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Blagojevich Thu Jun 03 2010

Don't Forget: Blagojevich Allegedly Tried to Shake Down A F*&%ing Children's Hospital

The Blagojevich trial officially kicks off today. Amid the partisan celebrations about how the attention on this trial will "hurt Democrats" (it won't), it's important to take a moment to think about what this trial really shows, given that it is the second trial in a row of an Illinois Governor for despicable crimes. Rather than see that as evidence that the system needs fundamental reform--specifically, to eliminate the influence of cash in politics--partisans are using it for political advantage. Real heroes.

The sin wasn't really trying to sell the US Senate seat. Honestly, who cares if he was going to horse trade--or even auction it off for his personal benefit? To be honest, given the way the US Senate works, it probably wouldn't have ended a whole lot different than having Roland Burris in there. I have in mind the shaking down of Children's Memorial Hospital CEO for $50k at the risk of losing funding. That's the real despicable act. And it isn't liberal or conservative or Democratic or Republican. It's part of our political system. A political system that relies on organized money rather than organized people. George Ryan's actions in selling "licenses for bribes" lead indirectly to the death of a family. There wasn't something about Ryan's Republican-ness or conservative-ness that led him to do that, nor is there anything about Blagojevich's Democrat-ness or liberal-ness that led him to allegedly shakedown a kid's hospital. Yet of course that's what partisans resort to; that's the tribal system we're supposed to pretend is more "serious" and "realistic". When we have such clear evidence of both sides operating in the same system, isn't that all the evidence we need that the two parties are uninterested in actually changing that system? It's all so frustrating.

To follow the trial in quasi-real time, check out Natasha Korecki from the Sun-Times on Twitter. Presumably the Trib's Jeff Coen will be there, though his Twitter account is pretty inactive.

After the jump, check out the details of Blagojevich's shakedown of a hospital executive.

Federal Blagojevich Indictment

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