October 13, 2017

JAC members Ruth Damsker and Betsy Sheerr with Dr. Jill Biden

From l to r: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and JAC Founder and 
Director of Special Projects Linda Rae Sher. Bennet, who is committed to  JAC's issues, has also been a leading voice for responsible,   reasonable, and comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform.

JAC members with (2nd from left) Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). 
Nelson, a loyal friend of JAC, was the first sitting Member of Congress to fly in space.  He served as a Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

From l to r: JAC member Barbara Koch and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who has been a strong supporter of Israel and women's issues.

Week In Review Commentary
First Hurricane Harvey arrived, then Hurricane Irma, and then the forest fires in Northern California. But this was still not enough proof for President Donald Trump that climate change is human-made and quickly throwing our world into crisis. On Tuesday, he rescinded the carbon emission rule that President Obama established to help stem global warming.

The emission regulations, a cornerstone of Obama's environmental policy, would have reduced emissions from U.S. power plants twenty-five percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and thirty percent below those levels by 2030.  

"It's very clear that the increasingly hot summers are the product of climate change," said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. "And it's clear that human influence has an impact on the climate system in the American West and more broadly. That increases the risk of fire and the overall acreage burned when we get these conditions."

Trump's environmental policy has aimed to reverse any progress the U.S. has made to protect our planet. Since taking office in January, the Trump Administration has sought to rollback and eliminate more than 50 environmental rules, according to an analysis by The New York Times. He took his anti-environmental plank to the world stage when he pulled the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement and threatened global efforts to reverse climate change.

There is little to feel optimistic about at the moment. Trump's cabinet is filled with climate deniers including EPA Director Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. A third of the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board, an influential panel that reviews the science the agency uses in formulating safeguards, could be succeeded by climate science-denying, polluter-friendly replacements when their terms expire at the end of October. 

Experts have warned for years that climate change will also become an international security issue with conflicts arising over food, water, and land, leading to a global refugee crisis.

While Californians still struggle to contain the wildfires and hurricane-ravaged areas try to rebuild, we brace ourselves for the next round of natural disasters. According to a UN report on climate change, those catastrophic events will not be the result of bad weather, but rather the result of "bad choices by governments, private sector and individual citizens."

What Can You Do?

Support JAC's candidates Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and others. These Senators are fighting in Congress to reverse climate change.


Take Action
Remember the Victims

Candice Bowes, victim of Las Vegas shooting. Single mother of three and adoptive mother of a two-year-old.


Ask your Representative and Senators to  support:

- banning sale of bumps stocks

- expanded background checks

- limiting sale of high capacity magazines

(Americans Safe Act) 


Analysis: With Iran Decision, Trump Punts on First Down

The President announced that he will not - after calling the Obama's administration's agreement "the worst" and "the stupidest" pact the United States ever brokered - remove the country he now leads from the seven-country framework. Instead, the next step in the delicate foreign policy dance lies in the hands of a House and Senate not exactly known for quick and decisive action.
Fearing Trump Torpedo, Europe Scrambles to Save Iran Deal

European countries are scrambling to cobble together a package of measures they hope will keep the Iran nuclear deal on track if  President Trump ignores their pleas and decertifies the landmark 2015 agreement. The package would include a strong statement backing the deal by European powers, together with efforts to lobby the U.S. Congress and put wider pressure on Iran, officials said.  
Israel Growing in Strategic Importance for Nato  

The IDF hopes to see NATO ships alongside Israel Navy vessels helping to protect the eastern Mediterranean. Israel's relationship with NATO is defined as a "partnership;" it is a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue - a forum initiated for political consultations and practical cooperation by six other non-NATO countries of the Mediterranean region: Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.  One of the main goals of the Mediterranean Dialogue is to create a basis for dialogue and cooperation in the field of security and counterterrorism, but after the breakdown of ties with Turkey six years ago, Ankara exerted efforts to isolate Jerusalem from military cooperation with NATO.
Continued Reading

U.S. to Withdraw from UNESCO, Claiming Anti-Israel Bias

The United States announced it is pulling out of the United Nation's educational, scientific, and cultural agency because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias and a need for "fundamental reform" in the agency. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel plans to follow suit.
Health Department Draft Plan Declares Life Begins at Conception

The Department of Health and Human Services released its strategic plan for 2018 to 2022 last month, which includes a statement that "life begins at conception." This idea has long been used by the anti-abortion community as justification for its protests, constant attempts to pass anti-abortion legislation (like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which the House passed last week, that would ban abortions after 20 weeks) and remains a pillar of the religious far-right's agenda.
Murphy's Law (of Hypocrisy): It's OK to Be Anti-Abortion Until You Need One

Just hours after U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) co-sponsored and voted for a bill that would effectively ban abortion after 20 weeks, he reportedly asked his extramarital lover to have an abortion.  Murphy's personal hypocrisy is clear, but the scandal also shines light on a deeper hypocrisy running through the "pro-life" movement and the disingenuous way its advocates seem to break abortions down into two categories: their own "good" abortions and others' "bad" abortions.  
My Patients Will Suffer Under Trump's New Birth Control Rule

As a pediatrician, I see how access to contraception improves patients' lives.  Access to birth control has been proven over and over again to be good not only for women's health but also for the health of their families. Planned pregnancies result in healthier pregnancies and higher educational and economic attainment for both parents. But I am now worried that some of them won't be able to afford birth control without health insurance coverage.
Continued Reading

Stop Kidding Yourself: This Is the Christian Right's Presidency

Make no mistake: The Trump administration is a Christian right administration. Last week was the greatest policy setback for women and LGBT people in America in a decade, as the Trump administration quietly unleashed a barrage of executive actions.  The federal government will not prosecute religious organizations for discriminating in the hiring and firing of employees and will not take action against businesses who turn way gay customers. 
Trump is Dismantling Obama's Religion Initiatives

President Trump has quietly ended the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast - a tradition created in 2010 under Obama - and replaced it with renewed emphasis on the National Day of Prayer.   He is dismantling a once-influential ecosystem of official interfaith councils which advise on matters of faith.  In its place, Trump appears to be substituting informal, amorphous, and comparatively un-vetted relationships with mostly evangelical Protestant Christian leaders who directly advise him - and possibly his entire cabinet. 
Trump's War on Climate Policy is Also a War on Public Health
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is expected to sign a proposed rule that would roll back a key piece of President Obama's climate legacy. But what's largely been lost in the conversation is how much the attempt to repeal the regulation on carbon dioxide emissions will impact people's health. These greenhouse gases are not only harmful to the environment but also increase the risk of everything from asthma to heart disease.
If Gerrymandering Falls, Concern Over Jewish Vote
Jews have historically voted in higher numbers than other ethnic groups and have thus had an exaggerated impact on elections. But their impact - especially in toss-up states could be diminished if the Supreme Court decides by June to outlaw gerrymandering. Jews generally live in urban centers or in the suburbs surrounding them and, according to Larry Levy, executive director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, "anytime a people is concentrated in a geographic area, they will be more impacted by gerrymandering than not."
Supporters of Stricter Gun Laws Are Less Likely to Contact Elected Officials
Large majorities of Americans support several specific policies intended to limit access to guns, including expanded background checks and restrictions on sales to the mentally ill. But relatively few Americans actually contact public officials to express their view. There were also other indications that gun owners are more politically engaged than non-gun owners.
Continued Reading

What We Know About Trump's Twin Blows to Obamacare

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday morning that he said would begin "saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare." On Thursday evening, he announced he would stop making scheduled payments to insurance companies that help them lower deductibles for low-income customers. There's a lot that's still uncertain about how the two actions will change the health law. Here's what we know so far.
How Trump Set Up Obamacare to Fail
The most critical time of the year for the health care law is almost here: open enrollment, when millions of people log on to online marketplaces, and  check whether they qualify for federal subsidies to help them pay their premiums, and shop for plans. The administration is cutting funding for outreach and enrollment assistance, and dropping out of partnerships to support enrollment, while shrinking the window for people to sign up for coverage, sowing doubts about whether people will be required to have insurance, and making threats that drive up premiums.
Republicans Are Kicking People Off Food Stamps

There's a growing faction inside the Senate Republican Conference, and it looks like bad news for Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump: The devil-may-care caucus. Unbeholden to Republican orthodoxy and freed from the burdens of imminent reelection campaigns, more GOP senators are flexing their independence in the aftermath of the party's failed effort to repeal Obamacare.  
Read Full Article
Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Trump GOP Critic, to Stay in the Senate

Susan Collins, one of the few remaining centrist Republicans in the U.S. Senate, has decided to stay in that polarized body rather than run for governor of Maine. "This decision has not been any easy one. Ultimately I've been guided by my sense of where I can do the most good for Maine and the nation," she said.  
Read Full Article
Continued Reading

A Sukkah in a Mosque and 4 More Sukkot Dwellings Meant to Make the World a Better Place

Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival, has always been a holiday about enjoying the season, accepting human vulnerability and, while eating and sleeping in a fragile temporary booth, or sukkah, appreciating divine protection. But every year Jews - and sometimes non-Jews - find ways to also make the holiday about improving the world.
The Last Word
"It's a virtue to stand on principles. 
 But is also a virtue to solve problems; and we can do both."

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)


A Special Evening with
Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28)
Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee
JAC will present the Shirley Byron Award for outstanding leadership
to Rep. Schiff

Tuesday, October 17
Chicago, IL

A Reception with  
Rep. Jacky Rosen
Candidate for U.S. Senate for Nevada
Monday, October 30th
5:30-7:30 pm 
Chicago, IL

Detroit Membership Meeting Event with
Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI)

Monday, October 30th
9:15 - 10:45 am 
Franklin, MI

Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) is a pro-Israel PAC with a domestic agenda. We support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and advocate for reproductive health and the separation of religion and state and incorporate other issues of importance to the Jewish community, including gun violence prevention and climate change. In addition to providing financial support for U.S. Senate and House campaigns, JACPAC educates our membership with outreach events designed to inform and activate their participation in the political process.
Federal law requires political committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and employer for each individual who contributed to JACPAC. Maximum contribution per person may not exceed $5,000 per calendar year. According to law, JACPAC cannot accept corporate contributions. Membership, gifts, or other payments to JACPAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.