Conned Again

If the change President-elect
Obama has promised includes a halt to America`s wars
of aggression and an end to the rip-off of taxpayers
by powerful financial interests, what explains
Obama`s choice of foreign and economic policy
advisors?   Indeed, Obama`s selection of
Rahm Israel Emanuel as White House chief of staff is
a signal that change ended with Obama`s election. 
The only thing different about the new
administration will be the faces.

Rahm Israel Emanuel is a
supporter of Bush`s invasion of Iraq.  Emanuel
rose to prominence in the Democratic Party as a
result of his fundraising connections to AIPAC. 
A strong supporter of the American Israeli Public
Affairs Committee, he comes from a terrorist family. 
His father was a member of Irgun, a Jewish terrorist
organization that used violence to drive the British
and Palestinians out of Palestine in order to create
the Jewish state.  During the 1991 Gulf War,
Rahm Israel Emanuel volunteered to serve in the
Israel Defense Forces.  He was a member of the
Freddie Mac board of directors and received $231,655
in directors fees in 2001.  According to


"during the
time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was
plagued with scandals involving campaign
contributions and accounting irregularities."

to the Chief of Staff
Alexander Cockburn
describes Emanuel as
"a super-Likudnik
who as chairman of the Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006
"made great
efforts to knock out antiwar Democratic candidates."

My despondent friends in the
Israeli peace movement ask,
"What is this
man doing in Obama`s administration?"

Obama`s election was necessary
as the only means Americans had to hold the
Republicans accountable for their crimes against the
Constitution and human rights, for their violations
of US and international laws, for their lies and
deceptions, and for their financial chicanery. 
As an editorial in

Pravda put it
"Only Satan would have been worse than the Bush regime. Therefore it
could be argued that the new administration in the
USA could never be worse than the one which divorced
the hearts and minds of Americans from their
brothers in the international community, which
appalled the rest of the world with shock and awe
tactics that included concentration camps, torture,
mass murder and utter disrespect for international

But Obama`s advisers are drawn
from the same gang of Washington thugs and Wall
Street banksters as Bush`s.  Richard Holbrooke,
son of Russian and German Jews, was an assistant
secretary of state and ambassador in the Clinton
administration. He implemented the policy to enlarge
NATO and to place the military alliance on Russia`s
border in contravention of Reagan`s promise to
Gorbachev.  Holbrooke is also associated with
the Clinton administration`s illegal bombing of
Serbia, a war crime that killed civilians and
Chinese diplomats.  If not a neocon himself,
Holbrooke is closely allied with them.

According to Wikipedia,
Madeline Albright was born Marie Jana Korbelova in
Prague to Jewish parents who had converted to
Catholicism in order to escape persecution. She is
the Clinton era secretary of state who told Leslie
Stahl (60 Minutes) that the US policy of Iraq
sanctions, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds
of thousands of Iraqi children, had goals important
enough to justify the children`s deaths. Albright`s
infamous words:

"we think the price is worth it."
Wikipedia reports that this
immoralist served on the board of directors of the
New York Stock Exchange at the time of Dick Grasso`s
$187.5 million compensation scandal.

Dennis Ross has long
associations with the Israeli-Palestinian
  A member of his Clinton era
team, Aaron David Miller,

that during 1999-2000 the US negotiating
team led by Ross acted as Israel`s lawyer: 
"we had to
run everything by Israel first."
"stripped our policy of the independence and flexibility required for
serious peacemaking. If we couldn`t put proposals on
the table without checking with the Israelis first,
and refused to push back when they said no, how
effective could our mediation be?"
According to Wikipedia, Ross is
"chairman of
a new Jerusalem-based think tank, the Jewish People
Policy Planning Institute, funded and founded by the

Jewish Agency

Clearly, this is not a group of
advisors that is going to halt America`s wars
against Israel`s enemies or force the Israeli
government to accept the necessary conditions for a
real peace in the Middle East.  

Ralph Nader predicted as much.
In his "Open Letter to
Barack Obama "
(November 3, 2008), Nader
pointed out to Obama that his

"transformation from an articulate defender of
Palestinian rights . . . to a dittoman for the
hard-line AIPAC lobby"
puts Obama at odds with
"a majority of Jewish-Americans" and
"64% of Israelis."  Nader quotes the Israeli writer and peace
advocate Uri Avnery`s description of Obama`s
appearance before AIPAC as an appearance that
"broke all
records for obsequiousness and fawning."
Nader damns Obama for his
"utter lack
of political courage [for] surrendering to demands
of the hard-liners to prohibit former president
Jimmy Carter from speaking at the Democratic
National Convention."
  Carter, who achieved
the only meaningful peace agreement between Israel
and the Arabs, has been demonized by the powerful
AIPAC lobby for criticizing Israel`s policy of
apartheid toward the Palestinians whose territory
Israel forcibly occupies.

Obama`s economic team is just
as bad.  Its star is Robert Rubin, the bankster
who was secretary of the treasury in the Clinton
administration.  Rubin has responsibility for
the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and, thereby,
responsibility for the current financial crisis. 
In his letter to Obama, Nader points out that Obama
received unprecedented  campaign contributions
from corporate and Wall Street interests. 
"Never before
has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this
supremacy over his Republican counterpart."

Obama`s victory speech was
magnificent.  The TV cameras scanning faces in
the audience showed the hope and belief that
propelled Obama into the presidency.  But Obama
cannot bring change to Washington.  There is no
one in the Washington crowd that he can appoint who
is capable of bringing change.  If Obama were
to reach outside the usual crowd, anyone suspected
of being a bringer of change could not get confirmed
by the Senate.  Powerful interest groups—AIPAC,
the military-security complex, Wall Street—use their
political influence to block unacceptable

As Alexander Cockburn put it in
his column,
"Obama, the first-rate Republican,"

"never has
the dead hand of the past had a `reform` candidate
so firmly by the windpipe."
confirmed Cockburn`s verdict in his first press
conference as president-elect.  Disregarding
the unanimous US National Intelligence Estimate,
which concluded that Iran stopped working on nuclear
weapons five years ago, and ignoring the continued
certification by the International Atomic Energy
Agency that none of the nuclear material for Iran`s
civilian nuclear reactor has been diverted to
weapons use, Obama

sallied forth
with the Israel Lobby`s propaganda
and accused Iran of
of a nuclear weapon"
and vowing
"to prevent
that from happening."

The change that is coming to
America has nothing to do with Obama.  Change
is coming from the financial crisis brought on by
Wall Street greed and irresponsibility, from the
eroding role of the US dollar as reserve currency,
from countless mortgage foreclosures, from the
offshoring of millions of America`s best jobs, from
a deepening recession, from pillars of American
manufacturing—Ford and GM—begging the government for
taxpayers` money to stay alive, and from budget and
trade deficits that are too large to be closed by
normal means.

Traditionally, the government
relies on monetary and fiscal policy to lift the
economy out of recession.  But easy money is
not working. Interest rates are already low and
monetary growth is already high, yet unemployment is
rising. The budget deficit is already huge—a world
record—and the red ink is not stimulating the
economy.  Can even lower interest rates and
even higher budget deficits help an economy that has
moved offshore, leaving behind jobless consumers
overburdened with debt?

How much more can the
government borrow?  America`s foreign creditors
are asking this question.  An official organ of
the Chinese ruling party recently

for Asian and European countries to

"banish the US dollar from their direct trade
relations, relying only on their own currencies."


another Chinese publication
"should China
help the US to issue debt without end in the belief
that the national credit of the US can expand
without limit?"

The world has tired of American
hegemony and had its fill of American arrogance.
America`s reputation is in tatters: the financial
debacle, endless red ink, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo,
rendition, torture, illegal wars based on lies and
deception, disrespect for the sovereignty of other
countries, war crimes, disregard for international
law and the Geneva Conventions, the assault on
habeas corpus
and the separation of powers, a domestic police
state, constant interference in the internal affairs
of other countries, boundless hypocrisy.   

The change that is coming is
the end of American empire.  The hegemon has
run out of money and influence.  Obama as
First Black President"
will lift hopes and,
thus, allow the act to be carried on a little
longer.  But the New American Century is
already over. 

Paul Craig Roberts [email
] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan`s
first term.  He was Associate Editor of the
Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded
the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
Mitterrand. He is the author of

Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington
and the Soviet Economy

Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
and is the co-author
with Lawrence M. Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice
. Click

for Peter
Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.