In December 2008, laid-off workers at a Chicago window factory staged a “peaceful occupation.” These workers had suddenly found themselves laid-off from their jobs. They held a sit-in protest after banks had refused to lend the window factory where they worked the $1.75 million to pay them for outstanding wages and benefits.
The major player in the refusal was Bank of America. It was then that Governor Rod Blagojevich, a great hero of Illinois, dared to defy Bank of America. “Blago” (his nickname) told Bank of America that Illinois would not do business with them unless and until “they fulfilled their obligations since the banks had been given a huge amount of bailout money but were holding it back from the purposes it was intended.” (“Has American Society Really Progressed?”, Pravda, Jan. 4, 2009)
“The rest is history. Consequently, Governor Blagojevich found himself tried and convicted in the media ostensibly for trying to sell the Senate seat of President-Elect Barack Obama.” (Ibid.)
Blagojevich was one of the “Big Four” of Illinois, the others being Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rahm Emanuel, and Barack Obama of Hawaii, Cuba, Kenya, or Alpha Centauri (depending on your point of view).
Blago went to jail. Congressman Jackson succumbed to manic-depression. Rahm Emanuel was shoehorned into Mayor of Chicago. And Barack Obama became U.S. President.
The year was 2009 and prosperity had vanished. On January 7, 2009 stocks fell sharply “as a handful of bleak profit outlooks and more evidence of escalating unemployment served as stark reminders that the economy remains in rough shape.” Private sector employment had fallen by 693,000 in December. “In late morning trading, the Dow dropped 186.46, or 2.07 percent, to 8,828.64. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 21.57, or 2.31 percent, to 913.13, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 41.70, or 2.52 percent, to 1,610.68.” (“Stocks fall on fresh evidence of economic woes”, by Madlen Read and Sara Lepro. AP, Jan. 7, 2009)
Hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money had been injected into troubled banks. Yet an Associated Press investigation found none of the banks were willing to disclose what they were doing with the money! A congressional panel overseeing the Treasury Department’s $700 billion financial bailout was demanding transparency. The panel, chaired by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, was frustrated by stonewalling from Henry Paulson’s Treasury Department. What was being done by the banks with those billions of taxpayer dollars? (“Oversight panel wants better answers from Treasury”, by Daniel Wagner. AP, Jan. 9, 2009)
And where are they today? Henry Paulson, Bush-era Treasury Secretary, now hangs out at the Rockefeller University of Chicago. Elizabeth Warren was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2012. And Rod Blagojevich, who defied the Bank of America, is in federal prison, serving a 14-year sentence.