chicago is the epicenter of reform—is that while he was busy as an arsonist, he was also busy applying for a promotion to fire lieutenant.

There were 200 more-qualified firefighters ahead of him on the list, but Matches magically jumped ahead of all of them and received what Daley’s City Hall calls a “merit” promotion in 2002. If that’s not reform, what is?

Here’s a picture of Matches Boyle, beneficiary of one of Mayor Daley’s “merit” promotions that were instituted in the name of Diversity. As you may have noticed, however, Mr. Boyle is a Person of Pink. (In fact, 30% of Chicago’s “merit” promotions went to whites.) But Matches does come from a fine Democratic Machine family, and, in the final analysis, isn’t that what really counts?

Matches served only one year and nine months of his six-year stint. And now, despite losing his job and burning the words “convicted arsonist” onto his résumé, he’s demanding another miracle: He wants the Firemen’s Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago—the group that handles the pensions—to fork over his $50K per year. His rationale?

According to his lawsuit against the fund filed in Cook County court last month, Matches insists his convictions had nothing to do with his job as a fire lieutenant. Why? He didn’t set the fires while on duty. He started them on his free time. …

Matches’ crime spree came to an end after the 2005 Super Bowl, when Matches, drunk and upset over losing $3,000 on a football bet, decided to make himself feel better by setting fire to Brandy’s Restaurant on Harlem Avenue. Local police recognized him from a security tape, and notified detectives from the Chicago Police Bomb and Arson Unit.

The detectives picked up Matches, and according to the police report, they asked him if he liked movies. Matches said he sure did like movies, so the detective asked if he’d “be interested in viewing a video of an arson in progress.”

They rolled tape showing a man pushing a Dumpster, with contents blazing, up against the restaurant. The firebug bore a unique resemblance to Matches, which caused Matches to bow his head and issue the immortal words: “OK, you’ve got me. That’s me.”

According to the reports, Matches told police that he had a drinking problem, was upset over bad football bets and his father’s death, and that journalists were writing mean things about his brother, Quarters. (I’m just thankful he didn’t burn down the Tribune Tower on deadline.)

According to transcripts of a benefit board meeting last year, Matches was asked what he learned as a Chicago firefighter about how different materials ignite, and at what temperatures.

“The hotter it got, the more it would burn,” Matches said simply.

Consider how much more socially uplifting is the story of Matches’ merit promotion compared to those of nerdy “fire buffs” like Frank Ricci who spent all those hours poring over fire fighting manuals so that they could “earn” promotions based on disparately impacting Civil Service tests of objective knowledge.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Shouting Thomas points out that John Kass, Mike Royko’s successor as Chicago tough guy columnist, has been writing about how Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is not going peacefully into that good night. Already, Blago has wormed his appointee Roland Burris into the U.S. Senate. Can he save himself?

Blago has been trying to head off impeachment by threatening to squeal on a wide array of Illinois politicians. Kass writes:

He also lobbed a few warning shots toward the Obama White House, saying he could prove his innocence, if only the Illinois Senate would allow him the right to question the president’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, about discussions concerning appointments for Obama’s old Senate seat.

… It’s also laughable to see others who know better denounce him as a psycho. They just don’t get it. As I’ve said before, the governor is of clear mind.

On “The View” he issued a threat to his estranged father-in-law, Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), the man who made him. The governor said his political problems began after he blocked an illegal landfill supported by Mell. That may have slipped past all the pretend Chicago political experts, but it didn’t slip past Chicago politicians. They know a threat when they hear it.

Yet it is what Gov. Nosferatu told NBC over the weekend that surely terrifies Illinois politicians:

“And for me to just quit because some cackling politicians want to get me out of the way because there’s a whole bunch of things they don’t want known about them and conversations they may have had with me . . . would be to disgrace my children when I know I’ve done nothing wrong,” said the governor.

I’ve got an idea for a show like “The View” that would be so scary, our politicians would demand emergency government subsidies for Depends.

Instead of lumpy comics touching his hair, how about four tough, bright female federal prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s public corruption squad interviewing a cooperating Gov. Nosferatu for hours in the federal building?

Mayor Richard Daley and the other “cackling politicians” could watch. Taxpayers might think it a comedy, but politicians know that true horror can be just a witness away.

Obama and Blagojevich never liked each other much, but they both were close friends of Tony Rezko, so Blago just might have something on Obama from his days in the Illinois Senate.

One of the scandals for which Rezko is currently in jail is for owning via bribery five of the nine members of a Illinois state commission that has veto power over plans to build hospitals in the state, allowing Rezko to push through a giant hospital construction plan. Until Illinois Democrats swept to power in the 2002 elections, with Blago becoming governor and Obama becoming chairman of the state senate Health and Human Services committee, there were 15 members of the commission, so Rezko only owned a minority. But a 2003 bill, Senate Bill 1332, was introduced to cut the number commissioners from 15 to 9 and referred to Obama’s committe. The Obama committee recommended it to the floor where it passed. Six anti-Rezko commissioners were then dropped from the commission and Rezko had his illicit majority of five of nine.

Did Obama understand what his old friend, fundraiser, frequent lunch partner, and property co-buyer in 2005, was up to?

Obama’s not stupid. He’d known Rezko since 1990. Obama knew all along how the game was played in Illinois. He never wanted to change the rules of the game, just win at it. He chose to move to Chicago, twice, to make Chicago politics his career.

Could Blago take Obama down over this?

It seems highly implausible. I strongly doubt that Obama put anything about the bill in writing, and probably would never have said anything on any phone line that might have been tapped more incriminating than “I have understood you.”

Could Rezko take Obama down? What if, to speculate irresponsibly, Rezko testified in return for a sentence reduction,

“I told him, ‘Barack, old buddy, this bill cutting the number of commissioners from 15 to 9 is the big one for me. I need this favor bad. You play ball on the panel and I’ll return the favor for you down the road.’ And Obama replied with a smile to me, ‘I have understood you.’”

Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has already arrested two Illinois governors. He’s got courage. But the idea that he’d go after the Promised Prince, a sitting President of the United States, with swindler Tony Rezko as his main witness against The One, with the Riot Veto hanging over his head, seems wildly improbable. If he can use Blago to take down, say, Mayor Daley, well, that would put Fitzgerald up at the top of the all-time prosecutor hall of fame, ahead of Thomas Dewey, Rudy Giuliani, and Vincent Bugliosi. That would seem enough for one lifetime.

So, Obama should be able to rest easy over Blago. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who succeeded Blago as the House member for the mobbed up western suburbs of Chicago, well, maybe not so much.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization, Obama 
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The ABC station in Chicago reports:

By Chuck Goudie

The ABC7 I-Team has learned that an attorney who went undercover for the FBI in the late 1980′s says he told federal authorities years ago about wrongdoing by Blagojevich.

His name is Robert Cooley.

Cooley was a criminal defense lawyer in Chicago in the late 1980′s who became one of the most potent witnesses against Chicago corruption, testifying for federal prosecutors in cases that resulted in dozens of convictions.

Cooley says that before Rod Blagojevich got into politics he was a bookmaker on the North Side who regularly paid the Chicago mob to operate.

“When I was working with government wearing wire, I reported, I observed Rod, the present governor, who was running a gambling operation out in the western suburbs. He was paying street tax to the mob out there,” said Robert Cooley, federal informant.

On a web-based interview show last week, Cooley said he reported to federal authorities nearly two decades ago that Rod Blagojevich had been operating an illegal sports gambling business.

During Operation Gambat in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, Cooley’s undercover work and testimony put away 24 crooked politicians, judges, lawyers and cops.

Several years ago, when Mr. Blagojevich was running for re-election, Cooley provided the same information to the ABC7 I-Team. Because Cooley did not want to be identified at the time and the governor denied it, ABC7 did not report the story.

On Tuesday, Cooley spoke on the record.

He told ABC7 that Mr. Blagojevich regularly paid a so-called street tax to Robert “Bobby the Boxer” Abbinanti, a convicted outfit gambling collector. In the early 1980′s, Abbinanti was working for convicted West Side mob boss Marco D’amico. Bookies pay street taxes to the crime syndicate in exchange for being allowed to operate such a racket.

“I predicted five years ago when he ran the first time that he was a hands on person who would be selling every position in the state of Illinois and that it exactly what happened,” said Cooley.

This is the caliber of human being who becomes a successful Illinois politician. And, therefore, this is the type of man that Barack Obama, with every option in the world open to him, chose to spend his days in alliance with, so burning was Obama’s hunger for power.

I moved to Chicago three years before Obama and had a lovely time there. But never once did I ever consider becoming a Chicago politician. I can’t recall ever meeting anybody in Chicago who grew up elsewhere who said they had ever thought of becoming a Chicago politician. It no more occurred to us than to apply for membership in the Chicago Outfit. But Obama spent three years at Harvard Law School telling everybody that he was going back to Chicago to become mayor.

It’s not as if Obama wanted to be a reformer, like his predecessor in the U.S. Senate, Peter Fitzgerald, who brought Patrick Fitzgerald to town to be Eliot Ness. Obama didn’t want to change the rules of Illinois politics; he wanted to win at Illinois politics.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization 
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Here are excerpts from my new column Blagojevich, Obama, and the Diversity-Fueled “Chicago Way:

This scandal is of particular interest to VDARE.COM readers because immigrants and immigration policy play such a large role. For instance, the go-betweens in the alleged deal in which Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., apparently the high bidder, would raise at least $1 million for Blagojevich were members of what the <i”> Chicago Tribune calls [<i,0,6420556.story">Blagojevich Fundraiser Held by Jackson Allies Saturday, by David Kidwell, John Chase and Dan Mihalopoulos, December 12, 2008] “the close-knit and politically active Indian business community”.

Another of Blagojevich’s Senator schemes has proven embarrassing to one of the strongest supporters of illegal immigration: the huge Service Employees International Union, which claims to represent unskilled workers, often illegal aliens. The SEIU is potent political force on the far left, but it curiously less potent at getting higher pay for its teeming members.

On page 60 of the criminal complaint:

“ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, ‘I want to make money.’ During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH, HARRIS, and Advisor B discussed the prospect of working a three-way deal for the open Senate seat. HARRIS noted that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is interested in taking a high-paying position with an organization called ‘Change to Win,’ which is connected to Service Employees International Union (‘SEIU’). HARRIS suggested that SEIU Official make ROD BLAGOJEVICH the head of Change to Win and, in exchange, the President-elect could help Change to Win with its legislative agenda on a national level.”

In other words, in this scenario, Blagojevich, who has apparently been under financial stress ever since his Lady Macbeth-type wife had to give up her job as a real estate agent / bagwoman because most of her commissions were barely disguised bribes for her husband, would promise to resign as governor. Obama would lean on his friends in the SEIU to give the disgraced governor a job paying $250-300,000 pushing SEIU’s agenda (which includes amnesty). Before moving on, Blago would appoint to the U.S. Senate Valerie Jarrett, Michelle Obama’s old boss when she worked for the Daley Machine.

Tom Balanoff, head of the janitors’ local in Chicago and a close ally of Obama, evidently conveyed Blagojevich’s brainstorm to the Obama camp.

President Andy Stern’s corrupt SEIU is less a union that battles for higher wages for its members than a front for the Open Borders lobby pushing for higher immigration. Wages are ultimately determined by supply and demand, which is why Cesar Chavez, during his prime, ruthlessly fought against illegal immigration in order to keep the supply of labor down and the price of labor for his members up. But, in contrast, Stern’s strategy is to maximize the number of unskilled service workers paying dues into his union at the expense of his members’ wages. Much of his energies go toward promoting leftist political victories rather than getting higher pay for his workers….

Seen up-close, Chicago politics resembles a bizarrely intricate multi-generational soap opera.

Obama and Blagojevich have long been allies, but never have been particularly friendly, coming as they do from very different ethnic bases. They do have a close friend in common: Tony Rezko, the Syrian immigrant operator whom Patrick Fitzgerald sent to jail earlier this year….<spanstyle3″><spanon”> Chicago’s corruption: Chicago’s diversity.

<p”> noted: “In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.”

<pon”>Chicago’s various ethnic blocs know their representatives are sonsabitches. But at least they are <iMsoNormal”> <spanMsoNormal”> <spanstyle3″”>interesting than his canned image as the post-racial reconciler.

<spanMsoNormal”> <spanstyle3″″><i


(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization, Obama 
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Back on October 18, a blog for the NY Daily News (via Kausfiles) reported that a Chicago real estate appraiser was claiming in his wrongful termination suit that his ex-employer had inflated the appraisal of the strip of land which Tony Rezko’s wife bought at the same June 2005 closing at which Sen. Obama bought his stately home. The blog said:

We have no idea of the merits of the case … But the fact that the suit has been filed brings back yet another item that Team Obama would rather not have to deal with in the closing days of the contest.

Of course, Team Obama didn’t have to deal with it, just as they didn’t have to deal with much of anything.

The Washington Times reported on Election Day:

A former Illinois real estate specialist says FBI agents have questioned him about a Chicago property that had been bought by convicted felon Tony Rezko‘s wife and later sold to the couple’s next-door neighbor, Sen. Barack Obama.

The real estate specialist, Kenneth J. Conner, said bank officials replaced an appraisal review he prepared on the property and FBI agents were investigating in late 2007 whether the Rezko-Obama deal was proper.

“Agents and I talked about payoff, bribe, kickback for a long time, though it took them only a short number of minutes of talking with me while looking at the appraisal to acknowledge what they already seemed to know: The Rezko lot was grossly overvalued,” Mr. Conner told The Washington Times Monday.

“Rezko paid the asking price on the same day Obama paid $300,000 less than the asking price to the same seller for his adjacent mansion,” he said. “This begs the question of payoff, bribe, kickback.”

To be pedantic, it raises the question …

According to his complaint, Mr. Conner reviewed the appraisal of the Rezko property by another firm, Adams Appraisal, which had set the value at $625,000. The complaint said he told his bosses the property had been overvalued by at least $125,000 and that a “reasonable and fair evaluation” should have been no greater than $500,000.

Mr. Conner said the removal of his appraisal “seemed understood as a crime with respect to the subpoena” of the Rezko property and the FDIC audit.

Well, who knows? There was a housing bubble going on and appraisers were doing a lot of screwy things in 2005.

But Blagogate has reminded the country that they just elected a Chicago politician to the White House.

And the appraiser’s contention that his bosses inflated the value of the land Rezko purchased adjoining Obama’s house at the same closing fits in with the low-level general fishiness of the deal.

As you’ll recall, the Obamas got $300,000 knocked off the asking price of the house, while the Rezkos paid the full $625,000 asking price for their adjoining property. Think about it from your point of view. You see a house that you want to buy, but the price is steep. The sellers own both the house and a big side yard, which might be big enough to build another house on (or might not, depending on a complicated web of development rules in this historic district). They are willing to sell the two pieces of land separately and have published separate prices for them.

You call up an old friend and have him come look at the property with you. On closing day, his wife shows up and buys the side lot while you buy the big house, meaning that the sellers unload everything, which is obviously of interest to the sellers.

The sellers wind up with $300,000 less than their asking price for the two pieces of land together.

Question: How do you and your old buddy divvy up the $300,000 discount? I would assume that most friends would split it pro-rata based on the asking prices, which means that Rezko would have gotten about $70,000 off. If the discount was split unevenly, the normal thing would be for the person doing the favor to get more. And clearly, Obama was asking a favor of Rezko — he called Rezko about the property, not the other way around. So, if you aren’t going to split it pro rata, then Rezko should get more.

Instead, Rezko got none of the $300,000 and Obama got all of it.

The Chicago papers had reported back in March 2005, several months before Rezko and Obama bought the land at the same closing, that Rezko had illegally gotten the Panda Express franchises at O’Hare by claiming they were actually minority-owned and operated, that minority being Jabir Muhammad, the son of the notorious Black Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad. So, Obama would have known about Rezko being a crook just from reading the newspapers.

Of course, no doubt Obama knew far more about Rezko’s Rezkoness than what was making the papers. But, still he went ahead with the deal. It’s the Chicago Way.

This $70,000 isn’t the biggest deal in the world. Bill Clinton doesn’t get out of bed for $70,000. It’s precisely its yuppie size that makes it interesting: What would you do for $70,000?

That’s an interesting amount of money… It’s not one of these hypothetical questions — “Would you do something immoral for $100 million?” — that sophomores like like to discuss. Instead, it’s the kind of money that you can imagine having dangled before you at some point.

Did Rezko owe Obama a favor? Sure, Obama had been chairman of the Illinois Senate committe on Health and Human Services for the past two years, during which time Rezko had come to corruptly control the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which picked winners in the contest to build big hospitals. Obama played a helpful role in Rezko’s gang getting picked to build a hospital. See, Rezko owned 5 of the 15 board members, so he wanted the board “streamlined” from 15 to 9 in the interests of “efficiency,” which gave him a majority of 5 of 9. RezkoWatch pointed out:

A review of senate records shows Obama played a major role in pushing through Senate Bill 1332, that led to the “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, making the votes much easier to rig.

Democratic Senator Susan Garrett sponsored the bill, and the co-sponsor was Republican Senator Dale Righter. These two senators were also on the Human Services Committee with Obama. The bill was assigned to the Committee for review on February 27, 2003. As chairman, Obama sent word to the full senate that the bill should be passed on March 13.

Blagojevich made the effective date June 27, 2003, and the co-schemers already had the people lined up to stack the Board and rig the votes with full approval from Obama.

A June 2003 email exchange produced in the trial shows Obama received the names of the nominees for the Board ahead of time, from the office of David Wilhelm, who headed Blagojevich’s 2002 campaign. Rezko’s attorney made the point to the jury that the email was from Blagojevich’s general counsel and Wilhelm’s office, and indicated the appointees were recommended by Wilhelm and supported by those who received the memo.

The new Senate bill said, the “Board shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate.” But the Senate Confirmation Hearings were a joke. For instance, the Feds recorded Levine talking to co-schemer, Jon Bauman, the day Levine learned he was approved by the Senate from the executive secretary of the Board.

He told Levine Senate President, Emil Jones [Obama's godfather in the Senate], only allowed 2 members to be approved and “that was you and the other person he just put in.”

“Isn’t that hysterical ’cause you know they had this big battle going on,” Levine told Bauman, “don’t you just love it.”

“I’m one of those independents and not part of the block.”

“Well, good, you know it’s good to be just a true independent civil servant,” Bauman said laughing along with Levine.

“Is, is that a good thing,” Levine replied, “I’ve never been that.”

The corrupt new appointees were all contributors to the presidential hopeful, Rod Blagojevich, and the US senate hopeful Obama. The Board’s then sitting-chairman, Thomas Beck, appointed by a Republican governor, testified under a grant of immunity that he brought a $1,000 check to Rezko on July 15, 2003, to make sure Blagojevich reappointed him.

Beck also testified that Rezko told him Blagojevich was set to appoint Rezko’s three doctor friends to complete the rigged voting bloc.

Dr Michel Malek gave Obama $10,000 a little over a month before the first Board meeting on June 30, 2003. He also donated $25,000 to Blagojevich three weeks later on July 25, 2003, and gave Obama another $500 in September 2003.

Dr Fortunee Massuda donated $25,000 to Blagojevich on July 25, 2003, and gave a total of $2,000 to Obama on different dates. Massuda’s husband, Charles Hannon, is a co-schemer in the pension fund case and testified against Rezko in the trial.

Dr Imad Almanaseer contributed a total of $3,000 to Obama after he landed the appointment. On March 13, 2008, Almanaseer testified against Rezko and told the jury he was an investor in Rezko’s fast-food businesses.

You’ll notice the Middle Eastern flavor to Rezko’s flunkies. In Chicago, Arab operators like Rezko don’t control enough votes to matter, so they have to pay to play.

We’re not used to thinking of health as a corrupt field. Yet, as bankrobber Willie Sutton answered when asked why he robs banks: That’s where the money is. The health industry is, what, $2 trillion per year. So, it naturally attracts operators like Tony Rezko … and politicians like Barack Obama.

You can read more about what attracted Obama to Chicago — of all places — to make his political career in my new book, a reader’s guide to Barack Obama’s autobiography, America’s Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama’s “Story of Race and Inheritance,” which you can buy here.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Headline of the Day from Slate:

Widespread Corruption Charges Shock Illinois

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Everybody knows by now that one big link between the President-Elect and the now-arrested Governor of Illinois is Tony Rezko. What a lot of people still don’t know about is that Rezko, who is a white Christian immigrant from Aleppo, Syria, has been intimately tied to the Black Muslims for a quarter of a century. Here’s part of my column from 9/1/08, “Obama’s Kind of Town, Chicago Is:”

Strikingly, the Nation of Islam in particular and Chicago black politics in general were Rezko’s launching pad for his decades-long takeover of quite a bit of the government of the State of Illinois.

James L. Merriner wrote in Chicago magazine in November 2007:

“When Harold Washington was running for mayor of Chicago in 1983, Rezko held a fundraiser after Jabir Herbert Muhammad, who was Muhammad Ali’s business manager, urged him to get involved in the campaign. Subsequently, Rezko also joined Ali’s entourage, traveling the world with him for five years. Rezko apparently took little interest in boxing—he says he and Ali did watch a few matches together—but he relished putting together business and endorsement deals for the champ.”[Mr. Inside Out]

I bet he did. A rich punchdrunk pugilist and Tony Rezko—what could possibly go wrong? In the 1990s, Ali’s latest wife forced out both Jabir and Tony.

Strange as it seems, the relationship between Rezko and the Black Muslims is not unique. Chicago-based columnist Ray Hanania of the Arab Writers Group explained:

“Like many Arab Americans, Rezko had close ties to the Nation of Islam, which sympathized with the Palestinian and Arab causes. He became close to the inspiring icons like Muhammad Ali and even young Obama, a little-known state legislator who later rose to stardom.”

Rezko is representative of a recent trend in Chicago politics: the rise of Arab wheeler-dealers as corruption catalysts.

The elites of the African-American and Arab communities may tend to agree on foreign policy. But down on the street, relations are hostile. The Arab immigrants, who are best known in Chicago as middle-man merchants operating liquor stores and the like in the ghetto, much like the Koreans in South Central Los Angeles at the time of the 1992 riots, are too hated by black voters to win political power for themselves through the ballot box. Hence their leaders tend to play shadowy roles in Chicago politics.

Rezko kept a sharp eye out for upcoming black political talent who could provide a politically correct front for him. Rezmar offered Obama a job in 1990. He didn’t take it, but that was the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial friendship between Rezko and the man who is now the Democratic Presidential nominee. Rezko paid for 15 percent of Obama’s first campaign, and Obama looked out in the state senate for Rezko’s interests in low-income housing and in packing the state’s hospital construction board.

Contract set-asides for minorities provide a lucrative opening for crooks like Rezko. The demand for “diversity” provides an excuse for a thumb on the scales, a justification for diverting the contract from the lowest bidder to a political ally who employs a minority frontman. Most of America’s pundit class hasn’t figured this out yet, but Rezko grasped how “diversity” works soon after getting off the plane. (Indeed, multicultural America is becoming ever more like the Ottoman Empire, giving an advantage to immigrants from old Ottoman mercantile minorities.)

Chicago explained: “Rezko ran Jabir Muhammad’s firm, Crucial Concessions. Under Mayor Washington [remember that fundraiser?], Crucial won the concessions to sell food at city beaches.”

Now I know why Chicago beach concession food in the 1980s was so untasty. The municipal hot dog stands were managed by the Nation of Islam and Tony Rezko!

Muhammad and Rezko worked the same minority set-aside scam with several high-grossing Panda Expresses at O’Hare airport. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on March 17, 2005:

“Two restaurants at O’Hare Airport have been allowed to rake in millions of dollars, even though the Daley administration learned back in 2002 that the company running them was probably a phony minority “front” for Panda Express and Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a top fund-raiser for Gov. Blagojevich. Crucial Inc. won the O’Hare concessions in part because it was certified as a minority-owned business. Its largest shareholder was listed as Jabir Herbert Muhammad, son of the late Nation of Islam founder, Elijah Muhammad. … The [Chicago minority contractor] program has been tarred by a relentless string of scandals…”[City ignored possible O'Hare 'front' for years, By Chris Fusco, Fran Spielman And Michael Sneed]

Jabir and Tony also got a $10 million affirmative action contract from SBC, the giant phone company whose president was William Daley, Mayor Richie Daley’s brother, to run the payphones at the Cook County jail. Their designated owner-operator was a twofer under the quota of 35 percent of contracts reserved for minority and women-owned businesses: a black woman named Deloris Wade, although she happened to be dead.

Building on these black Chicago roots, Rezko eventually became the statewide power behind the throne when the Democrats swept to victory in the 2002 elections. Chicago Magazine reported:

“Rezko became a virtual one-man headhunting firm for staffing the Blagojevich administration, sending along recommended candidates, many of whom ended up getting appointments. … (The U.S. attorney here has charged that Rezko schemed to pack the government with his cronies so that they could peddle their influence.)”

Diversity sensitivity also provides a convenient justification for corruption. Blagojevich said he sought Rezko’s

“advice on recommendations for agency directors for two reasons. Number one, I had every reason to think he was honest and independently successful in business and that he was able to bring us people who were not part of state government before. And he has connections and roots in the African American community, and he could help us with candidates . . . because part of what we wanted to do was to have a diverse administration.” [More, in which I explain why Chicago, and thus Obama, is the way it is]

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Aren’t we all glad today that half a trillion or more of “infrastructure” spending will be in the hands of a Chicago politician?

To see where Obama’s coming from in terms of infrastructure stimulus, here’s an excerpt from the indictment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested today for trying to auction off Obama’s Senate seat:

According to Individual A, after Individual B left the meeting on October 6, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that he was going to make an upcoming announcement concerning a $1.8 billion project involving the Tollway Authority. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that Lobbyist 1 was going to approach Highway Contractor 1 to ask for $500,000 for Friends of Blagojevich. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that, “I could have made a larger announcement but wanted to see how they perform by the end of the year. If they don’t perform, [bad word] ’em.”

As I’ve been saying all along, Obama wants to spend his hajillion dollars worth of infrastructure stimulus fast (before the November 2010 elections ideally), so he can’t wait around for solar powered magnetic levitation Toontown trolleys and other SWPL fantasy green projects to pass all their environmental hearings. Instead, he’s going to do what politicians in Chicago do — that’s what he knows how to do because that’s what he is: a Chicago politician. They hand out huge contracts to fill potholes and the like to campaign contributors and other supporters.

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As a former Chicagoan, the notion of electing a Chicago politician to national office on an image of reform and general refinement always struck me as comic. The notion that Barack Obama, with the whole world to choose from, decided to become a Chicago politician always struck me as bizarre. It would be like me deciding to move to Serbia and become a politician. And keep in mind that Obama’s goal for much of his Chicago career was not some high-faluting national office. He told everybody at Harvard Law School that he was going back to Chicago to get elected Mayor of Chicago, to take the job away from Richie Daley and vindicate Harold Washington’s legacy as the first black mayor. (Becoming mayor of Chicago must have seemed to his fellow Harvard Law students as peculiar an ambition as if Obama said he was going back to Chicago to replace Mike Ditka as coach of the Bears.) But Obama wanted to be Mayor of Chicago because that job embodies “power,” and power obsesses Obama.

Obama was trying to follow Washington’s career path (state legislature, House of Representatives, mayor) when he ran for ex-Black Panther Bobby Rush’s House seat in the 2000 Democratic primary. But his rejection by black voters for not being black enough crushed his spirit and plunged him into a depression that he only got out of when he resolved in 2001 to that his future lay not in black districts but with appealing to the Stuff White People Like voting bloc.

From the NYT:

CHICAGO — Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday morning on corruption charges, including an allegation that he conspired to effectively sell President-elect Barack Obama’s seat in the United States Senate to the highest bidder.

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, called his sole authority to name Mr. Obama’s successor “golden,” and he sought to parlay it into a job as an ambassador or secretary of health and human services, or a high-paying position at a nonprofit or an organization connected to labor unions, prosecutors said in a 76-page affidavit by the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois.

He also suggested, the affidavit said, that in exchange for the Senate appointment, his wife could be placed on corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year, and he tried to gain promises of money for his campaign fund.

If Mr. Blagojevich could not secure a deal to his liking, prosecutors said, he was willing to appoint himself.

“If I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself,” the governor said in recorded conversation, prosecutors said.

Federal authorities recorded Mr. Blagojevich speaking with advisers, fundraisers, a spokesman and a deputy governor, using listening devices placed in his office, home telephone, and a conference room at the offices of a friend, the affidavit said. In its detail, it paints a vivid picture of influence peddling and bare-knuckle politics inside the Blagojevich administration, evoking the heyday of Chicago’s political machine.

At an appearance to address climate change, Mr. Obama said he had not had any contact with Mr. Blagojevich (pronounced bluh-GOY-uh-vich) or his office, and did not know about any machinations involving the Senate seat. He said it was a “sad day” for Illinois, but declined to comment further. …

At a news conference on Tuesday, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said that Mr. Blagojevich had gone on a “political corruption crime spree,” and that his actions had “taken us to a truly new low.”

There’s been one honest politician in recent Chicago history, the Republican Peter Fitzgerald, who was elected U.S. Senator in 1998. (I never met him, but I was friends with his brother, who was the outside lawyer for the marketing research firm where I worked in Chicago.) Peter Fitzgerald chose to bring Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) from New York to be the federal prosecutor in Chicago, where he went to work putting the last governor, Republican George Ryan, in jail for giving truck drivers licenses to bad drivers in exchange for campaign donations. One of those guys who couldn’t pass the driver’s test but got a truckdriver’s license anyway slammed into a minister’s vehicle, killing his six children. I haven’t voted for many Democrats, but I voted for Ryan’s opponent in 1998. (Patrick Fitzgerald has also won cases against Tony Rezko and Scooter Libby.)

The Republican Party of Illinois didn’t appreciate Peter Fitzgerald consciously selecting such a pit bull prosecutor, so they didn’t back him for a second term, and he retired. Barack Obama was elected to his seat, and made sure not to make Sen. Fitzgerald’s mistake of doing a damn thing about the rampant corruption in Illinois.

Sen. Fitzgerald wouldn’t play ball, so he’s out of office. Sen. Obama played ball, so he’s heading to the White House.

And now Obama has brought Chicago insiders like Rahm Emanuel into the White House.

The power behind the throne in the Blagojevich administration was Tony Rezko, who of course has been Barack Obama’s good friend for lo these many years. Rezko did lots of favors for Obama. What did Obama do for Rezko in return? Well, one possibility is this, as I wrote in August:

Rezko is going to prison in large part for packing the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board with five of his lackeys so they would approve hospital construction in which he had an interest. That Board used to have 15 members, making it hard for Rezko to corrupt it, but in 2003, a bill passed the Illinois legislature reducing the number of members from 15 to 9. And who was the chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee that recommended that bill? Why, Rezko’s $250,000 friend, the Presidential nominee …

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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In my column, I return to Obama’s relationships with so many unsavory Chicago characters, which has been so baffling to outsiders. Here’s the beginning, but please read the whole thing to understand how Chicago works. You’ve seen some of it in blog posts before, but I’m finally pulling it all together in a coherent fashion here.

Obama’s Kind of Town, Chicago Is …

Did you know that Barack Obama’s mentor, now-convicted fixer Tony Rezko, who funneled $250,000 in contributions to Obama from his initial campaign onward, got his start as a big-time Chicago operator back in the early 1980s through … the Nation of Islam?

Also known as the Black Muslims, they are the gentlemen in the bow-ties who preach that, in prehistoric times, the vile Dr. Yacub genetically engineered Europeans to be a race of human wolves.

Fat Tony, of course, is neither Black nor Muslim—he’s a white Christian immigrant from a wealthy family in Aleppo, a famous Syrian rug-trading souk.

The Black Muslims are also notoriously anti-Semitic—but not when it came to their friend Tony Rezko, whose partner in Rezmar, the notorious government-subsidized slumlord racket, was Daniel Mahru, who is Jewish.

But that’s the kind of town Chicago is—diverse, vibrant, tolerant … as long as you’ve got clout and are willing to put aside petty differences and play ball with others with clout to mutually exploit the public.

If you want to understand Barack Obama, you have to understand Chicago, the city where he twice chose to make a political career.

Chicago sits at the conjunction of America’s two great watersheds, the Mississippi and the Great Lakes, which made it the transportation hub of the nation by the Civil War. Even today, the convenience of direct flights from O’Hare make the Chicago area central to American corporate life. The ample amount of money that can be extracted from businesses before they finally resolve to flee Chicago means that the city has always been a politician’s paradise.


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I moved to Chicago in 1982, not too long before Barack Obama did, but, unlike him, I can’t recall that I ever once thought of getting involved in Chicago politics. To me, wanting to be a Chicago politician would be like wanting to be an Albanian politician, or dreaming of opening a shop that buys and sells pre-owned hubcaps.

This is not at all to say that the spider’s web of Chicago political relationships is boring for the disinterested spectator.

For example, the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Jabir Herbert Muhammad — son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and former manager of boxing great Muhammad Ali — died Monday afternoon at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center…

The longtime South Side resident managed Ali’s boxing career from 1966 till 1981 and continued to work for him after he left boxing, until 1991 — a relationship that led to legal battles between the two. …

Mr. Muhammad was an adviser to his father, who was the leader of the Nation of Islam until his death in 1975, and was the organization’s business manager.

Mr. Muhammad had been in the news last year because of a lawsuit he filed against convicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko to stay in his South Side mansion, a home built by the late Elijah Muhammad.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times last year, Mr. Muhammad said Rezko had “embezzled” him out of ownership of the home, even though he and his wife never moved out. They sued Rezko and Dr. Paul Ray [another sizable Obama donor], who currently owns the house. The suit is pending.

Rezko is a former campaign fund-raiser for Sen. Barack Obama, Gov. Blagojevich and others and was convicted in federal court in June of wide-ranging corruption involving state deals. Rezko and Mr. Muhammad had been longtime friends and business partners before their falling-out. …

His survivors include his wife, Amenah Antonia Muhammad; 14 children, Elijah Muhammad III, Isa Muhammad Ali, Safiyya Rahmah, Alif Muhammad, Mourad Muhammad, Gina Driskell, Omar Muhammad, Jabir Muhammad, Samirah Muhammad, Saeedah Hamahouallah, Salimah Zahid, Samiha Muhammad, Saniyyah Sepanik and Zarinah Muhammad; 45 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren.

Earlier, the Sun-Times reported:

The lawsuit comes about nine months after a Chicago Sun-Times story in which Muhammad first publicly claimed that Rezko “embezzled” him out of his mansion and seven other properties. At the time, Rezko called the allegation baseless and “extremely hurtful … as I have given [Muhammad] and his family millions of dollars over the years.”

The Muhammad suit involves only the mansion, in the 1100 block of East 49th Street. The Muhammads say Rezko persuaded them to put the home into a land trust when Jabir Muhammad was extremely ill in the 1990s. They say they had no idea Rezko intended to seize it from them.

Rezko’s lawyers have produced a real estate contract that shows the Muhammads sold the mansion and three adjacent lots to Rezko in 1993 for $519,000. Under their contract with Rezko, the Muhammads were to leave the house by Dec. 31, 1995, but they still live there.

I guess it must be hard to buy or sell a South Side mansion without getting Tony Rezko involved.

Obama got about $250,000 in campaign contributions from Rezko and his 100 or so relatives that Fat Tony has brought over from Syria, plus a Rezko-assisted deal on his own South Side mansion that I’m guessing was worth about $70,000. Yet, the Black Muslim founding family got “millions of dollars over the years” from Rezko? Michelle Obama must have been peeved when she learned how they’d been gypped …

Why were Rezko and Muhammad so close? For one thing, Muhammad was Rezko’s affirmative action front.

What was so crucial about Crucial? Minority set-asides. The Sun-Times reported: “Crucial had a contract with the Chicago Park District to sell food on the beaches and in many South Side parks.” Rezko claims that during the late 1980s he managed the business affairs of the most famous Black Muslim, Muhammad Ali. God only knows how much he stole from the punchdrunk pugilist.

Marathon Pundit reported in January:

In 1984, Rezko went to work for Crucial, Inc., which was owned by Jabir Herbert Muhammad, son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and a onetime manager for boxer Muhammad Ali.

Eventually Rezko was running Crucial.

In March, 2005 it was widely reported that the City of Chicago had discovered that Crucial, which operated two restaurants at O’Hare Airport under a minority business certification, but it was a front, since Rezko was at the helm of the firm.

The publicity about Jabir Muhammad fronting for Rezko’s two Panda Expresses at O’Hare hit the local news three months before Obama had Rezko help him out with the purchase of his mansion.

This kind of thing happens all the time in Chicago (and elsewhere), with white guys like Rezko getting affirmative action contracts for firms with nominal minority or female figureheads. For example, Mayor Daley gave tens of millions of dollars in set-aside contracts reserved for women-owned firms in the 1990s to a maintenance company operated by his close friends and campaign contributors, the mobbed-up Duff Brothers. My favorite part was when Hizzoner announced he was commissioning an in-depth investigation to figure out whether the the Duff Brothers were female or not.

Indeed, the Daley Family was in on the fraud with Rezko and Jabir Muhammad on another Crucial minority set-aside fraud:

Rezko Watch

In addition to Crucial Inc, another company certified as a minority owned, Crucial Communications, was also found to be a Rezko front company. This firm was chosen as a subcontractor by SBC Communications. SBC won a no-bid $10 million contract in 2003, to handle the pay-phone system at the Cook County jail and other county facilities.

At the time the $1.3 million contract was awarded to Crucial, SBC was led by “Combine” member, Bill Daley, Mayor Daley’s brother [and former Clinton Administration cabinet secretary], according to the April 4, 2005 Daily Southtown. Bill is now an Obama advisor and a member of his finance committee.

The Times found that Cook County was Crucial’s lone customer, and the six employees listed included Rezko’s brother, Aboud Rezko, Jabir Muhammad, Mrs Muhammad, and Bernice Hatchett-Polk, none with expertise in maintaining pay phones. [Most of the "employees" gave donations to Obama, by the way.]

…Under the contract awarded by SBC, Crucial was supposed to be run by Wade. However, on March 26, 2005, the Tribune reported that Wade had died more than a year earlier on January 23, 2004, and Muhammad had been too ill to run the company for three years.

“In their recertification documents in September 2004, they did not indicate that there was any change in the ownership or management,” a Cook County spokeswoman told the Daily Southtown.

But on May 5, 2005, the Times reported that the woman who notarized Crucial’s latest recertification for minority-owned status, Gwendolyn Duncan, was John Stroger’s secretary and was paid $72,000 to be his administrative assistant.

When county commissioners tried to find out exactly how this racket got set up, Stroger said SBC chose Crucial to be the subcontractor, and the SBC spokesman said SBC chose Crucial from a list of certified minority-owned companies provided by Cook County.

On March 15, 2005, the Times reported that there were six Rezkos on Cook County payrolls

It’s important to understand that affirmative action is just another way for the bipartisan and multicultural cabal of Illinois insiders, what Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, Mike Royko’s successor, calls The Combine, to rip off the public. Thus, you get these hilarious combinations: the Irish Catholic Daley, the Black Muslim Muhammad, and the Syrian Christian Rezko, all united — transcending race, as it were — to steal money.

And Obama played ball with all of them in his pursuit of power.

For example, Rezko is going to prison in large part for packing the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board with five of his lackeys so they would approve hospital construction in which he had an interest. That Board used to have 15 members, making it hard for Rezko to corrupt it, but in 2003, a bill passed the Illinois legislature reducing the number of members from 15 to 9. And who was the chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee that recommended that bill? Why, Rezko’s $250,000 friend, the Presidential nominee …

By the way, something that’s long bothered me is this. Obama wrote that the hero of his youth was Malcolm X. Now, Malcolm was assassinated in 1966 by Black Muslim hitmen working for Elijah Muhammad. The chief long term beneficiary of the murder was Louis Farrakhan, who earlier had written that Malcolm deserved death. Whether Farrakhan was directly involved in the killing is unknown — a number of years ago, one of Malcolm’s many daughters hired a hitman to rub out Farrakhan in revenge. Even if he wasn’t involved in the conspiracy, Farrakhan’s sentiments are clear: he gave Malcolm’s old job to one of the murderers when he was finally released from prison.

Yet, where’s the outrage against the Black Muslims on Obama’s part? If somebody important was tied into the murder of a hero of my youth, like Jerry West or Fernando Valenzuela, I sure wouldn’t treat him as evenhandedly, with a mixture of sympathy for his goals and sarcasm at the impracticality of his economics, as Obama treats Farrakhan in Dreams from My Father. Nor would I have chosen a minister who went with Farrakhan to visit Gadafi in Libya in 1984 and gave Farrakhan his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Nor would I be happy about having a fairy godfather like Rezko who is up to his eyeballs in dealings with Elijah Muhammad’s heirs.

Is that just the Chicago Way: what’s a little murder among players like Obama, Rezko, the Daleys, Wright, Farrakhan, and the Muhammads compared to the political and financial benefits of scratching each other’s backs? Is Obama really that coldblooded? Or does he believe that Malcolm was murdered by the FBI? Or is there something else going on?

P.S., Craptocracy watched Obama’s speech so I don’t have to.

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From my new column:

Meanwhile, a very different side of Obama is also finally surfacing in the press due to the federal corruption trial of Obama’s political patron Tony Rezko. As I wrote in April 2007:

all that is pure and holy being embodied in a Chicago politician was ridiculous from the beginning?

On Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Obama was even deeper in Fat Tony’s debt than he had previously revealed:

“But in a 90-minute interview with Tribune reporters and editors, Obama disclosed that Rezko had raised more for Obama’s earlier political campaigns than previously known, gathering as much as $250,000 for the first three offices he sought.” [Obama: I Trusted Rezko, By David Jackson, March 15, 2008]

Hilariously, Obama told the Tribune that he never dreamt that Rezko would ever ask him for a favor in return for all the favors Rezko had done for him:

Antoin “Tony” Rezko behind him, presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday said he never thought the now-indicted Chicago businessman would try to take advantage of him because his old friend had never asked for a political favor.”

That reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer has the local mob boss, who, coincidentally enough, is named Fat Tony, drive out Marge Simpson’s competition in the pretzel business. Inevitably, Fat Tony (whose voice is provided by Chicago actor Joe Mantegna) later asks Homer for a favor in return:

Fat Tony: Now, Homer, as you no Mafia Crime Syndicate.

Homer: Oh yeah.

Fat Tony: Now the time has come for you to do us a favor.

Homer [Self-righteously appalled]: You mean the mob only did me a favor to get something in return? … [Heartbroken] Oh, Fat Tony! … [Sternly] I will say good day to you, sir!

Fat Tony [Meekly]: OK. I will go.

[Fat Tony walks away in shame]

Fat Tony: [Realizing what just happened] Wait a minute!


(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Chicagoization, Obama 
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The Republicans’ Hispanic Delusion
Amnesty is not just wrong in principle, it’s bad politics.

Even Republican Hispanics are not particularly conservative on economic issues. A 2002 poll by the Pew and Kaiser foundations found that 52 percent of registered Latino Republicans supported a higher-taxing, larger state sector, a higher percentage for big government than one finds among white Democrats, reports Steve Sailer. As for the majority of Latinos—poor and poorly-educated—the more government services, the better. Mexican consulates across the country are busily signing up illegal Mexicans for all the free government-funded health care that the consulates can find—that would be American- not Mexican-funded health care, mind you. “We have the right to health services,” an illegal Mexican in Santa Clarita, California, told the Los Angeles Times. [More]

There are also several second-order effects of immigration pushing whites to the left. I’m sure you’ve heard about how “unaffordable family formation” due to bad public schools and high home prices makes whites less likely to get married and have children.

There’s also the Chicagoization effect, which almost wrecked Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political career in California. I wrote in

As I wrote last year:

“After getting off to a strong start, including repealing illegals’ licenses as promised, Schwarzenegger stumbled badly in 2005 by not realizing that his slate of initiatives to undermine the power of the public employees unions were perceived by his natural base, the white lower-middle class, as an assault on their survival in California’s outlandishly expensive housing market . Firemen, cops, nurses , and teachers … rallied support from their neighbors, who saw their union perks not as sinecures but as life preservers.” [New Republican Majority? The American Conservative, May 8, 2006].

Schwarzenegger, who is nothing if not a quick learner, promptly switched in 2006 from traditional small government conservatism to something resembling the tax-and-spend semi-conservatism that the Daley dynasty has honed in winning eleven out of twelve elections in Chicago.

In the Windy City, an economically inegalitarian city with both wealthy corporations and vast numbers of poor people, the white lower middle class has survived in large part by getting government jobs providing services to the poor. Barry Goldwater wouldn’t have approved. But the Daley strategy has kept Chicago a far more livable city than, say, Detroit. And something like that is probably the best California can hope for at this point.

Finally, there’s the impact of more diversity on the quality of public discourse. As you’ve witnessed over the last few weeks, most of the pro-mass immigrationists don’t know a damn thing about the topic — but they do know what you are allowed to say these days and what you aren’t. And numbers count in determining what is and what isn’t acceptable. It’s not that illegal immigrants or their offspring play a big role in the media — they definitely don’t. It’s that their sheer numbers justify the subsidization of race racketeers to ceaselessly search for signs of prejudice (i.e., statistical thinking) to denounce, which then brings the status-striving whites into the wolfpack to hunt down dissidents, too.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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