Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Personal Asides: The Enormous Debt Blagojevich’s Campaign Owes Thompson’s Firm and the Speculative Debt Thompson Owes Ryan…Congressman Mark Kirk…Yes Ari Emanuel is Brother to That Emanuel…Peraica for President…Permanent Link to



The enormous debt Gov. Blagojevich’s campaign owes Winston & Strawn, former governor Jim Thompson’s firm—$536,022—has been variously described as checking to see that the campaign finance laws are obeyed…an outrageous fee, if that is correct…to a series of other unmentionables (probably advising the governor how to stay out of jail)…but represents a nadir of strata to which a once bright Republican star has sunk in quest of big bucks. Not that there’s anything wrong with the practice of law, or lobbying (the latter having been this Blog’s trade for 27 years)—but every lobbyist, particularly ones with prominent public policy reputations—has a choice of clients. This Blog took a post at what was the statesman company of the food industry, The Quaker Oats Company, which matched its manufacture of high nutritious, low cost foods (oatmeal, grits) and healthful products (Gatorade) with prescient leadership in support of human rights and minority leadership as well as quality television…but never had the luxury of choice that Thompson had.…one who certainly had the pick of the pack of highly ethical corporate clients.

Why, then, has Jim Thompson turn a brilliant legal reputation and a quality law firm to the indentured service of hack boiler-room lobbying clients, including hustling for a problematic liquor act which, after having been enacted by the legislature, was shown to be crassly subservient to a high paying wheeler-dealer company to the detriment of the state? Why was he the source of freebie criminal lawyer services to a convicted governor with the services so egregious that the bar association won’t recognize the work as pro bono since the work is generally recognized as payment of some hidden political deal?

Why has he made a once prominent firm the source of speculation that one former prosecutor-turned-governor is renting out his former prestige to keep a successor governor (whom Thompson raised money for and served as co-chairman of the transition) out of stir? Is the Blagojevich connection so valuable that Thompson wouldn’t even state an independent view in the campaign but desisted, saying only that he was “still a Republican”? Were these the only clients available? Not on your life. The managing and principal partner of Winston & Strawn, Jim Thompson, wants it that way.

Nothing morally wrong with giving representation to the most ethically challenged among us, ala George Ryan, but who ordained that Thompson had to do it? It leads to rife speculation that Thompson had no choice but to defend this snout-nosed ravenous predator of privilege in order to defend his own linkage with the man who was his lieutenant governor. If it were purely a his law firm’s reputation at stake, but no. As a personal matter Jim Thompson served as chairman of the auditing committee of Hollinger, the owner of the Sun-Times when the two crooks raped and pillaged the company of many assets which by any measure were unconscionably wicked. What happened to that bright, shining career that was once thought sufficient for its owner to run for president? The conclusion seems to be that the quest for lucre was at the bottom of it—except for the fact that the talents of its most dexterous criminal defense attorney, Dan Webb, were volunteered gratis.

You don’t hear much criticism from the liberal establishment editorial pages or Op Eds (with some exceptions) because Thompson was properly liberal on spending, taxes and social policy, which is all that matters to this leftward litmus-testing mediaocracy.


Congressman Mark Kirk’s address at the City Club the other day was dedicated to the so-called Suburban Agenda which he has pioneered in the House and for which he has gained notable recognition…but a bonus was his brilliant disquisition on foreign and defense policy which came in the Club’s famous question-and-answer session. There is little doubt in the mind of this Blog that Kirk would be a logical contender for the seat of Dick Durbin in 2008, notwithstanding that Kirk does not in the slightest embody any of the social positions for which this Blog is noted. He is pro-choice assuredly, reflecting his North Shore district which on social questions meets the equivalent of the Democratic party’s left. Undeniably Kirk would have to fight a more orthodox conservative for the Republican nod—but that is the way it should be. This Blog’s view is that there are few conservatives of any stripe who can match Kirk’s impressive command of foreign-defense where he stands exactly where George W. Bush stands.

Paul Simon, regarded in hushed tones as the sainted moral lodestar of Illinois liberaldom (with Abner Mikva, Clinton’s ethics chief running a close second, who couldn’t find anything going on in the Clinton White House and who has publicly defended Gov. Blagojevich before being named to a comfortably paying berth as head of the Illinois Human Relations commission)…Paul Simon was (a) pro-choice before he determined to run for Congress in a southern Illinois district that was pro-life whereupon his became an instant pro-life convert and lectured on it; then (b) turned pro-choice when he decided to run for the U. S. Senate whereupon he became an instant pro-choice convert and lectured on it. His disciple and ex-staffer, Richard Durbin was (a) a pro-life Congressman in the same southern Illinois district where pro-life was popular and (b) became an instant convert to pro-choice when he decided to run for the U. S. Senate. No one in the leftward litmus-testing mediocracy commented on the changes, secure that they were necessary in order for their heroes to win. Suppose Kirk were to reassess his position and become an instant pro-lifer? What would the mediaocracy say? That he would be a traitor to his principles, obviously which Simon and Durbin weren’t. P.S.: this Blog is still waiting to hear from former Mayor Giuliani as to whether he could manage the transition back to pro-life. Not having heard we will give him, oh, another week before going officially to the cause of Newt Gingrich.

Ari Emanuel.

After many predictions of dire calamity and Jewish persecution by the highly strung out Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, that Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” was anti-Semitic and likely to spur attacks on Jews, the showings have produced no trouble and have been adjudged by many sources—Michael Medved among them—as being salutary and a great production. Now Foxman has taken up the cry that the film is poison because Gibson has said some wildly erratic anti-Semitic things. One Ari Emanuel, Foxman’s assistant, went Foxman one better and suggested that a general across-the-board global boycott should keep Gibson from making any more films and insinuating that “The Passion” is indeed hate-filled because of Gibson’s remarks were hate-filled. This betrays a lamentable knowledge of the arts. Art is conceived and produced by all kinds of frail human beings—hate-filled, drunks, whoremasters the works—and intriguingly enough the subject’s persona often has little to do with the creation of his art.

Emanuel the Bitter Persecutor, incidentally, is the brother of Rahm Emanuel who used a stupid remark by one of Nancy Kasich’s supporters (that Rahm was a dual citizen) to cycle a district-wide cry of anti-Semitism that destroyed an otherwise good political career of Kasich. Just to let you know that the ability to (a) foment persecution and (b) to become the “victim” of a fancied persecution runs in the family evidently.

Peraica for President.

This Blog usually endorses candidates just before election but makes an exception in this case because it believes (a) Tony Peraica is superbly qualified to be President of the Cook county Board and (b) the race in Democratic Cook is so tough even so that he needs every little bit of help he can—and this Blog qualifies as being of little, but nevertheless of some, help. Good luck, Tony.

Permanent Link.

As of today this Blog is forging a permanent link with the blog which you will find in the margin at the left with other permanent links. Two reasons. Generally—but not always—Illinois Review agrees with us but even when it does not, its comments are thoughtful and constructive. The second is its introduction of the very interesting series on historic Illinoisans written with great care and affection for detail by Mark Rhoads. This Blog has known him for a long time extending back even before his fine public service as an Illinois State Senator and values his assessments.


  1. One has to be paranoid, or at least oversensitive, to find The Passion of the Christ antisemetic. However, I found the torture scene to be so graphic that it ruined the movie for me.

    Over the years I've done a good job of desensitizing myself with movie violence, but The Passion is the worst I've ever seen. It was brutal.

    I've no doubt that the Romans' persecution of Christ was every bit as brutal as depicted. Gibson seemed to take some personal care to ensure that the audience would gasp and cringe at each whip-last, every shread of flesh pulled out, every spurt of blood... It was wanton cruelty to the audience, and it still hurts to think about it.

    Gibson should have used a bit of art to depict the horrors rather than to inflict them on his audience. As devout as I try to be, I feel he ruined his otherwise beautiful movie with the teenage grossout scenes.

    Is he antisemitic? The movie doesn't point to it, but his drunken braying seems to prove it. Whether drunk or not, an antisemite says antisemitic things. Only a sincere heartfelt apology (which he's well done) and a lifelong avoidance of those words will redeem him to those who can forgive.

  2. Tom:

    Your comments and questions about Big Jim's behavior are right on the money, but I would say about 20 years too late. In my opinion there was no "shining reputation" to protect. His record as governor was one of spending and taxing that any Democrat would be proud to claim.

    His "Build Illinos" program in 1986 was nothing more than a public works boondoggle. That he now shamelessly peddles his over-priced legal skills to other hacks and pirates comes as no suprise to me.

    Thompson was a slimey public official and continues his slick and shiftless ways today.

    Dan Walker, Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar George Ryan and Blago. No "Profiles in Courage" there, just the kind of "leaders" you get in a state where everything is for sale and public integrity is a punchline to a bad joke.

  3. Query: has Thompson changed character or does it just show more now than it did in 1976?

  4. Read Harry Trumans comments on Jews in his diarys now public. Or the Secretary of State under Roosevelt.

    Or your boss Nixon. This is overexagerrated.