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What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.

-Thomas Paine

 

By: Mark Glennon*

 

It’s the ugliest and most frightening scandal at least since Watergate, and it’s centered in Chicago. Clear video evidence shows a concerted effort by the Democratic party to incite violence to disrupt political activity of Donald Trump and others. If you haven’t seen the must-see video, it’s linked here. The central figure is Chicagoan Robert Creamer, husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who is properly implicated, too. Creamer is subsequently reported to have visited the White House over 340 times since 2009.

 

Don’t tell me to ignore the video because the guy behind it is a conservative with a questionable background of selective editing. Most of the evidence in the video is self-contained and would not be diminished by whatever was omitted. It wouldn’t matter if the devil himself filmed the tape. Former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova says the tape is “absolutely prima facie evidence of criminal activity” — both federal and state criminal laws, he says.

 

crowd-outside-palmer-house
Protesters at the Palmer House on March 11

Don’t tell me Jan Schakowsky isn’t part of this. On the night of the cancelled Trump rally at UIC where violence broke out, she led her own, separate demonstration at a GOP dinner at the Palmer House in Chicago. I was there. I, and many others, can attest to how clearly the demonstrators were intent on provoking a violent reaction.  They blocked the entrance to the Palmer House, yelling “bigot,” “Gang of Hate,” and worse, personal insults.  When they blocked traffic on Monroe Street, one vehicle seemed to threaten to hit the protesters.

 

I was tempted to push them away or take a swing myself. I wrote the day after about how “rabid” and “incendiary” the protesters were. Now we know why. They carried signs bearing the name of the group Creamer and Scott Foval were helping — Americans United for Change. Some were bused in and there’s every reason to suspect they were among those recruited by Creamer’s operation. Schakowsky and Creamer have a long history of dirty campaigning. Creamer is already a convicted felon.

 

Jan Schakowsky at the March 11 protest
Jan Schakowsky at the March 11 protest

And don’t tell me the Democratic Party, Creamer and Schakowsky really believe nothing wrong was done by anybody, which each is now saying. They fired Scott Foval, the key operative in the video. If he was just an innocent victims of a right wing smear they’d be defending him. Creamer says he “stepped back” from his Clinton campaign duties. (However, it’s not at all clear that he’s ceased his other functions, including work for Schakowsky’s campaign, which he does through Democracy Partners, one of the organizations at the center of the video.)

 

Here’s what’s needed:

 

Law must be enforced. The video indicates a list of state and federal violations, from incitement up to civil rights violations. Where are the Cook County State’s Attorney, the Illinois Attorney General and the the Department of Justice? Foolish question, I know, given how politicized they’ve become, but this has got to end. The Wisconsin Attorney General has already said crimes appear to have been committed and he is considering an investigation. Illinois and federal enforcement officials should have already announced investigations.

 

The press must wake up. Astonishingly, not a single paper in Illinois has made an editorial comment on the scandal, called for an investigation or asked how deep the scandal goes.

 

Voters must step back and consider the essential fabric on which democracy is built. If they close their eyes to recruiting the homeless and mentally ill to use violence to stifle political opposition, all is hopeless.

 

*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.

Updated 10/27/16 to add the portion about Creamer stepping back from Clinton campaign duties. It had been originally reported that he resigned.

 

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