While I in no way speak for Sarah Palin in any authorized capacity, Aaron Keyak raises a valid question as to why Gov. Palin should support Sen. Rand Paul, especially given his foreign policy views.
The answer is simple: Ms. Palin's primary focus is on U.S. domestic policy, and particularly on the disastrous economic course of the Obama administration and its progressive allies of both parties, which she has described as "a bullet train to bankruptcy."
Senator Rand Paul was featured on the cover of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" issue because of his expanding role in American politics as a Republican leader. Former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wrote a glowing profile of Senator Paul to accompany his ranking. It is puzzling why Palin, a self professed ardent supporter of Israel, continues to whitewash members of the Paul family (she defended former Congressman Ron Paul's Israel record on Fox News in 2012), given their obsession with cutting American aid to Israel and their dangerous views on Iran.
Meanwhile, Romney has similar problems of his own:
Dr. John Willke is the doctor who misinformed Rep. Todd Aiken that women who are victims of "legitimate rape" do not become pregnant because their bodies "shut down" due to the trauma. Aiken is under pressure to abandon his US Senate campaign against Claire McCaskill in Missouri for having given voice to such an ignorant, misogynistic point of view. Dr. Willke told The Telegraph that he had a private meeting with Mitt Romney at his Cincinnati home last October and that Romney thanked him for his support and told him, "we agree on almost everything."
The 87-year-old endorsed Mr. Romney's bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and was one of his official campaign surrogates. "I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement," Mr. Romney said at the time.
As we reported in June, the GOP selected Yossi Gestetner as their "Jewish Outreach Director" in New York. As reported by The Jewish Channel and Vos Iz Neias, "The newly appointed Director of Jewish Outreach for New York State's Republican party has resigned from his position after just eight days in office, calling himself a distraction to the party." The distraction? Espousing anti-Zionist positions, among others.
As Vos Iz Neias notes,
"According to a report by The Jewish Channel, Gestetner's resignation came less than thirty minutes after Josh Rubin, a reporter for NY1, asked State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox about an investigation of Gestetner by The Jewish Channel, which conducted an hour long on-camera interview with Gestetner. During that interview, Gestetner discussed several issues that may put him at odds with both the Republican party and many of New York State's 1.6 million Jewish residents, which include his being a spokesman at a fundraiser to benefit an alleged child molester, his controversial stance on referring suspected cases of child abuse to a rabbi before alerting the authorities, his views on government assistance programs and his work for Torah True Jews Against Zionism, an anti-Israel organization that states that Zionism is contrary to Torah Judaism."
Through the last week of tax return follies, Mitt Romney has repeatedly stated that he's released two years of tax returns and he'll release no more. In fact, he's yet to release even a single complete tax return. He filed for an extension for his 2011 returns and says he'll release the final returns later this year when he files them. The 2010 return was actually incomplete. And what was left out points toward a question that a lot of reporters and tax experts have been wondering about but have been surprisingly reticent to discuss publicly.
Huffington Post noted yesterday that Romney never released his so-called FBAR documents [Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts], special forms required [by the United States Treasury Department] from filers who have bank accounts in other countries. But the issue actually came up in a conference call back in January. Particularly about a Swiss bank account with UBS.
In that call, Romney blind trust advisor Brad Malt was asked whether Romney had "filed any and all required FBARs in a timely fashion." To which he responded: "The people required to file FBARs are Mrs. Romney and myself, and we have filed all FBARs."
The campaign has yet to release those FBARs. Why they've gotten pressed so little on it is a bit of a mystery to me.
But here's where it gets interesting. Back in 2009, the IRS instituted a major tax amnesty program for folks who had previously secreted money in Swiss and other offshore banks. The amnesty stemmed from a settlement the US government had reached with UBS that year. Those who came forward voluntarily in the prescribed period of time could pay their back taxes, pay their fines but avoid any criminal penalties.
In 1994, Romney criticized Kennedy for not disclosing his taxes
It's time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes. (Boston Globe, 4/19/1995)
*In 1968, Mitt's father Gov. George W. Romney (R-MI) released twelve years of tax returns saying:
One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.
In 2008, Romney was being vetted as a possible running mate by Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, and Romney provides tax records going back to 1984 when he founded Bain Capital. After deliberation, McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. McCain denies that the tax returns had anything to do with rejecting Romney saying simply: "Sarah Palin was the better candidate."
In the end, we don't know what is hidden in these tax returns, but we know that Romney is taking a lot of political heat for defying the tradition his father began whereby Presidential candidates make a full and detailed disclosure of their tax returns.
Romney is politically astute. He knows the cost of not providing this information. As CEO of Bain Capital, he has experience avoiding risk, so I would assume that there must be something in those returns which he thinks would be more objectionable to the American people than simply refusing to disclose his returns.
What could that be....? Many voices around the internet have proposed various alternatives.
No taxes at all: We already know that Romney paid a 14% tax rate in 2010. Most Americans pay far more than that even though they earn far less than Romney. Perhaps Romney was able to use capital losses and various deductions and loopholes to completely eliminate his tax obligation in 2009.
His magical IRA: Perhaps Bain Capital undervalued assets being deposited in Romney's IRA account in order to avoid the $30,000 annual cap. His IRA is now worth $21 million to $102 million, so something seems amiss.
Bain Capital: Maybe he does want people to see how much he was paid by Bain during the period he "retroactively resigned"? The SEC Filing on the right is from Bain's February 2001 SEC filing although Romney attempts to avoid blame for some of Bain's outsourcing activity by claiming that he left Bain in February 1999.
His Address: Doc Jess notes the Romney "was able to get on the Massachusetts ballot by saying he worked for Bain, and therefore had Mass residency in 2000, 2001 and 2002. But that may not be true".
Off-Shore Tax Shelters: As mentioned above, any American with over $10,000 in accounts overseas must file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. Romney has yet to release a single FBAR. Perhaps he is worried that that Americans would be appaled to learn how much money he has tucked away in Bermuda, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands? Or perhaps his take returns will reveal that he taking his money off-shore in order to evade American taxes? Did he perhaps participate in the IRS's 2009 tax amnesty program?
Something else: The bottom line is that only Romney (and McCain) knows what is keeping Romney from releasing his tax returns.
The current winner take all system for U.S. Presidential elections certainly encourages a two-party system. Candidate from smaller parties do run, along with independent candidates, but their vote totals are usually a small footnote in the records of history.
Might this coming election be one of the occasions where a third-party candidate or independent candidate can make a major splash, affect the election or even win? According to Politico:
The public has had it with Washington and conventional politics. It has lost trust and respect in the conventional governing class. There is mounting evidence voters don't see President Barack Obama or the current crop of GOP candidates as the clear and easy solution. As Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg argues, it seems likely if not inevitable an atmosphere this toxic and destabilized will produce an independent presidential candidate who could shake the political system.
Polito suggests six possible independent candidates and invites readers to nominate their own.
I see three kinds of candidates who might be motivated to run for President:
Their is a heated battle for the soul of the Republican party between establishment Republicans like Mitt Romney and Jon Hunstman which represent its corporate base, and Tea party candidates with a lot of grassroots momentum behind them.
If a tea party candidate like Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann or Herman Cain wins the Republican Nomination and the economy continues to show weakness, many experts would see an opportunity for a third-party to seize the center. One possibility is Mayor Michael Bloomberg (NY). He was a registered Democrat until he ran for Mayor of New York City in 2001 as a Republican, and has been an independent since 2007. He has a net worth of over $18 billion, so he could easily get in late and still run a self-finance (Perot-style) campaign.
Former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) has had a peculiar performance at the Republican Presidential debates often criticizing the Republican party as a whole for its backwards stands on issues from global warming, evolution and homosexuality. This does not sound like a good strategy for winning the Republican nomination, but it does lay the ground for a possible third-party bid next year.
Similarly, more "moderate" candidates like Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Mayor Rudy Giulliani (R-NY), and Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) refused to run in a race in which they would be more moderate than the majority of Republican primary and caucus goers. Similarly, Gov. Tim Pawlenty performed anemically and had to drop out. However, they may be willing to try their luck to pick up a plurality of the vote against President Obama and a tea party candidate especially if the economy continues to show weakness.
Mitt Romney is the current leader in the Republican primary. He is polling around 25%, has considerable money behind him and the prediction market inTrade gives him a 55.8% chance of getting the nomination. However, most Tea Party supporters can not tolerate moderate positions which Romney holds (or at least once held when he was Governor of Massachusetts). For example, some of them equate abortion to murder and consider Romney to be insufficiently pro-Life. They would consider opposing Romney to be a moral imperative and could jump behind a third-party candidate on the extreme right.
With all these possible candidates being discussed, how much of an impact will they make. Will they pass by unnoticed? Will they be kingmakers? Do they have any chance to win? Prediction market inTrade shows a 2.7% chance of a successful Presidential bid by a third-party or independent candidate, so I guess "the market has spoken". A win by a third-party or independent candidate is not totally out of the question.
Keep your eyes and ears open. This may be an election which will make history yet again.
It is typical of news media treatment of Gov. Palin to want to divert the conversation about her to side issues. As our ad indicates, JewsForSarah's main reasons for supporting her are our opposition to the "progressive" takeover of the American government, our opposition to Pres. Obama's relentless diplomatic pressure on Israel, our support for American energy independence, and our opposition to the runaway fiscal and spending policies of Pres. Obama and the "progressive" Democrats. We support Gov. Palin because we find her to be the most effective public advocate for these positions, and the President's most effective critic.
But since he fairly raises the question of our cooperation with a pro-life group, may I say that Mr. Streeter does an injustice simply by throwing the label "anti-choice" onto Heroic Media and their work. Anyone may visit HeroicMedia.org, where this self-description is found:
Heroic media's mission is to reduce abortion and create a Culture of Life by connecting women facing unexpected pregnancies to life-affirming resource centers.
-- David Streeter, Communications and Research Associate for the NJDC
As further proof of the distance between rumored 2012 Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the vast majority of American Jews, Palin's primary group of Jewish supporters will be co-hosting an overtly anti-choice event with Palin in Maryland this month. Curiously though, as Politico's Ben Smith reported, the anti-choice focus of the event is omitted from the event advertisement that was placed in Washington Jewish Week:
Sarah Palin is scheduled to speak later this month in Washington, D.C.'s Maryland suburbs at an event being promoted by her Jewish supporters.
The event is in fact a benefit for Heroic Media, an anti-abortion group, where Palin will share the stage with anti-Planned Parenthood activist Lila Rose. Abortion isn't, traditionally, an issue of particular concern even in the Orthodox Jewish community, and the ad above, which appeared in Washington Jewish Week, makes no mention of abortion. Heroic Media's announcement, meanwhile, makes no mention of the Jewish event.
The upcoming event is not only a demonstration of Palin's extremist positions on women's rights, but also an indication that even her own supporters know that her extremist positions must be masked in order to engage Jews. The event further demonstrates that the Republican Party and its leaders simply do not reflect the values and positions of the vast majority of American Jews. Worse, it demonstrates and confirms the willingness by some right-wing partisans to use misleading advertising campaigns to cover up the ever-widening gap between the GOP and American Jews.
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Danny Danon accompanied former Alaska Governor and 2008 US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her husband Todd on a tour of the Western Wall tunnels this evening. The Deputy Speaker was the first Israeli public official to greet the Governor during her visit to Israel.
During the tour, the leaders discussed breaking developments in Israel and the Middle East. Danon thanked Palin for consistently supporting Israel's right to defend itself.
Danon also requested that Palin help explain to the Obama administration and the American public that "we cannot make peace with Palestinian leaders who are unable to fight the elements of pure evil in their society, who brutally murder young children while they sleep. Instead of pressuring Netanyahu and endangering the Israeli people - the administration should be holding the Palestinians accountable to their past commitments to fight terrorism."
You'll log many a mile to find someone more disapproving than I am of the anger and vilification that characterize so much of American political discourse. But to lay the tragic January 8 shooting rampage in Tucson on the doorstep of politicians or pundits is silly, and no less incendiary itself than any firearms metaphor. To be sure, political opponents should not be compared to Nazis or have crosshairs superimposed on their faces. But because such things are ugly and sophomoric, not because they induce violence.
Now I am in no way a spokesman for, or employee of, Gov. Palin, nor is my organization, Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, connected to her organization in any way. But as the leader of a grassroots organization of American Jews who support Gov. Palin and her policies, I am acquainted with enough individuals close to her advisers, to have learned this story through what I regard as reliable sources.
First, we can discard the myths that have come to surround her choice of the phrase.
"More than two thousand years after the Maccabees rebelled against their oppressors and reconsecrated their Holy Temple, the Jewish people continue to face threats to their existence, and they continue to persevere and overcome great odds. Today we should all recommit ourselves to ensuring that the miracle of a Jewish state endures forever. The dreidel is one of the most familiar symbols of Hanukkah, with Hebrew letters on it representing the phrase Nes Gadol Haya Sham — "a great miracle happened there." Indeed a great miracle is still happening there. Todd and I wish the Jewish community a very Happy Hanukkah.
Blood libels are false and sensationalized allegations that a person or group engages in human sacrifice, often accompanied by the claim that the blood of the victims is used in various rituals and/or acts of cannibalism. The alleged victims are often children.
Today the world's attention is focused on Tucson, Arizona where President Barack Obama will be speaking at a memorial in honor of the shooting victims of the shooting. (Rep. Gabrielle Giffords herself is recovering at the Tucson University Medical Center. In the photo to the left, her husband Astronaut Captain Mark Kelly is holding her hand.)
Many people, including Sarah Palin in this video, urge us to rise above politics and not look to lay blame for this attack any further than the gunman himself, using the epithet "blood libel" to describe the writings of her critics.
Again and again I have been told this.
However, I disagree.
During the summer of 2009, gun-rights activists started showing up at rallies and townhalls were Obama was speaking. One showed up in New Hampshire with a legal loaded handgun and a large sign reading "It is time to water the tree of Liberty" which is a reference to the following quote from Thomas Jefferson "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Someone else at the same town hall meeting was arrested for carrying an unlicensed pistol.
On August 18, 2009, CNN Reporter Ed Henry spotted two protesters with assault rifles at an event in Phoenix, Arizona where Obama was speaking at a pro-Healthcare rally. Why asked why he needed a rifle, the protestor responded "Because I can do it. In Arizona, I still have some freedoms."
nothing spells true freedom like the ability to blow a man down in his tracks. Or to cause the President to fear that his life may be in danger. Or the lives of peaceful demonstrators at a rally.
No, nothing says freedom like physical intimidation.
And I was told to rise above politics and respect the first and second amendment rights of these protesters.
On March 24, 2010, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Tucson, Arizona district office and Rep. Louise Slaughter's Niagara Falls, New York district office were attacked amidst death threats to a number of other Congressman involved in the passage of Health insurance reform. And I was told to rise above politics and not lay blame for these attacks.
Around the same time, Sarah Palin was hunting people figuratively. Gov. Palin created a website "Take back the 20" showing a map of the United States with cross-hairs targeting the 20 House districts won by McCain in 2008 but controlled by Democratic Representatives who voted for health insurance reform. The red cross-hair show targets already eliminated (legislators who were not seeking reelection). The exhortation "17 more to go" and the tweet "Dont' Retreat, Instead - RELOAD" certainly invoke a threat of violence if necessary to turn the other cross-hairs red as well.
On June 12, 2010, Gifford's challenger and tea-party supporter Jesse Kelly organized a fundraiser where his supporters could donate money in order to have a chance to symbolically "remove Gabrielle Giffords from office" by shooting a "fully automatic M16" at her effigy. And I was told to rise above politics and ignore these provocations.
The on June 17, Senate Candidate Sharron Angle said that the "Second Amendment in there for a good reason and ... it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years.... I hope that's not where we're going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." And I was told to rise above politics and ignore these threats.
How long must I "rise above politics" and how many people must die before I can begin attributing blame?
Benyamin Korn who runs the group "Jews for Sarah" says Palin is not to blame since the "shooter's animus [against Ref. Gabrielle Giffords] pre-dates Palin's prominence." However, I do not accuse Palin and her allies of driving Loughner insane.
Instead, I fear that there have always and will always be deranged people out there with dangerous ideas like Jared Lee Loughner had. The difference is that the rhetoric used by the right can validate the ideas already bouncing around in the head of a border-line personality like Loughner.
I do not think that Palin and her allies wanted Giffords dead. They did however want their own day in the sun, and the use of over-the-top rhetoric and images certainly accomplishes that in a way that calm and logic never can.
Moreover, these repeated tacit threats of violence create a chilling affect on our democracy, discouraging Democrats from speaking out, and limiting any real communication between politicians and their constituents.
If that is their goal, then whether Giffords survives or not, they have already won.
We are stunned and horrified by the attack today on Gabby Giffords, Arizona's first Jewish Congresswoman. Representative Giffords is a courageous and vibrant leader dedicated to advancing the causes and values we care so deeply about. Beyond being an advocate for health care reform and immigration reform, as well as the people of Arizona, she is our close friend. Gabby, those who were murdered and injured, and their families all remain in our thoughts and prayers.
The tragic attack on Representative Giffords, her staff, and citizens participating in the practice of democracy in Arizona is beyond reprehensible. One suspect, now in custody, may be directly responsible for this crime. But it is fair to say - in today's political climate, and given today's political rhetoric - that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired. Throughout the health care reform debate, we saw an ever-worsening level of political discourse - frequently pointing fingers at Democratic members of Congress who were supposedly directly threatening our country and our way of life. As elections approached, members of Congress increasingly received death threats, even as our public debate became more and more coarse.
Image from SarahPAC.com showing Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as one of Sarah Palin's targets.
As we learned in Israel through the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, words - and an eroding public discourse - can have profound consequences. The rhetoric of hate and anger must be banished from our political discourse before the next calamity takes place.
The loss of any life - and the injury of any American - is unacceptable. While we do not yet know exactly what motivated this deranged gunman, improving the tenor of our public debate can only help. It is up to us to act now. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.
Video of Rep. Giffords response to vandalism at her office follows the jump.
The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is an online non-profit volunteer based community newspaper serving the Philadelphia Jewish Community since 2005. We are dedicated to addressing the important social, political and cultural issues facing our community in a spirit of honesty, integrity and diversity.
Your tax-deductible donations will help give Voice to the Greater Philadelphia Jewish Community.
To pay by credit card or paypal, click here:
or send a check to:
Eric Smolen, Treasurer,
Philadelphia Jewish Voice,
327 Pembroke Road,
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is organized pursuant to
Pennsylvania's non-profit corporation law. We have tax-exempt status under IRS
Code Section 501(c)(3). Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of
For more information about the Philadelphia Jewish Voice visit