August 19, 2010

Scales of Justice: Blagojevich Edition


April 3, 2009

Fitzy’s Wiretap Ray

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 6:14 pm


The Tattlesnake – Fitzgerald Finally Indicts Blagojevich for Jaywalking Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 31, 2009

The Tattlesnake – After Blago the Deluge? Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 8, 2009

The Tattlesnake –The Media Blago Jewell Show, Say It Ain’t So, Joe, and Other Low Blows Edition

Remember Richard Jewell? Back in 1996 he was the poor schlub who was convicted by the Big Media as the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park bomber, based on a leaked story and innumerable FBI agents and other law enforcement experts appearing on TV practically guaranteeing the public that Jewell, by dint of proximity, false information from a former employer, and fitting an FBI ‘profile’ of lonely demented maniacs seeking heroic status, was the man who did it. They had everything but the formality of a conviction in a court of law. I recall several of our fellow citizens so outraged at the time over Jewell that they gladly would have stuck his chubby body on a spit and slow-roasted him to death. After all, everybody – the media, the punditry, the FBI, the guy tending bar –- KNEW he was guilty — he killed and maimed innocent people! — so why bother with a trial? Then the facts began to trickle out; the former employer had invented the disparaging remarks about Jewell’s character; the vaunted FBI ‘lone bomber’ profile – well, it was really just sheer speculation, after all. All the ‘proof of guilt’ left was that Jewell was in the area when the bomb exploded, along with hundreds of other people. The case was dropped due to lack of evidence and, finally, in 2005, the real perpetrator of the tragedy confessed – none other than Christopublican nutcase Eric Rudolph, who had made his name blowing up abortion clinics and gay bars because he believed that life was sacred. Jewell, who died in 2007 at age 44, sued for libel without complete success, and he never really got his reputation back – even an apology from AG Janet Reno didn’t help that. For those who need some help connecting the dots: These days, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been convicted by the Big Media based on the allegations of one man, Patrick Fitzgerald, with no independent evidence that he has done anything wrong. Everyone – the pundits, Democrats, the public, late-night comics – just KNOW Blago is guilty – why even bother with a trial? Yet, Fitzgerald needed, and received, an extension until April to bring indictments against Blago, whom he claimed was on a veritable ‘crime spree.’ In other words, he made a public announcement of sure guilt, and now he can’t even present a case to an indict-a-ham-sandwich grand jury? Something stinks here.

I’m not saying Blago is innocent; he might be the most corrupt politician since Boss Tweed for all I know, but it has to be proven in a court of law, not by prosecutorial press conferences nor the error-ridden scandalmongers of our national media. (These are, after all, the same solons who sold us on the Iraq disaster.) Note: Whenever you see this ‘convicted by the media’ shark-feeding in progress, just remember Richard Jewell.

See How They Roll: In a related item of Big Media heavy breathing over a scandal that wasn’t, let’s travel back through the mists of the past — or the ‘Clean Air’ pollution, if you will — to January of 2001 and the Bush Leaguers entering the White House. Remember the Big Scandal of the time was that departing Clinton staffers had trashed the place and pried up the ‘W’ on nearly every computer keyboard? Oh the moaning and groaning of the Right-Wing Wurlitzer and their stenographer pals in the White House Press Gang over how classless and horrible were the Clintonistas – why would they do something so childish and awful? Well, that was until the truth emerged – funny story, it was actually the Bushites who had quietly pushed the phony vandalism story to smear Bill Clinton and there was nothing more than normal office wear-and-tear left behind by his staff. Ha, ha. If you’re wondering why Obama and his family have been denied access to The Blair House, the traditional residence of soon-to-be-inaugurated presidents, even though it was empty until the Bushers hastily scheduled a one-night stopover for former Australia PM John Howard, here’s the proof that, not only is Junior the worst president we’ve ever had, but also the most peevish and vindictive. (Clinton left the presidency with a high approval rating, and Obama is entering it with a 70-some percent favorable rating and after winning a larger number of votes both electoral and popular than did Junior.) Incidentally, the Obama’s have been forced to stay at the Hay-Adams Hotel until January 15th, which is costing the taxpayers much more in security than if they had been living at The Blair. But, hey, who cares about the ‘little people’s’ money when it comes to pointlessly snubbing the democratically-elected president of the other party.

Laugh-A-Bull You Can’t Make Up: I know I promised never to mention him again, but this is too good: Joe the Plumber’s Helper, AKA Samuel Wurzelbacher of Lower Dipstick, Ohio, has stuck his unlicensed plunger back into the news stream as it was announced recently that he would be the new mighty-rightie Pajamas Media correspondent on – sit down and swallow that hot beverage – the Middle East! He even handed down this nugget of wisdom to a CNN affiliate on his assignment to Israel, “Being a Christian I’m pretty well protected by God I believe. That’s not saying he’s going to stop a mortar for me, but you gotta take the chance.” Perfecto! That’s just the kind of open-minded attitude we need in journalists providing information from that volatile region. Kudos to Pajamas Media for trying to burnish its credibility – or satirical value, anyway. (Hey, maybe Bob the Builder could be tapped to report on the housing market, or Thomas the Tank Engine on transportation? The possibilities are endless.)

Laugh-A-Bull the Deuce: Lady Laura Bird Bush just unveiled a new set of White House china that the incoming Obama family may or may not like. The set cost nearly a half-million bucks ($492,798 for 320 14-piece place settings) and, in these times when much of Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Heading-For-The-Poorhouse are eating uncooked Spam off of paper plates, seems a tad excessive. True, it was financed by private funds, and it’s American made, but still — hasn’t anybody told clueless Laura we’re in the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression? “These plates are perfect for cake, if you can’t afford bread.”

Laugh-A-Pitbull: Finally, according to some outfit called Veterinary Pet Insurance, the most popular dog name in 2008 was ‘Max,’ and it was the most popular name for a cat, as well. The company’s employees also picked the most unusual pet names for 2008 (read the full list here); topping the list for cats, ‘Edward Scissorpaws’ (although I liked No. 4 ‘Buddha Pest’ better), and for dogs, ‘Rush Limbark.’

December 29, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Is Gov. Rod Getting Rammed? Edition

What’s the Republican Political Angle to the Blagojevich Prosecution?

Is Illinois’ F**king Golden Boy Merely the Stooge for a Partisan GOP Attack on Obama and the Dems?

Had Enough Leading Questions Already?

While some may choose others – such as Billo, Hannity, the Savage Wiener or Radio’s Anal Cyst Rush — as a reliable weathervane of what not to believe, I have my own preference – second-tier CNN newsreader Kyra Phillips. In the case of the first four names, we know they are regurgitating their daily Talking Points from the Ministry of DoublePlusGood Neocon Truth, but Kyra aspires to a level of journalistic integrity that renders her eructations of state-sanctioned Big Media hooey more entertaining – and she’s easier on the eyes and ears than the Cave Boys.

I first noticed Kyra’s particular talent in this regard back in May of 2003, following Junior’s Commander-Cody-with-a-Codpiece moment on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and his hilariously boneheaded ‘Mission Accomplished’ ramblings afterward that ‘major combat operations’ had been completed in Iraq.

The Most Trusted Name in Newspeak had Kyra onboard the carrier that day and, with time to fill and a Glorious Victory in Eastasia to celebrate, she was given a free ride on a US Navy jet at the taxpayers’ expense. After landing, the breathless and excited Ms. Phillips gushed — only verbally, as far as I know — over the sea-going military, jet pilots, aircraft carriers and the whole goddamned Good War thingie – we had kicked Iraqi behind and all was right-wing with the world! But I noticed something in Kyra’s flushed smiling face and twittering-with-glee voice – why, it reminded me of a time decades before when I ran into a notorious groupie just hours after she had ‘balled’ (late ’60s slang term for copulation) every member of her favorite band! Of course, the video of Bush’s dumb publicity stunt is only useful now as a platform to launch a thousand jokes, and I’m sure Kyra’s embarrassing orgiastic spurt of militaristic slathering, wearing a flight helmet, no less, has been filed in the root cellar at CNN never to be seen again.

In the years since, whenever Kyra decides to editorialize the news, whether it be Rudy Giuliani’s popularity with Dixie-Fried Republicans, Fred Thompson’s manly irresistibility to voters, or Sarah Palin guaranteeing a big McCain win with the womenfolk, I have sure knowledge that whichever way Kyra blows, so to speak, the opposite is true.

This came up again a few weeks ago as the news of Scooter Libby prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s December 9th arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich blanketed the airwaves like an all-day Chicago blizzard. There was Kyra, frowning eyebrows crawling toward one another, serious-minded caterpillars an omen of the bad news to come, hyperventilating that the Blago scandal was “ten times worse than Watergate,” an attitude likely shared by some of her second-string Big Media cable colleagues but not expressed in so grandiose and historic a phrase.

Really, Kyra, ‘ten times worse than Watergate’? Hint to Phillips’ fevered brainpan: Blago didn’t have a private ‘Plumbers’ force breaking into his political opponents’ offices, he didn’t suborn perjury, he didn’t claim executive privilege to protect himself, he didn’t have a slush fund with millions of dollars in it to pay off criminals in his employ, and any scandals he’s alleged to be involved in are fairly pedestrian examples of political corruption and not a Constitutional crisis for the nation.

Perhaps she was taking her cue from Fitzgerald, who buzzed that Blago was on a “crime spree.” Whoa! Al Capone went on ‘crime sprees’ such as the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre – Blago’s babbling about wringing cash out of various politicians and bigwigs comes nowhere near that level of violent wrongdoing.

Whatever Blago’s crimes, no one died, no one was injured, he didn’t start any unnecessary wars based on lies, he didn’t authorize torture or the waste of billions of dollars in taxpayer money through no-bid contracts, he didn’t order Ken Blackwell to finagle the Ohio vote in 2004 to shoehorn Junior back into the presidency, he didn’t conspire to steal an election and jail the winner, as in the Don Siegelman case in Alabama, all of which seem to me to be much more serious than these routine instances of alleged malfeasance by Blagojevich.

But there’s more to this story than has been unearthed by the corporate BM, using the telescope from the wrong end, as usual.

Here are a few facts that have been missed in the rush to convict Blago:


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