October 6, 2017

JAC in Washington, D.C. (from l to r: Marcia Balonick, Joanne Silva, Lori Friend,
Linda Rae Sher, and Susan Pallant) 

Catching up with JAC friend Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL).

JAC met with Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report for a briefing on Senate and House races.
Week In Review Commentary

Nothing this week makes sense. Concert-goers enjoying music on a beautiful autumn night in Las Vegas were gunned down, in the worst gun massacre in U.S. history. The House GOP said that the "Las Vegas massacre inspired them to crack down on reproductive rights". Then they voted on Tuesday to ban abortions after 20-weeks.

At first glance the massacre and abortion ban have nothing in common - unrelated events in a terribly troubling world. However, there is a common thread. Congress is out of touch with American people when it comes to both gun violence prevention and abortion rights for women.

According to research, 57 percent of Americans support a ban on assault weapons; 90 percent support expanded background checks on gun sales; and 61 percent of voters say abortion should be legal after 20 weeks.

Congress is not acting on the issues Americans care about and it is time we change that. If they don't hear our voices, then our Senator and Representative will only listen to the thunderous voices of the NRA and the pro-life groups. If we don't get involved in elections, then we can't expect our issues to be protected. 

While we all feel numb about Las Vegas and angry about the abortion ban, we cannot sit back motionless. We need to gather our friends and family and work to make a difference.

It starts with supporting candidates across the country who believe in gun violence prevention, reproductive freedom and JAC's other issues. Remember, every Member of Congress votes on every issue that impacts your life. Look in your area and beyond to support candidates. 

As columnist Thomas Friedman said, "If you are as fed up (as I am) then register someone to vote or run for office yourself or donate money to someone running to replace these cowardly legislators ... This is about raw power, not persuasion. And the first chance, we have to change the balance of power is the 2018 midterm elections."

The race to 2018 begins now.


Get involved. Call your Representative and Senators (202-224-3121) and demand they stand up to the NRA and the extremists.

Vote. If your elected official does not support your issues, vote them out of office.

Support JAC candidates. Commit to helping elect candidates across the country who are committed to protecting our values and keeping our communities safe. 

Pew Research Group, Planned Parenthood, Center to Prevent Gun Violence,   ThinkProgress
Take Action

Ban the Bump Stock
Tell Them to Take Action to Stop Gun Violence

Ask them to CO-SPONSOR and VOTE YES to Ban the Sale of Bumps Stocks

  • Allows semi-automatic weapons to be converted to fully automatic weapons
  • Bump stocks enable a weapon to fire 400-800 rounds a minute
  • Bump stocks would have been banned under legislation introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) after the Sandy Hook shooting; the bill failed
Amid Reconciliation Talk, Netanyahu and Abbas in Rare Harmony on Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out forcefully against the current round of Palestinian unity talks between rival factions Hamas and Fatah.  As the Palestinian Authority cabinet was holding a meeting in Gaza, its first since 2014, he took the opportunity to shatter any doubt over whether Israel was in favor of the developments. Netanyahu was either unaware of - or more likely ignoring - comments by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Otherwise he might have noted that the PA leader's demands for forming a unity government are closely aligned with Israel's.  
Trump Prepares to Wound Iran Deal - and Then Save It

Donald Trump's national security team has unanimously recommended that he decertify the Iran nuclear deal - but that he stop short of pushing Congress to reimpose sanctions on Tehran that could unravel the agreement.  The team will work with Congress and European allies to apply new pressure on the Iranian regime.  Iran has warned that if the U.S. reimposes sanctions, Tehran might restart its nuclear program. Some experts say this could begin a spiral toward possible military confrontation.
Trump Tensions with Own Spy Agencies Won't Impact Intel Ties with Israel 

The ongoing disputes between US President Donald Trump and his own intelligence community are not negatively impacting Israel, according to Israel's retired Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser.  He said Israeli-US intelligence relations would remain strong not just because "we are so deeply connected and need each other," but also because sometimes "Trump's worldview is even closer to the Israeli worldview" than to his own intelligence community. 
Continued Reading

Ohio Lawmaker Calls Antisemitism a 'Growing Threat on College Campuses'

Lawmakers in Ohio are working to pass legislation expressing support of Israel and denouncing attacks against its supporters, especially on university campuses.  The resolutions condemns the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign. It calls on Ohio universities to "take an active stand against all anti-Semitic actions and intimidation taken against Jewish students on their campuses," and to act against any attempts to restrict free speech on campus.
Canada Holocaust Memorial Omits Any Mention of Jews, Anti-Semitism

Canada's government removed a plaque at a new Holocaust memorial that omitted any reference to Jews or anti-Semitism.  The original plaque memorialized the "millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust" and the "survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history."  Although the plaque failed to mention the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Continued Reading

Trump Administration Dismantles the Contraceptive Mandate

On Friday, the administration made one of its boldest moves yet, with two memos from multiple agencies that would dramatically curtail women's access to birth control through their employers. The new regulations, effectively immediately, would exempt all employers and insurers from covering or paying for coverage of contraceptives if they object "based on its sincerely held religious beliefs," or have other "moral convictions" against covering such care.
20-Week Abortion Ban Won't Become Law, But It Should Still Scare You

A ban on abortions after 20 weeks isn't meant to save the lives of unborn babies. It's meant to remind women that they aren't in control of their own bodies. This bill wouldn't even put a stop to the majority of abortions: Only 1.3 percent of all abortions performed in the U.S. take place after 20 weeks of gestation. But that isn't what this piece of legislation is designed to do. Conservatives have slowly eroded the rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, state by state, until obtaining an abortion is so emotionally, practically, and financially difficult that it's limited availability to a narrower and narrower band of people.
House GOP Says Las Vegas Massacre Inspired Them to Crack Down on Reproductive Rights

In the aftermath of recent gun violence, the House GOP caucus has been inspired not to pursue gun control legislation that could prevent future mass shootings, but instead to crack down on reproductive rights. It's already more difficult to obtain an abortion than it is to buy a gun in a number of places across the country.  
ACLU Sues to Challenge FDA Limits on Access to Abortion Pill

The American Civil Liberties Union sued in a challenge to federal restrictions that limit many women's access to the so-called abortion pill.  The lawsuit targets long-standing restrictions imposed by the FDA that say the pill can be dispensed only in clinics, hospitals and doctors' offices. The lawsuit contends the drug - used for abortions up to 10 weeks of pregnancy - should be made available by prescription in pharmacies across the U.S.   
Continued Reading

Why Christian Conservatives Supported Trump - And Why They Might Regret It

Eighty percent of white evangelical voters voted for Trump in the November election.  For many of these self-described "value voters," Trump was a walking contradiction of nearly everything they claim to believe in - a vulgar, thrice-married real estate tycoon whose brand is built on money, women, and debauchery.  Still, they voted for him. The question is why?  
Trump's Justice Department Just Rescinded a Memo Protecting Transgender Workers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed a previous memo from  Obama's administration that interpreted the Civil Rights Act to protect transgender workers, potentially opening people up to discrimination in the workplace due to their gender identity.  The law bans sex discrimination in the workplace. Civil rights advocates  argue this includes transgender people, because discrimination against someone based on their gender identity is fundamentally rooted in sex-based expectations.
NRA Calls for New Regulations, Not Law on Bump Stocks
In its first public statement since the deadliest shooting in modern American history, the NRA on Thursday called for new regulations on bump stocks that rapidly accelerate a weapons' rate of fire. Still, the carefully worded NRA statement stops short of calling for legislation, instead endorsing new federal regulations through the ATF and blaming the Obama administration for approving the sale of bump stocks in the first place.
Anti-Science Climate Deniers Taking Over EPA Science Advisory Board
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.   The board, in existence for nearly 40 years, is traditionally populated by bona fide scientists from academia, government and industry who volunteer to serve three-year terms.
Welcome to a New Term for the Gorsuch Court
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has already proven he intends to draw the justices to his ideological terrain, which is far to the right of even Chief Justice John Roberts. During his short time on the Court, he's already helped reshape First Amendment law with his contribution to the Trinity Lutheran decision and signaled his support for President Trump's many Muslim bans.  Question -  how much possible damage can Gorsuch do in one term?  Answer - Quite a lot.
John McCain Urges Supreme Court to 'Return Control of Our Elections to the People'
Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) doubled down on their bipartisan effort encouraging the U.S. Supreme Court to create a new standard for determining the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering.  This week the Supreme Court heard arguments for a key case that could determine the future of partisan gerrymandering in the U.S.
Continued Reading

Gun Control Movement Turns to Campaigns

Gun control advocates quickly urged Congress to act after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, but the real fight may be on the campaign trail.  The gun control movement still faces a number of challenges, including being outspent on the campaign trail, and trying to keep candidates and voters talking long after coverage of mass shootings fades away
Russians Took a Page From Corporate America By Using Facebook Tool to ID and Influence Voters
Russian operatives set up an array of misleading Web sites and social media pages to identify American voters susceptible to propaganda, then used a powerful Facebook tool to repeatedly send them messages designed to influence their political behavior. The tactic resembles what American businesses and political campaigns have been doing in recent years to deliver messages to potentially interested people online. People caught up in this web of tracking and disinformation would have had no indication that they had been singled out or that the ads came from Russians.
More GOP Senators Willing to Tell Trump to Take a Hike 

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
Rep. Tim Murphy's Departure Brings Multiple Would-Be Replacements, as Well as a Ray of Hope for Democrats 

About the only thing faster than the fall of Congressman Tim Murphy this week is the rush of politicians seeking to replace him. The strongly pro-life 18th District Republican urged a woman with whom he was having an extra-marital relationship to get an abortion.  
Read Full Article
Continued Reading

How Obama Was Our Most Jewish President - and Trump Our Least

There was a rule I tried to follow when I worked on President Obama's speeches to the American Jewish Community. Whenever possible, POTUS spoke about the way the Exodus inspired other oppressed peoples seeking freedom from persecution - and he often recalled Jewish leaders such as Abraham Joshua Heschel standing side by side with heroes of the Civil Rights movement more than fifty years ago. I came to believe that President Obama saw the American Jewish story in the context of a far larger story - the universal struggle for human rights and dignity.
How Israel Got Universal Health Care 20 Years Ago, and Why It's Working

Israel's health system constitutes the most extensive and successful implementation of regulated - managed - competition in the world. One-hundred percent of its citizens are entitled to comprehensive coverage provided by four competing health plans.  If Israel is famous for having chronic problems when it comes to governance, the health care system is the exception that proves the rule. 
The Last Word
"We are not powerless in the face of evil. There are actions we can take to stop this. We just need to have the courage to do it."

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Meet Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Tuesday, October 10
3:30 PM 
Chicago, IL
Meet Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Thursday, October 12
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM 
Chicago, IL

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
Senators 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.