Freedom Rider: Told You So
By Black Agenda Report (BAR) editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
It’s not as if we at BAR didn’t warn you. Barack Obama’s first major act as president-elect was to select as his chief of staff Rep. Rahm Emanuel, whose “role as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was to insure that anti-war and other progressive candidates stayed out of the running.” So when do the protests begin? “Progressives for Obama and other groups who promised to hold their idol accountable haven’t gotten around to doing so just yet or even announcing when the time will be right for their tongues to become untied.”
“The masters of economic disaster are back.”
The difficult task of bringing a skunk to the post-election celebration is left to the same people who have chosen critical thought over self-induced hypnosis for the past year. Within a mere 24 hours of being elected president, Barack Obama told this group they were right all along.
The first major transition announcement was the appointment of Congressman Rahm Emanuel to the position of chief of staff. In 2006, Emanuel’s role as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was to insure that anti-war and other progressive candidates stayed out of the running. If they did manage to run the gauntlet of Emanuel’s influence and fund raising prowess used to defeat them in primaries, their agenda was kept off the table, dead, buried and doomed never to see the light of day.
So great was Emanuel’s determination to keep Democrats from acting like democrats, that he nearly cost the party the majority victory it achieved that year. His hand picked cadre of 22 candidates didn’t do very well. Only 9 of them won their races. The ultimate Democratic party victory occurred in spite of the boy wonder, not because of him. While voters turned against Bush and the Republican party precisely because of Iraq, wonder boy Emanuel clung to a losing strategy because it served his purposes of maintaining the supremacy of the neo-con agenda.
If it is difficult to believe an Obama detractor, believe Emanuel’s father, a former member of the Irgun, the Israeli terrorist group. Dr. Benjamin Emanuel told an Israeli newspaper, “Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.” Indeed he will do no such thing. Instead he will have the president’s ear every single day and keep his agenda front and center.
“Emanuel’s role as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was to insure that anti-war and other progressive candidates stayed out of the running.”
President elect Obama’s first press conference made the point very clearly. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent him a letter of congratulations and warm wishes, one of many that arrived from world leaders to the new president elect. So great is antipathy towards Iran and its leader that Obama would not even admit to having read Ahmadinejad’s message. “I am aware that the letter was sent. I will be reviewing the letter from President Ahmadinejad and we will respond appropriately.”
He went on to repeat the awful mantra of threats toward Iran because of its possible development of a nuclear capability. “Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon I believe is unacceptable. We have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening.” He stopped short of saying how it would be stopped, but in the past he said that the military option should not be “taken off the table.” Progressives for Obama and other groups who promised to hold their idol accountable haven’t gotten around to doing so just yet or even announcing when the time will be right for their tongues to become untied.
While Rahm Emanuel will decide who will and won’t have access to the president, the masters of economic disaster are back. During the Clinton administration, advisers such as Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers destroyed the government’s system of financial regulations that protected Americans for decades.
“Progressives for Obama haven’t gotten around to announcing when the time will be right for their tongues to become untied.”
Summers is now under consideration for the post of Treasury Secretary. Not only did he put in motion the forces that led to the current world wide economic crisis, but as senior economist at the World Bank, he wrote a memo calling for poor nations to become dumping grounds for toxic waste. “Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]?” “I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.” “I’ve always though that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted . . .”
The best advice given to Obama comes from a man he probably will never speak to, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “I hope you choose the true interests of the people, fairness and justice over the insatiable demands of [a] small self-interested minority, and make the use [of] this opportunity to serve and leave a good name and legacy behind.”
Poor Ahmadinejad just doesn’t get it. The American political and economic systems demand the opposite of fairness and justice and guarantee that self-interested and unrighteous minorities have complete power. As for serving and leaving a good name behind, Obama doesn’t have to worry about that. His name should be mud but no matter what he does, it isn’t.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com. More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.