May 31, 2006

Various & Sundry

Saw Poisedon over Mother's Day weekend. Weak. Fine special effects but did I care about the characters? No, and for that I was grateful because the deaths would've been much harder to take. (No, I won't be seeing United Flight 93. I'm a wuss.)

Spent $9 on that movie. By contrast, spent $0 (well, there is the cost of cable) to watch a mid-'40s film called "Black Narcissus". Not only was it scarier than Poisedon despite less impressive special effects, but it asked much weightier questions than "What do you do if the ship you're on begins sinking?". Perhaps it's comparing apples to oranges, but give me a 1940s movie any day.

Sometimes Sen. McCain sort of reminds me of Rod Dreher: seemingly intoxicated with reform for reform's sake.

I know it's "his turn" in '08 and that the Democratic alternative is scary, but boy it's hard to get enthusiastic about him. You want to thank him for his tremendous service to the country during Vietnam. You want to recognize the gallant forgiveness of the less-than-savory tactics of his opponent in '00. But I don't seem to much share his enthusiasms. Fact is, with the Supreme Court mostly taken care of, I don't much care about '08.

My brother-in-law wants to refute a Pat Buchanan column. To be honest, I don't follow the Palestinian situation as closely as I should and there are Palestinian Christians who are suffering but here he goes:
"a brutal Israeli/U.S.-led cutoff in aid has been imposed
on the Palestinians for voting the wrong way in a free election"

Complete misrepresentation. The aid is cutoff because the currently elected government openly advocates the destruction of a neighboring country. For the aid to start again, all they need to do is modify their thinking to be more in line with reality. We don't provide aid directly to the governments of North Korea or Iran now, do we?

It would be monumentally uninspired to willingly fund an organization whose main thrust is the elimination of another people. The rest of the world is not governed by the US -- why don't they pony up their side of the cash to Hamas? Because they see what everyone sees - funding Hamas in any way will free up resources to wrongfully kill innocent people. That includes Isrealis, Palestinians, and others around the world.

What kind of a message would that send to other terrorist organizations? That you can run a country and still get boatloads of cash from the US and allies in order to fund your terrorist armies?

Why not see the argument another way - the Palestinian people knew the West would demand Hamas give up their terrorist creed -- they want the much more capable Hamas to govern their country and quit trying to destroy Israel. They had no idea Hamas would rather see them in terrible poverty rather than properly run the goverment they were elected to run!

The Palestinian State only works because of the billions in aid rec'd each year. To think, suggest or dream that aid would be given without strings attached, for instance the cessation of violence, is nonsense.

"The aid cut-off appears to be increasing anti-U.S. sentiment here," writes the Post's Scott Wilson, quoting 33-year-old pharmacist Mustafa Hasoona: "The
problem is the West, not us. If they don't respect democracy, they shouldn't call for it. We are with this government we elected. I voted for it."

That's rich - 'increasing anti-US sentiment.' It's already so bad no matter what action we take, what does a few percentage points matter? Who cares anymore. Besides, I don't really care what the Palestinian people think we should do with our money, now do I?

The problem isn't the West. The problem is those with liberal views in the West who think that entitlement is a right provided to all people of the Earth. Hardship? Too bad. It is the Palestinian Leadership and the people themselves who have built a society with the destruction of Israel as their main drive, even if it means their own destruction. Palestinian society has molded several successive generations of lawless haters and killers.

It's well past time the world quit coddling Palestinian society and starting helping them change their mind about their course. If it works fine, if not, well we've saved a couple billion dollars in the process!

Hamas is winning converts for refusing to buckle. Said Khalil Abu Leila, a Hamas leader, "They have misunderstood the Arab mentality. As long as the pressure increases on Hamas, the more popular it will become."

We don't care who they pledge their allegiance to - they could pledge allegiance to Hitler Jr. - as long as Hitler Jr. didn't advocate a lawless killing society.

Then, at the end of the article, he calls the US a terrorist organization:

Terrorism has been described as waging war on innocents to break their political leaders. Is that not a fair description of what we are doing to the Palestinians? No wonder they hate us.

RIDICULOUS! Hamas is anything but innocent in this issue. They are an organization that publicly endorses the killing of Israeli citizens and soldiers, and the destruction of the State of Israel. We don't provide aid directly to the governments of Iran or North Korea for similar reasons.

The fact that they hate us doesn't mean we should cough up cash to buy their favor. They hate us for many reasons, why should hate guide our foreign policy? It's our cash, and there's plenty of places it can go to do good rather than the evil Hamas brings.

Most gullible country in the world? Story here:
"The least credulous country of all those reporting box office revenue was Nigeria (...) Nigerian skepticism should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading their emails."
UPDATE: Responding to my '08 thoughts, a correspondent mentions Mike Huckabee, someone I may actually be able to get enthusiastic about voting for!

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