Friday, February 29, 2008
Hillary's people are running a new ad saying she's more suited to answer the red phone at 3 a.m. But either candidate might have to check with their patrons first.
At CBS' 60 Minutes, another Dan Rather-like problem may be emerging. A show Sunday that smeared Karl Rove with a very questionable "witness" is drawing fire here and elsewhere.
At another corner of CBS, top executives made a prudent decision in a matter I had a role. Top officials at the 48 Hours show told me yesterday they have decided to rewrite the script for its upcoming program to remove all references to a successful Paris, IL. businessman and entrepreneur who had been unfairly included in a past segment and was to be included Saturday before our intervention.
The show will take its third look at the 1986 murders of Dyke and Karen Rhodes in the east central Illinois town. This new episode will highlight the release recently of former defendant Herb Whitlock. My thoughts and participation in the case can be found here. The businessman hired me several years ago to counteract the smear job he was receiving by lawyers, the news media and other connected to the defense of Whitlock and Randy Steidl.
Most of the baseless rumors about the businessman have subsided after he passed a pair of polygraphs and answered all questions of authorities without a lawyer present. It was unfair that he even had to take these steps, but he was tired of hearing the malicious gossip.
The businessman reengaged my firm's services after hearing this week that his name was going to be mentioned in the upcoming 48 Hours show.
In this instance, the 48 Hours' execs were receptive to the arguments and facts we presented and quickly agreed that it would not be fair to include his name any longer in their show. We'll be watching Saturday but they gave us a unequivocal promise that the changes would be made to the script.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Why is Barack Obama accepting the support of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, whose two top fundraisers have been indicted and who the federal government has labeled Public Official "A" in the largest public corruption investigation in Illinois history?
Blagojevich spokesman Abby Ottenhoff called to say that the Obama campaign has given Blagojevich an assignment, to woo six Democratic governors for Obama.
Barack not only is accepting Rod's support, he's giving him an "assignment."
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Never mind that a person who many in Illinois politics knowâ€”Phil O'Connorâ€”is a direct eyewitness. And what about the chart below?
Does the left really want to argue that there's hasn't been dramatic decreases in violence in Iraq? I hereby invite Barack Obama to employ this strategy.
...At least that's what it looks like in this CBS2 video this afternoon as Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich walks behind bars up to his waist.
At the same event, Blago disavowed the only "A" he's ever earned.
Asked for his reaction after being identified as Public Official A, who allegedly benefited from corrupt schemes, Blagojevich said, "My reaction, isâ€¦ it doesn't matter what letter of the alphabet it is. What was described there doesn't describe me or how I do things."
Then why are you spending $1 million a year on legal fees?
Reid said "a civil war rages" in Iraq and shouldn't be the responsibility of U.S. taxpayers.
Shouldn't somebody ask Barack if he agrees that, with law and order breaking out in Iraq, that the country is embroiled in a civil war.
In 20 debates among the Democrats, the media questioners barely asked the candidates about issues that will favor McCain: the surge, raising taxes, FISA, etc. Yes, Iraq has been talked about endlessly but almost always exclusively from the liberal Democratic framework, which centers on the decision to start the war. McCain's focus will be on the surge and the Democrats foolhardly statements that the surge wouldn't work and the consequences that would have flowed from surrendering to al-Qaeda a year ago instead of defeating them.
Of course the Democratic candidates haven't asked these tough questions of each other because they all hold the same McGovern liberal orthodoxy.
In sharp contrast, the MSM asked the Republican many questions about issues they might be vulnerable on in the general electionâ€”some social issues, attachment to George Bush, etc.
In short, Barack Obama will have to make a much sharper pivot on issues than will John McCain. The public might be surprised at some of Barack's positions when they hear about them outside an echo chamber format. But McCain will have to overcome Obama's skills as a politician. Powerline's Scott Johnson explains.
Watching the Democratic debate last night, I thought to myself: I would buy a used car from Barack Obama. He is smart, disarming, adroit, and likable. In a debate format with Hillary Clinton, the competition has been reduced to seeking Democratic votes on claims to the greatest ideological purity. For Obama, the claim rests on his opposition to the Iraq war. For her, the claim rests on her health care program. Both Obama and Clinton are peddling tales of gloom and doom, and both recognize no greater threat to the United States than the Bush administratoin. In substance, they both portend a grim Eurosocialist future for the United States. With his personal attributes, however, Obama has it all over her.
Once Obama locks down the nomination, McCain must block his drift to the middle. He needs to hold him accountable for his far left wing primary debate positions, a job that should have been done by the MSM months ago.
Monday, February 25, 2008
For months, federal prosecutors have alleged that Antoin "Tony" Rezko tried to extort a $1.5 million contribution to the campaign of "Public Official A" from a Hollywood producer seeking investment business from the state.
And for months, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has repeatedly denied he was "Public Official A."
But a week before Rezko's much-anticipated trial, a federal judge revealed that Blagojevich was to have been the recipient of the $1.5 million campaign contribution at the center of the alleged extortion plot.
Now, if the Illinois press can find him, reporters can ask Rod whether he believes U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve is mistaken.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Well-known former Illinois political operative Phil O'Connor has another detailed report from Iraq on the dramatic progress our troops have made to win the war.
In my Communique that went out last July 4, I told you that the Multi-National Force had claimed that about half of the neighborhoods in Baghdad had been secured. At this point that figure is clawing toward 100%. Prime Minister Al-Maliki claimed the other day that al-Qaeda has been defeated in Iraq. I would say that is a pretty accurate statement. Al-Qaeda has been run into a corner and is now being decimated bit by bit. Al-Qaeda has now been largely isolated in the far north of the country around Mosul and in some pockets in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad and in the far southern suburbs of Baghdad (think Joliet or Kankakee). The real threat now comes from two directions. One is the possibility of the two large Shiite militias (Sadr â€“ tied to Iran and Badr â€“ supporting the government) going at one another. The other is that Sadr Shiite militia will mix it up with the Sunni based "Sons of Iraq" and Awakening Councils who have ejected al-Qaeda from their areas with the help of the Coalition.
And he has some comments on the American political debate.
As I listen to some of our presidential candidates talk about how they are going to "end the war in Iraq," I cannot help but think to myself that they had better hurry because the "war" is just about over and, guess what, we've won. There is still a long way to go and there will still be violence. Insurgencies do not end quickly. But Baghdad and Iraq will soon be more like a big violent American city. Indeed, the murder rate in Baghdad now is probably not much worse than in Detroit, Newark or Philadelphia. The average American soldier (although, as in Lake Woebegone, they all seem to be above average to us here) has really slugged it out on the ground to get this done. And increasingly their Iraqi Army counterparts are doing the same. Please do not let anyone tell you that the Iraqis do not want both peace and freedom or are unwilling to sacrifice to get both. On our trips out to the Red Zone, we see a much more pronounced presence of Iraqi military on the streets than we did before as well as an amazing resurgence of commercial activity in the streets.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Early in Senator John McCain's first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.
A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client's corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself â€” instructing staff members to block the woman's access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.
This story, heralded breathlessly this evening on MSNBC, is a real pile of nothing. Affair denied. No influence proved. Eight years ago.
We predicted nearly a month ago this kind of smear was coming.
All the news that's fit to...post on a message board.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
It's no more than an eloquent but empty call for change that promises no more than a holiday from history and a return to the false promises and failed policies of a tired philosophy that trusts in government more than the people.
Just a few minutes later, Barack Obama proved McCain prophetic. He said our "nation is at war" and our "planet is in peril." Later he referred to that war as the one in Iraq. No al-Qaeda, or radical Islamic terrorism. Barack obviously doesn't believe we are in a war with them.
That's a holiday from history. Barely, in the entire Democratic primary, have the candidates even mentioned the number one threat to world peace.
Barack's far left-wing orientation is being hidden by the national media. If he survives the primary, his holiday from history will be over.
You couldn't ask for a bigger task. Turn around a newspaper giant when the newspaper business is sinking fast, perhaps irretrievably. There are few institutions more stodgy and resistant to innovation than a newspaper, and especially a large one like the Chicago Tribune.
Sam Zell and his band of unconventional managers are trying anyway. I like their style. This presentation is instructive and entertaining. If anybody can break the mindset and possibly reinvent the product, it might be Zell.
Do you remember watching previous Tribune management talks to employees on the Internet? This is more than a shakeupâ€”it's an upheaval.
It's not clear why Obama had not previously divulged Rezko's tour of the house with him. In 2006, he told the Tribune he recalled talking to Rezko and his wife "either at an event or some conversation we had where they mentioned to me that they either knew the property or knew the developer or something like that.
Both John Ruberry and Steve Rhodes believe Barack is hiding part of the story.
I think what's being hidden is that Obama and Rezko had an arrangement, probably verbal, where Rezko would buy the side lot and agree not to develop it until the Obamas could afford to buy it back. In other words, a loan or a gift, depending on what the agreement was. Barack would not want to reveal this arrangement, which explains his vague answers on his discussions with Rezko prior to the purchases.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Predictably, the news media primarily is talking about gun control in the wake of the Northern Illinois University tragedy. It only takes a few seconds to realize there is no law that was going to stop the killer.
Rather than listen to the MSM's mindless reflex, people ought to be listening to Lt. Col. David Grossman.
Grossman has one of the sharpest minds in America. He is a national recognized expert on the root causes of violence and trains law enforcement on how to deal with crisis situations. Two of Grossman's observations are relevant here. The first is that colleges need to increase their police presence.
"Deter: The killer can be deterred. That is why there are seldom any successful workplace massacres in police stations. We need to start putting pressure on schools that refuse to arm their police.
"Most colleges and universities are small cities. Any city leadership that refused to arm their cops, and then had people murdered, would be put out business at the next election. We entrust our kids in the care of organizations that neglect the most fundamental aspect of public safety: armed cops.
Grossman also is the author of the excellent book pictured above. He notes that a very underestimated causal factor in school violence is the proliferation of violent imagery and particularly ultra-violent video games, which he describes as "murder simulators."
Former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan enlisted Grossman as an expert in his nationally recognized effort to convince retailers to "card" youngsters trying to buy the most violent games. Columnist Dennis Byrne also points to violent imagery as a prime cause of modern day school violence.
Children and adolescents are exposed to more media depictions of violence than ever before. Such depictions pervade not only television, but film, music, online media, videogames, and printed material. Commercial television for children is 50â€“60 times more violent than prime-time programs for adults, as some cartoons average more than 80 violent acts per hour. With the advent of videocassette sales and rentals, pay-per-view TV, cable TV, videogames, and online interactive media, many more children and adolescents have greater access to media with violent content than had ever been available in previous decades. Again, these depictions desensitize children to the effects of violence, increase aggression, and help foster a climate of fear.
As many people have noted, there were tons of guns floating around the schools many years ago and there were few if any school shootings. Something has changed.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
One of Durbin's "protected class" on this issue? "Individual H" in the Tony Rezko indictment, class action lawyer/donor "Myron" Cherry.
As Congress debates giving immunity to phone companies that assisted the government in tracking terrorist communications, trial lawyers prosecuting those phone companies have poured money into the coffers of Democratic senators, representatives and causes.
Court records and campaign contribution data reveal that 66 trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in lawsuits against these phone companies donated at least $1.5 million to 44 different current Democratic senators and Democratic causes.
All of the trial lawyers combined only contributed $4,250 to Republicans in comparison.
Barack? He ducked.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Rod realizes that he is being elected as a reformer. People in this state are fed up with corruption and broken promises. The Blagojevich administration will be one of honesty."
The other point: Barack has never commented in any meaningful way about the massive corruption and fiscal mismanagement under Blagojevich, even though it's his state that is being destroyed. Maybe because Rod and Barack share a big donor.
In the real world, not Planet Platitude, that is known as a lack of leadership.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Hynes on Monday released a "special report" on state finances that predicted sales-tax and corporate income-tax collections will continue to decrease. That, in turn, could further delay state payments to Medicaid providers, prompting them to stop serving the poor because they can't afford to wait more time to be paid.
"The fiscal outlook for Illinois is not optimistic," Hynes says.
"I don't think there's any more latitude in terms of pushing [Medicaid] bills off," he told the Sun-Times' editorial board. "Providers are starting to say 'We've had enough.' They're starting to walk away."
It's the biggest financial mess in the nation.
corruption, Illinois, Rod Blagojevich
Hawthorne has coined the phrase "global warming pollution" to adorn his page one story this morning saying the big bad oil companies will emit more pollution in the future as their refineries expand.
Global-warming pollution from Midwest oil refineries is expected to soar by as much as 40 percent during the next decade, a dramatic increase that runs counter to regional and national efforts to curb heat-trapping gases
We'll be looking for Hawthorne to use that phrase consistently. To be fair, he ought to use that phrase to describe any increased activity in any industry, including Hollywood, the newspaper business, etc. as increasing "global warming pollution."
The story also exhibits another integral trait of good PR writing: the absence of an opposing point-of-view. It is devoid of any scientific disagreement on the extent of causation between carbon emissions and global warming, and there's plenty.
If the Tribune continues sputtering financially and Hawthorne is looking for another job, I'm sure one of the many George Soros-funded left-wing organizations would be glad to have him.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Michael Barone, the best number cruncher out there, thinks Puerto Rico is the sleeping giant that might give Hillary the edge.
This means that Puerto Rico is likely to have more leverage in Democratic National Convention votes than any single state, no matter how large. Its leader will be able to deliver a 63-vote margin for the leading candidate.
That 1999 pardon by Bill Clinton might come in handy for his wife.
No Republican politician has won the category since Everett Dirksen, an Illinois congressman and senator, in 1968.
Hollywood must have been too busy protesting the war to let that one slip through.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
How pathetic is this? So much so that when Chicago-area Republican blogger Dan Curry was using the Rezko proffer in December as a club with which to beat up every local Democrat he could think of (most especially the proffer's actual main target, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich), he didn't even bother with bashing Obama, even though Rezko's Obama connections had hit the news months earlier. However, Curry did later spread around the Rezko guilt by association with a mention of Hillary Clinton's ties to John Burgess of IPA, whose lawyer is named in the Rezko indictment.
Sorry, there's so much corruption and so many players mentioned in the Rezko saga that it is impossible to chronicle it all in the short-term. Expressio overwhelmingo.
This story in the Chicago Sun-Times today ought to be of concern to Barack. And Blagojevich.
Sources said Thomas helped investigators build a record of repeat visits to the old offices of Rezko and former business partner Daniel Mahru's Rezmar Corp., at 853 N. Elston, by Blagojevich and Obama during 2004 and 2005.
In one case, sources said, Thomas told authorities he saw a Rezmar employee pass an envelope with a visible wad of bills to an unidentified Blagojevich aide.
How many visits and when?
At MSNBC, "pimping" Democrats is nearly a crime, but it's OK to "pimp" Republicans.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
This debunks the study that claimed 655,00 Iraqis have been killed since the war started.
The Newest study published in the British medical journal, the Lancet, claims that 655,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. invaded Iraq. This absurd claim has been hailed around the world as evidence of the evil American empire's murderous reign in the Mid East. But it turns out that the entire study is not only filled with lies, the creators of the study even tried to hide the fact that George Soros funded the thing.
Soros, meanwhile, continues to be ignored by MSM despite his massive funding of groups that produce "news" that is reported without mention of his ties.
"Individuals who helped select and process candidates for boards and commissions will testify that Rezko had weekly meetings with the head of patronage for the [Blagojevich] administration, where Rezko provided names of individuals he wanted appointed to certain boards," prosecutors wrote in a 31-page document filed late Wednesday.
We heard, but could not verify, that co-schemer A (William Cellini) attended some of these meetings either in person or by phone. I guess we'll find out more in a couple of weeks when the Rezko trial starts.
Friday, February 8, 2008
I feel for Shuster here â€” I'm sure he simply got confused.Â For well over a year now his bosses at MSNBC have been egging him on to say ever more outrageous and blatantly false things about all things Republican.Â Since the MSNBC hosts have clearly lined up behind Obama, I'm sure Shuter figured the same Rules of Engagement applied to the anti-Obama forces in the Democrat party.
Once he comes backs, I'm sure he'll say more outrageous things about Republicans and get away with it.
Using their strongest language yet, federal prosecutors alleged that Springfield power broker William Cellini played a significant role in a scheme with Antoin "Tony" Rezko to extort kickbacks and campaign contributions from investment firms seeking state business.
In a government response filed late Wednesday, prosecutors contended Cellini, identified only as "Co-Schemer A," took part in both the attempted extortion of one investment firm and a plan to divert a finder's fee in another deal to someone he knew hadn't done any work for the money, prosecutors said
Will Bill cooperate?
According to a count of labels used by MSNBC on Super Tuesday, "liberal" was used 15 times and "conservative" 155 times.
Imagine campaign events happening in 22 states at the same time, and that at such contests, two liberals, two conservatives, and one moderate candidate are vying for the public's votes.
You would expect the words "liberal" and "conservative" to be equally interspersed in media coverage of these events if indeed press outlets were impartial, right?
Fair and balanced, indeed.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
International Profit Associates (IPA), an Illinois-based management consulting and business development company.
Bill Clinton pocketed $125,000 for addressing IPA workers in December 2001. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that firm employees have forked over nearly $130,000 in contributions to Hillary's Senate campaigns since 2000.
IPA has faced a string of scandals--most notably, a widely reported sexual harassment suit involving 113 former female employees. Two of them told their stories on a 2005 episode of "Oprah Winfrey Show."
THE SLEAZE FACTOR
8.5. The harassment suit included accusations that the CEO offered money to a female employee in exchange for sex and that a sales manager would pin female employees up against the wall and ask if they enjoyed intercourse.
THE DAMAGE TO THE CLINTONS
3. Though never a large-scale national scandal, it doesn't look good that Hillary has, in effect, shrugged off what the lead attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the federal agency leading the investigation) called one of the "most egregious case of sex harassment that the Chicago district office has seen." Senator Clinton--unlike other politicians who received campaign donations from IPA employees, such as Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle--has opted not to return the contributions.
Expect this issue to emerge more fully as Hillary and Barack claw their way to the convention.
Barack made the statement on the press plane today after Mitt Romney stepped out of the race. He is able to make the following baldly arrogant statement because the news media never calls him on anything.
"That's the kind of poorly thought through statement that led him to have to drop out," Obama said. "It's a classic attempt to appeal to people's fears that will not work in this campaign. And I think that's part of the reason he was such an ineffective candidate."
"No Democrat has suggested that we surrender to terrorism. Democrats have suggested that we start withdrawing out of Iraq so we can focus our attention on terrorism. But, you know, it's a classic example of trying to conflate the war against real enemies with the failed strategy of the Bush Administration in Iraq. " Obama said in response to a follow-up question. "It's those sort of glib statements that I think got Romney consistently in trouble in this race."
Say what you will about Romney but his statements were far from "poorly thought through." What is poorly thought through is saying we need to withdraw from Iraq where we are fighting al-Qaeda so we can "focus our attention on terrorism."
That's poorly thought through.
Maybe Patrick Ruffini is right about Obama being an easier matchup for McCain.
Associated Press' Mike Robinson has a nice scoop about Chris Kelly, one of Blagojevich's indicted fundraisers and close friend, soliciting and receiving a loan from the same man Tony Rezko just borrowed from.
The loan came from General Mediterranean Holdings, a company based in Luxembourg and headed by Nadhmi Auchi, a London-based Iraqi who is currently appealing a fraud conviction in France.I wouldn't comment either if I were Monico. The borrowed money probably is being used to pay his bill. Kelly used a Nevada land holding to secure the loan.
"I don't want to comment," Kelly's defense attorney, Michael D. Monico, said after conferring with the south suburban roofing contractor.
Records filed with the Illinois secretary of state's office five days earlier show that Kelly received a loan from Auchi. The records do not reflect the size or terms of the loan.The upcoming Rezko trial is scheduled to start March 3.
According to the records, the loan was secured by all of Kelly's interest in 640 Across I, a Nevada limited liability company. Kelly is one of five partners in the company, according to records on file at the Nevada secretary of state's office. The four others are Nevada residents.
Kelly and Rezko were two key members of Blagojevich's inner circle who were with him, raising funds, when he first set out to run for governor.
And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.John McCain speaks later today.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The conspiracy theorists arose from the presidential election of 2000. They pushed for the elimination of punch card systems and ushered in a bunch of electronic voting systems, which were in place as Republicans won elections in 2002 and 2004. The cries of foul over the electronic voting systems reached a high pitch prior to the 2006 and then died when results showed Democratic victories.
One group has been hounding a client (DuPage County Election Commission) for several years, making all kinds of wild, baseless accusations about election fraud. Don't know what the group will say now that Democrats outnumbered Republicans in Tuesday's primary, and most of the GOP establishment's candidates lost. If Republicans are rigging elections in DuPage County, they are doing a very poor job.
It was revealed in testimony that the U.S. only used "waterboarding" three times, in 2002, of these three guys.Notwithstanding the argument of whether waterboarding constitutes torture, the entire MSM torture narrative was largely untrue. Reminds me of the attack on former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for snooping in library records. Turns out, the U.S. never used the power that exists under the Patriot Act.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri planned the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Abu Zubaydah was the mastermind of the foiled millennium terrorist attacks, which had Los Angeles airport as one of its targets. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed directed the September 11 attacks, and has claimed to have personally beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl.
All three men were captured by the CIA in 2002 and waterboarded in the course of their interrogations. They are also the only U.S. detainees to have been waterboarded. That fact, publicly confirmed yesterday by CIA Director Michael Hayden, shreds whatever is left to the so-called torture narrative, according to which the Bush Administration has engaged in widespread, needless and systematic torture of detainees.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
New Chicago Tribune owner Sam Zell has never been known as soft-spoken. He unloads here on an Orlando Sentinel journalist. Here's the Tribune version, just posted.
The journalist in the video asked where the paper's journalism was headed, and Zell said journalists needed to focus on what readers want, thus helping generate revenue to reinvest in the paper.I would love to be in the room when he addresses Tribune staffers.
The journalist then followed up, saying readers want "puppy dogs" rather than real information. Zell took umbrage, delivering the eminently quotable line, "you're giving me the classic... journalistic arrogance of deciding that puppies don't count."
Zell dropped his F-bomb a few breaths later, at the very end of his answer.
Monday, February 4, 2008
ANN CURRY: Okay let's talk about the home states because we've got Illinois--Minnesota, Illinois, what's the differenceâ€”it's not New York where us smart people live.
CHUCK TODD: Right.
CURRY (pointing to Minnesota): --which is right here.
(Todd points to Illinois)
CURRY: No, wrong one.
TODD: That's okay.
CURRY (pointing to Illinois): No, wrong one. There we go.
After California ordered a switch to paper ballots from touch-screen voting machines for Tuesday's primary, election officials in the sprawling, 7,200-square-mile Riverside County had to decide the best way to pick up the ballots so they could be centrally counted on time: helicopter or truck?So let's turn back the clock by burning more fossil fuels. Brilliant.