Andy Martin: Contrarian Commentary

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Location: Manchester, New Hampshire, United States

Monday, April 30, 2007






(CHICAGO)(April 30, 2007) Something happened last week that illustrates why people have lost faith in the so-called “mainstream media.”

For almost forty (40) years the liberal bias of the nation’s major media has been a flash point. On November 13, 1969 Vice president Spiro Agnew attacked the nation’s liberal media elite. He triggered a firestorm of controversy with his comments. Those fires are still burning.

Last week, Agnew’s charges were once again corroborated by a national cover-up of Senator Barack Obama’s defective memory and embarrassing corruption as a young attorney.

While investors decry the decline of print media, and broadcasters bemoan dropping nightly news audiences, the rise of the Internet has created a new and even more potent left-wing monster.

The silence of the nation’s media where news of Obama is concerned also reflects extreme racism-in-reverse. Obama is allowed to bellyache that the “bar is higher for a Black candidate” when exactly the opposite is true: no white candidate could even remotely expect to receive the “white glove” treatment meted out to Barry O.

Last November Tony Rezko, a sleazy Chicago politician, was indicated by a federal grand jury. At the time I asked for a more extensive grand jury investigation of both Obama and Rezko, since I was aware the links were more expansive than reported. I also filed a complaint with the FBI. I sent a request to testify before the Grand Jury to Chief Judge James Holderman, who has not yet responded. (I will be contacting him again, soon. Stay tuned.)

Last week something truly bizarre happened in Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times published an 8 page expose on the same Mr. Rezko. Prominent among the “usual suspects” in the Sun-Times coverage was Obama. Given Obama’s status as a leading presidential candidate, the Sun-Times’ disclosures should have been front page news across the United States.

What happened? An iron curtain of silence descended on Obama’s outrageous evasiveness and blatant corruption while a lawyer and local politician in Chicago.

The Sun-Times pursued Obama for five (5) weeks and Obama evaded the paper because he knew that reporters wanted to ask questions about Rezko. If a candidate such as John McCain dodged a newspaper for over a month, and tried to avoid questions about links to an indicted supporter, would that be national news? Come on.

Here is what the Sun-Times reported:

Rezko had received over $100 million from city and state agencies for what soon became slum housing. Rezko had thirty (30) slum buildings.

Eleven (11) of Rezko’s slum buildings were in Obama’s geographically compact state senate district. (Obama served in the Illinois Senate from 1996 to 2004.)

In a large urban area such as Chicago state senate districts are not very large. They encompass several compact and contiguous neighborhoods. If you walked the district even occasionally you would know, you should know, almost every large building in the district.

How did Obama respond to the Sun-Times’ disclosures? He invoked the Sergeant Schultz (on Hogan’s Heroes) defense: “I know nothing; I see nothing and I say nothing.” Obama professed total ignorance about the slum tragedies literally on his own doorstep.

How could a state senator in a poor neighborhood not know about eleven (count ‘em) slum buildings in his own district?

Especially when the state senator’s own law firm represented the slum landlord?

Yes, Obama’s law firm represented Rezko in his sleazy slum landlord dealings.

A presidential candidate works in a law firm that represents a major slum landlord and he “knows nothing” about the client? The slum landlord client has slum buildings in the then-state senator’s district and the presidential candidate has no idea?

That’s the truth about Barry Obama.

Only the truth never reached the American people last week.

A veil of complete silence was imposed on Obama’s sordid scandal.

Chris Cillizza, a blogger for the Washington Post, had a mention on his blog. But the Washington Post made no mention in its print editions. The silence in the New York Times was also deafening. There was no headline coverage anywhere.

Outside Chicago, this devastating expose of Obama’s corruption and incompetence was completely suppressed. Even inside Chicago, the Tribune tried to pooh-pooh the story because the Sun-Times had beaten them on these devastating disclosures.

Of course during the period when Obama saw nothing, heard nothing and said nothing, he did received $50,000 from Rezko in “campaign contributions.” Maybe he didn’t learn about Rezko’s contributions until later as well?

Obama’s dirty dollars from Rezko were blood money. Tenants were suffering a few blocks away while Obama was collecting money to suppress any governmental relief. It's called "honest graft,” and legal fees are one of the quintessential forms of honest graft in Chicago.

Obama brags about his work as a private citizen removing asbestos at the Altgeld Gardens housing project. In reality he was a minor player in that program, except in his fictionalized autobiography where he stars.

But when he was actually a public official, a sitting state senator, he covered up massive slum holdings of his Fifty Thousand Dollar Man contributor. And he knew nothing?

And the nation’s media took no notice last week?

I said the Sun-Times was courageous. It was. The Sun-Times has a large readership in minority neighborhoods, where the Obama virus has been the strongest. The Sun-Times came close to alienating its core audience by telling the unpleasant truth about a local huckster who has managed to parlay media indolence into a serious bid for national office.

And, oh, what about Obama’s claim that the “bar” is higher for him? What nonsense. No other candidate could get away with representing a slum landlord who had slums in the candidate’s own district, and the candidate saying that as a local public official he had no idea what was going on in his own backyard. Who would believe that?

The national media are every bit as evil as Spiro Agnew said they were 38 years ago. They start with evasion, move to suppression and end with corruption of the information channels.

Agnew went on to attack the New York Times and Washington Post. Who suppressed the Obama shenanigans? The same Times and Post. Then as now the Times and Post were highly influential in setting the national news agenda.

Today the situation is even more dangerous than in Agnew’s day. Liberal Democrats are funding a left-wing attack dog, Media Matters for America, led by former Republican Conservative and now liberal Democrat David Brock. Brock attacks me, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh as an unholy trinity of conservatives.

But what is more critical is not Brock’s attacks on conservatives. Rather, Brock is dangerous because he stands ready to smear liberals who stray from his left-wing orthodoxy. In other words, the extreme left has created a climate of fear in the nation’s newsrooms: if you tell the truth about Obama, or other Democrats, you face the prospect of being smeared. The extreme left has begun to drive media coverage by the moderate left in the nation’s national media.

Republicans and conservatives have not yet adjusted to the emergence of the extreme left-wing smear machine in this country. Wake up America.

If an incompetent but visually appealing candidate from Chicago who worked as a lawyer representing a slum landlord, and who now claims to know nothing about the slums that existed either in his own law practice or on the streets of his own local senate district, can rise to national prominence, then the power of the extreme left has exponentially increased from what it was in 1969.

Barack Obama is the avatar of the extreme left’s growing power in American life.

The Emperor Caligula made his horse pro counsel of Rome. Media Matters, and the fellow travelers on the extreme left who support Media Matters, are on the verge of making a radical Chicago politician with a record of taking dirty dollars from a slum landlord a serious candidate for president: Barack Obama.

And they tell us the Democrats are ready to govern?

Putting Obama in the White House would be worse than putting Caligula’s horse in power. We are horse’s asses for even tolerating the dictats and suppression of the truth by the so-called “mainstream media.” And now the mainstream media are increasingly falling under the indirect influence of the extreme left.

Spiro Agnew, rest in peace.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Web sites:; Media contact: (866) 706-2639

Saturday, April 28, 2007



(CHICAGO)(April 29, 2007) The car bombings in Karbala come faster than I can write about them. Two weeks ago, 32 people were killed in Karbala. Before I could write about the peaceful city of Karbala having been transformed into a war zone, Saturday (yesterday) a new car bombing killed 56 more people and damaged the Imam Abbas mosque.

Karbala was an open and friendly place the first time I arrived there. If you go to and click on Executive Director you will see a picture of me with two boys in front of the Mosque of Hussein, in the large city square. []

People were open, friendly, and safe.

Since then, the city has become a killing field.

Karbala is not far from Najaf, and both cities are historic centers of Shia Islam scholarship.

We arrived in Karbala in April, 2003 in the midst of 1 million pilgrims. And yet the pilgrims and the city were orderly and safe.

It is hard to believe now, but during our first trip to Karbala the greatest danger was the potential for a traffic accident, not violent confrontation. My Iraqi assistant, a Shiite, and I could travel safely virtually anywhere. Today, no one is safe, anywhere.

There was hope, then, that people could live in harmony, freedom and peace. Today we have lost count of the bloodbaths.

It is possible to be a vehement opponent of the invasion of Iraq, as I was and am, and still acknowledge that in the aftermath of Saddam’s fall a general peace descended across Iraq. I experienced it. The peace was short-lived but real.

Unfortunately, the United States was totally unprepared for peace. The Pentagon was reading its own Paul Wolfowitz-inspired comic books (“Macho Man”) and claiming we could be down to 50,000 troops in country in September, 2003.

But U. S. troops had no strategy for maintaining the peace, and no strategy for engaging the people of Iraq. As I made clear in Part One of this series, “force protection” was the mantra that destroyed the mission.

Commanders were unwilling to expose their men and women to danger, and ended up exposing them to even worse calamities in the long run.

We also forget that Iraq was, by Middle East standards, a very liberal country, if not the most liberal nation. Women were liberated in appearance, education and employment. Tolerance for various lifestyles existed. Entertainment was varied.

And Rummy, Donald Rumsfeld, had gone to Baghdad in 1983 during that open era.

If only we had grasped the initiative then, and co-opted Saddam and undermined Iraq with free trade instead of sanctions, there might be a semblance of democracy in the Middle East today.

To quote the poet Robert Frost, we took the road less traveled,” to war, and “it has made all the difference.” A disaster.

Saddam would never have yielded to freedom, but our efforts to encourage economic freedom and social freedom would have created the underpinnings to destabilize his regime.

Unfortunately, when the current President Bush took office, his advisers got the cart before the horse. They wanted to impose military freedom on Iraq, believing that social and economic freedom would follow. Recent history seems to indicate the opposite process take place: In Korea decades ago, and today in China, economic freedom eventually leads, however slowly, to social freedom, and these will do more to ultimately free China from its current dictatorship than any foreign provocation. An American invasion is not needed.

But in Karbala in 2003 I knew there were no plans.

Americans were timorous. They were quick to create “compounds” for their “security,” that ended up segregating them from the very Iraqi people who were the only ones that could ensure America’s security. We should have extended an open hand; we kept our fists fixated on “force protection” and ignored the very people we had come to liberate.

Those happy kids in my picture on line (see above) may be teenagers now. I pray they are not insurgents, but no one can know.

As the weeks lengthened to months in 2003, Karbala became safer and remained peaceful. U. S. forces gradually withdraw, and south of Hilla the bulk of the remaining troops were multinational soldiers in a very quiet holding pattern.

Then, in late 2003 the power vacuum in Iraq gradually empowered the Sunni insurgency on one hand, and our efforts to impose democracy empowered the Shiites on the other hand. The result: a toxic combination that has led to yesterday’s chaos.

And Karbala? For over a thousand years the city has survived and endured. Today it is in the midst of a revolutionary war that swallowed up the Baghdad Spring of 2003.

NEXT: Return to Iraq: Part Three: Finally an Ambassador Who Speaks Arabic.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. He is America's most respected independent foreign policy analyst. Andy has been traveling to the Middle East since 1970; he became involved with the study of revolutionary warfare under Professor Bernard Fall during the mid 1960’s, and later became a founder of the Revolutionary War Research Center, a consortium in Washington and New York.

Columns also posted at and Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:;

Thursday, April 26, 2007




(Chicago)(April 27, 2007) The Paul Wolfowitz spectacle at the World Bank is working its way to its ultimate demise. On April 14th I became the first columnist to state the obvious: Wolfowitz must go. He is still hanging on. But probably not for long. The leadership of the World Bank wants him out.

Wolfie has hired himself a lawyer, Robert Bennett. Mr. Bennett has represented people-in-trouble in Washington, DC, and he is good at cutting “deals.” Emphasis on deals.

It is obviously a pathetic situation when an “employee” needs to hire a lawyer to talk to his bosses. Wolfe is trying the same kind of tough talk at the World Bank that worked so well when he got Bushie to blunder into Iraq. But like the wolf of Three Little Pigs legend, Wolfie can huff and puff but he can’t blown down the board of the World Bank.

He’s through.

While Bennett tries to strike a deal, the Wolfowitz spectacle grinds on. Wolfie’s ultimate fall is not in doubt. In fact, this column is going to be a major factor in hastening his demise. Wolfie has passed through a spectrum of notoriety and embarrassment from ridicule to ultimate spectacle. A very sad spectacle. It is an ignoble way for any career to end. It may not be time for rachmones, yet, but we are coming close. De mortuis…

And so what is the elephant in the room of which I speak?

How am I closing the circle? Or bringing down the curtain. Or whatever?

Why Paul and Shaha and Valerie and Joe. They are there staring us in the face. The four of them.

Ah, the elephant in the room.

You will remember that the Bush administration “outed” CIA operative Valerie Plame, and destroyed her clandestine career, as well as the career of I. Lewis Libby, all because Bushies were outraged that Valerie Plame had apparently recommended her husband for an assignment in Niger. Plame’s unpardonable sin: sponsoring her husband, Joe Wilson for a mission to Niger that cast doubt on Iraq’s efforts to purchase “yellowcake” uranium.

The Bushies thought Plame’s favoritism was the height of arrogance and corruption, and worthy of public flogging, CIA secrecy or no. And so L’Affaire Plame exploded on Washington, and damaged or destroyed many careers.

As one of my law professors used to ask, Quare? “If it was a hanging offense for Valerie to sponsor Joe, why isn’t it a hanging offense for Paul to sponsor Shaha, to Iraq in 2003 and the State Department in 2005?”

Good question. Sauce for the goose, and sauce for the gander. Or sauce for someone.

The parallels are so striking I am surprised no one has yet mentioned them. They are eerie. How can Wolfowitz argue with a straight face that what he did with Riza is acceptable behavior when the Bush Administration has never stopped condemning Plame for what she did with Wilson?

This nugget was left to the tender mercies of, and we serve it up all basted in the irony of ironies. Sauce, gander, goose and all.

Finally, some writers have suggested that removing Wolfowitz from public life based on a minor sexcapade is akin to jailing gangster Al Capone for tax evasion. They want Wolfie's scalp for the disaster in Iraq, and rightly so. But life and the law do not work that way. Big bad guys often fall for small reasons.

And the writers miss the obvious point. Tax evasion put Capone in jail and ended his career. L’Affaire Riza will end Wolfie’s.

Paul and Shaha will now be able to ride off into the sunset together. I hope they really love each other.

Maybe they will even run into Valerie and Joe on the retirement highway. Early bird specials, anyone? But I suggest these couples avoid the “yellow cake” for dessert.

If only walls could talk. If only elephants could talk, especially when they are in the room with Paul and Shaha and Valerie and Joe. Together forever. Another page in the book of life.

That is a book even Bushie would enjoy reading.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:;



(Chicago, January 17, 2007) When last seen, the conquering generals of Mighty Macy’s had planted their lances on Chicago’s State Street. Marshall Field’s had capitulated and fallen under the heralds of the squares from New York. Or so it seemed.

The “occupation” of State Street proved to be as problematical as the occupation of Saddoun Street in Baghdad. The natives revolted. Profits fell. Deadenders and regime remnants surprised the Manhattan “Field Marshals” with their loyalty and ferocity. But then New Yorkers don’t really understand the Midwest, do they? Piece of cake taking over Field’s (Bakery on Seven). No sir. Slam Dunk? Only if you play for the Bulls. Really.

It was only a squib by Sandra Guy in the Chicago Sun-Times (the “occupied” Tribune missed the story) but’s sharp eyes saw the instrument of surrender: Field Gear was returning to State Street.

For those of non-Midwestern inclinations, “Field Gear” was Marshall Field’s house brand. My closet is full of the stuff. Generously sized, reasonably well—made and attractively priced. Hey, those Field’s buyers could see value. Solid Midwestern value.

Well, of course Field Gear died with Macy’s. Or so we thought.

This week the regime remnants, or regime rags as garmentos in the garment district might call them, surfaced again. Field Gear has been reborn. What’s next? Will wonders never cease?

Now Macy’s Corp. President Terry Lundgren is a good merchant. And he probably feels he had sound reasons for changing Field’s name to Macy’s. Yes, Terry. And I realize the name is not coming back.

But, honestly, since the name changed I have not been back much. I may have slipped in once or twice, but a stop at Field’s used to be a weekly diversion for me. Retail therapy for someone who tries to make sense of Illinois politics and the Bush Administration. Frangos on Seven, Men’s on Two. (It looks as though the Cheesy Chowder is gone forever, unfortunately.)

Back to the “suits” at Macy’s (I don’t feel comfortable calling them the “Field Gears”). They tried to put the best face on their latest corporate ploy. “Well,” they said, “We use acquired brand names all the time.” OK. “And we will limit ‘Field Gear’ to men.” Women need not apply. Ohhh.

Don Imus’s defenestration prohibits me from making a joke of that newly discriminatory corporate standard.

And so it goes in the world of business. Chicago may have fallen to New York. But Chicago fights back. And we will never surrender. Yah, in your face, buddy.

And yah, the LaSalle National Bank, founded by Chicagoans all, is about to take some other banks’ name. From somewhere else. From either Scotland (the real one) or North Carolina (the only one). Beware.

But Field Gear is on the way back. Can a reprise of the Berghof be far behind? First National Bank of Chicago? (I think I still have my old checks.) I’ll be watching.

In my Field Gear. And in your face.

Live from Chicago, “It’s Field Gear…” I’ll take an XXLT, please.

--------------------------Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of He is a chronicler of all things Midwestern and the authentic Voice of Middle America. Copyright Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers national and international politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639

Wednesday, April 25, 2007



WHO: Internet journalist/editor Andy Martin

WHERE: Southeast corner of Wabash and Ontario Streets, Chicago, (St. James Cathedral)

WHEN: Thursday, November 16, 2006 11:00 A.M.

WHAT: Andy Martin will hold a news conference to announce that he has filed a complaint with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the U. S. Department of justice seeking a criminal investigation into the financial links between U. S. Senator Barack Obama and indicted Illinois influence peddler Tony Rezko. The complaint also names U. S. Representative Luis Gutierrez. After his newsconference, Martin will go to the U. S. Attorney’soffice to leave a letter for the foreperson of the U.S. Grand Jury.


“Mr. Obama says he made a ‘mistake’ when he entered into a deal with Tony Rezko,” Martin will state. “On the contrary, Obama committed a crime, and he knew it. Rezko was engaged in influence peddling, plain and simple. Obama was not some unsophisticated jerk. He had served as an Illinois State Senator, a body that has been a fulcrum of corruption for decades. He knew the ‘players.’ What Obama did is no different than the same kind of ‘honest graft’ that has sent Illinois politicians to jail since Governor Otto Kerner. Now that the election is over, it is time to focus attention on what I believe was Obama’s criminal conduct.”

MEDIA CONTACT: (312) 440-4124

BIO: Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster, critic and corruption fighter Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of Martin has forty years experience covering nationaland international politics. Martin has beenfighting political corruption in Illinois since he was a law student at the University of Illinois. Columns also posted Comments? Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web site:© Copyright by Andy Martin 2006.

Professor of Law (Adj.)
Suite 4406
30 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611-4723
Tel. (312) 440-4124
Fax (312) 440-4125

November 16, 2006

Mr. Edward Nucci
Acting Chief
Public Integrity Section
Criminal Division
U. S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20530-0001
With copy to:
SAC Robert D. Grant
FBI – Chicago
2111 W. Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60606
Via fax (312) 829-5172

Re: Possible criminal investigation of
U. S. Senator Barack Obama

Dear Mr. Nucci:

I am writing to you to suggest a possible criminal investigation of U. S. senator Barack Obama.

I have been engaged in fighting official corruption in Illinois since I was a law student at the University of Illinois, over forty (40) years.

I am in the process of organizing I-CAN (Illinois-Corruption Action Now) to continue the fight against corruption. I believe the modern remnants of the Chicago Crime Syndicate continue to seek to penetrate legitimate state offices and businesses. I have previously filed a complaint directing your attention to very suspicious links involving tens of millions of dollars in questionable “loans” between State Treasurer-elect Alexi Giannoulias’ Broadway Bank and an organized crime figure.

Mr. Tony Rezko is under indictment in Illinois for seeking to extort money from potential state vendors. Rezko is a close associate of Governor Rod Blagojevich and Rezko has done “real estate business” with Blagojevich’s wife, Patti Blagojevich.

Corruption, of course, involves two different approaches: (i) extorting/taking money from people, and (ii) paying money or giving tangible benefits to public officials to obtain access or influence. Sometimes people buy influence for an immediate project or need, and sometimes they just buy influence to bank it or to project the aura of access and influence in their business dealings. My complaint against Senator Obama falls into the second category.

Before being elected to the U. S. Senate, Mr. Obama served in the Illinois state senate. The Illinois senate has been a cesspool of corruption for decades. Back in the 1960’s they censured a member, Senator Paul Simon (then serving as a state senator), for being too honest and exposing senate corruption. Matters have not changed much.

Mr. Obama was well aware of the culture and climate of corruption when he began his business dealings with Mr. Rezko.

Reduced to its essentials, Obama and Rezko engaged in a structured real estate transaction where they coordinated the purchases of adjacent parcels of real estate. Rezko claims he paid “full market price” and Obama apparently received a “discount” of several hundred thousand dollars for his parcel. Rezko then improved his parcel to benefit Obama.

Obama recently said these related and structured transactions were a “mistake.” With all due respect I believe they were a federal crime and constituted a conspiracy.

I believe a grand jury could find a pattern of criminal activity. Instead of handing cash to Obama, Rezko handed Obama a preferential price for property. This is the same form of “honest graft” and preferential treatment that sent former Illinois Governor Otto Kerner to jail over 30 years ago, see United States v. Isaacs, 493 F.2d 1124 (7th Cir. 1974).

Taken in isolation, the Obama episode might be explainable, but I doubt it. Why would Rezko be buying land next to Obama and coordinating his actions with Obama if not to confer a benefit on Obama? Why?

More importantly, there appears to be a pattern of similar influence peddling by Mr. Rezko. The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported that Mr. Rezko, around the same general period he was wheeling with Obama, also provided a preferential price for a property purchase by U. S. Representative Luis Gutierrez. There is a pattern here. Instead of transferring cash to buy influence, Rezko was engaging in structured property transactions and preferential treatment of public officials to confer significant financial benefits on them, far above the legal limits of any legitimate political contribution permitted by federal law.

Most respectfully, I would urge you to consider allowing a grand jury to examine this series of suspicious transactions. I am sending a letter to the foreperson of the grand jury, through the U. S. Attorney’s office, seeking to testify as an expert witness in this matter if the grand jury wishes to pursue this investigation.Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Respectfully submitted,





(Chicago)(April 25, 2007) College dropout Steve Greenberg has a problem: he can’t decide which public office to buy. Poor fellow. And—no surprise here—the Illinois Republican Party leadership is egging him on. Way to go. Downhill.

I worked on Capitol Hill 41 years ago. Illinois was represented by two of the ablest senators in Washington, Paul Douglas, a Democrat, and Everett Dirksen, a Republican. The Illinois legislature and congressional delegation were vigorously competitive. Under Republican “Big Jim” Thompson the Republican Party established a stranglehold on the Governor’s office. None of these men had a fat wallet.

Today, well today Illinois Republicans are a joke. They spend their time calling each other names. RINO! Old-guard! And Democrats keep winning elections.

The fact that Republicans are treating clown prince Steve Greenberg seriously is evidence they have capitulated completely to their own sense of delusional envelopment.

Greenberg has no experience in anything. He dropped out of college to play hockey. He went to work for dad and today calls himself an investor in “distressed businesses.”

Greenberg should invest in himself. He sounds distressed to me. No direction. No experience. No credentials. He is heir to a 5 and 10 cent fortune. And he wants to go to Washington. Don’t nickel and dime me, please.

I suggest he start with a public tour of the White House. But then, maybe not. He might decide he wants to run for president.

One of Greenberg’s pearls of wisdom in today’s “The Hill” stands out. Greenberg has decided that although Illinois has two Democratic senators, a Democratic governor and both houses of the legislature are controlled by Democrats, Illinois is a Republican state.

Oh, boy. Don’t renew his day pass.

Three years ago the right-wing nut cakes of the Republican Party had their fondest hallucinations come true: conservative entrepreneur Alan Keyes—who makes a fortune by telling fairly tales to wealthy right-wingers—came to Illinois to sell his wares. The result was that Illinois foisted Barack Obama on the national stage.

Keyes said he was in Illinois to stay; anyone seen him lately? He lambasted gays and lesbians while concealing that his daughter was a lesbian.

Keyes was crazy from start to finish. But those who were and are responsible for the Keyes debacle never apologized for their stupidity and incompetence.

Keyes, of course, was never really a candidate, or a Republican. He was and is a political entrepreneur. He makes outrageous statements knowing that 2-3% of the public will pay good money to support his nonsense. So he says, and he sells. A simple and very profitable strategy. When you add up the dollars, Keyes is a rich man peddling foolishness to fools.

Keyes now has a competitor: Steve Greenberg.

Greenberg’s claim that Illinois is a Republican state is sad. The fact that he is a rich college dropout who is wandering through life looking for a role does not mean Illinois Republicans should take him in. But they are trying hard to rope him into running for Congress or the Senate.

“Oh, run, Steve,” they say, “Against that baddie Dirty Dick Durbin, or that baddie Melissa Bean.” “Duh,” says Greenberg, “You mean I can pick? Wow. Cool.”

That is not the way candidates run for office. They focus on a race, learn the issues and do their best to win. They do not flip-flop between offices. They don’t go out and say “I have a fat checkbook; now where can I buy myself a seat?”

And real political leaders do not welcome characters like Greenberg. The fact that Republicans are taking him seriously is evidence of how desperate the Republican Party has become.

Actually, I have announced that I am running for the same senate seat. So I welcome Greenberg and extend my hand and encourage him to run against me. “Spend some of that money fighting me, Steve, and you will see what real politics is like. But come prepared with a big wad. And once I am done with you, if you win, you face Dirty Dick Durbin.”

Finally, in closing, you can see why Republicans face defeat, again, in 2008. Politics revolves around issues. “Reagan Democrats” were Democrats who followed Reagan’s issues. Republicans want to forget that simple truth.

In 2006 I told Republicans they would have to deal with Iraq. The right-wing nuts screamed “no way” and threw up in my face. Last November the Democrats threw them out.

In 2008, they will have to face Iraq again, and terrorism, foreign policy, the military, etc. Are Illinois Republicans looking for someone with experience in those areas? Someone who can attack Dirty Dick on the issues? And challenge him on his failed policies? Not by a country mile. They are looking for money. They ignore experience to covet cash.

Is it any wonder they keep losing?

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:;

Tuesday, April 24, 2007




(CHICAGO)(April 24, 2007) Last week when the Alec Baldwin Kim Basinger custody war exploded, again, I compared Basinger to Norma Desmond, the fictional film queen who refuses to acknowledge her steady decline in Hollywood. After monitoring today’s TV coverage of the Baldwin/Basinger smackdown I am convinced I found a correct frame of reference. Only the firestorm keeps growing and growing. The Baldwin/Basinger row has touched a national nerve.
From Nancy Grace to Glenn Beck to Larry King to Hannity & Colmes to Greta Van Susteren, everyone has been talking about Baldwin’s horrific phone call to his daughter Ireland, and Basinger’s attempt to pour fuel on the fire by issuing a malicious news release denying any responsibility for disclosure of the tape. Well.
What made Baldwin’s phone call and Basinger’s response a national phenomenon? Perhaps because both Baldwin and Basinger are egregiously wrong, and you can easily condemn both of them. Some of the most intelligent observations came on Fox’s Van Susteren show, when former Westchester County (New York) D.A. Jeannine Pirro observed that Baldwin had responded to extreme provocation. Pirro stated there had been over a dozen contempt citations against Basinger for harassment and interference with Baldwin’s visitation rights.
Glenn Beck noted on CNN Headline news that every time he has a segment on divorce and custody wars, his radio program is “flooded for a week” with calls.
In the midst of a serious “custody wars” on Iraq between the Bush Administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill, the Baldwin/Basinger custody war has become an event where everyone can boo everyone else.
Where is Anna Nicole Smith when we need her? Should Judge Larry Seidlen hear the Baldwin/Basinger dispute? We need some tears and laughter; he is a proven commodity.
Family court cases are supposed to be secret, to “protect children.” It as been my experience that secrecy endangers children, not protect them. People literally get away with murder or near-murder in family courts across America precisely because so many of the proceedings are closed to the public.
In all of the hullabaloo over Baldwin and Basinger, no one has focused on where the case will be heard, or who the judge will be. I would like to know. Who will succeed Judge Larry in the nation’s collective consciousness? (The case will, of course, be conducted in secret; maybe.)
I can’t say that my legal research was exhaustive but I could not find any published appellate decisions on the Baldwin/Basinger smackdown. Thus, the battle seems to have been literally trial-by-combat in the trial court.
Basinger issued a statement today in which—-in Norma Desmond-style--she placed all of the blame on her former husband and attacked him all over again. Not exactly striking a conciliatory pose. It is simply not credible for Basinger to suggest that her camp has no responsibility for release of the tape. Basinger is an angry woman who has stoked the fires of anger in her former husband. That seems clear.
But why the national obsession? Unfortunately, we have become a nation enthralled by divorce, and in the thrall of divorce. Almost every family has been touched by divorce at some point, some bitterly, some endlessly, all financially. The “good divorce” is, unfortunately, a rare commodity.
And thus there is a certain schadenfreude in seeing prominent Hollywood celebrities dukign it out, not just during the divorce itself but in what appears to be an endless, decade-long custody war from which there is no withdrawal and no surrender. Talk about “dead enders.”
Hearing Baldwin’s tape over and over again I noticed that he said there had been a history of calls in which the phone was “turned off.” The latest outburst was not the first phone call that had been blocked. Baldwin only reacted in an inexcusable manner after repeated and extreme provocation.
A word of condemnation to the media, all of them: cover if you must (you must) but cover accurately. To listen to the stories all across television you would think Baldwin’s call took place “last week.” Indeed, the call took place almost a month ago, and the tape was what leaked out last week.
The “news” may be new but the phone episode was not. The media have not made that point clear. They have played the story and played the tape over and over again as though the call was made and recorded last week. Inexcusable.
Finally, of course, “love” is at the center of this endless tragedy. It always is. No one could commit such atrocious acts without the justification of “love.” Basinger may have convinced herself that her “love” for her daughter licenses her to destroy the father’s rights; Baldwin’s “love” for his daughter literally drove him to distraction.
As the 1965 Supremes song exhorted us, “Stop! In the Name of Love!”
But they won’t.
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world news with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639 Web site:

Saturday, April 21, 2007



(CHICAGO)(April 21, 2007) lists Alec Baldwin
as one of last week's biggest losers. His tirade left on a voice-mail for his daughter has been broadcast around the world. But perhaps Alec Baldwin is going to be the long-term beneficiary of his unfortunate misstep. My thought: we may be ignoring the real reasons behind his angst; he had to endure a Norma Desmond moment from his former wife Kim Basinger.
Over the years I have casually followed the Baldwin-Basinger divorce. And no, for this column I did not go back and do extensive research on the minutiae of what happened and when. It was/is a divorce. Two big egos battling for their child.
And yet, I think in the long run society will cast a more sympathetic eye on Baldwin.
First, here is a man whose career is on the rebound (busy, busy, busy), and who nevertheless religiously and meticulously makes time to call his daughter. He is to be commended for struggling to stay in his daughter's life. His outburst was prompted by the extreme frustration he felt because his daughter was ignoring his efforts to keep in close contact.
Some day, long after this latest episode has blown over and is forgotten, Mr. Baldwin's daughter will feel sad about the way she treated her dad when he was struggling to stay in touch. Ross Werland made this point in the Chicago Tribune (April 20) when he noted, "a lot of non-custodial parents sure know what he's feeling."
After all, in most divorces there are two parents, a custodial parent and a non-custodial parent. Divorce lore is littered with episodes of harassment by the custodial parent, which results in tragedy inflicted as revenge by the non-custodial parent.
At least half of the divorced population will sympathize with Baldwin. Here is a man struggling to stay in touch with his daughter-just as she's on the cusp of an age where she will need "dad" more than ever—and he is being blown off by daughter and vengeful mother.
No one can condone Mr. Baldwin's outburst. It was unfortunate. But, as Jesus might remind us, all of you perfect people round up your stones and get in line.
So, if this was merely another round in a custody dispute we wouldn’t be writing. This newspaper, after all, is called Contrariran ("non-custodial?)
No, what I found interesting, and obviously ignored by the national press, was the Norma Desmond aspects of this parental slap shot.
"Norma Desmond" is the star of the movie "Sunset Boulevard."
By all evidence, Baldwin's career is doing fine. His TV show has been renewed; he's in the movies. He is aging gracefully.
Kim Basinger may not be doing so well. She's still making movies but her career is not "talked about." She is in slow decline. And so, she unleashes what I call her Norma Desmond moment.
Everyone agrees Baldwin should have been more tactful with his daughter. No one should speak that way to his or her child. But he has obviously experienced extreme and continuing provocation. And he didn't leak the tape to the world's media, Kim Basinger did.
Her Norma Desmond moment.
Baldwin might be doing well, but she might not be doing quite as well. She wanted to remind Alec that "I am [still] big. It's the pictures that got small." In other words, even as his star rises and her star declines or remains steady, she is still in a position to cause emotional chaos for Baldwin with his daughter. This is a very common kind of divorce tactic. You see it all the time. Rising parent harassed by the declining parent. Greed and revenge at their rawest.
But Basinger's slap shot may be a dirty trick that backfires. Clearly, the leaker of the tape put the emotion welfare of daughter second and revenge foremost.
Unlike the poor, unemployed, usually minority group schlub who is being pummeled by the federal and state government because his ex-wife wants revenge in divorce court, Baldwin has the resources to fight back and strike back. Thus, taking a shot at him might make the leaker feel good in the short run, but it is sure to cause a headache in the long run.
And so, while Kim Basinger might have had her moment or moments of Norma Desmond satisfaction when Baldwin was embarrassed around the world, in the long run she may be the real loser.
She received bad advice, and she acted on bad advice.
A slap shot that may end up slapping her in the face.
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world news with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639 Web site:

Thursday, April 19, 2007





(CHICAGO)(April 19, 2007) A mass murder, seemingly unprovoked; a cryptic package of photographs and irrational claims sent to a news organization; bizarre babbling by Virginia Tech college student Cho Seung Hui to NBC News.
Does any of this make sense?
I believe I can offer a coherent connection that will survive peer review by mental health experts once more information is known. Obviously my analysis and conclusions are drawn from incomplete facts. But that's my specialty. Profiling the pattern before the puzzle is complete.
I have dealt with schizophrenic patients for more than 25 years. Some were helpless veterans, others were criminals who had been misdiagnosed. Mr. Cho does not look all that different from patients who endured illness and were treated before they committed calumny. Only he was never properly diagnosed and treated.
Just what is schizophrenia and how is it significant as a starting point in the Virginia Tech tragedy? Schizophrenia can strike at any age, but it particularly strikes young adults. Thus Mr. Cho was in the danger zone.
While we know that schizophrenia is a biochemical disease, and not the result of moral fault or infection, we don’t really have any understanding of how and why the condition strikes some and not others. Is it triggered? Does it descend on an individual and become the trigger itself? These questions remain open for medical science.
What makes schizophrenia such a terrible illness is that the condition does not strike all at once. A person may start acting "strange." Then "stranger." Strange behavior is attributed initially to personal "problems," not mental illness. It takes a while to close the circle and realize schizophrenia has struck.
But "schizophrenia" or psychosis is not the complete answer. It is only part of the solution. The disease exists in the mind and body; but it is the external, environmental factors that cause the disease to become treatable, or an explosive danger to public safety.
What I have to say is controversial, but I believe that time and further analysis will prove me correct.
We can observe the silence of the Cho family for, so far, three days. Nothing has been heard from his relatives. Here is a classic case of the "dog that didn’t bark." My hypothesis: the family observed Cho's deterioration but could not understand it, because they could no longer understand him. And they were too busy working, as many immigrants often are, to direct attention at what they mistakenly perceived as an increasingly "difficult" and demanding child.
Mr. Cho's rage in the NBC materials is ostensibly directed at someone or something. Superficially he seems to be attacking "rich people." I believe that in reality he is attacking his own family. Because most of us find it too difficult and too painful to attack our own relatives, we compensate by attacking external factors in lieu of root causes. Family as the target of Cho's wrath is the only explanation that makes sense.
I further suggest that it was "immigrant displacement syndrome," a term I have evolved based on my own clinical observations, that created the explosive cocktail that erupted on Monday.
Cho's family came to the U.S. as immigrants. They were hard working, perhaps in retrospect too hard working. They retained Korean traditions and a Korean state of mind despite adapting successfully to the economic challenges of their new homeland. And they could not understand a confused child as he grew apart from his immigrant roots and became an assimilated American.
The onset of schizophrenia provided the incendiary stimulus for him to separate from his family and to separate from society. In other words, it took the explosive combination of a person undergoing immigrant displacement stress and the onset of schizophrenia to create the ideation of a mass murderer.
Here is where society failed Mr. Cho. People do not take the unstable behavior of college students very seriously. Many "mental health" problems are ascribed to college adjustment, to parental separation. "Lovesick" students are not taken seriously. And we don't really pay much attention to the way immigrants undergo pain as their lives are disrupted in their new environment.
In Mr. Cho's case the displacement was internalized because his family was too busy to cope with his emotional needs. Once he began to act in what they thought was an "irrational" manner they probably shut down and he shut down and the result was a widening gap.
That is why the family is so silent, and why it is likely to remain silent. No one suggested or suspected that the gradual changes in Cho's personality were due to schizophrenia.
Recently, a young actress, Adrienne Shelly, was murdered in Greenwich Village. How did her 19 year-old immigrant killer become a cold-blooded murderer instantly, without any history of violence? The killer was potentially unstable and that instability was exacerbated by immigrant displacement. He acted irrationally, explosively. Ms. Shelly was murdered in a moment. The killer then created an elaborate improvised crime scene, again instantly. He was thinking and unthinking at the same time.
In Mr. Cho's case his disorientation and displacement may have become internally intolerable as he decompensated, i.e. became delusional and lapsed in and out of reality. He seems to have lived in a general funk. He received no mental health counseling, no medication, nothing. Because of inattention and ineffective supervision (read: lawsuit) he became a time bomb.
In retrospect, his explosion is no surprise. We cannot
predict when a psychotic person will explode, but unless treated with medicine and counseling they are volatile and can become irrational at any time. Cho received no treatment and eventually he exploded.
So here is the theory, summarized: Cho was disoriented and displaced as a result of his hard-working immigrant family's focus on economic survival and success; he felt stress from his own psychological separation both as an adult and as someone leaving behind his Korean heritage and becoming an ordinary American college kid. What in reality was the slow onset of schizophrenia was mistakenly perceived by school and family as "difficulty." Eventually his alienation turned to anger.
College can be very stressful even for healthy young adults. It can be disastrous in cases such as Mr. Cho's where a mental illness such as schizophrenia descends slowly and initially is not properly diagnosed. And when schizophrenia struck Cho, and he was either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, he became the monster that committed mass murder on April 16th.
What does Cho's odyssey tell us? Here some thoughts. It is terribly unfortunate that a school with over 20,000 students had such inadequate mental health treatment options. Immigrants, especially, need extra mental health resources to cope with the changes in their lives. Cho should either been diagnosed or disenrolled from school.
When Cho encountered the stingy Virginia court system, court personnel were interested in closing his case, not in analyzing him for treatment. The same appears to have been the case at the treatment facility where he was evaluated and released. There was no follow-up, no peer review of his misdiagnosis. He was not taken seriously; his illness casually ignored.
In our modern society we have identified one species of mass murder, "going postal," that is strikingly similar. Often the explosion comes because someone who is feeling the onset of psychosis/schizophrenia responds to stress with violence and anger.
We treat mental health insurance as a stepchild of the
medical profession. Congress and the states need to do more; we can help prevent tragedies such as a massacre at Virginia Tech only if we realize and accept that our understanding of mental illness is still very incomplete.
We must treat mental health problems with the same attention and seriousness that we apply to other traditional illnesses. Had Cho been diagnosed and treated with one of the several drugs available, he might have never exploded, and dozens of people would be alive today.
Family-immigration alienation and displacement-schizophrenia. Analyzed in context, Cho's garbled message in the package sent to NBC News seems strikingly coherent and preordained. The signs were there before April 19th and we ignored them; and even after April 19th, when the NBC envelope arrived, we failed to understand how a series of unconnected facts can be tied together to simply and directly explain Mr. Cho's tragic actions at Virginia Tech. Profile: Completed.
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639 Web sites:;

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Executive editor





(NEW YORK)(April 19, 2007) Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin will hold a New York news conference Thursday, April 19th at 3:00 P.M. to provide exclusive insights on the Virginia Tech massacre. Martin is in New York for interviews. Martin is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of law (Juris Doctor).

In an exclusive analysis published at Martin has presented a radically different view of the mind of mass murderer Cho Seung Hui.

"One of the areas of legal study I have pursued is mental illness and mental health, as they impact on cases and courts. I have advised schizophrenic patients and observed mentally ill patients under a variety of conditions," Martin stated in announcing the news conference.

"The 'profile' which we have prepared at offers new insights which we believe will prove to be predictive and accurate. Up until now no one has integrated the mental illness of the murderer (apparent schizophrenia) with the actual conditions that led him to commit mass murder. We think we have a theory of the case that will stand up, and we offer it for rigorous peer review and public debate.

"I also hope to provoke pubic debate on the issue of the need for expanded awareness of the symptoms and signals of mental illness.

"Mental illness is the stepchild of the medical profession. Most lawyers know that. Some of us begin the study of mental health law in law school. We also see how the stress of litigation, particularly in cases such as divorce, leads people to commit horrific crimes.

"Maybe now we can encourage congressional or state action to ensure that expanded mental health treatment is considered part of standard medical insurance coverage.

"It is clear that the mental health system, at the college and in the courts, failed society and failed the students who became victims of Mr. Cho. We cannot allow their deaths to be in vain.


WHO: Internet journalist/editor/critic Andy Martin

WHERE: In front of Carnegie Hall (main entrance)
156 W. 57th Street, New York

WHEN: Thursday, April 19, 2007; 3:00 P.M.

WHAT: Andy Martin provides an new integrated profile
analysis of Cho Seung Hui and offers an
explanation as to how the student's mental illness combined with his environment to create the
explosive massacre at Virginia Tech.

CONTACT: (866) 706-2639


Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:;

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


(CHICAGO)(April 8, 2007) Senator Barack Obama's long-time supporter in Chicago politics, race-baiting Alderwoman Dorothy Tillman, was defeated for reelection yesterday. The defeat was announced by's Executive Editor Andy Martin.

Obama had endorsed Tillman for reelection. Tillman favored "reparations" for slavery, a position that Obama has also supported with a "wink and a nod."

"Well, Obama has no coattails in his own home town," Martin said in announcing the election results. "African-American voters know 'pie-in-the-sky' promises when they see them, and Obama-Tillman were offering pie-in-the-sky. If Obama can't carry a ward in his own home city with his very visible endorsement, what does that say about his 'coattails' nationally? Barry O has no mojo.

"Mr. Obama is a creation of liberal national pundits that want a 'horse race' between Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008. But both of these candidates are deeply flawed, and they will be rejected by the American people. I am sure Dorothy Tillman is wondering how she lost when she had Obambi's support. Well, she's out. And Obama's mojo is exposed as skin deep.

"Our Obama coverage has been sidetracked by the press of developing news in other areas, but we will be back covering the 'Betrayals of Barry O' next week," Martin stated.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Web sites:; Media contact: (866) 706-2639

Saturday, April 14, 2007


(Chicago)(April 14, 2007) For almost a decade Paul Wolfowitz was one of the cheerleaders of proposals to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. Then he came to power and helped plan our disastrous adventure in Iraq. I am not sure if he was one of the “piece of cake” types, or the “Mission Accomplished” dreamers, but Wolfowitz failed miserably to properly perceive American interests in the Middle East. His name will live in infamy forever in American history.

As the Iraq invasion and occupation began to implode, Wolfowitz was moved to the World Bank. At the Bank he took with him political cronies and, apparently, a preexisting personal relationship with a senior bank employee.

Since arriving at the Bank, Wolfowitz has run the institution much like a Chicago ward boss or mayor, employing patronage and intimidation to manage the institution. The result has been another round of professional failure for Mr. W.

Now Wolfowitz risks becoming a continuing embarrassment to President Bush, the Republican Party and, of course, to himself. It is time for Wolfowitz to go.

I do not know if the statements attributed to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson this week were pro forma or whether Paulson really believes the U. S. Government can endlessly insult the sensibilities of the world and get away with it. I do know Mr. Paulson is wrong to support Wolfowitz’ continued tenure. Wolfowitz must go.

Mr. Wolfowitz’ “war on corruption” at the Bank has proven to be a one-way street, Wolfowitz Way. Corruption only exists where he wants to see it. Billions have disappeared in countries where Wolfowitz perceives a vital American interest.

Let me explain my bias: I think the World Bank should be abolished or significantly curtailed. It is an international boondoggle. With all of the excess liquidity in world financial markets, credit-worthy projects should have no problem being financed in China or the Middle East.

“Development” lending in my opinion is largely throwing good money after bad. The Bank has always been a U.S.-led entity, and thus one more example of the Pax Americana that is slowly fading across the horizon.

And Wolfowitz is heading into the sunset as well. The sooner the better. Ironically, Wolfowitz is caught in a similar downward spiral to that of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Both men sought to minimize “personnel matters” at their agencies. Both men were less than candid with their initial disclosures, and both men are now suffering from the blowback.

And both men, it seems to me, are victims of the ethical standards established by the Republican Party during the Clinton years. Then Republicans claimed a low tolerance for self-dealing and dissembling. Those standards should also apply to Republicans caught in flagrante delicto. High standards of public morality benefit Republicans; we should not devalue them by tolerating Wolfowitz’ continuation in office.

I know that reasonable people can differ on the role of the World Bank and development lending. I take a more conservative, cautious, skeptical approach; others are more trusting in foreign aid. We can agree to disagree. But on the question of institutional integrity, we do not need Wolfowitz’ shading of the facts and shading of ethics. Wolfowitz must go. He has done enough damage to the U.S.’s long-term interests for multiple lifetimes, let alone this one. Americans will be paying the bill for Mr. Wolfowitz’ errors in Washington for decades; let’s stop him, now, from running the tab any higher.

Wolfowitz must go.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:; AndyforUSSenator.

Friday, April 13, 2007




(CHICAGO)(April 14, 2007) Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin will hold a news conference Saturday, April 14th at 11:00 A.M. to call for the removal of Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank. Martin is the first Republican to call for Wolfowitz’ ouster.

“Mr. Wolfowitz has apparently forgotten the sex scandals of the Clinton years,” Martin will charge. “Republicans then stood for a higher moral standard in ‘office politics.’ I am distressed and disappointed to see Treasury Secretary Paulson endorsing misbehavior at the Bank. We should avoid not only actual impropriety but the ‘appearance of impropriety.’ Mr. Wolfowitz’ tactics appears to have been mendacious and evasive. We impeached a president for Wolfowitz’ type of legerdemain.

“Since he arrived at the Bank, Wolfowitz has treated the enterprise as a Chicago-style patronage machine for his political cronies and paramour. That is silly unacceptable. He has undermined his own efforts to fight against corruption and for more transparency.”

In an editorial commentary published Saturday at, Martin says simply “Wolfowitz must go.”

“As a Republican, I do not think we should have to carry the burden of Wolfowitz in 2008. It is time to start cleaning up all of the ethical barnacles of the past several years. Wolfowitz’ ‘modified limited hang-out’ does not cut it with me and it will cut against Republicans in 2008,” Martin says. “He ruined Iraq and now he is ruining the World bank. Enough is enough.”

Martin, a Republican, has indicated he will seek the Senate seat of Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin.


WHO: Internet journalist/editor/critic Andy Martin

WHERE: Southeast corner of Wabash and Huron Streets,
Chicago, (St. James Cathedral)

WHEN: Saturday, April 14, 2007 11:00 A.M.

WHAT: Andy Martin calls for the removal of Paul Wolfowitz
at the World Bank, says Wolfowitz has turned the
bank into a “Chicago-style patronage machine”
that is destroying American prestige. “Mr. Wolfowitz
learned nothing from the Clinton scandals,” Martin will charge

CONTACT: (312) 440-4124


Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:;

Thursday, April 12, 2007



(CHICAGO)(April 12, 2007) Don Imus has become a political basketball in the Democratic Party. And Hillary Clinton has sent Barack “Basketball Barry” Obama into overtime with her fast break and sharp elbows.

Senator Barack Obama fancies himself a basketball player. He was on his high school team. And he makes a point of playing basketball on vacation in Hawaii. Maybe elsewhere too.

But Hillary Clinton’s fast break and sharp elbows have stolen the ball from Obama on the Don Imus Imbroglio, forcing Barack into overtime.

Even worse for Obama, his intemperate remarks to ABC News involving his “two young daughters” on the Imus Imbroglio may have opened the door to even greater embarrassment for Obama concerning his ties to and campaign contributions from Black music entrepreneurs who profit from violent and misogynistic lyrics. Wassup Barry? Jump ball?

I want the hot dog concession. This “game” may have “legs.”

The Imus fracas began with the disgusting, disgraceful, deplorable remarks from radio shock jock Don Imus. No one can defend his comments; no one pretends to. But Imus’s lines were brief and a one-off. Nevertheless, the “civil rights profiteers” and hypocrites have been pig piling on Imus big time.

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson got there first. Didn’t Obama ever hear the old saw “If you lie down with dogs, you catch fleas? Obama may have caught some fleas from Al and Jesse.

In the meantime, you have to love Hillary Clinton. She is something.

Clinton is struggling for black support in the face of Obama’s national media frenzy. Hillary is learning it is not easy running against an African-American star in the Black community. But the “You go girl” has snatched the ball from Barry O and now confronted him on his own turf, thanks to a little boost from

Due to our pungent criticism and analysis (and a little extrapolation) Obama may be facing major embarrassment for his ties to and contributions from Black music sextrepreneurs.

Here’s what happened. Never one to miss an opportunity, Hillary jumped on the Rutgers/Imus scandal by putting the players’ pictures—five young Black faces—on her campaign's home page []. Bold move. I love it. Hillary, the battle is to the brave. You are good. You may wear pants suits on the basketball court but you move with the best.

You can click through to a second Hillary page to “send a message” to the Rutgers women. There Hillary talks about “coarse sexism” (sounds like Bill Clinton to me) and a “disregard for basic decency” (more Bill Clinton). She says Imus was “disrespectful and degrading.” Hey, that’s my Bill. Pure Bill Clinton. What was she thinking? Who wrote those lines?

But Hillary ultimately set a trap for Obama, and he fell in.

Hillary gave Barack agita with her bold move, forcing Obama to play catch-up ball. (I’ll have catch-up on my hot dog; this is getting interesting.) I imagine Obama’s team said “captain, we have to do something.”

So Obama brought his two daughters into the campaign confrontation. He is, after all, a family man and by all the evidence a warm and loving parent. But he made a big mistake. He fumbled. (Will you forgive my mixed metaphor?) Game rules should always be: keep the kids out of it.

Obama spoke to ABC News. The Chicago Tribune quotes Obama [] as saying “[M]y two young daughters are having to deal with…It was a degrading comment,” thus linking his daughters to Imus’ gross stupidity and “coarse sexism.” Trying to counter Hillary and top her web site’s invitation, Obama demanded that Imus be fired. End of story. Not by a mile.

Who is the bigger threat to Obama’s “two young daughters?” Don Imus or the relentless violence, filth and misogyny peddled over hundreds of “urban” hip-hop and rap radio stations?

But Obama has never launched sustained attacks on rap lyrics, or demanded that Black hip-hop/rap sextrepreneurs who use “coarse sexism,” violent imagery and misogyny to excite young males, should be fired. Puff Daddy (P. Diddy or whatever) are you listening?

My guess: Obama has collected a part of his $25 million in campaign cash from precisely the hip-hop/rap smut merchants who are the greatest threat to his “two young daughters." And yet he attacks an old white man, seedy and goofy Don Imus, while allowing Black sextrepreneurs and misogynists to make billions with their violent lyrics on America’s radio waves.

Is there a double standard here? Yes, there is.

The most intelligent commentary on the Imus Imbroglio came from a writer at the Chicago Sun-Times, Deborah Douglas, who stated “[Imus] is an idiot. What’s our excuse?” [,CST-NWS-contro11.article]. To do Ms. Douglas one better: What is Obama’s excuse for attacking Imus and not the Black sextrepreneurs who peddle filth, violence and misogyny much more devastating to his “you young daughters?” Well, what about it Barry?

To repeat: Who is the greater threat to Obama’s “two young daughters?” Don Imus or the relentless rap/hip-hop filth broadcast over Chicago radio stations and in every major market? What about it Barry?

A Florida writer recently suggested that every time Obama slips, will be there to comment. We are. I have never met Mrs. Clinton, and I have absolutely no contact with her or her campaign. None. But it is hard not to admire a woman who could have been an extraordinary leader in her own right if she was not liked to the “coarse sexism” and “disrespectful and degrading” behavior of her husband.

Hillary, baby, (can I call her that?), you just stole the ball from “Basketball Barry.” Game point to you.

P. S. The most amusing Midwestern response to the Imus scandal came from Phil Rosenthal in the Chicago Tribune. His take: no one here knows Imus. Imus? Who he? You just have to love the left coast and right coast, and everything in between.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639

Wednesday, April 11, 2007






(CHICAGO)(April 12, 2007) Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin will hold a news conference Thursday, April 12th at 1:00 P.M. to criticize mendacious politicians and hypocritical advertisers that are subjecting shock jock Don Imus to a “racist double standard.”

Martin will demand that advertisers boycotting Don Imus also boycott also boycott “urban” radio stations broadcasting rap and hip-hop music with violent, misogynistic lyrics.

“The filthy language and violent misogyny on hip-hop and rap radio stations is appalling by comparison with Don Imus’ disgraceful lapse of judgment,” Martin will charge. “Senator Barack (Barry) Obama told ABC News his ‘two young daughters’ are being victimized by Don Imus. What hypocrisy. What about his daughters’ ‘degrading’ treatment on rap and hi-hop radio stations? Obama falls silent when Black perpetrators are involved. Maybe he’s silent because they are his campaign contributors?

“I would say that Obama’s daughters have more to fear from African-American misogynists on the radio that they do from a jerk like Imus. Before pig piling on Imus Obama should condemn rap radio and refuse to broadcast his own commercials or appear as a guest on hip-hop and rap stations. Obama, Sharpton and Jackson are ‘civil rights profiteers’ who are afraid to take strong action against misogyny by Black music entrepreneurs.

“Has Obama taken any money from Black music promoters peddling filth and misogyny? I bet he has. He is just as guilty as Don Imus.

“The amount of hypocrisy in the Imus Imbroglio is mounting beyond Mount Everest. Its time to put a cap on the nonsense that craven advertisers and unscrupulous politicians are producing,” Martin will state.

"I am going to start contacting Imus' 'boycotting' advertisers and asking them to extend their boycott to rap and hip-hop stations as well. Then we will see if they are hypocrites or racists-in-reverse. They may face a boycott from citizens concerned by the filthy lyrics they are supporting with their ad dollars"


WHO: Internet journalist/editor Andy Martin

WHERE: Southeast corner of Wabash and Huron Streets,
Chicago, (St. James Cathedral)

WHEN: Thursday, April 12, 2007 1:00 P.M.

WHAT: Andy Martin condemns hypocrisy and double
standard in treatment of Don Imus, compared
to rap and hip-hop music programming on
major radio stations; says Obama, Sharpton and
Jackson are “civil rights profiteers.”

CONTACT: (312) 440-4124


Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639.




(Chicago)(April 10, 2007) Whew. Don Imus has been “grounded” for two weeks. Maybe things can quiet down now. Have O’Reilly and Rivera been sighted crawling back into their holes yet? Bring back Friday night boxing. Please.

The nutcakes have been hyperactive over the last week. Like naughty children at a nursery school, they seem to have all gone off in harmony, popping and tooting like spoiled brats, all during the same week.

Imus was the lead off, with his disgusting racial remarks. Is the “Big A” finally catching up with the “I-Man?” It sure looks that way. By the end of the episode Imus had managed to make Al Sharpton look respectable. Now that takes doing.

Imus has been sent to the showers for two weeks, but he will be back. When your boss rakes in a cool $20 million off your show it takes more than a racial insult to permanently ground you. Imus’s behavior was inexplicable, and unforgivable. Except that he has been explaining and the suits at CBS and MSNBC will be in a forgiving mood. Money makes things happen.

Talk radio is supposed to be provocative. Absolutely. And Imus is more than a talk radio host. He is a marketing phenomenon. People go on his show to make money. What’s that expression? Money talks…

I am going to go out on a limb and defend Imus just a teeny little bit. I don’t think he is a racist. He said something disgraceful. But all you have to do is walk down the streets of Chicago and New York, or ride the subways, and the language will be much worse, the insults and use of the N-word much more prevalent. And unlike Imus, where you can switch stations, the loudmouths who populate our downtown areas often can’t be turned off because they are turned on.

So let’s keep Imus’ abuses in perspective.

Imus’ punishment is probably appropriate. He has earned a lesson, a hard one. I think he will be more careful in the future, or it really will be curtains for him.

I have been a radio talk show host. I love the medium. And yes, I was controversial. Very. But, generally, the more controversial the topic the more polite I was, the more solicitous of dissenting voices. Manners make for a better show. I was not a shock jock. When I shocked.

And, well, Imus shocked. But he got a shocker in return. He has been taken to the woodshed, and his butt will be red for two weeks. And then he will be back. Miraculously, red will morph into green. Long green.

I was especially annoyed by the cloying comments of some advertisers. They claim to want to “protect their customers” from Imus. Please. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have done worse, and they are still with us. Oh, well. How do we get protection from Jesse and Al?

Now for O’Reilly and Rivera their “debate” last week. I watched the tapes of the “showdown” between the two blabbermouths over a tragic car accident. The “debate” looked phony to me. Or rather, it looked as real as Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation. What does that tell you?

O’Reilly is a brawler. He likes to pick fights. But as between O’Reilly’s battles with Rivera and Rosie O’Donnell, O’Reilly’s “Tokyo Rosie,” I don’t know which one of them is worse Yes, O’Reilly is an angry man; but radio and TV have become angrier in general. They are all over the top.

Immigrant-bashing is a favorite pastime of people who do not rely on immigrants for low-wage labor. O’Reilly’s lawn must not need cutting, the shrubs not need trimming. Maybe he does the work himself. Most of us want low-cost labor, as long as no one tells us about it. So secretly, we are all closeted hypocrites when it comes to immigration and exploitation.

Immigrants are the source of all evil, until you want to save money and look for low-cost workers. It reminds me of Rudyard Kipling and the way people ignored and abused soldiers in his time: “It’s Tommy this and Tommy that, and chuck ‘im out the brute. But it’s the ‘savior of his country’ when the guns begin to shoot.”

While we all want cheap labor few of us want to check
ID’s. But when something goes wrong, O’Reilly is there to point the finger of guilt—at immigrants. And that Sultan of Sleaze, Rivera, wants to appear as the moderate one. Talk about role reversal.

Finally, I am always amused that anti-immigrant sentiment is lowest in places such as Florida, Texas and California—where the exploitation of immigrants is highest.

And so, in their own way. O’Reilly and Rivera were as obnoxious as Imus. They were trying to gin up interest in their programs with exaggerated behavior that was as authentic as a rhinestone cowboy. Not very.

Imus. O’Reilly. Rivera. Rosie. These people need each other. Maybe they could combine in one continuous channel of Trash Television.

I’m switching channels.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639.

Thursday, April 05, 2007



(CHICAGO)(April 5, 2007) At the beginning of April 2003, I was still amazed that we had invaded Iraq. I had marched against the war, written against the war and predicted calamitous consequences if we invaded. And we did.

Within a few days I would start living in Baghdad as an
independent analyst/investigator/writer and Internet Bureau Chief.

I had been part of the Viet-Nam War, and truly thought we had fought a "War to End All Wars," the name originally given to World War I. But obviously I was wrong. The lessons of Viet-Nam were largely forgotten by the time our army rolled across the border into Iraq.

I had started traveling to the Middle East in 1970; over the decades the area was not improving. But the desert is a seductive place. You come to love the terrain, and ultimately to love the people.

And so as I look back at my year in Baghdad from the perspective of four years, I am still a little amazed at all that has happened since then.

I was an early critic not only of the invasion but also of the occupation. When we invaded in March I did not expect to end up living in Baghdad in April. And then I was on the road.

There were two routes into Iraq: the "official" route with the U. S. Military, through Kuwait, and the "unofficial" route down the Highway of Death from Jordan. I chose the unofficial passage.

They called the Amman-Baghdad route, which consisted of mostly two-lane blacktops in Jordan and a divided superhighway in Iraq, the "highway of death" because it was a dangerous passage. A few days before my first trip some people had been killed. No one was quite sure how.

I landed in Amman after Saddam disappeared, and set up camp in the Intercontinental Hotel. The next night I was on the highway to Baghdad. It was a route with which I was to become uncommonly familiar over the next nine months.

By the time I got to Baghdad an "occupation" was beginning to evolve from the "liberation." Then the military made a critical error in judgment: instead of dispersing our forces and putting them out among the people—a policy that was not implemented until 2007—the Generals (and politicians back in Washington) became obsessed with "force protection."

I knew then "force protection" would become the policy of death, and it has.

As an abstract principle, protecting your forces is a sound idea. As an obsession, force protection leads to a hopeless situation and ultimately to defeat for an army.

My specialty is the study of revolutionary warfare, or as some call it "insurgency," guerilla warfare or special operations. My mentor, the late Professor Bernard Fall, was clear that armed resistance was always "revolutionary" in origins and always needed to be addressed initially as a political, not a military challenge.

Professor Fall died along the "Street Without Joy," Highway One in Viet-Nam in 1967, just before I arrived "in country" to continue my studies. And now I was the "old man" in another war. I was founding Executive Director of the Revolutionary War Research Center. I knew that Iraq would test the theories we had been discussing for over three decades.

I realized America would be facing a classic revolutionary war. But George Bush & Co. didn't. My awareness was to make me an unpopular man in Baghdad.

We called the original foray "Operation Searching for Saddam." I found myself down at the bottom of a "bunker buster" bomb crater in Baghdad, sifting through debris where we had bombed to kill Saddam. We missed, but demolished a large area. It took the army a couple of months to catch up with me. When they arrived at the crater they brought a steam shovel, not a spade.

During the early weeks after Iraq fell, and just about the time the president landed on an aircraft carrier claiming "Mission Accomplished," Iraqi civilian deaths slowly began to mount. It was all part of force protection. Commanders thought it was better to kill civilians rather than expose troops to danger. And it was a disastrous policy.

Our problems in Anbar Province began in Falluja, with an inadvertent massacre of innocent civilians. It was shoot first and ask questions later. Force protection. Innocent people died. The seeds of the resistance were planted.

In Baghdad, by May the hapless viceroy Paul Bremer was setting up his Fuhrerbunker, the "Green Zone." I refused to step inside the perimeter and coined the term "Emerald City" to describe Bremer's redoubt. He had isolated himself. And us.

And so force protection became a policy of enforced isolation. Army Apartheid if you will. Americans were deliberately separated from Iraqis to protect Americans. I knew the policy would only lead to unnecessary deaths and endanger our troops. Force protection would become the Policy of Death.

In protecting our forces we were increasing the dangers to which they were exposed, and increasing, not reducing, combat deaths during peacetime.

Ironically, because the dangers created by "force protection" were so slow and incremental in building, few senior officers realized they had created a monster that would soon start consuming American forces. Paul Bremer didn’t see anything coming. There are none so blind…as those who will not see.

Instead of growing closer to the Iraqi people, we were becoming more and more isolated. More and more arrogant and insensitive. And more and more endangered.

The highway of death had led me to the policy of death. And there was nothing I could do but write about the dangers, and take the abuse that I received in return. No one wanted to listen; no one wanted to see. No one wanted to admit. We had "won," hadn't we? We were the occupying power, weren't we? Well, maybe. Maybe not. Time would tell.

NEXT: Return to Iraq: Part Two: Finally an Ambassador Who Speaks Arabic.

------------------------------------------Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. He is America's most respected independent foreign policy analyst. Andy has been traveling to the Middle East since 1970. Columns also posted at and Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:;

Wednesday, April 04, 2007




(TALLAHASSEE, FL)(April 4, 2007, 2007) I encountered Florida Governor Charlie Crist during his first race for the state senate in 1992. Shortly thereafter Crist went to Tallahassee and became "Chain Gang Charlie." This week he is on the brink of becoming "Ballot Box Charlie" as he seeks to restore voting rights to felons—and counters opposition from more conservative elements of the Republican Party.

The journey from crime-baiting conservative to mild-mannered reformer is a long one. How did Crist travel the distance? To tell the truth, I'm not sure.

In 1998 Crist and I ran against each other for the U. S. Senate nomination. Across the state the election was a pretty close race; I carried Miami-Dade County in a landslide. But Crist clobbered me in the Tampa Bay TV market where his colorful antics as a local senator had made him famous. Although I have never met Charlie I have studied him closely over the years.

I'm still not sure how he made the journey.

The State of Florida is beginning to change, and in ways that do not necessarily favor Republicans. For the first time in history, low wages and high taxes are forcing people to leave.

Nationally, the Democrats feel they are in ascendancy, although I would not bank on that fact in 2008. In Florida, Democrats ran a close race against Crist, and gained strength in the legislature for the first time in a decade.

The 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary was a bender. Tom Gallagher, who had begun in politics as a moderate, ran as an extreme conservative. Crist, who had begun as a conservative, ran as a moderate. The moderate won.

Since walking into the Governor's office Crist has governed more as a conservative Democrat, in the Lawton Chiles style, than as a right-wing Republican. His political antennae are sensitive. One of his first pieces of legislation was an "Anti-Murder Act," giving rise to the quere, who would be "pro-murder?" The Anti-Murder Act passed.

Republicans generally oppose restoring voting rights to felons. They fear that criminals vote Democratic. Given the recent scandals in Washington that is not necessarily true. But it is probably true that those felons who would vote in Florida would support more Democrats than Republicans. Unless, perhaps, a Republican governor gave them the vote.

Whether Crist will be able to actually get the votes he needs in the Florida Cabinet to restore voting rights is still an open question. Florida state government is controlled by a Reconstruction-era "cabinet" system, run by a weak governor who must seek support from other elected officials for major state policies.

The best place to look for answers to Crist's transition is his own Cypriot-Greek community. Cypriots are islanders. They are cautious and conservative by nature. Crist grew up in an immigrant household; where natural conservatism was reinforced by the fact both his grandfather and father were Republicans. That was quite unusual in the Greek community. Having grown up in the Greek-American community myself I can attest how focused immigrants were on education and obedience to authority. Crist came out of such a family structure.

But middle age does strange things to all of us and it may have changed Crist. While retaining pride in his heritage Crist has slowly, perhaps for purposes of his conservative base almost inexorably, moved from an immigrant-based command attitude towards society to a more open and accepting approach to differing views and lifestyles. Crist's changes have served him well; he ended up in the governor's mansion. They may serve him well as he tries to move the Republican Party of Florida away from very conservative attitudes to a moderate and even progressive role in society.

He began in politics rattling chains. And he's still ratting chains. Only this time he's trying to empower offenders rather than imprison them. He's cutting the chains that bind them, instead of seeking to lock them away. Maybe he's cutting his own chains as well. We'll have to wait and see.

Charlie Crist's journey continues.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and international politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639.