Reform Judaism Convention Passes a Progressive "Manifesto"

December 18, 2011
Last week Judaism’s Reform Movement passed an economic platform that would make the most hardcore progressive proud.

The platform called Proposed Resolution on Principles of Economic Justice in a Time of Fiscal Crisis Sponsored by the Biennial Resolutions Committee   called for the government to increase taxes and add to entitlements. For example it calls upon its members to
  • Affirm the indispensable role of the government in ensuring economic justice and therefore call on  our Religious Action Center, synagogues, rabbis, and social action committees, to advocate at the national, state, provincial and local levels for the preservation and strengthening of the social safety net to uphold those in need and sustain those who are struggling 
  •  Call on the rededicate itself to a society based on economic justice, including: a. Preserving vital social safety net programs including, but not limited to: Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, while recognizing that money savings may be necessary to reach budget goals and maintain long term viability – so long as they are done in a manner that minimizes harm to recipients.
I just reread the Constitution and Declaration of Independence they say our society was based on personal freedom neither document speaks about “economic justice.”
  •  Supporting expanded public and private investment in job creation.
The only way the “public sector” creates jobs is to “get off the backs” of the private sector, but I dont believe that’s what the Reform Movement means.
This one is easier to understand,  when they say “revenue enhancements” they are talking about higher taxes.
  • Addressing, in long-term efforts, the growing debt and deficits (before those deficits create a more serious long-term economic crisis) through comprehensive approaches involving expenditure cuts, program efficiencies, and revenue enhancements, while eschewing deficit reduction efforts that increase poverty or that significantly reduce funding for critical programs serving the needs of vulnerable populations 
This next one could have come directly from one of Obama’s campaign speeches, the Reform Movement calls for taxing the rich:
  • Ensuring that tax policy distributes the tax burden equitably in accordance with individuals’ and corporations’ ability to pay and provides a just and fair method of  producing the revenues necessary for the well-being of our country. This may include measures such as higher taxes for well-to-do individuals, more equitable taxes on corporations and targeted tax cuts aimed at job creation and at providing a stimulus (e.g. the proposed continuation of the payroll tax reductions); and Aiding those struggling to find work, through retraining programs and through the provision of unemployment insurance of adequate duration. 

I wonder what they believe is adequate duration…99 weeks isn’t enough?  And as far as the tax rates go  According to an AP report, this year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.

Lower-income households will pay less. For example, households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.

But fairness and equality is not what the Reform Movement is looking for—redistribution of income is and just like the President they support, Reform Judaism believes if it takes class warfare to make it possible, that is OK also.

  • Support timely, targeted and effective government action aimed at job creation and, to the degree feasible, paid for through expenditure savings and equitable tax enhancements.
The Reform Movement is calling for even heavier reliance on big government, something that goes against traditional Jewish thought.
We are given “free will” by God, and free will is the divine version of limited government. God picks the winning direction, but does not pick winners and losers.

“Created in God’s image” is supposed to teach us that just as God acts as a free being, without prior restraint to do right and wrong, so does man. God does good deeds as a matter of his own free choice, and because we are created in his image so can man. Only through free choice, can man truly be, in the image of God. It is further understood that for Man to have true free choice, he must not only have inner free will, but an environment in which a choice between obedience and disobedience exists. God thus created the world such that both good and evil can operate freely; this is what the Rabbis mean when they said, “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven” (Talmud, Berachot 33b).

Jewish tradition takes a positive view of both the institution of ownership and the accumulation of wealth. It respects economic success, so long, that is, as it is obtained honestly, and proper respect is shown for the social responsibility that comes with it. That social responsibility is an individual duty and a job for the community led by its religious leaders, but not for the government.
The book of Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:23 says:

“If your brother becomes impoverished and his means falter in your proximity, you shall strengthen him proselyte or resident so that he can live with you”

Notice it says live with you, it does not say live in a government facility, because the obligation is on the individual, the family or the tribe. The Hebrew word for charity, tzedaka, has in it root the word tzedek which means righteous, because we are taught that giving charity one of an individual’s keys to righteousness.
This Reform “progressive manifesto” will result in their followers moving away from their faith. It teaches their congregants that the government should always bear the responsibility of protecting the individual; there is no individual responsibility, just the collective bailout.
A Rabbi once taught me that when God created the world, sparks of his holiness were spread across the earth. Every time that a person makes the choice of performing a righteous act such as charity or helping someone find a job,  one of those sparks is purified and sent back to heaven. Through that process we become closer to God.
This Reform Judaism Progressive group teaches that their is no personal responsibility, just the government. Instead using our good deeds to gain closeness to God, we are to rely on the government to take that responsibility thus spoiling one way we get close to our maker,
Not surprisingly, when the President spoke to the conference the day after their manifesto was passed he praised the groups courage, and gave the document his hecksher (approval as being kosher):

And just last night, you took another step towards the change we need and voted for a set of principles of economic justice in a time of fiscal crisis.  And I want to thank you for your courage. That statement could not have come at a more important time. For as you put it, we’re at a crossroads in American history. Last Tuesday, I gave a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, where I described that crossroads. And I laid out a vision of our country where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.  And these are not Democratic values or Republican values; they’re not Christian values or Jewish values or Hindu or Muslim values — they’re shared values, and we have to reclaim them. We have to restore them to a central place in America’s political life.

 The President is wrong (as usual). It does not take courage to abdicate personal responsibility given to you by God, by shifting it to a government that punishes success, you do not create fairness by lying about the “fairness” of rules.
The Torah Says more than once not to use a persons economic status to pervert justice

Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of thy poor in his causes; neither shalt thou favor a poor man in his cause. Sh’mot (Exodus) 23: 3-6

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor favor the person of the mighty, but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor. Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:15

The Reform movement’s conception of “economic/social justice” is like the judge who uses economic status to subvert the truth. Jewish law is clear, no man, rich or poor, is favored in this regard. Judges are directed to think clearly and objectively. When you add the fact that their manifesto urges Jews to move away from their personal responsibility (and God) and relying on the government proves the leaders of Reform movement have a bigger interest in promoting progressive politics than they do promoting their faith.



Cultural Leftism

November 18, 2011
Theoretical leftism and class warfare was a lot less destructive then cultural leftism and class warfare. The Jews predominantly created Christianity and it was Christian culture that committed genocide on the Jews, likewise the Jews predominantly created leftism and class warfare and the end result is cultural leftism is trying to kill us now. Who were the National Socialists? Why are we not allowed to call them Socialists? …why, because it would offend Stalin. But even though we own the logic, the cultural horde marches on.

Time for a constitution?

September 17, 2011

This post appears to be less interested in making a constitution and more interested in creating FDR’s proposed second Bill of Rights. The U.S. constitution is specifically successful because it demands that government not do certain things. a written constitution that demands what government must do would be a nightmare to it’s constituents. The mere fact that a government has a constitution is not a winning formula by default. The core laws of a nation must be designed to restrict power. This post appears to demand that Israel create laws that demand a lot of power for the people in power. Let’s hope if Israel creates a core written code that they keep what worked in Democracy in mind. If Israel goes this route it will merely mean that Israel will be less stable then it is.

(Time for a constitution by YANIV ROZNAI @ The Jerusalem Post)
Social justice! Welfare! Health! Housing! These are the slogans we hear nowadays from every street corner. But one outcry is missing: Constitution! And this is despite the fact that the absence of a written constitution is at the root of the current crisis.

So just from the opening here we can assume that the Yaniv Roznai is making the assumption that social inequalities are a result of a government that has no authority over it’s people. A dubious opening idea.

Indeed, it would be true to say that Israel has a constitution, at least in the substantive sense. The basic laws of the state are its constitution. But that is a partial one, a limited and crippled one. The current situation is unsatisfactory. The protesters are asking to “change the rules of the game,” and this public protest has to be used to promote elections for a constituent assembly that would draft a constitution.

change the rules? But do the people benefit?

A constitution presupposes the existence of an original constituent power. It is established by the will of this power and is valid because it derives from a constitution-making capacity. In the modern era, the constitution of a nation is regarded as a creation ex-nihilo, receiving its normative and universal status from the political will of the people to act as a constitutional authority, and through which “the people” manifest themselves as a political and legal unity.

To assume something comes out of nothing which is what all constitutions do is a good thing, however not all constitutions last. Why? Because to control a system from a core document is a stupid idea. The only way a core document has any purpose is by limiting all that is put on top of it.

The original constituent power is never exhausted; it remains present, alongside and above every constitution.
However, it only manifests through constitutional events such as declarations of independence, revolutions, constitutional plebiscites, popular initiatives or special constitutional conventions. In order for the original constituent power to be direct, these forms must have a special character – i.e., separate from other public functions – thereby replacing revolution with peaceful means, incorporating actual, deliberate, free choice by society’s members.

WRONG! Laws do not come by peace. Laws and Government come out of the blood of those who fight for it. Now you know we are dealing with leftist propaganda.

The important feature is the collective nature of the original constituent power – the word constituere marks the act of founding together, jointly. The present public outcry can be such a constitutional event: hundreds of thousands of people going out to the streets mark the beginning of the awakening of the public collective, the resurrection of the original constituent power. There is a reason the leaders of the public outcry announced that “there is a feeling of reestablishing the state.”

sounds more like someone is putting a giant fart right in the middle of the land of milk and honey

The process of utilizing this awakening is not as complicated as it seems at first glance. The materials are out there. As of 2003, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has been working on drafting a national constitution. It has held dozens of meetings, received thousands of pages of background papers, all with the participation of academics, organizations and members of the public. Based on the committee’s debates, its staff prepared a detailed draft of a constitution that includes different alternatives and versions for various issues and is accompanied by explanations and proposals for discussion. This is a comfortable base on which to begin.

uh oh.

It has to be clear: A constitution and economic growth are inseparable. Constitutional stability can provide the essential predictability for markets to flourish. Moreover, research shows that constitutional stability is negatively associated with crisis propensity and positively associated with political stability, democracy and GDP per capita.

true, but not the way this guy is talking

A new constitution could also explicitly incorporate the social and economic rights neglected so far – the right to health, housing, education, etc. Such a move may help block the expansion of the existing economic inequality and spread an additional protective net for the citizens.

…there… he said it.

One has to look beyond the immediate demands of the outcry. Any solution that the government would propose would be no more than a cosmetic change – a slight renovation, a rearranging of the furniture. But we need a basic structural change. Therefore, the current momentum has to be utilized to promote the election of a constituent assembly separate from the Knesset. That assembly would have a single mandate: to prepare a constitution. Its work ought to be limited in time, and at the end, the constitution should be brought to the people in a referendum.
The current outcry is an opportunity that will not reappear any time soon. This is the time for a constitution.
The author is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

In conclusion this guy is looking to create a set of laws that do all the wrong ideas and claiming that this is a good thing because laws that are good work. These leftists are desperate to remarket something that sounds like socialism or labor in new packaging. Sadly people do fall for these gimmicks as we have seen from Obama. I just know there is denied correlative in there somewhere. I can just hear myself going… yeah… but…

we asked them if they’d be interested in redistributing the GPA points that they earned to students who may be having trouble

August 25, 2011
This second video has Oliver going around the school asking whether students want to sign his petition to pay their share of the national debt, $47,000. This one doesn’t go too well either, and their ideas of paying that debt off is just horrendous:

He doesn’t have a lot of luck, it seems that they are alright with the wealthy paying a higher percent in taxes but when it come to student who work hard for the high GPA then it is no fair to take grades that they worked hard for and give them to students that are not doing quite so well. Wait… That’s what the federal government (including ours in NZ) are doing to higher earners. The Rich work hard for their money and a lot of the time they have started from nothing and worked their way up the ladder of wage brackets. They work hard and deserve their wages and so do University students who work hard for their high grades, neither of the should be redistributed because they have put in a lot of hard work, both on scene and behind the scenes, to earn the money or the grade they are achieving.

One of the girls that were in this video commented that she doesn’t have any debt, that $47,000 isn’t her debt because she didn’t contribute to it. Well sorry to tell you, that debt is your debt. Just the the baby that has just come out of their mothers womb, yep it’s (don’t know whether it’s a boy or a girl, but that doesn’t matter) $47,000 out of pocket. Yes, they need to make cuts in every department to combat this debt, that includes the military (the military will use all of the money that you give it but a lot of it would just be wasted or they don’t have to spend money on specific things). And times will be hard for some, but if we don’t face it now it is just going to get worse and worse down the line. So you can’t just blame that one on the rich to solve the problem by taking more of their money. You already know that the top 10% wage bracket pays 50% of taxes and the top 50% of wage earners pay about 97% of the taxes, the middle class pays 3% while the poor gets a tax rebate and pays no taxes. Good job with these video Oliver, and I look forward to seeing any other clips you put together.

Envious Marx

July 21, 2011
In an early meditation on “raw” or “crude” Communism (der rohe Communismus), by which he meant the Communism of Babeuf and Buonnaroti, Marx explained its appeal as a universalization of envy. By implication, he distanced himself from it:

Universal envy establishing itself as a power is only the disguised form in which greed re-establishes and satisfies itself in another way. The thought of every piece of private property as such is at the very least turned against richer private property as envy, and the desire to level, so that envy and the desire to level in fact constitute the essence [of the hatred of the results] of competition. Crude communism is only the fulfillment of this envy and leveling on the basis of a preconceived minimum.

This is a highly sophisticated moral discourse that cuts to the quick of the mechanisms of ressentiment parading as idealism. But for all such insight, Marx ended up stoking the very fires he here critiqued. Helmut Schoeck notes: “It is only in Marxism, the abstract and glorified concept of the proletariat, the disinherited and exploited, that a position of implacable envy is fully legitimized.” – The Augean Stables

the obvious is that Marx was not consistant on his view of Envy, Jealousy and Greed. The Post Marxists were very concerned with libidinal desire and attempted to fuse Marx with Freud. It became necessary to ask if there was a violent human reaction because of envy then existentially why must this be so? Was it inherent? Marx really resolved nothing. (image source)

Work doesn’t pay: Child poverty in unemployed families in England falls but rises in working homes

April 24, 2011
Grim prospects:There are still almost four million children living in poverty in Britain - with more than half coming from homes where at least one parent works

Child poverty is rising among working families while generous benefits cut it for the unemployed, a report has revealed.
The study by the respected Joseph Rowntree Foundation is an indictment of Labour’s record in power – and casts doubt on the Coalition’s ability to deliver its pledge to ‘make work pay’.
It reveals that while the policy of lavishing benefits on the unemployed has helped tackle some aspects of child poverty, many working families have fallen behind.

Grim prospects:There are still almost four million children living in poverty in Britain – with more than half coming from homes where at least one parent works

Child poverty in workless families fell in 2008/9 to 1.6million, despite the impact of the recession.
But during the same period child poverty among working families rose to 2.1million – the highest on record.

poverty graphic
child poverty graphic

Palestine is a giant Welfare state

April 16, 2011

Oh and that Palestinian state they’re all lining up to support, it’s a giant welfare state.

from the World Bank report

The economic growth observed in West Bank and Gaza is arguably donor-driven… the growth is mostly confined to the non-tradable sector and reflects the importance of donor aid in driving the Palestinian economy…
Thus, growth is mostly confined to the non-tradable sector and probably reflects the importance of donor aid in driving the Palestinian economy. Israel remains WB&G’s largest trading partner, yet in the first three quarters of 2010, exports of goods and services to Israel were only about US$480 million in nominal terms…
Because of the need to fund development projects for which designated aid was not received, the PA was forced to increase bank borrowing and accumulate arrears at an unsustainable rate. Net domestic bank financing increased by about US$84 million, with gross borrowing of US$200 million, so that at the end of 2010, total domestic debt stood at about US$840 million, which may be close to the PA’s borrowing limits. In 2010, the PA paid close to US$23 million in arrears in net lending, but it accumulated another US$144 million in new arrears.

Total domestic debt twice as high as exports, an economy based entirely on soliciting money from the US and the EU. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Obama for Palestinian president. Oh wait, he is already.
And good news. Fayad wants another 5 billion dollars to create a Palestinian state. In 2007 he was asking for a billion euros and it’s done ‘wonders’.

By way of comparison, look at this 1938 footage of Jewish militia training under General Wingate

In less than a decade, they became an army and defeated the armies of most of the regional powers combined. In a generation they were considered a match for many European militaries. And that was before a cent of US aid ever came their way.
Compare that to the pathetic site of terrorist leaders like Abbas and Fayad carrying on a holy war for popularity and then demanding money for a state.
Finally Steven Plaut has an important piece on Lessons from the Ivory Coast at Front Page Magazine

The most important aspects of the crisis in the Ivory Coast are being overlooked or deliberately disguised by the Western media. One can read media report after media report without discovering the basic fact that the Northern Ivory Coast “rebels” are Muslims. Indeed they are Muslims who by and large entered the Ivory Coast as infiltrators, through borders that are poorly patrolled, from neighboring countries. A better advertisement for stronger border control cannot be found. At least four million illegal immigrants, mostly Muslim, entered the Ivory Coast during the past two decades, tilting the demographic balance there.
And these Muslim infiltrators and interlopers, increasingly backed by African, French and Western powers, are challenging the control by Ivory Coast natives over their own country. The sufferings and violence in the Ivory Coast may well illustrate what awaits Europe if it continues its own demographic suicide and if it continues to flood itself with Muslim immigrants.