The long, hot Summer of Corruption

Michelle Malkin 

Lead Story

The long, hot Summer of Corruption

By Michelle Malkin  •  June 2, 2010 09:40 AM

The resurrection of Rod Blagojevich
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

We’ve had the Summer of Love and the Summer of the Shark. Now, are you ready for the Summer of Corruption? On Thursday, jury selection begins in the federal trial of disgraced former Democrat Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. The timing couldn’t be worse for Blago’s old Chicago pals in the White House. Just as Team Obama tries to bury one job-trading scandal, another one resurfaces.

It’s a useful reminder that Washington didn’t turn Obama into a business-as-usual politician. He was born and bred among the slimiest in their class.

At the center of the Blago trial is the convergence of the Chicago political machine – the corrupt Democratic Party establishment, Big Labor heavies at the Services Employees International Union, and Team Obama.

In December 2008, the political ties that bind them all came under national scrutiny when federal prosecutors publicly released their criminal complaint against Blagojevich. SEIU figured prominently in Blago’s secretly taped musings on how to profit from his power to appoint Obama’s Senate replacement. So did a larger union umbrella federation, Change to Win, led by SEIU secretary-treasurer Anna Burger. Blago hatched a plan to snag a $300,000-a-year job as head of Change to Win in exchange for appointing a union-friendly successor to Obama.

Like Obama, Blago enjoyed massive campaign donations and on-the-ground support from the SEIU’s Purple Army. Like Obama, Blago repaid his Big Labor backers with labor-friendly executive orders and legislative largesse to facilitate union organizing and carve out major portions of the health care industry for them. At the time of his arrest, Blago was preparing another executive order to expand the union power grab over an even larger portion of home health care workers targeted by the SEIU.

Blagojevich did the country an extraordinary unintended favor. As health care analyst David Catron wrote: “He has made it clear to the meanest intelligence that Obama emerged from a hopelessly corrupt political culture. Barack Obama oozed from the same stinking Chicago swamp that produced Blagojevich, and a man whose formative years were spent wallowing in the muck with such creatures isn’t likely to be long in White House before the stench of pay-to-play politics begins to pervade the place.”

Fast-forward. Nearly two years later, Obama’s legal fixers can’t mask the Chicago-esque odor of Sestak-gate. The president’s legal team, led by chief fixer and legal counsel Bob Bauer, orchestrated a Memorial Day weekend document dump intended to squash mounting public criticism of the administration’s alleged government job offer to Pennsylvania Democrat senatorial candidate Joe Sestak. Bauer’s memo acknowledged that “options for Executive Branch service were raised with him” through former President Bill Clinton, whom White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted to woo Sestak.

Blago knows all about working with Team Obama through intermediaries to explore, ahem, “options.” Blago’s then-chief of staff, John Harris, allegedly mapped out “three-way deal” to give the White House a “buffer” obscuring the obvious quid pro quo. SEIU would assist Obama with Blago’s appointment of a union-friendly candidate; Blago would get his cushy union job; and SEIU would be rewarded down the road with favors from the White House. Team Blago reached out to the SEIU. An unnamed SEIU official agreed to float their plan and “see where it goes.”

The Senate candidate Blago allegedly approached was top Obama adviser and Chicago political godmother Valerie Jarrett, who removed herself from the running when she took a top White House adviser post instead. Who was the “SEIU official” Team Blago spoke with and met? Internal communications in December 2008 fingered President Obama’s longtime Chicago pal, SEIU Local 1 president Tom Balanoff. Balanoff, not coincidentally had been appointed by Blago to the llinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

Two days before Christmas 2008, legal counsel Greg Craig released an official, self-exonerating report outlining contacts between Team Obama and Team Blago. Balanoff, it turns out, had indeed spoken with Jarrett. The Obama defense? Despite her much-touted political brilliance, the legal team argued, Jarrett “did not understand the conversation to suggest that the Governor wanted the cabinet seat as a quid pro quo for selecting any specific candidate to be the President-Elect’s replacement.” The Blago subpoena of the president filed last month begs to differ – and directly implicates Obama:

“…despite President Obama stating that no representatives of his had any part of any deals, labor union president [presumably SEIU’s Andy Stern] told the FBI and the United States Attorneys that he spoke to labor union official on November 3, 2008 who received a phone message from Obama that evening. After labor union official listened to the message labor union official told labor union president “I’m the one”. Labor union president took that to mean that labor union official was to be the one to deliver the message on behalf of Obama that Senate Candidate B was his pick.”

It’s going to be a long, hot summer of Chicago corruption.

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Clinton: ‘The rich are not paying their fair share’ – Ben Smith: Clinton: ‘The rich are not paying their fair share’

May 27, 2010

Categories:

Clinton: ‘The rich are not paying their fair share’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a rare foray into domestic politics today, offering her view that — given America’s high unemployment — wealthy Americans don’t pay enough taxes.

“The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [America currently does] — whether it’s individual, corporate or whatever [form of] taxation forms,” Clinton told an audience at the Brookings Institution, where she was discussing the Administration’s new National Security Strategy.Clinton said the comment was her personal opinion alone. “I’m not speaking for the administration, so I’ll preface that with a very clear caveat,” she said.

Clinton went on to cite Brazil as a model.

“Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what — they’re growing like crazy,” Clinton said. “And the rich are getting richer, but they’re pulling people out of poverty.”

Both Clinton and Obama campaigned for president on promises to allow the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans expire this year, a plan that is now part of Obama’s budget. The move will effectively raise taxes sharply on people earning more than $250,000.

The Administration’s new formal strategy document makes the case that domestic economic strength is crucial to influence abroad.

Would someone please list Kagan’s qualifications?

Would someone please list Kagan’s qualifications?

J.C. Arenas

The “meat” of Elena Kagan’s resume can be found during her tenure as Dean of Harvard Law, but the more we chew on what this woman has actually done, the more we should realize it lacks flavor.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

But the case for Ms. Kagan as the primary healer on the once-divided campus is sometimes overstated. Much of the work to defuse the bitter atmosphere, which included ideologically driven standoffs over whom to hire, took place under Ms. Kagan’s predecessor, Robert Clark, dean for 14 years. He calmed tensions and expanded the faculty.

Those trends accelerated under Ms. Kagan’s leadership. Charles Fried, solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan and a Harvard Law faculty member since 1961, said Mr. Clark “was trying, but it was a struggle every time.” Ms. Kagan, he said, “was just incredibly politically skillful” at recruitment and at selling faculty on her choices.

He also credits her with arranging a faculty lounge so it offered free lunch and large tables, where faculty could sit and get to know one another. “It was an absolute stroke of genius,” Mr. Fried said.

(snip)

As a Harvard faculty member, Ms. Kagan impressed then-Harvard President Lawrence Summers with her skill in handling a touchy issue: whether the law school should move to an alternate campus. The faculty had been fiercely opposed, but she helped develop a negotiating position in dealing with the rest of the university that spelled out under what conditions the law school would consider moving.

(snip)

Beyond the political atmosphere, Ms. Kagan is credited with improving student life through upgrades to the physical campus, such as a revamped student center, an upgraded gym and an ice-skating rink that doubled as a volleyball court. And she offered small things, like free coffee outside classrooms and free tampons in the women’s restrooms.

Obama’s first Supreme Court appointment was Sonia Sotomayor, the Bronx-bred daughter of Puerto Rican parents, who supposedly was a valedictorian student with a deficiency in English and become an Ivy-League educated jurist credited with saving Major League Baseball.

Now we have Elena Kagan, the granddaughter of immigrants, who as Dean of Harvard Law, introduced the concepts of civil debate, a faculty lounge, free coffee and tampons.

If this woman has some legitimate qualifications to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, I hope they are presented soon; otherwise I’m going to have a win a year supply of Laffy Taffy to find a bigger joke. 

J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com

Kagan: Some speech can be ‘disappeared’–Wanted ‘societal costs’ counted against 1st Amendment rights

LAW OF THE LAND

Kagan: Some speech can be ‘disappeared’

Wanted ‘societal costs’ counted against 1st Amendment rights


Posted: May 10, 2010
9:10 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2010 WorldNetDaily


Elena Kagan

 

NEW YORK – President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, argued certain forms of speech that promote “racial or gender inequality” could be “disappeared.”

In her few academic papers, Kagan evidences strong beliefs for court intervention in speech, going so far as to posit First Amendment speech should be weighed against “societal costs.”

In her 1993 article “Regulation of Hate Speech and Pornography After R.A.V,” for the University of Chicago Law Review, Kagan writes:

“I take it as a given that we live in a society marred by racial and gender inequality, that certain forms of speech perpetuate and promote this inequality, and that the uncoerced disappearance of such speech would be cause for great elation.”

In a 1996 paper, “Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Governmental Motive in First Amendment Doctrine,” Kagan argued it may be proper to suppress speech because it is offensive to society or to the government.

 That paper asserted First Amendment doctrine is comprised of “motives and … actions infested with them” and she goes so far as to claim that “First Amendment law is best understood and most readily explained as a kind of motive-hunting.”

 Kagan’s name was also on a brief, United States V. Stevens, dug up by the Washington Examiner, stating: “Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs.”

 Kagan’s academic writings are sparse – just nine articles, two of which are book reviews.

 Her stand on free speech could become a hot button issue as the Senate convenes to confirm her. If approved, Kagan would give the high court three women justices for the first time. She would be the youngest member on the current court and the first justice in nearly four decades without any prior judicial experience.

WND has reported that in her undergraduate thesis at Princeton, Kagan lamented the decline of socialism in the country as “sad” for those who still hope to “change America.”

WND also reported Kagan has advocated for an increased presidential role in regulation, which, she conceded, would make such affairs more and more an extension of the president’s own policy and political agenda.

Kagan was nominated as U.S. solicitor general by Obama in January and confirmed by the Senate in March. She was a dean of Harvard Law School and previously served alongside Obama as a professor of law at the University of Chicago.

A former clerk to Abner Mikva at the D.C. federal appeals court, Kagan was heavily involved in promoting the health-care policy of the Clinton administration.

Obama praised her because while he said a “judge’s job is to interpret the law, not make the law,” she has evidenced a “keen understanding of the impact of the law on people’s lives.”

The president said she has a “firm grasp on the nexus and boundaries between our three branches of government.”

But more importantly, she understands, “behind the law there are stories, stories of people’s lives,” Obama said.

Kagan said the law is “endlessly interesting” and also “protects the most fundamental rights and freedoms.”

With research by Brenda J. Elliott.