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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Illinois Governor Blagojevich, And The Total Mind-Blow

This article is completely staggering. Staggeringly stunning.

Today, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said “the breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering.”

(I totally copied Fitzgerald with my adjectives. Sorry, Pat.)

Here are some highlights:

--He was unapologetically asking for money up front from potential candidates to take Barack Obama's now-vacant Senate seat.
--Was considering taking the seat himself, to--somehow--simultaneously set himself up for a Presidential run in 2016, while avoiding impeachment (!) from the Illinois Congress.
--Was threatening the Chicago Tribune editorial board to change their tone of criticism towards him and his office, or else he would not approve the sale of Wrigley Field to the State of Illinois.
--On top of asking for significant campaign donations, was trying to also package a plush lobbying job for his wife in exchange for a Senate appointment.
--Trying to exchange significant increases to already enormous state government contracts for campaign contributions.
--Intimidation tactics to get donations through before legislation passed, in order for it not to appear that there was a conflict of interest.
--Trying to get an executive position with a Union board in exchange for a nomination of someone in the Union's pocket for the open Senate seat.

That's just the summary.

And you people wonder why I'm a libertarian. Power doesn't just corrupt Republicans, it turns out.

This story sends chills up my spine, and I don't even live in Illinois. It should you, too, because I PROMISE you that this happens everywhere.

Somewhere along the lines, the "power of the people" got shot in some dark alley and left for dead. It is incredibly depressing.

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He also allegedly appropriated $8 million to Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago with the expectation that the CEO would pay him a large 5 figure contribution. When the CEO did not pay, he apparently tried everything within his power to withdraw the funds from a CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL. These stories that keep coming out are so mind-blowingly ridiculous that it scares me to think what has yet to come out.
God, I know. That part wasn't part of the stories I read before posting this; but just heard about it on the radio roughly an hour ago.

A disgusting human being. When you include this with the testimony of the CEO's of Fannie and Freddie on the Hill today, it makes you legitimately concerned about our country. It is seemingly completely and totally morally corrupt.

I'll tell you what else--51 unique visitors visited Heavy Soul on Tuesday. And one person commented on this article.

The MIB asks readers to suggest a companion beer to a random sandwich, and three people comment immediately.

This is nothing against that post--that sandwich does sound delicious--but it illustrates my point. It's a lot easier to concern one's self with something that is not of consequence.

I cannot begin to understand where the outrage is. Is it because everyone is too jaded? What's it going to take to become un-jaded? For a major elected official to be using their office to run a child-slavery ring?

It's as though people just throw up their hands and say "well, what do you do? That's politics. Not too shocking."

That is accurate in one sense: it is politics. However, it "is politics" because we've let it become this way!

This country is made up of a bunch of sheep distracted by Plaxico Burress' self-inflicted gun wound, Brittney Spears shaving her head, that those idiots from the Hills eloped, etc. This is what the people in power in this country hope for! They don't want us knowing that the CEO of either Freddie or Fannie (sorry, I heard the testimony on the radio and don't have an article handy) fires--fires!--the person in charge of assessing risk after that person apparently did too good of a job of assessing said risk, and in the meantime made north of $10 million that year! Are you kidding me?

Anyway, this guy ran as a REFORMER. The guy he replaced as governor in Illinois WENT TO JAIL. Yet ol' Gov. Blaggy has basically been under investigation since he took office.

How is this possible? How can a guy run on a REFORM ticket and be corrupt from the second he moved into the governor's mansion?

Because no one gives a shit. No one researches their candidates backgrounds. The press--the eyes and ears of the people, supposedly--are too busy focusing on stories like the "lipstick on a pig" story! No one cares about Obama's economic policy. America's attention span is too short to listen to McCain's foreign policy outline. No, people would rather find out what Tina Fey said playing Sarah Palin on SNL than what Sarah Palin *actually* said in policy speeches while in Alaska. And if the ridiculous pop culture references don't do it, they just take the press releases from whatever political party their vote for and run with it like they have a winning lotto ticket, and calls anyone else that doesn't have their same lotto ticket an idiot.

When are we going to wake up???????

Newspapers--once the scourge of politicians and Washington--are going out of business because people cannot take 45 minutes out of their day to educate themselves on what is going on in the world (well, that and not one single major newspaper embraced the internet until it was too late...but that doesn't lend itself to my point, so ignore that). When you combine this with the fact that investigative reporting is basically a quaint memory from yester year, where are people supposed to get their information? When a story like this breaks now, basically you get CNN spending time on it (until the second another story breaks), has two jackass talking heads on that represent "both sides of the isle," and you're left scratching your head asking yourself "well, what the hell was that? I'm less informed than I was 90 seconds ago!"

Jesus, I feel like the guy from the movie "Network" right now, but my God! The PEOPLE of this country deserve better. Everything the Constitution was founded upon is gone now. Gone. The Constitution has become a suggestion sheet at this point, and the people "upholding" it could give two rat craps about anyone but themselves, how much power they can aquire, and their bank accounts.

And 99% of the people in this country are too busy watching American Idol on their TV to be able to see the world burn outside their window.

It's just unbelievable.
I'm just really passionate about food and beer.
Instead of cleaning up baseball maybe our gov't should have tried cleaning up their own act.
This guy is clearly a douche. But from an historical perspective. . .

1. There's always been corruption in government. Perhaps because of the internet and other means of instant communication, 'we the people' are now doing a better job than ever of exposing it. Investigative journalism hasn't gone anywhere. It just evolved.

2. We can still vote. In fact, when the Constitution was created, only rich white guys could vote. How's that for corruption? Now more people have that power than ever before. After this alarming discovery, hopefully the people of Illinois will use their power more wisely.
Corruption! Bankruptcy! Layoffs! It’s Colder Than Shit Outside!
There aren’t many sources of sunshine dripping onto us common folk these days.

GA Hill asks in his comment where the public outrage to the Governor Blagojevich arrest is. I suppose when you hear negativity that defies common sense each and every day for the last six months, you may lose some of your sensitivity to it. You can’t go a day without hearing of what seems to be a stable company slashing jobs. Or a new cornerstone of our nation’s economy needing a federal bailout. Or the Dow Jones Industrial plummeting to new lows. Or ice storms and blizzards dowsing our neck of the woods in a blanket of chill cold enough to turn your grapes into raisins until spring. Or wildfires wreaking havoc on multi-million dollar neighborhoods like a bad game of Sims. Or F-14s crashing into people’s homes. Armageddon can’t be too far away, right?

I applaud GA on his vigilance and diligence to being a dutiful citizen during these numbing times. We find ourselves in a unique time in this country. Despite a gloomy outlook caused by some of the issues mentioned above, some Americans got drunk on the Obama + Red Bull cocktails served around election time. Many are still hungover. I equate this time in some Americans’ lives to be the Sunday morning after a blackout night. Some of the damage is self-inflicted. Some other damage came from unsolicited shots that they couldn’t refuse. They know they should be going to church, but they hurt. It’s easier to order Mr. Goodcents (I recommend the Penny Club) and stay on the couch.

So yes, commendations without sarcasm are in line for those who have either refrained from indulging on the “Saturday Night” or bucked up and put on their Sunday best in spite of the hangover. You are at the head of the class. Extra credit will be awarded and I can’t wait for the Valedictorian speech.

However, and without giving a free pass to be passive participants in our nation, most Americans were not Valedictorians. Most have taken a moderate to strong interest in the country over this last election cycle, which when compared to its most recent predecessors is at the least a move in the right direction.

In an unorganized manner, the point I’m attempting to make is that showing concern does not require showing contempt. You don’t have to be incensed to be interested. Outrage is not necessary to show alarm.
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