Wednesday, January 29, 2014
How the Chicago Machine Works
How the Chicago Machine Works
“When the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse, there is an end of liberty.”
The Chicago Machine relies on unwritten rules to recruit new members and control existing ones. The machine’s unwritten rules are very similar to those of organized crime families and street gangs. Machine recruiters don’t hand new members a manual containing the rules. New machine members learn the organization’s customs and norms through their elders or by trial and error.
The machine relies on peer and social pressure to enforce its rules. The machine does not physically beat or murder those who violate the rules. Nonetheless, the machine metes out punishment including excommunication, loss of jobs, loss of contracts, public humiliation, or inspections that lead to hefty fines and loss of income. People who live in Chicago know why you “don’t fight City Hall.” If you dare challenge City Hall, the machine will apply its unlimited city resources to make you pay.
Machine members will tell you the machine doesn’t exist. It’s in the best interest of the machine to make you believe there is no such thing as a political machine. The machine doesn’t want voters like you to know there is a political organization manipulating your vote. The machine relies on votes from the unsuspecting public to manufacture patronage jobs, political power, campaign contributions, and income for members who make the machine’s candidates invincible at the polls.
When people join the Chicago political machine, they aren’t photographed and issued an identification card. The machine doesn’t require its members to periodically receive an updated identification card that says, “Chicago Machine Member since 2003.” The machine has no official dues, no official articles of incorporation, and no official meetings. The closest the machine gets to anything official is the Cook County and State of Illinois Democratic Party. The machine camouflages itself under the false pretense of a political party that exists to serve the public good.
The machine is strictly business. The machine doesn’t sell drugs or weapons. Its stock and trade is political influence and power. The machine has control of city, county, and state taxes and often uses the money it collects as its own. At the very least, the machine’s elected officials trade government services for campaign contributions, which is why Jay Stone has sought a ban on political contributions from companies and people who do business with the city.
Everything the machine does is designed to get its members reelected so the machine can hold on to its political power and control government jobs and the taxes it collects. The machine is easy to get along with provided you play the machine’s game. If you ask members of the machine for help with problems concerning city, county, or state government, you can have it provided you help enough influential political machine members get what they want. Stone says you already pay your taxes and shouldn’t have to pay again for city service.
Five Unwritten Rules of the Chicago Political Machine
1. The Machine Needs a Boss
The Chicago political machine has always been strongest when it has a boss. Journalist Mike Ryko described the machine’s leadership phenomenon in his book “Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago.” The first Mayor Daley reigned from 1955 to 1975. His son, the current Mayor Richard M. Daley, has been the machine’s boss from 1989 to the present.
There are advantages in working for the boss. The boss provides jobs, city contracts, protection, political influence, and power in exchange for abject loyalty, campaign contributions, and votes.
The perks for being the boss of Chicago are similar to those of a mafia don. The boss always gets a piece of the action, and nobody does anything without first receiving an OK from the boss. The underlings take what boss Daley doesn’t want for himself.
From 1989 to the present Richard M. Daley has been the boss of Chicago. From 1983 to now, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has been the boss of state government in Springfield. And presently the Chicago machine has the granddaddy of all bosses, Barrack Obama, reigning as the boss of the United States.
Obama first went to Daley for Daley’s blessings to run for president. Once Obama had Daley’s support, Daley’s political outfit and fund-raisers backed Obama. The same financial backers who routinely back Daley donated heavily to Obama.
When Daley ran for reelection in 2007, five contributors who were on the Chicago Olympics bid committee donated $570,000.00 in aggregate to Daley. When Barrack Obama ran for president, Obama received $950,000.00 in aggregate from these same five Daley contributors. In all, the 15 members of the Chicago Olympics bid committee donated at least $2 million to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Given Obama’s quick and easy $2 million haul from the Chicago Olympics bid committee members, is anyone surprised that the president went to Copenhagen to lobby on behalf of a Chicago Olympics?
Besides President Obama and First Lady Michelle, the White House staff and cabinet includes other politicians schooled by Daley. Michelle Obama was a Daley advisor and Assistant Planning Commissioner. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, White House advisors David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan all put substantial time into learning the ropes from boss Daley.
Barrack Obama is the most articulate, charismatic, charming, and intelligent face the Chicago machine has ever had, but in spite of Obama’s vast talents and abilities, he still represents everything wrong about Chicago politics. What Obama has learned from Chicago politics and the Chicago politicians with whom he surrounds himself in the White House has been detrimental to him in governing our country. Unfortunately for America, Obama is running the country like a political boss of Chicago instead of acting like the president of the United States.
2. A Political Sponsor is Necessary to Join the Machine
Each new member of the machine needs an established member to vouch for him or her. This requirement of a political sponsor allows the older machine member to indoctrinate the new member into the machine’s culture and unwritten rules.
Political sponsors are also responsible for the conduct of new members whom they bring into the machine. Political sponsors keep their political proteges in line. The machine’s indoctrination process of having established members groom new members is the same method gangs and organized crime families use. To learn more about how the machine recruits and trains new members, read Milton L. Rakove’s eloquent book “We Don’t Want Nobody Nobody Sent.”
3. Don’t Snitch or Whistle-Blow
The machine relies on a code of silence to keep its secrets and prevent law enforcement investigations. Machine members hate snitches and whistle-blowers more than anyone and anything else. The machine has a rule against snitching and whistle-blowing because information from these sources can lead to convictions, loss of power, loss of influence, loss of jobs, and loss of money.
Since snitches and whistle-blowers trigger most investigations, they are the biggest threat to the machine. The machine wants to maintain a clean public image, but snitches and whistle-blowers expose the machine’s seedier side. Snitches and whistle-blowers are bad for business. How can the machine’s candidates win elections if voters know what the machine is really doing?
The machine’s unwritten rule of punishing snitches and whistle-blowers is akin to how street gangs and organized crime families punish their so-called traitors. Prisoners behind bars consider a snitch the low life of a prison. How ironic that Chicago politicians hold the same belief as convicted felons. And how ironic that Chicago politicians use the same peer pressure as inmates in a prison to keep snitches from talking.
When former Deputy Water Commissioner Donald Tomczak pled guilty and cooperated with the FBI, Daley publicly held Tomczak in contempt. When Daley’s patronage chief Robert Sorich was convicted and kept his insider’s knowledge of Chicago corruption to himself, Daley called Sorich “a fine young lad.” Daley’s vile reaction to the man who cooperated with the FBI compared to Daley’s praise of the man who maintained his silence is more than enough evidence to prove the machine’s unwritten rule against snitching.
To learn more about how the machine uses peer and social pressure to keep its members from spilling secrets, read Milton L. Rakove’s book “Don’t Make No Waves––Don’t Back Losers; An Insider’s Analysis of the Daley Machine.”
4. Punish Snitches and Those Who Don’t Remain Loyal
What good is it for the machine to have rules without any punishment for violating the rules? It’s easy for the machine to punish city employees for a lack of loyalty, blowing the whistle, or snitching. For example, twenty-seven-year water department employee Frank Coconate lost his job, pension, and health benefits for his family after he appeared on TV wearing a Jesse Jackson, Jr., for Mayor button. Like Stone, the federal court deemed Coconate a civil rights victim and awarded him financial compensation. Coconate lost his job for exercising his right to free speech.
Daley not only punishes dissenting employees; Daley also punishes opposition journalists. When “Chicago Reporter” journalist Mick Dumke asked Daley a question about the efficacy of Daley’s gun-control policy, Daley threatened him with, “If I put this up your butt, you’ll find out how effective this is! If I put a round up your …” What made Daley’s comment to Dumke more demeaning was Daley’s smirking laughter that accompanied his threat.
Daley and his flunky aldermen punished a TV news reporter for an unflattering story. When Andy Shaw, who currently is the Better Government Association Director, was an ABC-TV news reporter, he did a particularly hard-hitting story on City Hall corruption. The mayor and aldermen got their revenge against Andy. They passed a bed and breakfast law purposely to inconvenience and cause financial hardship to Andy and his wife’s bed and breakfast business. Never mind that many other Chicago bed and breakfasts were adversely affected by the law that was intended to punish Shaw.
If candidates run for office against one of Daley’s puppets, as Jay Stone did, non-machine-backed candidates and their supporters face every kind of punishment imaginable. Businesses who donate campaign contributions or display campaign signs for independent reform candidates must watch out. Punitive city inspectors may descend upon them and their businesses.
For example, when Stone ran for alderman, a store owner put one of Stone’s campaign signs in the store’s front window. The day after the election, the ward superintendent came to the store and issued the owner two tickets for displaying products on the sidewalk. The store owner said, “I have had products on the sidewalk in front of my store for seven years. Why are you issuing me tickets now?” The ward superintendent replied, “You should have thought about that before you put Stone’s sign in your window.”
Daley also metes out punishment to keep aldermen in line. In 2006 Alderman Joe Moore (49th) sponsored and passed a big box ordinance that stopped Wal-mart from building stores in Chicago. Alderman Moore also sponsored the foie gras ban that passed the city council with a 49 to 0 vote. One week after Moore’s big box ordinance passed, Mayor Daley and the city council repealed the foie gras ban by a vote of 37 to 6. The repeal of Moore’s ordinance had little to do with people in Chicago eating a delicacy. The foie gras ban had everything to do with sending a message to Moore and other aldermen. If you oppose Daley, you are going to pay one way or another.
5. Ward Bosses Control Their Wards Like Daley Controls the City
As with the mafia, which has one boss in charge of other, smaller bosses, the machine has a similar hierarchy and structure. The big boss is Daley who has a number of other smaller bosses working for him. Daley is the shot-caller for the entire city.
Each of Chicago’s 50 wards has an alderman and a ward committeeman (one person is allowed to hold both jobs simultaneously), both calling the shots in his or her own ward. The alderman’s ward is his or her turf. The aldermen defend their turf with no less vigor than street gangs defend theirs. Each alderman does not dare interfere with what goes on inside another alderman’s ward. There is no written law that states that an alderman must not involve him or herself in another alderman’s business. The custom of an alderman not getting involved with the internal politics of another ward is another one of those unwritten rules.
The existence of small shot-callers is very evident in rezoning cases. The tradition that each alderman is the final arbiter of rezoning in his ward dates back to the days of Prohibition. Aldermen keep their hands off of other aldermen’s rezoning decisions because that has been the tradition for almost one hundred years. Aldermanic voting to approve rezoning in the 14-member Zoning Committee and 50-member City Council is redundant and unnecessary because rezoning is fait accompli as determined by the alderman who has the final say on rezoning in his or her ward.
In addition to rezoning, Daley and the machine delegate power to the alderman boss and shot-caller over virtually everything else that occurs within the ward that he or she represents.
By letting an alderman call the shots in his or her own ward, it makes it easier for Boss Daley to control the entire city. Instead of Daley controlling every man, woman, or decision in each ward, all Daley has to do is control the alderman. If there is a political skirmish in a particular ward, Daley only has to tell the ward’s alderman to fix the problem.
It’s a lot easier for Daley to rely on one person to put out political fires in a particular ward than it is to rely on many. Daley gives each alderman the rights to his or her turf, and in return for their fiefdom, the legislators abdicate their duty to check and balance Daley’s executive branch of government.
Richard J. Daley was the Chicago (IL) mayor, and his sons are Richard M. Daley & William M. Daley.
Note: City of Chicago
Find Your Ward and Alderman
Click here to see Ward Map Showing Boundaries for all 50 Wards Richard M. Daley was the Chicago (IL) mayor, Michelle Obama was his staffer, and Valerie B. Jarrett was his deputy chief of staff, his father was Richard J. Daley, is William M. Daley’s brother, and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Rahm I. Emanuel is the Chicago (IL) mayor, a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and was the White House chief of staff for the Barack Obama administration.
Valerie B. Jarrett was Mayor Richard M. Daley’s deputy chief of staff, is a friend of Michelle Obama, the senior adviser for the Barack Obama administration, and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
William M. Daley was the chief of staff for the Barack Obama administration, is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s brother, and Richard J. Daley was his father.
R. Eden Martin is the president of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and counsel at Sidley Austin LLP.
Newton N. Minow is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and a senior counsel at Sidley Austin LLP.
Barack Obama was an intern at Sidley Austin LLP.
Michelle Obama was a lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP.
Sidley Austin LLP was the lobby firm for General Motors (GM).
Michelle Obama to Host New GM CEO, Dem Donor Mary Barra at SOTU (Past Research)
Robert S. Osborne was a group VP for General Motors, and is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Rahm I. Emanuel is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago (IL) mayor, and was the White House chief of staff for the Barack Obama administration.
Harold Washington was the Chicago (IL) mayor, and Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. was his adviser.
Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. was Mayor Harold Washington’s adviser, gave the Audacity of Hope sermon, and is the senior pastor for the Trinity United Church of Christ (Chicago).
Barack Obama is the author of Audacity of Hope, and was a parishioner at the Trinity United Church of Christ (Chicago).
Trumpeter Newsmagazine is a publication for the Trinity United Church of Christ (Chicago).
Louis Farrakhan was awarded the 2007 Jeremiah Wright Jr. Trumpeter award from the Trumpeter Newsmagazine, the organizer for the Million Man March, and the acting head for the Nation of Islam.
Nation of Islam
The first book analyzing the Nation of Islam was The Black Muslims in America (1961) by C. Eric Lincoln. Lincoln describes the use of doctrines during religious services.
Often the minister reads passages from well-known historical, sociological, or anthropological works, and finds in them inconspicuous references to the black man's true history in the world.... Occasionally the minister chides the audience for its skepticism: "I know you don't believe me because I happen to be a black man. Well, you can look it up in a book I’m going to tell you about that was written by a white man." He then reads off references that his hearers are challenged to check.
In recent years, the embrace of Dianetics under Farrakhan has drawn much criticism that the Nation of Islam is becoming too close to the Church of Scientology and the ideas of its founder L. Ron Hubbard, whom Farrakhan has said he respects. Farrakhan has praised Hubbard, saying he was "exceedingly valuable to every Caucasian person on this Earth". Of followers of Scientology, he stated "You can still be a Christian; you just won't be a devil Christian. You'll still be a Jew, but you won't be a satanic Jew!".
Main article: Nation of Islam and antisemitism
The Nation of Islam has repeatedly denied charges of anti-Semitism. Farrakhan has stated, "The ADL ... uses the term 'anti-Semitism' to stifle all criticism of Zionism and the Zionist policies of the State of Israel and also to stifle all legitimate criticism of the errant behavior of some Jewish people toward the non-Jewish population of the earth." However, he has also stated:
Jews have been conclusively linked to the greatest criminal endeavor ever undertaken against an entire race of people ... the black African Holocaust.
Who are the slumlords in the Black community? The so-called Jews ... Who is it sucking our blood in the Black community? A white imposter Arab and a white imposter Jew.
These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. ... It's the wicked Jews, the false Jews, that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality.
Hitler was a very great man ... he was a great German and he rose Germany up from the ashes of her defeat Now I'm not proud of Hitler's evil toward Jewish people, but that's a matter of record. Well, in a sense you could say there is a similarity in that we are rising our people up from nothing.
Professor David W. Leinweber of Emory University asserts that the Nation of Islam has engaged in revisionist and antisemitic interpretations of the Holocaust and that they exaggerate the role of Jews in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Leinweber and others use the original statements of Farrakhan and others as the basis for their evaluation. NOI Health Minister Abdul Alim Muhammad has accused Jewish doctors of injecting Blacks with the AIDS virus.
Jeffery Muhammad, the Nation of Islam's longtime leader in Dallas, stated:
They [Asian-American merchants in black neighborhoods] are just the latest in a long line of people who have come to this country—like Jews, Italians, Indians and now Asians—who have sucked the blood of and exploited the black community.
Jude Wanniski, late associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, wrote, "I've met dozens of men and women who belong to the Nation of Islam, attended many of their conferences, and prayed with them in their Chicago mosque to the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammed. I've concluded beyond any reasonable doubt that there is not an ounce of anti-Semitism or bigotry in Farrakhan."
Rabbi David Weiss of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta, defended Farrakhan, stating "The media widely reported that the Minister had referred to Judaism as a 'gutter religion'. This error (or distortion) was deeply troubling to the Nation of Islam."
Posted by Sam and Bunny Sewell at 7:03 PM