Rezko tells Obama and governor to look after him
And it doesn't take much of an ear to hear the "or else"
The last thing Sen. Barack Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich needed was that letter written by convicted Illinois influence peddler Tony Rezko promising he'd never rat out his pals. The imprisoned political fixer insisted that federal prosecutors are squeezing him, according to an exclusive Tribune report written by federal courts reporter Jeff Coen for Thursday's paper.
"They are pressuring me to tell them the 'wrong' things that I supposedly know about Governor Blagojevich and Senator Obama," the fundraiser (and Obama's personal real estate fairy) wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. "I have never been a party to any wrongdoing that involved the Governor or the Senator," Rezko argued. "I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes. I will take whatever comes my way, but I will never hurt innocent people."
Amen, Tony. But those who say nothing don't brag. They shut up. Yet those who promise to say nothing, and promise it loudly, often have much to say later, in a calm and rational voice, meekly from the witness box.
I've seen a few lately, a convicted Outfit hit man who killed at least a dozen people and testified against Chicago mob bosses, and, in an unrelated case, a convicted political apparatchik of the GOP who talked like Joe Pesci in the movies until he broke, blubbered and helped put former Gov. George Ryan in prison.
They all want the same thing-to make sure their loved ones are well cared for on the outside. It could be that Rezko, who mentioned his sons in the letter, cares more about them and his wife, Rita, than he does about his political buddies. Hence, the implied threat to the senator and the governor. That could be a problem for both Obama and Blagojevich, but mostly, I think, for Blagojevich, if Rezko-convicted of more than a dozen corruption counts-begins to squeak.
Democrat Obama-whose campaign reiterated he's never done wrong with Rezko-is on the verge of assuming the presidency, about to defeat a Republican Party that has forgotten what it believes. Republicans were blinded and seduced by crooked GOP lobbyists like Jack Abramoff and overspent on Illinois Republican boss-hog-style deals. There was a national conservative silence when phrases such as "big government conservatism" were bandied about without ridicule. So the road was paved for Obama.
Obama's supporters don't know exactly what Obama believes in, but they seem not to care. He's on the way up and out of the wetlands of Chicago politics, reborn unto his national and mythic reform narrative, discovered by joyous national media and embraced, much as the iconic child was discovered and embraced when found in the reed basket floating on the River Potomac.
Obama doesn't need to remind the national media that he walked the Chicago Way, that his feet actually touched the soiled political ground. Rezko's recent conviction and the letter are such reminders. But Blagojevich is the member of Rezko's posse who is federally vulnerable. An unofficial Patty Watch has sprung up among reporters speculating that Blagojevich's wife, Patty, may be the first in the family with federal issues, as the FBI is investigating her own real estate dealings with Rezko and others.
Obama the egotist
He looks down on suburban commuters too
David Mendell's Obama: From Promise to Power, p. 148-149:
"[Obama] always talked about the New Rochelle train, the trains that took commuters to and from New York City, and he didn't want to be on one of those trains every day," said Jerry Kellman, the community organizer who enticed Obama to Chicago from his Manhattan office job. "The image of a life, not a dynamic life, of going through the motions... that was scary to him."
Obviously, if Barack Obama were satisfied with an office job, not only would he have not spent three years as a community organizer, he probably wouldn't have ever run for office. Every politician has to have some drive like that, some desire for more than punching the clock from 9 to 5, commuting home, and quiet evenings. They have to be willing to put up with public scrutiny and the constant demands for time, energy, money, and effort...
There's nothing wrong with saying, "that life, taking the New Rochelle train, just isn't for me." But there's a fine line between rejecting that life and looking down at that life. Because some people are just fine with jobs that require them to take the New Rochelle train. Some people actually prefer it to the stress, the risk, the time away from family, the constant demands from strangers. And the world needs these people - who get up every morning, go to work to do jobs with no glamor and little or no prestige, wages modest or worse, and whose names never appear in the newspaper. These folks receive a round of applause when they dance at their wedding, and at their retirement party, and that's about it.
We can't all be touted as secular messiahs, surrounded by adoring throngs. Very few us get crowds chanting our name on a regular basis. Scarlett Johansson doesn't e-mail us, and Jennifer Lopez doesn't visit our offices. Never mind the small towners who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment." Obama didn't want to be a suburban commuter.
The big zero
There's nothing in Obama's "Blueprint for Change" except the usual liberal laundry list of new programs and subsidies for Democratic interest groups. But then you'd expect that in a document prepared for the Democratic Party primary season. Now that Obama's the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party it is time to check his agenda for a heartbeat, and figure out if there is anything there beyond the Big O. You'd think his big speech of Tuesday, June 3, 2008 would give us a clue, and it did. On Iraq, he's beginning to walk back towards the center:
We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in -- but start leaving we must. It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future.
It's an artful statement that could mean anything, but is certainly meant to reassure independent voters, hinting that an Obama administration would continue the Bush policy of standing-up the Iraqi government.
Then, on health care, Obama in his speech wants to:
...pass a health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it.
To understand what that means you need help, and the June 6, 2008 edition of The Wall Street Journal has an analysis of the candidate's position (available online) that mandates that large companies provide health insurance for their employees. Obama would "increase regulations and spend tax dollars" to guarantee health insurance to every American.
On education, the Journal says that Obama would add more money to support No Child Left Behind but relax its punitive aspects. Says Obama:
[W]e owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support... a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American.
In other words, on education it's liberal business-as-usual. There will be more money for the liberal education blob and more subsidies for liberal colleges.
It's on energy that Obama most closely honors his promise of "unity," but that's only because Republican John McCain buys into the liberal "consensus" on global warming. Obama "supports subsidies for solar and wind energy," and doesn't want nuclear power before "storage and safety issues are resolved," according to The Wall Street Journal.
Many conservatives are anxious to paint Barack Obama as a radical left-winger, and maybe he is. But plenty of liberals have flirted with the left, in a youthful experiment with a bit of radical rough trade. They return in their years of political viability to the liberal mainstream, and they propose a new top-down expert-led program here, or ratchet up a subsidy for Democratic voters there, just like every other liberal. Radical or mainstream, the difference is merely one of degree.
Sooner or later, after you've brought more and more of American life under the knout of compulsion and after you have provided every Democratic voter with a four-course dinner of government services you'll get to the day where the American people cry Uncle, break out the booze, and decide they can't take it any more. Until then, here's an audacious hope. When you listen to Obama's rhetoric you may think: I'd have to be born yesterday to believe this! No taxpayer could buy into the notion that this is
...the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,
or that college is a "privilege for the wealthy few," not when government in the United States spend north of $900 billion a year each on health care and education.
Maybe there's a clue here. Maybe Obama is the candidate for people born yesterday and the people that don't pay taxes. For the rest of us, the meaning of Obama seems to be symbolized in his ubiquitous "O" logo. He seems to add up not to "change," not to "unity," but to a Big Zero.
Barack Obama: Today's Soylent Green
The Barack Obama campaign phenomenon increasingly resembles the 1973 science fiction movie "Soylent Green" more and more with each passing day. Replace the movie's scenes of huge crowds who desperately gathered for food with the television images of Obama's super-sized campaign rallies, where disaffected voters frantically gather to see the pseudo-messianic figure of Obama deliver vacuous promises of "change" and "hope."
I feel a bit like Charlton Heston's character from the movie, knowing the secret of what was in Soylent Green, but finding it difficult to get people to wake up to the sickening reality. The truth about Barack Obama's indefensible coziness with terrorists and jihadists must similarly be told.
A glimmer of hope emerged yesterday when Politico.com finally broke the mainstream media's silence on the involvement of the radical, Marxist, terrorist-sympathizer Jodie Evan's bundling operations for Obama's presidential campaign. Like Heston's character in Soylent Green, I've been sounding the alarm, pounding the keyboards, speaking publicly, warning everyone about this development since April, including two columns I wrote for WorldNetDaily.com - "Barack's terrorist-sympathizing fundraiser" and "Jeremiah Wright on estrogen."
And there are plenty more terrorist-sympathizers on Barack Obama's speed dial besides Jodie Evans. In January of this year, 80 attorneys for terrorists being held at the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay made a mass-endorsement of Obama's presidential campaign. The Boston Globe reported that the terrorists' lawyers endorsed Obama because he was "the best choice to roll back the Bush-Cheney administration's detention policies in the war on terrorism." So even the terrorists' lawyers admit a vote for Obama is a vote for letting terrorists go free.
This is all the more troubling given that Barack Obama opposes the use of our military to kill the terrorists overseas. But don't worry; Barack Obama's got a plan to help Planned Parenthood kill human babies here in America. For the past several weeks, Democrats in Congress have held up funding for our troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Opposed to the war on terror, Democrats have been blocking the funding of our troops as a means to put political pressure on the Bush administration to abandon the war effort against al-Qaida. When that didn't work, Senate Democrats decided they would force Republicans to give them concessions for passing the war funding measure, and proceeded to tack on an amendment giving Planned Parenthood special discounts on drugs including the abortifacient "morning after" pill.
Barack Obama doesn't merely support the linkage between harming our troops while helping to kill unborn babies through Planned Parenthood, but as Congressional Quarterly reports, he conceived of the idea.
You can imagine how this makes the parents of U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan feel. A dear friend, Beverly Perlson of Chicago, Ill., has been staging repeated vigils outside congressional office buildings pleading with our elected officials to stop their anti-troop games and give our warriors the food, ammunition and support they need to succeed in their missions. Bev Perlson's son is in the 82nd Airborne and has served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. She's formed the organization Band of Mothers and travels all across this nation to rally support for our troops and to counter politicians who try to undercut the war effort.
It's not fair to American military families, like Bev Perlson's, to subject them to the four years of anti-military actions by Barack Obama. For that matter, it's not fair to punish all Americans with four years of left-wing, blame-America-first, terrorist appeasement. Barack Hussein Obama has pledged to meet with Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yet he ignores the pleas of his own constituent, Mrs. Perlson, to make sure her son gets the funding he needs to help win the war his nation sent him to fight.
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has documented the extensive network of Islamic terrorist groups and their leaders who have endorsed Obama's presidential campaign. On May 15, his report was headlined, "More terrorists endorse Obama." That tells you everything you need to know about why we must stop Barack Obama from becoming the commander in chief of the United States. This is a man who does not share the values of the American people, nor does he appreciate the sacrifices so many have made to make this the greatest nation on earth.
Like Charlton Heston's character in Soylent Green, I know what Barack Obama really is. I know about the danger he poses to this country. I just hope enough people can hear the truth by November to save our nation.
Even when he gets the problems right, Obama still thinks that government is the solution
Barack Obama has demanded fathers, especially black men, shoulder their responsibility to heal broken families and restore hope in crime-ridden communities. In a Father's Day speech at a Chicago church, the Democrat also pressed for government action to help struggling parents, through tax breaks, job training and family-friendly employment laws.
The senator amplified one of his campaign themes in condemning absent fathers who have "abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men''. "You and I know how true this is in the African-American community,'' Senator Obama said, recapping government statistics showing more than half of all black children live in single-parent households. Such children are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison, he said. "And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it,'' said Senator Obama, who dwelt on his own challenges growing up with a single mother from the age of two after his Kenyan father abandoned them.
Highlighting one of the signature themes of his presidential bid, Senator Obama said the "greatest gift" that fathers can give their children is hope. "I'm not talking about an idle hope that's little more than blind optimism or willful ignorance of the problems we face,'' he said. "I'm talking about hope as that spirit inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better is waiting for us if we're willing to work for it and fight for it. If we are willing to believe.''
Senator Obama... hit explicitly political notes in promoting government policies to give families a leg-up and craft a better future for today's children. Dwelling on the kind of world his two young daughters may inherit, he said: "Are they living in a country where there's a huge gap between a few who are wealthy and a whole bunch of people who are struggling every day? "Are they living in a country where we are hated around the world because we don't cooperate effectively with other nations? Are they living in a world that is in grave danger because of what we've done to its climate?"
Lieberman irks Democrats by criticizing Obama
Joe Lieberman is fast becoming the Democrats' public enemy No. 1. The four-term Connecticut senator, who came tantalizingly close to being Al Gore's vice president in 2000, not only has been campaigning for his pal, presumed Republican nominee John McCain, now he's publicly criticizing the Democrats' standard-bearer, Barack Obama. Lieberman has strayed before, most notably switching from Democrat to independent in 2006 to hold onto his Senate seat after a Democratic primary loss.
But the latest betrayal has upset Democrats, who often answer in clipped but polite tones when asked about Lieberman. The reason: The independent still caucuses with the Democrats on most issues except the Iraq war, and he holds their slim political majority in his hands. "There's a commonly held hope that he's not going to be transformed into an attack dog for Republicans," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., an Obama supporter.
Lieberman has wasted no time in questioning Obama's positions on Iran and Israel, two topics on which Lieberman and McCain agree. Just one day after Obama clinched his party's nomination, Lieberman joined Republicans on a McCain campaign teleconference call assailing Obama following his foreign policy address to a leading Jewish group. Lieberman accused Obama of blaming U.S. policies for "essentially sort of strengthening" Iran.
"If Israel is in danger today, it's not because of American foreign policy, which has been strongly supportive of Israel in every way," he said. "It is not because of what we have done in Iraq. It is because Iran is a fanatical terrorist, expansionist state."
Later that day, during a budget vote in the Senate, Obama led Lieberman to a corner of the Senate floor for a pointed private conversation. Without elaborating, Obama told reporters the chat was about politics. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had a similar private conversation with Lieberman.
For his part, Lieberman said he assured Obama he would avoid personal attacks. "I said, and we agreed, that any time I get out there mostly I'm going to be talking positively about John McCain - and anytime I would take issue with Barack Obama, it would never be personal because I have the highest regard for him personally," he said.
Still, Democrats were irked. Lieberman seemed to be breaking new ground - shifting gears from simply promoting McCain to taking shots at Obama. "I'm glad that Barack Obama had a direct conversation with Joe," Sen. Dick Durbin, Obama's fellow Illinois senator, told reporters. "I hope that Joe will realize that even though he's a friend of John McCain's and feels differently on the war, there are so many other issues Barack stands for that have been a part of Joe's career."
Lieberman's Connecticut colleague, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, said he's heard McCain talk about keeping a civil tone to the campaign. "It might be a good message for him to convey to his supporters," said Dodd, also an Obama supporter.
Obama had backed Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut. After he lost to Ned Lamont, an anti-war candidate, Lieberman defied party leaders and ran as an independent in the general election. Leading Democrats - Obama, Dodd and Kerry among them - then backed Lamont. Lieberman was re-elected with support from the GOP, including praise from the White House and fundraising help from prominent Republicans.
Oddly, Lieberman befriended and dispensed advice to Obama when the Illinois senator arrived in Washington in 2005. "We have established a very good relationship," Lieberman says. "I have a lot of affection for him." Call it Lieberman's version of tough love.
The Connecticut lawmaker is willing to speak at the Republican convention this summer if McCain asks. He also has been mentioned as a potential McCain running mate.
Democrats have reason to tolerate Lieberman's actions. If he were to caucus with the GOP, the balance of power in the narrowly divided Senate would slip away, especially with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., battling brain cancer. Democrats need Lieberman to maintain their 51-49 Senate majority.
Beyond Iraq, Lieberman tends to vote with Democrats on major issues. "Joe and I have known each other 40 years," said Dodd. "On almost every issue, Joe is a mainstream Democrat."
There is speculation that if Democrats bolster their Senate majority this fall, they could seek payback by stripping Lieberman of his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairmanship. While there's no serious talk afoot about punishing Lieberman, Kerry said, "I can't tell you what happens next year."
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