Friday, November 12, 2010

Aldermanic White Wolves Burke and Mell Want Giannoulias to Run for Mayor…Petty Self-Interests Fight Give-and-Take U. S. Deficit Reduction…The CCHD and All That.

                                   This Time White, Not Gray?
          As every Chicago historian knows, the city’s charter was designed to support a strong council weak mayor    In fact a group of corrupt city aldermen, called The Gray Wolves, almost destroyed the city intermittently from the 1890s to the 1930s…and their names are legend: Bath House John Coughlin, Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna and Johnny Powers better known as “Johnny De Pow.”
        Businesses  bribed alderman to award city contracts to them—called “boodling.”   A central scandal in 1895 involved Ogden Gas.   The first reformer Lincoln Steffens first described the aldermen as
“the gray wolves” due to “the color of their hair and the rapacious cunning and greed of  their natures.”   The Civic Federation estimated that 68 aldermen representing 38 wards (at that time there were two aldermen per ward) were grafters.
           It’s only coincidental that the two powerful aldermen opposing the election of Rahm Emanuel (who has the requisite toughness,  brain-power, dexterity, cunning and volatility  to foil their capitalizing on what they hope will be a vacuum caused  by the retirement of Mayor Daley) are not gray-haired but white thatched…Eddie Burke and Dick Mell.  Turn off the lights in the chamber and the immaculate well-coiffed white hair on Burke would gleam as fluorescent.
       The burden of this piece is not to suggest Burke and Mell are of the same nature as the Gray Wolves—but neither are they altar boys.  And for God’s sake anybody who has read this website for any length of time knows my feelings toward Rahm  Emanuel—that he’s not Queen of the May.
         I’ve nailed him as tough, hyper-aggressive, wily, foul-mouthed, duplicitous, resourceful, brilliant strategist  (proof of which is to be found in his running of the DCCC  which, following his game-plan, captured control of the U.S. House).  Moreover I was told on good authority of  his association attendant to the Gentleman with Bad Breath who warned Henry Hyde that if Hyde continued  on  his mission  to impeach Bill Clinton, there would be a disclosure of personal events 40  years old that would shock Hyde’s children and grandchildren and mark Hyde’s reputation forever.  As the world knows, Hyde continued to pursue his duty to the country.
      Thus no one can possibly imagine I’m soft on Emanuel.   But politics involve imperfect choices.  No one has yet emerged for mayor who is Tennyson’s Sir Galahad “whose strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure.” My views are complicated.   I can never be his friend…yet…as one who first met him 30 years ago and with whom we were regulars together on WBEZ  I know he’s not a crook. Moreover while we disagree on principles—mainly social issues—but yet…yet…I know at this critical juncture only he among candidates mentioned has the intellectual hardihood, energy and imagination and civic patriotism to be a great mayor of this city.   I never fully appreciated the courage and vision of Alexander Hamilton’s choice throwing the deciding vote in a tied House to his great rival Thomas Jefferson over fellow Federalist  Aaron Burr—until now. 
             The thought of Burke and Mell circling the wagons against Emanuel is one thing--but importuning Giannoulias to run for mayor  is stunning.   Giannoulias would not have the resolve to keep Chicago from tumbling into a pit where it will be prey to the gray…er, …white wolves—and it must not happen.
                               Same Old, Same Old Left-Right Interests.
          It is unsurprising that the most vigorous opposition to the Debt Reduction blueprint has come from the Left—Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin and Jan Schakowsky.  But there are predictable differences from the Right as well—although the business lobby has not been heard from yet.   “Americans for Tax Reform” has but no one expected it would be more amenable to seeing the end-goal of sparing this country from becoming another Greece than the AFL-CIO, both of which follow the same battle-cry:  Where’s Mine?  I can’t see Grover Norquist doing anything other than what he has—being in total opposition  to  any plan that varies from his in the slightest degree.
         There’s a juicy little sweetener in the package I didn’t notice. That’s the exquisite proposal that the country zero out in toto all federal aid to public television and public radio: zilch, nada.  
                                The CCHD and All That Stuff.
       Since the two papers here don’t have competent religion editors, you probably don’t know that the fight to “reform” the left-wing Catholic Campaign for Human Development isn’t going well.  The Campaign which is an armature of the Catholic bishops (the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) was set up by some who consulted with the late Saul Alinsky, he an atheist, to construct an apparatus that they could infiltrate to give donations to radical leftwing groups flying under the radar,  making it seem that the money was going to the  poor when much  of it was financing revolutionary creations like ACORN.
        The Chicago wing of the CCHD hired a guy to make sure funds went to bona fide anti-poverty groups but evidently something went wrong and critics allege that pro-abort and other organizations were still receiving funds.   In order to make it appear on the level, funds had been earmarked to Joe Scheidler’s group, the Pro-Life Action League…which does a truly noble job rescuing unborn from murder and leading pregnant women to receive counseling.   Well, now it appears the prospective grant to the League has been canceled.
       As the archdiocese here runs a tightly-closed communications shop and the newspapers are interested in everything else but,  I may have some of the details wrong—and it would be worthwhile to get some decent reportatge about the events.   CCHD collections are solicited in baskets carried  by ushers the Sunday before Thanksgiving….so time’s a-wastin’.    In any event, it would be prudent to give the CCHD baskets a  pass since the clerical Left controls the outgo. 


  1. Tom,

    This article responds to allegations against Bishop Kicanas which appeared in your blog for October 25th:

    Lee Gilbert

  2. No doctrine no dollar .. was a theme during the Bernadine days, for those of us who felt left on a raft in the middle of the Holy See. The tiger never changes its stripes, it only turns into a chameleon. So it seems CCHD did.

    Oh come Oh come Emanuel. He's here. He's going to be Chicago's next mayor, is my bet. Although we may differ on the social and party issues, as well as his foul mouth issues, he probably is the strongest candidate. although I still like Meeks. (because of his pro-life views).

    Trial balloon needs to be burst. Why in the world are they thinking Alexi, who can't even manage a checkbook could manage Chicago? Well, there's a hidden agenda there.

  3. Bishop Kicanas is bad, bad news:

    So is the CCHD.

    And the USCCB.

  4. Yes, Bishop Kicanas’ responses to the National Catholic Register questions are very telling.

    Much as the USCCB refused to consider the issue of homosexuality among the clergy - despite the fact that the vast majority of clerical abuse was homosexual in nature not true pedophilia - Bishop Kicanas was less concerned with the homosexual acting out of the young McCormack and more concerned with his drinking.

    His parsing of his answers is reminiscent of Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman…”

    Bernardin’s legacy lives on.

  5. The guy who was supposed to be making sure the money went to groups who supported the teachings of the church, was going a great job at that, from what I know. However, he was let go because some leftist priests in the diocese did not want to keep pro-choice and pro-gay agenda groups from continuing to receive money from the collection basket.

  6. A slight correction. Burr was not a "Federalist". He had been a partisan [Jeffersonian] Republican for years. His door-knocking, get-out-the-vote organization in NYC (the first of its kind in U.S. politics) was critical to Republican victories in NY state elections and to Jefferson carrying NY's electoral vote in 1800.

    Burr was politically much more in sympathy with Hamilton's industrial/commercial agenda for America than with Jefferson's agrarian vision (not entirely surprising as Burr was a New York urbanite and not a Virginia farmer).

    Despite this, Hamilton was leary of Burr's personal character.

    When Burr and Jefferson tied in the electoral vote, Burr kept the letter of his word, and did not invite Federalist support for his election as President. But neither did he reject such support - which he claimed was still within his word, as he had not pledged to.

    Burr made a fetish of keeping to his word as explicitly stated. This he felt was sufficient to maintain his honor. This he felt rendered his dissupated personal life irrelevant. Hamilton nonetheless was convinced that Burr was unfit to be President.

    Regarding Emanuel:

    I've heard it said that given the looming fiscal disaster facing the city, anyone wanting to be Mayor now must be insane. I don't quite know. Even if the ship is sinking, getting to choose who gets thrown over the side first could be useful.

    Emanuel would be interesting as Mayor. He would be the first Jew, of course. He would also be the first North Sider in a very long time except maybe Byrne (Idunno what she was). The Daleys, Washington, Sawyer, Bilandic, all South Siders. Kennelley was from Bridgeport, though by his mayoralty he was living in on Sheridan Road in Edgewater.

    As a Rogers Parker I would welcome some geographical balance.