JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

November 8, 2013   

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On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* Federal 20-week 
   abortion ban

* Employment
   Act (ENDA)
* Sexual Assault in
   the Military

* Syrian Chemical
* Voting Rights Act
* Farm Bill - food
   aid (SNAP)
* HR 1565 - Public
   Safety & 2nd
   Rights Act

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is introducing a national 20-week abortion ban in the Senate, even though many critical diagnostic tests are not performed until the 20th week  

Call today and tell your Senator to vote NO on a 20-week ban. 
Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today. 
(202) 224-3121 
Stay informed, share your knowledge.
See JAC's Action Alerts here.

Why It Matters: 
The Affordable Care Act

National registration in state health care exchanges has begun.
Under the new coverage rules, more emphasis is placed on wellness and preventive care. Pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant will have access to more information and services regarding pregnancy.

This matters because millions of Americans - men, women, and children -  will have access to affordable health care, regardless of pre-existing conditions


Remember to check out our blog to keep up with current issues and opinion and to sort fact from fiction on the Internet.  Be sure to read Presidential Ponderings, thoughts and observations from JACPAC President Janna Berk.


Check out the
Open Mic
for comments, opinions, essays, and more from JAC members.


Have something you want to say -  

submit it to Open Mic today!

This week's issue highlights these key developments here and in the Middle East:
This week's EZ Read brings you these stories and some that may have slipped past your news feed.
Israel & The Middle East 
kerryKerry works to keep Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on track
Secretary of State John F. Kerry tried Wednesday to steady wavering peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, amid visible cracks in the three-month-old negotiations.    

How to negotiate with Iran, by Dennis Ross, Eric Edelman and Michael Makovsky

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
This month in Geneva, at the first negotiations over its nuclear program since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, Iran took an unprecedented step: It negotiated. For the first time, Tehran presented an actual vision of the endgame for the talks with six world powers, and how to get there.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Iranian Minister Says Nuclear Deal Is Possible This Week

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Two days before negotiations resume in Geneva between Iran and the United States and other Western powers aimed at ending a fight over the disputed Iranian nuclear program, the country's foreign minister sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday, saying a deal was possible as soon as this week.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

UN envoy files complaint over Gaza rockets

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

Ron Prosor slams Hamas for launching attacks on Israeli citizens while Israel tries to reach a deal with the Palestinians.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

To Shape Young Palestinians, Hamas Creates Its Own Textbooks 

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
When a class of Palestinian ninth graders in Gaza recently discussed the deadly 1929 riots over access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, it was guided by a new textbook, introduced this fall by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Syria meets deadline to destroy chemical production facilities 

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Syria has destroyed or rendered inoperable all of its declared chemical weapons production and mixing facilities, meeting a major deadline in an ambitious disarmament program, the international chemical weapons watchdog said Thursday.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Poll: Americans strongly favor Israel, wary of Iran entanglement

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Americans maintain a high opinion of the U.S.-Israel alliance but are wary of any involvement in a potential Iran conflict, according to an Anti-Defamation League poll. Asked if Israel could be counted on "as a strong, loyal ally," 76 percent of respondents agreed and 17 percent disagreed.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article
Reproductive Rights
abortionAbortion fight returns to Hill   

Undeterred by charges that the GOP is too focused on social issues, Senate Republicans are gunning for a fight this fall over the hot-button subject of late-term abortions. Flanked by anti-abortion groups, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will unveil legislation on Thursday to federally ban abortions after five months of pregnancy.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
20-Week Abortion Bans Are Mostly a Charade    
Most of you probably know this already, but it's worth a reminder. All those red states that are passing anti-abortion laws usually emphasize the provision that bans abortions after 20 weeks. That tends to poll pretty well. But it's mostly a charade:

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Is Roe v. Wade in Danger?
Even though 87 percent of all U.S. counties lack an abortion provider according to 2008 data, actions to restrict the access of abortion services continue steadily. In 2013 so far, state legislatures have introduced 321 anti-choice measures and enacted 46 of them, according to internal research by NARAL Pro-Choice America. NARAL defines anti-choice broadly, including any measure that hinders a woman's ability to exercise her reproductive rights.     
Read Full Article

The right's war on pregnant women
It's not just about abortion -- the right is locking up women when it deems them a threat to their fetuses.    
Opponents of new Texas abortion law appeal to Supreme Court
Planned Parenthood and others opponents of new Texas abortion restrictions have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate an injunction blocking portions of the law concerning doctors' admitting privileges.     
Read Full Article

Senators push for change on military sexual assaults: 'System is a disaster'
A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Tuesday that would change the way sexual assault victims are treated in the military's pretrial court proceedings.     
Separation of Religion & State
separationArgument recap: Marsh's demise or its renewal?

If Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was serious that history might not be enough to justify prayers to open government meetings, the Supreme Court will have to set off on a deeply challenging search for a different way to judge such religious utterances.  But if Justice Elena Kagan is right that, whatever the Court might do, it could make the cultural problem worse, then history may in the end turn out to be the only test to apply.

Political Byte

voteridVoter ID laws threaten women's rights

A wave of new voter identification laws in states across the country have drawn plenty of criticism, and rightly so. They're a thinly veiled attempt by Republicans to suppress voting by the poor, who are disproportionately black and Hispanic and tend to vote for Democrats.

Read Full Article

The U.S. shifts left

The center of gravity in American politics moved left in Tuesday's off-year elections. Republicans took a big step back from the tea party. An ebullient progressive was elected mayor of New York City. And a Democrat was elected governor of Virginia after campaigning unapologetically as a supporter of gun control and a liberal on social issues.
Read Full Article

ENDA Vote: Senate Votes To Outlaw LGBT Workplace Discrimination 

The Senate voted Thursday to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, landmark civil rights legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT individuals in the workplace.
Read Full Article

Is It Too Late to Prepare for Climate Change? 

Late last week, a Web site that claims that there is no scientific consensus on global warming published a leaked draft report on the impacts of global warming. The leak was apparently intended to embarrass the authors of the report, which is the latest installment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Gun Violence Prevention
violenceGun violence goes on, and so does the denial 
Another day, another loaded gun carried by a disturbed young man, another person shot to death. Once again we're confronted by an epidemic of gun violence denied by too many.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/02/5875831/gun-violence-goes-on-and-so-does.html#storylink=cpy     
Read Full Article

How The NRA Made It Easier To Bring Guns Into Airports  
On Friday, a gunman "pulled a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber assault rifle from his duffel bag" and opened fire on an airport. Officials have arrested the alleged shooter, 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, who killed a TSA agent and wounded six others at a security checkpoint. The incident is the second airport shooting in six months.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/02/5875831/gun-violence-goes-on-and-so-does.html#storylink=cpy     
Read Full Article
Right Wing Watch

The Koch brothers are secretly funding the anti-choice movement's worst offenders 

Contrary to what the billionaire brothers may say, their money is fueling the anti-reproductive rights movement.     
Read Full Article

scotusLegal Wrap: Corporate Religious Rights Find a Path to SCOTUS

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals took apart Eden Foods' claims that as a secular, for-profit business it was entitled corporate religious rights. The opinion is the latest to reject conservatives' attempts to create broad corporate protections under the guise of advancing religious liberty and is one more for the Roberts Court to consider as it weighs whether to enter into the legal dispute over the contraception benefit in Obamacare later this term.
Read Full Article


How the religious right won: Birth of the fundamentalists, in our modern times 

Fundamentalism is a paradox. Its partisans-of any faith-call for the return to an imagined arcadia in which God's voice boomed plainly from scripture. Yet as a historical phenomenon, fundamentalism is wholly modern.      
Read Full Article

hanukkahHappy Thanksgivukkah, a day we'll never relivukkah

Happy Thanksgivukkah! Nope, it's not yet another way to misspell Hanukkah. This holiday card greeting, written by Karen Coleman and sold at the National Museum of American Jewish History gift shop, was created for the once-in-a-lifetime (or, 700 lifetimes) phenomenon that has Thanksgiving and Hanukkah sharing the same table this month

Musicians Continue Performing in Israel Despite BDS Movement

Numerous popular singers are planning to stop in Tel Aviv during their tours in the coming year, including Julio Iglesias, Cyndi Lauper, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and others. 
Read Full Article

Lift the veil from the Nazi art cache

Secrecy by the German authorities must end over the newly found trove of major works missing since the Nazi era.

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If you have not renewed your membership, please consider doing so today, to help us pursue a strong US-Israel relationship, reproductive rights, and separation of religion and state.  Together we can make this a better world!



Janna Berk, President
Marcia Balonick, Executive Director
Joy Malkus, Research Director 

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Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) is a national network committed to the special relationship between the US and Israel and a social agenda that includes reproductive rights and separation of religion and state.  JACPAC supported US Senate and House candidates who uphold this agenda and maintains ongoing dialogue with those it helps elect.  In addition, JACPAC serves as a political resource for the Jewish community, furnishing information about candidates, elections and issues.