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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What the Price of Democracy Should Be

I reiterate that this Blog is not intended to be a "me, too" type media organ.  I post on it when I (A) am inspired by an event or an idea to express myself; (B) have a clear vision or a definitive conundrum; and (C) believe that, at the moment, nobody else in the world is expressing the view in quite the same way as I am.

Of course, I do have some very strong and unabashedly pro-Israel sentiments regarding the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.  But, until now, hundreds if not thousands of like-minded authors have already expressed essentially what has been coursing through my brain on the matter; until now, I have had nothing material to add.

But now, I wish to express a sentiment which has gotten little if any traction in the media, mainstream or otherwise.

The Hamas government now in Gaza was elected by the people of Gaza through the democratic election process.  While the quality of the ballot-casting and vote-counting in the process may or may not pass muster by what, until now, have been the standards in America (which, in turn, may or may not be fulfilled in any given electoral district in any given election), it nevertheless is a reflection of the collective sentiment of the denizens of Gaza.  And this sentiment is not limited to the ballot box.  Gaza Arabs do willingly support and willingly collaborate in many of the Hamas policies and activities, including and especially those policies and activities that are hostile to Jews.  And make no mistake about it -- Hamas and its retinue would not hesitate to do the same to the people of America if geography and logistics were conducive to it.

Israel should, of course, make reasonable efforts to minimize civilian casualties to the extent it can do so while protecting its own people, civilian and otherwise. And I hasten to note that many of the casualties reported by Hamas, the UN, and/or the media as being civilians were in fact active combatants in the service of Hamas.

And, of course, much of the tunnel construction work was done by child slave labor -- Hamas using Arab children to do the work.  Where are the anti-sweatshop people on this one?

But the people of Gaza are now in a situation in which they had a hand in making.

I would like to see a peaceful resolution of the current situation in Gaza.  The reality, however, is that the Arab world typically gets itself into an unstable situation, asks the West to extricate it from that situation, and then stymies all Western attempts at resolution.  This pattern is once again replaying in Gaza.

And so, while I certainly do not advocate the intentional directed killing of civilians in Gaza (regardless of whether by Israeli operations or by Hamas operations), neither am I overwrought with extreme guilt or pity for those civilians in Gaza who are victims of collateral damage by Israel's efforts to protect its residents from the excesses of Hamas emanating from Gaza.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

How Would Some Stereotypes Play Out?

 I know, I know.  Stereotypes are not necessarily factual, accurate, or objective.

With all due regard to this, I note that Gerry Adams from Sinn Fein has come out against Israel and in favor of Hamas.

Not surprising, given Adam's demonstrated antisemitic leanings.

But, pray tell, what are two of the most stereotypical attributes of Adams's own Irish people?

Going to Mass and drinking whiskey would certainly rank quite highly on the chart.

And which type of regime is more likely to tolerate if not affirmatively defend the rights of the Irish people to engage in such activities, a Jewish regime such as the one they have in Israel, or an Islamic regime such as under Hamas?

Just wondering.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Racial Disturbance in Deer Park

Deer Park and Wyandanch are two adjacent hamlets in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York.  Wyandanch is mostly African-American, while Deer Park is overwhelmingly white.

There has been some racial unrest in those communities during the past few weeks.  Some white people from Deer Park have been firing heavy duty Fourth of July fireworks over the border line into Wyandanch, causing injury and fear in predominately residential neighborhoods.  The fireworks were smuggled into Deer Park from South Carolina by Deer Park residents and other whites.  Over the past few days, however, the Deer Park gangs have taken to throwing rocks and shooting bullets into residential Wyandanch neighborhoods, and now, have physically invaded Wyandanch and attacked and kidnapped Black women and children there.

The Wyandanchers, quite understandably, have begun to retaliate, and have invaded Deer Park.  They burned down a garage used to store fireworks.  Members of the Wyandanch auxiliary police have suited up and are entering Deer Park with their weapons, making arrests.

Given the circumstances, one need not be politically liberal to empathize with, or even support, the Wyandanchers.

[Actually, the foregoing is a fabrication.  It was concocted as an exemplar, albeit a fictional one, of communities under attack who attempt to stop the lawless assailment.  And people of good will from all across the political spectrum invariably support the retributive measures taken by the attacked communities.  --  Unless, of course, the attacked communities happen to be Jews living in Israel or elsewhere.]

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Reason Why I do not Live in Boro Park

 The Boro Park (or Borough Park) neighborhood of Brooklyn is home to one of the highest density Jewish populations in America.  Though the community is not totally monolithic, there is a significant mentality of insularism amongst the populace.  Geographically, it is too attenuated from my law practice, and from my wife's medical practice, for us to make our home there (though we do have personal and professional occasion to venture into the neighborhood).  And with all due respect to our friends who do live in Boro Park, there is also a cultural attenuation that is no less than the geographical.

One newspaper by and for the insular religious Jewish community is Hamodia.  For all of my reservations about its editorial policies, I do choose to read it (and process the contents with due regard to such policies)  Though it does have an internet presence (don't get me started with the Rabbis' hang-ups about the internet), I read the print edition, which usually comes to me after a delay of about a week or two, after passing through a number of hands.

As with just about any other newspaper, one of the more popular features of Hamodia is its "Letters to the Editor" section.  The first letter appearing in the 1 July 2014 edition is entitled "Leave Your Contact Info," written by one "M. M."


The letter reads: 


"I live in Boro Park where it is a challenge to finding parking spaces, especially on alternate-side-parking days. It is an unwritten rule that people double park and the traffic police look away and don’t give tickets for double parking.

Today our car was blocked in and my wife had to take a car service to work.

I also double park. Once, someone who recognized my car rang my bell to complain that I was blocking him. He suggested that if I double park, I should leave a note on my dashboard indicating where I can be contacted in case the person whose car I am blocking wants to get out." ...

The letter goes on to extol the virtues of leaving contact information for the benefit of those whom you inconvenience by your double-parking.

Reading the letter at face value, one might conclude that the community is so cohesive that they have a system of social mores that facilitate amicable cooperation to successfully maximize the benefits available from a limited supply of parking spaces, much like the valet parking systems in urban parking garages.

But, having been boxed in by double parkers in Boro Park, I cannot take that view.  There is a sense of entitlement to double park.  And the double parkers are not always so prompt to move their cars when you need to get going; they have been known to take the attitude that their shopping errand should take precedence over my need to drive to my next destination on my itinerary.

When I was younger, the armamentarium in the trunk of my car (a large Pontiac Le Mans) sometimes included a sledge hammer, which I had occasion to use in the course of a not-so-lucrative manual labor business venture one summer.  If the younger version of me were boxed in by a Boro Parker with the entitlement attitude, there would be an excellent chance that the sledge hammer would be put to the use for which it was created -- smashing the culprit's windshield.  It is a small wonder that it has not happened.  My son and his friends certainly thought of it when they were boxed in by a Boro Double Parker (but decided that such measures would only further delay their departure; they just hit the horn of their car for a few minutes and the double parker eventually came to move his car).

[Now, of course, some axle grease generously applied to the door handles would be my preferred mode of retribution.  Especially if the double parker were a woman who had gone shopping for some fancy clothes.].

On the very next page of the Hamodia print edition was a reprint of Charles Krauthammer's piece "Government by Fiat," as well as an article by Eliezer Stern entitled "Lawless President Again," each noting Barack Hussein Obama's attitude that he is above the law and can do as he pleases.

The irony of the juxtaposition is not lost upon me.


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