Monday, December 20, 2010

60's Burnouts, DADT and the Marines, Kick - Starting Palestinian Negotiations for Christmas

Paul Krugman
Benjamin Sarlin
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

All of my links are to articles on the economy, the ones by Paul Krugman and William Black are very good, explain why the conservatives who are still extolling free-market theory, louder than ever before, are still wrong. You might think that since these theories just about tanked the US and Western Europe's economies, and we are going to be clawing our way out of the cesspool for several more years, these people would get a clue and pick up a few other books on other economic theories. It also points out how someone like Ron Paul can at times sound like a wizened, little Yoda, and at other times, like now, sound like such a dumbass. Sure would be nice if the television reporters were more than talking heads, and they were bright enough to challenge Ron and Spencer on their gaffes. .. Several years ago I knew someone who was the news anchor at our local station, and his head was literally too big for his body. Since I saw him a lot at the gym, we threatened to nail his feet to the floor and he could be our own private bobble-head doll while we worked out...

Since most of the far-right conservatives are men of my generation, if not a bit older, I wonder what these guys were doing during the 1960"s. Were these the guys who were too scared to take recreational drugs, then spent the rest of their lives afraid that they might meet a hippy in some dark alley? Or are these the drug burn-outs, the ones who carried emotional baggage when they took their LSD, guaranteeing that they would have a bad trip? Guys like my friend John from high school, who had to be talked down from his bad trip during a Grateful Dead concert in Santa Barbara. Probably more like the guys who constantly took a variety of drugs just to keep from encountering the realities of their parent's and their own lives, lost souls later scooped up into Jesus Freak cults, whose recruiting methods were later adopted by the Rev Sun Moon, and even later than that, the Tea Party Express...

There was an article in the newspaper today, about how young Marine recruits aren't sure if they could go into combat situations with homosexuals. This was to illustrate the testimony given by the head of the Marine Corps in front of Congress, the only military head who did not support repealing DADT. Ahh, these naive young men... first of all, anyone who volunteers to put on a costume might be suspect, even if we call that costume a uniform. Yep, dress up in costume on a weekend, and go hang out in bars, cruising for a bruising, now what kind of cultural behavior is that? Besides, with about one in every ten people being gay, a lot of your officers have had to hide themselves for their whole careers. Everyone who has served in the military knows at least one gay officer they have worked with, it's a matter of statistics... Now that DADT has been repealed, the military culture will change slightly. Now, whenever someone calls you a c***s***er, it will be a compliment..

I don't know if 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...

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