Health Care, Chicago-Style
What good fortune it was for the largest concentration of Palestinians in the U.S. to choose Chicago as their home away from home -- our nation's capital of graft, corruption, and greed, reminiscent of the Palestinian Authority (though less murderous). Their luck didn't end there. These 400,000 Muslims -- 80 percent Palestinians -- have also parked themselves in the epicenter of a post-denominational, ecumenical, interfaith machine of "congregation-based community organizers." Impassioned internationalists, their passions run high for the rights of the uninsured Muslim or homeless jihadist.
Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) is one cog in the Chicago wheel. CCIR board member Reverend Dennis Jacobsen -- from the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kansas City, MO -- is director of the Gamaliel Foundation National Clergy Caucus, a signer of the Lutheran Presbyterian joint position paper on congregation-based community organizing, and chair of the Inter-Religious Organizing Initiative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Last year at a panel discussion at the Hudson Institute, Stanley Kurtz summarized Reverend Jacobsen's conception of America:
America is a sinful and fallen nation to whose pervasive classicism, racism, and militarism all authentic Christians must offer constant resistance to. The United States employs illegitimate nationalism, propaganda, racism, bogus civil religion, and class enmity to booster its entrenched and oppressive corporate system. Authentic Christians forced to live in such a nation can "come out of Babylon" only by entering into "a perpetual state of internal exile."
It seems impossible to fathom that the honor student beaten to death in broad daylight last month outside a Chicago school would not ignite a fire beneath these thousands of "community-based congregations," with peace and justice as their mantra. Yet the silence is deafening. And, really, the only possible explanation for this insanity comes near the very end of Bernard-Henri Levy's Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, in which he retraces Pearl's steps in search of reason. Pearl was beheaded, then cut into ten pieces. Levy is a man of the left and a hardened war correspondent, but even he is taken aback when an Arab banker in Dubai, an old friend from the Angola days, explains that al-Qaeda is funded by a worldwide network of extortion and has mastered the art of "selling to the West the rope with which to hang itself. ... Which is to say in this case, to turn the West's own arms and often its own vices against itself."
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) is considered a mainstream organization. Its affiliate mosque, the Bridgeview Mosque, has been under FBI surveillance for over a decade, and Osama bin Laden's spiritual mentor, Abdullah Azzam, actually visited it as part of a national recruiting tour in the 1980s. Nabil al-Marabh, a suspected planner in 9/11, attended Bridgeview. The mosque's foundation was linked to the Holy Land Foundation. Mohammed Saleh, another member, was the first American citizen to make the FBI terror list. The mosque itself is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) -- headquartered in Indiana, but funded by Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. Siraj Wahhaj, a former NAIT board member, is listed as an indicted co-conspirator in a 1995 plot to blow up New York landmarks, and he served as a character witness for the "blind sheik."
In February 2004, the Chicago Tribune investigated the radical anti-Americanism running through CIOGC and its tributaries ("Hard-liners won battle for Bridgeview Mosque").
At the time, then-state Senator Barack Obama was pushing a bill for free and reduced health care for the uninsured. On March 29, 2004, the Chicago Defender announced: "SEIU, ACORN hail Obama's health bill." Also at the time, Crucial Inc. -- the lucrative concession business at O'Hare International Airport owned by the 77-year-old son of the late Elijah Muhammed -- was stripped of its minority business certification.
After grossing $16 million in its first four years at the airport, it was revealed that Syrian-born Arab Tony Rezko was the actual owner and Herbert Muhammed had only served as a front so Crucial Inc. could qualify for Chicago's minority set-aside program -- which directs large contracts to companies owned by women, blacks, or Hispanics.
That year also marked the creation of then-Governor Rod Blagojevich's new Illinois Finance Authority board, which dissolved five state bonding agencies into one. Ali Ata, former president of the Chicago chapter of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee -- and a friend of Rezko -- was appointed as director after donating $60,000 to the governor. Ata held no finance experience and left the post in March 2005 following alleged wrongdoings.
This came less than two years after Obama helped pass Public Act 93-0041, which extended the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Association (IFHPA), terminated all existing board members, reduced the board membership from 15 to 9, and gave priority to board members with ties to ethnic and minority communities.
Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois. Dr. Imad Almanaseer -- head of pathology at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, a friend of Rezko's, and part of Rezko's bloc of five installed on the IFHPA board (which controls all development and expansion of hospitals in the state) -- testified under immunity at Rezko's trial that he was handed index cards by Thomas Beck, the chairman of IFHPA, with voting instructions from Rezko prior to votes. Almanaseer also testified that he is a business partner and investor of Rezko's.
In February 2004, William McNary endorsed Obama in the Communist Party (CPUSA) newspaper the Weekly World. "Obama will be a strong voice in Washington on behalf of working families," wrote McNary. Obama had worked for McNary in the mid-1990s, registering 100,000 votes for Citizen Action/Illinois -- the local branch of USAction, both of which William McNary headed.
According to McNary, Obama also collaborated with United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ) to expand children's health insurance in Illinois. "Barack was not just willing to meet with community-based groups, not only to be a good vote for us, but he also strategized with us to help move our position forward," McNary told David Moberg in his 2007 piece "Obama's Third Way." McNary is also a member of the Radical Black Congress and was the keynote speaker for the CPUSA 2002 annual fundraiser.
The left-wing blog Talking Points Memo described McNary as “one of Obama's personal friends and long-time supporters -- someone Obama went to when considering his run for senate and for president."
Monsignor John Egan lived just long enough to see his lifelong dream, the UPAJ, open its doors. The $2.6 million dollars in seed money for UPAJ came from Catholic organizations. Egan envisioned UPAJ as a reorganized Metro IAF -- the Chicago chapter of Saul Alinsky's Industrial Arts Foundation. Cardinal Bernadin announced the gift at a 1995 press conference.
There was outrage in the Catholic community over the role that both the the Bernadin Center for Theology and Ministry and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) played in UPAJ. CCHD's annual budget of $18 million funded UPAJ activities. UPAJ's stated top priorities? Health care for all and fostering relationships with Muslim communities. UPAJ affiliates include the Muslim Student Association, the Lutheran School of Theology, Anshe Shalom B'Nai Israel, Trinity United Church of Christ (Mr. Obama's Chicago church), and Father Pfleger's St. Sabina church.
Also active in CCIR is Tony Campolo, active with the Sojourner Red Letter Christian movement. He is probably best known for "finding it a real privilege" to minister to Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky impeachment proceedings and for drawing gasps and boos for having the following exchange with Gary Bauer at Wheaton College: "I know this is hard for you to believe, but the enemy is not John Ashcroft. The enemy is Osama bin Laden," said Bauer. Campolo replied, "I don't know about that."
Chicago's Muslim-centric health care networks range from the Gilead's Campaign for the Uninsured and the Gilead Outreach and Referral Center (both funded by UPAJ), the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Public Aid, Advocate Health Care, and the Michael Reese Healthcare Trust.
The Michael Reese Health Care Trust funds the Sargent Shriver Center National Center on Poverty Law -- which is funded by George Soros, Bill Ayers brother John, SEIU Healthcare, William Daley, the William Daley Charitable Gift Fund, the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services, and the Chicago Bar Fund.
The Chicago Bar Fund supports the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights, the National Immigrant and Justice Center, and, amazingly, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Gilead's board of directors includes Anthony Mitchell of Advocate Health Care, Nancy Cross of SEIU Local, and Syed Najullah of CIOCG.
Other networks include the Muslim Community Center, the Association of Muslim Health Professionals, the Compassionate Care Network, UMMA Community Clinic, the Islamic Medical Association of North America, and IMAN, which is funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This excludes the additional $851 million in federal stimulus grants Michele Obama announced on June 29, 2009, to upgrade community health centers because their work "has never been more important."