ABC News Blotter - With the corruption trial of one of Sen. Barack Obama's longtime friends and supporters set to begin Monday in Chicago, Ill., reform watchdogs say it will reveal the "cesspool" of Illinois politics in which Obama came of age and has said little about in his campaign for president.When the Clintons were in the White House you couldn't open a file drawer in Washington, DC without a Russian crook popping out. Hi. Today ve selling off Russian aluminum industry. Vant to make ten million cheap easy?
"We have a sick political culture," said Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, "and that's the environment that Barack Obama came from."
Stewart says he does not understand why Obama has lectured others about corruption in Washington and Kenya but "been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state, including at this point, mostly Democratic politicians."
There was no immediate comment from the Obama campaign.
The trial Monday involves federal charges of bribery and extortion against Tony Rezko, a real estate developer who became known in Illinois politics as a behind-the-scenes operator and fixer. While Obama is not considered a target of the Rezko investigation, Stewart says it will shed light on a man who was pivotal to Obama's political career.
"This wasn't just some guy who wrote a check once for Barack Obama, it's someone who was an early supporter and had a personal relationship with Sen. Obama for quite some time," Stewart said. Indeed, even after he was elected to the United States Senate, Obama involved Rezko in a land deal that enabled the senator to buy his current home on Chicago's South Side. Obama has since called his decision to involve Rezko "a bone-headed mistake."
"Tony Rezko is all that is wrong with the old kind of politics or any kind of politics," said the Better Government Association's Stewart. The Rezko trial will focus on Rezko's alleged role in steering Illinois state contracts in exchange for kickbacks and political contributions to Rezko friends. The most damning examples cited by prosecutors involve Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but several of the contributions were directed to Obama's 2004 Senate campaign. [...]
You would think that the Democrat Party leaders had learned their lesson with Marc Rich. So what possessed the party bosses to push for Barack Obama? Did they hope that Auchi's attorneys could terrorize the American news media into such silence that the lid would stay on, at least until Obama got into the White House?
Okay, but didn't they look at a calendar and see that Tony Rezko's indictment was on the horizon? Didn't they know that the trial was going to make it impossible to hide from the rest of the country the cesspool of corruption that is Illinois politics?
The crazy part is that so many Americans are mad at the GOP that Donald Duck could have been elected president if he'd run on the Democrat ticket. His entire platform could have consisted of "Quack; quack quack!" and he would have won by a landslide.
Any old Democrat would have done. But no -- Howard Dean would not rest until he found the one politician in the Democrat party who made a point of lecturing Washington about the evils of corruption while he himself was up to his eyeballs in it.
And not just homegrown corruption. We're talking Syrian crooks, Iraqi crooks -- and not just any old Iraqi crooks. We're talking Saddam's old crew.
Don't tell me that Obama is so slick he can handle it. What's he going to do? Speed-dial Rezko and say thanks for getting me this far but you don't own me anymore, now I want to be president.
Hello, Rafik Hariri had more security than a US president. They had to scrape pieces of him off the street after the bomb went off.
So what century is Ted Kennedy living in? What planet does Howard Dean inhabit? Let me explain this planet, in this century:
Feb 15, 2008 - Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.Yes, that would be the same Prince Bandar who was the toast of Washington for years and the dear friend of the GOP and the Democrats. But all those happy Washington parties were in another time, another century.
Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.
Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.
He was accused in yesterday's high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family. [...]
Maybe the worst part is the trust that so many young Americans placed in Obama. I think of the donations from Americans who couldn't afford to give as much as they did but who turned out their pockets in the hope that Obama would cleanse Washington of fat cats.
One may call such Americans naive but it's the responsibility of the Democrat Party leadership to insure that their candidates are well vetted before they run for the highest office in the land.
As for shifting the blame to The New York Times -- they're waiting for Rachel's Law to kick in, so Auchi's lawyers can't stick them with a $100 billion defamation suit from London if the paper so much as spells his name wrong.
Yes, the national US mainstream media can be faulted for playing ostrich but where is it written that it's their job to vet political candidates?
I see that ABC News is scrambling now that it's dawned on George Soros that the scandal can finish the Democrat Party. But it's a little late in the day to come alive, isn't it?
Byron York reports that during this morning's ABC This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Howard Wolfson called on the Obama campaign to release all records and correspondence relating to Tony Rezko.
Would that release be going back 20 years and include all the phone conversations and in-person verbal exchanges?
For background on the Auchi-Obama angle, see John Batchelor's Feb 20 report Who are they? and Jack Kelly's Mar 1 Who Is Nadhmi Auchi and What's His Tie to Obama? The Kelly piece repeats some information Batchelor provides but both reports are helpful given the small amount of data that's publicly available at this point about Auchi.
Visit Rezko Watch daily if you want to keep up with the latest on all the parts in the affair.
And tune in the John Batchelor Show tonight; as I mentioned in my last post I don't know which of his two Sunday broadcasts will feature breaking news about the affair but my guess is that he'll lead off with it on one or both broadcasts.