What The Obama Press Release About Rahm Amanuel Left Out [The Past]

11/07/2008 08:50:00 PM

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rahm So what exactly is a "Chief of Staff", who is Rahm Amanuel, and how does he have anything to do with Obama's "American Serves" plans?  A lot actually... read on.

A Chief of Staff is in charge of delivering the president's policy platform.  He also acts as the president's most senior advisor and right hand man, counseling him and attempting to get his proposals passed by Congress.  He also guards the door to the Oval Office and needs to be able to say 'no' when the president needs him to.

And Rahm Amanuel, aka "Rahmbo", is Obama's selection for Chief of Staff.  Rahm is a Democratic member of the House of Reps, and has been since only 2003.  He represents Illinois's 5th congressional district, which covers much of the north side of Chicago, Obama's home town, and parts of suburban Cook County.    He is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, and a central proponent of neo-liberal economic policies in his capacity as an advisor during the Clinton administration to direct the campaign's finance committee.

Here are a few things that the Obama "press release" seems to have forgotten to mention about Rham.


Rahm's father is an Israeli-born doctor who was once a member of the Irgun, a group which fought for Israeli independence until 1948 and was branded as a terrorist organization by the British colonial authorities.  His mother meanwhile, worked as an X-ray technician and was the daughter of a local Chicago union organizer.  She was a civil rights activist but is now a psychiatric social worker.  The two met in Chicago in the 1950s.

Rahm was born in 1959 and attended Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, a Jewish day school.  After his family moved to Wilmette, he attended public school.  He and his brothers attended summer cap in Israel. 

He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981, and went on to receive a master's degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985.

In 1991, Rahm volunteered to serve in Israel's army during the first Gulf War of 1991 - rust-proofing brakes in northern military bases, Israeli media reports (via the BBC, Ynetnews).

Back in the US, Rahm became the director of finance for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 continuing on as a senior advisor to President Clinton from 1993 to 1998.  He has stated that one of his proudest moments during the Clinton administration "was an event that touched his political sensibilities and his personal ties to Israel:  the 1993 Rose Garden signing ceremony after the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).  Emanuel directed the details of the ceremony, down to the choreography of the famous handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat."

Emanuel has also said to have "mailed a two-and-a-half foot rotting fish to a former coworker (pollster) after the two parted ways."  On the night of the 1996 election, "Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting 'Nat Landow!  Dead! Cliff Jackson!  Dead!  Bill Schaefer!  Dead!' and plunging the knife into the table after every name." (Additional source:  NYT)  BTW, this is the same man who stated that "the bottom line is Clinton did not have sex with Lewinsky and did not ask her to lie."

After Clinton's Presidency was over, Rahm joined Wasserstein Perella & Co as a partner in the firm's Chicago office, focusing on merchant banking, strategic advisory, and mergers & acquisitions.  During his time working for Wasserstein, he reportedly earned $18 million from 1999 to 2002.

Emanuel was also on the Board of Directors for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation aka "Freddie Mac" in 2000, which puts him right in the middle of the Freddie Mac scandal when Freddie Mac misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years of 2000 and 2002.  Emanuel was not named in the SEC complaint however, the entire board was later accused [PDF] by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) of having "failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention."  During this time, Rahm was paid $231,655 in directors fees in 2001 and $31,060 in 2000.

He resigned from the board in 2001 when he ran for congress.  He has been a member of the House of Reps since 2003. 

Since 2002, Rahm has  reportedly been the beneficiary of campaign cash from Freddie Mac and its sister organization Fannie Mae - $51,750 according to the Center for Responsive Politics Web site, OpenSecrets.org.

In 2008 Contributions, Emanuel "was the top House recipient in the 2008 election cycle of contributions from hedge funds, private equity firms and the larger securities/investment industry."  Since Emanuel's election to Congress in 2002, Emanuel has received more money from individuals and PAC's in the securities and investment business than any other industry.

In a November 6, 2008 article, it was stated that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has an active FBI counter-intelligence file maintained on him, and it may pose a significant security problem for Obama if the FBI insists on conducting the full background security investigation normally required for senior White House officials.  Questions about Emanuel's links to the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad [Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, the national intelligence agency of Israel], were allegedly so great that President Bill Clinton was forced to dismiss Emanuel from the White House staff in 1998.


Rahm supports a plan to send 18-25 years olds into compulsory service which goes along with Obamas "Change.Gov" website plans for "America Serves".   This is an excerpt from Bruce Reed and Rahm Emanuel's 2006 book, The Plan:  Big Ideas for America.  You can read some of this yourself via Google's Book Search

In the introduction to the book it is stated:

"This book is a first draft of the new conditions, new requirements, and new terms that our new era will demand."

Chapter 4:  What's The Plan?, pg. 54



The economy of the twenty-first century demands new skills and will require all of us to live up to new responsibilities.  We believe that four mutual obligations that follow should represent the first terms of a new contract between the people and their country.

Universal Citizen Service

If you forget everything else you read in these pages, please remember this:  The Plan starts with you.  If your leaders aren't challenging you to do your part, they aren't doing theirs.  We need a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us by establishing, for the first time, an ethic of universal citizen service.  All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five should be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic civil defense training and community service.  This is not a draft - nor is it military.  Young people will be trained not as soldiers, but simply as citizens who understand their responsibilities...."

From Chapter 5, "ASKED NOT:  Universal Citizen Service" , pg. 60


Every citizen needs to understand and accept the essence of the American bargain:  Each of us has to do his or her part.  While the rights of citizenship are explicit in our Constitution, the implicit responsibilities are every bit as crucial.

From our radical experiement in freedom to work, we must prize responsibilities as well as rights, and never presume to do for people what they can do for themselves.

After 9/11, both parties in Washington spent countless hours debating a law called the Patriot Act, which gave federal authorities new powers to police terrorism.  We're all for giving law enforcement the tools to do its job; the two of us helped write legislation to do just that (which the Republican Congress largely rejected) after domestic terrorists blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.  We have no problem spying on terrorists, here or elsewhere.  Indeed, as we'll explain later, we believe the U.S. should strengthen its domestic counterterrorism capacity in a way that also safeguards our freedoms.

Our problem with the Patriot Act is simpler:  It doesn't have much to do wtih patriotism.  We want the government to be aggressive in protecting us from terrorists.  But we want a government that's just as serious about challenging us as citizens.  Americans' role in the war on terror is not simply to be waving flags on the sidelines.

It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us.  We propose universal civilian service for every young American.  Under this plan, all Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation, and community service. 

This is not a draft.  We repeat:  This is not a draft.  It's not military either.  We're not asking young people to be soldiers, but to be citizens - ready to respond to the nation's needs here at home.

The idea of universal civilian service may not be popular everywhere in our party.  Some Republicans will squeal about individual freedom, forgetting their own rhetoric that freedom isn't being free.  But universal service is the right thing to do, and our country will be stronger for it.

Here's how it would work.  Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear, or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we're hit by a natural disaster.  These young people will be available to address their communities' most pressing needs.

In the 1990s, Bill Clinton and the late Eli Segal launched AmeriCorps, which has given more than 400,000 young people the chance to serve their community. ...

By asking every young American to serve, universal civilian service will strengthen America in three vital ways.

First, it will provide real, lasting security benefits. ...

Second, universal civilian service may be just what we need to save the volunteer army and avoid a draft. ...

Third, and most important, universal service will give young people a chance early in their lives to look past differences of race, class, creed, and region, and to see themselves and one another first and foremost as Americans.

Other Rham Articles:

Emanuel Attended A Meeting With Clinton Campaign Advisers Following The 1992 Campaign To Discuss Which Politicians And Members Of The Press They Would Seek Revenge Upon:

“It was there that Emanuel, then Clinton’s chief fund-raiser, repaired with George Stephanopoulos, Mandy Grunwald and other aides to Doe’s, the campaign hangout. Revenge was heavy in the air as the group discussed the enemies — Democrats, Republicans, members of the press — who wronged them during the 1992 campaign. Clifford Jackson, the ex-friend of the President and peddler of the Clinton draft-dodging stories, was high on the list. So was William Donald Schaefer, then the Governor of Maryland and a Democrat who endorsed George Bush. Nathan Landow, the fund-raiser who backed the candidacy of Paul Tsongas, made it, too.” (Elisabeth Bumiller, “The Brothers Emanuel,” The New York Times, 6/15/97)

Emanuel Told His Staff That Republicans Could “Go F— Themselves!”

“‘I’ll tell you this,’ Emanuel shouted out to his staff. ‘The Republicans may have the 72-hour program. But they have not seen the 22-month program! … Since my kids are gone, I can say it: They can go —- themselves!’”(Naftali Bendavid, “The House That Rahm Built,” Chicago Tribune, 11/12/06)

Emanuel’s Political Style Was “Honed In Chicago” And Has A “Reputation As A Political Street Fighter.”

“But his political style — honed in Chicago and on the presidential campaign trail with Clinton — isn’t gentle or uncertain. His reputation as a political street fighter inspires respect and more than a little fear.”(Naftali Bendavid, “The House That Rahm Built,” Chicago Tribune, 11/12/06)

“[Emanuel] Was Also Zealously Partisan. He Had Once Owned A Consulting Business Devoted To Finding Skeletons In Republican Closets.” (Edward McClelland, “The Legend Of Rahm,” Salon.Com, 5/8/07)

And Emanuel Made Millions As An Investment Banker Off Insider Connections With High-Profile Democrat Donors Influential In The Clinton Administration:
After Leaving His Position With The Clinton White House, Emanuel Worked For Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, An Investment Bank, From 1999 To 2002.

“[A]fter leaving the Clinton White House, [Emanuel] had taken a position at the investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in Chicago, where he worked from 1999 to 2002 and reportedly earned $18 million…” (Tony Blankley, “‘Cowboy Capitalism,’” The Washington Times, 10/1/08)

“Congressional Disclosures Filed This Year Show Emanuel Earned $16.2 Million As An Investment Banker, Largely By Brokering High-Profile Mergers And Acquisitions.” (Mike Dorning, “Rahm Emanuel: From Clinton Aide To Money Maker,” Chicago Tribune, 11/9/03)

“Deftly Tapping The Contacts He Made As A Senior Adviser To Former President Bill Clinton, Emanuel Went To Work For One Of Clinton’s Most Active Fundraisers After Leaving The White House In Late 1998.” (Mike Dorning, “Rahm Emanuel: From Clinton Aide To Money Maker,” Chicago Tribune, 11/9/03)

“Emanuel Owes His Investment Banking Job To Bruce Wasserstein, A High-Rolling Wall Street Dealmaker Who Was One Of Clinton’s Most Active Fundraisers In The Financial Community.” (Mike Dorning, “Rahm Emanuel: From Clinton Aide To Money Maker,” Chicago Tribune, 11/9/03)

“Emanuel’s Two Biggest Deals Involved Politically Connected Utilities: One Representing Commonwealth Edison’s Corporate Parent In A Merger And The Other Representing A Buyer In The Purchase Of A Home Security Business From Telecom Giant SBC Communications.”(Mike Dorning, “Rahm Emanuel: From Clinton Aide To Money Maker,” Chicago Tribune, 11/9/03)

“Shortly Afterward, SBC Hired As Its President William Daley, The Commerce Secretary Of The Former Clinton Administration And The Brother Of Chicago’s Mayor.” (Mike Dorning, “Rahm Emanuel: From Clinton Aide To Money Maker,” Chicago Tribune, 11/9/03)

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