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Archive for December 12th, 2008

From the Vantage Point of Gov. Blagojevich’s Website, Life Still Looks Grand

One of many upbeat photos on the Gov's website
One of many upbeat photos on the Gov’s website

By Jon Perkins
Ticklethewire.com

To study Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s website is to get a clear picture of a man in denial.
On the website, the embattled governor touts his initiative to keep the state’s children safe and warm, his efforts on behalf of workers at Republic Steel who were forced out of their jobs without severance pay or benefits, his progress in getting federal funding for the state’s Medicaid program and so on and so on… Everything appears to be coming up roses.
What’s not on the website site is any indication that Blagojevich is in deep trouble and is facing mounting pressure to step down because of allegations that he tired to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat.
With political opponents and the news media turning up the heat and pushing for impeachment it may become increasingly difficult for Blagojevich to govern. But there’s no way of telling that from looking at his I’m-doing-great” website. Blagojevich returned to work a day after his arrest on corruption charges and has
stayed largely out of sight.
John Jackson, a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University, said that his everything-is-normal facade is not an unusual tactic.
“It’s clear that the message of the day is business as usual,” said Jackson, who is attached to SIU’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, named for an Illinois icon widely known for his political integrity.
He said Blagojevich has decided to play the situation as ” ‘I’m going to continue to be an aggressive advocate for the people of Illinois.’ ”
Jackson said Blagojevich, whose approval ratings have dipped below 10 percent, has avoided the news media and most state officials for the entirety of his second term. “He can probably maintain this public facade for a long time,” he said.
But the pressure will heighten as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald continues to investigate and the state legislature likely begins impeachment proceedings next week.
The fight won’t be easy. Blagojevich alienated most of the state’s power players in both parties long before the latest scandal surfaced publicly.

Like Dad, Mobster John Gotti Jr. May Have His Own “Sammy the Bull” Snitch to Deal With

John Gotti Jr./youtube photo

John Gotti Jr./youtube photo

His father had “Sammy the Bull” as the snitch who put him away. John Gotti Jr. may have his own snitch that could sink him.

By Kevin Graham
St. Petersburg Times
TAMPA – Sixteen years ago, “Sammy the Bull” Gravano sent shock waves through a New York courtroom when he testified against his mob boss, John Gotti Sr.
Now another mob insider may prove key to convicting Gotti’s son on federal racketeering and murder charges that grew from a Clearwater FBI investigation.
When John E. Alite’s confession in a racketeering conspiracy charge became public this week, it confirmed what some attorneys already suspected – that Alite had flipped and is likely helping the government build its case against John Gotti Jr.
Prosecutors won’t reveal their witnesses, but three New York-area murders remain the common denominator between Alite, 46, and Gotti, 44.

For Full Story

See Video After His Arrest Earlier This Year

Government Psychologists Told Bush Folks Waterboarding al Qaeda Was 100% Effective

Even though we’ve heard over time that waterboarding may not always net accurate information, government psychologists gave it a hearty endorsement. That may have been what the administration needed to hear before using it.

By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Newsweek
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration approved the use of “waterboarding” on Al Qaeda detainees after receiving reports from government psychologists that it was “100 percent effective” in breaking the will of U.S. military personnel subjected to the technique during training, according to documents released today by a Senate Committee.
The Senate Armed Services report concludes that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques-including forcing detainees to stand naked, subjecting them to growling dogs and depriving them of sleep-were discussed by top members of the National Security Council and other senior administration officials inside the White House.
Some officials expressed strong concerns about the legality of the methods. But the techniques were ultimately given the green light, based on government assessments that showed such methods were quick and effective in breaking down the resistance of U.S. military officers who were subjected to them in so-called Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) classes.
For Full Story

Ex-Ill. Gov. Walker Who Went to Prison Calls Blagojevich’s Conduct “Disgraceful”

By Dan Walker
former Illinois Governor

Chicago Tribune
While I admittedly erred in my private life 10 years after serving as Illinois governor-and paid the price for my mistakes-I am too proud of my state and my unblemished service as governor to remain silent about the despicable conduct of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The 76-page criminal complaint’s incredible account of corruption is based on Blagojevich’s taped conversations. In Shakespeare’s words, he is hoisted with his own petard. The complaint ranks with Al Capone in establishing a disgraceful image of Illinois in the minds of people all over the world.
Just as with Richard Nixon, we don’t need a trial to comment on this sordid story. The government’s representation of the tapes alone establish that Blagojevich believed a seat in the U.S. Senate could be sold to the highest bidder. Not just any seat, but the one vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
For Full Statement

Polygraph Isn’t Admissable For Federal Judge on Trial For Fondling Court Case Manager

Too often there’s reasons not to allow a polygraph as evidence in trial. In this case, a federal judge says he’d allow it into evidence, but it wasn’t done right when the federal judge on trial took it.  Guess these guys won’t be playing golf together.

By JUAN A. LOZANO
Associated Press
Judge Samuel Kent

Judge Samuel Kent

HOUSTON – Lie detector test results won’t be allowed as evidence in the trial of a federal judge indicted on charges alleging he fondled a former court case manager, according to a ruling Thursday.
The judge presiding over the case of U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent denied a motion to have the two tests considered as evidence. Kent’s attorneys said he passed the exams, showing he is innocent of the charges.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, a Florida jurist appointed to the case, said while he believes polygraph exams can be admitted at trial, he felt the ones performed on Kent in August and September were done incorrectly and contained deficiencies.
“There is no doubt in my mind, given a proper examination, polygraph evidence should be and ought to be admitted,” Vinson said. “In this case, deficiencies arise from the processes of the (polygraph examiner).”
For Full Story
Motion To Allow Polygraph
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