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Blagojevich's appointment: master stroke or cosmic joke?

On the surface, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s selection of former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris is a masterstroke on many levels.

First, the Illinois powers-that-be would have a hard time denying certification of a man who had already held elective office in the State of Illinois, albeit many years ago.

And Second, Harry Reid could be stalemated by the Constitution and public opinion. In spite of Reid’s threat of refusing to seat Burris, the Constitution does not convey this power to the Senate, they can only “expel” once he is seated. And that brings up the issue of a majority vote on a Senator who has apparently done nothing wrong.

Playing the race card …

By allowing ex-Black Panther and now Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) to not-so-subtlety play the race card; in effect openly challenging anyone to deny Burris the only seat in the Senate to be held by a black man, he reinforces the likelihood that Burris will get the job.

Of course, Blagojevich will also reap the benefits: reinforcing his status as a powerful sitting governor, reinforcing his status as being innocent until proven guilty, and possibly tainting the local jury pool which would look favorably on a black appointee to the Senate.

But does Burris deserve the appointment?

In my opinion, Roland Burris is the equivalent of the disgraced District Attorney Mike Nifong who famously continue to prosecute the white defendants in the North Carolina Duke Lacrosse case to satisfy his personal political goals rather than pursue justice in a court of law.

According to published reports …

“Against the advice of his deputy attorney general, then Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris sought the death penalty for Rolando Cruz for the 1983 rape and murder of a 10-year old Chicago girl.

According to ProPublica …

“While state attorney general in 1992, Burris aggressively sought the death penalty for Rolando Cruz, who twice was convicted of raping and murdering a 10-year-old girl in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. The crime took place in 1983.”

But by 1992, another man had confessed to the crime, and Burris’ own deputy attorney general was pleading with Burris to drop the case, then on appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court.”

Burris refused. He was running for governor.”

" ‘Anybody who understood this case wouldn’t have voted for Burris,’ Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, told ProPublica. Indeed, Burris lost that race, and two other attempts to become governor.”

“Burris’ role in the Cruz case was ‘indefensible and in defiance of common sense and common decency,’ Warden said. ‘There was obvious evidence that [Cruz] was innocent.’"

“Deputy attorney general Mary Brigid Kenney agreed, and eventually resigned rather than continue to prosecute Cruz.”

“Once Burris assigned Kenney to the case in 1991, she became convinced that Cruz was innocent, a victim of what she believed was prosecutorial misconduct. She sent Burris a memo reporting that the jury convicted Cruz without knowing that Brian Dugan, a repeat sex offender and murderer, had confessed to the crime. Burris never met with Kenney to discuss a new trial for Cruz, Kenney told ProPublica.”

" ‘This is something the attorney general should have been concerned about,’ Kenney, now an assistant public guardian in Cook County, said in an interview. ‘I knew the prosecutor’s job was not merely to secure conviction but to ensure justice was done.’"

“Kenney was not alone in her beliefs. Prior to Cruz’ 1985 trial, the lead detective in the case resigned in protest over prosecutors' handling of the case, according to news reports at the time.”

“And rather than argue Burris’ case before the state supreme court, Kenney also stepped down.”

" ‘What I took away was that [Burris] wasn’t going to do anything to seem soft on crime,’ Kenney said. ‘He didn’t have the guts.’"

“In her resignation letter, Kenney claimed Burris had ‘seen fit to ignore the evidence in this case.’"

"I cannot sit idly by as this office continues to pursue the unjust prosecution of Rolando Cruz," she wrote. "I realized that I was being asked to help execute an innocent man."

The Nifong defense …

“Burris' response at the time: "It is not for me to place my judgment over a jury, regardless of what I think."  (We have also left a message for Burris at his office and will post an update if we hear back.)”

At this point, any continued prosecution is indefensible…

State prosecutors carried on with the prosecution, even after DNA evidence in 1995 excluded Cruz as the victim's rapist and linked somebody else—sex offender Brian Dugan–to the crime.”

“Eventually, prosecutors’ case hit a wall. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed Cruz's conviction and granted him a third trial. (The court declared that the trial judge in the case had improperly excluded Dugan’s confession, and thus compromised Cruz's defense.) In the new trial, Cruz was acquitted. The judge in that case concluded, ‘I'd hope and pray the person or persons - whoever is culpable - is brought to justice.’"

11 Years on death row to satisfy Burris’ political ambitions?

In late 1995, Cruz finally walked free after serving 11 years on death row for a crime he did not commit.”

A grand jury later indicted four sheriff's deputies and three former county prosecutors for their roles in the Cruz case. They were eventually acquitted. Burris was never accused of any wrongdoing or misconduct. Dugan is scheduled to stand trial for the crime next year, 26 years after it was committed.”

What other outcome could be expected in light of Chicago’s corrupt political scene?

The Court of Public Opinion …

It seems to me that Burris is an overly-ambitious tool of the Chicago political machine and should be denied the opportunity to cap his “tainted” career with a seat in the United States Senate. Perhaps, Burris is the only person who would be willing succumb to Blagojevich’s scheme and accept a position which was tainted by scandal. Considering that Burris is a lobbyist in one of the most corrupt venues in this nation, I would not be surprised to find other compromises made for political and personal gain.

It is my opinion that the good people of Illinois deserve better and a special election should be held to fill the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Or perhaps he will fit in to the Senate just fine …

Of course, the Senate is  or was home to some of the most notorious democrat crooks, charlatans and ego-maniacs in the nation’s history.

And speaking of someone who put his personal political ambition above everything else, fellow democrat Senator Ted Kennedy who was complicit in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

“Edward Kennedy was driving a car with Kopechne as his passenger when the Senator drove off Dike Bridge into Poucha Pond between Chappaquiddick Island and Cape Poge barrier beach. The Senator swam to safety, but Kopechne died in the car. Kennedy left the scene and did not call authorities until after Kopechne's body was discovered the following day. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was sentenced to two months in jail, suspended.”

“In January 1970, an inquest into Kopechne's death took place in Edgartown. At the request of Kennedy's lawyers, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the inquest be conducted in secret.” Kennedy was not charged with manslaughter although there was some speculation that Kopechne could have been saved if Ted Kennedy sought help at the nearest house. <Source>

Yeah, I am sure he will fit in!

What can YOU do?

If you live in Illinois, demand a free and open election to fill President-elect Obama’s vacant seat. For those who live in and around Cook County, consider the implications of the continuing democrat corruption in your State. Perhaps it is time to reform the system and remove the political entitlements which allow politicians to steal with impunity.

For everyone else, let Illinois serve as a lesson illustrating what a one-party system becomes over time: corrupt! We are facing much the same thing here in California where our legislative democrats have looted our treasury and spent profligate amounts of the taxpayer’s money on their special interest projects: the unions, the illegal aliens and special projects for their friends.

Unless the taxpayer elect honest politicians to represent us and can get a fair accounting of the money spent by our legislature. we are almost in the same situation as being governed by a benign dictatorship.

Considering how much we lost to crooked and/or stupid politicians in 2008, let us clean up this cesspool of political interests and vote the irresponsible bastards on both sides of the aisle out of office. End the influence of big money and big media politics. Forget the big media politics: by being openly partisan and unfairly representing their customers, the big media have crippled themselves.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” -- Lenin

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

In 90’s, Burris Sought Death Penalty for Innocent Man - ProPublica

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

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