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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘matter’

Gold Buyers Beware: Fraudulent Gold Found in the Marketplace

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

A fake gold bullion bar makes a fine gag gift, but think twice before making it part of your investment portfolio.

What would happen if the gold bars you bought from a reputable dealer were “salted” with tungsten?

Word has been spreading that some gold experts have cracked open the gold bars that they bought only to discover tungsten (a metal worth about one-fifth of the value of gold) inside. Since tungsten has a similar density to gold, it’s easy to confuse people, amateurs and experts alike. With bars of gold that weigh ten ounces or more, using regular x-rays to determine the chemical composition of the metal doesn’t work well since the x-rays don’t penetrate deep enough.

Some alarmists have referred to the recent findings as evidence of a possible market-shattering conspiracy. What if there are hundreds or thousands of counterfeit bars of gold sitting in the vaults of companies and governments? If you can’t trust that the gold you buy is genuine, would you really buy it? Regardless of the veracity of the possibility that gold supplies are tainted, if people simply think that they are, the price of the commodity could start tumbling.

An additional way that falsified gold bars can affect the price of gold is that it also increases the cost of ownership of gold, as there may be increased costs involved in higher level testing for purity.

Regardless of how you purchase your gold, beware of the possibility that the whole gold marketplace might be affected by some bad eggs… just a reminder that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, no matter how shiny it is.

Buying novelty fake gold coins or a 24K gold dipped real rose is fine if that is your aim, but before you buy gold for an investment, you might want to read my previous post on buying gold.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Begin Told Meet the Press: Partition was Illegal

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Found, an exchange between Begin and Lawrence Spivak on Meet The Press, from December 12, 1948 during his first visit to the United States.

Menachem Begin:

You know, this partition of the country was just imposed on our people. As a matter of fact, when Mister Ben-Gurion, who is now Prime Minister in our country, was in the U.S. during the World War in America, and visited the famous Baltimore Hotel, [he] came out with the so-called “Baltimore Program” which went now into oblivion. And according to that program the whole of Western Palestine, through the Jordan (river), should be turned into a Jewish State.

So as a matter of fact, then I would like to remind you, that when the Balfour Declaration was issued by the British, and when the amendment was approved by the League of Nations, Palestine was considered to be the territory of both sides of the Jordan. I would like even to remind you that the English had an argument with the French when the French would like to take TransJordan for their amendment of Syria and Lebanon. The English told [them] that TransJordan is an integral part of the Jewish national home.

So as a matter of fact, this partitioning of our country is an illegal act! And we are not going to recognize it. If our government will acquiesce in the partition of her country, we are certainly not going to fight it by arms . . .we are not going to fight any government of our people by force. We will fight only on the political field.

Visit My Right Word.

Yisrael Medad

Palestinian Statehood, Terror, And The U.S. Presidential Election (First of Two Parts)

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

President Obama and Governor Romney strongly disagree on many issues but the daylight between them is especially great in the imminent matter of Palestinian statehood. For his part, the president still believes in a two-state solution, and in a corollary willingness of the Palestinian side to negotiate fairly. His opponent is unambiguous in a fully contrary insistence that the Palestinians are not interested in peace.

One thing is certain. Jurisprudentially and strategically, Romney’s position here is substantially more compelling. After all, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are clear in their continuing commitment to use force for “self-determination” and “national liberation.” For these two contending factions, this belligerent commitment would make sense even after a formal granting of Palestinian sovereignty. This is because, in their view, and on their maps, all of Israel proper would still remain “Occupied Palestine.”

What would be the legal status of any such post-independence expressions of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens (noncombatants)? In broad terms, these expressions would be determinably criminal. More narrowly, they would constitute terrorism.

Under binding international law, a fully constituted or at least a UN-birthed state of Palestine would be unable to justify any linguistic transformations of an impermissible insurgency into permissible “self-defense.”

Terrorism, as I have pointed out in the past, is a codified and customary crime under international law. Its explicit criminalization can be discovered in all of the authoritative sources of international law listed at Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Now, though unacknowledged by President Obama, whenever Palestinian “militants” claim the right to use “any means necessary” against an alleged Israeli “occupation,” their arguments are legally unsupportable and crudely contrived.

Both Obama and Romney should always be prepared to look behind the news. Even if Palestinian claims for “national self-determination” should soon be supported at the UN, most likely, it seems, as a non-member state, there will still remain ascertainable and firm limits on the allowable targets of insurgent violence, and on the permissible levels of such violence. This is the case even though any post-independence Palestinian resorts to force would now be more or less state-supported.

Both candidates should understand: Palestine’s most probable future is written in its well-documented and bloody past. The strictly limited rights of insurgency under international law can never include the use of nail-filled bombs directed at children and other innocent noncombatants. (Sometimes these projectiles have first been dipped painstakingly in rat poison.)

Under even their most generous definition in jurisprudence, these particular and restricted rights to the use of force can never supplant the settled or peremptory rules of humanitarian international law. More popularly, these rules are known as the law of war, or the law of armed conflict.

At its heart, of course, international law intends to “make sense.” Nowhere is it written that certain political goals are so flagrantly worthy of implementation that their satisfaction can ever allow the deliberate incineration of infants in their cribs, or of children in school or at play. One doesn’t need to be a professor of international law to understand such an elementary expectation of human decency. Further, under international law, it won’t matter at all if such conspicuously murderous strategies are launched by a now recognized sovereign state.

From the beginning, supporters of Palestinian terror against Israelis have argued, disingenuously, that the desired end of their “sacred” insurgency (Palestinian independence) automatically justifies their adopted means (willful and indiscriminate attacks on Jewish civilians). Leaving aside the everyday and ordinary ethical standards by which any such argument must be manifestly unacceptable, the ends can never justify the means under conventional or customary international law. Never.

For more than two thousand years, the binding principles of world law have stipulated that intentional forms of violence that are directed against the innocent are always repugnant. Hence, prima facie, these forms are always prohibited.

One person’s terrorist can never be another person’s freedom fighter. Though it’s fashionable to insist at university or embassy cocktail parties that one person’s terrorist can indeed be another person’s freedom fighter, this popular expression is utterly facile, a thoroughly empty witticism devoid of any meaningful legal content.

While it is true that certain insurgencies can be judged per se lawful (after all, the idea of “just cause” can be found, inter alia, in the Declaration of Independence of the United States), these residually permissible resorts to force must nonetheless conform to the longstanding laws of war.

…To Be Continued Next Week

Louis Rene Beres

The Joy of Achdus

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Now that the Daf Yomi cycle has reached Meseches Shabbos I’d like to take this opportunity to remind those who are participating in it that my son, Rabbi Meyer Maryles (pictured), will be giving on-line in depth daily Shiurim on the Daf on the website Shas Illuminated. If you want more out of a Blatt Gemarah than Pashut Peshat, this site is for you. Once you learn the Daf, listen to this Shiur. It will truly enhance the Daf Yomi experience. Speaking of Torah – it was just Shemini Atzeres, the last day of the holiday season. In Israel that day is combined with Simchas Torah. I celebrated that day here in Israel with my son and his family.

On Simchas Torah we complete the yearly reading cycle of the Torah by reading its final Parsha followed by beginning anew the reading of the very first section of Bereshis.The day is also marked by doing Hakafos, both at night and during the day. Men holding Sifrei Torah circle the Bima seven times in special song. That is the formality. But it doesn’t end there. There is spontaneous singing and dancing after each Hakafa by those holding the Sifrei Torah as well as most of the rest of the people in the Shul (or in a Yeshiva as the case may be).

This practice has expanded to massive proportions reflecting great joy on that day, by those who learn Torah and by all who adhere to its precepts. The joy and exuberance by religious Jews – young and old – in celebrating this event on this day is palpable.

It doesn’t matter to what segment of Orthodox Jewry one belongs. All segments celebrate this day with the same exuberance.

It is truly the Torah which unites us all, right to left. Those of us who participate in this event are sincere in our feelings of joy. It doesn’t matter if one is Charedi or MO; Chasidic or Yeshivish; Asheknazi or Sephardi; Mizrachi or Agudah. It is a true moment of Achdus for all. Jews all over the world are all dancing to the same tunes and for the same reasons.

When I get a bit fatigued at the amount of dancing, I remind myself of this very plain fact and it renews my hope for the future. With all the things that divide us, there is so much more that unites us. Achdus is what Simchas Torah is all about. At least for me.

We have concluded the holiday season. One that involves great intensity on religious matters. Beginning with the month of Elul and culminating well into Tishrei – almost two months of celebration which begins with solemnity and repentance and ends in a great joy. I like to think that the Achdus in which this season ends is a sign for us about what our goals as a people should be.

Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

Harry Maryles

Why They Love Osama, Hate Obama, and How Obama Uses the Same Tactics at Home

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Visit Rubin Reports.

Why are tens of thousands of Middle Eastern Muslims chanting about how much they love Osama bin Ladin and how much they hate Barack (Hussein) Obama?

Simple. Because bin Ladin was a Muslim and an Arab (for the Arab demonstrators) and thus he was one of their people, someone from their side, whatever tactical disagreements they might have had with him. And Obama isn’t. No amount of groveling, apology, or money will change that fact. Isn’t that clear?

I should quickly add that many Muslims don’t support the Islamists. In elections in Libya and Tunisia, a majority voted for non-Islamist parties. Even in Egypt when the showdown came in the presidential election the Muslim Brotherhood candidate won by only a narrow margin. Most Lebanese don’t support the Islamists (the main force of which is Hizballah, a Shia group). There are, of course, plenty of Islamists and they have lots of sympathizers. They can cite chapter and verse from Islamic holy texts.

Yet that doesn’t make all Muslims supporters of revolutionary Islamism or advocates of Shia totalitarian states, no matter how many times people who are ignorant about Islam and the Middle East run their little rants. Those rants are just as false as the “Islam is a religion of peace” nonsense.

But that’s not my point here. The key element for this article is this:

When solidarity along group lines takes priority and the line is that all of “us” must unite against the “other” no matter what truth, logic, or justice dictates then that means serious trouble.

Well, guess what? That is the line of the Obama Administration and its Newest Left supporters. All African-Americans should support the regime because Obama is Black and anyone opposing him is a racist. All “Hispanics” should support the president because he really wants open borders and the turning of all illegal immigrants into citizens, while everyone else is a racist.

All women should support the ruling group and leftist ideology because it wants to give them free birth control and anyone on the other side hates women. And everyone who receives a government check has to support the regime or someone might take away their check. Actually what’s most likely to take away their check is the bankruptcy of the programs due to over-spending.

In other words, the dominant forces in the mass media and academia and the current government and their supporters are tearing America apart by inciting interest groups to hate each other, make war on each other, and give loyalty primarily to their group no questions asked.

And this is precisely the kind of thing that makes Middle Eastern Muslims who even if they were Islamists–like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist groups—hated bin Ladin when he was alive opportunistically turn him into a martyr. The creation of a hysterical mob mentality for political gain is not restricted to the Middle East.

Visit Rubin Reports.

Barry Rubin

Post-Mortem on the Muhammad Protests

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

As Muslim crowds dissipate and American diplomatic missions return to normal activities, here are three final thoughts on the riots that began this Sept. 11 and killed about thirty:

The movie really did matter: The Obama administration dishonestly skirted responsibility for the murder of four Americans in Libya by claiming that the attack was a protest that got unpredictably out of hand against the “Innocence of Muslims” video.

In response, leading analysts have concluded that the video hardly mattered anywhere. Barry Rubin scorns the video as a “phony excuse for the demonstration” in Egypt. Michael Ledeen upbraids the administration for claiming “that attacks against Americans aren’t attacks against Americans at all, but attacks against a video.” “It is not about a video,” writes Andrew McCarthy, “any more than similar episodes in recent years have been about cartoons, teddy-bears, accidental Koran burnings, etc.” Hussein Haqqani dismisses the protests as a “function of politics, not religion.” For Victor Davis Hanson, the video and similar incidents “are no more than crude pretexts to direct fury among their ignorant and impoverished masses at opportune times against the United States, and thereby gain power.” Lee Smith speculates that “blaming the video is part of some complex public diplomacy campaign.” Cliff Kinkaid flatly calls the video “a diversion intended to save Obama’s presidency.”

I respect and learn from all these writers, but disagree about the video. Yes, individuals, organizations, and governments goaded the mobs – indeed, there always needs to be some instigator who mobilizes Muslims against an offending statement, text, drawing, or video. But it would be a mistake to see the mob as but a tool of clashing interests (such as Salafis vs. Muslim Brothers in Egypt) or American political imperatives. Rage directed at the video was heartfelt, real, and persistent.

The person of Muhammad has acquired a saint-like quality among Muslims and may not be criticized, much less mocked. German orientalist Annemarie Schimmel pointed out (in her 1985 study on the veneration of Muhammad) that his personality is, other than the Koran, “the center of the Muslims’ life.” Outrage among Muslims over insults to his person is sincere.

Note, for example, the notorious section 295-B of Pakistan’s Criminal Code, which punishes any defamation of Muhammad, even if unintentional, with execution. These regulations have so much support that two prominent politicians, Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, were assassinated in 2011 merely for voicing opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Their murders had nothing to do with the West and certainly were not diversions in a U.S. presidential campaign.

Trends: As someone who’s been watching that clash since Khomeini’s time, I ascertain three main trends. First, Muslims increasingly devote themselves to the political imperative of preserving Muhammad’s sanctity. Second, Western governments and elites (i.e., journalists, lawyers, intellectuals, artists) have become increasingly timid over time when facing Islamist fury, willing to apologize, appease, and placate; for one appalling example, see the U.S. embassy in Cairo‘s effusions on this Sept. 11, as a mob raged outside. Third, Western non-elites have increasingly responded to Islamists with a You-want-to-be-insulted-well-take-this! attitude that includes Koran burnings, “Defeat Jihad” ads, belligerently offensive French cartoons, and a promised roll-out of Muhammad movies.

Obama vs. Morsi: The American and Egyptian presidents offered starkly different views on the freedom to blaspheme in their speeches to the United Nations last week. Barack Obama insisted that “in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.” Mohamed Morsi disagreed: “The obscenities recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities is unacceptable and requires a firm stand. We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred.”

In brief, each side has an approach and method (free speech vs. prohibition of blasphemy) which it considers fundamental to its identity and forward with a certain reverence. Ever since the Khomeini edict against Salman Rushdie in 1989, each side intends to impose its way on the other side, suggesting that this clash of wills has just begun.

Daniel Pipes

Credible Suspicion

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Note from Harry Maryles: Yet again I am going to dispense with my usual pre Yom Tov D’var Torah and cross post this important message from Rabbi Yakov Horowtiz’s website. I’m sorry to have to post on such a sad subject on the eve of one of our most joyous holidays. But the urgency of this matter compels me to do so.

Rabbi Necheyia Weberman is about to begin his trial on charges of sexually abusing of a young girl. One may recall the massive fundraising event held on Rabbi Weberman’s behalf. One may also recall that that some of his supporters were caught by authorities trying to bribe the chief witness (the victim) in this case to drop the charges. I think we can be sure that his community will continue to do everything they can to get him acquitted.

To put it the way Rabbi Horowitz did, Rabbi Nechemia Weberman deserves his day in court. Let us do what we can to make sure that on that “day” justice will indeed be served. His words follow:

After many delays and much legal wrangling, Nechemia Weberman will finally stand trial in Brooklyn Criminal Court on October 30th for allegedly abusing a young girl in the Williamsburg community over a period of three years — beginning when she was 12-years old.

Mr. Weberman is entitled to his day in court and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Having said that, quoting the Halachic terms employed in the Teshuva of Rav Elyashiv zt”l, there is clearly far more than raglayim l’davar (credible suspicion) in this case. In fact, all indications point to the inescapable conclusion that something is very, very wrong here.

What Parents Need to Know

One of the most important things frum parents – especially those in the “heimish” community – ought to be developing is a deep understanding of the norms and accepted practice in the mental health profession. Gaining this would allow devoted and caring parents the ability to obtain suitable professional help for their children who need it, and avoid the trauma associated with following the recommendations made by untrained, well-meaning folks (unfortunately, an all too frequent occurrence, one which sometimes creates horrific results).

Moreover, it would help undo the denial and cognitive dissonance of those who defend Weberman — by pointing out how disturbing were the circumstances of his “treatment” of the young girls referred to him.

Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs

Think of it this way. Wouldn’t alarm bells go off in your mind if a doctor performed an invasive procedure without using latex gloves or if he/she picked up a used syringe to give you an injection? Wouldn’t you think it strange if you were a single mother and were requested to meet with your son’s Rebbe or principal at 9 p.m. one evening in a deserted Yeshiva building to discuss your son’s progress?

What Went Wrong

Well, those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public that Weberman:

(1) Had unregulated access to many girls over a number of years in his inappropriate and illegal role as their unlicensed “therapist.”

(2) Had these young girls referred to him for counseling by very Chassidish schools, whose general level of gender separation far exceeds those of the typical “Bais Yakov” (and it would be exceedingly rare for non-Chassidish girls’ schools to regularly refer their Talmidos to a male therapist)

(3) Engaged in private, unsupervised counseling sessions with young girls — often in an office/apartment that contained a working bedroom — violating all norms of yichud and tzniyus.

In addition to all these disturbing facts, it has become clear that these serious allegations are in fact not isolated ones. In fact, since Mr. Weberman’s arrest, I was personally contacted by immediate family members of four additional alleged victims of his who are afraid to come forward, and those of us close to the community have heard similar reports from others as well.

All the victims – none of whom know each other and all of whom are terrified to go to the authorities because of fear of backlash from the community – report striking similarities in the MO of Weberman (his manner of working), fueling suspicion that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

What is most chilling is that each and every one of his victims who came to us is currently married; meaning that (1) this has been going on for a very long time and (2) if there are current victims who are single, they are even more terrified than the married women of coming forward, for fear that going public will ruin their chances of doing a decent shidduch.

Weberman’s case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of this courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did. Unbearable pressure is being brought to bear against her and her family to drop the case, which is one of the reasons that a show of support is so important.

Now That You Know

Those of us who work with abuse survivors respectfully implore you to please, please stand with this victim on October 30th and with the other silent and silenced victims who are watching this case unfold very carefully and with all survivors of abuse and molestation.

Please pass this on to your friends and family members and I hope to see you at the trial, heeding the timeless charge of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) (1:16) to “Seek justice [and] strengthen the victim.”

Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/credible-suspicion/2012/10/03/

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