Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Blagojevich is a crook
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and corrupt governors from Illinois behave like absolute jackasses. FBI agents arrested Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, early Tuesday on federal corruption charges related in part to the selection of President-elect Barack Obama's successor to the Senate, the U.S. attorney's office said. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald declared Tuesday a "sad day for government. Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," he said. "This conduct would make [Abraham] Lincoln roll over in his grave." Lincoln was a congressman from Illinois before becoming president. The great irony (or coincidence) is that the state's last governor, George Ryan, was convicted in April, 2006 on racketeering and fraud charges. Ryan reported to a federal prison in Wisconsin in November, 2007 to serve a 6½-year sentence. Unbelievable, perhaps Ryan and Blagojevich can be cell mates?
In a 76-page affidavit, federal authorities said wiretaps in Blagojevich's campaign office and on his home phone caught Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat in exchange for financial benefits for himself and his wife, Patti. The governor also often weighed the option of appointing himself to the Senate seat, saying he was "stuck" at governor and might have access to more resources as a senator than as a governor, the affidavit says. A Senate seat could also help him remake his image ahead of a possible presidential run in 2016. "If ... they're not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it," he said in one conversation. You go Blagojevich. If the bribe's not big enough you take that Senate seat and you make it all the way to the presidency. Then you can orchestrate all the shady financial deals and humidor all the interns you want to. That'll show em.
At times, Blagojevich discussed obtaining a substantial salary for himself at a nonprofit organization or an organization affiliated with labor unions, as well as placing his wife on paid corporate boards where she might make as much as $150,000 a year, the government said. During one recorded conversation, Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and said he was financially hurting, the affidavit said. "I want to make money," Blagojevich said, according to the affidavit. Oh, well that's different then. He needed money and he recognized an opportunity to make money so he was just being entrepreneurial, and you can't fault a guy for that right? Rod - you are truly a piece of work.
The intercepted phone calls also caught the governor and Harris discussing the possibility of the Tribune Company's obtaining assistance from the Illinois Finance Authority in efforts to sell the Cubs and the financing or sale of Wrigley Field, the government said. The company owns the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs, and Wrigley Field. Tribune Co., announced Monday it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Blagojevich allegedly directed Harris to tell Tribune officials that state assistance would be withheld unless members of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board were fired. The Illinois governor saw them as "driving discussion of his possible impeachment," the affidavit said. "Our recommendation is fire all those [expletive] people, get 'em the [expletive] out of there and get us some editorial support," the governor allegedly said in one phone call. Hell yeah, those mother fuckers were trying to expose you as the corrupt son of a bitch that you actually are. What the fuck were they thinking? Fire those mother fuckers and have them publicly tarred and feathered immediately.
Federal authorities also allege the governor and Harris schemed with others -- including convicted real estate developer Antoin "Tony" Rezko -- to obtain financial benefits for himself, his family and others, including his campaign committee, Friends of Blagojevich. What, corrupt politicians conspiring with corrupt business executives in an effort to make money for themselves? I don't believe it.
U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald went on to say that Blagojevich was looking to pull $8 million in funding for a children's hospital after the hospital's chief executive officer did not give a $50,000 contribution to the governor's campaign. Also, Fitzgerald said, it was expected that Blagojevich would soon sign into law a bill that would direct a percentage of casino revenue to the horse racing industry -- a bill supported by someone who contributed $100,000. Ah, it's good to be the king.
Reports from the Chicago Tribune last week said federal authorities were investigating the governor and were secretly taping his conversations -- with the help of his former congressional chief of staff, John Wyem. What the hell were you thinking Wyem? I wouldn't be surprised a bit if a guy named Vinny is waiting for you in the parking garage with a lead pipe. Ever heard of cooperation in exchange for anonymity you dumb bastard? Hope you don't like your knees too much.
"I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me," Blagojevich told WLS-TV in Chicago on Monday, as he responded to the reports of wiretapping. "I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me." He added, "By the way, I should say if anyone wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I appreciate anybody who wants to tape me openly." Tough talk for now. Just wait until you're in a 3-way with your cell mate George Ryan and a large black man named Bubba. Something tells me you won't be thinking about sunshine when Bubba's balls deep in your ass. (Disgusting imagery I know... sorry I couldn't resist:)
One big question now is whether Blagojevich retains the right to name Obama's successor if he remains in custody or even under indictment. The answer is yes, according to Fitzgerald. Jay Stewart, executive director of Chicago's Better Government Association, agreed. He said Blagojevich retains the right to fill the senate vacancy until he's out of office, which won't happen unless he quits or is removed from office by impeachment. At a press conference Tuesday, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, said he wants the Illinois Legislature to act quickly to pass a law setting a special election to fill Obama's seat, in order to prevent Blagojevich from making a tainted appointment or there being a lengthy vacancy in the Senate. "No appointment by this governor under these circumstances could produce a credible replacement," Durbin said. Oh come on Dick, where's the fun in that? Aren't you at least a little curious to see which philandering ass hat Blagojevich would pick? I know I am.
The governor's office, in an afternoon statement, said the allegations "do nothing to impact the services, duties or function of the state. Our state will continue to ensure health, safety and economic stability for the citizens of Illinois." Well that's reassuring. Afterall Blagojevich has already been the governor for 6 years now and the state budget is in wonderful shape, right? And I'm sure his proposed budget for 2009 contains absolutely no pork barrell spending whatsoever:
Rod Blagojevich, 52, now serving in his second term as Illinois Governor, is a career politician having previously served as a U.S. Congressman for Illinois' 5th district from 1997 - 2003, according to his on-line biography. Which begs the question: How many career politicians are in it to serve the people and how many are in it to serve themselves? Sadly my guess is that there are many more who fit into the latter category than the former. But then I am a little jaded.