What Kind of Deal Did Rahm Cut with Obama?

As a Person Who Voted for Obama in both of his Presidential elections, I have to Say Shame on Him for Playing Politics in Regards to Rahm Emanuel

 written by Anthony Moore

© 2015

As expressed in the title of this article, I voted for Obama both times he ran for President. I was for him when he first announced he was running for President in 2007, even when Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner. I met him when he was still an Illinois State Senator at his office at the University of Chicago. I have an interesting story about what happened when we were first scheduled to meet that I won’t get into, but I will say that he left a good impression on me. He did right by me when he could have done wrong. I even have a picture with him during the time he was running for U.S. Senate.

However, I don’t believe in being discriminatory when it comes to speaking truth to power, and I got to call out Obama for playing politics by endorsing Rahm Emanuel for Mayor of Chicago in 2015 (just like he did when he endorsed him in 2011). It is what is. I’m curious as to the nature of the deal that was struck (or whatever quid pro quo is at play), being that Michelle Obama reportedly wanted him out as Obama’s Chief of Staff, so getting Rahm elected Mayor of Chicago in 2011 is believed to have been part of the deal , as detailed in the article entitled, Michelle to Barack: “Get Rahm outta here!” Even so, why go there in 2015?

Regardless of why Obama went there, it’s clearly him playing politics. It’s a reason why he did just radio spots and not TV spots. Of course, Obama might have endorsed Emanuel because he believes he’s the best for the job. Yeah, sure. I guess it depends on what job you’re talking about. It’s definitely not the job of serving the people. If you believe that, you might also believe that unicorns roam Garfield Park late at night whenever there’s a lunar eclipse; either that, or you believe that Hollywood only gives out awards to actors who can actually act. In any case, unlike last time, I hope a lot of people don’t fall for it and vote for Rahm because of this “endorsement.”

Is Rahm Emanuel’s Corruption Worse Than That of the Mayor in The Wire?

Is Rahm Emanuel’s Behavior With a Pension Fund Ethics Committee Worse Than When the Baltimore Mayor Portrayed on the TV Show The Wire Used His Power to Stop an Investigation By the City’s Police Department Into Political Corruption? You Be the Judge.

 written by Anthony Moore

© 2015

 Although The Wire is a fictional television show, it’s modeled after real-life events and dynamics (especially in terms of politics, policing, schooling, and drug enforcement as it relates to big cities with sizeable inner-city populations, as well as the general exploitation of the working class and poor in the U.S.). When it comes to showing how the political world works in the U.S., The Wire is definitely based on how things really go down.

There was an instance in episode two of season four of The Wire where the Mayor stopped the police department’s investigation into illegal sources of campaign donations obtained by his political allies and fundraisers. Of course, outright stopping such an investigation would be unethical and illegal. However, as often is the case in real life, it was done in a way that made it hard to substantiate the intent required to prove its illegality. Yet, it was clear that the actions undertaken were done to halt the investigation. As unethical as this behavior was, it might not have been as bad as Rahm Emanuel’s behavior in terms of his treatment toward Chicago’s municipal pension system and the ethics committee that is supposed to regulate such behavior. You be the judge. The incident by Rahm is highlighted and explained in the following article, entitled Rahm Emanuel’s offensive new pension-gutting scheme.

By the way, some might consider this a spoiler, but I really don’t think it is. However, if you’re sensitive about stuff like that, and you plan on looking at The Wire but haven’t seen it, then shame on you for not having seen it by now. Like I said, I really don’t consider this as too much of a spoiler, but if you’re super sensitive about stuff like that, read on at your own risk.

In season four, episode two of The Wire, a unit within the Baltimore Police Department issued subpoenas to investigate the source of funds for some of the Mayor’s top fundraisers. Due to the illegal source of some of these funds, the fundraisers in question pleaded with the Mayor to halt the investigation (they did the kind of pleading where a person’s plea is for you to do what he tells you or you’ll be pleading to get his foot out of your ass). Although the Mayor indirectly made sure the investigation was indeed halted, he was less brazen than Rahm Emanuel has been in relation to his behavior with Chicago’s municipal pension system and the ethics committee he appointed.

The reasons I’ve concluded Rahm’s behavior is even more brazen is because at least the Mayor in The Wire stopped the investigation in a way that gave him plausible deniability of having had anything to do with it. Plus, the indirect way in which it was done made the clearly maliciousness intent nonetheless hard to prove. The person who ultimately stopped the investigation was made head of the relevant unit, and he simply “shifted” its focus to other things. Plus, by being the jerk the bosses knew he would be, it caused the key people who were leading the investigation to flee the unit. Rahm Emanuel, on the other hand, didn’t even use such subterfuge and indirect action. He was a lot more direct and open in his behavior (which is ironic, considering that being open and direct isn’t usually what comes to mind when it you think about Rahm Emanuel’s brand of governing and politicking).

In the case of Chicago’s municipal pension system, not only is it key to Chicago’s government (being that, for one, it pays retired city workers), but it’s (rightfully) included in the city’s budget, as it should be given that it’s funded by the city. Plus, the various boards of trustees are comprised of city officials and people appointed by the mayor. So although it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, Rahm wants people to believe that it’s an alligator with bucked teeth, I suppose.

Even more, Rahm had the gall (having tons of rubber stamps on the city council can have this effect) to argue that pension funds aren’t at all part of Chicago government. Really? This declaration came from an ethics commission appointed by Rahm. So much for the ethics commission being independent (or even ethical, for that matter). This convenient declaration came after some Chicago aldermen requested an investigation of campaign contributions to Rahm from the financial industry. As much as many people might be surprised if they live in a ward with a rubber stamp Aldermen like I do, but surprise, surprise, some of them do actually stand up to Rahm.

Some of the firms managing Chicago pension money made more than $600,000 worth of donations to Rahm. This was in spite of a city ordinance—as well as one of Rahm’s own executive orders—that forbid contributions to mayoral campaigns from city contractors. So in Rahm’s view, if you don’t like the law (even if you make it), then you just classify the thing the law applies to as something else. So the ethics commission issued a legal opinion saying the pension systems aren’t agencies or departments of Chicago, and so the firms that do business with them aren’t doing, or attempting to do, business with the city. With this brand of logic as the defining standard, it makes the financial firms’ business with the Chicago pension exempt from city ethics laws. Wow. I guess Goldilocks didn’t eat the porridge. By Rahm’s logic she just stored it for safekeeping—in her stomach.

So although the pensions are for Chicago employees and paid by Chicago employees, and included in the city’s budget, as well as run by city officials along with people appointed by the city’s mayor, they’re not city agencies. I guess Chicago police officers aren’t employees of the city. They just call themselves the Chicago Police Department and prominently display and associate with this name because they’re real big fans of the movie Chicago. In any case, as a result of re-classifying this agency—which, as established earlier, is the equivalent of calling a duck a bucked-tooth alligator although it’s clearly a duck—it means financial firms that do business with Chicago’s pension system can donate to the Mayor; a Mayor who chooses who the pensions do business with, all while being exempt from city ethics laws. I guess if you can’t conduct yourself ethically, you make sure ethics don’t (legally) apply to what you’re doing. It does make a lot of sense (as well as a whole lot of cents for the people in question). Chicago, we deserve better. It’s one thing to be unethical, but if a person does this more or less out in the open, imagine what they’re doing behind closed doors.

How Switching from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney Would've Been Like Going from Being a Respected Spouse to a Disrespected Booty Call?

By Itself, Obama’s Re-election Doesn’t Mean Much

Going from Spouse to Booty Call

Sometimes You Should Leave, Sometimes You Should Stay

So How Does This Relationship Analogy Relate to the U.S. Presidency?

The Fox News Channel Detracts from Mitt Romney’s Credibility

President of the United Mistakes of America

Voter Suppression is Distressing

 

By Itself, Obama’s Re-election Doesn’t Mean Much

First of all, I want to disclose that I voted for Barack Obama for President in 2012 and 2008. Although I’m glad that Obama was re-elected, I’m under no illusion that this by itself will improve the lives of the many people who voted him back into office. The reality is that the “actual” people in power are still in power. The “actual” people in power are the ones behind the scenes on whose behalf most politicians “actually” serve and get elected. The votes that prevented Mitt Romney from being elected President didn’t extend to any major corporation, or powerful lobbying organization, or any influential think tank whose footprints are reflected by many politicians and political policies. In other words, the firmly entrenched behind-the-scenes powers that were in power before the 2012 elections are still in power after the 2012 elections. In fact, the balance of power within the Executive and Legislative branches of government is still the same as it was before the election (the President is still a Democrat, the U.S. Senate still has a Democrat majority, and the U.S. House still has a Republican majority). Although my views tend to be more progressive in nature, I didn’t vote against Romney simply because of ideological factors (don’t get me wrong, I was firmly against some of Mitt Romney’s policies—even though it was hard to tell what his policies really were considering how they seemed to change based on what audience he was talking to).

In my honest assessment, Mitt Romney didn’t make a strong enough case to be elected. That’s why this article is about how going from Obama to Romney “would’ve been like going from being a respected spouse to a disrespected booty call” (I explain why I’ve concluded this).

Both Romney’s campaign and Obama’s (to a certain extent) reflected what’s wrong with politics in the U.S. Among other things, this includes a focus on style versus substance, short-term versus long-term thinking, and the tried and true (yet very destructive) political tactic of “telling people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.” In essence, Mitt Romney’s case was, “This guy has been a terrible President—so shouldn’t you give me a chance since I’m not him? So what if I’m not making a case for why I would be a better choice. The next-man-up philosophy often works in the NFL, so why wouldn’t it work for the U.S. Presidency?

Well, I’ll admit that the next-man-up philosophy has often worked out well in the NFL (Steve Young replacing Joe Montana and Tom Brady replacing Drew Bledsoe are just a few examples). However, in the case of an NFL team (or any sports franchise), the worst case scenario is that the team will fail. But in the case of a country, if this strategy doesn’t work out, the country could fail! Plus, in sports if the next man up doesn’t work out, he can replaced at will. With a U.S. President, you’re stuck with him or her for at least four years. See the difference? Plus, despite the way many diehard fans act, if an NFL team fails it won’t be the end of world (although, like I said, many fans would have you think this is the case considering how they act). On the other hand, when you factor in things like nuclear weapons, a U.S. President being a failure can literally result in the end of the world. So, if Romney had been elected on account of the “next-man-up” case he made to the public, it would have been a bad precedent. Read on to see why this is the case.

 

Going from Spouse to Booty Call

The heading above refers to situations in which people end good relationships for “something new” that makes them worse off. Some people leave loving and stable relationships out of boredom. They opt for new and exciting relationships that turn out to be about as exciting as racing a car with brakes that don’t work. Think about it. If a car’s brakes don’t work, driving the car at fast speeds will be extremely exciting since you’ll have an adrenaline rush more intense than the kind Tiger Woods has whenever he sees a blond white woman raising a golf club. Either that, or you’ll have an adrenaline rush more intense than the kind a Wall Street executive has whenever somebody with integrity checks the books. On the flip side, racing a car with brakes that don’t work will cause your excitement to end once it becomes painfully apparent that being a human crash test dummy is counterproductive to keeping low insurance premiums (it’s also counterproductive to having bones that aren’t broken). In other words, if you crash a car after driving it at superfast speeds, (assuming you’re still alive) your expenses will go up—whether it’s from higher insurance premiums, hospital bills, legal bills, etc… This is similar to how leaving a good and stable (but maybe boring) relationship for an exciting fling (with no real substance) can also cause your expenses to go up. Particularly after you find out things you should’ve found out before you left the stable relationship; things like finding out the new person has a fervent belief in stealing every possession you own if you leave him the keys to your house. How does this relate to the Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? Read on to find out.

As a general rule I don’t believe in settling for less, and that definitely applies to the leaders I choose to accept. Yet, even when there’s a justified sentiment that the existing leadership should be better, one of the worst things to do is to impulsively replace an existing leader with one who hasn’t credibly proved he or she can or will do better—especially if choosing the person is just because of the desire for something new. How often do people take someone for granted and impetuously opt for “something new” only to end up worse off as a result? The reality is that this happens all the time—just like America continues to put out progressively worse reality television shows all the time. Don’t get me wrong. If a person or thing clearly isn’t working, then it might be time for a change. Say you’re in an abusive relationship with a significant other. I’d be the first to recommend ending the relationship because abuse is unacceptable under any circumstances. For example, if you’re dating a person who’s a fan of the legendary performer James Brown, and the two of you are listening to one of James’s albums and the person you’re dating hits you every time James Brown sings “hit me” on one of his songs, that’s not cool—even if the person says he only hit you because James Brown said so.

 

Sometimes You Should Leave, Sometimes You Should Stay

The need to leave an abusive relationship doesn’t just include physical abuse. It also applies to other abuses that might be present, such as drug abuse. For instance, if a person would rather spend time with a crack pipe than with me, I’d give my best wishes for that person and the crack pipe to live happily after ever. Of course that’s like somebody wishing that the hot grits they threw on you were the best you’ve ever tasted. I know that might be a random thing to say, but I just read about how back in the day one of singer Al Green’s girlfriends threw some hot grits on him. As much as I enjoy eating hot grits, if the price of having a significant other who makes phenomenal hot grits means she’ll

throw them on me if she gets mad at me, I’d rather have a female who doesn’t cook. All I’m saying is that if enjoying home cooking means I’ll end up with third degree burns, let’s go out to eat. Anyway, back to the point I was making. When the prospect of something “new” becomes alluring not because the existing relationship isn’t working or because there are clear “I-can’t-leave-this-relationship-fast-enough” factors (such as abuse), people who fall victim to this type of impulsiveness often realize afterwards that they were better off to begin with (especially when they trade in a proven good thing for a “new” and “maybe” better thing). After the past relationship is no longer an option, people often end up wishing they could back in time the way John McCain wishes he could go back in time and change his mind about choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Relationships are constant work. Intimate relationships that aren’t continually renewed and worked on get old. So you have to spice the relationship up. It can help to do something bold like having sex in a public restroom; or if you’re dating someone who doesn’t look so hot, it can help to do something bold like having sex with the lights on. Hey, you have to do what you have to do, right? For instance, if you’re a religious Conservative, do something different with your wife, like having sex with her instead of your woman on the side (I’m just kidding with religious Conservatives, although quite a few have been caught doing things they criticize others for doing—for more info on this, research people like Newt Gingrich and Larry Craig). Like I pointed out earlier, if somebody is cheating, abusive, or holding you back, I’d be the first to recommend dropping that person faster than AT&T and Verizon drop cell phone calls.  Yet, people sometimes cheat on, and even break up with, good mates because they aren’t willing to work on the relationship. Naturally it’s a no-win situation if the other person isn’t willing to work on the relationship. Yet in other situations, people will simply get bored or dissatisfied with a person just because things have gotten hard—or when certain things don’t get hard (as in “things” that result in subpar sexual performance). So, even when it’s a worthwhile relationship with much more good than bad, sometimes people don’t even try.

 

So How Does This Relationship Analogy Relate to the U.S. Presidency?

When it comes to U.S. Presidents, we don’t have the option of being “single” (in other words, not having a President). Even so, the significant other analogy still applies. The reality is that people have to compel U.S. Presidents (and politicians in general) to do the right thing. Historically, such as with President Franklin D. Roosevelt implementing the New Deal, as well as with President Lyndon B. Johnson passing historical civil rights legislation, U.S. Presidents have needed considerable public support and pressure to pass ground breaking legislation that benefited masses of clout-less people in spite of being opposed by powerful entrenched interests. Even when Presidents genuinely want to serve the people, they often need the popular support that is necessary to overcome these powerful entrenched interests, which have many politicians in their pockets and spend tons of money to promote their interests. The reality is that until we the people demand it in an informed, persistent, credible and organized manner, things in America won’t change for the better (things such as the vast economic inequality in the U.S., declining social mobility, climate change, too big to fail financial institutions, special interest beholden politicians, abusive corporate practices, a gridlocked federal government, a declining education system that is increasingly deficient in a global context, as well as other ingrained systemic problems that are not just negatively impacting Americans, but people around the world). So, to switch to another President—without having specific and well reasoned motivation for doing so—just because you feel the current one isn’t doing his job, is analogous to switching from one lover to another just because you want something new for the sake of something new. In other words, having the mentality of, “this guy isn’t doing a good enough job, so let’s get somebody else” (which doesn’t take into consideration the “somebody else” could be way worse).

We the people must organize and have focused concerted efforts to make sure America lives up to its promise, potential, and legacy (in certain regards) of greatness. On this front, Obama in his second term, and all future U.S. Presidents have their work cut out for them. Even with Obama in office for his second term, we the people must put pressure on him to do the “right thing” when the “right thing” entails serving the public as opposed to major corporations and other special interests. With that being said, despite its lack of specificity, Obama’s election platform was clearly more in touch with working class people’s interest than Romney’s was—so to think the masses would’ve gotten a better shake with Romney was illogical (I’m saying this based on his platform, or the lack thereof, not because of anything personal against Romney). By the way, despite whatever lack of specificity applied to Obama’s platform, compared to Romney’s, Obama’s platform was as open and upfront as a cash register that’s getting robbed.

 

The Fox News Channel Detracted from Mitt Romney’s Credibility

Another thing that really detracted from Romney’s credibility is that the Fox News Channel was the only television news program that unequivocally supported Romney when he made his infamous “47 percent” comment (which essentially disparaged 47 percent of the people in the U.S. as being people who won’t vote for him because they depend on government handouts). Not only did the channel support him, it even tried to spin it in a way they hoped would paint Obama in a bad light. It did this by heavily promoting a recording of Obama from 1998 where he stressed the importance of “redistributing” income to those who need it in order to help elevate them from poverty. For Fox News and the Romney campaign to bring out a recording that Obama made in 1998—when he was just a state senator—to counter a recording that Romney did in 2012, while he was running for the 2012 Presidential election, is comparable to the following hypothetical situation. Say two men were competing for a woman’s hand in marriage. And earlier that year, one of the men was caught on video saying that half of all women are not worth marrying because no matter what you do, they won’t be good wives; and in response to getting caught saying this, he finds and shares a video recording of the other man from fourteen years earlier where he was recorded saying women who’ve been successfully married for a long time should mentor women who haven’t had successful marriages since they’d benefit from learning to be better wives from women who’ve been successful at it. In other words, if the woman chose the first man as her husband despite all of this, she’s likely to suffer from what I call “The Bachelor Effect.” This happens when a marriage has the effect of making a woman wish her husband went back to being a bachelor (either that or the woman stays married for such a short time she might as well have been the winning contestant on The Bachelor).

Speaking of the Fox News channel, if you want to keep up with who the most extreme people in America are, all you have to do is pay attention to the people on Fox News who actually believe what they say. In other words, pay attention to the extreme right-wing people on Fox News who don’t advocate for the things they promote primarily because they’re getting paid to do so. I bet the wealthy people who backed Mitt Romney and other Republicans across the country were thinking to themselves, “I find it hard to believe that anybody believes this Fox News stuff, but I guess I have to take Karl Rove’s word on it.” In all fairness, I do give Juan Williams credit for being the one person who’s actually hosted a show on Fox News who seems to be even halfway objective and non-partisan in analyzing the issues.

 

President of the United Mistakes of America

The Romney campaign bringing out a fourteen year old video featuring Obama (on which he really didn’t say anything bad) in order to counter Romney being caught on video saying something that definitely was bad, reeks of more desperation than using a twenty-year old photo as your profile picture on a dating site. Fox News unequivocally supported Romney no matter what he did, and always found a way to spin it against Obama. If Romney was caught on tape killing a dog, I bet Fox News would’ve found a childhood friend to say Obama rescued dogs in order to put them in dog fights.  If Romney got caught on video not washing his hands after using the bathroom, Fox News would’ve come out with a witness to testify that Obama did “number two” in public restrooms without flushing the toilet. Although MSNBC definitely advocated for Democrats and Obama similarly to how Fox News advocated for Republicans and Romney, no matter what Romney did wrong, Fox News not only didn’t call him out on it, but it somehow found a way to use it to attack Obama. For those who might say that MSNBC didn’t ever call out Obama either, this can easily be disproven by searching “Chris Matthews freaks out over debate.” Although Matthews is a strong contender for being Obama’s number one cheerleader, after the October 3rd Presidential debate, he was harder on Obama than a man taking Viagra is on a woman at a strip club.

The way Fox News unequivocally supported Romney after he became the Republican Presidential nominee was in itself a condemnation. It’s like if twenty people testified that they witnessed you rob a bank, and the one person who said you didn’t do it is the one person you robbed it with. Although Fox News always found a way to turn Romney’s gaffes into attacks on Obama, I can’t say MSNBC wouldn’t have done the same if Obama made similar gaffes, because we really didn’t have the opportunity to see that play out. In terms of the 2012 U.S. Presidential campaign, (besides the debate performance on October 3rd) Obama didn’t make too many major gaffes. In other words, if the election was for President of the United Mistakes of America, Romney would’ve definitely won hands down.

 

Voter Suppression is Distressing

So in summary, I commend all the people who voted in the 2012 Presidential election (as well as for the other 2012 elections across the U.S.). The fact that many Republicans across the United States systematically worked at restricting people’s right to vote—one of the most fundamental, important and American of all American rights—shows how important the right to vote is. If it wasn’t important, they wouldn’t have tried to take it away specifically for the purpose of increasing the chances of Republicans being elected into office (not just for President, but for numerous other elected targeted across the country to help Republicans gain control of the U.S. House and Senate). Regardless of the bogus justification they gave—such as the need for new Voter ID laws to combat (nonexistent) voter fraud—the fact these efforts were launched to suppress Democrat votes on behalf of Republicans says it all. Fortunately, these efforts seemed to have provided extra motivation for many people to vote—with people being willing to overcome all kinds of adversities, including standing in very long lines (up to seven hours in some places). The fact that such a coordinated effort went into suppressing the right to vote in such despicable ways puts into perspective the value of voting (although with the limited choices we often have in terms of quality politicians, voting can sometimes seem to be about as worthwhile as putting a loud speaker in a home for the hearing impaired). Lastly, whenever voting for any candidate, whether it be for President or any office, do it for educated and thought out reasons, not because of the “something new” reason that was the underlying sentiment Romney appealed to and based much of his strategy for election on.

 © 2012 Anthony Moore