Our beloved Brew.

Our beloved Brew.
R.I.P. Big guy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's it Worth to Have Blago's Head on a Plate?

The verdict is in. The jury agreed on only one of 24 counts against former IL governor Rod Blagojevich. The jury just couldn't wade through all the information the government presented and draw a conclusion on the more serious counts. Blago faces up to five years on what amounts to the same charge of lying to the FBI, that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

The Adams father and son clowns that Blago has as lawyers proudly proclaimed they presented no defense during the trial, but looked ridculous in the post trial media interviews as the ranted, raved and taunted the federal prosecutor to build public sentiment against a retrial on the hung-jury counts. They characterized the prosecutor as "a nut" and suggested he is a master at getting indictments against innocent people.

Did I miss something? Hey Bozos - your client lost! He's now a convicted felon! He is almost certainly going to prison. He will lose his law license. He still has to deal with the retrial where it's likely he faces a retooled prosecution, more focused on certain counts, and almost as certainly, he is headed for more convictions and years added to his sentence unless the government offers him a plea deal.

The Adams' and Blago each took a turn before the cameras and microphones to express their indignation and blast the case that was brought by the government. They pointed out that while children are being shot dead on a daily basis in the streets of Chicago, police officers are being killed on almost a weekly basis, the money would be better spent on law enforcement rather than what they claim is the vindictive pursuit of a former governor by an overzealous goverment attorney.

Now that Blago's campaign war chest is depleted and the cost of his defense will be paid by tax payers, his team made the case that those tens of millions of dollars are a burden the public shouldn't have to bear.
Let me put it in simple terms: There should be no limit to what the people of Illinois, and other citizens of this country are willing to pay to regain the integrity of public office and insist that the holders of those offices, whether elected or appointed, understand there is no rock under which they can hide and expect to profit by pocketing the people's money. If my math is correct three of past five governors of the state of Illinois will have done prison time when Blago faces the music. Dan Walker and George Ryan both got caught with their hand in someone else's cookie jar.

Some people speculate that the jury failed to reach a verdict on the remaining counts because the crass and self serving manner in which Blago performed on the taped conversations is what many people see as the way the game of public office is played. Blago was merely doing standard horse trading as they see it. Even more reason to go after him again.

The good new is the federal prosecutor in this case seems single-minded in his commitment to see Blago face time for every criminal act for which he has been charged. As many a criminal can attest, the government seldom gives up in cases like this. I for one say, "Let the retrial begin!" Moreover, public servants everywhere who abuse their office should recognize their time is coming.

Friday, August 13, 2010

WikiLeaks Crosses the Line and Sacrifices Lives for Profit

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would one day be siding with Sarah Palin on an issue, given our polar opposite views of many matters of the environment and politics. But at least this once we seem to agree on this issue of military and national security.

A couple of weeks ago, WikiLeaks began publishing about 76,000 secret files regarding covert operations related to the war in Afghanistan that came into its possession. Management at WikiLeaks refuses to name its source, but the US government has detained an intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning who it suspects as the source. I have deliberately chosen not to visit WikiLeaks web site and check out the documents so as to avoid contributing even slightly to the profit they hope to gain from their acts of treason. Other mainstream media has reported that there is indeed a great deal of sensitive information that has been released.

The founder and editor of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, announced during a speech to a London group that he will authorize the release of another 15,000 documents. Like the first batch, these files contain sensitive information including the names of individuals working in clandestine operations and details of plans and events related to the war. Where WikiLeaks has taken the time to black out names and specifics, there is enough surrounding information to put at risk not only our military, but also numerous individuals who work with our troops.

Sarah Palin made a public appeal to Assange and his organization not to release any more files. I couldn't agree more. In fact, I'll go one better and suggest that by his actions, Assange has not only proven to be aiding and abetting the enemy as Palin suggests, but he should now be considered an enemy of the state, and treated like any other enemy combatant. It is one thing to claim the rights of a free press, and quite another to reveal sensitive military information that risks the lives of our military fighting forces, and those persons assisting them in protecting ours and Mr. Assange's freedoms. We are at war, and timing is everything. If wrongdoing exists it should be exposed and consequences should follow. This is not the time to do that.

In what I view as an act of cowardice, Assange chose to deliver his address via Skype, from an undisclosed hiding place because he allegedly fears the US will try to arrest him, or worse, that some shadowy powers will try to have him killed.

What's next? Will we learn that he has taken up residence in a sublet cave somewhere in the mountains of Pakistan? In my eyes, Assange has now clearly declared his allegiance to our enemies in the war, and deserves their same fate.

Want to uncover wrongdoing of this or any other government as part of your journalistic obligation, I'm all for it. Put other lives at risk, and compromise our military efforts while we're actively engaged in war just to sell more ad space, and extend your fifteen minutes of fame, then I say, face the consequences of any common traitor.

I wonder how WikiLeaks would feel if the government made public a list of its employees and they were open to the backlash they deserve for choosing to work somewhere that puts its business objectives ahead of our national interests and security. Americans, it's time express your outrage and boycott WikiLeaks and any firm or organization that supports it. Sarah, on this one, I think you and I are closer than not.