New Website: The Jewish Voter Test

Today, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) released a microsite, The Jewish Voter Test, asking Jewish voters if they agree or disagree with basic questions underlying some of the most pressing domestic and foreign policy issues of our time.

“Every Jewish voter faces a clear choice between two candidates with almost polar opposite stances on so many issues that are vitally important to our community,” said David A. Harris, President and CEO of NJDC. “This new website will offer American Jews a fun, easy and factual test to see where they really stand on the political spectrum.”

The quiz leads participants through the following “yes” and “no” questions:

More after the jump.

  1. Undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children should be allowed to earn a path to citizenship if they join the military or go to college.
  2. As the Buffett Rule suggests, legislation should bar America’s wealthiest from paying a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than those in the middle class.
  3. Laws regarding abortion should be based on the concept that life begins at conception.
    Insurance companies should be required to cover the cost of contraceptives.
  4. Same-sex marriage should be illegal.
    Healthcare in this country should reflect the values of the Affordable Care Act, which expands access to healthcare regardless of income or pre-existing conditions, as well as allowing those under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ healthcare plan.
  5. Medicare should be completely overhauled and privatized.
  6. Federal legislation, such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, is necessary to provide women with more legal pathways in the fight for equal pay.
  7. America and Israel should have an unbreakable bond, and the unprecedented level of security cooperation between our two countries should continue.
  8. To prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, there must be very strong sanctions, and no options — including military action — should be taken off the table.

You can visit the website here: www.jewishvotertest.com

Women’s Issues are Economic Issues

— by Elizabeth Leibowitz

Contraception, choice, access to reproductive health care – these are terms synonymous with the all-encompassing phrase “women’s issues.” And yet, as President Barack Obama eloquently demonstrated in Tuesday’s presidential debate, “[t]hese are not just women’s issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues.” Access to affordable contraception is key if we wish for women to one day achieve equality in the workplace.

More after the jump.
Just this September the Guttmacher Institute published the results of a study that asked women to identify their reasons for using contraceptives and results were fascinating: 63 percent of respondents said their birth control allowed them to take better care of themselves or their families. What’s more, a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research released earlier this year found that the availability of oral contraception played a principal role in closing the gender wage gap since the 1980s. Being able to plan for children is necessary for women who wish to achieve their goals.

If we were to believe what Governor Mitt Romney said in Tuesday’s debate, we might think he agrees with the president:  

“…I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not. And I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care of not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.”

But this answer is unrepresentative of Romney’s true views on the issue and provides another example of just how desperate the Governor is to win the election.  

Aside from taking a stringently anti-choice stance from the beginning of his campaign, Romney has demonstrated that he is against access to contraception time and time again. The Governor has repeatedly said he would repeal Obamacare, once again placing the burden of paying for contraceptives on the shoulders of women. He has been vocal about his desire to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that serves as the only source of reproductive health care for many low-income women. He has even gone as far to voice his support for the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to deny contraception to their female employees based on religious objections. These are not the actions are someone supportive of contraception accessibility.

With this information, it’s not shocking to learn that Romney did not support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — he doesn’t seem to understand equality in the workplace is still unachievable for many women. The President, on the other hand, does. Between passing his landmark health care bill to signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act to ensuring that all women have access to affordable contraception, Obama understands that women’s issues are economic issues — even without “binders” of women.

Binders and Blinders: You Didn’t Build That Binder

A Poll of a lie used to perpetuate and justify a lie, is still a lie.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

— by Steven Bradley

How to make a lie look like a reality – take a poll

  • Say a lie that engenders people to you.
  • Get a “focus group” to hear your lie during a Debate.
  • Poll the effect of your lie on their opinion after the Debate.
  • Declare the lie as insignificant and the Poll representing a shift in women’s opinions.
  • Use the Poll later to sway opinions and discount further examination of the truth.

Has anyone been following this “binders of women” issue on the news? It has begun to have a life of its own hasn’t it?

But does pointing a lie out after the fact have the same effect as pointing it out at the time it occurs? Will conservative pundits point out lies by their own kind or just cover them up?

About 65 million people watched the second Debate where Mitt Romney lied about the “binders of women” as being one of his own initiatives to hire and place women in his Cabinet.

Most people who listened to the Debate will never know the truth. The truth that, both candidates during the race for Governor in Massachusetts were given binders and signed an agreement with a woman’s action organization to hire women in their administration. They were both given binders of women to draw from in filling positions at a time long before the election occurred. It wasn’t Mitt Romney’s initiative at all that put women in his administration…

More after the jump.

Another reason to be disgusted with the direction NBC is taking with their morning shows. They are now pandering to the largest conservatives, their owners.

MSNBC might be progressive at night but it isn’t in the morning.

The exchange between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on “Morning Joe” (MSNBC) October 18, 2012 is a prime example of what these “Conservatives” really think of women.

Mika was an “island of reason” surrounded by an “old boy network”. She was attacked for speaking out about Mitt Romney’s lies. I could just picture these guys saying dumb blond jokes in the locker room later after the show.

Joe Scarborough the host of Morning Joe belittled Mika Brzezinski and her opinion as not being representative of women in general regarding this binder issue and its importance to the election. Joe based his argument on an MSNBC poll taken right after the second Debate on Romney’s popularity among women by NBC.

“A Poll of a lie used to perpetuate and justify a lie, is still a lie.”

The MSNBC focus group Poll was based on women hearing Mitt Romney’s presentation at the Debate and not knowing about his blatant binder lies.

In sales terms this is called; “Closing the deal before they figure out the truth.”

This is how Conservatives do it. They lie and then back their lie up with another lie and discount the value of you, your opinion, or even the truth. Pretty soon you don’t know what to believe anymore.

How can you ignore the impact that the truth would have had on a women’s opinion had they known?

Conservatives use lies and double down on them and then challenge anyone who would dare speak out against them. It’s called “being a bully” and it was clearly demonstrated on the Morning Joe Show.

Also, have you noticed Mitt Romney’s pattern when it comes to public appearances lately?

After the Republican Convention and each of the Debates Mitt Romney has held off his appearances until his “morning conservative allies in media” have had a chance to spin the story his way and build up momentum. They don’t want anyone questioning Mitt Romney too soon and spoiling their marketing plan.

It looks like people within NBC are exploiting their own polling to shape opinion rather than report it.

Joe Scarborough has no shame.

That should be a clue to you women out there about listening to him and any of these “conservatives.”

I find the Conservative disdain for women absolutely disgusting.

More power to you Mika Brzezinski for speaking out and trying.

It looks like Joe Scarborough is Rush Limbaugh’s surrogate now.

Planned Parenthood Holds Powerful Rally in West Chester, PA

Over 100 Supporters of Women’s Health Say “We Are Watching, and We Vote!”

— by Audrey Ann Ross and Sari Stevens

Planned Parenthood held a rally today in West Chester, Pennsylvania, as part of the Women are Watching bus tour, which is crisscrossing the country to educate voters about what’s at stake for women’s health in November and mobilize them to get out the vote.

Gathering at the Historic Chester County Courthouse, more than 100 voters sent a clear message to candidates and politicians like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Dan Truitt, who oppose policies that protect women’s health — women are watching and they vote.  This year, women will decide the outcome of elections across Pennsylvania and the country, and are watching very closely to ensure that they elect candidates who will protect access to women’s health care.

More after the jump.


1st and 3rd photo: courtesy of John Morgan, 2nd photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Affordable Care Act Helps 47 Million Women, Starting August 1

Emanuel: ACA Consistent with Jewish Values

— by Max Samis

In an op-ed published by JTA, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote that President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — is in lockstep with Jewish values and traditions. Emanuel wrote:

The duty to heal the sick and provide for the poor are deep moral imperatives in the Jewish tradition. Combined with the biblical command to treat the stranger as yourself because you were once a stranger in a strange land, this duty transforms our obligations beyond the worthy interest in promoting the health and well-being of our own community. Our mothers can’t just want their children to be doctors to Jewish people, they must heal whomever is sick-Jew and non-Jew.

This element of Jewish philosophy makes the Jews’ stake in health care reform enormous. It is not just about providing insurance to millions of uninsured Americans-caring for children who might not get the vaccinations or the checkups they need, or diagnosing cancer or other diseases early, or making sure people don’t have to choose between bankruptcy and having a needed surgical procedure. For Jews it is about more; it is about holding true to our tradition.

After 100 years of trying to achieve comprehensive health care reform-an effort that started with Teddy Roosevelt and continued with FDR, Harry Truman and Bill Clinton-Congress finally passed the Affordable Care Act and President Obama signed it into law on March 23, 2010. Once and for all, the Supreme Court affirmed that the law, particularly the individual mandate, is constitutional…

Because of this health care reform, children can no longer be denied care due to pre-existing conditions. Patients can’t lose coverage when they get sick. Insurance companies can’t impose lifetime caps on care or raise premiums without reason. Medical research will proceed faster, as insurers must cover the cost of participation on clinical trials. And all of this reform comes while still allowing preserving the traditional physician-patient relationship…

These changes will save lives. They will perfect our union and help repair our world. Yet Republican leaders want to reverse course…

More after the jump.

Republicans claim they want to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The fact is they have never once offered a coherent ‘replacement’ alternative plan to the ACA that controls costs, provides care to the uninsured and incentivizes better quality care. ‘Repeal and replace’ may be good rhetoric, but unfortunately it is not backed up by any real substance.  As Jews, can we really accept living in a country that denies tens of millions of our citizens access to health care insurance? Can we in good conscience let our children-and our neighbors’ children-go without vaccinations, checkups and care for the simplest of ailments?

President Obama courageously championed health care reform. He understood the moral imperative.

Because he led, millions of families will now be part of the health care system and Jewish doctors will better be able to fulfill their obligations to help save the world. And Jewish mothers can be prouder still that their sons-and daughters-can care for all Americans.

Romney “Scaring Me to Death” on Paycheck Fairness Silence

— by David Streeter

This week, Senate Republicans voted unanimously against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have provided protections for women suing employers over gender-based pay discrimination. Before the vote, Senate Democratic leaders expected Republicans to vote down the bill, so the results from the Senate floor left few surprised. However, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney refused — and continues to refuse — to state whether he supported or opposed the bill.

After the vote, Democratic members of Congress sharply criticized their Republican colleagues for their vote against equal pay. But Lilly Ledbetter — whose story inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — targeted Romney specifically for his silence. According to TPM:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the bill’s sponsor Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) invited Lilly Ledbetter, the face of the 2009 law, to the Capitol to make the case for the new legislation.

‘I’m telling you folks, this is a national epidemic in this country,’ Ledbetter said of unequal pay. Flanked by Reid and Mikulski, she criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for refraining from taking a stance on the bill. ‘He’s scaring me to death,’ she said. ‘We cannot let [Republicans] take away the few privileges we’re earned.’

‘Women are mad as hell and don’t want to take it anymore,’ said Mikulski.

More after the jump.
The Huffington Post noted that Romney and his campaign received plenty of opportunities-and time-to weigh in on the bill:

[Representative Jan] Schakowsky called it ‘perplexing’ that Romney won’t weigh in. She and other House Democrats cited numerous instances when Romney and his campaign have dodged questions on equal pay measures for women: an April 11 conference call with reporters, an interview with Diane Sawyer, five requests for comment for a story in the Washington Times.

‘It is sensible, commonsense legislation that helps right an awful wrong,’ Schakowsky said. ‘That’s why it’s so perplexing why Mitt Romney has been hiding under his desk on this issue, refusing to take a stand.’

Now that Romney is on well on his way to becoming the Republican Party’s standard bearer, will he continue to remain silent as the Republican Party continues to defend wage discrimination against women?  

Jewish Women Leaders Endorse Barack Obama

— by Max Samis

Three prominent leaders in the Jewish community wrote an op-ed in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel endorsing President Barack Obama for reelection. Nancy Ratzan, past president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Millie Sernovitz, past president of Jewish Women International, and Barbara Dobkin, founding chair of the Hadassah Foundation, made it clear that for both women and the Jewish community, Obama has proven to be the right choice.

Op/ed follows the jump.
Ratzan, Sernovitz, and Dobkin wrote:

No one doubts that the 2012 election will define the path forward for this nation and for each of us. The next president of the United   States will nominate one or two Supreme Court justices, thereby defining the balance of the Court and our fundamental rights for decades to come. He will lead us to either secure health care access as a universal right or throw those who can’t afford care under the bus. He will determine whether middle and lower-income Americans will have opportunity or whether that will be the privilege of only the exceedingly wealthy. He will lead our foreign policy agenda, including the intensity of our response to Iran and the depth of our alliance with Israel. And he will advance, or not, the fundamental rights of women to economic security, equality and reproductive rights.

The good news is that all the cards are already on the table…

President Obama’s cards are on the table too – best reflected in his record. With respect to Israel, our security assistance has increased every year, we’ve quelled attempts to isolate Israel, and Iran is under greater pressure than ever before. With respect to domestic achievements, his historic health care reform has created access to better and more affordable health care for millions of Americans. Now, being a woman is no longer a pre-exiting condition. And despite pressure, President Obama maintained his commitment to women’s health, ensuring women can have access to preventive care, regardless of where they work or if they worship.

He nominated two extraordinarily wise, judicious and universally respected women to the Supreme Court. He has devoted his presidency to restoring economic security for all, acknowledging both the need for spending cuts and new revenue.

And women’s cards are face-up too. We won’t tolerate turning back the clocks. We won’t retreat on our rights to contraception, determining for ourselves when and whether to bear children, or on non-discriminatory access to health care, including no co-pay for preventive care like mammograms and contraception. We won’t abide by a policy that cuts taxes for the rich and guts spending on student financial aid, Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start and environmental protection. We won’t accept packing the Supreme Court with those who would rubber-stamp partisan policy. And we will not be persuaded by misleading sound bites from candidates about Israel, for we know this country’s and this president’s unwavering allegiance to our Jewish homeland.

We will vote for the candidate whose words and deeds reflect our values and our interests. This year, we will stand up for ourselves and vote in record numbers that will determine the outcome of this election.

Mother’s Day Report from the War on Women: Reproductive Rights

This is Chapter 3 of a 3-part series on the War on Women.

Chapter 3: Reproductive Rights

Women are losing ground in many states on the reproductive rights front. Indeed, women are at risk of losing the choice of whether or not to become mothers by banning common forms of birth control, fertility treatment like in-vitro fertilization, and all abortions (even in case of rape).

Last month, the Senate voted down a bill that would have allowed employers to deny women coverage for birth control and any “objectionable” medical service, possibly even flu shots. Senators Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio’s amendment would have allowed any employer — not religious institutions, because they are already exempt — to make this call on behalf of their female employees. That means a woman’s boss at a restaurant, retail store, law firm or anywhere would have control over what health care she could receive. After an hour during which he was on the record opposed to it, Mitt Romney said, in typical flip flop fashion, “Of course I support that amendment.” Of course he does. And we can thank him for paving the way — he also said he would have supported a “personhood” amendment in Massachusetts, which could have banned abortion in any circumstance, some contraception, and even fertility treatments like IVF.

In the video on the right, Dr. Mildred Hanson explains how she and other U.S. doctors worked around the law to provide abortions before the procedure was legalized in 1973 through Roe v. Wade. We don’t want to have to go back to this.

More after the jump.

Romney and Corbett are too extreme for women
Less than a day after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett endorsed Romney, the Democratic National Committee is up with a 1-minute video highlighting his comment at a press conference that women who don’t like forced ultrasounds before receiving abortions could always “close their eyes” during it. “But women aren’t closing their eyes to Romney and the GOP’s extreme positions on women’s health,” a DNC official emails.  

Special Mother’s Day Report from the War on Women: Equal Pay

This is Chapter One of a three-part series on the War on Women.

Lilly Ledbetter explains why equal pay for equal work is a civil right, and Mitt Romney should listen.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill President Obama signed into law. When asked whether Mitt Romney supports the Act, Romney’s campaign replied, “We’ll get back to you on that.”

US Gender Pay Gap By State

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Vote Tally

Chapter 1: Fighting for Equal Pay

From the very beginning of his administration, President Obama has worked to ensure that women are paid fairly for their work. The President is committed to securing equal pay for equal work because it’s a matter of fair play, and because American families and the health of our nation’s economy depends on it.  April 17 was Equal Pay Day, which marks the fact that, nearly 50 years since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the average woman still has to work well into the calendar year to earn what the average man earned last year.

In conjunction with Equal Pay Day:

  • The White House released the Equal Pay Task Force Accomplishments Report:  Fighting for Fair Pay in the Workplace.  The Equal Pay Task Force brings together the best expertise of professionals at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management, who work daily to combat pay discrimination in the workplace.  The report details the significant progress that the Task Force has made to fight pay discrimination – including improving inter-agency coordination and collaboration to ensure that the full weight of the federal government is focused on closing the gender pay gap once and for all.
  • Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced the winners of the Equal Pay App Challenge.  In January of this year, the Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Equal Pay Task Force, launched this challenge, inviting software developers to use publicly available data and resources to create applications that accomplish at least one of the following goals:  provide greater access to pay data organized by gender, race, and ethnicity; provide interactive tools for early career coaching or online mentoring or to help inform negotiations.  A solution to the pay gap has been elusive, in part because access to basic information — e.g., typical salary ranges and skill level requirements for particular positions, advice on how to negotiate appropriate pay — is limited.  Because of the enthusiastic response to the Equal Pay App Challenge and the creative apps that were developed, anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer can access answers to these basic, but important, questions.  This challenge represents just one more way that women can empower themselves with the tools they need to make sure they get equal pay for equal work.  
  • Finally, in an ongoing effort to educate employees and employers about their rights and responsibilities under our nation’s equal pay laws, the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau today published two brochures that will help educate employees regarding their rights under the existing equal pay laws and enable employers to understand their obligations.

From signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to creating the National Equal Pay Task Force, to proposing minimum wage and overtime protections for home-care workers – 90% of whom are women – President Obama has made clear his belief that there should be no second class citizens in our workplaces and that making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone.

If only women had a coupon like this, they wouldn’t suffer from the wage gap!

Presidential Proclamation follows the jump.
Presidential Proclamation of National Equal Pay Day

Working women power America’s economy and sustain our middle class. For millions of families across our country, women’s wages mean food on the table, decent medical care, and timely mortgage payments. Yet, in 2010 — 47 years after
President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963 — women who worked full-time earned only 77 percent of what their male counterparts did. The pay gap was even greater for African
American and Latina women, with African American women earning 64 cents and Latina women earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a Caucasian man. National Equal Pay Day represents
the date in the current year through which women must work to match what men earned in the previous year, reminding us that we must keep striving for an America where everyone gets an equal day’s pay for an equal day’s work.

At a time when families across our country are struggling to make ends meet, ensuring a fair wage for all parents is more important than ever. Women are breadwinners in a growing number of families, and women’s earnings play an increasingly important role in families’ incomes. For them, fair pay is even more than a basic right — it is an economic necessity.

That is why my Administration is committed to securing equal pay for equal work. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill I signed as President, empowers women to recover wages lost to discrimination by extending the time period in which an employee can file a claim. In 2010, I was proud to create the National Equal Pay Task Force to identify and combat equal pay violations. The Task Force has helped women recover millions in lost wages, built collaborative training programs that educate employees about their rights and inform employers of their obligations, and facilitated an unprecedented level of inter-agency coordination to improve enforcement of equal pay laws.

Working women are at the heart of an America built to last. Equal pay will strengthen our families, grow our economy, and enable the best ideas and boldest innovations to flourish — regardless of the innovator’s gender. On National Equal Pay Day, let us resolve to become a Nation that values the contributions of our daughters as much as those of our sons, denies them no opportunity, and sets no limits on their dreams.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 17, 2012, as National Equal Pay Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize the full value of women’s skills and their significant contributions to the labor force, acknowledge the injustice of wage discrimination, and join efforts to achieve equal pay.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

— BARACK OBAMA