Category Archive 'Corruption'
14 Sep 2009

Rule of Law Isn’t What It Used To Be Under Obama

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Andrew looks smug in his Atlantic logo illustration. It’s nice having friends in high places.

Remember George W. Bush?

We used to have a president so rigidly righteous that he actually refused to pardon Lewis Libby for defending his own administration and thus becoming the target of a special prosecutor and winding up convicted of perjury (in a case where no crime was really ever proven to have occurred) by a DC jury.

Now we have Barack Obama, who is not like that at all.

Intimidate voters, brandishing billy clubs in Philadelphia? You don’t get prosecuted if you were an Obama supporter. Eric Holder’s Justice Department will overrule career prosecutors for you.

Are you a governor or state official taking campaign contributions in exchange for contracts? If you’re a democrat, you are OK. Eric Holder’s Justice Department will drop the investigation.

Suppose you are a homosexual leftwing blogger, who also happens to be a non-US-citizen, in danger of getting into trouble with immigration if you are convicted of a misdemeanor for smoking marijuana on a Cape Cod Beach? You have a Get Out of Jail Free card, if you are, as Andrew Sullivan is, a faithful defender of Barack Obama and his policies. The US Attorney’s Office will go right on prosecuting non-Obama-supporting-bloggers coming before the court for the identical complaint, but will shock the court by giving you a special pass.

Andrew himself is declining to comment on the advice of counsel.

Boston Globe

Some News Agency

John Hinderaker has a comment.

08 Jun 2009

The Real Versus the Pretend Obama

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Barack Obama’s strongest asset (beyond his smooth mellifluous announcer’s voice) is the authority he derives from being careful to speak always in an earnest and moderate manner while occupying the moral high ground. Obama was elected largely because he successfully persuaded a majority of Americans that he was trustworthy and responsible, that he possessed moral authority.

Obama’s moralism, like Obama’s moderation, unfortunately, is simply a long-practiced ruse. He discovered as an adolescent dealing with his grandmother that he could get his way, or get out of trouble as necessary, by talking softly and sounding mature and responsible. White people, he wrote in his autobiography, were simply delighted, and became infinitely pliable, when they encountered a nice, respectable young black man who talked softly and carefully avoided scaring them.

Mark Hyman has an article showing that Obama has demonstrated by his actions that his real self is a good deal different from his carefully cultivated public image. The pretend Obama is Olympian, noble, disinterested, kind, and good. The real Obama is the most partisan occupant of the White House in living memory, ruthless, shady, and vindictive.

30 May 2009

Justice Obama-Style: No Prosecution For Voter Intimidation By Black Panthers

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Billy-club wielding Black Panthers outside Philadelphia polling station

The 2008 Presidential election featured brazen acts of voting fraud and voter intimidation in favor of the democrat party candidates. The Obama Administration’s Department of Justice just sent a message to its supporters assuring them crimes committed in support of democrats will not be punished.

Washington Times:

Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.

The incident – which gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube – had prompted the government to sue the men, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with the weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms.

Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as “the most blatant form of voter intimidation” that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago.

The lawyers also had ascertained that one of the three men had gained access to the polling place by securing a credential as a Democratic poll watcher, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Washington Times.

The career Justice lawyers were on the verge of securing sanctions against the men earlier this month when their superiors ordered them to reverse course, according to interviews and documents. The court had already entered a default judgment against the men on April 20.

A Justice Department spokesman on Thursday confirmed that the agency had dropped the case, dismissing two of the men from the lawsuit with no penalty and winning an order against the third man that simply prohibits him from bringing a weapon to a polling place in future elections.

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Original 1:21 video

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The same Washington Times ran the following editorial.

Imagine if Ku Klux Klan members had stood menacingly in military uniforms, with nightsticks, in front of a polling place. Add to it that they had hurled racial threats and insults at voters who tried to enter.

Now suppose that the government, backed by a nationally televised video of the event, had won a court case against the Klansmen except for the perfunctory filing of a single, simple document – but that an incoming Republican administration had moved to voluntarily dismiss the already-won case.

Surely that would have been front-page news, with a number of firings at the Justice Department.

The flip side of this scenario is occurring right now. The culprits weren’t Klansmen; they belonged to the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. One of the defendants, Jerry Jackson, is an elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee and was a credentialed poll watcher for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party when the violations occurred. Rather conveniently, the Obama administration has asked that the cases against Mr. Jackson, two other defendants and the party be dropped.

The Voting Rights Act is very clear. It prohibits any “attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce” any voter or those aiding voters.

The explanation for moving to dismiss the case is shocking. According to the Department of Justice: “These same Defendants have made no appearance and have filed no pleadings with the Court. Nor have they otherwise raised any other defenses to this action. Therefore, the United States has the right … to dismiss voluntarily this action against the Defendants.” In other words, because the defendants haven’t tried to defend themselves, the Justice Department won’t punish them.

By that logic, if a murderer doesn’t respond to the charges, he should be let free. That’s crazy.

05 May 2009

Culture of Corruption

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Jonah Goldberg reminds readers that the voters threw out the GOP majority in Congress in 2006 because of corruption scandals. But replacing them with democrats has not proven to be a very effective cure, has it?

Democrats took back Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008 in no small part because of their ability to bang their spoons on their high chairs about what they called the Republican “culture of corruption.” Their choreographed outrage was coordinated with the precision of a North Korean missile launch pageant. And, to be fair, they had a point. The GOP did have its legitimate embarrassments. California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham and lobbyist Jack Abramoff were fair game, and so was Rep. Mark Foley, the twisted Florida congressman who allegedly wanted male congressional pages cleaned and perfumed and brought to his tent, as it were.

Of course, it wasn’t as if Democrats were without sin. Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson was indicted on fraud, bribery and corruption charges in 2007, after an investigation unearthed, among other things, $90,000 in his freezer. Then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was busted in a prostitution scandal.

But that’s all yesterday’s news. Let’s look at the here and now.

Read the whole thing.

20 Apr 2009

Michelle Obama Earned $63K Last Year From No-Show Job

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Debra Moore reminds us:

After Barack Obama became an Illinois state legislator, his wife moved up as well, scoring a job as ‘vice president of community relations’ at the University Of Chicago Hospital for a very generous salary of $121,910. When Obama became a senator in 2005, her ‘salary’ leapfrogged to $$316,962 for the same job…and one of Senator Obama’s first acts in office was to see to it that the hospital received over a million dollars of your tax dollars as an earmark.

And Steve Gilbert notes Michelle Obama recently resigned her job to take on the role of First Lady, having been on a leave of absence since May of 2007 to participate in the presidential campaign.

Despite being on leave of absence, Michelle Obama received $62,709 in compensation from University of Chicago Hospitals last year. Less than her full salary, but not bad for a no-show job.

Now that Michelle has moved on to bigger things, the University of Chicago Hospitals has found that it doesn’t really need a vice president of community relations after all, and has simply eliminated the position.

Isn’t it wonderful that we have such noble and disinterested people rising to the top in American public life?

Hat tip to Gateway Pundit.

24 Mar 2009

Chris Dodd’s Humble Irish “Cottage”

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WSJ:

The story starts in 1994, when the Senator became one-third owner of a 10-acre estate, then valued at $160,000, on the island of Inishnee on Galway Bay. The property is near the fashionable village of Roundstone, a well-known celebrity haunt. William Kessinger bought the other two-thirds share in the estate. Edward Downe, Jr., who has been a business partner of Mr. Kessinger, signed the deed as a witness. Senator Dodd and Mr. Downe are long-time friends, and in 1986 they had purchased a condominium together in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Downe is also quite the character. The year before the Galway deal, in 1993, he pleaded guilty to insider trading and securities fraud and in 1994 agreed to pay the SEC $11 million in a civil settlement. The crimes were felonies and in 2001, as President Clinton was getting ready to leave office, Mr. Dodd successfully lobbied the White House for a full pardon for Mr. Downe.

The next year — according to a transfer document at the Irish land registry… — Mr. Kessinger sold his two-thirds share to Mr. Dodd for $122,351. The Senator says he actually paid Mr. Kessinger $127,000, which he claims was based on an appraisal at the time. That means, at best, poor Mr. Kessinger earned less than 19% over eight years on the sale of his two-thirds share to Mr. Dodd. But according to Ireland’s Central Bank, prices of existing homes in Ireland quadrupled from 1994 to 2004. …

In his Senate financial disclosure documents from 2002-2007, Mr. Dodd reported that the Galway home was worth between $100,001 and $250,000. However, Mr. Rennie reports that in 2006 and 2007 the Senator added a footnote that reads: “value based on appraisal at time of purchase.”

Mr. Dodd had good reason to add the qualifier. Senate rules call for valuations to be current and anyone who looked into the estimate would immediately spot Mr. Dodd’s lowballing. A June 17, 2007 feature in Britain’s Sunday Times did just that. “Diary” observed that in Roundstone “a two-bed recently made E680,000 ($918,000) and a cottage is currently on offer for E800,000.” Noting Mr. Dodd’s estimate of his property — between E75,000 and E185,000.

Toby Harnden at the Telegraph:

15 Dec 2008

Tribune Blows Federal Case

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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the Chicago Tribune isn’t only financially bankrupt. It’s ethically bankrupt as well.

The Tribune’s selfish decision to break the Blagojevich corruption story early probably prevented the FBI from catching the actual sale of a Senate seat (to Jesse Jackson, Jr.) on tape, losing federal authorities half the bust.

Conventional wisdom holds that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald ordered the FBI to arrest Rod Blagojevich before sunrise Tuesday in order to stop a crime from being committed. That would have been the sale of the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

But the opposite is true: Members of Fitzgerald’s team are livid the scheme didn’t advance, at least for a little longer, according to some people close to Fitzgerald’s office. Why? Because had the plot unfolded, they might have had an opportunity most feds can only dream of: A chance to catch the sale of a Senate seat on tape, including the sellers and the buyers.

The precise timing of Tuesday’s dramatic, pre-dawn arrest was not dictated by Fitzgerald, nor was it dictated by the pace of Blagojevich’s alleged “crime spree.” It was dictated by the Chicago Tribune, according to people close to the investigation and a careful reading of the FBI’s affidavit in the case.

At Fitzgerald’s request, the paper had been holding back a story since October detailing how a confidante of Blagojevich was cooperating with his office.

Gerould Kern, the Tribune’s editor, said in a statement last week that these requests are granted in what he called isolated instances. “In each case, we strive to make the right decision as reporters and as citizens,” he said.

But editors decided to publish the story on Friday, Dec. 5, ending the Tribune’s own cooperation deal with the prosecutor.

Read the whole thing.

13 Dec 2008

Schadenfreude Time

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Jonah Goldberg gleefully deconstructs all the shades of meaning in the Blagojevich indictment.

There are so many things to love about the Rod Blagojevich scandal it’s hard to know where to begin.

Wait. That’s not right. There are so many bleeping things to love about this bleeping-bleep Blagojevich scandal it’s hard to know where to begin.

For starters, the folks at the Chicago Tribune are Christmas Pony Happy because Blago tried to strong-arm the Trib’s owners to fire members of the editorial board. Instead, Trib editors will get to have a big tailgate party outside Blago’s cell window.

Newspaper people love that sort of thing. …

For partisans, there’s the schadenfreude that comes with watching the Democrats — self-proclaimed anti-corruption zealots in recent years — explain why Blagojevich shouldn’t be lumped in with Congressmen Charlie Rangel (cut himself sweetheart deals), William Jefferson ($90,000 in his freezer) and Tim Mahoney (tried to bribe an aide he was sleeping with not to sue him — and you thought romance was dead) as part of a new Democratic “culture of corruption” storyline.

There’s the enormous I-should-have-had-a-V8! moment as the mainstream press collectively thwacks itself in the forehead, realizing it blew it again. The New York Times — which, according to Wall Street analysts, is weeks from holding editorial-board meetings in a refrigerator box — created the journalistic equivalent of CSI-Wasilla to study every follicle and fiber in Sarah Palin’s background, all the while treating Obama’s Chicago like one of those fairy-tale lands depicted in posters that adorn little girls’ bedroom walls.

Read the whole thing.

12 Dec 2008

Obama Senate Seat Offered on Ebay

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Macon News:

For sale: One Senate seat. Goes to the highest BLEEP-ing bidder. Seller’s positive feedback rating: since Tuesday, just about zero.

Outraged by the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, more than a dozen people have put the state’s vacant Senate seat up for bid on eBay.

The offers popped up on the Internet auction site after Blagojevich was accused Tuesday of trying to benefit financially from his power to appoint a Senate replacement to President-elect Barack Obama.

Daniel Finnegan, a student at the University of Georgia, said he started an auction because he’s “extremely upset about what happened” and wants to voice his opinion.

Finnegan says he’s glad others posted similar auctions so the accusations against Blagojevich don’t go unnoticed.

University of Illinois student Matt Platino says he posted his entry to be funny, but also because he’s upset with Blagojevich. …

And folks are bidding, some jokingly. One posting (“Used Illinois Senate seat, all wood and leather, willing to deal on this one! Please be advised I will be away from my office for a while…”), had 78 bids and was going for $99,999,999.00 Wednesday morning.

Literal Senate seats have been eliminated as of this morning, but Internet domains named ObamaSenateSeat, newspaper clippings, and numerous joke references can be found.

10 Dec 2008

Chicago’s Reeking Politics

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John Kass is gloating in the Tribune at seeing some of the local sleaze facing a cleanup.

Now that Gov. Dead Meat has been arrested at his home and charged with selling Illinois by the pound—and Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat by the slice—let’s just savor the aroma.

I love the smell of meat over coals in the morning.

It smells like . . . victory.

The people of Illinois needed some good news and they got it. Former Republican Gov. George Ryan is in prison, and the arrest of his successor, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, surely means that the Illinois Combine that runs this state can stop with the rumors that U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald will be leaving town.

And, as Blagojevich most likely prepares to be Ryan’s bunkmate, let’s not forget the scores of other politicos, of all parties, who’ve gone down on corruption charges—including some of Mayor Richard Daley’s guys who helped rebuild that Democratic machine the mayor says doesn’t exist.

At a news conference in the federal building in Chicago, authorities were asked about Illinois corruption.

“If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor,” said Robert Grant, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago office. …

Though Illinois isn’t surprised—this is after all the home of the Chicago Way—the national media must be shocked.

They’ve been clinging to the ridiculous notion that Chicago is Camelot for months now, cleaving to the idea with the willfulness of stubborn children. It must help them see Obama as some pristine creature, perhaps a gentle faun of a magic forest, unstained by our grubby politics, a bedtime story for grown-ups who insist upon fairy tales. But now the national media may finally be forced to confront reality.

Barack Obama, of course, is an intimate associate of Illinois’ current governor, shared the same political contributors (Antoin Rezko), and was, like him, a loyal servant of the Daley Machine.

09 Dec 2008

Illinois Governor Arrested For Trying To Sell Obama’s Senate Seat

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Patrick Fitzgerald described Governor Rod Blagojevich’s conduct as “a new low.”

The affidavit contends Blagojevich discussed getting a substantial salary for himself at a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions. It also says Blagojevich talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director’s fees.

The affidavit also quotes Blagojevich as saying “I want to make money” in one conversation.

Blagojevich and John Harris, the governor’s chief of staff, were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.

The FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich also sought promises of campaign cash, as well as a cabinet post or ambassadorship in exchange for his Senate choice.

Blagojevich is accused of saying on November 3 that if he is not going to get anything of value for the open seat, then he would appoint himself to the post.

“I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain,” the affidavit quotes the governor as saying.

He noted becoming a U.S. senator might remake his image for a possible presidential run in 2016, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit quotes Blagojevich telling an adviser later that day that a Senate seat “is a [expletive] valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”

In a conversation with Harris on November 4, the day of the election, Blagojevich is alleged to have compared his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to the highest bidder.

On November 5, Blagojevich allegedly told an adviser, “I’ve got this thing and it’s [expletive] golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing. I’m not gonna do it.”

On November 7, while talking on the phone about the Senate seat with Harris and an adviser, Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and that he is “financially” hurting, the affidavit states.

Harris allegedly said that they were considering what would help the “financial security” of the Blagojevich family.

The complaint alleges that the governor stated, “I want to make money,” adding later that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 a year.

The charges also state that in a conversation with Harris on November 11, Blagojevich said he knew that President-elect Obama wanted a specific candidate for the open Senate seat but added “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them.”

Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney, said the charges “allege that Blagojevich put a ‘for sale’ sign on the naming of a United States Senator.”

Actual indictment.

19 Oct 2008

Shenanigans in Appraising Obama’s Yard

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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.

Original story

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.

They call that bank fraud.

The Washington Times has the story.

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