Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fact Checking

If one needs to catch up in a hurry, one could do worse than consult the excellent CapitolFaxBlog and TeamAmerica blogs. So it was to your LakeCountyEye's surprise to see a shout-out while reading TeamAmerica today. The shout-out was directed toward fellow scribbler Redtail, who had some trenchant observations on the Dick Keller kerfuffle here. Redtail speculates that TeamAmerica had some advance notice about Michael Waller's ongoing investigation of the Coroner.

A TeamAmerica post from July 6 had prompted Redtail to say ...
If you read the entire post and between the lines, it's hard not to suspect that TeamAmerica was tipped off in advance about the investigation.
TeamAmerica not surprisingly begged to differ here, on Monday ...
Of course, LakeCountyEye implies that Team America was tipped off about the investigation when he wrote this post, and knew then that there was more to Keller's announcement than met the eye. While TA's sources are many, I will also say that it was a pretty darn obvious conclusion from the circumstances and TA's research into Keller's fundraising record that raising money was never something that he spent a lot of time on, which LakeCountyEye fails to mention.
He said, she said? Your LakeCountyEye decided some sniffing around was in order.

The TeamAmerica post in question here is ostensibly about Keller's early July announcement that he won't be seeking re-election in 2012. Keller mentioned his poor fundraising efforts as the reason for the decision. TeamAmerica was rightly suspicious of the excuse. Everyone knows Keller has been an indifferent fundraiser, and your LakeCountyEye doesn't think anyone really believed Keller's explanation.

An obvious conclusion to make & end of story? Well, first take a look at the title of that TeamAmerica post:
Do Dead Men Have Tales to Tell? Lake County Coroner Richard Keller's Decision Not to Seek Re-election Should Raise Questions
Which dead men might TeamAmerica be slyly referring to?

TeamAmerica says ...
Something here smells like a corpse the coroner forgot to put back into the freezer for a few days. TA suspects there is much more than just a re-evaluation of Keller's life priorities behind this decision.
A corpse -- who mentioned anything about a corpse? No one as of July 6.

There are also some interesting comments from the peanut gallery. The prolific Anonymous has this to share:
It seems clear that Keller is in trouble and trying to get out. My guess is that he stays in office until Terry "Dead Guy" Link can appoint a successor - maybe "Sneaky" Pete Couvall, his bankrupt sidekick.
A dead guy? Pray tell us more!

TeamAmerica replies ...
In the wake of any scandal that forced Keller to resign, that would probably be a boost to the GOP candidate for the office, not to mention Republicans Willard Helander, Mark Curran, and Bob Skidmore, who are all also up for election in 2010(I forget if Roycelee Wood is up this cycle; I think she might be). If Keller and the Dems were smart, he would exit sooner rather than later to allow as much time as possible for any taint to pass, and get the new person settled in. Of course, this is all assuming there is some scandal brewing just beneath the surface...
Now Keller could have privately decided to retire in 2012 for a raft of reasons. Why would one assume that Keller was in trouble -- that some scandal was brewing just beneath the surface?

To another commenter TeamAmerica says ...
Bottom line: Let's give Keller a few weeks and see what happens. Perhaps we'll be seeing some more announcements soon...
And we wait a few weeks and mirabile dictu we see some more announcements! Your LakeCountyEye's magic crystal ball is in total awe of TeamAmerica.

Finally, TeamAmerica confides to another commenter:
let's put it this way: Leaving aside the fact that Keller's fundraising history does not support a claim that it was too much of a burden to deal with every four years, I have other sources for my suspicion that it's not the whole story. Nothing I can print (yet). But give it a few weeks and let's see if anything develops. Perhaps I'm wrong. But we shall see.
And see we shall.


Anonymous said...

As bad as the government may be at running some departments, Team America can't keep get their blog to toe the line ("We need to be more respectful around here" ring any bells?)) and not contradict themselves. It doesn't reflect well on the GOP, now does it? Of course, when you are so low, can your stature go lower?

How does, 'according to my sources,' and 'I can't say yet (say anything about what?)' suggest that TA's most recent comment, "I know nothing" is anything close to the truth?

Ya tacitly support Del Re, Kirk, Coulter and Pill-Popper (Rush) long enough and you don't need to drink the Kool-Aid; it becomes automatic.

Anonymous said...

You hit it right on the head, Eye. Team America just couldn't resist tipping off that he has a source in Waller's office that has been feeding him info on any investigation regarding a Democratic office holder. Unfortunately, the Daily Herald and the News Sun are still both far to vested in the Lake County GOP to grab that story. The Suzi Schmidt/Waller/Helander 'axis of weasel' has been playing political football with the truly 'nonpartisan' aspects of county government for just about a decade. Schmidt devotes county resources to 'investigate' the 'tone' of political mailers sent during the '08 campaigns. That investigation consisted of Waller's investigator making one phone call. Helander quashes a voter registration drive sponsored by Rep. Eddie Washington late last summer because of alleged electioneering and yet permits, actually endorses the exact same conduct at the Lake County Fair. Waller refuses to act against tax cheating township officials and slaps other GOP officials on the wrist for crimes that would place someone on the sexual offenders list and park them in Stateville prison for the better part of a decade. And then, when political hay is available, he improperly discloses an investigation of the Coroner when they have made no findings and are in no position to even claim any wrong doing.

We are out there right now knocking on doors and capturing the people of Lake County who have had enough. Suzi will be returning to the Lake County Board in 2010 in the minority, Waller's office will be opened to audits and investigation of partisanship, Helander will be subjecting the County to Civil Rights lawsuits, and the Clerk of the Circuit Court will have to find her brother a new job. And maybe, just maybe, we'll start getting some value for our 17th highest property tax in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:07,

I think you need a trip to the meth clinic to get yourself off the drugs your taking...

1) Regarding Keller stating he's not running again 7 months after being re-elected because the fundraising is too overwhelming:
You do not have to be a rocket scientist to look at the D2s, see where the money comes from, conclude he's never really raised money - the next obvious question is WHY IS HE REALLY MAKING THIS ANNOUNCEMENT?

2) Regarding the Democrat county board literature alleging lies - 6 candidates stated in their literature that "political insiders" are receiving "sweetheart deals" on their assessment:
GREAT - they made the claims - they must know the political insiders - hand over the names to the state's attorney. BUSTED - the attorney for the 4 Dems that won based on their lies, basically outed them for lying.

3) Think Waller is only going after Dems and turns a blind eye on the GOP - think again.
Senator Terry Link's roundtabling session - nothing done!
Mayor Bill Gentes using a realtor to purchase/sell village property and the realtor just happens to be the broker for both Mayor and Mrs. Gentes - nothing done!
Senator Terry Link's payments to ministers for "non partisan" GOTV activities - nothing done!
Senator Terry Link's refusal to list his wife, a lobbyist, on ANY statement of economic interest - nothing done!
The list goes on and I don't have time, but give me a break.....

Anonymous said...

Anon 802,

How about this one, sources have it that your Republican friend Waller will not prosecute Shirley Christian for acknowledged destruction of Township property-while prosecuting a similar case committed by a Democrat. Case closed! The way it should be handled is to proffer the charges to the grand jury and let average citizens choose whether a crime was committed-not let the political friends decide.

Team America said...

Hi Barney- thanks for plug for Team America ("excellent"), and I do like the picture.

Since I like your blog, I'll favor you with a response: you're way off base with the supposition that someone from Waller's office 'tipped me off' about the Keller investigation. It's based on a couple very tenuous assumptions:

1) Assuming I wasn't just blowing smoke about suspecting there was more to Keller's originally-stated rationale for not running for re-election (which I was not, but if you don't believe me at all, you also have to question that premise), you are assuming that what I was talking about was indeed the investigation. I've never said one way or the other. Could well be something else I was thinking of that hasn't come out yet. Another wait and see, maybe. Or not.

2) More to the point, you are assuming that if, in fact, I knew something about Keller's current troubles before the story broke in the papers, that the info had to come from a tattletale in Waller's office. Consider that the information about Keller originally must have came from somewhere--Mike Waller's obviously not sitting in Keller's office keeping tabs on him--and was assumedly passed along to the authorities. So, you would expect that others knew about Keller before Waller got involved.

Bottom line, regardless of what you choose to suspect about what I know and when I knew it, no one from Waller's office told me anything about Keller at any time. Please go peddle conspiracy on another issue. Perhaps you can use the time to investigate the Keller issue itself instead of trying to change the subject.

Best regards, TA

Anonymous said...

This blog is starting to sound like the conspiracy filled musings of Andy Martin!

Conspiracy theories building on top of conspiracy theories is like building a house of cards. Just don't try to stand on top of one when you are done!

Louis G. Atsaves

Barney Baxter said...

Hi TA,

Thanks for informing us what "the" subject is. If you don't mind, we're a political blog and try to focus on the politics of things. If you guys would rather be a true-crime blog, more power to ya.

Obviously the whole case we make is circumstantial. To your points...

1) My takehome from reading your July 6 post (and what I intended to convey) was two things. (a) You suspect that Keller announced his retirement because he was in some (unspecified) legal jeopardy. Which seems odd, because it could have have been illness (Keller uses a cane), family issues, the girlfriend in Argentina, whatever. And (b) it turns out your suspicion was on the money. Add to that about a half dozen references in the post to corpses and dead guys and I got a good bet going that you knew something on July 6 that a lot of other people did not.

2) I don't think anyone here actually said the July 6 post was funnelling info from Waller's office. But since you mention it, I suppose that's one possibile scenario. My inclination is to take you at your word. No one from Waller's said anything to you about the Keller matter.



Barney Baxter said...

Hi Louis,

I didn't occur to me we are mongering a conspiracy theory. Largely because I have a difficult time imagining a blog like yours or ours being relevant enough to merit inclusion in anyone's conspiracy. But I suppose stranger things have happened.



Anonymous said...

If the statements are factually correct, then do they make a house of cards or a house of brick?

Anonymous said...

TA made it crystal clear they had information they could not release yet. Unless TA was suggesting a more entrenched Watergate-like hierarchy, those that are above rubber-stamping and that think for ourselves can see that the information came from somewhere. Given that, per - right-leaning newspapers - the person's family were uncertain why an investigation was on-going, what else are we left to think?

As far as the County Board candidates, the fact that there is no on-going investigation of Republicans is further evidence of Waller's professional bias. Unlike birthers and death-squad tattle-tellers, Dem's usually have substantiation for what they state or claim.

Also, despite Mr. Sullivan's complaints about unfounded property tax policy change claims, the insider perk and property tax claim distractions purported by the GOP over-look something rather important: those GOP members voted out of office EARNED it. (It helps to show up once in awhile and not act in such a partisan manner.)

TA might want to be more careful about what they say on their blog as they may contradict themselves ('Can't we get along?'
immediately followed by choice words for those that aren't card-carrying GOP'ers) and you may wish you would have used better, more specific (or in your case, more vague) verbiage so that you won't have to essentially recant what you stated.

Again, saying you have information you cannot divulge yet implies more than a shot in the dark and we should be treated with the decency that indicates you think we have a modicum of intelligence and an ability to recall what was said not a month ago.

Of course, recently, the GOP has not been one to raise the bar when it comes to marital relations, use of tax-payer dollars (Palin-Sanford Airlines), and respectful, HONEST debate. Since when were myths and rude has-beens part of a respectful debate, Mr. Gingrich and Ms. Sara Q Palin (Q = quitter)?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:07-

Could the fact that the Republican Antioch Assessor and good friend of Linda Pedersen and Suzi Schmidt gave herself a homestead exemption on two properties she owns in Antioch be any clearer? That's not just a sweetheart deal, it's fraud. Waller knew of this allegation when Suzi asked him to 'investigate' the claims in the mailers and yet all he did was have his investigator make one phone call on a Friday afternoon. And Waller excuses this as a mistake!!

Its not that the Lake County GOP has a double standard, they have no standards. Your clueless comment proves it.

Team America said...

BB- Keller has a girlfriend in Argentina too? LOL

Anonymous said...

Didn't the lawyer for the Democratic candidates for County Board admit that the information contained on all those flyers attacking Republicans over property assessments were "not factually accurate"?

So when "anonymous" keeps raising the issue of property taxes and claiming special favors were done on behalf of Republicans, "not factually accurate" still applies.

Louis G. Atsaves

Barney Baxter said...


Anonymous said...

surely, you must know that TA is married to an ASA

leak? found

TA credibility? lost