Tuesday, October 2, 2007


It seems it's hard for people who aren't very familiar with Chicago to understand the real essence of it. One might argue that the Second City complex is the most important thing, but I can't agree.
It's the fixed-ness, to coin a term, pronounced "fix-edd-ness".
Most folks in the western world think they understand corruption. And so they may. But unless it's Chicago corruption they've experienced, I respectfully suggest they don't get the full load.
The corruption here is so deep, so foundational, so inbred and ingrained that it's hardly recognizable to the denizens of northeastern Illinois. There's no assumption that corruption is not present in the public business, not ever. I don't mean the simple, pass-a-few-bucks or hire-a-friend's-spouse kind. Those exist but are almost superflous to the real, structural stuff.
When the government, say, of the large city, goes about building a football stadium for a private, for-profit corporation, in likely violation of the law, and at the taxpayer's very unwilling expense, there's not really any suspense about the outcome. It's going to happen, and a select group of vendors and suppliers is going to get highly lucrative contracts to make it happen.
If a buddy of the Man's wife needs a nice boutique business to rake in a few extra mil, then there's always the O'Hare Cash Cow. A quick couple of words and a giant non-competitive contract appears, ink dry.
Another guy needs some land to make a nice little development happen and so hires a fixer, sometimes called a rainmaker in fancier places. Suddenly, an old piece of taxpayer-owned real estate worth a million or two gets sold for one dollar. Yes, one dollar.
If there's a popular, even beloved, transportation asset that happens to be despised and (yes,) feared by the Man on the Fifth Floor, it's not a big deal for it to disappear.
Just wait for dark and send in the bulldozers.
The only surprise was that of the Man himself, that the subjects objected. He was truly miffed that they talked back.
For a long time, it was expected that a couple of aldermen every five years or so would be making the trip to the lovely Federal country club in Oxford, Wisconsin. Expected.
Hillary Clinton is a Chicagoan, despite having grown up in the adjacent bedroom suburb of Park Ridge. That Arkansas image is just a shawl that served for a few years on the way to the Big House.
She thinks like a Chicagoan, and acts like one. The casual corruption that has surrounded her since first getting near the power handles is something another Chicagoan perfectly well expects. Make a million on a shady commodities deal? Of course. Sell some prez-pardons for cash for the starving brother? It's a good thing.
But what seems to mystify so many onlookers is the statist thing.
That's my polite term for the love of control, the Utopian fantasy of an all-controlling State always doing the Right Thing.
Coming from a region where the goverment has a firm grip on the doings, comings, and goings of practically everything worthwhile, there's no evolving necessary to turn out to be a full-fledged statist. But of course the Man builds awful stadia and wrecks good airports. It's the natural order of things.
We'll be getting a chance soon enough to find out what this really means. The cause of the nanny state is about to get a huge boost.

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