by Don Washington on 2012/06/19
"I will have the most open, accountable and transparent government that the city of Chicago has ever seen.” – Candidate Rahm Emanuel
Integrity is fading. David Hoffman has given away what little he had left by signing on to the transparent window dressing that is the Infrastructure Trust’s oversight board. Mayor Emanuel, if he ever had any integrity, is putting out propaganda and outright lies with his TIF film and going all Orwellian with his Rahm’s Readers. That’s right the man who has done everything in his power to make it difficult for children to read, by closing down and underfunding both libraries and schools has a reading club. This kind of behavior can best be described as hypocritical ironic chutzpah. As bad as Mayor Daley was he simply a dumb thug with pretensions of civilization and a thin skin… He fostered an environment that made high-end theft a given. He didn’t even pretend to have any integrity and just acted shocked at each disclosure of malfeasance. Rahm is a horse of a different color. He knows he’s too smart to play dumb so he’s about the business of legalizing the indefensible… the looting of the public treasury by private interests. It is the twilight of integrity.
Whenever someone talks about how much more transparent Rahm is than Mayor Daley ever was; try not to choke them out. The impulse to deprive them of life-giving oxygen, though natural, is not how we do things in a democracy. Just point out that not one City Hall lobbyist has the ear of a say JP Morgan Chase, GE Financial, ULLICO, AUSL, World Business Chicago, Stand for Children or the Civic Club of Chicago. These people are the class Mayor Emanuel is trying to join, the ultra-oligarchy. He works for them and serves them directly… or to put it another way… he don’t need no filthy lobbyists. They talk and plan as peers when they need to talk and plan at all. And all this nonsense about confidentially... WHAT could possibly be confidential that isn't criminal between Rahm, his staff and some corporate campaign investor? The Mayor needs to give us a list of these priviledged conversations... you know what they would cover in general because it seems like aside from security concerns it should all be public knowledge if it involves public funds and resources... but you have to have integrity to do such a thing and ours is fading just as Rahm's has gone.
If that doesn’t stop them ask them why does it matter that they can now easily look up what city workers make? Is it because it allows them to become un-righteously angry that some guy that picks up garbage makes more money than they do, has a pension and didn’t even go to college? What does it matter that they can get lathered up about positions they think are redundant because in the private market, where you have the labor protections of the black guy in a slasher film, you’d just be overworked and under compensated for that same work? Does seeing how much these folks make allow you to mutter things like: “Damn, lazy government workers!” We don't even have to talk about how unconnected the crime stats are to how the Marmoset Machine works... unless it starts tracking how much money CME owes us in taxes for the infrastructure they don't pay for... The bottom line is that everything Mayor Emanuel has chosen to show us tells us nothing about how the Marmoset Machine works.
When Mayor Emanuel promised to run an open, accountable, transparent government the spit takes to the smell of his flaming pants were impossible to ignore unless you were the crack Chicago Stenography Corps. We did spit takes because we know that Mayor Emanuel’s Marmoset Machine is about opening new markets to appropriate billions of public funds, for private interests, in unaccountable and completely legalized ways. His pants caught on fire because his entire political career is nothing but one long and sorry series of acts of dog-like devotion to the vicious interests of corporate interests.
In order to understand the Marmoset Machine the Mayor is building and the kind of openness, accountability and transparency that we need to keep it from selling Chicago to his campaign investors, via the Civic Federation plan for Chicago; we need to know what he’s done before. Mayor Emanuel built the bones of the Daley Administration’s pinstripe patronage machine. He was the hatchet man for the betrayal of the middle class and unions that is NAFTA and a primary advocate for the unleashing of criminal financial forces on our entire economy with the elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act. This is the 21st century people. Contractors stealing millions from the city isn’t even small potatoes. The game now, is way bigger than City Hall lobbyists and patronage… neither of which are really a part of the Marmoset Machine. Our Mayor’s goals are both bolder and far more sinister. He’s not the first proponent of the neo-liberal austerity agenda… he’s just one its more effective agents at the twilight of integrity.
Mayor Emanuel wants to create, expand and enhance entities that legally collect public money and resources and transfer them to the private interests that comprise his campaign investor’s vision. So he creates and Infrastructure Bank to legally shovel public funds into campaign investor’s hands. He misleads the entire city on what TIFs are because this protects his private piggy bank to hand out goodies to his favorite companies. He has an ordinance that allows him to spend a bottomless blacked out budget for special security events or… according to the ordinance… whenever he thinks things need him to do something to protect us all.
The idea that the doings of City Hall lobbyists, the pay of city workers and the tracking of crime-ridden hotspots tells anyone, anything about what’s happening between Mayor Emanuel and AUSL, CME, GE or any other mega-corporation coming to collect on their campaign investment is laughable. Apparently Mayor Emanuel thinks that we have the I.Q.s of hamsters and though that is true of a number of Chicago Stenography Corps members some of them already know such is not the case.
For example, we know that Mayor Emanuel will not give up his public schedule, emails, government cellphone bills or interoffice communications with top aides. This would include is meetings with World Business Chicago a group of corporate fiends that brings to mind the phrase: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Anyone who knows anything about Rahm knows that all he does is cut back room deals with powerful forces. Don’t believe me, remember the deal he cut with insurance companies on healthcare reform that did in single payer and saved an industry, that like slavery… maybe should be ended? Still don’t believe me? Surely you recall what he told us about his secret meetings with his campaign investors to basically steal the Chicago Teacher’s Pension funds? You of course know that you do not know what they actually came up with and we should know because those funds are being stolen a little at a time every chance our Mayor and his friends get.
Basically we need to know is how the sausage is made and with Rahm that means we need to know all about his lunch dates, phone calls, meeting minutes when he’s acting as Mayor and memos that show us how the little cloven-hooved marmoset and his minions get things done. Predictably, Mayor Emanuel has already made it clear that he would rather sacrifice someone else’s children, not hyperbole look what he’s doing to public schools, than give anyone that kind of insight into the Marmoset Machine. The Infrastructure Bank’s “oversight” board features the hilariously pathetic David Hoffman. A man whose former integrity has been in doubt since his run for Senate to remove all doubt with his appointment to run this board… maybe he can run the BGA next… it would be fitting.
All we’ve ever wanted in Chicago, since Mayor Washington was a government that allows us to know who’s doing what, with whom to cause whatever to happen. That would be the definition of open and Rahm is not doing that. We suggest that a government that responds affirmatively to solve a problem that makes 90% of teachers looking to strike would be accountable and Rahm is looking to break the union not bargain with it. A government that told us who the guy that calls the shots is talking to and tells us what they are talking about would be transparent. What we know for sure is that nothing the little marmoset has shared with us so far passes any of the above tests. It is, as was said before, the twilight of integrity.