Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obama appoints Emanuel as chief of staff

The enlistment of Rahm Emanuel amounts to nothing more than “politics as usual.” Where's the change Obama has been preaching?
Rahm Emanuel was a political and policy aide in Bill Clinton's White House, and helped push through the North American Free Trade Agreement, (NAFTA).
It was on Bill Clinton's watch that NAFTA was sold to the people of the United States, Mexico and Canada as a simple treaty eliminating tariffs on goods crossing the three countries' borders. But NAFTA is much more: It is the constitution of an emerging continental economy that recognizes no one but the business corporation. It gives corporations extraordinary protections from government policies that might limit future profits, and extraordinary rights to force the privatization of virtually all civilian public services. Disputes are settled by secret tribunals of experts, many of whom are employed privately as corporate lawyers and consultants. At the same time, NAFTA excludes protections for workers.

The business-backed politicians who pushed the agreement through the three legislatures promised that NAFTA would generate prosperity. But as soon as the ink was dry, US factories began to shift production to maquiladora assembly plant factories along the border, where the Mexican government assures an obsequious labor force and minimal environmental restrictions. The US trade surplus with Mexico quickly turned into a deficit, and since then at least 300,000 jobs have been lost.
In all three countries NAFTA has worsened the distribution of income and wealth. While ordinary people paid the costs, the benefits went to the continent's "powerful elite". Canadian and US corporate investors got guaranteed access to Mexico's cheap labor.

Rahm Emanuel, served on the board of directors of the federal mortgage firm Freddie Mac, known formally as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, at a time when scandal was brewing at the troubled agency and the board failed to spot "red flags," according to government reports reviewed by

According to a complaint later filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Freddie Mac, misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years 2000 and 2002. The entire board was later accused by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) of having "failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention."Freddie Mac agreed to pay a $50 million penalty in 2007 to settle the SEC complaint and four top executives of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation were charged with negligent conduct and, like the company, agreed to settle the case without admitting or denying the allegations. The actions by Freddie Mac are cited by some economists as the beginning of the country's economic recession. The federal government this year took over Freddie Mac and a sister federal mortgage agency, Fannie Mae, pledging at least $200 billion in public funds.

Freddie Mac records have been subpoenaed by the Justice Department as part of its investigation of the suspect accounting procedures. During the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to the SEC, Freddie Mac substantially misrepresented its income to "present investors with the image of a company that would continue to generate predictable and growing earnings."
Rahm Emanuel was named to the Freddie Mac board by President Bill Clinton in 2000.
"Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto."
- - Thomas Jefferson