Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Obama Kvittel

This has not been an indolent summer for me. I have been quite involved in lots of activities with lots of deadlines, and have 2 out-of-town excursions slated for the next 4 weeks. It has, of course, distracted me from many leisure activities, including postings on this Blog.

It has been reported that Barack Hussein Obama placed a note in the Western Wall when he was in the Holy City of Jerusalem, and that the note was retrieved and given to an Israeli newspaper, which published its contents (and indeed, a photo image of it).

My take on it:

A. The news media reports perpetuate The Big Lie that the Western Wall is the holiest site in Judaism. This is incorrect! The Western Wall is NOT "the holiest site in Judaism." The holiest site in Judaism is the Foundation Stone, Mt. Moriah, currently in Muslim captivity beneath the Dome of the Rock (May we all live to see G-d restore it to us!).

B. It has become a popular practice to place personal notes to G-d in the recesses and nooks and crannies of the Western Wall. These written notes are popularly known in Yiddish as "kvitlach" ("kvittel" in the singular). I myself have not chosen to do the kvittel thing; I am quite content to direct my supplications and queries and protestations to G-d in my daily prayers [Though on one occasion, having misplaced the kvittel entrusted to me by a friend in America, I wrote my own kvittel that referred G-d to the lost kvittel, and requesting Him to grant the supplication of my friend.].

C. These kvitlach are, by their very nature, very personal communications. It is wrong (and contrary to Jewish law) to read other people's mail without their explicit permission; all the more so in the case of such a personal communication to G-d.

D. There are many, myself included, who believe that the publication of Barack Hussein Obama's kvittel was intentionally effected by Barack Hussein himself, in order to cash in the obvious political dividends. I am not sure whether the one who retrieved it and leaked it to the Israeli newspaper was directly engaged as a confederate, or whether Barack Hussein correctly guessed that some useful idiot would do his bidding for him. But Obama is too much of a political animal for me to believe that he hadn't considered the very, very strong possibility that his kvittel would somehow go public.

E. And so, the Israeli newspaper was party to a very grave unwarranted invasion of a person's privacy, and/ or it was an instrumentality in Obama's political machinations.

F. And just about every newspaper which reports the incident includes the text of the Obama Kvittel. Which is why this post has no hyperlinks to any of the stories: While I do not care to boost Obama's political capital, neither do I wish to invade his personal privacy if indeed the kvittel was sincere.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Unintended Consequences of Taxation

Tax administration has many collateral consequences, many unintended. And not all of them are bad, either.

Take, for example, Internal Revenue Service Determination Letter Ruling LTR 200826043. This letter ruling, issued 21 March 2008, revoked the tax-exempt status of unnamed organization whose main purpose was "To executive [sic] scientific study and research into the pros and cons of decriminalizing natural consensual sexual behaviors between adults and underagers and decriminalizing what is defined as child pornography. …"

Turns out that the organization's Founder and Executive Director, who is also the sole officer and board member, has a felony criminal record for sex abuse of minors.

The IRS revoked the tax-exempt status not on any morality issues, but because, according to the organization's own documents, its primary purpose is to influence legislation, and not to educate.

Every once in a while, the IRS inadvertently does the right thing.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Terrorist Bulldozer Attack

I have been busily engaged in various productive activities, including teaching, law practice, et cetera; this will likely occur for the remainder of the summer, including some out-of-town excursions.

This posting will address yesterday's bulldozer attack by a terrorist in the Holy City of Jerusalem. The BBC actually got footage of the rampage, which occurred, in part, directly in front of the BBC offices.

[If you have not already done so, please view the video.]

My comments on the Bulldozer Attack:

1. Rachel Corrie, you will recall, was a Darwin Award wannabe who was killed when she tried to obstruct an Israeli bulldozer that was in the process of demolishing a terrorist nest in Gaza. The liberal artsy-fartsy set in the entertainment industry staged a drama entitled "My Name is Rachel Corrie," which was responded to by some tasteful leaflets reminding the theatergoers of other women named Rachel who were killed by Arab terrorists (and though my grandmother was not a terror victim, and indeed, lived into her 90's, her name was also Rachel).

In any event, Rachel Corrie's family sued Caterpillar, Inc., the manufacturer of the tractor which Rachel Corrie tried to stop by interposing herself between it and the terrorist nest. The Federal Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed the lawsuit, and, somewhat surprisingly, the Federal Appeals Court of the wacko liberal Ninth Circus actually upheld the dismissal of lawsuit by Rachel Corrie's family against Caterpillar, Inc.

Note that the bulldozer driven by the Arab terrorist was also manufactured by Caterpillar! According to Corrie family logic, doesn't that make Caterpillar, Inc. terrorists? Shouldn't they be sued?

2. If civilians in Israel were not permitted to own weapons, how many more people would have been killed or injured before the terrorist was neutralized?

3. But for a time differential of less than six months, I, too, might have been a victim. Back in January, when I was in the Holy City of Jerusalem, I did some of my morning workout runs along the very street seen in the footage.

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