William K Black
"In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks." - Spencer Bacchus (R) Alabama
"I don't think we need regulators. We need law and order. We need people to fulfill their contracts. The market is a great regulator, and we've lost understanding and confidence that the market is probably a much stricter regulator." - Ron Paul (R) Texas
"When historians look back at 2008-10, what will puzzle them most, I believe, is the strange triumph of failed ideas. Free-market fundamentalists have been wrong about everything — yet they now dominate the political scene more thoroughly than ever." - Paul Krugman
MJ Rosenberg has been reading my posts or not, but I'm happy to see my suggestions on how to get negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians started again, reaching a broader audience. Rosenberg pointed out a few things quite well, such as: "There is only one reason that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations collapsed. It is the power of the "pro-Israel lobby" (led by AIPAC) which prevents the United States from saying publicly what it says privately: that resolution of a conflict which is so damaging to US interests is consistently being blocked by the intransigence of the Netanyahu government and its determination to maintain the occupation."
"... The Israelis hold all of the disputed territories. Yes, the Palestinians have administrative control of some parts of the West Bank but its authority — and it is very small — derives from the Israelis. Gaza is controlled by Hamas but it is a reservation or ghetto, not a free entity. Its borders are entirely blocked by the Israelis (and the Egyptians who do whatever Israel demands on their border with Gaza). It remains under Israeli blockade, lightened only a bit since Prime Minister Netanyahu admitted that the blockade was not necessary for Israel's security. And then there is Arab East Jerusalem, where the Netanyahu government has expanded efforts to push Palestinians out of their homes and replace them with settlers.
The Palestinians have no power at all although they have done everything that Israel and the United States demanded. The Israeli government does not intend to give up territory it wants; it gave up Gaza because it decided that it better served Israeli interests to just blockade it. Why would Palestinians believe that Israel is negotiating seriously when it keeps building inside the future Palestinian state?
All this is obvious to anyone paying attention — especially since Prime Minister Netanyahu absolutely refused to freeze settlements for even 90 days in exchange for the United States doubling the aid package. Really, if he won't freeze for 90 days for $3.5bn, only a fool would believe that he would ever actually give up any land permanently..."
My solution then, is to freeze all foreign aid money to Israel, including military equipment, until negotiations are finished. To be fair, also suspend the money we give to the Palestinian Authority until the goals of negotiations have been met, because money talks, and lack of money will get them to start talking again. If it works, and a Palestinian state is created, we can be the tough-love hero. If it doesn't, well, we just saved ourselves billions of dollars per year which can go to pay off our national debt, or funnel down the black hole that is our military budget.
The main objections to this will come from the American Jewish lobbies like AIPAC, who use their money to bribe the Jewish members of Congress. For example, after Netanyahu declined our request to freeze settlement construction for 90 days more, AIPAC drew up a bill last Monday and had it presented to Congress: "Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, presented a resolution condemning the Palestinians for publicly suggesting that, in the wake of Netanyahu's refusal to freeze settlements and negotiate, they will consider a unilateral declaration of statehood." Because Netanyahu doesn't like America, has had contempt for us during his entire career, he is happier when we just go along with what he wants, and will continue to ignore all further suggestions from us on the negotiations. The right wing in Israel will not give up any more land to the Palestinians, and will continue to build housing and get as many settlers in Palestinian lands as they can, and screw you if you don't like it. To be perfectly honest, the goal of the Israeli right-wingers is to deport all Palestinians to Jordan, Lebanon, and all other surrounding lands. Those countries can be their Palestine, leaving Israel a 100% Jewish state, and while we are at it, will you lousy Christians please leave Jerusalem and Bethlehem?!
So, Barack and Hillary, this is my Christmas present to the Middle East, and I hope you adopt it as official foreign policy by the end of the year. We cannot wimp ourselves along, attempt to lead at the beginning, only to roll over and play dead like some good Labradoodle. Time for phase two, to take away their pocketbooks for being very bad this year, and if they want any money back, then they have to act like adults and finish negotiations within the next six months...