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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/23/21

Will Senate Democrats Stoop to Confirming Rahm Emanuel as Ambassador?

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Families of Victims of Police Violence #RejectRahm for Japan Ambassador
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When President Biden announced late Friday afternoon that he will nominate Rahm Emanuel to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan, the timing just before the weekend was clearly intended to minimize attention to the swift rebukes that were sure to come.

Rahm Emanuel, Gesticulating
Rahm Emanuel, Gesticulating
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The White House described Emanuel as having "a distinguished career in public service," but several progressive Democrats in Congress quickly went on the attack. "This is a travesty," Rep. Mondaire Jones tweeted. "Senators of good conscience must not vote to confirm him." Another African-American representative, Cori Bush, said that Emanuel "must be disqualified from ever holding an appointed position in any administration. Call your Senator and urge them to vote NO."

The response from Rep. Rashida Tlaib was pointed: "If you believe Black lives indeed matter, then the Senate must reject his appointment immediately." Tlaib accompanied her tweet with a link to an article that The Nation magazine published in the fall of 2018, when Emanuel was nearing the end of his eight years as Chicago's mayor, with this sum-up: "The outgoing mayor's legacy will be defined by austerity, privatization, displacement, gun violence, and police brutality."

All three congressmembers mentioned Emanuel's responsibility for the notorious cover-up of the Chicago police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. For 13 months, during his campaign for re-election in 2015, Mayor Emanuel's administration suppressed a ghastly dashboard-camera video showing the death of McDonald, an African American who was shot 16 times by a police officer as he walked away.

After Emanuel emerged as Biden's likely choice for the ambassador job a few months ago, longtime Chicago journalist and activist Delmarie Cobb wrote a scathing assessment of his mayoral record. While mentioning that Emanuel "closed 50 public schools in predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods," Cobb also pointed out that "he closed six of 12 mental health clinics in these communities." She added: "Now, who needs access to mental health care more than Chicago's Black and brown residents who are underserved, underemployed and under constant threat of violence?"

Emanuel's dreadful record as mayor of Chicago was in keeping with his entire career, spanning several Machiavellian decades that included stints as a member of Congress, a high-level aide for Presidents Clinton and Obama, and an investment bank director using his connections to make $18 million in two and a half years. Emanuel cemented his reputation as a combative and powerful player in the Clinton White House, pushing through policies that harmed the working class and people of color, including the NAFTA trade deal, the infamous 1994 crime bill and punitive "welfare reform."

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Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched Bernie Delegates Network. (more...)
 

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