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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mystery Dinner Theatre in Chicago

Mystery Dinner Theatre in Chicago

Reveal and conceal. That is the way mystery dinner theatre is played. Usually four (4) couples, over a multiple course meal, play out a group of characters in a script about a murder mystery. One of the dinner guests is the “who did it” person, but no one knows as the script unfolds. In addition to each player has a character (with a script), with each dinner round having a script in which the player conceals and reveals certain parts of the murder mystery plot. Sounds like what is going on in Chicago now?  With the recent arrest of the Governor of the state of Illinois and his attempt to sell the appointment of the US Senate seat left vacant by President Elect Obama, a real mystery dinner theatre in being played out in the media.

Politico highlights high-ranking Obama Team members and their Chicago ties.   This will help you on the characters and the script that is being played out in the media.

For example, what was the role of President Elect Obama’s new chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, a Chicago pol himself? To shed some ‘revealing light’ on that, we look to a Politico report that quotes the outspoken Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania,

Obama has said that nobody on his staff had a role in any wrongdoing. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said that the Obama transition team is “making it a four or five or six-day story” because they have not been frank about discussions. 

“Did Rahm Emanuel, who took Rod Blagojevich's seat in Congress, have contact with Rod Blagojevich? Of course he did,” Rendell said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “They may have thought he was the craziest S.O.B. in the world. But you still have to have contact with him.”

Let’s see. Another word for “not being frank” is to conceal. So we can see how Mystery Dinner Theatre works in Chicago in their world of politics. And despite the history and reputation of corrupt Chicago politics, Team Obama and the Democrats are doing their best to cast the Governor of Illinois as a crazy man that no one really knows or talks to. Hmmm! So the attempt is to reveal the crazy side of Guv Blago in order to conceal the conservations that Team Obama obviously had with him regarding Obama’s US Senate seat vacancy.

If you’d like some more detail what is being revealed (by non-Obama sources) and what is being concealed (by Team Obama), would should click on the former presidential Hillary Clinton supporters site This web site, that is run by ardent Hillary supporters has some of the best inside info regarding Obama. Clearly it is written from an anti-Obama viewpoint, but if you look past the bias, it have some very compelling information on the Governor Blago corruption and Team Obama links.

In Mystery Dinner Theatre, there are 4 or 5 rounds played out over the evening meal by (role) players. Each round has surprises, including changes in circumstances and relationships between players (based on the script). So we see the same thing in Chicago politics when Guv Blago goes from the Illinios Governor about to appoint the next US Senator from Illinois to a person non grata with a looming criminal complaint. From the Wall Street Journal

Still, there was an intriguing bit of backpedaling by an Obama aide. On Nov. 23, ABC's Jake Tapper reports, senior adviser David Axelrod, in an interview on Chicago's WFLD-TV, said of the president-elect: I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them.
Last night Alexrod released the following statement: I was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy. They did not then or at any time discuss the subject. One of these statements is false, but which one? The intuitive, if cynical, answer is yesterday's. It is imperative now for Obama to remain unsullied by the scandal, whereas 2½ weeks ago there was no reason for Axelrod not to tell the truth. Wall Street Journal, 12.12.08

So we watch the Chicago mystery dinner theatre play out, with Team Obama cast members scrambling to reveal and conceal their purposes, what they said and what they knew. With the Legacy press caught between trying to shield the President Elect form media scrutiny and really wanting to report a juicy story of Governor intrigue, pay to play politics and Presidential politics, the outcome of this real mystery will be interesting to watch.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

High Bid Politics: Illinios Guv Under Arrest

High Bid Politics: Illinois Guv under Arrest

Fox News dateline 12.09.08- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested Tuesday morning in Chicago on two counts each of federal corruption charges stemming from allegations Blagojevich was trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. The arrest is part of a three-year probe of "pay-to-play politics" in the governor's administration. The criminal complaint by the FBI says each man was arrested on two charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. 

The charges also relate to allegations that Blagojevich and Harris schemed with previously convicted defendants and Obama associates Antonin Rezko, Stuart Levine, Ali Ata and others to arrange financial benefits in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts and access to state funds.  In addition, the case alleges that Blagojevich tried to influence the composition of The Chicago Tribune editorial board in exchange for state aid to the Tribune Company, which owns the newspaper.    For breaking news from Chicago, go to  for the most recent news from the Windy City.  To see the criminal complaint:

Here is the take from Blagojevich weighed a stark quid-pro-quo – he’d appoint a top Obama adviser only if Obama would in turn name Blagojevich secretary of health and human services. The criminal complaint makes clear the Obama adviser is Valerie Jarrett, who was an early contender for the Senate seat. She was then tapped as a top White House aide.

Illinois politics is know throughout the US as corrupt, from the Daley machine in Chicago to “favors for sale” in the capital city of Springfield, Ill.  Four of the last seven governors of Illinois have served jail time or were under investigation while in office. However, the Department of Justice (thanks to the US Attorney, a Bush appointee) has been investigating the Illinois Governor for the past three years.   The newest development involved the Governor’s attempt (recorded on wire tap by the FBI) to sell the newly vacant US Senate seat (held by President Elect Obama) to the highest bidder.   The Obama Team response to the arrest of the Illinois Governor is “we, I mean I, didn’t have contact with the Governor on this” to paraphrase President Elect Obama.     Perhaps Mr. Obama didn’t speak directly to the Governor on his US Senate seat vacancy.  However, campaign operative David Axelrod as recently as late November stated to the Fox News affiliate in Chicago just the opposite.   (Blogger note: The video clip was removed when I tried to access it.   More media management by Team Obama?)    Try Clipmarks and search for Alexrod.    

Here is the Fox News report on what David Axelrod actually said on November 23rd: As Obama works to set up his new administration and deal with a national economic crisis, suddenly he also is spending time and attention trying to distance himself from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and charges that the governor was trying to sell the now-vacant Senate post. Compounding the headache for Obama is a statement made and since retracted by Obama top adviser David Axelrod that Obama and Blagojevich had discussed the Senate seat.  Axelrod told FOX News Chicago on Nov. 23: "I know he's talked to the governor, and there are a whole range of names, many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them." On Tuesday, Axelrod issued a statement saying: "I was mistaken. ... They did not then or at any time discuss the subject." 

So the Team Obama defense is: We don’t know the Governor of Illinois (especially now that he is under a criminal complaint), we haven’t talked to him about the US Senate seat vacancy and we are running from Blago (Illinois Guv) as fast as possible.    This company line weakens under scrutiny and doesn’t pass the credibility test.     While Team Obama is desperately trying to rewind the videotapes of Alexrod and Obama, several nagging facts still persist.  Clearly Axelrod is on the record regarding Team Obama with the representation that President Elect Obama did talk to the Illinois Governor during the vacancy discussions of the US Senate appointment.  It is highly unlikely that the Governor’s office and Team Obama haven’t been talking about the US Senate vacancy created as a result to Mr. Obama’s election as the next US President.    The use of “we” and then “I” in Obama’s press conference would indicate that even President Elect Obama knows that he is skating on thin ethical ice that is covering a known swamp of Illinois politics (the Governor’s office).

The need for true political reform and ethical conduct is paramount for true “Change We can Believe” in.    As former Mayor (kind of like a community organizer, but will real responsibility) I find it outrageous that a sitting Governor would actively try to sell a US Senate seat.  From the President Elect we hear a statement that is evasive, with more interest his personal reputation, than being truly forthcoming with the relationship between Team Obama and the undistinguished (and soon to be former) Governor of his home state.   

Patrick Fitzgerald called the breadth and depth of charges against Blagojevich and his Democratic Chief of Staff John Harris “staggering.”   As Michelle Malkin wrote in her blog, the Democrat Governor of Illinois was engaged in a shake down operation that has became the ways things are in Chicago politics and the state capital of Springfield, Ill.   

What next?   The Legacy Media is attempting to give Team Obama another pass on the Democrat Blogo criminal complaint, but the average American is left with many more questions than answers.  Exactly what did Obama know and when?    Sounds like the Reverend Wright all over again.

©2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,   


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Local City Council Axioms

City Council Axioms…

1.    Your position and vote is easy to come by, the second vote can be harder to come by, and the third vote can really be a challenge.

2.    The most important relationships you can develop are the ones with other City Councilors.

3.    For every issue or controversy, there are at least two sides to the issues (and usually more).

4.    There is never enough money in the budget, so some things will just have to wait.

5.    The primary source of revenues for the City is sales taxes.

6.    Only three City staff members report directly to the Council:

City Manager, City Attorney and Municipal Judge.    All other staff report to their respective department heads, which in turn report to the City Manager.

7.    One vote against is a vote of conscience, two votes against is the ‘minority’ opinion, and three votes against signals a ‘change in policy’.

8.    Most of City government is behind the scenes:  keeping the water running, sewer plant operating, streets maintained, police patrolling, fires fought and City Hall operating for the public.

9.    You owe it to the public, the City staff and fellow Councilors to explain your “no” vote.

10.                    Asking questions can shed more light on issues and debates than broad sweeping statements of position.

11.                  Many votes will be taken during a 4-year term of a City Councilor.    Don’t get emotionally attached to any one vote.  There will be another roll call vote on the issue.

12.                   Remember, the City’s money isn’t yours.   Taxpayers and local citizens paid it.   Budget it wisely.

13.                    The public comment at a public hearing is only part of the process.   Municipal code, state law, due process, legal counsel, City staff reports and good judgment make up the rest of the decision making process.

14.                    You can talk too much and never listen enough.

15.                    The City staff members are professionals.    Their assistance, advice, insight and perspective are invaluable.

(c) 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,