Wednesday, 04 June 2008


Ken Berwitz

Did you really think it was just jeremiah wright and william ayers and bernardine dohrn and michael pleger? 

That's not fair to tony rezko.

The only reason the rezko scandal has not been front-burner news is because wright, ayers/dohrn and pfleger have been even bigger.  But it's there, lurking a half-inch beneath the surface, and ready to rear its ugly head during the general election campaign. 

I'll let CBS2Chicago fill in the details by excerpting its report below.  To read the entire story, just click here:

Jury Finds Tony Rezko Guilty On 16 Of 24 Charges

Political Fundraiser Has Surrendered, To Begin Serving Time Immediately

(CBS) A prominent fundraiser for Sen. Barack Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted Wednesday of fraud and money laundering after a high-profile federal trial provided an unusually detailed glimpse of the pay-to-play politics that has made Illinois infamous.

Antoin "Tony" Rezko, 52, showed no emotion as the jury delivered a mixed verdict that found him guilty of scheming with the government's star witness to get kickbacks out of money management firms wanting state business, but acquitted him of charges that included attempted extortion.

Rezko attorney Joseph Duffy said the defense is "obviously very disappointed" in the jury's guilty verdicts. He said Wednesday afternoon they will pursue and appeal.

Duffy says it was Rezko's decision to surrender and begin serving his sentence. Sentencing is set for September 3rd at 10 a.m. The maximum sentence he could face is 20 years in prison.

The jury's mixed verdict acquitted Rezko of some of the most serious charges, including attempted extortion. Rezko was found guilty of 16 of 24 counts.

He was found guilty on the two more serious counts, on money laundering and aiding and abetting money laundering, counts 23 and 24.

Rezko has known Obama since he entered politics and was involved in a 2005 real estate deal with the Democratic presidential candidate, although testimony barely touched on their relationship. Most of the focus was on shakedowns prosecutors said Rezko arranged when he was a top adviser to Blagojevich.

Neither Blagojevich nor Obama has been accused of wrongdoing.

But DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett, who ran against Blagojevich in the 2006 race for governor, said Wednesday that "Today's conviction should prompt the Illinois General Assembly to impose an
immediate moratorium on the governor's ability to hand out any further no-bid contracts, bond fees, pension fees or other spoils of the pay-to-play system that has so defiled our state's reputation. We do not give the car keys to a serial drunk driver and we should not hand hard-earned taxpayers' money to a governor who has repeatedly abused the public trust by enriching his political friends to fatten his campaign treasury."

Birkett added, "The conviction of Tony Rezko represents a deep stain on the Democratic Party in Illinois. Democrats from top to bottom, including Barack Obama, stood idly by and in some instances directly benefited while the massive Blagojevich corruption scheme flourished. They rode into office promising to clean up after the George Ryan scandals and they have taken corruption in Illinois to a new low. They ought to be held accountable at the polls starting this November."

Illinois GOP Chairman Andy McKenna said, "Today's guilty verdict for Tony Rezko is another sad reminder of the broken political system in Illinois and the continuing nightmare of corruption in this state. The headlines tomorrow will reduce an already diminished faith in public service from a people - who in Illinois - face the highest gas prices in the nation, huge taxes and out-of-control spending. Democrats promised change and the people of Illinois have gotten the same old song and dance. Now that the trial has come to an end, it's time Rod Blagojevich came clean with the people of Illinois and answered the numerous questions surrounding his involvement with Tony Rezko."

Yes, it is true that Barack Obama was not accused of anything in this trial.  But it is also true that Mr Obama and tony rezko were as tight as a drum together, and rezko was deeply involved in Obama's purchase of the mansion he lives in and the adjoining property he bought afterwards.

Then there is this little matter of the six-figures worth of contributions tony rezko gave to Mr. Obama.  You may remember that Mr. Obama first claimed it was only a small amount, then admitted to more and then more and suddenly it was up to $168,000 (who knows how much the actual amount is).

tony rezko's attachment to Barack Obama is a story that will not just float away into oblivion, no matter how much the Obama camp wishes it would.  And you can bet the ranch that the McCain people will use it against him throughout this campaign, demanding an explanation of those real estate dealings and what rezko got for all that money. 

As they should.


Ken Berwitz

I doubt that many people are aware of the energy legislation co-sponsored by Joe Lieberman and John Warner.  I doubt they realize what an absolute disaster it would be or how it would blow our energy spending through the roof for nothing other than a politically correct song of praise to Al Gore. 

Well, the folks at sure have noticed.  Here are two of their blogs - one from May 28 and the other from yesterday - which show just how incredibly ludicrous this is:

May 28, 2008
Looming Disaster

Next week, the Senate will vote on the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade climate control bill. The proposed statute is a nightmare that would devastate our economy. The Wall Street Journal calls it "the most extensive government reorganization of the American economy since the 1930s."

The EPA estimates that by 2030 it will reduce GDP by 0.9% to 3.8%, and that is based on assumptions that appear hopelessly optimistic. Even the EPA's assumptions contemplate an additional increase of 44% in the cost of electricity over what would occur without Lieberman-Warner.

The Chamber of Commerce has charted the various regulations, mandates and timelines that Liberman-Warner would dictate; click to enlarge:

The idea that American voters can change the Earth's climate is folly. The danger that voters could choose to cripple our economy is, however, very real.

June 3, 2008
A Disaster, Getting Worse

We wrote here about the economic disaster that goes by the name Lieberman-Warner, the carbon cap-and-trade system now being considered by the Senate. We posted a diagram created by the Chamber of Commerce that exposed the ludicrous complexity and intrusiveness of the proposal.

The bill, as amended by Barbara Boxer, has now gotten even worse. Boxer's amendment adds more than 300 regulations and mandates. The Chamber has accordingly prepared another version of their chart that reflects Boxer's changes. It is a remarkable document; click to enlarge:

This morning, four Republican Senators held a press conference on Lieberman-Warner. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma:

[T]his would be the largest single tax increase in the history of the country. This is the -- using their own figures, it would be $6.7 trillion, with a maximum giving back over the life of this bill of $2.5 trillion. That leaves $4.2 trillion dollars.

Kit Bond of Missouri:

According to EPA, under Lieberman-Warner, the average household power bills rise 44 percent by 2030. They lose $4,377 to higher energy prices and pay $1.40 more for gas by 2050.

I, like Senator McConnell, toured my state this past week talking about energy. And you know something?

When I told my Missouri constituents that the Senate this week would not be talking about moving a bill to open up the massive oil and gas supplies that we have in America to lower prices, that this body would be considering a bill to add huge price increases to all energy, they could not believe it.

What is the Senate doing? That's a good question, because these higher U.S. energy prices would drive energy-intensive manufacturing jobs overseas to foreign countries with cheaper energy prices. Manufacturing workers are already suffering.

We've seen half of U.S. fertilizer industry leave the country. Chemical companies and plastic companies are leaving the U.S. Just recently, Dow announced it was thinking of selling its plastic business because firms in Asia and the Middle East have access to cheaper energy.

Adding to this misery, manufacturers estimate this bill will cost my state of Missouri over 76,000 jobs and cut between 3 million and 4 million jobs nationwide by 2030.


Is this nuts, or what?

The USA needs aggressive usage of our vast energy resources as we transition to alternative sources.  That transition is going to take a good amount of time.  We cannot be in this impossible situation while it happens. 

But Senators Lieberman and Warner apparently think this is just what we need.

They are wrong.  Oh, how wrong they are.


Ken Berwitz

I rely on for excellence in journalism (yes, bloggers like Charles Johnson of lgf are absolutely, unequivocally journalists).

But sometimes searching this site is good for a belly laugh, as well as a good point. 

Here is a combination of the two - and please, please click on the link to see how fraudulent the cindy sheehan circus always was:

How's Cindy Sheehan's Campaign Going?

Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 9:28:38 pm PDT

Poor Mama Moonbat. She must miss the days when she could command legions of wire service photographers to do her bidding.



Ken Berwitz

Is it just me, or does a large hall filled with cheering, deliriously happy people holding pre-printed signs with a concocted slogan that says absolutely nothing, remind you of Orwell's "1984".

Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for President, whether Hillary Clinton concedes or doesn't.  

Hillary Clinton would be a horrible choice for his running mate.  Not only is she a polarizing figure who many people would not vote for under any circumstances, but, for reasons I've blogged about many times here, she benefits if Mr. Obama loses.

If Mr. Obama could somehow coax Mark Warner of Virginia into the #2 spot he would have a seriously formidable ticket.  If Hillary Clinton is his choice it looks like a very probable loser to me.  Before it starts, they lose people who won't vote for a Black man, people who won't vote for a woman and people who won't vote for Hillary Clinton in particular.  That's an extremely onerous burden.

John McCain, for his part, would do well to get someone like Tim Pawlenty on his ticket.  Pawlenty is the two time governor of a swing state (Minnsota), young (in his 40's) and a conservative who can work with the other side of the aisle (like McCain). 

So the real competition begins.  On to the general election.


Ken Berwitz

The name of the movie is War, Inc.

It has a stellar cast of fine actors and actresses, many of whom, in character with their roles, are against US military policy, especially in Iraq.  They include John Cusak, Hillary Duff, Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd and Ben Kingsley.

I wondered if it did better than the list of previously-released anti-war movies, all of which have bombed (a couple - Rendition comes to mind - have bombed unbelievably badly).  So I went to, which is a wonderful web site that, among other things, compiles critics' reviews and assigns numerical ratings to them.

As of today, War, Inc. has been reviewed by 12 different critics.  The average rating of these critics is a grim 34 out of 100.

How bad is a rating of 34?  Well, let's juxtapose it to the 23,948th movie about loosened morals in a casino town, "What Happens in Vegas...", which is described this way:

For charismatic party guy Jack Fuller and buttoned-up commodities trader Joy McNally, a rowdy weekend coincidentally shared in Las Vegas should have, by all rights, ended up being little more than a random blur. That is, if these two vacationing New Yorkers didn't have a signed marriage license staring them in the face to shockingly remind them of the giant misstep they took while feeling no pain, Vegas style.

FYI, "What Happens in Vegas..." got an average rating of 36, which is HIGHER than War, Inc.

Do you think any of these Hollywood hotshots will ever get around to putting out a movie that celebrates the honor or bravery of our troops, maybe about a congressional medal of honor winner, or the end of the Taliban or the end of saddam? 

The best part of doing so is that if it a stinker that does lousy box office, no harm, no foul.  That's what the anti USA stuff does every time.

Why not try a movie that talks our troops up instead of down;  if for no other reason, just to counteract the boredom of releasing the same one-sided anti-USA money-loser every other time?

free When it bombs they will hold it up as proof that Americans hate the war. These hollywood idiots will never understand we hate your anti-American anti-Military movies. (06/04/08)

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