Mark Brown, at the Chicago Sun-Times, is very amused by the determined efforts of the District Judge to keep a certain unnamed public official from having to testify in the trial of Rod Blagojevich
[A] three-paragraph letter that they say was turned over to the defense by prosecutors during a recent closed-door session in the governor’s chambers, laying out new information that convicted political insider Tony Rezko allegedly has told investigators, particularly this: that Rezko said he “believed he transmitted a quid pro quo offer from a lobbyist to the public official, whereby the lobbyist would hold fund-raiser for the official in exchange for favorable official action, but that the public official rejected the offer.”
It also said the public official “denies any such conversation.”
Without flat-out naming Obama as that public official, the governor’s lawyers did everything but draw us a picture, saying Obama “is the only one who can testify as to the veracity” of Rezko’s allegations.
In other words, they’re saying Rezko reported trying to bribe Obama, and that while Rezko said Obama turned him down, Obama said it never happened.
Even if the prosecution avoids using testimony from Antoin Rezko in order to avoid deposing that particular unnamed public official, the Blagojevich defense may yet succeed in dragging Obama into the mess to testify about his own role in the negotiations over Blagojevich’s appointment of a successor to Obama’s seat in the Senate.
On the day before he was elected president, then-Sen. Obama personally called a union official about his desire for Blagojevich to appoint Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to replace him in the Senate, according to Blagojevich’s defense filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
President Obama comes down hard on people who purchased large houses they couldn’t really afford.
It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values.”
Chicago developer Tony Rezko provided the bridge that made it possible for Barack Obama to buy his $1.65 million dream house by arranging for the price to be lowered by splitting the acreage and having his wife pay full price ($625,000) for a 9090 sq. ft. portion of the side yard accessible only through the main property now designated a “development lot.” Obama got $300,000 off the asking price for the rest.
Well, what do you know? It seems the side yard parcel purchased by Mrs. Rezko wouldn’t appraise, and the bank appraiser who rejected a $625,000 valuation was fired and a new reappraisal mysteriously substituted for his estimate of no more than $500,000.
A prominent news agency is reporting that Antoin Rezko is singing like a bird to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and that Illinois democrats are trembling in their boots.
HillBuzz rumors that Fitzgerald is after the ultimate scalp for his personal collection: Barack Obama’s.
The Sun Times today gave a major clue that Barack Obama will indeed go down with Tony Rezko, sooner rather than later. It looks as though Rezko is about to turn on Alexi Giannoulias, the 30-year old State Treasurer of Illinois (who was elected only because Obama backed him).
Here’s where all the clues are…and then we’ll walk you through the local Chicago politics on how today’s hint by the Sun Times has us convinced, for the first time ever, that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could indeed send Barack Obama to jail.
Sounds too good to be true, but we are certainly going to be keeping an eye out for further developments.
Facing sentencing for his political corruption conviction, Chicago real estate developer and long-time Obama financial supporter Antoin Rezko is reported to be considering cooperating with prosecutors.
Rezko’s trial this year laid bare a culture of scams, bribes and backroom deals stretching from City Hall to the Statehouse. It even became fodder in the presidential campaign of Democratic nominee Barack Obama, whose fundraising and personal ties to Rezko go back more than a decade.
Rezko has made no deal in the wake of his June corruption conviction, sources familiar with the situation said, but has had preliminary talks with prosecutors before an October sentencing that could put him in prison for years. Still, there are indications Rezko has already provided investigators with information.
Four attorneys have told the Tribune in recent days that federal prosecutors have telephoned them and other attorneys either with news Rezko is talking, or armed with details only Rezko could know. The lawyers speculated prosecutors are using the preliminary talks with Rezko to shake loose more cooperation from other witnesses.
“I had very recent a conversation with an assistant U.S. attorney that led me to believe they were getting specific information from either Mr. Rezko or Mr. Rezko’s lawyer,” said a defense attorney who said he represents a figure in the case. None of the attorneys interviewed would agree to be quoted by name, saying they didn’t want to hurt their clients.
Actually, it’s John McCain’s wife and her family trusts which own 8, not 7, residences, of which some are only condos used by her children and by an elderly relative.
John McCain spent five years in a Vietnamese prison cell undergoing torture. When he got out, he came home and married the proverbial passionate rich blonde whose father owned a beer distributorship. The universe has a way of seeing to it that things even out.
If I were Barack Obama, and I’d acquired a $1.65 million mansion with the aid of a sinister figure recently convicted for political corruption, I’d stay away from discussing houses.
Larry Johnson describes the alleged tape which, if it really exists, will, sooner or later, put paid to the Obama candidacy by revealing unpalatable truths about Barack Obama’s real opinions and ties.
I learned over the weekend why the Republicans who have seen the tape of Michelle Obama ranting about “whitey” describe it as “STUNNING.” I have not seen it but I have heard from five separate sources who have spoken directly with people who have seen the tape. It features Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan. They are sitting on a panel at Jeremiah Wright’s Church when Michelle makes her intemperate remarks. Whoops!! When that image comes out it will enter the political ads hall of fame. It will be right up there with the little girl plucking daisy petals in the famous 1964 ad LBJ used against Barry Goldwater.
Barack may have quit his church but his religious problems are not over. Barack Obama has a Nation of Islam problem that will receive more attention in the coming days. Before Barack came on the scene, THE MAN in his political district was Louis Farrakhan. No one could take Alice Palmer’s seat without Farrakhan’s blessing. No one. I do not fault Barack Obama for seeking out the blessing of Farrakhan, but the story of what was done behind the scenes to get rid of Barack’s predecessor—Alice Palmer—has not been told. A knowledgeable source tells me that Tony Rezko played a direct role in this feat. And Rezko has been tight with Farrakhan.
It also should come as no surprise that Barack hired two members of the Nation of Islam to work on his staff. ..
In probing those matters we begin to understand that the Nation of Islam has been a critical component of Barack Obama’s base of support. And, I am told, Louis Farrakhan has been careful to use Tony Rezko as the intermediary in his relationship with Barack. This is not guilt by association, this is guilt because of actual relationship. Farrakhan, Wright, and Pfleger are each on tape in various settings spewing the most vile racists garbage in the guise of preaching. Barack Obama, up to this point, has tried to pretend he had no idea that these men had these thoughts or said these things.
NONSENSE!! He knew and he knows. And the gig will be up when the Michelle tape hits the airwaves. One source described how this tape was acquired. Let’s just say that one of the republican candidates who is no longer in the race, but had a dandy oppo research capability, uncovered this gem. If Republican poohbahs have their way the tape will remain on ice until October. But when it comes out, Barack will be permanently branded with the Nation of Islam. That’s not a winning platform in November.
Larry Johnson is a friend of Valerie Plame’s and an active participant in the Pouting Spooks’ anti-Bush Administration fun and games. In other words, Larry is not above prevarication and dirty tricks.
But, he’s certainly sticking his neck out very far, and putting whatever credibility he’s got on the line, on this one. If he’s telling the truth, and it sounds like he is, that’s the old ball game for Obama. Those democrat superdelegates had better run, not walk, over to kiss Hillary’s ring.
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with the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass, who finds himself unable to take a leap of faith.
Barack Obama looked me straight in the eye. I heard him speak. Yet unlike some other pundits, I felt no thrill going up my leg.
I did feel a twinge of Rezko, though, and figured Obama could feel it, too, like when the bottom of your foot cramps up inside your shoe and you can’t dance.
That’s “hardball” the Chicago way, as Barack visited the Tribune on Friday to discuss his old friend, fundraiser and real estate fairy, indicted political fixer Tony Rezko. Rezko himself was quite busy, in federal custody, preparing for this week’s testimony in his corruption trial. ...
Obama asks us to believe he can swim in the sewers of Illinois politics without catching a cold. He tells us that Rezko helped him scope out his dream house, yet Obama never thought he’d get a call from Tony saying his back was itchy.
“No,” Obama said. “Because I had known him for a long time, and so I would have assumed I would have seen a pattern [of Rezko asking for favors] over the course of 15 years.”
I’m too old to believe in fairy tales.
At issue is the purchase of the Obama dream house on the South Side in 2005. The Rezkos bought the lot next door from the same owners on the same day, even as Tony was leprous with federal subpoenas. The Obamas paid $300,000 less than the asking price. The Rezkos paid the full list for the lot. Everybody was happy until Tony got indicted.
Was it a favor, with a bigger payout intended for later?
“No,” Obama said again, reiterating that I was wrong for writing that he needed Rezko’s help to buy his home.
Obama said he asked Rezko about the federal investigations, if Rezko had any problems, and Tony said no, and Barack believed it.
What will he say when Vladimir Putin of Russia asks President Obama to believe him? President Bush has already looked into Putin’s eyes, thought he saw a soul in there, and was greatly mistaken.
A bitter divorce fight unexpectedly brought down what had seemed to be a shoo-in Republican successor to a retiring incumbent Republican senator, and promoted an obscure state senator occupying a safe inner-city legislative seat to Washington. One stem-winding speech later, Barack Obama was widely viewed as presidential timber, and after a few Clinton campaign stumbles as the front-runner.
When there is a serious possibility that Barack Obama could be the next President of the United States, it seems desirable to look closely at his background, and it is impossible to understand the real character and background of Barack Obama without understanding Chicago, and The Chicago Way
John Kass, in the Chicago Tribune, opines that The Chicago Way isn’t the tough-guy creed of outdoing your opponent in aggression proposed by the Sean Connery-played cop in The Untouchables (1987):
He [ Al Capone] puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue…” says Connery’s cop. “That’s the Chicago Way.”
and suggests a very different definition.
The Chicago Way.
What is it? Is it easily abused? Is it dangerous in the wrong hands?
This is critical, as the nation’s eyes turn toward Chicago’s federal building, where Barack Obama’s personal real estate fairy, Tony Rezko, stands trial on federal corruption charges.
The phrase must be put in context, something the national media fails to do when they portray Obama as the boy king drawing the sword from the stone, ready to change America’s politics of influence and lobbyists, ignoring the fact that Chicago ain’t Camelot. ...
In the past, a few reporters have applied “The Chicago Way” to our pizza, theater and opera, thereby embarrassing themselves beyond redemption. ...
Chicago’s mob—we call it the Outfit—was slapped last summer by federal prosecutors in the Operation Family Secrets trial that convicted Outfit bosses, and cops and put political figures in with them. We’ve had our chief of detectives sent to prison for running the Outfit’s jewelry-heist ring. And we’ve had white guys with Outfit connections get $100 million in affirmative action contracts from their drinking buddy, Mayor Richard Daley, who must have seen them pink and white and male at some point.
That’s the Chicago Way.
“This country was built on taxes,” said a Democratic machine hack, Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims, as she and other Democrats prepared to slap Chicago with the highest sales tax of any major city in the country.
Her belief, that America was built on taxes, is one of the unique features of our own city’s history, which reportedly began in 1776, when the Daleys boldly declared our independence from the English king.
“There’s not that many political hacks in Cook County,” Sims insisted after the tax hike.
Not that many hacks? The only one reporters need to bother about is also involved at the same federal building: the mayor’s own Duke of Patronage, Robert Sorich.
Sorich has been found guilty by a jury, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals above the Rezko courtroom is still deciding whether to redeem the jury or redeem the mayor, who’d much rather have Sorich happy than Obama in the White House.
Sorich was convicted two years ago of running the mayor’s massive and illegal patronage operation, and he’s still not in prison. Thugs, morons, idiots, and convicts were put on the city payroll to work the precincts so that Daley could keep getting elected. Obama’s spokesman, David Axelrod, defended Daley patronage in a Tribune op-ed piece.
The Daley family’s parish priest in Bridgeport, Rev. Dan Brandt, lovingly compared Sorich to Jesus Christ as both had troubles with the law.
“People often say, what would Jesus do?” he said, loyal not only to his faith but to the 11th Ward’s place at the head of Chicago Way. “I put a twist on it and say, ‘What would I do for Jesus?’ With whom Robert has a lot in common as far as legal problems … [The Lord] was a convicted felon. And Robert was convicted, and so he may have a lot in common with Jesus.”
When the parish priest does right by the patronage boss to protect the mayor who gets endorsed by that great reformer Sir Barack of O’bama, that’s the Chicago Way.
Naturally, there are some squares who don’t think taxpayers should pave the Chicago Way to make it easy for Rezko to help purchase the senator’s dream house in a kinky deal exposed by the Tribune and still not fully explained.
“It’s really the Old Chicago Way,” said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association. “In the old days they would pretty much admit it up front, and now they deny it. It’s essentially about power, access to government jobs, government contracts and taking care of your own.”
In this 10:06 video of the second part of a speech made January 31, 2008 in Wilmington, Delaware, Michelle Obama is complaining about how “they move the bar.”
This is the reality, we’re told, for “regular folks on the ground,” people like Michelle Obama herself with what she calls “my simple, little life,” all this is not fair. It’s just not right.
Rather than being blocked by some moving and shifting bar, Michelle Obama has obviously experienced considerable upward mobility. She graduated from Princeton and Harvard, presumably receiving both racially-based admissions preference and scholarship assistance. If so, the latter did not prevent her from claiming that her father, a democrat party precinct captain coincidentally employed at the municipal filtration plant, had been able, in the good old days of the early 1980s (before “they” started moving the bar), to send two children to Princeton.
Neither has any bar kept Michelle Obama from occupying a $316,962-a-year position as vice president at the University of Chicago Hospitals.
Her simple, little life occurs domestically in a 96-year-old Georgian revival home that has “four fireplaces, glass-door bookcases fashioned from Honduran mahogany, and a 1,000-bottle wine cellar,” purchased in 2005 for $1.65 million.
Mrs. Obama’s lifestyle is additionally enhanced by an adjoining parcel of real estate, previously associated with her house but offered for sale separately in 2005, which was purchased for $625,000 by the wife of Obama campaign donor and long-time supporter Antoin “Tony” Rezko, who has been subsequently indicted for extortion.
The Reskos sold the Obamas a portion of the second property, all of which is only accessible via the Obama’s property, and also paid for the erection of a fence. “The bars keep moving.”
Isn’t it wonderful that the consequences of changes in the world, all the inconveniences and dislocations produced by economic progress, can be repealed if we just give power to “regular folks” like Barack & Michelle Obama?