Saturday, November 8, 2008

The More Things “Change” . . .

After reading about Obama’s choice for Chief of Staff, and possible choices for Treasury Secretary, I couldn’t help but drag out the old cliché; “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” The Democrats have snookered well-meaning, peace-loving and nominally progressive Americans again. In our two-party, good cop-bad cop political system, they have mastered the ability to produce eloquent charlatans selling hope and change just in time to ensure we get very little of either.

I must admit that I voted for Obama too, but I did not otherwise support him. My vote went to him because Nader didn’t stand a chance and because the outrageously dishonest McCain/Palin campaign freaked me out. Like Michael Moore though, I did nurture a hope that his progressive side might win out once elected. If it didn't, four years of empty promises under Obama’s Wall Street/Zionist occupied administration seemed preferable to four years under an even more Fascist McCain and the possibility of Palin ascending to the throne. What little money I could part with went to Ralph Nader, the only true progressive left in the race. Obama surely didn’t need it, what with the obscene amounts of special interest Wall-Street, insurance industry, and AIPAC money in his coffers.

It was clear from the start that Obama had no intention of living up to his lofty rhetoric of hope and change, but what really surprised me was the speed at which he paid off his Zionist supporters by installing a former Israeli citizen in the second most powerful position in the White House. It is getting increasingly difficult to dismiss the claims by many courageous and thoughtful people that our Middle East policy does not serve the interests of Americans, but those of Tel Aviv, because Washington has become Israeli occupied territory, manipulated by AIPAC money and the disproportionate power of Jewish supporters of Israel.

The choice of Rahm Israel Emanuel, Wall Street insider, foul-mouthed clone of Machiavelli, and son of an arms supplier for Irgun terrorists in Palestine during the 40’s, is a clear signal to the Middle East as well as Jews, Muslims and Christians the world over, that peace will not be coming to Palestine anytime soon.

The articles below help to illuminate what our Middle East foreign policy will be like under the Obama administration, as well as the power of Zionists in Washington. To help illustrate the latter, at least one of the articles reveals that former Israeli citizen Emanuel made an interesting choice back during the 1st Gulf War—instead of volunteering to support the American effort to dislodge Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, he went to Israel to help shore-up their defenses against any possible military fallout. Can you imagine the reaction if Obama had appointed a Muslim who had been a Syrian, Lebanese, or Saudi citizen, to be his Chief of Staff, especially one who went to serve one of those countries during that war? How is it that in an allegedly pluralistic and democratic country such as ours, where Jews and Muslims each make up about 2% of the population, that Jews make up 11% of the U.S. Senate (108th Congress) and Muslim constitute 0%? There is only one Muslim member of Congress (Representative Ellison from Minnesota), and he is the first, having been elected in 2006. What’s wrong with this picture?

Please take the time to read the following articles about Obama’s choice for Chief of Staff:

Nov. 7, 2008
CounterPunch Diary
Hail to the Chief of Staff

The first trumpet blast of change ushers in Rahm Emanuel as Obama's chief of staff and gate keeper. This is the man who arranges his schedule, staffs out the agenda, includes, excludes. It's certainly as sinister an appointment as, say, Carter's installation of arch cold-warrior Zbigniev Brzezinski as his National Security Advisor at the dawn of his "change is here" administration in 1977.

Emanuel, as Ralph Nader points out in my interview with him below, represents the worst of the Clinton years. His profile as regards Israel is explored well on this site by lawyer John Whitbeck. He's a former Israeli citizen, who volunteered to serve in Israel in 1991 and who made brisk millions in Wall Street. He is a super-Likudnik hawk, whose father was in the fascist Irgun in the late Forties, responsible for cold-blooded massacres of Palestinians. Dad's unreconstructed ethnic outlook has been memorably embodied in his recent remark to the Ma'ariv newspaper that "Obviously he [Rahm] will influence the president to be pro-Israel... Why wouldn't he be [influential]? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."

Working in the Clinton White House, Emanuel helped push through NAFTA, the crime bill, the balanced budget and welfare reform. He favored the war in Iraq, and when he was chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 he made great efforts to knock out antiwar Democratic candidates. On this site in October and November, 2006, John Walsh documented both the efforts and Emanuel's role in losing the Democrats seats they would otherwise have won.
In 2006 Emanuel had just published a book with Bruce Reed called The Plan: Big Ideas for America, with one section focused on "the war on terror". Emanuel and Reed wrote, "We need to fortify the military's 'thin green line 'around the world by adding to the U.S. Special Forces and the Marines, and by expanding the U.S. army by 100,000 more troops. ...Finally we must protect our homeland and civil liberties by creating a new domestic counterterrorism force like Britain's MI5." Recall that Obama has been calling throughout his recent campaign for an addition of 92,000 to the US Army and US Marine Corps. . . . .

Check out the rest, including a scathing interview with Ralph Nader here:


The Promised Land?
Obama, Emanuel and Israel


November 07, 2008 "Counterpunch" -- --

In the first major appointment of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama has named as his chief of staff Congressman Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli citizen and Israeli army veteran whose father, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was a member of Menachem Begin's Irgun forces during the Nakba and named his son after "a Lehi combatant who was killed" -- i.e., a member of Yitzhak Shamir's terrorist Stern Gang, responsible for, in addition to other atrocities against Palestinians, the more famous bombing of the King David Hotel and assassination of the UN peace envoy Count Folke Bernadotte.

In rapid response to this news, the editorial in the next day's Arab News (Jeddah) was entitled "Don't pin much hope on Obama -- Emanuel is his chief of staff and that sends a message". This editorial referred to the Irgun as a "terror organization" (a judgment call) and concluded: "Far from challenging Israel, the new team may turn out to be as pro-Israel as the one it is replacing."

That was always likely. Obama repeatedly pledged unconditional allegiance to Israel during his campaign, most memorably in an address to the AIPAC national convention which Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery characterized as "a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning", and America's electing a black president has always been more easily imagined than any American president's declaring his country's independence from Israeli domination.

More, see:

This next article was forwarded by a Canadian onlooker with a preface provided by the sender:

While I am delighted that John McCain lost the elections and that an African American is now President in a symbolic and historic step for the United States, I learned over the years to curb my happiness and not let it take me into the fantasy world of irrational optimism, anticipating real change. People expected that Obama’s rhetoric matching McCain/Bush’s regarding war and empire, was just a ruse, a necessary technicality to help him get to the office. That once he’s there he will remove the campaign rhetoric mask and the real Obama, one who really cares about peace and the plight of the average man, would emerge. Perhaps in a portent of disappointments to come, Mr Change has approached, within mere hours of his election, an aggressive neocon Congressman to be his Chief of Staff (who has just accepted the offer). Rahm Emanuel also served in the Israeli army and went berserk when US puppet Maliki labeled Israel’s aggression and wanton destruction of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, as “aggression”. Below is a two-years-old article I dug up that burrows a little into Emanuel’s resume. It is ironic that voting for the lesser of two evils is considered a good idea while voting for someone/a party that matches one's ideals is considered "wasting one's vote."
Emanuel's War Plan for Democrats
The Book of Rahm
By JOHN WALSH, October 24, 2006
Last week in CounterPunch (1), I wrote that the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Congressman Rahm Emanuel, had worked hard to guarantee that Democratic candidates in key toss-up House races were pro-war. In this he was largely successful, because of the money he commands and the celebrity politicians who reliably respond to his call, ensuring that 20 of the 22 Democratic candidates in these districts are pro-war. So the fix is in for the coming elections.

In 2006, no matter which party controls the House, a majority will be committed to pursuing the war on Iraq--despite the fact that the Democratic rank and file and the general voting public oppose the war by large margins. (I hasten to add that this state of affairs can be reversed even after the sham election between the two War Parties.)

What are Emanuel's views on war and peace? Emanuel has just supplied the answer in the form of a scrawny book co-authored with Bruce Reed, modestly entitled: The Plan: Big Ideas for America. The authors obligingly boil each of the eight parts of "The Plan" down to a single paragraph. The section which embraces all of foreign policy is entitled "A New Strategy to End the War on Terror," a heading revealing in itself since "war on terror" is the way the neocons and the Israeli Lobby currently like to frame the discussion of foreign policy. Here is the book's summary paragraph with my comments in parentheses:
"A New Strategy to Win the War on Terror" 
("War on Terror," as George Soros points out, is a false metaphor used by those who would drag us into military adventures not in our interest or that of humanity.)

"We need to use all the roots of American power to make our country safe. (He begins by playing on fear.) America must lead the world's fight against the spread of evil and totalitarianism, but we must stop trying to win that battle on our own. (Messianic imperialism.) We should reform and strengthen multilateral institutions for the twenty-first century, not walk away from them. We need to fortify the military's "thin green line" around the world by adding to the U.S. Special Forces and the Marines, and by expanding the U.S. army by 100,000 more troops. (An even bigger military for the world's most powerful armed forces, a very militaristic view of the way to handle the conflicts among nations. What uses does Emanuel have in mind for those troops?) We should give our troops a new GI Bill to come home to. (More material incentives to induce the financially strapped to sign up as cannon fodder.) Finally we must protect our homeland and civil liberties by creating a new domestic counterterrorism force like Britain's MI5. (A new domestic spying operation is an obvious threat to our civil liberties; MI5 holds secret files on one in 160 adults in Britain along with files on 53,000 organizations.)

There it is straight from the horse's mouth.(2)

How does Emanuel, the man who has screened and chosen the 2006 Democratic candidates for Congress, feel specifically about the war on Iraq, the number one issue on voters' minds. Emanuel and Reed do not so much as mention Iraq in their book except in terms of the "war on terror." Nor does Emanuel mention Iraq on his web site as among the important issues facing us, quite amazing omission and one shared by Chuck Schumer who is his equivalent of the Senate side, chairing the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee). However a very recent profile in Fortune (9/25/2006), "Rahm Emanuel, Pitbull Politician," by Washington Bureau chief Nina Easton notes: "On Iraq, Emanuel has steered clear of the withdraw-now crowd, preferring to criticize Bush for military failures since the 2003 invasion. 'The war never had to turn out this way,' he told me at one of his campaign stops. In January 2005, when asked by Meet the Press's Tim Russert whether he would have voted to authorize the war-'knowing that there are no weapons of mass destruction'-Emanuel answered yes. (He didn't take office until after the vote.) 'I still believe that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, okay?' he added."(3)

When Jack Murtha made his proposal for withdrawal from Iraq, Emanuel quickly declared that "Jack Murtha went out and spoke for Jack Murtha." As for Iraq policy, Emanuel added: "At the right time, we will have a position." That was November, 2005. In June, 2006, it was obviously time, and Emanuel finally revealed his policy in a statement on the floor of the House during debate over Iraq, thus: "The debate today is about whether the American people want to stay the course with an administration and a Congress that has walked away from its obligations or pursue a real strategy for success in the war on terror. We cannot achieve the end of victory and continue to sit and watch, stand pat, stay put, status quo and that is the Republican policy. Democrats are determined to take the fight to the enemy." The refrain is familiar; more troops are the means and victory in Iraq is the goal.

The war on Iraq benefited Israel by laying waste a country seen to be one of its major adversaries. Emanuel's commitment to Israel (4) and his Congressional service to it are not in doubt.



Obama picks pro-Israel hardliner for top post

Ali Abunimah

The Electronic Intifada
5 November 2008

During the United States election campaign, racists and
pro-Israel hardliners tried to make an issue out of
President-Elect Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein. Such
people might take comfort in another middle name, that of
Obama's pick for White House Chief of Staff: Rahm Israel

Emanuel is Obama's first high-level appointment and it's
one likely to disappointment those who hoped the
president-elect would break with the George W. Bush
Administration's pro-Israel policies. White House Chief of
Staff is often considered the most powerful office in the
executive branch, next to the president. Obama has offered
Emanuel the position according to Democratic party sources
cited by media sources including Reuters and The New York
Times. While Emanuel is expected to accept the post, that
had not been confirmed by Wednesday evening the day after
the election.

Rahm Emanuel was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1959, the
son of Benjamin Emanuel, a pediatrician who helped smuggle
weapons to the Irgun, the Zionist militia of former
Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, in the 1940s. The
Irgun carried out numerous terrorist attacks on
Palestinian civilians including the bombing of Jerusalem's
King David Hotel in 1946.

Emanuel continued his father's tradition of active support
for Israel; during the 1991 Gulf War he volunteered to
help maintain Israeli army vehicles near the Lebanon
border when southern Lebanon was still occupied by Israeli

As White House political director in the first Clinton
administration, Emanuel orchestrated the famous 1993
signing ceremony of the "Declaration of Principles"
between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime
minister Yitzhak Rabin. Emanuel was elected to Congress
representing a north Chicago district in 2002 and he is
credited with a key role in delivering a Democratic
majority in the 2006 mid-term elections. He has been a
prominent supporter of neoliberal economic policies on
free trade and welfare reform.

One of the most influential politicians and fundraisers in
his party, Emanuel accompanied Obama to a meeting of
AIPAC's executive board just after the Illinois senator
had addressed the pro-Israel lobby's conference last June.

In Congress, Emanuel has been a consistent and vocal
pro-Israel hardliner, sometimes more so than President
Bush. In June 2003, for example, he signed a letter
criticizing Bush for being insufficiently supportive of
Israel. "We were deeply dismayed to hear your criticism of
Israel for fighting acts of terror," Emanuel, along with
33 other Democrats wrote to Bush. The letter said that
Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian political
leaders "was clearly justified as an application of
Israel's right to self-defense."


No comments: