"In particular, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has been intercepted conspiring to trade the senate seat for particular positions that the President-elect has the
power to appoint (e.g. the Secretary of Health and Human Services). ROD BLAGOJEVICH has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for his wife’s placement on paid corporate boards or ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s placement at a private foundation in a significant position with a substantial salary. ROD BLAGOJEVICH has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for millions of dollars in funding for a non-profit organization that he would start and that would employ him at a substantial salary after he left the governorship." Complaint against Blagojevich
"The Soup" specializes in American "reality" TV programs as metaphor for American social degeneracy. The Soupster painfully reviews all the silliness watched by empty headed idle people across "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Contests for achievement of the status of Paris Hilton’s BFF, Hugh Hefner’s latest…, etc. are employed as vehicles for a heavy handed critique of what we have become.
Surely the governor of Illinois must present the Soup with an opportunity for a "great leap" to political criticism. Why should Stewart and Leno have exclusive rights to such a rich vein of material for comment.
Illinois is now "short listed" for most corrupt state government in the USA. Louisiana and Rhode Island are "up there" as finalists, but Illinois seems to be in the lead for award of the title.
In the interest of fair play for Canadians, I have cited the "National Post" so that they might feel more at home in their gleeful commentary.
This is exactly like the Eliot Spitzer episode. Most politicians have some kind of skeleton or blackmail or bribery situation hanging over them like a guillotine blade. Whoever Blago p/o’d decided it was time to destroy him. It was going to happen sooner or later.
You write that “The Soup” is a vehicle to critique what American social degeneracy has become.
Although you seem to imply a worsening, I’m not sure that what our social degeneracy has become is any better, same or worse than it ever was.
I don’t see the curve of social degeneracy rising or dropping precipitously. The dynamics that drive it are those essentially, unmodified, primitive human traits of greed and avarice that have been around for a long time. To that extent our current culture has created a slightly different form of social degeneracy that should no more be tolerated now than its historical antecedents were in the past.
Like you, I wish it were not so. Another example perhaps of eternal vigilance being the price of liberty.
The kind of facile cynicism that you express does not correspond to my experience of a great many elected officials. to accept your view on this is to have no standards at all.
Nah. There has been a general coarsening in the tenor of American public life. pl
As a Canadian, a reader, and a sometimes commenter at SST, I don’t understand the snark.
Those who bother to pay attention do, indeed, look down our noses as the Excited States of America – and not without some warrant, although we catch up quickly. Any negative trends present in the Union are quickly seized upon and implemented 6 – 16 months later north of the border (we are about 1 television season behind the US on most major things – like economic disaster, and reality TV). We are held in rapt attention by your antics, not only due to our ringside seat for the convulsions of the great Republic, but equally an awareness that the best thing for Canada is most often good fortune and good government in the US.
But why the National Post? I wouldn’t cast aspersions on the US by taking the New York Post (or the USA Today) and gloating. I know where they rank in the media hierarchy of your land, but despite being a nation-wide publication, the National Post has little else to recommend it.
“Whoever Blago p/o’d decided it was time to destroy him. It was going to happen sooner or later.”
Hmmm, maybe Bank of America called in a few favors? if not, well at least the timing was great.
Thanks for citing the rag we affectionately refer to as the National Pest.
I’m with David re motivations. I wonder about the coincidence of Mr B slamming a bank (was it B of A?) about not lending to a company in Chicago. Sure he’s a crook (or so it appears in first release version 0.1) but the speedy frenzy reminds me so much of Mr Spritzer’s experience and (as we know now) he was proven right by subsequent events.
I distrust an investigative process that springs on us full blown, with commentary all on one side. Nope world is not like that. Prefer to wait for “service pack 1” re-release for something more like truth.
I actually don’t know the difference between your newpapers, other than the G&M.
Why do you Canadians persist in this separate identity nonsense?
If it were not for the French you would just have another American regional accent.
Lebanon without the Christians is just Syria. What would Canada be without the French? pl
It’s amazing to me some people are speculating about conspiracies on this. The only conspiracy is how someone as stupid, arrogant and yes, corrupt as Blagojevich got elected in the first place. Some advice to the people of the great state of Illinois: It’s time to clean your house.
Such a question! Well, I guess we would be British, eh?
Biculturalism in Canada is basic to our founding treaties.
Separate identity – the analogy which comes to mind is two plants which grow wildly out back of my house, filling exactly the same environmental niche – Virginia creeper (not a personal reference!) and poison ivy. Sure one can tell them apart – number of leaves etc – but one way to discourage poison ivy is to encourage virginia creeper. It is more effective, long term, than chemicals like Roundup. So it is with a human culture, I propose. What exists in a niche is as much a matter of history and circumstance as it is of environmental nurture.
The National Post, by the way, was founded by Conrad Black, never made money, was later sold to Canwest Global. Black used it as a mouth organ, dropping odd pearls of neocon wisdom eg articles by David Frum. It still shows up free outside hotel doors in the morning.
It’s hard to tell who’s who without acquaintance. The NY Post and the Wash Post are flip sides of NY Times and Wash Times, is that a correct perception?
Are we supposed to draw some parallel from pay-to- play in Chicago to The Real Housewives of Orange County? The governor has too much hair while the wives have too much…..
Yes, I see the similarity now.
Hey, we Californians are offended and saddened to be left off your list of corrupt states. Years ago, when Chandra Levy vanished and our governor (not Ahhnold — a previous gov) called for Gary Condit’s resignation, Condit’s children were so upset that they all resigned from their six-figure “jobs” as “field representatives” on the governor’s “staff.” Which still makes me laugh every time.
We’re also big enough to have a zillion state boards, and a bunch of termed-out state senators just miraculously landed seats on the “Integrated Waste Management Board.” Six-figure salaries, natch.
Don’t sell us short — our politicians will steal the place setting right off the table.
Dear Sir, from Canada a Mr. Inquire reports they follow the USA in televison program. Not quite so. You speak of a coarsening of American public life. Should you include television as a part of public life Canada has played a trump. The grity comedy series “Trailer Park Boys” can not be topped for either comedy or coarseness.
Your comment about the French is well taken. Canada w/o the French would probably have been swallowed up by the States.
They (the French) are a tough group. When Ontario outlawed teaching in French as the language of instruction in the ’20s, the teachers continued to teach in French until the inspectors showed up, switched to English while they were in town and went back to French after they left. They did this until the law was repealed.
These schools BTW were government-funded separate (Catholic) schools (part of the compromise that created Canada) – another way we are different.
I’ll make a generalization and say all politicans (particularly if they’re from Chicago) are guilty of something. But when does skillful negotiation in the backroom become illegal. Pay to play? How is different is this from Hillary’s debt retirement arrangement? Or from Caroline Kennedy lobbying now (with Uncle Ted’s help) for a Senate seat. Influence peddling by politicans is news?
Why the Blago takedown? Either someone(s) decided Blago was no longer a “team player” or perhaps decided to use him in a chess game to check another more powerful player. Who really knows? But it’s not lost on me that Rahm Emmanuel’s name is popping up in this either nor the accusations of a shakedown by J.Jackson Jr??
When will the public actually hear any these tapes? I know I’ve just been given lots and lots of hyperbole about how horrible, terrible and incriminating they are. I’m holding my fire til I actually hear these wiretapes.
“Why do you Canadians persist in this separate identity nonsense”. Well could it be that they perceive “general coarsening in the tenor of American public life”, and, however affected their attempt may or may not be, they try to separate themselves. Even if only for “year” or so till the mess spreads up to Canada. Alnval, I knew it was all down hill in America when I saw it be the norm to go out in sweats/fleece pants. Its’ sign you’ve given up. (irony alert)
One last comment…the media narrative on this is an insanely corrupt Blago -absolutely out of control, asking for bribes, cussing (oh my!), threatening, demanding, etc. And most remarkable – it was just him (well, his wife, too!And she cusses alot!). Blago was shouting, ranting but just really punching pillows, because state pols had either no idea how bad he was OR they were so pure in motive in their dealings with him.
Remember this juicy quote from Fitz’s last big case:
“…the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them.”
So the plot thickens. Why, oh why did Fitz rush into a crime in progress to charge Blago? I know he is says he had to because of a “corruption spree.” But he now has what, 20 days to make a case? We shall see how strong this evidence is and who else it drags in.
Don’t forget Hawaii and Alaska.
State and local government politicians are like AAA players trying to get a slot in the Majors located in DC. State government has been suffering the death of a thousand cuts since Lincoln. The 17th amendment added about 400 cuts.
Who knows…but I would not underestimate the integrity and brilliance of Patrick Fitzgerald. He’s an officer of the Court. And he is devastating at the art of cross-examination.
Plus, Feds typically do not indict unless they have a slam dunk. And, less we forget, fed time is real time, meaning little chance of parole. Scooter almost found out.
I have traveled and worked in many parts of Canada. I must agree that the French are the spice of that country. The women of Quebec are the heart and marrow of Canada! I was at a Rolling Stones concert in Montreal several years back. Mick Jagger anounced in French that the ladies of Quebec are the most beautiful ladies in all the world. The Olympic Stadium went crazy. It was quite a moment. Long live Quebec!
the wiretap tapes may not be enough to convict blagojevich.
What is striking about this episode is how theatrically corrupt this man, Blagojevich, is. He’s like a petty mobster only not as smart.
One theory I’ve heard is that Fitzgerald had sufficient evidence and wanted to indict before Blago actually named someone to fill the seat.
USA Today has a news item on the most corrupt states in the U.S.A.
Surprisingly niether Rhode Island nor Illinois make it to the top five list.
The Redstate Corruption Sweep is………drumroll please:
1) North Dakota
He has lived up to his early promise. As an often bemused and amused fan of Chicago politics, I can, with confidence, state that he was not corrupted by his high offices and power. Rather, he always was a venal and sleazy hack politician who happened to marry the daughter of a powerful alderman, and the rest is history, as they say. His first noteworthy act, as a frehman congressman, was a piece of demagoguery involving a local firm which won a Navy contact to dispose of napalm. Blogojevich seized the moment and saved us all from being incinerated by exploding rail cars filled with napalm. A company in Texas got the contact, jobs, and money.