Whitehouse dot gov has a new Office of Public Liaison & Intergovernmental Affairs (OPL-IGA) which is Barack Obama's gatekeepers to hoi polloi. They're going to be soliciting input from the citizens, and I urge everyone to give them more input than they can manage by asking them tough questions.
It's not clear from their page (whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/opl) how exactly they'll be soliciting that input, whether online or at public events. The first would be problematic due to the way they've handled things such as the "Citizen's Briefing Book", which was a scam designed simply to give a verisimilitude of the citizens having a voice.
However, if they'll be conducting some form of townhall, these would be a wonderful opportunity to discredit members of the Obama administration on video which could then be uploaded to video sharing sites. If the participants in those townhalls are screened for ideological purity or for not being able to ask tough questions, much could be made of that including filing FOIA requests to determine what rules were in place.
From their page:
[The OPL-IGA] is the front door to the White House through which everyone can participate and inform the work of the President.
OPL-IGA takes the Administration out of Washington and into communities across America, stimulating honest dialogue and ensuring that America's citizens and their elected officials have a government that works effectively for them and with them.
Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich arrested by FBI on federal corruption charges; accused of trying to sell Obama's senate seat - 12/09/08
From a U.S. Department of Justice press release (usdoj.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2008/pr1209_01.pdf, text version here):
Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.
Shorter version: link
Dick Durbin calls for a special election: link
Obama's big donors involved: link
Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley responds: link
And, the guessing game now will be to find out who the various "Senate Candidates", "Contributors", and "Lobbyists" mentioned are:
Just last week, on December 4, Blagojevich allegedly told an advisor that he might "get some (money) up front, maybe" from Senate Candidate 5, if he named Senate Candidate 5 to the Senate seat, to insure that Senate Candidate 5 kept a promise about raising money for Blagojevich if he ran for re-election. In a recorded conversation on October 31, Blagojevich claimed he was approached by an associate of Senate Candidate 5 as follows: "We were approached ‘pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator."Marc Ambinder thinks #5 is Jesse Jackson Jr. Here's a table:
Senate Candidate 1 (Obama's choice): Valerie Jarrett (source)
Senate Candidate 2: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan? (see 'columnist' below)
Senate Candidate 3:
Senate Candidate 4: Dean Martinez?
Senate Candidate 5: Jesse Jackson Jr.?
Senate Candidate 6: wealthy, has an in with Warren Buffet
Are Tammy Duckworth or Rep. Jan Schakowsky on the list?
While the charges concentrate on Blago's dealings since October, it also includes past activities that may have some direct connection to Barack Obama:
The charges include historical allegations that Blagojevich and Harris schemed with others - including previously convicted defendants Antoin Rezko, Stuart Levine, Ali Ata and others - since becoming governor in 2002 to obtain and attempt to obtain financial benefits for himself, his family and third parties, including his campaign committee, Friends of Blagojevich, in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts and access to state funds. A portion of the affidavit recounts the testimony of various witnesses at Rezko's trial earlier this year.One payoff Blago considered was a job at a union:
Two days later, in a three-way call with Harris and Advisor B, a consultant in Washington, Blagojevich and the others allegedly discussed the prospect of a three-way deal for the Senate appointment involving an organization called "Change to Win," which is affiliated with various unions including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)... On November 10, Blagojevich, his wife, Harris, Governor General Counsel, Advisor B and other Washington-based advisors participated at different times in a two-hour phone call in which they allegedly discussed, among other things, a deal involving the SEIU. Harris said they could work out a deal with the union and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with Blagojevich's appointment of Senate Candidate 1, while Blagojevich would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future. Also during that call, Blagojevich agreed it was unlikely that the President-elect would name him Secretary of Health and Human Services or give him an ambassadorship because of all of the negative publicity surrounding him.Change to Win denies any contact (link); note that that group is linked into the George Soros/Center for American Progress network.
From the complaint:
On November 6, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Spokesman. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Spokesman to leak to a particular columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, that Senate Candidate 2 is in the running for the vacant Senate seat. According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, by doing this, he wanted "to send a message to the [President-elect's] people," but did not want it known that the message was from ROD BLAGOJEVICH. Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Spokesman discussed specific language that should be used in the Sun Times column and arguments as to why Senate Candidate 2 made sense for the vacant Senate seat. A review of this particular Sun Times column on November 7, 2008, indicates references to the specific language and arguments regarding Senate Candidate 2 as a potential candidate for the Senate seat, as discussed by ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Spokesman.A search didn't turn up who that could be; if anyone can find that please leave a comment. Ambinder thinks it's Madigan, and the columnist is Michael Sneed (marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/12/the_blago_indictment_fun_with.php)
Blago also wanted to start a 501(c)4 organization that others would fund and he'd be employed by. And, he wanted Warren Buffett to come up with millions for it:
Later in the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Advisor A again discussed the possibility of a 501(c)(4) organization, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH again noted that "[Senate Candidate 6]" could "do it." ROD BLAGOJEVICH and Advisor A discussed who might be close to Senate Candidate 6 to talk with him about the issue, because ROD BLAGOJEVICH did not "want to be the one to ask something like that." Advisor A agreed to find out who is close to Senate Candidate 6.And, it looks like the Barack Obama circle knew that Blago wanted something in exchange for appointing Jarrett:
On November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with SEIU Official, who was in Washington, D.C. Prior intercepted phone conversations indicate that approximately a week before this call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH met with SEIU Official to discuss the vacant Senate seat, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH understood that SEIU Official was an emissary to discuss Senate Candidate 1's interest in the Senate seat. During the conversation with SEIU Official on November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH informed SEIU Official that he had heard the President-elect wanted persons other than Senate Candidate 1 to be considered for the Senate seat. SEIU Official stated that he would find out if Senate Candidate 1 wanted SEIU Official to keep pushing her for Senator with ROD BLAGOJEVICH. ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that "one thing I'd be interested in" is a 501(c)(4) organization. ROD BLAGOJEVICH explained the 501(c)(4) idea to SEIU Official and said that the 501(c)(4)could help "our new Senator [Senate Candidate 1]." SEIU Official agreed to "put that flag up and see where it goes."There's no proof offered that the "SEIU official" then spoke with Obama's advisor Valerie Jarrett, but it is likely.
UPDATE: Expect Obama's supporters to try to help him come out of this unscathed by pointing to Blago's various Obama-directed expletives as well as his statements that Obama doesn't want to give him anything. However, who knows what would have happened if the investigation had continued?
And, from Jake Tapper (link):
But on November 23, 2008, his senior adviser David Axelrod appeared on Fox News Chicago and said something quite different.UPDATE 2: Trouble in paradise! Now, an unnamed Obama aide says about the foregoing Axelrod statement: "What the president-elect said today is correct, David Axelrod misspoke." That would seem to be moving beyond simply distancing himself from Blago and moving into "we're scared" mode.
While insisting that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a "kingmaker," Axelrod said, "I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."
There are no allegations that President-elect Obama or anyone close to him had anything to do with any of the crimes Gov. Blagojevich is accused of having committed.
In fact, there are indications that Mr. Obama and his team refused to go along with the "pay to play" way Blagojevich is accused of operating, offering only "gratitude" if the governor appointed his friend Valerie Jarrett to take his U.S. Senate seat, much to the governor's chagrin.
But there remain questions about how Blagojevich knew that Mr. Obama was not willing to give him anything in exchange for the Senate seat -- with whom was Blagojevich speaking? Did that person report the governor to the authorities?
And, it should be pointed out, Mr. Obama has a relationship with Mr. Blagojevich, having not only endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006, but having served as a top adviser to the Illinois governor in his first 2002 run for the state house.
That 2002 endorsement came at the same time that Axelrod had such serious concerns about whether Blagojevich was ready for governing he refused to work for his one-time client.
Also, per this, other possibilities for Candidate 5 are Art Turner and Obama's partial mentor Emil Jones.
UPDATE 3: There are lists of the financial ties that bind Tony Rezko and Blago and Rezko and Barack Obama here.
Obama is calling for Blago to resign.
Brian Ross of ABC News says that Jesse Jackson Jr. is "Candidate 5".
There's a timeline here.
On the morning of 11/5, KHQA said that BHO and Blago would be meeting that afternoon; they then pulled the article, a copy of which is here On November 08, 2008 at 9:48 p.m. at Alexis Hunt from the same station said ''Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss [the Senate seat]" (link). However, an Associated Press article by Dennis Conrad - posted here at November 5, 2008 6:58 PM CST says "[Blago] said he has not yet spoken to Obama, whose timeline for resigning his Senate seat was unclear Wednesday."
UPDATE 4: Now KHQA has pulled both articles, and posted this:
KHQA TV wishes to offer clarification regarding a story that appeared last month on our website ConnectTristates.com. The story, which discussed the appointment of a replacement for President Elect Obama’in the U.S. Senate, became the subject of much discussion on talk radio and on blog sites Wednesday.UPDATE 5: Some initial reports said the SEIU official was Andy Stern, but the New York Times says:
The story housed in our website archive was on the morning of November 5, 2008. It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place. Governor Blagojevich did appear at a news conference in Chicago on that date.
Several union officials in Chicago and Washington said that the service employees official approached by Mr. Harris was Tom Balanoff, the president of the union’s giant janitors’ local in Chicago and head of the union’s Illinois state council. Mr. Balanoff, one of the union officials closest to Mr. Obama, is widely seen as an aggressive, successful labor leader, who has helped unionize thousands of janitors not just in the Chicago area but also in Texas.
Luis Gutierrez made $420,000 on real estate deals with political contributors (FBI involved) - 12/08/08
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez made $420,000 on a series of speculative real estate deals, some involving political contributor and Chicago real estate developer Krzysztof Karbowski. And, the FBI is at least looking into some of Gutierrez' past activities:
Gutierrez sent a letter to Mayor Richard Daley seeking support for a controversial project built by one of the congressman's political donors who also had lent him money. The newspaper reported that federal authorities investigating zoning matters have shown interest in the Gutierrez letter... The FBI has obtained the letter Gutierrez wrote in July 2004 to Daley. Gutierrez, a former alderman and 1st Ward Democratic committeeman, wrote the letter on behalf of developer Calvin Boender. Months earlier, Boender had lent the congressman $200,000 in a land deal...
The level of interest is key, and it would be great if they're specifically trying to get Gutierrez on something.
1. One of the organizers of the March 24 Georgia boycott was Teodoro Maus, a former Mexican consul general. He was also one of the organizers of the October 7 Atlanta march. That march was led by GA state Senator Sam Zamarripa and GA state representative Pedro Marin, both members of the Democratic Party.
Felipe Calderon Feb. 2008 U.S. visit: Eliot Spitzer, Blagojevich, Schwarzenegger, Villaraigosa, Fabian Nunez - 02/09/08
In addition to U.S. officials, and some who are supposedly U.S. officials, he'll probably also be meeting with community leaders, such as those from non-profits, "hometown associations", the leaders of his PAN party who operate inside the U.S., and the like. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find a listing, but if anyone could leave information in comments that would be quite helpful.
In addition to addressing the California legislature, some people he's known to be meeting with are:
* U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
* New York governor Eliot Spitzer
* Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich
* California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
* Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
* Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (private meeting)
UPDATE: According to this:
...officials said he'll meet with Mayor Richard Daley, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other leaders... ...includes a private meeting with some Mexican community leaders at McCormick Place... ..."We will be there making our proposals to him in what we expect to be a sincere dialogue," said Salvador Pedroza, chairman of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce and leader of the Illinois chapter of Calderon's National Action Party... In the afternoon, Calderon is expected to attend a town-hall-style meeting at Little Village High School on the Southwest Side.Please indict him already.
...After Calderon met privately with Blagojevich, officials announced an agreement for a teacher's exchange program that would send Mexican educators to Illinois to help teach math, natural sciences, Spanish and other subjects in local classrooms.
"It's very important that we recognize the contributions Mexico has made to Illinois and the United States, by strengthening our mutual bond and improving the quality and scope of Mexican culture in Illinois," Blagojevich said in an e-mailed news release.
UPDATE 2: His first meeting was at the Council of the Americas, with their honorary president David Rockefeller. Then, it was off to meet Eliot Spitzer (presidencia.gob.mx/prensa/?contenido=33715); Calderon congratulated him for his "efforts... to provide Mexican migrants with access to public education and health services as well as to guarantee their work rights". Then, a private meeting with the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, and he also spoke at Harvard, with Deval Patrick, and with the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. In Chicago he met with mayor Richard M. Daley and with Blago. He even met with Jesse Jackson. All that and much, much more here.
Elvira Arellano - the illegal alien who was ordered to be deported after being convicted of using a false Social Security number and who's been holed up in a Chicago church for a year and who's only a sympathetic figure to those on the far-left - has left her "sanctuary" and is currently on a road trip.
The following letter was sent by Juan Salgado - president of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights - to Mexican president [[Vicente Fox]]. URL: www.ime.gob.mx/ccime/discursos/js7.htm
[[WMAQ]]/[[March 10, 2006]]/ link
Reports on the March 10 Chicago march
...Rep. Luis Gutierrez told the crowd that immigrants are here to stay. And the Illinois Democrat pledged to work to block a controversial bill that would drastically strengthen immigration laws.
"Shut the Senate down until you get the voice of immigrants who work so hard," said Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
...A given day (at the church where she's holed up) might see elected officials, diplomats from the Venezuelan consulate, journalists from the New York Times or European national radio services, or representatives of the Latino and left-wing press.
Many Democratic politicians and pundits supported the recent illegal immigration marches, and some Democratic politicians appeared at some of the rallies or even helped organize some of them.
And, some other organizers of the rallies have various kinds of links to the government of Mexico.
While that's not enough to claim that the Democratic Party has direct links to the Mexican government, they are clearly part of the same network. And, that should be disturbing to the millions of more moderate members of that party.
Here are the current known links:
Guess what: they already have. As detailed a year ago, L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti - consistently an idiot - together with then-mayor Jim Hahn welcomed Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley to the rollout for new security cameras which were placed on Hollywood Boulevard.
Chicago now has a proposed ordinance to require bars to install security cameras. Who exactly would monitor those cameras is uncertain, but I have no doubt that the government would eventually assume that role.
If Daley's advocacy for cameras on the street lead to Los Angeles installing them, have no doubt that our own leading lights - lead no doubt by Garcetti - will soon come out with a similar proposal.
Also, as pointed out in the other entries in this category, there's usually someone around to say something creepy, and here's the current version:
"The safer we make the city, the better it is for everyone," says Chicago Alderman Ray Suarez, who first proposed mandatory cameras in some businesses. "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"
Last October, the L.A. City Council, lead by Councilman Eric Garcetti, proposed installing five surveillance cameras on Hollywood Blvd., with 59 more to follow on Hollywood, Sunset, Santa Monica, and Western. According to an LAPD spokesman at the time: "people are ready to feel more secure in their communities. I think they are willing to give up a little bit ... for more security."
Mayor Jim Hahn was joined today by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, and City Councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge to unveil the first of five surveillance cameras that will supplement and enhance Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) efforts to reduce crime and increase the quality of life for residents and visitors to the Hollywood Area...
..."Our two cities are committed to sharing strategies and techniques to deter criminals and improve the quality of life of all our residents," said Mayor Daley. "Cameras are the equivalent of thousands of sets of eyes..."
..."Cameras have already met with great success in Los Angeles," said Councilmember Eric Garcetti. "This neighborhood has fought its way back to become L.A's number one place to live, work and visit. These cameras will give Hollywood added security and make residents and visitors feel safer..."
But, that's not the only new camera system the LAPD is working on:
The Los Angeles Police Department is testing a camera system that could improve its chances of arresting car thieves.
The system uses mobile digital cameras to scan up to two thousand license plates per hour and compare them to a database of stolen vehicles. The scans offer virtually instantaneous results, meaning an officer is alerted the moment the system focuses on the plate of a vehicle that has been reported stolen.
Police first tested the device in the San Fernando Valley during the busy Christmas shopping season...
A longer story about this, including ACLU quotes and some backstory of surveillance cameras, is in "Cameras after gangsters". It includes these quotes from LAPD Chief Bill Bratton:
"I'm not worried about [privacy arguments] at all," he said. "It's public spaces -- just as you and I are able to see with our eyes.
"If you're not wanted for something, you have nothing to fear."
The press release from the British company that's supplying the Platescan technology is here.
Inventive readers are invited to speculate on how we could be even safer. See also the Surveillance Camera Players.