Friday, August 20, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Fitz Should Be Less Intense but Definitely Stick Around…Brackett’s Interview with Robert Blagojevich. More.

                 Feast of St. John Eudes* 
                        Fitzgerald Indiscreet But Invaluable.  
         The Wall Street Journal editorial page thinks Pat Fitzgerald should be fired or resign…charging incompetence in securing Rod Blagojevich’s conviction on only one count—plus other grievances. What are they thinking of?  This guy has been the best thing that happened to Chicago since Herbert Hoover dispatched The Untouchables to get Capone. No prosecutor bats 100%.  But Fitzgerald has been, in baseball terms, a 400 hitter.  I would agree that his statement about Lincoln turning over in his grave was over-wrought…but dramatic overstatement is par for the course for prosecutors.   
        The litany of his successful prosecutions included former Republican governor George Ryan…a number of top aides to Mayor Richard M. Daley…James Laski the Democratic Chicago city clerk…participants in the Hired Truck scandal, Conrad Black, the former Canadian media mogul and Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame case where a CIA employee’s occupation was leaked to a newspaper columnist which was against federal law.   
       The skilled prosecution of one of the most venal political crook ever to sit in the governor’s office, George Ryan, against all that Big Jimbo (former U,. S. Attorney and Winston & Strawn chairman Jim Thompson) and his multi-million-dollar defense could do, should entitle Patrick Fitzgerald to a bronze bust in the Chicago History Museum. I see Ms. Barr Topinka says Blago exceeded ol’ George in crime.  So far as I know, under Blago, no kids were barbecued alive in a fiery car because of a system of crooked license inspectors.  (Digression: I’ll pass up the State Comptroller choice rather than vote for old Tugboat Annie).  
        As stated earlier, sending old George upstream was only one accomplishment by Patrick Fitzgerald.  There was Fitz’s prosecution of Daley minions who screwed the city taxpayers by sending water department workers out to the precincts to help Rahm Emanuel.  The thing I enjoyed was the look of panic in the eyes of The Squid.  Remember, before Fitz was named, Daley was preparing to go on a vacation-business trip with the last federal prosecutor Scott Lassar…so chummy were they.   
         I usually agree with editorials in The Wall Street Journal but not this time. The fact that Blago was convicted on only one count is not due to a faulty prosecution but to Chicagoans’ acceptance of crooked politics: a cultural thing. (Digression: The one holdout juror served in the state Department of Health. I wonder if she got her job directly or indirectly from Blago’s people).  The editorial also faults him for the conviction of Conrad Black.  If Black had a good chairman of the audit committee on his board, he would have been spared conviction.  The audit chairman was Big Jimbo who admitted he only scanned the bills he was supposed to watch with a jeweler’s eye.    
           For me, Patrick Fitzgerald is a diligent and incorruptible prosecutor who has within him a bit of Inspector Javert, the fanatical police inspector who stalked Jean ValJean for years as portrayed in Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Miserables.  I was greatly upset on the Valerie Plame case when he accused Scooter Libby of obstruction of justice and perjury in  blocking the investigation seeking the identity of the individual who leaked her name and it turned out Fitzgerald knew all along that the leaker was Richard Armitage.  
        In that case, Fitz strained at a gnat.  He convicted Libby of lying quite apart from Fitz’s portfolio to find the leaker of Plame’s name. If you know all along who the leaker is and at the same time indict a guy for blocking information and perjury—when all the time you have the information—it comes down to indictment of  fruitless intent. Convicting Libby as a digression from his appointed task was a notable example of  Fitzgerald’s “Inspector Javert” tendency.    
          But by all means, Fitz should stay. The Bush people told Sen. Peter Fitzgerald that he could recommend any prosecutor he wished so long as he/she was an Illinois lawyer. Peter took that correctly as the fix was in and named an outsider, Patrick (no relation).  That decision has been good for Illinois and the nation. On second thought let’s make that two bronze busts—one for Pat and the second for Peter who named him. 
                       Brackett’s TV Interview with Robert Blagojevich. 
         It was painful to watch.  Like undergoing a public rectal exam by a cruel physician with cold hands. Robert Blagojevich didn’t have to undergo that kind of torture and why he did with Elizabeth Brackett of WTTW is anyone’s guess.  But he emerged as the gentleman he is.               
                        Don’t Get the Dem Governor’s Group Riled Up. 
       When not applying p. r.  salve  to the bruised reputation of Mike Madigan and a powder puff to that of his step-daughter Lisa, the other day seemingly  praised Bill Brady for toning down his pro-life rhetoric so as not to appear “scary.” It says Brady is doing the wise thing not to rile up the Democratic Governors Association which feels pro-life is extreme. Gee whiz, we wouldn’t want to rile up the Dem, Governors Association, would we?  They’re so almighty powerful in the nation these days, losing state after state that their anger at a conservative Republican is something to dread. 
       Giving us all a lesson in Politics (101), the Internet missive instructs that “True believers always want their candidate to be as forceful as possible. What Brady showed…yesterday is that he wants to be the leader of the entire state—not just the base.” 
       Translation: When you’re pro-abort (or as the newsletter euphemistically says “pro-choice”) you’re eligible as “leader of the entire state.”When you’re pro-life you’re not. 
     The latest poll taken a few months ago which asked a representative sample of Illinoisans “do you call yourself pro-life or pro-choice” registered 48% pro-life, 46% pro-choice.  The figure has changed dramatically from when Peter Fitzgerald ran for the Senate.   Pro-life gained about 20 points since then. So applying’s math, when you represent at least 48% of the people you’re not representing the whole state but when you reflect 46% you are. But the tactic is a stratagem and Brady would be dumb…if insincere in his beliefs…if he fell for it.  
       Ever since pro-lifer Brady has taken the lead over Pat Quinn, liberals have been flooding him with unsolicited advice—urging the Bloomington senator to cuddle up to the “moderates” on social issues and then on the “inevitability” of an income tax hike when he’s governor.  Their strategy is two-edged.  First by smoothing the “rough edges” of conservatism  off Brady, the Republican  base will be diminished and Brady may lose steam to Quinn. Second, if by chance Brady should win…as governor  he may become malleable enough to  soft-pedal  pro-life and anti-gay “rights” and with unctuous flattery even come around on an income tax hike.   
      That strategy is known as “growing” in office. You get elected and then you “grow” in maturity…ala George Ryan, Judy Baar Topinka and a host of country club candidates.  Catholic Richard M. Daley has “grown” by abjuring his religious tenets on pro-life and homosexuality.  Catholic Dick Durbin has “grown” also.  In short almost all the Democratic legislators have “grown.”  Marvelous.  
      No one is asking that Brady feature pro-life as the main issue in running for governor. But at the same time, it would be a drastic mistake for him to diss or dismiss pro-life if asked.  That’s all I ask. Remember what happened to Bob Kustra when he switched from pro-life to pro-choice.   I’m not saying Brady is considering switching: not at all. I’m saying that the centerpiece of the campaign should be on Illinois’ terrible fiscal crisis…but that when asked, he should not seem to back away or dismiss the issue.    repeatedly professes  that social conservatism is a no-no for any Republican running statewide. That’s the publication’s personal opinion and bias—nothing more. It doesn’t recognize the latest trend in favor of proceeding along the same old liberal lines. 
        It forgets that pro-lifer Peter Fitzgerald won.   They conveniently forget that of all people, then pro-lifer George Ryan did—while admittedly behind the scenes he was dealing treacherously with Terry Cosgrove of Personal PAC to sell out on life and gay issues. But so far as the electorate was concerned, good ol’ George was the same guy who kept the same views as when he was lieutenant governor and speaker of the House.
       I have said is exceedingly useful because it covers Illinois politics like a blanket—but it echoes lefty reportorial opinion by sticking to old, out-of-date circa-1980s-`90s  liberal concepts it grew up with and accepts as absolutes.  Example: It cannot understand this, but pro-life with certain variations in poll-taking questions has taken on the popular majority in the nation. It doesn’t believe it and moreover doesn’t want to believe it.  
            To it, the way to go is pro-abort, pro-gay rights (preferably gay
      marriage), hold on to the size of state government that exists now, agree to
      the “inevitability of income tax increases” and bow obsequies to the gifted
      leadership of the Madigans. I will say this: it is definitely the authentic voice
      of 98% of those reporters in the mass media. You have a couple of beers
      with most newspaper and TV reporters and you’ll hear the same opinions
      as are purveyed by  Frankly, they’re the same
      observations reporters expressed to me years ago when I was a press
      secretary.  No change since then.   
          That’s because most reporters are non-denominational unreligious (some
      flatly irreligious).  Most don’t go to church regularly and regard the subject\
        of religion as cracked and outer-worldly. 
              Accordingly, most big newspaper religion writers are like the quizzical
       Manya Brachear of the Tribune whose columning title is “The Seeker.”
        What’s she seeking? She doesn’t know. Meaning nihilist.  Or the one-time
      religion columnist Cathleen Falsani of the Sun-Times, a Wheaton college
      grad who went south, writes like a flower-child and who admits she
       cheered hurray! on hearing of the death of Jerry Falwell.  The only “good”
      religionists to them were the late Msgr. Jack Egan whose passionate
      support of liberalism trumped religion. Everybody else is to them like Pat
      Robertson—whacky (I’ll admit) who once told me  that God sent a
      hurricane toward his Virginia Beach TV studio and directed the
      storm to another course after Pat prayed—causing it to knock out the town
      of Front Royal. Most journalists think every believer is like old Pat.  They
      never heard of or interviewed the late Richard John Neuhaus.     
      Gene McCarthy used to say big media members are like blackbirds sitting on a telephone wire. Let one light there and the rest flock to join him on the wire.  He flies off and the rest soon join.  It is a tribute to that on the subject of Illinois politics, it is usually the first blackbird on the telephone wire…to  be joined by most of the others. Let Capitolfaxblog. com fly off the telephone wire and the others fly with it…Rick Pearson…Lynn Sweet…the Sun-Times menagerie: Mark Brown…Neil Steinberg…Richard Roeper—and soon to come: Walter Jacobson the soon to return Channel 2-CBS “Perspective” walking liberal cliché.  
         Carol Marin, Apassionata van Leftward, doesn’t know what to think until she reads her Capitolfaxblog. com and follows it so closely in her column, on NBC and `TTW that she should pay it double for letting it do her heavy thinking for her.  
          Enough on except for one more thing. I hate grammarians believing that in the long-run usage rules.  But there’s one exception wherein I hope usage never rules.  That is the phrase “like I said” for s “as I said.” The publication is determined to win the day with “like I said.”  I devoutly hope that day never comes.  At least not in my lifetime.  
    *: St. John Eudes [1601-1670]. He was born in Normandy, France the son of a farmer.  He attended the Jesuit college at Caen when he was 14 and despite his parents’ wish that he marry, joined the Congregation of the Oratory of France in 1623. He studied at Paris, was ordained in 1625 and cared for the victims of a plague that struck Normandy. He spent the next decade giving missions and became celebrated as a great homilist and preacher.  He founded a refuge for poor and fallen women in Caen, resigned from the Oratorians and founded his own Order, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary at Caen.  
         He founded seminaries at Lisieux in 1653 and Romen in 1659.  He had difficulty getting his new Order accepted at first but finally it was by Pope Alexander III. He shared with St. Mary Margaret Alacoque the vocation of making popular devotions to the Sacred Heart, a book about which he completed a month before his death at Caen on August 19.  He was canonized in 1925.

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