I Come to Bury, Not to Praise

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chamberlain by max73.

By David Glenn Cox
http://theservantsofpilate.com

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I
say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.” It was
with this quote by Oliver Cromwell that Britain’s Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain was implored to resign his office. He was vilified
in the press as an incompetent and stupid boob, outwitted at every turn
by Adolf Hitler.

The truth is much more complicated; Chamberlain
was a sacrificial lamb brought to the slaughter. Britain had awoken to
find herself in a dangerous position. Chamberlain had been doing the
work of the people and his constituency, and just weeks before the
outbreak of war Chamberlain was proclaimed as a great statesman by
those same voices which now called for his head. It was the situation
that had changed, and it was the situation that the nation could not
tolerate.


There was no international voice calling for
Chamberlain to face down Hitler. Europe had already passed through one
cataclysmic world war a generation before and the public held no
popular sentiment for another. The failure of diplomacy against a
duplicitous foe and the military fiascoes of the British military in
Norway made the public demand a new government and someone must be
forced to pay for the failings of others. Someone must become the sin
eater, publicly castigated while devouring the sins of a whole nation.

Such
is politics, periodically some politician must be culled from the herd
and declared the winner of the lottery and then publicly stoned to
death. Our current winner is one Rod R. Blagojevich, the disgraced
former Governor of Illinois.

Those unfamiliar with Illinois
politics should understand an old Illinois saying: Just outside Chicago
there’s a place called Illinois. It is a state with two political
poles, Chicago in the north and Springfield in the south. Chicago is a
rich Democratic metropolis, and downstate Illinois, agricultural and
Republican. The two most powerful people in the state are the Governor,
and the mayor of Chicago, but not necessarily in that order. These two
poles of political power account for Illinois' bi-polar political
process. Neither can make the other behave the way they want so it
becomes a wrestling match to force or to make a bargain for an
agreement.

Blagojevich’s guilt or innocence is really
unimportant; it doesn’t matter because this is a political
assassination. Whether it is done with a gun or a knife is unimportant;
all that matters is that it was done and done publicly. The Governor
was arrested in his home at six thirty in the morning, less than three
weeks after Barack Obama, a Senator from Illinois and from Chicago, won
the election as President of the United States.

Conservative
pundits complained that the arrest should have come sooner; that it was
delayed only to assist Obama’s presidential campaign. In fact the
opposite was true. John McCain was not even popular among Republicans
so his chances of winning the election were slim at best and slim was
nowhere near best. So why waste your good cards on a hand you can’t
win? Why not wait until the Senator from Illinois becomes the
President-elect and then try to tar him with a scandal before he even
has a chance to put his staff in place?

Blagojevich was arrested
on Tuesday, December 9, but why Tuesday? Why at six fifteen in the
morning? Monday is never a good news day; too many people are focused
on getting over the weekend or on the week ahead. And Wednesday was the
Governor’s 52nd birthday. Arresting the governor on his birthday would
add a caveat, a distraction and a sympathy angle to the story. Thursday
is too close to the weekend. Tuesday would allow for the arrest to
enjoy almost a full week in an otherwise quiet news cycle. It would
allow him to be arraigned at one thirty in the afternoon, just in time
for the evening news cycle. Plenty of time for the networks to get
their anchors in place and satellite trucks set up. It was an
opportunity to wrest from the President-elect the warm glow of the
honeymoon, and instead he'd be putting together an administration under
the taint of scandal.

What was gained by taking the suspect out
of his home in handcuffs, other than glaring images and sound bites
just in time for the morning news cycle? Patrick Fitzgerald, the US
Attorney hired by the Bush administration in 2001, has prosecuted 36
city officials involved with Chicago’s hired-truck program since 2004.
Little more than half have been convicted of the charges, but it
fosters the notion of crooked Chicago politics, and take a wild guess
which political party is in charge in Chicago. One needn’t scratch the
veneer to see the Karl Rove style at work in Fitzgerald's actions.

At
the press conference held the morning of Blagojevich’s arrest,
Fitzgerald described the charges as "staggering” and Fitzgerald went on
to describe that the governor, "has taken us to a truly new low" by
going on "a political corruption crime spree. We acted to stop that
crime spree." This is typical good guy/bad guy technique and his
statements would be perfectly acceptable as closing arguments in a
trial, but to use them in the opening of indictments is way over the
top. He is trying the Governor in the court of public opinion. As a US
Attorney in the Bush Justice Department he wouldn’t politicize a
prosecution, would he?

So, what heinous and reprehensible
actions were the Governor accused of? Pay-to-play politics and
attempting to sell or trade the former Senate seat of Barack Obama for
the financial gain of the governor and his wife. Those financial gains
were to be made to the governor's reelection campaign. Come on now,
let's get real here, what did President Bush say publicly after the
invasion of Iraq in 2003? He said that the construction contracts for
the rebuilding would be given only to the nations that assisted in the
invasion, isn’t that the worst kind of pay-to-play? Bleed and die to
play? Yet Bush continued on, unindicted.

Sweetheart deals to
Halliburton, Blackwater, and hosts of others; are we so naive to
believe that these negotiations don’t go on in every state house or
federal office in country? Politics is the art of horse trading; I
support yours, you support mine. Who wouldn’t ask the boss to go
fishing in our new bass boat if we thought it might help our chances
for promotion? Conversely, how many of us would still be employed if
hundreds of hours of our private conversations from the break room were
taped and suddenly supplied to the boss, complete with transcripts of
our most damning statements? Would he listen to the hundreds of hours
to hear if we said any nice things about him? Or would he just fire us
as ungrateful sons of bitches?

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was
accused of pay-to-play and he held onto his Senate seat until
convicted. He was the accused at that point; he had a right to a fair
trial before being stripped of his office. No one questioned that
point; there were calls for him to step down after he was convicted
when he threatened to retain his seat during his appeal. Senator Harry
Reid said, "It's a sad day for him, us, but you know I believe in the
American system of justice and he's presumed innocent."

Was
Stevens frog-marched out of his home in handcuffs? Justice Department
officials said, "Stevens will not be arrested and will be allowed to
turn himself in.” How did the Justice Department describe Stevens’
indictment? As a new low? Were the Steven’s crimes, “staggering”? From
May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said, the 84-year-old senator
concealed "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars
worth of things of value from a private corporation."

The
unsealed indictment says the items included: home improvements to his
vacation home in Alaska, including a new first floor, garage,
wraparound deck, plumbing, electrical wiring, as well as a Viking gas
grill, furniture and tools. He also was accused of failing to report
swapping an old Ford for a new Land Rover to be driven by one of his
children. Where are the adjectives? Where is the outrage?

Much
was made of Blagojevich's use of street language with reporters
repeating the “F*** 'em” line and "this is f***ing gold.” The quotes
from Senator Stevens, himself long known in Congress for his salty
tongue, are unknown because they weren’t released to the public, only
to his jury. The Watergate transcripts of President Nixon’s foul
language were edited to read "expletive deleted." If Blagojevich spoke
only one line of truth, it was that “The fix is in.”

Illinois
Lt. Governor Pat Quinn called on the Governor to step down within an
hour of the announcement of the indictment. Chicago Tribune editor
Gerould W. Kern said that his newspaper delayed publishing some stories
at the request of the U.S. Attorney's office during the course of
reporting on the accelerating investigation of Blagojevich. "On
occasion, prosecutors asked us to delay publication of stories,
asserting that disclosure would jeopardize the criminal investigation,"
Kern said. "In isolated instances, we granted the requests, but other
requests were refused."

The right wing Chicago Tribune was only
too happy to cooperate with the Republican justice department if it
would aid in a far bigger story down the road. Especially a story that
might bring down an Illinois Democratic Governor who had been at odds
with the Tribune and the vested interests of the Tribune Corporation.
There are no two ways about it; this was a political hit, both a
parting shot by the Bush administration and a shot across the bow of
the Obama administration. If every public official guilty of
pay-to-play were to be arrested, the state houses and halls of Congress
would become vacant and quiet as a tomb. This is why it was necessary
for the Illinois Senate to all plunge their daggers in, one and all. To
do otherwise would be to announce a rejection of the coup d'etat and to
make themselves vulnerable as the next target.

The Cromwell quote used during Chamberlain’s denunciations was a bastardization of the original, the whole quote is as follows,

“It
is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which
you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by
your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all
good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like
Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray
your God for a few pieces of money; is there a single virtue now
remaining amongst you? is there one vice you do not possess? ye have no
more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not
barter’d your conscience for bribes? is there a man amongst you that
has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? ye sordid
prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the
Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and
wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation;
you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are
yourselves become the greatest grievance. Your country therefore calls
upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to
your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and
the strength he has given me, I am now come to do; I command ye
therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of
this place; go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So!
Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name
of God, go!”

I come to bury Rod R. Blagojevich not to praise him
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Bush Justice Department and the media
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

But the Bush Justice Department and the media say he was ambitious;
And the Bush Justice Department and the media are honourable men.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

(photo by max73)