"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Illinois: By a 59 to 0 vote, State Legislature removes Governor Rod Blagojevich from Office

Patrick J. Quinn
Lieutenant Governor of Illinois and
now, the new Governor of Illinois
The Cable Networks are reporting that about 30 minutes ago, by unanimous vote (59 - 0 ), the Illinois State Legislature removed Governor Rod Blagojevich from office, in addition, there was an subsequent motion to bar him from holding any public office in the future.

The Governor in a change of heart, decided to make a statement to the State Legislature, which he did for about an hour, and asked them not to remove him.

As of today, he is no longer Governor of Illinois, as of this moment Patrick J. Quinn Lieutenant Governor of Illinois has been sworn in.

I really do not want to get into whether or not he broke any laws, what I really want to focus on, is the fact that many elected officials feel that the office belongs to them, that it is a vehicle for their benefit and that they can do whatever they want.

The "Pay to Play" Scheme is sickening, the vote and will of the people should not be up for sale, that's the bottom line.

My hope is that many voices are raised to denounce this practice, for all we can see and hear, the Blagojevich practice is emblematic in politics and needs to be stopped, yeah, I know it is a pipe dream but something needs to be done and, for all of the comedy of this saga, I'm glad this came to light, hopefully it will start a conversation and needed changes.

Let it be so... If we do so wish and do act accordingly, in the final analysis, it is up to us.

From The Australian

CORRUPTION-tainted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been ousted from office after being accused of trying to auction off Barack Obama's Senate seat for personal gain.

The Illinois state Senate has voted 59 to 0 that Democrat Mr Blagojevich abused his power and should be removed. He will be replaced by Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn.

They found Mr Blagojevich guilty of engaging in a lengthy pattern of pay-to-play politics in which he traded campaign donations for political favors and tried to swap his ability to pick Mr Obama's replacement for a cabinet post, ambassadorship or high-paying job for himself or his spouse.

``He repeatedly abused his power and we need to extinguish it and extinguish it today,'' senator Kirk Dillard said before the vote.

The bulk of the charges in the articles of impeachment stem from a 76-page FBI affidavit released in the wake of his December 9 arrest amid what prosecutors called a ``political corruption crime spree''.

Mr Blagojevich has not yet been indicted on the fraud and extortion charges and his criminal trial is months or possibly years away.

But Illinois politicians believed the evidence against Mr Blagojevich.

Mr Blagojevich, who boycotted the first three days of the trial and refused to answer questions from state MPs, made an impassioned plea to save his job.

``I have done absolutely nothing wrong,'' Mr Blagojevich said in closing arguments.

``I followed every law ... and when the whole truth is heard, and the whole story is told, that ultimately is what will be shown.''

Mr Blagojevich said he wanted all of the FBI wiretaps to be played to prove that the damning quotations used in the affidavit were taken out of context, including an expletive-filled description of his chance to name a senator as a ``golden'' opportunity he would not give away for ``nothin'.''

Four of the secretly taped conversations were played during the impeachment trial but federal prosecutors asked lawmakers not to dig into the criminal charges against Mr Blagojevich out of concern that it could interfere with the criminal trial.

Prosecutors say those tapes show Mr Blagojevich pressuring a racetrack owner for a hefty campaign donation in exchange for help passing favorable legislation.

But Mr Blagojevich said they are simply ``conversations relating to the things all of us in politics do in order to run campaigns and try to win elections.''

While it would involve some ``political embarrassment,'' Mr Blagojevich said he could be exonerated if those he discussed the Senate seat with were required to testify: including Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and senate majority leader Harry Reid.

But the senators were not swayed and said the limited evidence that federal prosecutors allowed them to examine was more than sufficient.

Mr Obama, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, so far has managed to emerge essentially unsullied by the scandal that shone a national spotlight on the culture of corruption in Illinois.

Five of the past nine Illinois governors have been indicted or arrested for fraud or bribery and Mr Blagojevich's predecessor, Republican George Ryan, is serving a six-and-a-half year sentence for fraud and racketeering.

Mr Blagojevich, a Democrat, is the first Illinois governor to be impeached.

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