Friday, September 23, 2011

Is It Too Late For Peace In The Middle East??

"The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination and [Ariel] Sharon's stroke." --Former President Bill Clinton

I agree with Bill 100%. He points out that Rabin and Sharon were the only leaders of Israel willing to make a hugely unpopular decision in order to secure a peace deal: give up the vast majority of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

If you've ever been to Israel, you know why this proposition is so frightening to Israelis. Israel is not a large country--at its narrowest point, only 9.3 miles--and every inch of territory they give up provides potential terrorists with a variety of new targets easily reachable by rockets and suicide bombers. East Jerusalem is literally on top of the holiest place in the Jewish religion. The Arab market and the Jewish one are only footsteps from each other. If the Palestinian Authority has control of such strategic areas, then all of Israel is threatened should Arab armies try to destroy the country (as they've already attempted to do at least twice).

These are legitimate fears, but they are fears that come with a cost. That cost is a lasting peace agreement, Israel's only realistic hope for continued survival.

As a leader, Netanyahu has used these fears to justify settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which has accelerated at a pace not seen since Israel's initial founding. The territory these settlements occupy are like long roots reaching deep into the West Bank, and they complicate the reality of a viable Palestinian state. Just look at this mess:

(VIA the New York Times)

The orange areas are the largest concentrations of settlements (red dots are all the settlements). Can you see why the Palestinians are a bit bothered by Netanyahu's stance? The settlements are a land grab, even if you want to call it a "buffer zone."

It is Netanyahu's actions--primarily his support and encouragement of the growing settlements-- that led to today's dramatic events: Palestine has asked to be formally recognized as a country by the U.N.

The request from Abbas comes amidst a U.N. that is increasingly willing to accept it. And that willingness doesn't arise from anti-semitism, it arises from Israel's failure over the past few years to show even the slightest willingness in negotiating a settlement. Netanyahu hasn't even maintained the status quo-- he's actively been promoting new settlements which make a peace deal that much harder to reach.

Such a policy may be popular among right-wing Israelis, and even moderate and liberal Israelis do not exactly trust the idea of "land for peace." But by acting as an instigator, instead of a voice of reason, Netanyahu has seriously undermined any real effort to bring Israel and Palestine to a workable compromise at the bargaining table.

What has Netanyahu's hard line stance accomplished? Besides win him votes? Israel's popularity and negotiating position within the world community has declined, the Palestinians are closer than ever to creating a nation on their terms, rather than a negotiated settlement with Israel, and the relationship between Israel and its greatest, most important ally, the United States is strained considerably.

Assuring Israel's security is one thing. Undermining Israel's security to win elections and score points with the powerful ultra-religious lobby is another. A peace agreement assures Israel that it has a leg to stand on. The current situation leaves Israel continually twisting in the wind, at the mercy of politics and the whims of world leaders.

Clinton, Rabin and Sharon all understood this. They recognized that a peace deal wouldn't just create a Palestinian state... it would forever legitimize the Israeli one.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pity The Millionaires

Robbie Republican

By Robbie Republican

Hello my fellow patriots. You're looking well, for now. I say, "for now," because if Obama and the devil spawn of the Democratic party has their way, all of us will soon be reduced to dressing in rags and mining for scraps of food in the bottom of our neighbors' trash cans in order to survive.

Obama's nefarious plan to fix the economy is two fold. First, spend nearly a half a trillion government dollars to fund construction projects, invest in new technologies and train new workers. Secondly, raise taxes on people making a million dollars a year or more.

I know, I know. I feel your outrage. Obama (Hussein) is basically proposing the same thing that criminal Robin Hoodlum did back in the day. Robbing the rich, who use their wealth for so many great things, and giving their money to the greedy, immoral poor, who will only use it to spend on things like drugs and hookers. No wonder my good friend Bill O'Reilly is threatening to quit if the legislation is enacted.

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) is a perfect example of who this policy will hurt. He makes only a paltry $174,000 a year for his service to the country. And he barely makes $6.3 million a year from investments, his Subway franchises, and UPS stores. 6.3!!! That's such a tiny, tiny number!!

That's not all. With his tiny, minuscule income, King John needs to support his 500 employees, all of who DEMAND at at least $7.25 an hour for spreading mustard on turkey and licking stamps. He also has to pay for rent, equipment and supplies for the stores he owns. After that, he must spend nearly half a million dollars to buy new properties, create new stores and hire more workers. Would you believe this vicious cycle leaves him with only $200,000 to spend on food for his family?

I believe, because John Fleming is a rich man, and rich men are always honest and never exaggerate. Imagine how you and I would live if we only had $200,000 a year to spend on food for our family. I don't even want to imagine it. We'd probably have to fire our chef and eat at Denny's.

If John is struggling to get by now, just imagine what happens if Obama raises taxes on millionaires. John would be forced to close all his stores and fire all his employees. He'd have no choice but to abandon his mansion (who would be able to afford to buy it?) and live on the streets with his wife and their four adult children.

Meanwhile, all that government money gives the poor more money for drugs and pornography. John, his wife and four children now have to face an apocalyptic wasteland in which gangs of cracked out rapists roam the countryside, leaving a trail of wanton destruction and misery in their wake.

I dare not speculate further. There may be children reading this. But fear not. The Republicans will never let it happen, because unlike Democrats, we care about our country.

See, Republicans like me know the truth. The only way to save the economy is to stop giving so much money to the poor. We need to get rid of medicare and medicaid, get rid of the social security shell game, close public schools, eliminate affordable housing, and stop providing welfare. With all those crutches gone, the poor will instantly drape themselves in the finest suits and dresses (which I just know they have hiding in their closets), and will finally start trying to find jobs.

Where will they find jobs? Well, use the money we save to give another government bailout for mega corporations and millionaires. John Fleming will no longer have to fear his family going hungry. If John has only 500 sandwich makers and UPS drivers now, just think of how many he can hire if we make the Bush tax cuts permanent and reward the rich with even more money? Think of all the jobs that will be created! If we play our cards right, we can have a Subway restaurant on every street corner in America and they'll even deliver subs to your door via... you guessed it, UPS! By the Lord Jesus Christ, no one will go hungry again!

Because that's the way the economy works. Make the rich richer and it all trickles down, solving poverty and world hunger in one fell swoop. Heck, we even get to all be as healthy as that Jared guy. National Healthcare, get bent.

It hasn't happened yet, of course. Not yet. But once the Republicans are in charge again, it'll definitely happen. This time. Unlike the other times we tried it. Because this time will be different than the previous times. No Enron or Lehman Brothers to screw it up this time. Trickle down, this time for sure. It'll be proven correct, mark my words.

'Till next time, as always, I'm Robbie Republican. See you around the country club... for now.

Visitor Map: