[Last weeks column in The Wanderer, the oldest national Catholic weekly in the nation].
By Thomas F. Roeser
CHICAGOWhenever a new president is elected, the media go back to his home state to write pretty prose pictures of his hometown, interview his associates who are, or were, close to him in his early formative years. They did it with Lincoln to whom Barack Obama likes to be compared. So while Obama isnt elected yet but in case he is, I thought Id save the national press the trouble and do it now. Not that Im sure hell get in although theres a good chance of ityou never know.
I know theyre not close now but I still start with Caucasian-baiter Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obamas ex-pastor. He cursed America from the pulpit and said the federal government invented the AIDS virus to wipe out black people. What you may not know as well is that he married his second wife after counseling her solo on her troubled marriage in the 1980s, leading her ex-husband to charge that Wright moved in on his wife after counseling her. On the race issue, Obama said he would never disown Wright but later did. Since he has said hed like to negotiate with terrorists without pre-conditions, he just may reestablish relations with Rev. Wright provided he begins praising him once again.
We go now to Wrights idol, called by his respectful worshipers including Obama The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, who was plain old Louis Eugene Walcott when he moved here as emcee of The Calypso Follies but who found religion [sic] with the black Muslims becoming, head of the Nation of Islam, a man whom Wright called one of the greatest leaders of the century. The same Farrakhan who shouted, bug-eyed at a rally in 1993, answering the question who ordered the assassination of Malcolm X in New York : If we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? And who was accused by Malcolm Xs wife of orchestrating Malcolms murder. Who bellowed here at a 2000 rally, white people are potential humans; they just havent evolved yet. And who told the news media that Barack Obama is the hope of the entire world spurring Obamas quick disavowal of him. Yes, that one.
Following which we get to the Fruit of Islam, bow-tied black body guards for Farrakhan, the closest thing this nation has seen to the old Roman Praetorian Guards. They make a ring around the rostrum and fold their arms just so whenever Farrakhan when he makes a speech and on occasion when the Rev. Jesse Jackson does, too. Theyre much more formidable than the Secret Service who melt into a crowd. These, about 20 in number, are all over 6 feet 4 and 200-plus lbs, husky brutes notwithstanding the very misleading Fruit in their title.
Just as the nature of the Praetorian Guards changed between Julius and Augustus Caesar, from purely defensive protectors to offensive enforcers, on Feb. 21, 1965 a few of the Fruit of Islam (singular usage: you dont call them fruits if you want to live) from Elijah Muhammad in Chicago traveled to a ballroom in Manhattan where Malcolm X was speaking and pumped 16 rounds into him, this being the first day of National Brotherhood Week, turning him into Swiss cheese. Two of them went to jail willingly. That kind of dedication is hard to beat. When Farrakhan who was then number two and a rival of Malcolm succeeded Elijah he got rather defensive as is shown from his statement in the paragraph above. Farrakhan being so high on Obama, its a good bet theyll be around to guard him, too, if he gets elected and he wants them. Theyre far better than the Secret Service but with this qualification: dont ask them to have to choose between Farrakhan and Obama.
Then there is the Rev. Jackson himself who picketed many businesses demanding jobs for blacks including Anheuser Busch when he called off the picketing after his sons got a lucrative Budweiser distributorship here. And his and Farrakhans sidekick, Fr. Michael Pfleger, the white pastor of St. Sabinas who defends Rev. Right and Minister Farrakhan and who twice has threatened a legally-constituted gun shop owner, saying well snuff you out! adding that if the chancery transfers him from his pastorate, he will start his own religion with the result that the flaccid archdiocese afraid of its own shadow, hes been pastor for more than 20 years.
Add Todd Stroger, the black Catholic pro-abort Democrat in his first term as president of the Cook county board (endorsed by Obama), presiding over a county that is $21.6 million in the red in his first six months and who has passed a sales tax hike, the largest in the country, that will produce $200 million more than needed which enabled him to re-hire 1,100 patronage workers.
Front and center is, of course, Democratic Mayor Richard M. Daley, a Catholic pro-abort and supporter of same-sex marriage, who is under investigation for illegal hiring practices and who, when he gets excited as he was last year, shouted at the press what am I supposed to do, take down my pants? He is an enthusiastic supporter of Obama and has touted his close friendship with two initial Obama supporters who should also be on this list: Billy Ayres and his wife Bernardine Dohrn. The media refers to them as former terrorists who bombed 25 places including the Pentagon but since neither of them ever expressed regret (actually, Billy said he regretted he didnt do more) I would still list them as terrorists to be accurate about it. They fronted the first fund-raiser for Obama when he ran for the state senate and have stayed close ever sincealthough recently he felt he had to disavow them. But of course Daley didnt.
Plus Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich who has been listed as Individual A by the feds for selling jobs and campaign donations in return for state jobs and may be indicted soon if he isnt impeached yet (57% of the state is rooting for it). Then the two Madigans, pro-abort Catholic Democrats, father and daughter, he the Speaker of the state House and state Democratic chairman, she the attorney general who when she was elected vowed to close womens centers that counseled against abortion. Following which we have the Democratic state senate president, pro-abort Catholic Emil Jones, a former lowly sewer inspector for the city who rose to become chief patron to Obama and who scored headlines last week when the issue of legislative pay raises came up declaring, I wanna pay raise; I wanna pay raise! I needa pay raise! The Madigans hate Blagojevich and Jones; Jones likes Blagojevich and hates the Madigans which is why this state has never got together on a budget despite that all of them are Democrats.
Not to forget the Democratic pro-abort state comptroller, Catholic pro-abort Dan Hynes, scion of a powerful Chicago family; or the Democratic pro-abort state treasurer, Alexi Giannoullias. With Giannoullias the story gets rather complicated. He is a Greek Orthodox who at age 28 and in charge of loans at his familys bank approved funding for Jaws Giorango so Giorango could buy a casino fleet in Florida despite federal convictions for bookmaking and being found guilty of promoting a prostitution ringbut who was endorsed for election by Obama who cut a TV commercial for him in recognition of Giannoullias prominent banking family which gave hefty chunks of money to Obama.
Continuing: the first U. S. senator to endorse Obama, Catholic pro-abort Democratic U.S. Senator Dickie Durbin who comes here on occasion from Springfield to go to church at Old St. Patricks, the mother parish of the Democratic establishment, there to receive communion because he is turned down in Springfield, who equated U.S. troops at Gitmo with thugs of Pol Pot; In addition David Axelrod, the pro-abort media guru for Obama.
Now we get to one who may well be the most important figure in the next White House aside from Michelle Obama of course and that would be Democratic pro-abort Valerie Jarrett (who was on the cover of last weeks Newsweek standing next to Obama who was saluted as the nations best hope), top Obama aide and pro-abort who wears tailored Calvin Klein suits, diamond earrings and a sapphire on her finger the size of a Chicklet, introduced continually as one of the most powerful women in Chicago, former deputy chief of staff to Mayor Daley, who hired Michelle Obama for Daleys administration and later got her the $300,000 a year job at the University of Chicago Medical Center (where Ms. Jarrett is on the board)-- for which institution Obama returned the favor by securing millions in federal grants. One signal that she is a very good administrator is that she ran the Chicago Housing Authority for many years and never got indicted.
You can see almost all of them if you choose the very best places to dine. I saw Axelrod, Obamas image man last week at a restaurant (hes also pictured on last weeks Newsweek cover along with Valerie Jarrett, the issue that salutes Obama as the nations best hope)so I walked up to him and asked once Obama is elected and if there would be a reconciliation between him and Rev. Wright could there be announced an official God damn America Sunday by presidential proclamation. Axelrod giggled as he ate his pastrami, looked around and signaled for his waiter, murmuring hes disturbing me! You see, theyre so confident of getting elected you cant rattle them or get them mad.
One person you dont see at restaurants anymore, however, is former Obama pal Antonin Rezko, the Syrian immigrant who onetime was very wealthy. He got deeply involved with Obama although now they are rather distant. But they date from way back, just after Childe Barack drifted into town from Harvard Law. In addition to being a community organizer with a political yen and about the same time he found Jesus Christ and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama as a young lawyer helped slumlords operate in Chicago, the firm which hired him allegedly serving as a conduit for a slew of slumlord deals. Tony Rezko early became an Obama political finance godfather, from whom Obama received his first contributions to launch his political career for the state senate in July, 1995. When the heat got on Rezko, Obama put out the word that Rezko raised only about $50,000 for him, but he was forced to tell the papers last March 14 Rezkos help adds up to $250,000.
He told the media first that he only had dinner with Rezko once or twice a year. But when confronted by Sun-Times reporters in March with the allegation that an FBI mole personally saw him coming and going to Rezkos office often and that three distinct sources testified he talked to Rezko on the phone daily, Obamas yarn collapsed. Now he says he may have talked to Rezko daily at times during his campaigns but sometimes he went for a whole month without talking to him. I have to say were talking over the course of 10 years, he said, there might have been spurts where I talked to him daily. But there might have been stretches over a month where I wouldnt have talked to him at all.
Rezko was an equal opportunity hustler for Republicans, too--but he developed a particular interest in Obama. Obama entered into a real estate deal with Rezko while it was publicly known Rezko was under investigation for shoving illegal contributions to Illinois politicians, which Obama described, when caught, as a boneheaded move. In June, 2005 Obama and Rezko purchased adjoining parcels in the Hyde Park-Kenwood neighborhood. Obama paid $1.65 million for the Georgian-style revival mansion because his wife wanted the house with four fireplaces, six bathrooms and a wine cellar. He paid for it from proceeds earned from book sales but wanted to acquire a lot next door to ensure privacy.
Rezko wanted to protect Obama from Rezkos notoriety so the developer had his wife come up with a $125,000 down payment and secured a $500,000 mortgage to buy the $625,000 lot next to Obama despite the fact that as a staffer in Cook county government she was earning only $37,000 a year. But her name was good. Then in January, 2006 Obama paid Rezko for the strip of land. Later Rezko was indicted for his role in a pay-to-play scheme designed to fatten Gov. Blagojevichs political fund.
He told the federal judge he had no money left and she believed him; otherwise she would have marked him down as a good candidate for a flight risk. But then it developed he had in his pocket $3.5 million from his good friend an Iraqi businessman named Nadhmi Auchi. The judge then sent Rezko to jail for lying to her, to await trial. Now hes out because a number of friends ponied up bail. And his relationship now with Obama is let us say non-existent.
Still ethics sticklers say that if it can be proven Obama asked Rezko for a favor and Rezko delivered and Obama got a break somehow in their dealings, all the air would go out of Obamas balloon because among other things its a violation of the Senate ethics law (and as you know Harry Reid gave Obama the job of being the chambers ethics policeman which got national publicity). It sort of looks like that since Obama has admitted that he approached Rezko for the property up for sale and that Rezko developed an immediate interest but to go further serves nobody in Chicago any good and may even be racist.
Some far-right conspiratorialists here say much more will come out from Rezko if he goes back to prison. Could be. But time for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to indict may run out by electionso for now, the case is really on tenterhooks. If stuff happens, if further investigation determines that Rezko aided Obama materially
and it could come to that
racist or not, it would produce a major breakthrough which assuredly to the late British prime minister Harold Macmillan could well be labeled as events, my dear boy, events.
In which case this list of Chicago associates would be redundantbut I thought Id write it up now anyhow because the polls show so clearly that the American electorate desperately wants change. Which they will get if Barack gets elected. We all agree on that.
I guess thats all for now. Ill write again next week.