JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

December 19, 2013   

JAC Around Town
aroundtownJAC met with several elected officials, candidates and leaders this week around the country.

With Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) in Chicago.

With Michelle Nunn, candidate for US Senate in Georgia.

With Rep. Bruce Braley, US Senate candidate in Iowa.

With Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly at a function for Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) in Tucson.

On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* Federal 20-week abortion

* Employment  
   Non-discrimination Act
* Sexual Assault in the

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

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One year since the tragedy at Newtown, over 11,000 people killed by gun violence*, 10 more schools have seen shootings, and Congress has remained mostly silent.

Call today and demand an end to the silence. Common Sense Gun Legislation must be passed. 
Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today. 
(202) 224-3121 
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share your knowledge.

See JAC's Action Alerts

* source Slate.com

Upcoming JAC Events

Membership Meeting
January 2014
Details to follow

Louisville Meeting
January 2014
Details to follow

Want to host an event in your area?  Contact the JAC office.  

People You Should Know
This week we profile Representative Ron Barber, who is facing a tough re-election campaign in Arizona.

Interestingly, Barber credits a combat-wound bandage made in Israel with saving his life in 2011. Deputies applied that bandage to stop the bleeding while they rushed him to the hospital, following the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in which he was also injured.    
read more
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Why It Matters: 
Voter ID Laws  
34 states have voter ID requirements.
While it may seem reasonable that voting in U.S. elections requires a government-issued I.D., there are three main reasons we oppose such laws.
  1. Voter I.D. laws disproportionately affect the poor, the elderly, young adults, & minorities. These are the groups with the least access to government offices to obtain an I.D. 15% to 25% of the people in each of these groups do not currently have a government-issued I.D.
  2. Voter I.D. laws disproportionately affect women, as most women who marry take their husband's name. If a woman's name is not properly or consistently updated, it can prevent her from exercising her right to vote.
  3. 3: Voter fraud is extremely rare in this country, with fewer than 0.00000013% of known cases. To spend time and money fighting something that effectively doesn't exist is a monumental waste of resources.
How did your elected officials vote? Find out in the JAC Education Foundation's Jewish Community Voter Guide.

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.


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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 
White House consults Israeli officials on final-status Iran nuclear deal

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
The White House began consulting Israeli officials in Washington last week on terms of a comprehensive solution to Iran's nuclear program that Israel would find acceptable. US President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, along with Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken and their colleagues at the US departments of state and treasury, held a series of meetings on Thursday and Friday with Israeli National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen and his team..    

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article
Saeb Erekat and Secretary of State John Kerry
(photo: Times of Israel)
peacePalestinians ready to extend talks with Israel
The chief Palestinian peace negotiator said the Palestinians are ready to extend the current talks with Israel beyond an April deadline - if there is a framework agreement in place.

The comments by Saeb Erekat mark the first time the Palestinians have endorsed the US idea of seeking a preliminary - not final - peace deal.

Some Lessons in Effective Scapegoating  

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

In the matter of the American Studies Association's just-ratified boycott of Israeli academic institutions, one must be thankful that the organization's president, Curtis Marez, is something of a dolt. What did Marez -- an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California at San Diego -- do to earn this designation? He failed to challenge the allegation that he was leading an effort to scapegoat Jews.

Read Full Article
Reproductive Rights
Gillibrand's Sexual Assault Measure Slated for Stand-Alone Vote

[Senator] Gillibrand's measure, called the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), is expected to see a vote as a stand-alone measure on the Senate floor after the body reconvenes in January, following the holiday recess. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has signed on to Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act, despite the opposition of the Pentagon.

When Congress repealed the military's anti-LGBT "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in 2011, the vote took place in a similar manner, with Gillibrand leading the charge. 

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
abortionRNC's Priebus: Ban abortion 'after four months' 
For much of the year, as Republican policymakers targeted reproductive rights with increasing enthusiasm, a new effort became a top GOP priority: the 20-week abortion ban. The measure has already passed the U.S. House, and may yet get a vote in the U.S. Senate. According to the Republican National Committee, however, the proposal isn't ambitious enough. Moving the legal line from 24 weeks to 20 weeks may be the short-term goal for GOP lawmakers, but according to Reince Priebus, the line should really be moved to 16 weeks.

Read Full Article     

source: thedailybanter.com
The Heroic Commutes of Abortion Providers

If 2012 was the year of the campaign-ending rape gaffe - remember Todd Akin? - 2013 was the year of the TRAP Law. That stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers: These deceptively mundane laws govern things like clinic-hallway widths and mandatory waiting periods in order to make it more difficult to provide or receive an abortion. Wendy Davis's cinematic filibuster against abortion restrictions in Texas brought national attention to this quieter, but much more insidious, assault on reproductive rights.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Separation of Religion & State
hospitalsNew Report Documents Threat to Women's Health Posed by Catholic Hospitals  

A report released this week by the American Civil Liberties Union and the MergerWatch Project documents the rise in Catholic-sponsored or -affiliated hospitals and the negative impact of that rise on women's access to reproductive health care. According to the report, the increase in Catholic-owned or -sponsored hospitals does not just represent a consolidation of the hospital marketplace, it threatens women's access to reproductive health care.  

The directives govern care at these facilities and prohibit a range of reproductive health services, including contraception, sterilization, many infertility treatments, and abortion care, even when a woman's health or life is in danger. The directives often also restrict the ability of hospital staff to provide patients with full information and referrals for care that conflict with religious teachings. 

Read Full Article

New York Archdiocese Wins Ruling on Contraception

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York was granted a federal injunction on Monday that blocks an Obama administration requirement to provide contraceptive care to employees at its nonprofit affiliates.

Read Full Article
Political Byte
How to Talk to Republican Congressmen - A guide for women
Last week, House Speaker John Boehner conceded that House Republicans probably need to learn how to speak to women. As a result of the gender gap that plagued GOP candidates and Mitt Romney in the 2012 elections, the National Republican Congressional Committee is now teaching male candidates running against female challengers or incumbents about how to discuss rape, for instance. "Multiple sessions" have evidently been devoted to linguistic skills training. After several years of gaffes ranging from Todd Akin's efforts to parse "legitimate rape" and Saxby Chambliss' attempt to blame military sexual assault on "hormones," even Boehner concedes that there is a need for the men of the GOP to "be a little more sensitive."


abstinenceRepublicans Sneak Abstinence-Only Funding Into Budget Deal

The House of Representatives and the Senate have now both signed off on a bipartisan budget deal that the president is likely to sign. While animated and outraged politicos of every stripe will be busy declaring the end to budget brinksmanship for now with an eye toward pending re-election campaigns, the actual contents of this budget deal have flown under the radar. There has been very little attention paid to this: the deal contains funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs (ab-only) that have been proven not to work.

Read Full Article

Gun Violence Prevention
NRA official invokes Holocaust in N.J. gun safety debate 

 A National Rifle Association board member in criticizing a New Jersey mayor for supporting gun safety proposals noted the mayor's grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Scott Bach, also the executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, in an interview on the NRA News website rapped a proposal by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop to survey vendors bidding to supply firearms to local law enforcement about how they handle gun safety issues. "His grandparents were Holocaust survivors according to Wikipedia. So you've got to wonder why he is not getting it," Bach said.

Read Full Article 

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

opencarryGun activists have a new craze - and it's more dangerous than you think

The new front line in the battle over gun rights is "open carry." Here's why it has psychologists deeply concerned.

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

fraudLooking for voter fraud, coming up empty

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) hasn't exactly championed voting rights during his tenure. You may recall a story from last year, for example, in which Schultz characterized voting as a "privilege" the state can take away, rather than a right.
With this in mind, it didn't come as too big a surprise when Iowa's Republican Secretary of State launched an 18-month investigation into voter fraud in the state - at a cost of nearly $150,000 - that turned up very little. Indeed, Schultz, who has made "ballot security his signature issue since taking office," was able to assign a full-time criminal investigator to do nothing except probe suspected voter fraud. And after all that time, and all of that effort and expense, what'd Schultz turn up? Five instances of voter fraud that resulted in guilty pleas. 

inventions45 Greatest Israel Inventions Of All Time 

A new exhibit pays homage to Israeli ingenuity behind gadgets like the Disk-on-Key, PillCam, solar windows and a space camera.

One of Israel's sources of pride is the enormous number of inventions and innovations that have taken root on its soil over 63 years - despite challenges of geography, size and diplomacy. The ever-churning Israeli mind has brought us drip irrigation, the cherry tomato, the electric car grid, the Disk-on-Key and much more.

In Jerusalem, calm after the storm 

Only about 20 minutes outside of the city did it begin to appear - patches of white on the rough hills abutting the road, sprinklings of flakes on the pines. By the time our bus reached Mevasseret Tzion, near Jerusalem, the snow was blanketing the ground, building up in clumps near the highway, caked on the roof of a car parked on the shoulder. Next to the entrance to the Central Bus Station, a six-foot-high snow bank eclipsed the heads of a group of shivering soldiers.   
Read Full Article

A Formula for Happiness

HAPPINESS has traditionally been considered an elusive and evanescent thing. To some, even trying to achieve it is an exercise in futility. It has been said that "happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." Social scientists have caught the butterfly. After 40 years of research, they attribute happiness to three major sources: genes, events and values.

Our members count on JACPAC to provide information on current events, candidates, and elections.  JACPAC depends on membership support to make this possible.


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.