But every now and then, someone pulls back the curtain to show me that government really is worse than I have feared.
The National Post has the best summary of the Illinois Governor's indictment so far. The Post is a Canadian outfit, so they at least mention which political party Rod Blagojevich is affiliated with, a fact that's curiously absent from a lot of the U.S. press coverage.
(Hint: This might have been your first guess, but Blagojevich is NOT a Libertarian. So guess again.)
The picture of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, former Senator Barack Obama, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley came from this article in Salon, the last few lines of which might become funnier with age. We'll see.
Back to the National Post:
Reuters reports that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on criminal charges on Tuesday, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat President-elect Barack Obama, federal prosecutors said.
Blagojevich was also accused of threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of the Chicago Cubs' baseball home Wrigley Field "to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical" of him.
I'm not going to go off on why The Great State of Illinois needs to provide "substantial state assistance" to The Chicago Tribune in their sale of a ballpark. Especially when The Chicago Tribune is supposed to be a watchdog over the shady goings-on in The Great State of Illinois. But, as my friend Dr. Ralph tells me, they do things differently up there.
The 51-year-old Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were charged in a 76-page federal indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. Both were taken into custody at their homes in Chicago.
The FBI's criminal complaint doesn't give any names of the senatorial candidates under discussion, but refers to them as [Senate Candidate #1] through [Senate Candidate #5]. To protect the privacy of the individual who vacated the Senate seat that was for sale on Ebay, the FBI omits his name and calls him [the President-elect].
Here's an example, from an intercepted conference call. This has people all over Chicago trying to guess who's who:
ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “****** ******** **** **** **** [the President-elect] his senator.
For nothing? **** him.”
ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give ****ng [Senate Candidate 1] a ****ing Senate seat and I don’t get anything.”
I'm not condemning the profanity on these calls. At my workplace, we have to say worse than that to get one box on a UPS truck. I merely wanted to illustrate that the Illinois governor wasn't going to simply appoint the best person for the job and not even get an ambassadorship out of it. Here's the Chicago Tribune:
....Blagojevich is quoted in the affidavit as frequently speaking of the president-elect with profanity and scorn. But there is an overlap among some of their top political confidants.
Axelrod ran Blagojevich's successful 1996 campaign for a Northwest Side U.S. House seat, though the two later had a falling-out. When Blagojevich was elected governor in 2002, his replacement in Congress was Rahm Emanuel, now Obama's designee as chief of staff. Emanuel and Blagojevich have since worked closely on several initiatives.
This is a link to the entire FBI complaint. If you have time, skim the first few pages, then flip to page 60, and read to the end.
Good Lord in heaven. These people are urban Snopeses. (Also, you might not be familiar with the SEIU, a group frequently mentioned in the complaint. SEIU stands for the "Service Employees International Union". They spent more than 16 million dollars getting [the President-elect] elected.)
Until January 21st, or until further complaints are filed by the FBI, I intend to refer to the individual who vacated this controversial senate seat as [the President-elect].