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28 January 2011


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"I visit Chicago often. The city seems to function very well, regardless of its reputation for governmental and political cooruption. To paraphrase Samuel Clemens: Rumors of Chicago's corruption (relative to any other large American city) are greatly exaggerated.


I have to chuckle about your views Ken. My experience is that corrupt organisations actually provide the best "customer service" in the world. They are often brilliantly organised and staffed by people who will always "go that extra mile" for their customers.

In Italy for example, you would be silly not to bank through a Mafia owned banking establishment - best customer service, absolutely rock solid and most accommodating.

...Strangely, they don't seem to have much of a provision for bad debts in their accounts.


No matter who gets elected as the Mayor of Chicago. They will get the office right next door to the FBI.

It makes wire taps much easier.

Buzz Meeks

Please don't put the term liberal in front of Zionist. Zionists are Zionists period.

Patrick Lang

Buzz Meeks

Sorry Buzz but I know a lot of Zionists. Some of them are liberal politically in American terms and some are neocon. pl


Walrus: re "corrupt organizations often provide the best customer service." As a long ago member of Teamster Local 507 in Cleveland, I must agree. Good pay, good benefits, and hey, our retirement funds helped build Las Vegas. Jackie Presser was, indeed,"The Man."

Stephen Jones

Is there any major city in the US where organized crime has had a powerful and long-term presence that has not had significant corruption within the local government?

It strikes me that the routine singling out of Chicago for such a reputation as though the Al Capone era lives on there today is a bit over the top.

As for the pint-sized megalomania of the Daley family, and the petty crimes of various aldermen and bribable officials, doesn't this sort of stuff go on in virtually all major cities in the world?

Is Obama a product of supposed 'Chicago Style' politics? I think not. It seems his towering ambition was firmly in place long before he first engaged with the Chicago political scene. Of course he used the local political dynamics to advance himself into the national limelight, but what politician in this country does not do that in pursuit of his own ambition?

I'm no particular fan of Obama, and have no particular alliegance to Chicago, but it does seem that the knee-jerk habit of invoking the evils of 'Chicago style'politics is a tired and worn out argument that doesn't really bear much, if any, on the substance of the subjects at hand it is typically invoked against.


Doesn't seem like Chicago has many choices.

I wonder how long before people in Illinois start using this precedent to avoid taxes, as in "I'm really a resident of Florida (no income tax) and intend on returning there - some day - so you shouldn't withold any taxes while I actually work here.

Ken J.

What PS said. "Big-city Mayor" is generally a terminal position in American politics, and it has never been a steppingstone to the Presidency. (I'm racking my brain trying to think of big-city mayors who became Senators. Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco and California, but she became Mayor after an assassination.)

Color me naive, but I do believe that Rahm Emanuel is running for Mayor out of a love of the city, and a love of politics.


Being mayor of Chicago is probably a better job. It is rather unlikely that RE will run for POTUS and if he does, it is even more unlikely that he will serve.



"Just so SST readers are all very clear on this: organized crime in Chicago includes Italians and Jews."

And Blacks and Mexicans and Russians and Asians and the 100 or so neighborhood civic associations (gangs)!

Lets not just blame the Italians and Jews these days.

You might just say that Chicago is kind of a "family" oriented town.


Stephen Jones,

"but it does seem that the knee-jerk habit of invoking the evils of 'Chicago style'politics is a tired and worn out argument that doesn't really bear much, if any, on the substance of the subjects at hand it is typically invoked against."

Who do you think was really behind the RE Residency issue? His opponents? Not very likely. Chicago politics reminds me of Haitian politics. You ain't getting elected unless the "families" support you.

The worse thing that could happen to Chicago is if Fitzgerald leaves DoJ.

You remember that movie Stripes? The part where the Armor RV runs across the Czech boarder and the gal says to the Czech soldiers, "we're from Chicago" and they reply. Ahhhh, Chic-go Bang..bang!

It would be if Fitzgerald left.


Thanks GZC and Fred.

different clue

If NAFTA is as unpopular in Chicago as it is in Detroit or Flint or Pontiac,
then Emmanuel could perhaps be defeated by invoking NAFTA against him. He was very instrumental in helping
Clinton get NAFTA through Congress.

And if Black Chicago can't elevate a counter-Rahm candidate, perhaps the liberadicals can run a stop-Rahm candidate. They can invoke his role in killing the "public option" and they can remind him of how he called leftist opponents of his hand picked candidates "stupid" and "retards". Maybe Chicago has just enough liberadicals who would vote their vengeance over those two things that Emmanuel would be denied just enough votes to get over the top.


Chicago is a wonderful place to live, but far more corrupt and entertaining than even critical outsiders tend to realize. For example, Carol Mosley Braun's campaign, which cleared out the other black candidates is being run by one of Richard Daley's capos and presumably financed by his minions. Daley is of course backing Emanuel. You have to love that: Get that man's blessing and he'll run fake candidates for you!

The power of the machine (ie cigar chomping white ethnics with underworld ties) is pretty well overstated, though. The much scarier thing is how the city government is entwined with transnational banks. It wasn't the mob that bought our parking meter revenues out in perpetuity for pennies on the dollar, it was Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase, where Bill Daley was a big pooh-bah.

Stephen Jones

Jake, are you saying that you believe the primary active force behind getting RE off the ballot is Chicago or Illinois based crime families, (as differentiated from politics-based groups and interests)? I would find such an assertion very hard to believe.

I'm no fan of Emanuel either. His efforts on behalf of the Democratic Party in the last election were very bad for the party itself, and by extension, because of the weakening of the party, bad for the country at large. (Of course the rightwing authoritarians and other nutcases who've hijacked the GOP are bad for that party and for the country as a whole too.)

I strongly agree with a poster above that RE is unsitable for elected office in this, or any other, democracy, though my primary objection to him is less his unfortunate first alliegance to another country and more that he is basically an authoritarian at heart like most oligharchic types are. I'm not singling RE out for this either as I regard a very large percentage of our elected officials at the federal level the same way; democracy is an obstacle for them to overcome in pursuit of their own power and ambition.

Eric Dönges


What is really amazing is how everyone seems to acknowledge the corruption but are apparently resigned to living with it. Unfortunately this isn't limited to Chicago.

Most people value stability over abstract concepts of justice. As long as things are kept running smoothly, people won't mind if those in charge skim off the top.

Clifford Kiracofe


Yes there are the new more recent ethnic based criminal organizations. Some have international connections. My reference here is to the old "mafia" which in Chicago is sometimes nicknamed "The Outfit."
On The Outfit, see wiki:

Personally, I like Chicago and think the present mayor (like his father) has done a good job, on balance, considering everything.

Major urban centers in the US have their own ways.
Jake Arvey, 24th Ward, made the Daley's and Arvey's legacy will most likely make Rahm. The Daley's are one thing and are Chicagoans. Rahm is alien to Chicago like a certain Hawaiian.


The important objection to Emanuel is less his authoritarianism (I don't like it but take it as a given in a powerful politician and he's less bad than many) than the disinterest for local interests that he represents. Chicago is partly an international money center like San Francisco and partly a torn up Midwestern city like Detroit. My objection to his carpetbagging is that he clearly has no interest in doing anything for or about the Detroit part. Yes, this is a powerful city and it's easy to see why Washington wants it run by its own man, but there are also a lot of people who just happen to live here and want jobs, good transit, safe streets and so on, things about which Emanuel clearly has no knowledge and in which he clearly has no interest.

Paul in NC

"...the liberal Chicago "machine" that created Obama can now continue its "frogmarching" of Rahm toward the White House."

That seems a bit of a stretch. And liberals don't like Rahm.

Stephen Jones

Chicagoan, Your point about Emanuel's apparent disinterest in the 'Detroit' aspect of Chicago is well taken. Having seen his behavior in the national arena it is very hard for me to imagine him having the will or being otherwise inclined to focus on the local needs and details of an urban metropolis.

I spent probably the coldest winter of my adult life in Chicago, yet in the year I lived there back in the early '70s I really like the city. It was dynamic, diverse, and a very good place to live.

I don't know if it matters much to anyone in DC if Emanuel gets the Chicago mayor's job as a feather in his cap. I suspect that in Rahm's case his own appetite for power is telling him that being a big fish in a smaller pond, (i.e.municipal government honcho), will feed that appetite more than being a smaller fish in a bigger pond, (such as Congressman or Senator in the national arena). One more reason to regard him as unsuitable for the job.

Patrick Lang

Paul in NC

You mean you don't know the difference between liberals in general and Zionist liberals. You need to get out more. pl


My first 15 years were spent in Chicago, and after many decades have been back several times. It is a friendly and vibrant city.

Chicago may have its own brand of corruption, while the rest of us have the financial industry to worry about.

Paul in NC

Zionist liberal? Well, why not? But delivering the first Jewish president by way of Chicago?

A man who served in a foreign army and never met and F Bomb he didn't like? A ballet dancer?

Anything's possible, but it's still seems a bit of a stretch.

Patrick Lang


Hey! I'm a novelist, and married to a ballet dancer. She could be president. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

Paul in NC,

Follow the money...look at all the money Rahm's brother is getting in LA/Hollywood. Rahm's campaign in Chicago courtesy of the pro-Israel Entertainment set and of course "Da Boyz" who have run Hollywood/LA since the 1920s...of course some of "Da Boyz" were sent out from Chicago, Sidney Korshak's friends, you know? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Korshak

Good old Sid....

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