Let's make a deal

"Give him the woiks!" This staple of 1930s gangster movie dialogue comes to mind when reading a NewsAlert comment on a story about Patrick Fitzgeralds reopening a case of systematic torture by South Side detectives in the 1980s to obtain confessions. Why is Patrick Fitzgerald intersted in ancient history? Because Richard Daley is part of it. A Huffington Post piece of a few months back noted:

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald finally has done what Richard M. Daley should have done 26 years ago: He has indicted retired Chicago Police Detective Jon Burge for leading a band of brutal white cops who tortured hundreds of African-American suspects in criminal cases....

It was 1982, when Daley was the state's attorney of Cook County, that he was first reliably informed -- by Chicago Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek -- what Burge and company were doing. What went on -- plastic bags over heads, shackling to hot radiators, gun barrels in mouths, electrical shocks to ears, nostrils and genitals, cigarette burns to arms, legs and chests -- is now well known, having been cited repeatedly in court opinions. (Even Daley, belatedly, branded the torture "a shameful episode in our history.")

Rather than acting, as was his duty at the time, Daley and his top assistant, Richard Devine, who is the current state's attorney, joined a conspiracy of silence that has cost city taxpayers upwards of $50 million in legal costs and civil settlements.

And when skeletons are walking abroad in Chicago, everybody gets nervous. Just ask Blag.  Rick Moran observed that Chicago politics makes for strange alliances, such as the one between Richard Daley and Barack Obama. According to Moran, Daley was facing a serious electoral challenge in 2007 from "Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court. Brown was an attractive candidate out of the reform mold, beloved of white liberals and just the sort of citywide office holder that might be able to bridge the gap between the south and west side black communities." Daley was afraid Brown would be endorsed by "a major black politician being mentioned as a possible presidential candidate". So he pre-empted Brown.

It seemed a given that the squeaky clean Obama would endorse the candidate promising to clean up city hall. Then, in late December of 2007, the tumblers all clicked into place and Daley made his nearly unprecedented endorsement of Obama for president. About the same time, it was announced that his brother Bill would be going to work for the Obama campaign. ... So what did Obama promise in return? In effect, Obama surrendered to the Machine by promising to endorse its corrupt mayor rather than his reform minded challenger (commentary in parenthesis):

But should the public expect any better? Politics is the art of the deal. Winston Churchill famously suggested he would make a deal with the devil if it helped him defeat Hitler. "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." But it is well to remember that for all its supposed virtues -- whether of the diplomatic or municipal varieties -- deals often mean that someone is sold down the river. The object floating face down on the current in 1945 was Eastern Europe. Maybe it was Dorothy Brown in 2007. Someone is almost always left holding the bag for the 'greater good' when a deal is made. When you hear the words 'I will negotiate with our enemies to bring world peace' ask yourself: where do I fit in? All one can really hope for in this dealmaking world between being born and shuffling off your mortal coil is that you don't wind up being the fall guy.

Who would have thought, for example, that the Chicago Mob would take the side of gun control activists in outlawing firearms?  But Steve Bartin at NewsAlert notes that Alderman Fred Roti(i), who was named as "Chicago Outfit's" man on the city council, sponsored a handgun ban in order to make it easier for his associates and relatives to ply their trade.

Alderman Roti got his gun ban because he used Chicago's City Council chambers to help his racketeering enterprise.The Chicago Sun-Times further clarifies the status of Alderman Roti:

The Roti family's union power goes back to two late organized-crime figures, Ald. Fred B. Roti and Chicago Outfit boss Anthony Accardo, according to union investigators. Bruno and "Toots'' Caruso are nephews of Roti. The three were among 47 men identified by the FBI in 1999 as "made'' members of the mob. "Made'' mobsters, according to the report, pledge loyalty to the Outfit "and would carry this oath of commitment and silence to the grave.''

It's always a concern when politicians pass gun ban ordinances to make life easier for Bruno, Toots and Joey the Clown, but if you need to get along  a few compromises are going to be made along the way. Everybody's happy as long as they can get out of the room in one piece. The greatest sin in politics is to get caught or wind up on the short end of things. Coach Red Sanders of the UCLA Bruins, in a moment of candor captured the spirit perfectly when he confessed to his team that games weren't all about sportsmanship. "Men, I'll be honest. Winning isn't everything. (Long pause.)  Men, it's the only thing!"

Mark Tapscott notices that Hilda Solis, D-CA, Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Labor, may have trouble answering why "she approved funds to pay for congressional lobbying by a union-supported non-profit group on two bills she co-sponsored" when she was in fact "treasurer and a member of the board of directors of" that very same group, "American Rights at Work (ARW), the 501c4, non-profit group that has received at least $1 million in contributions from labor unions". The ARW "also spent thousands of dollars on television spots described by the group in its report to the FEC as "electioneering communications." Since as treasurer, Solis is required to approve all ARW spending, she must have signed off on the spots. This may well put her and ARW in violation of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002. Among the Republicans targeted by ARW were incumbents Norm Coleman, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Gordon Smith, and John Sununu."

But who cares? The answer to everything these days is 'I won'. And if there was a deal, just console yourself in the belief that a larger good has been served. And anyhow, look, it could be worse; always remember that as you go through life, no matter what your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.

(i) typo fixed