I moved to Chicago in 1982, not too long before Barack Obama did, but, unlike him, I can't recall that I ever once thought of getting involved in Chicago politics. To me, wanting to be a Chicago politician would be like wanting to be an Albanian politician, or dreaming of opening a shop that buys and sells pre-owned hubcaps.
This is not at all to say that the spider's web of Chicago political relationships is boring for the disinterested spectator.
For example, the Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Jabir Herbert Muhammad — son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and former manager of boxing great Muhammad Ali — died Monday afternoon at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center...
The longtime South Side resident managed Ali's boxing career from 1966 till 1981 and continued to work for him after he left boxing, until 1991 — a relationship that led to legal battles between the two. ...
Mr. Muhammad was an adviser to his father, who was the leader of the Nation of Islam until his death in 1975, and was the organization's business manager.
Mr. Muhammad had been in the news last year because of a lawsuit he filed against convicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko to stay in his South Side mansion, a home built by the late Elijah Muhammad.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times last year, Mr. Muhammad said Rezko had “embezzled” him out of ownership of the home, even though he and his wife never moved out. They sued Rezko and Dr. Paul Ray [another sizable Obama donor], who currently owns the house. The suit is pending.
Rezko is a former campaign fund-raiser for Sen. Barack Obama, Gov. Blagojevich and others and was convicted in federal court in June of wide-ranging corruption involving state deals. Rezko and Mr. Muhammad had been longtime friends and business partners before their falling-out. ...
His survivors include his wife, Amenah Antonia Muhammad; 14 children, Elijah Muhammad III, Isa Muhammad Ali, Safiyya Rahmah, Alif Muhammad, Mourad Muhammad, Gina Driskell, Omar Muhammad, Jabir Muhammad, Samirah Muhammad, Saeedah Hamahouallah, Salimah Zahid, Samiha Muhammad, Saniyyah Sepanik and Zarinah Muhammad; 45 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren.
Earlier, the Sun-Times reported:
I guess it must be hard to buy or sell a South Side mansion without getting Tony Rezko involved.
The lawsuit comes about nine months after a Chicago Sun-Times story in which Muhammad first publicly claimed that Rezko "embezzled" him out of his mansion and seven other properties. At the time, Rezko called the allegation baseless and "extremely hurtful ... as I have given [Muhammad] and his family millions of dollars over the years."
The Muhammad suit involves only the mansion, in the 1100 block of East 49th Street. The Muhammads say Rezko persuaded them to put the home into a land trust when Jabir Muhammad was extremely ill in the 1990s. They say they had no idea Rezko intended to seize it from them.
Rezko's lawyers have produced a real estate contract that shows the Muhammads sold the mansion and three adjacent lots to Rezko in 1993 for $519,000. Under their contract with Rezko, the Muhammads were to leave the house by Dec. 31, 1995, but they still live there.
Obama got about $250,000 in campaign contributions from Rezko and his 100 or so relatives that Fat Tony has brought over from Syria, plus a Rezko-assisted deal on his own South Side mansion that I'm guessing was worth about $70,000. Yet, the Black Muslim founding family got "millions of dollars over the years" from Rezko? Michelle Obama must have been peeved when she learned how they'd been gypped ...
Why were Rezko and Muhammad so close? For one thing, Muhammad was Rezko's affirmative action front.
What was so crucial about Crucial? Minority set-asides. The Sun-Times reported: "Crucial had a contract with the Chicago Park District to sell food on the beaches and in many South Side parks." Rezko claims that during the late 1980s he managed the business affairs of the most famous Black Muslim, Muhammad Ali. God only knows how much he stole from the punchdrunk pugilist.
Marathon Pundit reported in January:
In 1984, Rezko went to work for Crucial, Inc., which was owned by Jabir Herbert Muhammad, son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and a onetime manager for boxer Muhammad Ali.The publicity about Jabir Muhammad fronting for Rezko's two Panda Expresses at O'Hare hit the local news three months before Obama had Rezko help him out with the purchase of his mansion.
Eventually Rezko was running Crucial.
In March, 2005 it was widely reported that the City of Chicago had discovered that Crucial, which operated two restaurants at O'Hare Airport under a minority business certification, but it was a front, since Rezko was at the helm of the firm.
This kind of thing happens all the time in Chicago (and elsewhere), with white guys like Rezko getting affirmative action contracts for firms with nominal minority or female figureheads. For example, Mayor Daley gave tens of millions of dollars in set-aside contracts reserved for women-owned firms in the 1990s to a maintenance company operated by his close friends and campaign contributors, the mobbed-up Duff Brothers. My favorite part was when Hizzoner announced he was commissioning an in-depth investigation to figure out whether the the Duff Brothers were female or not.
Indeed, the Daley Family was in on the fraud with Rezko and Jabir Muhammad on another Crucial minority set-aside fraud:
Rezko Watch reported:
In addition to Crucial Inc, another company certified as a minority owned, Crucial Communications, was also found to be a Rezko front company. This firm was chosen as a subcontractor by SBC Communications. SBC won a no-bid $10 million contract in 2003, to handle the pay-phone system at the Cook County jail and other county facilities.It's important to understand that affirmative action is just another way for the bipartisan and multicultural cabal of Illinois insiders, what Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, Mike Royko's successor, calls The Combine, to rip off the public. Thus, you get these hilarious combinations: the Irish Catholic Daley, the Black Muslim Muhammad, and the Syrian Christian Rezko, all united -- transcending race, as it were -- to steal money.
At the time the $1.3 million contract was awarded to Crucial, SBC was led by “Combine” member, Bill Daley, Mayor Daley's brother [and former Clinton Administration cabinet secretary], according to the April 4, 2005 Daily Southtown. Bill is now an Obama advisor and a member of his finance committee.
The Times found that Cook County was Crucial's lone customer, and the six employees listed included Rezko’s brother, Aboud Rezko, Jabir Muhammad, Mrs Muhammad, and Bernice Hatchett-Polk, none with expertise in maintaining pay phones. [Most of the "employees" gave donations to Obama, by the way.]
...Under the contract awarded by SBC, Crucial was supposed to be run by Wade. However, on March 26, 2005, the Tribune reported that Wade had died more than a year earlier on January 23, 2004, and Muhammad had been too ill to run the company for three years.
"In their recertification documents in September 2004, they did not indicate that there was any change in the ownership or management," a Cook County spokeswoman told the Daily Southtown.
But on May 5, 2005, the Times reported that the woman who notarized Crucial's latest recertification for minority-owned status, Gwendolyn Duncan, was John Stroger's secretary and was paid $72,000 to be his administrative assistant.
When county commissioners tried to find out exactly how this racket got set up, Stroger said SBC chose Crucial to be the subcontractor, and the SBC spokesman said SBC chose Crucial from a list of certified minority-owned companies provided by Cook County.
On March 15, 2005, the Times reported that there were six Rezkos on Cook County payrolls
And Obama played ball with all of them in his pursuit of power.
For example, Rezko is going to prison in large part for packing the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board with five of his lackeys so they would approve hospital construction in which he had an interest. That Board used to have 15 members, making it hard for Rezko to corrupt it, but in 2003, a bill passed the Illinois legislature reducing the number of members from 15 to 9. And who was the chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee that recommended that bill? Why, Rezko's $250,000 friend, the Presidential nominee ...
By the way, something that's long bothered me is this. Obama wrote that the hero of his youth was Malcolm X. Now, Malcolm was assassinated in 1966 by Black Muslim hitmen working for Elijah Muhammad. The chief long term beneficiary of the murder was Louis Farrakhan, who earlier had written that Malcolm deserved death. Whether Farrakhan was directly involved in the killing is unknown -- a number of years ago, one of Malcolm's many daughters hired a hitman to rub out Farrakhan in revenge. Even if he wasn't involved in the conspiracy, Farrakhan's sentiments are clear: he gave Malcolm's old job to one of the murderers when he was finally released from prison.
Yet, where's the outrage against the Black Muslims on Obama's part? If somebody important was tied into the murder of a hero of my youth, like Jerry West or Fernando Valenzuela, I sure wouldn't treat him as evenhandedly, with a mixture of sympathy for his goals and sarcasm at the impracticality of his economics, as Obama treats Farrakhan in Dreams from My Father. Nor would I have chosen a minister who went with Farrakhan to visit Gadafi in Libya in 1984 and gave Farrakhan his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Nor would I be happy about having a fairy godfather like Rezko who is up to his eyeballs in dealings with Elijah Muhammad's heirs.
Is that just the Chicago Way: what's a little murder among players like Obama, Rezko, the Daleys, Wright, Farrakhan, and the Muhammads compared to the political and financial benefits of scratching each other's backs? Is Obama really that coldblooded? Or does he believe that Malcolm was murdered by the FBI? Or is there something else going on?
P.S., Craptocracy watched Obama's speech so I don't have to.