Just the other day The National Journal looked at Obama's voting record:
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal's 27th annual vote ratings. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate.But,Obama isn't the kind of liberal to take on the status quo in his home town of Chicago or the state of Illinois.Obama's "media consultant" is the Chicago Machine's David Axelrod.Axelrod ran Mayor Daley's last campaign of unreform: which means a zealous advocacy of higher taxes and more corruption.
Former Mayor Daley aide Sunil Garg has described the situation:
When I first heard this "audacious" rhetoric for change during Obama's Senatorial run in 2004, it deeply resonated with me (and not just because I'm another skinny kid with a funny name). After all, if ever there were a State in need of change, it would be Illinois. Currently, our three largest governments -- the State, the City of Chicago and Cook County -- are under federal investigation and among recent highlights are former Governor George Ryan going to prison, one of Mayor Richard Daley's top advisors' conviction for fraud (along with a host of others), and the indictments of current Governor Rod Blagojevich's top fundraisers, Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly. Yet, rather than translating his bold rhetoric of reform into action here within his home and challenging this corrosive culture, Obama has repeatedly acted in ways that reinforce it.Just how corrupt is Chicago? Former Alderman Dick Simpson who's now a professor at University of Illinois-Chicago has some interesting numbers on Chicago and Illinois:
Let's take each Illinois government currently under federal investigation, starting with the Illinois state government and Obama's nearly two-decade relationship with the man who has come to epitomize pay-to-play politics in Illinois, the now-indicted Rezko. As recently as 2005, Obama partnered with Rezko to purchase his million-dollar home, although it was widely reported that Rezko was the target of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation. Under the deal with Rezko, Obama paid $300,000 less than the asking price for his home, while Rezko's wife paid full price for the vacant lot next door, only to turn around and sell Obama part of that lot a few months later. While Obama dismissed the deal as a "boneheaded mistake", this is an odd explanation for someone trumpeting judgment over experience. Even giving Obama the benefit of the doubt on the land deal, he is unable to explain how as a champion of the poor, he remained ignorant for years to the fact that Rezko was one of the largest slumlords in Chicago, including within Obama's own district, and although the law firm for which he was an attorney had helped Rezko secure more than $43 million in government funding for his apartment buildings. Given this questionable history with Rezko, one would hope (there's that word again) that Obama might support the legislation banning pay-to-play politics in Illinois. Such legislation overwhelming passed in the Illinois House, but Obama's self-described "political godfather", Emil Jones, inexplicably refuses to bring the legislation to vote in the Illinois Senate ... and Obama has remained silent.
Next, there is the Cook County government, a $3 billion operation that most taxpayers don't think about but which provides necessary and critical services to the indigent, particularly health care. In 2006, the Cook County Board President, John Stroger, faced near-daily chronicling of the incompetence, scandal, and patronage under his administration. These revelations included not only the typical employment of family members and friends, but more disturbingly what one Chicago newspaper referred to as a "catalogue of horrors" at a County hospital and what another uncovered at the Juvenile Detention Center where staff encouraged fights among the youth in "the gladiator room". Although normally untouchable, challenging Stroger was a formidable reform candidate, Forrest Claypool, who had been endorsed by every major paper in Chicago. This 'machine versus reform' race provided Obama with a seemingly tailored opportunity to demonstrate his new brand of politics and yet, although Claypool was a senior advisor to him during his Senate race, Obama chose not antagonize the machine and remained silent throughout the campaign, even after Stroger suffered a debilitating stroke a week before the election. Following Stroger's victory (52% to 48%), local committeemen selected Stroger's son, Todd, to replace him on the general election ballot, and despite general voter outrage over this cynical act of nepotism, Obama immediately embraced Todd Stroger, calling him a "a good progressive Democrat" who will "lead us into a new era of Cook County government." To no one's surprise, since winning the general election, Todd Stroger has hired a plethora of family members and friends, while slashing essential positions and services, including nurses and law enforcement officials, and proposing massive tax increases. When asked about the situation at the County under Todd Stroger, Obama said he was not following it, something he apparently has the luxury to ignore.
Since 1973, the U.S. attorney has indicted 30 aldermen and convicted 27 (one died before trial and two stand trial this spring). The Public Corruption and Accountability Project at UIC calculates that there have been more than 1,000 local and state governmental officials convicted since the 1970s. The "corruption tax," or cost of government corruption for Cook County residents, is now more than $300 million a year, greater than the local government tax increases this year. We can't really afford more local "Hired Truck" schemes, patronage hiring, or the state pension and driver license scandals of recent years.Things are so throughly corrupt in Chicago that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald had to call for more help.As The Chicago Sun-Times reported:
From an exhaustive Hired Truck investigation to a probe into patronage hiring at City Hall, there's so much corruption to investigate in the Chicago area, the FBI is adding manpower.Corruption costs money and starting April 1 Chicago will have the highest retail sales tax on general merchandise at 9.25% of any large city in the United States.The Cook County Democratic machine doesn't care much about poor people paying high taxes.Obama supported Cook County Board President Todd Stroger,the man who's trying to push the sales tax up to 11%.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Grant told the Sun-Times he has reorganized the bureau to add a third public corruption squad by Sept. 6, giving Chicago the largest public corruption unit in the country.
Even New York and Los Angeles only have two squads, said Washington-based FBI spokesman Steve Kodak. It is the second time in two years the FBI in Chicago has expanded its public corruption force.
"Sometimes you create a new squad and tell agents to go out and find the work," Grant said. "Right now, we've got enough work that will keep everybody busy."
In 2004, former Chicago FBI chief Thomas Kneir added a second public corruption squad, citing the growing Hired Truck scandal. The FBI would not release the exact number of agents investigating public corruption, but each of the three squads has eight to 15 agents.
Grant also cited Hired Truck, saying that despite 32 people already charged and 23 guilty pleas, there's more to come. "We're not finished with it," Grant said.
'Not easy cases'
Grant said the feds continue to build new cases as more and more defendants cooperate -- either before they're publicly charged or after they strike a plea deal.
"Somebody opens up to us or to the U.S. attorney's office and it opens up a new area for us to explore," he said.
Grant said an aggressive U.S. attorney's office led by Patrick Fitzgerald has kept the pace steady. Grant said Fitzgerald doesn't shy away from prosecuting anyone -- unlike some U.S. attorneys he's worked with.
"These are not easy cases to work; oftentimes there's political sensibilities. But Pat is apolitical. He doesn't care if they're Democrats, Republicans or what they are."
Though Grant said Mayor Daley is not a target in the growing probe, federal investigators took their investigation up another notch Friday when they questioned the mayor for the first time about alleged City Hall corruption.
In addition to Hired Truck, the mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs is under fire, with prosecutors alleging job interviews were rigged in many cases so only those backed by clout landed jobs.
The U.S. attorney's office has brought public corruption charges in a number of areas outside of City Hall. Recent investigations include an ongoing probe into the Teachers Retirement System's pension fund; campaign practices by Michael Tristano, the onetime chief of staff to former House Republican leader Lee Daniels; a bribe probe into a former high-level Chicago Park District official, and smaller probes in towns like Aurora and Berwyn.
"A lot of retired FBI employees who have been here for years stop me and say the same thing: 'It's about time,' " said Grant.
So,exactly who can get elected to public office in Chicago and Illinois? Here a list of some important people in Illinois politics.If Obama becomes President some of these Illinois politicians are going to want Obama to get some money out of you so Illinois can be even more corrupt.
1)John Daley.Daley is the brother of Chicago's current Mayor.John Daley is the Mayor's key guy on the Cook County Board.John Daley is also the Democratic Ward Committeman of the 11th Ward which has an unusual amount of city workers living there.John is also the son of the other Mayor Daley (1955-1976).Not only is John from a politically connected family,he married into another powerful family.Here's a quote from The Chicago Tribune article on April 24,1975 titled DALEY'S SON TO WED HOOD'S DAUGHTER:
"John Daley,son of Mayor Daley,is engaged to marry the daughter of a long-time crime syndicate gambling boss.John plans to wed Mary Lou Briatta June 26 in Our Lady of Pompeii Church,1224 W.Lexington St.The couple became acquainted during summer vacations in Grand Beach,Mich.,where the families of both have summer homes.Mary Lou is the daughter of Louis Briatta,a Loop gambling boss and brother-in-law of John D'Arco,1st Ward Democratic committeman.Briatta was identified by the United States permanent subcommittee on investigations in 1963 as a member of the Chicago crime syndicate."
John Daley's name has come up in Chicago infamous Hired Truck Scandal.John Daley also sells insurance :
Mayor Daley sees nothing wrong with his brother John getting paid as the insurance agent for the biggest breadwinner in Chicago's scandal-ridden Hired Truck Program.Does it bother Cook County voters that John Daley has extensive Mafia ties? No.
"It has no effect whatsoever on any decision in government. . . . None whatsoever," the mayor said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, John Daley acknowledged Tuesday he once had two more clients who benefitted from the program.
Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that John Daley, chairman of the Cook County Board's Finance Committee, sold insurance to three of the 165 companies in the city's $40 million-a-year Hired Truck Program.
They are MarinaCartage and MAT Leasing, owned by Michael Tadin, the program's biggest beneficiary, and GNA Trucking, whose owners, Gina and Nicki Cannatello,are the daughter and wife of former Palos Township Democratic committeeman John Cannatello.
John Daley admitted Tuesday that over the years he sold insurance to the trucking company owned by his former Bridgeport neighbor Fred Barbara and to the firm owned by Barbara's wife. Fred Barbara is a nephew of the late Ald. Fred Roti, a made member of the Chicago mob.
Barbara's former secretary and now wife, Lisa Humbert, created Karen's Kartage 20 years ago.
In the Chicago Sun-Times series that exposed corruption and waste in the Hired Truck Program, Fred Barbara said his wife no longer runs the company. It is now overseen by his brother, Bruno, Fred Barbara said.
John Daley refused to disclose how much he got paid from Barbara or Karen's. Nor would he say how long he served as their insurance broker before the relationship ended. He would say only he saw no conflict of interest.
2)Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.To some he's a fluke.To others he proves how far you can go in Illinois politics with a sleazy background.You may have heard of Blagojevich's close relationship with Tony Rezko.You might have even heard the Feds in public documents refer to him as Public Offical A.The media hasn't spent too much time focusing in on his interesting past.Blagojevich's close friend Dan Stefanski is a case in point.Here's more on Stefanski:
A former union leader who was hired for a six-figure-salary state job by his boyhood friend, Gov. Blagojevich, has ties to reputed organized crime figures and once was a bookie, informants have told Teamsters Union anti-corruption investigators.The Chicago media hasn't really snooped around on the Blagojevich -Stefanski relationship.Was Stefanski a bookmaker for the Elmwood Park Crew who was paying street tax ? Exactly what did Blagojevich know? The Chicago media feels if the voters keep voting for the guy what more can you do? For those shocked that Blagojevich doesn't spend too much time being Governor, his absentee past suggests at one time or another he was a ghostpayroller which was good preparation for his absentee Governorship.
Daniel E. Stefanski ran Teamsters Local 726, representing hundreds of city truck drivers, from the mid-1990s until landing a top job with the Illinois Department of Transportation in April 2003, several months after Blagojevich took office.
3)Luis Guiterrez.Guiterrez is a Congressman from the very gerrymandered 4th Congressional district in Northern Illinois.Guiterrez thinks promoting FALN terrorists on Illinois' payroll is a good thing:
A high-ranking official in Gov. Blagojevich's office spent nearly two years in a federal prison for refusing to aid a government terrorism probe into a series of bombings in Chicago and New York City.Gutierrez(like Obama) is a good friend of Tony Rezko.Here's a Chicago Sun-Times report:
Steven Guerra, Blagojevich's $120,000-a-year deputy chief of staff for community services, was identified by federal prosecutors as a member of the Puerto Rican separatist group, FALN, which was behind a wave of violence and killings in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Before al-Qaida and Timothy McVeigh, the nation's most feared terrorism group was FALN, an organization that sought Puerto Rican independence through a wave of terror more than a quarter century ago.
More than 130 bombings in New York, Illinois and Puerto Rico were attributed to the group, including at least 28 here. Five people were killed, and 84 were injured, including four police officers.
Between 1975 and 1979, FALN took credit for or was suspected in bomb attacks at the Merchandise Mart, the Chicago Police Department headquarters, Woodfield Shopping Center and a former Marshall Field's department store, among others.
In March 1980, gun-toting sympathizers stormed the Carter-Mondale presidential campaign office in Chicago and held campaign workers hostage.
But a month later, FALN suffered its most severe setback when 11 members were arrested in a stolen truck in Evanston.
In 1983, Guerra, now 53, was among five people convicted in New York of contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the group. The felony conviction resulted in a three-year prison sentence for Guerra, who was released in 1986 after serving 23 months.
Federal prosecutors labeled Guerra and his four co-defendants "a danger to the community," and said they advocated armed violence, kidnappings, hijackings and prison breaks in the name of a "free" Puerto Rico.
The lead prosecutor in Guerra's case, James D. Harmon Jr., said it is clear to him that the man he helped convict has no business working for state government. "He had his opportunity to help the government. Someone who refused to help the government, in my opinion, forfeits his right to earn a living from any government at any time," the former prosecutor said.
'Meeting of ... terrorists'
Gov. Blagojevich's office said Guerra disclosed his felony conviction to the administration before his 2003 hiring. Aides said the governor intends to stand by Guerra. He was recommended for the job by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who lobbied President Bill Clinton to grant clemency to 11 imprisoned FALN members in 1999.
Before their trial, Guerra and his co-defendants denied they were members of FALN, said they had no information to provide the government and would not "collaborate" with a "tool of coercion" targeting supporters of Puerto Rican independence, the New York Times reported in September 1982.
Guerra was not charged with any of the group's attacks or plots. But a sentencing memo obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times laid out in detail the government's belief that Guerra was an FALN insider with intimate knowledge of wrongdoing.
The accusations came largely from an admitted FALN member, Alfredo Mendez. He grew up with Guerra, became a government witness and is living under the witness-protection program.
Mendez told investigators Guerra was a member of FALN and recounted a June 1982 trip Guerra took to Puerto Rico to attend "a meeting of a cross section of terrorists." Guerra was identified at the meeting as "one of the leaders of the resistance in the United States," the government memo said.
"The discussion at the meeting included detailed plans for the ambush of police officers and the destruction of dams through the use of explosives," the memo stated.
Mendez also said Guerra and others told him about "a breakout that was planned for the FALN members when they were housed at the Dwight, Illinois prison facility" but it ultimately never happened, the memo said.
"As a back-up to the plan for an actual breakout, plans were also discussed to demand release of the FALN by hijacking a plane or kidnapping either a politician or a politically connected millionaire," the memo stated.
Mendez described how Guerra spoke of efforts to "break . . . out of prison" another FALN member, Marie Haydee Torres. She is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Florida for murder. Torres placed an explosives-laced umbrella in a coat rack that exploded inside the New York offices of Mobil Oil, killing a company executive in August 1977.
Finally, Guerra "advocate(d) the violent overthrow of the United States government" in Puerto Rico during a speech before a university audience in California, the memo stated.
"The right of our country to its independence was not to be discussed with words but with bullets. For believing this, we came to be branded as terrorists," the memo quoted Guerra as saying, citing a principle he said he had been taught.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez got a deal on a riverfront town house built by Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a developer and prominent political fund-raiser now under indictment for an alleged kickback scheme involving state pension funds.
Gutierrez paid $434,900 three years ago for the town house along the Chicago River just north of Diversey. That's far less than his neighbors paid for any of the other riverfront town houses in the development, records show.
Gutierrez no longer lives there. In March, he sold the town house for $610,000 -- a 40 percent profit.
Feds ratchet up pressure on Rezko Worker put up home for Rezko bail Obama: Rezko deal a mistake
Only two other original owners have sold their riverfront town houses -- one paid $535,000 and sold it for $650,000, a 21 percent profit; the other paid $622,000 and sold it for $662,000, a 6 percent profit.
Gutierrez said he's been friends for 20 years with Rezko, whose family has donated more than $19,000 to the congressman's campaign funds over the years.
But the congressman said their friendship had nothing to do with him getting the cheapest price on any of the 17 riverfront town houses Rezko built, with everyone else paying between $495,000 and $660,000, in some cases for smaller homes.
4)Alderman Ed Burke.Mayor Daley to the outside world is the boss of Chicago.Those on the inside know that's a bedtime fairy tale.The most powerful man in Chicago and the state of Illinois is Alderman Burke.The guy with the biggest campaign fund has the most power.In Illinois it's not the Governor,or even the Mayor but Alderman Ed Burke.You want to be a judge in Cook County? Go see Alderman Burke because he's Chairman of the slating committee.Since,all judges in Cook County are Democrats,Burke is the judicial branch of government.On the tax side,nothing gets out of his committee as Chairman of Chicago's Finance Commmittee.But,if that's not enough Burke runs a law firm specializing in tax appeals:
The primary focus of the firm involves contesting real estate tax assessments in the office ofCan you get better legal representation than a guy that slates all the judges in Cook County and writes Chicago's tax code ? We think not.Just in case you need to appeal a case in front of a Burke slated judge,guess who's wife is on the Illinois Supreme Court? Big corporations know representation like this gives one an advantage,an advantage of conflicts of interest one can't find anywhere else in America.The Chicago Sun-Times ran a May 3,2006 article titled ALD.BURKE GETS RID OF WAL-MART STOCK.Here's a quote from the article :
the respective county assessors, before boards of review and, when appropriate, in the trial
and appellate courts.
"His law firm specializes in representing clients appealing property taxes before the county.His 2005 client list includes:ABN Services/LaSalle Bank,Albertson's,American Airlines,the American Dental Association,American Trans Air,Ameritech,AT&T Communications,Blue Cross/Blue Shield,Centerpoint Properties,Centrium Properties,Chicago Journeymen Plumbers,Cole Taylor Bank,Commonwealth Edison,Concession Services,Dominicks,Fifth Third Bank,Friedman Properties Ltd.,and the Greater Southwest Development Corp.Burke's clients also include: the Habitat Co.,Harris Bank,Kenny Construction,Marc Realty,Mark Four Realty,MB Real Estate,Michael Reese Hospital,Palumbo Bros.,Pittsfield Building,Prairie Material Sales,Rossi Contractors,Sears Roebuck & Co.,Senior Lifestyle Corp., Southwest Airlines,TMobile,U.S.Equities Realty,and the Union League Club of Chicago."
Alderman Burke has been accused of fixing a murder trial for the Chicago Mob and strangely hasn't sued the publishers of the book(go to pages 160,161,and 162).
5)Jan Schakowsky.Schakowsky represents the 9th Congressional District in Northern Illinois.Schakowsky is married to convicted felon Robert Creamer.As the AP reported:
The husband of an Illinois congresswoman was sentenced to five months in federal prison Wednesday for writing rubber checks and failing to pay withholding taxes.Robert Creamer has strong ties to Obama,as Tom Roeser reports:
Robert Creamer, 58, also faces 11 months of house arrest once he finishes his sentence.
Robert Creamer, the husband of U. S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) who was sentenced to jail for running a community group and paying himself big bucks while banks held the bag, has been teaching a group of young (mostly) volunteers for the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, I am exclusively revealing today.Congresswoman Schakowsky is something of a radical.On May 5,2000 The Chicago Democratic Socialists of America honored Comrade Schakowsky at their Debs-Thomas-Harrington dinner:
Nothing wrong with Creamer earning a living. Indeed not long ago he surfaced as a registered lobbyist working against the Senate confirmation of UN ambassador John Bolton, paid by the George Soros-funded “Open Society Policy Center.” But the idea of a convicted felon who kited checks lecturing the supposedly idealistic Obama campaign on how to raise money and get elected is a bit much.
Creamer taught at “Camp Obama,” a week-long summer camp last month held at the presidential candidate’s office in Chicago for campaign interns and volunteers-just a few blocks away from the federal court where on August 31, 2005 he pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and failure to pay federal taxes…on charges brought by U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. He admitted in his 18-page signed plea agreement that he wrote checks on accounts that lacked funds and did so repeatedly as he moved money from one account to another in three banks. He had a multiple group of organizations that received money, the best known being the “Illinois Public Action Council” a left-wing group on which his wife, Jan Schakowsky, was a board member while the manipulating was going on. She was already in Congress when he pleaded guilty; she was not charged.
Creamer’s retention to instruct the Obama for President campaign is probably the most revelatory hint that the hopeful, idealistic, whimsical message floated by the candidate is mere vapor obscuring a cynical operation…unless, of course, the Obama people had no idea of Creamer or what his past represents.
Creamer’s being hired by the Obama campaign to instruct interns and volunteers in political organizing, abuses of which sent him to jail is ironic. Sen. Obama has been notable among the presidential candidates for crusading in an effort to “bring hope to our people.” He has been chairman of the Senate Ethics committee. How Creamer ended up instructing the Obama workers when his notoriety has been so prominent in Illinois is anyone’s guess. And whether he still continues to work on the Obama payroll is still speculative. One would imagine that David Axelrod, the top Obama strategist, should have seen Creamer’s hiring as a red flag.
Creamer, one of the more expansive radical lefties in Illinois, admitted he moved money from one account to another in three banks in 1997, playing what bankers describe as the “float” and thus making them believe that the accounts had more money in them than they actually did. In addition, Creamer admitted that he had opened two other check kiting schemes which took place in 1993 and 1996. His guilty plea also involved failing to collect $1,800 withholding tax from an employee of his political consulting firm. When he pleaded guilty, Creamer still flourished the rhetoric that led many well-intentioned volunteers to his multiple organizations. “The burning desire to create an organization that empowered ordinary people led me to make serious errors in that organization’s finances,” he said.
U. S. Attorney Fitzgerald wanted to send Creamer to jail for four years and three months. “This isn’t a one-time shot,” this is serial violation of the law in multiple respects,” said Fitzgerald’s office. Creamer’s attorney argued for probation because he spent a lifetime fighting “for social justice and broke the law so he could keep fighting for the causes he believed in.” Also being sure that he was adequately paid, with a six figure salary, while he crusaded for social justice. The prosecutor in Fitzgerald’s office, Joe Ferguson, said Creamer acted like he was above the law and continued his illegal activities even after a visit from the FBI, that he never took responsibility for his actions. Creamer’s attorney called him the most admirable client he ever represented-which stirred some comment about the nature of the other clients.
In your early days as a consumer advocate, you began the fight for freshness dates on products sold in supermarkets. As Program Director of Illinois Public Action, you fought for energy reform and stronger protection from toxic chemicals. As Executive Director of the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens, you helped organize across the state for universal and comprehensive health care, for lowering the cost of prescription drugs, for financial protection for spouses of residents in nursing homes.On May 7,2004 Schakowsky was all smiles at Debs-Thomas-Harrington dinner.Check out this picture and caption:
As an Illinois State Representative, you served your constituency well for four terms. You were an outstanding Chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee. You served on the Human Services, Appropriation, Health Care, and Electric Deregulation Committees. You were a Democratic Party Floor Leader and served as Secretary of the Conference of Women Legislators.
Your dedication to the people was rewarded by a great grassroots campaign, with hundreds of street volunteers, when you chose to run for the United States House of Representatives. Your first term in Congress has been outstanding. You have been an outstanding voice for seniors, labor union members, women and children. You have continued your advocacy of universal health care through your membership on the Health Care and Medicare Task Forces. Through your work, you were appointed to a leadership whip position.
Your work and your life honors the memory of Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington and continues their legacy of struggle for social justice.
For your dedication to the fight for a just society, the Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner Committee hereby presents to you its annual award on this 5th day of May, 2000.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky presents the Debs - Thomas - Harrington Address at the 46th Annual Dinner.In conclusion,would you want these people representing you? Well this is Barack Obama's Illinois.(For information on Chicago Democrats and the Chicago Mob.)