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Sunday: The Chicago Tammany Hall

That's us under the bus, er, Tiger

That's us under the bus, er, Tiger

Following up on what myiq2xu wrote below, Conason and the media are frantically trying to spin the newest scandal into the molehill that Whitewater was, er, before they spun that up into a mountain.  So, I guess we can just forget all the nasty things they said about the Clintons back then?  I just know someone at the Washington Post is going to step up to the mic any minute now and offer a heartfelt apology to Bill and Hillary for making their lives miserable for 8 years.  And while they’re at it, Frank Rich, MoDo and the rest of the NYTimes cwack political reporting team can say they’re sorry for peeping into Hillary’s underwear drawer at the beginning of the last election cycle to speculate on how many times a month she and Bill had conjugal visits.  I mean, now that we’ve acknowledged that Whitewater was a whole lot of nuthin’…

Anyone who knows me, understands that my knowledge of American history is spotty at best and just damn pathetic at worst.  Hey, when you change schools 14 times before you graduate, linearity is the first thing to get chucked.  But I do recall a period of time in our nation’s history, I can’t recall just *when* but I think it was the period before and after the Civil War, when anti-democratic political corruption and patronage was rampant especially in New York City.  Jeez, I’ll betcha if the Times goes through its archive, it will find all kinds of articles and columns about it.

Harper’s Weekly was all over it.  It was the Tammany Hall era and the biggest Mr. Moneybucks of all was a guy named William Marcy Tweed, aka “Boss”.  Maybe I shouldn’t complain.  The Irish immigrant population was the prime beneficiary of Tweed’s machine and my ancestors probably would have done well- if they hadn’t been working the refs in Chicago at the time.  But I digress.

Here’s how Tweed’s Tammany Hall worked:

In April 1870, Tweed secured the passage of a city charter putting the control of the city into the hands of mayor, the comptroller, and the commissioners of parks and public works. He then allowed contractors and others to submit invoices for inflated amounts or for work that was not done. The total amount of money stolen was never known, but has been estimated from $75 million to $200 million according to The American Pageant.[citation needed] Over a period of two years and eight months, while he had over 1,000 workers at his command, New York City’s debts increased from $36 million in 1868 to about $136 million by 1870, with few costs or expenditures to show for the debt.

Tweed was accused of defrauding the city by having contractors present excessive bills for work performed—typically ranging from 30 to 90 percent more than the project actually cost. The extra charges were said to have been divided among Tweed, his subordinates and the contractors. The most excessive overcharging came in the form of the Tweed Courthouse, which cost the city $13 million to construct (the actual cost for the courthouse was about $3 million), leaving about $10 million for the pockets of Tweed and others.[4]

Tweed’s downfall came when he refused to authorize the Orange Parade, an annual Protestant celebration. City Sheriff James O’Brien, whose support for Tweed had fluctuated during Tammany’s “reign”, gave The New York Times evidence of embezzlement in light of the Protestant-Catholic riot that ensued on parade day. The newspaper was reportedly offered $5 million to not publish the evidence. In a subsequent interview, Tweed’s only reply was, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”[citation needed] Accounts in The New York Times and political cartoons drawn by Thomas Nast and published in Harper’s Weekly resulted in the election of numerous opposition candidates in 1871. Regarding Nast’s cartoons, Tweed reportedly said, “Stop them damned pictures. I don’t care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents don’t know how to read, but they can’t help seeing them damned pictures!”[5]

I am struck by the similarity of how Tweed’s machine worked to that of Tony Rezko and pals, what with him getting all of those dilapidated housing projects in Chicago that never got improved.   And who was his lawyer back then?  Anybody?  Don’t be shy.

Folks, what we got here ain’t no lousy real estate deal.  What we are dealing with is a vast political patronage machine with promises made and delivered for money and electoral outcomes.  There’s a little group of Stalwarts who select who the next big thing will be and they all pull in their chits to make it happen.  It may be centered in Chicago but there are tentacles in NJ for sure.  For all I know, the political machine in NY faced off against the one in Chicago and lost when NJ threw its weight behind the midwesterners.  And why would NJ do that?  Well, the Governor of NJ used to be the CEO of Goldman Sachs.  A lot of the financial industry may work on Wall Street but have sunk their roots in the swampy Meadowlands.  I dunno.  I merely speculate.  I can’t *imagine* why my Governor would lobby so hard to move up our (now meaningless) primary to SuperDuper Tuesday and endorse Hillary Clinton as soon as it was possible and then turn around and stab her in the back by giving every last one of our delegates to Barack Obama at the convention 9 months later.  Can you tell this really bugs the #$@% out of me?  Maybe it’s because she won this state by 10 points and she didn’t get a single delegate.  Not one.  Ok, I have to let it go.  {{breathing deeply}}

Anyway, Conason and his ilk are covering themselves in shame.  They are trying so desperately to save Obama’s ass from another presidential term of scandal after scandal.  If that was their hope, they should have gone with Hillary who had no skeletons.  But they were dazzled by the mahogany undertones of Obama’s skin while ignoring the Tweedy texture of his character. And that machine was in the pocket of some very, VERY wealthy people who had a significant interest in the outcome of the election.

What makes this scandal so much more significant than the teensy blip on the radar that Whitewater was, is that no voters were hurt over Whitewater, a faux scandal where the Clintons were innocent.  But this newest scandal perfectly illustrates the way that the electorate was sidestepped during the 2008 election season and voters may pay for this corruption with their livelihoods and retirement nest eggs.  The primaries were completely usurped by the spreading corruption from Chicago’s machine.  Hey, if they don’t want the association and there’s no THERE there, why did the DNC relocate to Chicago?  They might as well have put up a sign in neon declaring themselves bought and paid for.  THAT’S why this scandal may have legs and real, significant consequences for the players involved, including Obama.  Voters got screwed, royally, and there are bandits on Wall Street who made off with trillions of dollars in taxpayer money.  We know that Wall Street was firmly behind Obama and we know, because we witnessed it, how the nomination was stolen from Hillary Clinton.  And now we know that the Chairman of Obama’s National Campaign was all too willing to cough up more than a million dollars in political donations to Blogojevich in order to snag Obama’s senate seat.  What is really amazing is how this sheer brazen behavior could be tut-tutted by Conason and his pals so they can save face for supporting one of the biggest frauds in history.

If the rest of the country suddenly remembers its 19th century history class, the next four years ain’t gonna be pretty.

On another front: The biggest sexist in the Senate, Ted Kennedy, is still trying to shove Caroline Kennedy down the throats of New Yorkers, and the rest of us, by extension.  And now it seems that Caroline is interested in pursuing the job.  Isn’t that nice?  She’s sort of like Veruka Salt who has just discovered a shiny new thing that she just has to have.  Voile!  Carolyn Murphy, Kirsten Gillibrand and a handful of other more deserving female politicians in New York will just have to take an old, cold tater and wait.  Caroline won’t have to run at all and she can be counted on to passively carry out her Uncle’s wishes.  Wouldn’t it just be peachy if she helped push through healthcare reform and took the kudos away from Hillary Clinton who should have been leading that effort in the Senate?  Not to worry.  Caroline will help bring in much needed money to NY’s other financially strapped pols, like she wouldn’t do that anyway just as a concerned citizen who loved her state and country.

Come to think of it, what makes Caroline’s much ballyhooed ability to raise funds for elections any different from JJJr’s promise of millions of bucks for Blogojevich’s run?  Why, they seem exactly the same to me, except that JJJr. doesn’t have a giant Kennedy lion as his ally, breathing down the neck of the governor.  He only had some six degrees of separation from the President Elect of the United States.


Governor Paterson, don’t make me get my friends together and come up there to Albany.   Say a firm NO to Caroline Kennedy.  Appoint some other well deserving woman.

One more thought:  I have the perfect replacement for Obama’s senate seat who would kill three birds with one stone- Alice Palmer.  Bwahahahahhaahaaaah!

112 Responses

  1. Brilliant comparison, RD. Tammany Hall redux.

    Whenever I read about the corruption in Illinois, I think about the taxpayers. If I resided in that state, I’d be charging at government offices with torches and pitchforks. People’s hard-earned money is being spent to enrich the lives of thieves rather than improve the lives of the citizens. I hope a whole lot of people go to prison over this, rather than just a few scapegoats.

  2. Meanwhile, the 600 million dollar campaign goes unquestioned.

  3. Yup, it sure sounds that way!!! I love those old cartoons of Boss Tweed, there are so many good ones to enjoy!!

    Blago is now being photoshopped in so many ways…a modern version of cartoons…
    I have a great pic up of Blago on the can ….eBay is now involved, so this thing will be around awhile…Money to be made on it!!

    The Past Week: December 7-13, Recaps and Random Thoughts (Blago in the Can and ON the Can; Obama License Plates in IL?; Reality-Based Black Commentary; Canada & the Auto Bailout; Live Blog of The History Channel on “Crash: The Next Great Depression?”–No Surprise, A Waste of Time; Ignored Science)


  4. Beautiful, RD, just beautiful! Perfect analysis and comparison.

    I haven’t let go of the whole Corzine thing yet either and have friends who walk the other way at this point when they see me coming becuase they are part of the Dem party here in NJ and are embarrassed by what happened.

    And Dec. 15th is tomorrow – oh cr@p!

  5. they were dazzled by the mahogany undertones of Obama’s skin while ignoring the Tweedy texture of his character

    Phony whites is one of the most nauseating things about this cycle.

    Great post as usual.

  6. All those self-described progressive writers – who were throwing Whitewater at Hillary all through the primary (see, so many scandals!) – are now backpedaling that Whitewater was nothing? I’ll never forget Bob Herbert’s column in the NYTimes after Hillary threatened to personally assassinate Obama which was a list of every “Clinton scandal.” My mind was reeling as I read it; I couldn’t believe a liberal would reprint a right-wing Republican column like that! But there it was, with Herbert’s name at the top. And now poor Obama is being persecuted like poor Clintons were? Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, asswipes!

  7. I don’t know if this has been discussed yet, but did you all hear that Palin’s church was set afire while women and children were inside Friday night? No one was hurt, but there is $1 million in damage. They suspect arson. WAPO reported it, and I sent them a *nice* note indicating that the MSM’s constant screeching about the danger to Obama due to the McCain/Palin “hate-fests” was the Big Story for several weeks, but it doesn’t seem to matter if the person being demonized is a conservative huh? They also spent weeks (and still!) discussing her $150K wardrobe, but have virtually ignored the source of Obama’s near-billion dollar haul. What a bunch of squirming hypocrites, doing any and everything possible to twist reality to their own agenda–including these scribes now using the Clinton faux-scandals they ranted about in the primaries to smear HRC in comparison to the ever-pure anointed one. Now, suddenly, he too is a victim like the Clintons?

    Is this all real?

  8. Brilliant RD. I’ve printed this post and I am off to read it to my sig-other.

    Love the snow, too. How sweet that the ‘flakes’ are collecting at the bottom of the screen.


  9. Another thing that really sticks in my craw right now is all of the Dem hired guns who obviously disliked Obama and did not support him, and are now singing his praises to save their own careers. I am talking to you Carville & Rendell. To read that Rendell, of all people, after seeing Obama’s hypocrisy and lies up close and personal in PA for 6 weeks, is saying that “Obama is a political figure of unparalleled integrity” or whatever his stupid comment was is repulsive.

    Does everyone else have these little white meteors streaking across your screen today? Is it a Christmassy thing or is it just my computer?

  10. Hey, by the way, the snow is GREAT.

  11. ok, I see now that the snow is for all of us. Very festive.

  12. Great post, but the snow thing tripped me out – I kept rubbing my eyes trying to clear them.

  13. Speaking of the lack of objective information, Google is now admitting to “editing” their search engine results…(a.k.a. “googlewashing”):

    Mayer also talked about Google’s use of user data created by actions on Wiki search to improve search results on Google in general. For now that data is not being used to change overall search results, she said. But in the future it’s likely Google will use the data to at least make obvious changes. An example is if “thousands of people” were to knock a search result off a search page, they’d be likely to make a change.

    Now what, you may be thinking, is an “obvious change”? Is it one that is frivolous? (Thereby introducing a Google Frivolitimeter™ [Beta]). Or is it one that goes against the grain of the consensus? If so, then who decides what the consensus must be? Make no mistake, Google is moving into new territory: not only making arbitrary, editorial choices – really no different to Fox News, say, or any other media organization. It’s now in the business of validating and manufacturing consent: not only reporting what people say, but how you should think.


  14. Wow!

    I was just looking at the Wiki page for Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley (the father of the current Chicago mayor) when I ran across this line:

    “McGovern later made amends by putting Daley loyalist (and Kennedy in-law) Sargent Shriver on his ticket.

    That would be Maria’s dad.


  15. Hey everyone — I have been in jury duty then I got really, really sick — I have been keeping up on the posts but had no energy to comment.

    Love the snow — need bigger flakes !!

    Are we the only smart people in the world who can see through this? I used to say about the housing boom – this doesn’t make sense to me.

    You know – if they would have listened to Hillary when she said we need to figure out how to re-finance these mortgagees the housing market would not have crashed. That’s how the banks crashed. No one talks about that. Of coarse that would have meant helping the “people” instead of the corporations.

    I digress.
    Great post – love it !!

  16. So if google is going to possibly manufacture consent who can we turn to for objective information????
    Or am I just being a naive Nell again?

  17. Pay to play worked for all of them. The press should unpack what that really means in light of all his fake/overseas donations.

    Shouldn’t he have to come clean? He should on this.

    ps: after all the anti-war rhetoric he used against Hillary?
    What a liar. It’s disgusting. In fact he is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in politics RD. Disgusting fraudfest.

    I can’t stand to see Hillary get slimed in this mess o’ slime.


  18. OK folks
    Neighorhood Radio ( my other show) is on til 3 , the one where I play everyone …..

    so smoke em if you got em , and tune on in for some great music from indies and some verbal and musical commentary to go with the political corruption 🙂 and the weather ( Who Put the Dick on the Snowman is a SONG mmmk !! )

    click on my name and hit the listen button 🙂

  19. To me, the single most remarkable thing about the current scandal for Obama is that, unlike the Whitewater deal, it has taken place in real time, by the very team that has and will take Obama into the Presidency.

    How many scandals have you ever heard of that took place during the transition to power? It’s like a husband cheating on his wife between the wedding ceremony and the honeymoon. It’s just bizarre.

    I myself rather doubt that Obama will be found responsible personally for any involvement in anything illegal. But what I certainly believe is true is that he knew perfectly well what Blago was up to, either directly from Blago or through intermediaries, including, most likely, Jesse Jackson Jr., Valerie Jarett and/or Rahm Emanuel. My guess is that, just as with Bush and Plamegate, Obama will have nominal deniability here, even if his denials come at the expense of great implausibility.

    The problem for Obama is that his scenario as it stands makes no sense — as even many of his staunch defenders have had to acknowledge (Herbert, for example, and Schultz). Under ordinary circumstances, it would be regarded as bizarre and irresponsible for someone in Obama’s position not to be significantly involved in the selection of his replacement. How and why should he not weigh in the handing over of his responsibilities to another individual? If representing his constituents’ interests mean anything to him — and surely they should be of considerable importance to him — why should he not discuss who might be an appropriate substitute with the person who would be making that decision?

    Now, if it’s true that Obama never talked to Blago, why would that be so, and how does he justify that? The only reasonable answer would be that he knew perfectly well Blago was corrupt, and he wanted to maintain a distance. The most basic question is, how and why did his team fail to report to the authorities the criminal negotiations that Blago was engaging in? Knowing in advance of his corrupt tendencies, shouldn’t they have been on their guard, and fully prepared to report any criminal behavior? If Obama knew well enough to avoid Blago, why would he have not sent out clear signals to his staff that any such corruption should be reported both to him and the authorities? Instead, it will look as if his instructions to them was rather to turn a blind eye to any such activities.

    When the dust settles, it is this failure to report criminal activities that will be the real rubbing point in this scandal for Obama. They will never have an adequate answer to that question.

    And from that basic flaw, there will derive equally damaging narratives: namely, that Obama and his team have been engaged in lies and stonewalling on the matter.

    Obama lies readily but not skillfully. His far too sweeping exoneration of both himself and his team in this matter is going to come up hard against reality, and is going to be found inconsistent with fact and plausible explanation.

    This is basically the same course that the Goolsbee flap over NAFTA took during the campaign, in which Obama clearly just flat out lied on TV because he didn’t consider what could be pieced together against his lie. He didn’t suffer a lot of damage because the media mostly stopped its ears over the issue and moved on.

    But now he is President, and the attention never stops. Moreover, the Republicans are on the case, and they never stop.

    This affair will, in the end, inflict some real damage.

  20. This entire mess is why we have never had a president from Chicago until now. They are all corrupt and everyone knew it. Why anyone is surprised at this is beyond me.

    I wonder if Fitz has wiretaps on the DNC-Transition offices in Chicago? They are all going to have to pat each other down then go to talk face to face in an alley near Lake Michigan in December.

  21. I never knew that the Daley’s and the Kennedy’s were thick as thieves.

    That explains a lot.

  22. RD, the other day I was telling a friend of mine, who wasn’t born in this country, about the Tammany Hall period, mentioning that it was also the heyday for oligarchy and robber barons of the railroads, etc. Told him it took 100 years, but we’re right back where we came from.

  23. myiq–I thought it was common knowledge that many believe JFK won the 1960 election because Daley rigged the Chicago vote count.

  24. This snow is frying my brain over here, but if it’s RD’s way of getting back at myiq and giving us a white Christmas, I love it. A nice NFL playoff game on TV and that would be perfect.

    It is humiliating, however, to blog with all these gifted people who do all this incredible stuff with their computers when I can’t even figure out how to put a space between my byline and a post.

  25. In Italy they have a system called tangenti, which is very similar to the Tweed machine, or to the “pinstripe patronage” of Chicago. Basically politicians expect cut-backs in exchange for government contracts.

    Things got very bad. Between 1945 and 1994, Italy was basically governed by one party -the Christian Democrats, key government posts were held semi-permanently by top politicians, and governments were reshuffled regularly in order to allow different faction leaders to obtain posts. Things stagnated.

    Corruption was severe. For example the concrete used in a school roof, was of such poor quality that it collapsed on the under-tens This was because contractors had to pay too much to politicians.

    Here, where I live, the area around the parking lot of a new post office was paved in terra cotta, which started chipping so badly that it all had to be replaced 3 years later.
    Students at the local high school, held sit-ins, because of the the roof of their new building leaking so badly.
    The local camp-site for example paid tangenti(bribes) to avoid health inspections, or analysis of the water in the swimming pool, or to get planning permission to expand.

    Things improved by the action of certain very dedicated prosecutors (Mani Pulite) which began in 1992, 1 year after the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Last year, the sale of a book called “La Casta” or the caste system had an enormous role in bringing down the government. This minutely described every parliamentary privilege there was-hair dressers, travel agencies(free tickets), restaurants, limos, airplanes, pension plans, secretaries, ticket agencies etc etc.

  26. {{simofish}} I’m so sorry about your illness — I hope you are feeling better (and still taking care of yourself)


  27. grayslady:

    I knew about the 1960 election but I figured it was more of a business transaction rather than an ongoing relationship.

  28. I love the snow!!!

  29. here is my fantasy .. they take bo away in hand cuffs ( or he is compromised to the point that he must step down )
    Joe chooses Hillary as his VP , and then resigns as well … and HILLARY IS PRESIDENT !!

    just a fantasy ….

    but in a world where the Gov of Illinois is now choosing NOT to resign on Monday ( gee what DOES he have on the president select ; not that everyone is wondering ) , and Sarah Palin apologises to the faithful of her church because the hatred unleashed on her during the transcendant campaign of the chosen one has spilled over to crimes resembling those of the civil rights era against AA’s , but doesn’t muster much disapproval these days … after all the women and children got out ok ….

    heck what is a PUMA to do … and is my fantasy really that far fetched ???

  30. Is Michelle Obama finally proud of her country now that her husband can buy a Senate seat for her friend Valerie Jarrett?

  31. If you listen to the morning pundits, Obama is as pure as the given snow itself. It must be wonderful to be able to spew this nonsense while maintaining a straight face at the same time.

    Obama coming out of IL without a stain of corruption? PLEEZE! They must take us all for being complete idiots all of the time. Some even suggested that he had bigger issues facing him on his plate than Blago. Sure. Like his credibility for one.

    The press is rivals only Pravda and Baghdad Bob in their insistence that this does not touch The One. He is up to his elbows in this thing, whether “provable” or otherwise. He may not have offered lucre but my bet is that he offered other goodies along the way.

    The lying bastard!

  32. myiq-“I never knew that the Daley’s and the Kennedy’s were thick as thieves”

    Yes it does explain a lot. Shriver-a Daley man????

  33. The Kennedy’s owned a major dept store in Chicago. Mayor Daley had a hand in the 1960 election. Illinois is where they parked Rosemary Kennedy after her lobotomy. The square becomes circled when you play with it long enough.

  34. Hello Conflucians. May I rant/vent for moment?

    Riverdaughter: the Tammany Hall comparison is more apt than you will ever know. As for Corzine, who I once respected, he is a New Jersey machine politician himself as you know. He was also a big Clinton supporter who then flipped the NJ delegation to the convention by giving a speech to the delegates (from a state Clinton WON) about why they simply HAD to defect from their pledges on the first ballot – thereby making the 71 NJ delegates for Clinton go poof! Ugh.

    Meanwhile, every bit of work Senator Clinton did to benefit survivors and families of victims of the 9/11 attacks directly benefited thousands of New Jerseyans.

    To compare this whole matter to Whitewater is laughable, or would be, if it did not make me want to weep with anger. Bribery and office selling at the highest level of a state government. This is Nixonian. Nixonian.

    Ted Kennedy. Ugh.
    Caroline Kennedy. Double ugh.

  35. Oy. oy. oy. I was going to do some errands and now I must write a post for Potpourri. This is all your fault, RD (smile).

    Oh, and I’m a fan of the snow too.

  36. Ack, I’m in moderation. Probably I just went on too long, though I don’t even know if that’s a trigger.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  37. RD, you are brilliant! Alice Palmer is the perfect pick.

    Swanspirit, I love your fantasy. Let’s hope it comes true. If there’s one thing we need right now it’s a talented, hardworking leader, and BO doesn’t fit the bill. The bull maybe. But not the Bill.

  38. The talking heads at CNN wants this whole Blagog and Magog thing reduced to a “distraction ” for the president select
    nice try ….

  39. Pat, I’m with you. I commented on the previous post that BO is up to his eyeballs in this sh!t. They had nothing on Bill Clinton, but Obama has major baggage. Take into account that they couldn’t successfully run Jeb in 2008 and it makes sense that the sh!t didn’t start hitting the fan until after BO was elected. 2012 was always the goal.

  40. Pat J–The Kennedys owned The Merchandise Mart in Chicago–not a department store but a massive building in which almost all of the companies that service the interior decorating trade are located.

  41. Can we begin a petition to have Alice Palmer put into that Senate seat?

  42. Heidi Li, on December 14th, 2008 at 1:01 pm Said:
    Can we begin a petition to have Alice Palmer put into that Senate seat?

    HEIDI LI what a brilliant idea where do I sign ???

    lets please do so

  43. And someone mentioned that the Chicago Tribune, at the urging of Patrick Fitzgerald, that they hold back the news of this until after the election? Are we really without hero’s?

    grayslady: Thanks for the correction. I knew they owned something there; wasn’t sure of the name.

  44. Heidi Li: It would be karmic justice, would it not? Deeeelightful! I’ll bet she’d be damn good too. And think of it: we’d score a woman and an african-american. It’s a win all around. I mean, since the seat isn’t going to go to the highest bidder anyway…

  45. I wonder if they “pitched” Oprah for the Senate seat as well? Nothing, and I mean nothing, would surprise me anymore with this gang.

    Paraphrasing Rev. Wright: “goddamn Chicago!!”

  46. Pat:

    Fitz had barely started his wiretaps a few days before the election, and all the juicy stuff came afterwards.

  47. thanks katiebird – feeling better – just in time for a business trip tomorrow

  48. You all won’t believe what I’m eating. Cheetos! The crunchy kind. I presume that’s okay as long as Cheeto consumption is literal, not figurative.

  49. PAT!!!
    If i had been drinking something it would be all over the keyboard by now !!!
    YOU are ON IT darlin ……. but after all Oprah is about as qualified as Caroline 😉

  50. myiq2xu,

    You young’uns! Forever surpised by the things I lived through! It’s fun getting older and being able to remember actual history so the media can’t pull the wool over my eyes.

  51. They “investigated” the Clinton’s right down to their choice of breakfast cereals yet no one is chagrined at these connections.
    What will it take? All that money he supposedly collected from “little donors” has not resonated. His ties to convicted felons goes unchecked. His constant shifting on the issues does not pose a problem. His stupid statements aimed at those he throws under the bus only makes him “shine” more with the press.

    When will the fawning stop? I know, I sound like a raving idiot.

  52. johninca:

    Experimentation with Cheetos leads to mainlining Koolaid.

    They’re a gateway drug.

  53. and for YOU RD
    I am playing
    Paul Thorn – Joanie The Jehovah Witness Stripper.

    NEXT …….

  54. Yes, Alice Palmer for the Senate is a fabulous idea!

  55. myiq: Thank God! I want to believe that integrity still exists somewhere.

  56. The press is just another group of Stepford Wives. I am not suggesting, until there is proof, that Obama did anything wrong. What I as questioning is how they can be so satisfied that he did not. They will fall over backwards on his behalf without once referring to Chicago as the political pit it is.

    Barack Obama: The Phoenix of our times.

  57. Solution to the Kennedy situation is to have Hillary stay in the Senate. Obama’s nonresponse to the Faveau photo is pretty solid evidence that he nor his closest advisers value and respect Hillary. And you know what? The rest of the world knows that they are negotiating with someone who doesn’t have the respect of the president. I don’t think Obama’s nonresponse was anything less than intentional, just like his cheek scratch and shoulder brush off.

  58. gqmartinez, on December 14th, 2008 at 1:24 pm Said:
    Solution to the Kennedy situation is to have Hillary stay in the Senate. Obama’s nonresponse to the Faveau photo is pretty solid evidence that he nor his closest advisers value and respect Hillary. And you know what? The rest of the world knows that they are negotiating with someone who doesn’t have the respect of the president. I don’t think Obama’s nonresponse was anything less than intentional, just like his cheek scratch and shoulder brush off.

    What amazes me ; is that the commentary here consists of the questions and answers that should be coming from maintstream media , and never do, on a constant and continual basis ..
    and that the people in “power” do not understand or care about the real world consequences of their actions ….

  59. I’m researching some Chicago politics, and pieces are falling together.

    Obama moves to Chicago to organize the South Side in order to help Mayor Washington get reelected.

    Washington dies, Obama leaves for Harvard and starts building ties to the Daley machine during the summers.

  60. The media can want for this scandal to go away, and I have no doubt but that in their hearts that is their most desperate desire.

    But it’s just not going to go away.

    As I mentioned earlier, everything a President does receives vast attention, like it or not. Moreover, the Republican Party and the entire right wing machine will be all over this, never allowing any fair accusation — and many unfair ones — to escape of the public’s eye. In addition, it is based on a court case that brings its own great infamy and follows its own ineluctable course, keeping the issue very much alive as a legitimate news item.

    And Obama’s credibility will trickle down the drain in a steady drip, drip, drip.

  61. I would like to say as a native of Chicago and long time resident of NYC, the Chicago is the new Tammany Hall assertions are absurd. As a historian I have to say that at best , AT best, yes they are/were both political machines but Cook County Democratic Organization or the “Chicago Machine” deserves no comparison to Tammany and vice versa.

    The Chicago Machine has its own legacy and stands upon its own reputation. Unfortunately it far outlasted Tammany which gives the Chicago Machine its own place without comparison. I don’t know if this historical interpretation is something that the mainstream society needs to help outsiders understand what is happening but the Chicago Machine was and will always be around for it is embraced by most residents of Crook County.

    Being a native of the “second city” with a sense of pride I feel that the last thing Chicago needs to to have one of its major political establishments to be compared or referred to as a “New Tammany” . Our collective memory does not need that.

  62. My prediction: On Jan 20, the first thing Obama will do is replace Fitz. The media will play it as if it’s normal, always done, no reason to change….not an abuse of power to saturday night massacre the guy who is investigating your buddies, just a normal course of business in transition to the new presidency.

    Investigation will cease, Blago will get off on a technicality, and all will be fine.

    Rezko will remain in jail and silent, but with a promise of pardon after the 2012 election.

    And our country will grow more corrupt.

    BTW, I like the snow, it’s cute, but it makes my eyes hurt to read through it.

  63. Thanks for keeping me sane, Riverdaughter. Please post more, when you have time. You are one of the best, most honest voices blogging.

  64. Ok friends,
    For a little fun, and a little seriousness, I just set up the following campaign:
    Go there. send your name and email and any comments you like to show that you favor the appointment of Alice Palmer to fill the vacant Senate seat in Illinois.

    I promise to keep you all posted on how we are doing with signatures.

    Happy solstice season!

  65. I myself don’t think that Obama himself, even in the greatest of secrecy, pursued, or even seriously contemplated, any of Blago’s more outrageous suggestions.

    Why? Because Obama himself had virtually nothing to gain, and a great deal to lose, by engaging those possibilities. This is what makes much of the praise of Obama for rejecting Blago’s offers so absurd.

    Obama had just become the President Elect of the United States. To him, personally, of what importance is the relatively quite trivial matter of who occupies the Senate seat of Illinois? What’s it to him?

    Now, if Obama were in JJJr’s shoes, or Valerie Jarrett’s shoes, it would be a different matter: they both had something important to gain. Jarrett in any case had nothing important to offer Blago independently of Obama’s own wishes, so she was powerless anyway. JJJr did have “independent means” whereby he could produce campaign cash for Blago — and so he chose to do.

    But Obama himself has always been interested only in the gain of one person in the entire world: Barack Obama. Why should he take any risk on behalf of either Jarrett or JJJr?

    For Obama, this was simply a case in which personal ambition and public virtue coincided.

    Of course, this didn’t stop Obama from clearly lying when he tried to exonerate entirely all of his staff — whose behavior would, of course, reflect on The One. That is where personal ambition will get him once again.

  66. afrocity: On the contrary, the comparison to Whitewater is the absurd comaprison. But political machines and corruption always contain the same elements: patronage, kickbacks, votes in exchange for services. Chicago has a uniquely unsavory past but it’s Tammany Hall that most people remember from their history books. I may be mistaken but I’m betting that people connote Tammany with political corruption even if they don’t remember the exact details. And that’s why Tammany is an apt comparison. If the public only hears Whitewater, they will think “No big deal”. But say Boss Tweed and now they’re getting a little closer to the concept of what is really going on. It’s no rafting expedition. It is systemic and anti-democratic. If you can come up with a better example that all Americans would have heard of and know instantly what it means, I mean, outside of Watergate, which was not the same thing at all, I’m all ears.

  67. I signed it already and am passing it on THANK YOU Heidi Li

  68. Shriver managed the Kennedy’s Merchandise Mart on the river in downtown Chg for them. No way that asset was purchased or operated at a profit for such a long time without close cooperation between the Daley gang and the Kennedy gang.

    I do wish people would take a minute to peer behind the fake curtain of ‘Camelot.’ JFK was just a pre-blog BO.

    Re Fitz holding off on bringing charges: First, we don’t know that no wiretapping was going on somewhere before end of Oct. 2008. Second, we don’t know what else has been collected, or what the game in play really is.

    But I do know this: If Fitz deliberately took the decision to not move on Blag 100% because he did not want to do anything to risk upsetting BO’s wins (either at the primary stage or at the national stage), then those are circumstances purely extraneous to proper prosecutorial action, and I would classify them as prosecutorial misconduct — even if the only ‘benefit’ Fitz may have gotten from such an alleged throw would be the personal satisfaction of seeing BO beat Hillary and/or McCain/Palin.

    There are all sorts of ethical rules that pertain not just to elected and appointed officials but also to people like prosecutors, cops, whatever!!

    And I support demanding that TeddyK be prosecuted for openly offering enhanced fundraising efforts and contributions in exchange for Patterson appointing CK.

    What’s wrong has got to be seen as being wrong!!!

  69. I disagree that bo had nothing to gain from the assignment of the Senate Seat . He has to deal with that person , and make deals with that person , as well as return what ever favor he himself has promised . he has every reason to be interested; or he would have not expressed one. He is deeply involved , up to his big ears .

  70. frankly:

    Obama had a lot to gain. Most of his top supporters expect to be rewarded now that he has won. If he doesn’t deliver, they may stop supporting him.

    That’s how patronage works.

  71. Federal prosecutors are supposed to avoid politically sensitive prosecutions just before elections.

  72. RD that depends on what history books people were or were not reading. If people turn to primary resources rather than secondary ones then maybe they would know the difference between the two. The Chicago machine does not need a comparison to Tammany or Whitewater in order to enlighten those who are less historically aware. That is like the lame tourists that come to State St. and see Marshall Fields yet they require some Chicago native to stroke them and say “You know like Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s in NYC”

    The Chicago Machine should be known for what is is, a uniquely Chicago establishment. We don’t need Thomas Nast to draw us a picture.

    Talk about one size does not fit all.

  73. Not to mention that the word virtue and and the phrase “president – select ” really do not fit into any sentence or even paragraph together in any other context than that which i am using to demonstrate that they do not 🙂

  74. Valerie Jarrett would have done what Barack and Michelle Obama wanted. She is a machine politician who knows how to take orders with a smile.

  75. myiq2xu,

    I can’t prove it, but I strongly suspect that Obama met Bill Ayers when they were both at Columbia. I think Ayers may be the one who suggested Obama go to Chicago to work as a “community organizer.” Yes, he was very involved with Mayor Washington. But isn’t it fascinating that Obama managed to marry someone who was born into the Daley machine?

  76. I agree with Afrocity about the Chicago machine. I grew up in an Indiana town that was known as a place for Chicago guys to hang out when things got too hot back in prohibition days. The Chicago machine goes way back. It didn’t originate with the previous Mayor Daley by any means.

  77. BB:

    I think Obama moved to Chicago because he thought he could jumpstart his political career working for Harold Washington. Ayers may have had something to do with his decision.

    When Washington died in November 1987, Obama had to regroup.

  78. Boston,

    Yes exactly and the Chicago Machine worked its way back to Indiana, especially Gary when BO was running for Prez.

  79. can I get clearance for an open thread? I think I have something here pretty closely related to the subject of the hatred for Gov. Palin and now the apparent bombing of her church. it’s pretty grim though and if it would ruin the festive mood I might wait for tonight.

  80. Johninca,

    I have been reading some of the comments on that very thing , the burning of Sarahs Church ; on several news sites, and I felt as if someone punched me in the stomach after reading them , but it needs to be discussed ….

  81. swannie, thank you, that’s why I like you so much. I’ll have something up. Just please comment and if it’s too rough change the subject. But I’ve beenwaiting to open my big mouth about this.

  82. I found two more useful historical analogies to the Obama/Kennedy/ Hill story.

    This is based on the premise that the Democrats operate according to the Iron Law of Institutions.

    The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

    The first analogy is that with McGovern:

    Probably the best writing about this at the political party level was done by the late Walter Karp. Karp points out in Buried Alive that before the 1972 elections there was a huge influx of new people and energy into the Democratic party from the anti-war and civil rights movements. This was enough to get McGovern nominated. But here’s what happened then, as Karp describes it:
    As soon as McGovern was nominated, party leaders began systematically slurring and belittling him, while the trade union chieftains refused to endorse him on the pretense that this mild Mr. Pliant was a being wild and dangerous. A congressional investigation of Watergate was put off for several months to deprive McGovern’s candidacy of its benefits. As an indiscreet Chicago ward heeler predicted in the fall of 1972, McGovern is “gonna lose because we’re gonna make sure he’s gonna lose”…So deftly did party leaders “cut the top of the ticket” that while Richard Nixon won in a “landslide,” the Democrats gained two Senate seats.

    Could McGovern have won if he’d been fully supported by the status quo powers with the Democratic party? Impossible to say. But they didn’t want to take any chances: they preferred to make sure he lost the election, because his winning it would have meant newcomers would dilute their power within the party. That’s the Iron Law of Institutions in action.

    The second is with Taft/Roosevelt:

    In The Politics of War Karp examines a similar situation in the election of 1912. The incumbent was William H. Taft, a Republican. However, he was extremely unpopular both nationally and with the progressive movement within the Republican party. First the National Progressive Republican League (essentially a party within the party, like the Progressive Democrats of America today) backed Robert La Follette. They eventually deserted him for Teddy Roosevelt, because he seemed more likely to wrest the nomination away from Taft. Karp writes:
    If a presidential nomination were decided by the sentiments of a party’s rank and file, Roosevelt would have won the nomination by a landslide. Of the 388 convention delegates chosen by popular vote, Taft won a mere 71, or less than 20 percent. If a presidential nomination were decided by money, Roosevelt again would have won. He had the preponderance of money on his side. If a presidential nomination were dictated by the party leaders’ desire to win the general election, they would have nominated Roosevelt themselves. The Republican oligarchy, however, was fighting for its life. Compared to the prospect of losing power within the party, rank-and-file sentiment meant little. Winning iNovember meant least of all. The oligarchy was determined to renominate Taft, a certain loser, solely to keep control of the party. “When we get back in four years,” explained a machine senator from Indiana, “instead of the damned insurgents, we will have the machine.”

    freeworldradionetwork.net/documents/20070906-Iron_Law_Of_Institutions. pdf

  83. myiq2xu,

    Yes, I know. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on about Obama. He had to regroup, and–again: he married someone who was a Daley machine insider. I’m suggesting that was one of the ways he regrouped.

  84. HEy johninca thank you you are SUCH a sweetie , and I love your poetry too 🙂

    and btw the snow is lovely as long as I dont have to shovel it or drive in it 😉

  85. okay, it’s called Nightmare.

    Open thread, remember that the cruelest criticism is silence.

    And I forgot to put up the title– and I can’t edit in the snow!!

  86. Afrocity- Gary Indiana- we are squaring the circle…

  87. I think that MO was involved to some degree with panther-types, and check out Jarrett’s connections.

    I agree that BO probably did meet Ayers at Columbia, and probably between him and Frank Marshall Davis, the Chg connection was always choice #1 for BO.

    Whether MO knew about BO through Chg before he applied to law school or not is an open question, but by the time the plan for BO to go to Harvard law was put into motion, MO would have been a third-year student there in the year during which BO’s application was being processed. Like most schools, there would have been some students on that committee, and often those student spots were given to minority students (esp back in the 1980s) when increasing diversity was seen as an important institutional objective.

    I suppose someday all this will come out, but it sure does feel like it all ought to have come out right up front, and have been documented openly while it was happening.


  88. Afrocity,

    The machine has always been in Gary, from what I’ve heard. My town is pretty far south of Chicago, but it always had a lot of gambling and other illegal entertainment. Even John Dillinger was known to have hung out there. LOL! Indiana politics is pretty dirty too.

  89. BB:

    He married Michelle and he went to work for a law firm connected to the Daley machine.

  90. myiq2xu,

    When did he and Michelle meet? Was it before or after Rezko showed up at Harvard to offer him a job?

  91. Repost:

    Heidi Li, on December 14th, 2008 at 1:56 pm Said:

    Ok friends,
    For a little fun, and a little seriousness, I just set up the following campaign:
    Go there. send your name and email and any comments you like to show that you favor the appointment of Alice Palmer to fill the vacant Senate seat in Illinois.

    I promise to keep you all posted on how we are doing with signatures.

    Happy solstice season!

  92. So, the snow follows your mouse. But now it has stopped on my screen. This white stuff is doing my head in.

    Interesting conversation.

    Fox news last night wrote the names that Obama found “acceptable” for his replacement (his list) – interestingly, it was mostly women. Even Tammy Duckworth was on it (and we approved of her). Stupid Blago.

    Stupid Obama team – they should have just acknowledged that they were speaking with Blago – which should have been a normal thing to do when transitioning. Instead, Barack had to start his pathological lying. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  93. Laurie — thank you for that set of examples. That completely squares with my own reaction to Daley, who was DNC chair or legal advisor, I forget which, during the 2000 theft. At a certain point, just after Bush v Gore was released, I believe, I fully expected the Dems, led by someone with hereditary killer instincts when it came to power, to fully exploit the last remaining legal challenges, which were still in Fl. courts. Then all of a sudden he got on national tv and made a speech about how the dems accept the outcome laid out by the USSCt, and that was that.

    It felt like one of those rope-pulling contests when both sides are pulling as hard as they could, and one side suddenly let go. And being from Chg, I knew that was not the Chg Machine way of doing things at all.

    It never made as much sense as it needed to for me. But now my hypothesis is that the Dem powers were never that crazy about Gore anyway, even though he was somewhat distancing himself from Clinton, and they preferred to lose rather than lose power to do their own theft once they found their own front person — which was supposed to be Blag, don’t forget, and then BO saw his opening.

    Funny, the Blag-BO think has overtones of Saddam Hussein’s power struggle with the Bushes: The US put him in power specifically because they needed his dirty ways to keep a lid on Iraq, and tacitly ignored the corruption; then, when he started to get uppity, he got isolated and shot down (literally) just about as decisively as it gets. Not unlike what seems to be happening to Blag right now, which might be why he is so totally ticked off and not going quietly.

    Funny way to look at power, Laurie, but it sure explains a lot!


  94. Three sigs in 10 minutes. I promise, if we hit a thousand, I will compile and send it in, either under Riverdaughter’s auspices if she likes (as she was the inspiration) or the auspices of the Potpourri or 51 Percent.

    51 Percent is picking up some steam already! See http://tdg.typepad.com/heidi_lis_potpourri/2008/12/introducing-51-per-cent.html for updates.

    The web designer in question is my dear spouse who will also be a trustee along with a former student now friend. We are going to do this as a mom-and-pop business, much like my grandfather and grandmother opened a deli in Brooklyn after WWII realizing that working for others meant they’d never make enough to make a better life for their children.

  95. scrubs57, on December 14th, 2008 at 2:55 pm Said:

    Exactly correct, Scrubs. The cover-up is always the worst. Why not just actually be forthright? Is that so very hard?

  96. BB:

    I think it was when he was a summer intern at her law firm.

    Bernadine Dohrn worked there too.

  97. I understand afrocity’s point about the Chicago Machine — it is so vast, so powerful & so corrupt that it should have its one place in our collective consciousness without need for any comparison or analogies. If it did, for example, no one would buy that Obama could come out of it “untouched.” Now why doesn’t the Chicago Machine have that place in infamy that it should? I’d say it is the msm — they’ve proven they are easily bought. Heck, not to be too tinfoily here, but for all we know the Chicago Machine owns the msm & has long before now.

  98. According to the NYT ranking of corrupt states:

    “Illinois ranks only seventh, with 502 convictions. At the squeaky-clean end of the scale, Nebraska barely managed an average of about one guilty official per year.”


  99. Angie,

    That is a great question. The class I teach is about collective memory and how society chooses to remember and forget. It is a fascinating subject. Chicago was founded by a man of color (Du Sable) and it is so interesting how it spawned the first AA prez and also gave Kennedy a huge boost while Kennedy was the first and only Catholic to be president.
    Eliot Ness, Capone, Wrigley, Chicago Black Sox. I can’t believe that Chicago is a Leo.

  100. This from a 2005 article re MO linked at NQ:

    “… earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she met her husband, in 1988. Obama then worked as an associate at the law firm of Sidley & Austin in Chicago. After spending a few years in the private sector, Obama moved into the public sector working first as an assistant to the mayor and then as the assistant commissioner of planning and development for the City of Chicago.”

    If this is accurate, then they actually met in law school, she was ahead of him, and no doubt between Ayers, MO, and Davis, BO had lots of reason to think of Chg as the land of plenty. It sounds like he was not able to get any traction in NYC.

  101. Ok gang — sorry for the short visit — I’m off to do some more Christmas related activities — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere go! 🙂

  102. Rahm Under Pressure to Resign – MSM Ducks The Story


  103. myiq,

    That’s right. That internship was after the first year BO was at Harvard Law. Now how did he get that internship? I’m guessing (I’m not the only one who has thought of this) he got it through Bill Ayers’ father, who was connected to that law firm. What do you think?

  104. I cannot believe what I just saw over here. I joked about the wonderful snow (RD, will you come back and explain how you do that?) and how a good football game would make the afternoon perfect.

    The Chargers just came from behind with two scores in the last six minutes to win and I think stay alive for the playoffs. I’m in San Diego so the neighbors will be ecstatic.

  105. I fail to see the relevant difference between Blago’s bribes to appoint in exchange for campaign contributions and B.O.s winning the Democratic “selection” for the nomination by promising campaign funds for the DNC. It seems he was doing something quite analogous in winning Pelosi-Reid and company over . If we had tapes of his offers (I’ll bet there were also plenty in order to get people to endorse him at just the right moments during the campaign), it would look at bad as Brago, even if less expletives were used.

  106. great post riverdaughter! ((((waves & hugs HLF))))….great idea about drafting Alice Palmer….now that is something quite appealing. i’m off to sign petition.

    obama is the result of and epitome of CHI-politics…Emil Jones was the one that said, “i’m gonna make me a senator” – referring to none other than oblah….and voila oblah became a senator. thanks to the UNdnc and big funders-soros, geffen and others, oblah was selected to become potus. they will all reap what they sew.
    ps: great to see gqmartinez is around and posting! i remember you fondly from another website where i no longer post.

  107. I don’t know whether anyone has brought this up before, but reading about NY/NJ/Chicago and Kennedys jogged my memory. The Kennedy family also has big, big financial interests in Chicago.

    “In 1945, the Merchandise Mart [the biggest building in the world] was purchased for $12.5 million by former Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., the father of future U.S. President John F. Kennedy.[1][6][7] Later managed by Sargent Shriver, the building was owned for more than 50 years by the Kennedy family through Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. until 1998, when MMPI was acquired by Vornado Realty Trust for $450 million in cash and a $100-million-plus stake in Vornado.[8]”


  108. We should all feel vindicated that the truth about BO is finally coming to light, not at all a bit late, I might add. The truth is often very small, so it take some time to find it. Let’s all sit back and watch the dazzling fireworks the truth brings with it. Good work, all!

  109. Whitewater was invented by NYT Jeff Gerth. He saw some discrepancy in numbers when raffling through the Clintons’ drawers and ran to the Arkansas freeper AG – the one who was selling T-Shirts of Hillary “First Bitch”. She started the investigation of something in which whatever wrongdoing was victimizing the Clintons. The exoneration was official and clear by the Pillsburry commission – but the press refused to cover it. To this day, most people think the Clintons did something wrong with Whitewater. Everything they do with Blagobamarama is the opposite: take a real scandal, shove it under the table. Harken? Enron? Abramoff?

  110. Whitewater took place ten years before Bill ran for President. It was investigated repeatedly and each time the Clintons were cleared of wrongdoing.

    Even Ken Starr finally admitted it.

  111. I think I’ll take my dog-eared Hunting of the President and write an entry about how Whitewater was concocted and let stand after clarification.
    Most people still do not know that it was a hoax.

  112. Don’t forget, Conason co-wrote the Hunting of the President (a must-read for everybody). He is hardly a CDS-infected shrew. More likely he’s gun-shy about any “scandal” thrown at a Democratic president–and with good reason. But I think he misses the boat by thinking Obama’s troubles are similar to the wholly trumped-up ones flung at the Clintons.

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