How Blago got whacked (and Obama got away)

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is going to the clink for 14 years - not because he was corrupt - but because he was stupid. That's the Chicago Way. Photo: AP

CHICAGO, December 8, 2011 ― If you didn’t know it was the Blagojevich saga, you might think it was a script for a “Goodfellas” sequel:

Goodfellas poster

An ambitious young man marries the daughter of a powerful Chicago political boss. The boss “makes” the man and gives him his start in the “business.”

Now a full-fledged “wiseguy,” he is schooled first hand in the norms, etiquette, and social mores of the “The Chicago Way.”  He learns about bribes, kickbacks and pay-to-play schemes from the best in the biz. The man becomes a congressman and a governor.

Man, now he’s golden. 

Unfortunately, as the years pass, the man gets cocky. He betrays the father-in-law. Doesn’t he remember who brought him to the dance? All hell breaks loose. Threats are made and carried out. The man’s political boss/ father-in-law rats him out to the media. A federal investigation is launched. The Feds tap the man’s phones.

Resentful and desperate, he messes with the wrong people: the President of the United States; his evil chief of staff; a civil rights leader; the civil rights leader’s son, the womanizing congressman. Each of them is well-versed in the “Chicago Way,” each insulated from harm, ridicule, and innuendo.

Years later, the man will be sitting on a witness stand in federal court, pleading for his life. He’ll recount his own life’s adversities – his failure at Little League, flunking out of law school, his dashed hopes for an NBA career (he’s 5’8”) – hoping it will be enough to turn the jury’s hearts his way. It won’t.

The conviction comes in: guilty on 17 counts. It’s off to the Big House - not the White House – for fourteen years.

This isn’t just the story of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. This is the real story of the “Chicago Way.”

The “Chicago Way” isn’t just a way of thinking. It is a way of living, a way of punishing your enemies and rewarding your friends. (“Friends” is, of course, loosely defined as the person or persons best able to get you what you want.)

It is a system governed by the laws of manipulation and extraction from the public trough. Rewards are dolled out in the proper time and in the proper order. Pockets are lined. Campaign coffers are filled. Elections are bought and sold. Everyone’s palm is greased and everyone – including the media - is “on the take.”

Break the rules and “they” will turn on you. Your career will be given “the whack.” Or, worse, you could end up in the “clink.”

In Sicily, they call it “La Cosa Nostra.” It means, “this thing of ours.” In the Chicago vernacular, they just call it the “Machine.”  A Machine that has churned out 1500 Illinois public officials convicted of corruption. Thirty-one Chicago aldermen with felony convictions. And four sitting Illinois Governors doing a stretch in the slammer. Blago makes it five.

Some Machine, eh?

However, in this circus sideshow that is the Rod Blagojevich trial, the mainstream media have refused to connect the dots. They have purposely – conservatives would argue – ignored the larger illegal picture.

Why?

Papers proclaim Nixon’s resignation.

Because connecting the dots forms a pattern; a pattern that leads to Barack Obama and all the President’s men.  

In any other time in history, in any other place, with any other President, connecting the dots would not have been a problem. In 1972, Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein connected the dots, exposing then President Nixon’s cover-up of a botched burglary at the Democrat National Committee headquarters. Nixon’s resignation in 1974 inspired a new generation of investigative journalists who took to heart the Conkrite credo: “Our job is only to hold up the mirror — to tell and show the public what has happened.”

But there are different media rules in effect for Democratic administrations and scandals. That is clear. The deathwatch media drumbeat is sounded day after day during a Republican scandal. What would normally qualify as a front page “gottcha” is a one-day story buried on page 20 or ignored altogether as trivial or petty if the alleged perpetrator has a liberal bent.

It is an interesting hypothetical: if Nixon had been a Democrat, would the Watergate scandal ever have broken? Would Nixon have ever been forced to resign? Arguably, the Blagojevich saga answers that question. 

Just as with Watergate for Republicans, the Blagojevich soap opera is chock-full of Democrat sacred cows. For the last two years, the media have been walking a tricky tightrope. 2012 is looming on the horizon and they have skin in the Democrat game. They are the Machine’s cronies, their associates, and their accomplices. And they sure as heck ain’t gonna squeal. Especially not now.

So what is the story the mainstream media still refuses to tell?

Let’s recap:

A CHICAGO WAY GUIDE: From Blagojevich to the White House

Connect the dots: Chicago Alderman Dick Mell  AKA “The Protector”

Rap Sheet: The powerful Chicago Ald. Dick Mell who engineered his son-in-law, Rod Blagojevich’s rise to power.

Mell was behind Blago’s successful campaigns in the Illinois state legislature, the U.S. Congress, and the governorship. But when Blagojevich put the kabosh on a distant cousin’s illegal landfill, it was Mell who publicly accused him of trading jobs for campaign contributions. You see, Mel was an advisor to the relative’s landfill operation. During the trial of Obama fundraiser and convicted felon, Antonin “Tony” Rezko, it was alleged that, despite his role in getting Blagojevich elected governor, Mell was miffed that he was not “cashing in.” Mell was accused of trying to rig an insider deal for a lucrative fee split for state pension business.

Connect the Dots: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. AKA “The Son”

Rap Sheet: U.S. Congressman and son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, head of Operation Push.

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is well-versed in the tactics of the Chicago Way. After all, his father is an experienced shakedown artist and has found numerous ways to profit from Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy.

In the early 80s, when Rev. Jackson demanded that Coca-Cola award more distributorships to minorities, his half-brother Noah Robinson, now serving a life prison sentence for hiring gang members to kill three business associates, received the lucrative contract. In the 1990s, Jackson forced Texaco to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit – though no discrimination was proven – for  hundreds of millions of dollars.

By 1997, his so-called Wall Street Project was raking in $10 million a year, using the threat of racially-tinged publicity to garner cash donations from America’s top CEOs. In 1998, Jackson’s sons even got into the act. Yusef and Jonathan Jackson were handed Budweiser’s lucrative Chicago distributorship in exchange for the civil rights leader agreeing to drop his Anheuser Busch boycott.

So, what has Junior learned? A lot.  Jesse Jr.’s alleged mistress, Giovana Huidobro, a hostess at Ozio lounge in DC, was interviewed by the FBI last year. Apparently Jackson’s major fundraiser, Raghu Nayak, had twice paid for Huidobro to fly from Washington to Chicago at his request.

Incidentally, Nayak is the same fundraiser who claims he offered Blagojevich $6 million – again, at Jackson’s request – in return for appointing the congressman to Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat. Jackson denies the claim but the congressional probe continues.

Connect the Dots: Mayor Rahm Emanuel AKA “The Thug”

Rap Sheet: Threats, dead fish, f-bombs, and deceit are the tricks of this former White House chief of staff’s trade. 

After he left the Clinton Administration, Emanuel made $18 million in less than two years as a Wall Street investment banker. Yet he had no banking or financial experience. In 2000, he banked another $320,000 as a do-nothing Director of the Board Freddie Mac at a time when the mortgage giant was misreporting profits by billions of dollars to deceive investors. Emanuel looked the other way.

Starting in 2002, he lived rent-free for five years in the home of Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.) and failed to disclose the gift as mandated by congressional ethics rules. In 2009, as White House chief of staff, Emanuel’s name surfaced in connection with two scandals involving Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff and the offer of high-ranking government jobs in exchange for dropping out of a contested Democratic primaries- a violation of the federal bribery statute.

The slippery Emanuel’s cover? Bill Clinton was the middle man and it was all “just talk.”

Apparently, it was also all “just talk” in the FBI recordings released during the Blagojevich trial.  Emanuel wanted Blago to tap his pal, Forrest Claypool, to fill his 5th Congressional District seat. In the November 2008 recorded call Emanuel says it was “in my interest of, uh, you know, having somebody there you know that doesn’t want to make it a lifetime commitment…like one term or two max. At the end of the tape, he tells Blago: “I will not forget this … I appreciate it. That’s all I am going to say. I don’t want to go, you and I shouldn’t go farther.”

Connect the dots: Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich AKA “The Clown”

Rap Sheet:  The former Governor of Illinois will spend the next fourteen years in prison. But in Chicago terms, Blago’s real crime was stupidity.

The truth is: Blagojevich got whacked in a very public way to keep the rest of the “wise guys” in line. And just like in the mob, the hit was carried out by those closest to him. It was his father-in-law and Alonzo “Lon” Monk, his law school roomate-turned FBI stooge who finally ratted him out.

Connect the Dots: Convicted Felon, Tony Rezko AKA “The Fixer”

Rap Sheet:  Money man Antonin “Tony” Rezko is the political “fixer who has played a central role in launching the political careers of Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich. Barack considers him “a friend.”

In October 2006, Rezko was indicted on federal charges for using his political clout to orchestrate a multimillion dollar kickback scheme. He was found guilty of 16 of 24 charges, including fraud, money laundering and joining a bribery conspiracy. A key figure in the Blagojevich indictment, Rezko did not testify at the convicted former governor’s trial or retrial. He was sentenced in October to 10 ½ years in prison.

Connect the dots: President Barack Obama AKA “Mr. Innocent”

Rap Sheet:  A President of the United States that counts Rev. Jeremiah Wright, terrorist Bill Ayers, and convict Tony Rezko as his BFF. Go figure.

After Obama won the U.S. Senate primary, he was in a position to help his good friend Tony Rezko. On April 3, 2004, Rezko hosted a reception at his home for Nadhmi Auchi, the Iraqi-born billionaire, which was attended by Gov. Blagojevich and the Obamas. The visit from the newly victorious U.S. Senate candidate paid off big time for Rezko. The impressed Auchi poured $170 million into Rezko’s then troubled 62-acre real estate development in Chicago’s South Loop.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Auchi was one of the largest shareholders in BNP Paribas, the bank that trafficked most of the funds involved in the UN Oil-For-Food scandal and admitted taking kickbacks from TotalFinaElf, a French petroleum company.

He was investigated by the U.S. for issuance of illegal cell phone licenses in Iraq.

In 2004, Auchi’s travel visa to the U.S. was revoked due to credible evidence that he was involved in the illicit smuggling of weapons to Saddam Hussein’s regime. Apparently, at Rezko’s request, two Illinois officials had appealed to the State Department to get the visa restored. Obama has denied trying to help get Auchi’s visa restored.

Or at least, Obama says “not that I know of.”

Then, there’s that blasted land deal. Three weeks after Rezko received a $3.5 million loan from Auchi, Obama purchased a $1.65 million home for $300,000 less than the asking price. On the same day, Rita Rezko, Tony’s wife, bought the land next door for the full asking price of $625,000. She later sells 1/6th of her land to the Obama’s for $104,500.  

Reports also indicate that Rezko-linked contributors gave Obama at least $168,308 in campaign contributions since the mid-1990s. Mr. Innocent – Obama is not. And he isn’t that innocent when it comes to Blagojevich either.

In November 2008, David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, spoke to Fox News about possible appointments to the U.S. Senate seat. “I know he’s talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names, many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them.

After Blago’s arrest, Axelrod retracted the comment saying, “They [President-elect Obama] did not then, or at any time, discuss the subject [of the Senate vacancy.]” President Obama denied any conversations took place.

And that’s the story of how Blago got whacked and Obama (and many others) got away. 

_____________

Read Also:

Rod Blagojevich gets 14 years

Disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich should get the maximum sentence

 

Conservative satirist and commentator William J. Kelly is also a contributor to Breitbart.com and edits the Tea Party Reports for the Washington Times Communities. He is a native from Chicago’s Southside.

Email questions to him at williamjkellyrebuild@gmail.com.

Find him on Facebook/Williamjpkelly

Read more of Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad in The Communities at the Washington Times


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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William Kelly

 

Conservative commentator, satirist, and radio talk show host William J. Kelly pens the “Kelly Truth Squad” and “The Tea Party Report” for the Washington Times Communities and is a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. Kelly is also a producer of Emmy award-winning TV and received an Emmy nomination himself for outstanding achievement on-camera. He was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, a taxpayer watchdog group. He is a native of Chicago’s South side. For more information, visit www.kellytruthsquad.com.

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