October 25, 2012

Poll: Gender gaps all but gone in White House race - CBS News

Poll: Gender gaps all but gone in White House race - CBS News

Poll: Gender gaps all but gone in White House race

WASHINGTONWhat gender gap?
Less than two weeks out from Election Day, Republican Mitt Romney has erased President Obama's 16-point advantage among women, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows. And the president, in turn, has largely eliminated Romney's edge among men.
Those churning gender dynamics leave the presidential race still a virtual dead heat, with Romney favored by 47 percent of likely voters and Mr. Obama by 45 percent, a result within the poll's margin of sampling error, the survey shows.
After a commanding first debate performance and a generally good month, Romney has gained ground with Americans on a number of important fronts, including their confidence in how he would handle the economy and their impressions of his ability to understand their problems.
At the same time, expectations that Mr. Obama will be re-elected have slipped: Half of voters now expect the president to win a second term, down from 55 percent a month earlier.
For all of the good news for Republicans, however, what matters most in the election endgame is Romney's standing in the handful of states whose electoral votes still are up for grabs. And polls in a number of those battleground states still appear to favor Mr. Obama.
As the election nears, Romney has been playing down social issues and trying to project a more moderate stance on matters such as abortion in an effort to court female voters. The AP-GfK poll, taken Friday through Tuesday, shows Romney pulling even with Mr. Obama among women at 47-47 after lagging by 16 points a month earlier.
But now his campaign is grappling with the fallout from a comment by a Romney-endorsed Senate candidate in Indiana, who said that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape "that's something God intended."
Romney quickly distanced himself from the remark by Republican Richard Mourdock. But Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the incident was "a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican President Mitt Romney would feel that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care."
A renewed focus on social issues would be an unwelcome development for Romney: Among female likely voters, 55 percent say Mr. Obama would make the right decisions on women's issues, compared with 41 percent who think Romney would.
Romney's pitch to women has been focused squarely on the economy, making the case that what women want most is to ensure their families and their country are on a solid financial footing. The poll shows that message appears to be taking root.
A month ago, women favored Mr. Obama over Romney on the economy 56 percent to 40 percent. Now, the split has shifted to 49 percent for Romney and 45 percent for Mr. Obama.
Similarly, Mr. Obama's lead among women as the candidate who better understands the people's problems has narrowed considerably, from a 58-36 Obama advantage last month to a 50-43 Obama edge now.
Monica Jensen, a 55-year-old independent from Mobile, Ala., says she voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 but will shift her vote to Romney this time, largely because of the economy.
"I'm ready for a change," she said. "I want to see the economy go in a different direction."
Ginny Lewis, a Democrat and 72-year-old retired district attorney from Princeton, Ky., says she'll vote for Romney because "I'm tired of the Republicans blaming all the debt on Democrats, so let them take over and see what they do."
Not that she's optimistic about how that will turn out, though. "I think things will get worse before they get better," she said.
Lindsey Hornbaker, a 25-year-old graduate student and nanny, hasn't been swayed by Romney's charm offensive.
Hornbaker, interviewed Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa, where she was attending an Obama rally, said Romney can tweak his tone but not what she sees as a record focused far more on top income earners and out of touch with most working families.
"I heard him go out of his way to sound so moderate during the debate," she said. "And I thought, 'Who is this? Where did this come from?' He may sound like he's focused on the middle class. But where's the record?"
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, has been working to shore up his support among men, who tend to be more Republican than women. In the 2008 election, men broke 49 percent for Mr. Obama to 48 percent for John McCain, even though Mr. Obama got 53 percent of the vote overall. The president's job approval ratings among men have tended to fall below his ratings among women throughout his first term.
A month ago, Romney's advantage among men was 13 percentage points. Now, it's down to 5 points, with most of the shift toward Mr. Obama coming among unmarried men.
Mr. Obama's election chances hinge on turning out voters like Jon Gerton, a disabled construction worker from Jonesboro, Ark. Gerton's a staunch Obama supporter — but he didn't vote in 2008.
"It takes longer than four years to get things to the point where things are going better," Gerton said. "Four years, it's not very long."
There has been a gender gap in every presidential election since 1980. In 2008, women were 7 percentage points more likely than men to vote for Mr. Obama.
Overall, people are significantly more optimistic about the economy and unemployment in the coming year than they have been at any point in AP-GfK polling going back to March 2011, when the poll first started asking those questions. And likely voters are even more optimistic than other adults.
Nearly six in 10 likely voters think the economy will improve in the next year, up from 46 percent last month. And 42 percent think the number of unemployed Americans will drop in the next year, up from 32 percent in September.
Count Chrysta Walker, of Cedar Lake, Ind., among the voters who are sticking with Obama because they think he's got the right solutions for the fragile economy.
"He's got the middle class at heart," says the 58-year-old Walker. On the economy, she says, Obama "did as well as could be expected because he didn't get a lot of cooperation."
David Bierwirth, who owns an autograph sales business in Las Vegas, turned out at a Romney rally in Henderson this week to show his support for the GOP nominee. To Bierwirth, his vote for Romney is all about the economy.
"I want people back to work," he says, "because then they will buy my products."
The Associated Press-GfK poll was conducted Oct. 19-23 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,186 adults nationwide, including 839 likely voters. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; for likely voters it is 4.2 points.
© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

October 22, 2012

One public hospital, 36 casinos: Welcome to Macau | Reuters

One public hospital, 36 casinos: Welcome to Macau | Reuters

One public hospital, 36 casinos: Welcome to Macau

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Youths look out from a park towards the Venetian Macao (L) and Galaxy Macau hotel resorts, both located on Macau's Taipa island October 11, 2012. REUTERS-Bobby Yip
MACAU | Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:51am EDT
(Reuters) - A short walk from billionaire Stanley Ho's extravagant Grand Lisboa casino stands the faded pink exterior of the Conde S. Januário, Macau's only public hospital.
Inside, bathroom tiles are stained and paint peels off the walls along the corridors where patients queue to be examined by busy medical staff. The hospital, built in the 1980s, serves the former Portuguese colony's more than half a million residents.
A new hospital is planned, but won't open until 2019. By then, Macau is expected to have added another six glitzy casinos to the three dozen that already make it the world's betting capital, as Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn and others continue to bet on the only place where Chinese can legally gamble.
Life in Macau, a southern Chinese enclave one third of the size of Manhattan, is geared to gambling, which brings in revenue of more than $33 billion and accounts for more than 40 percent of GDP. There are more than four times as many gambling tables per 1,000 residents than hospital beds.
To many who live in what is both the world's most densely populated territory and fastest growing economy, the priorities are all wrong.
"It's unacceptable. These facilities are a joke. This is the main hospital in Macau," said Simon, who has lived in Macau for five years and works in the hotel industry, as he wheeled his toddler up and down in a narrow car park waiting for his wife.
Macau last year attracted 28 million visitors - more than the population of Australia - and while the gambling industry has boosted general living standards over the past decade, residents say the development of social infrastructure, including healthcare and transport, has lagged behind.
A fleet of nearly 2,400 brightly coloured casino buses shuttles visitors who commute en masse, stretching Macau's overburdened transport network, causing gridlocked streets and an increase in traffic accidents. This month, one Macau legislator pressed for a limit on the number of shuttle buses. A driverless light rail transit network is in the works, but isn't expected to be up and running until at least 2015.
Property prices have risen by half since last year, industry data show, and surging food prices mean daily groceries for Macau locals cost close to double what people pay in Hong Kong, the international financial hub an hour's ferry-ride away.
"I do see the inequality and the property price increases. Most importantly, I see the inequality gap is widening more and more compared to two years ago," said Larry So, a Macau-based political analyst.
Thousands of Macau residents have taken to the streets this month to call for more welfare measures, more public housing and more action to check inflation. Macau does also have a private hospital, a university hospital and several health clinics.
In comparison, greater Las Vegas, Macau's main rival as a gambling hub, has roughly the same population, more than 150 casinos and at least 15 hospitals with at least 90 beds or more.
Macau's government routinely gives residents annual "wealth share" cash handouts, raising this year's allowance to 7,000 patacas, to try to stem public discontent. Last week, the government approved measures to tackle the overheated property market, but industry watchers say it is unlikely to bring down prices to affordable levels.
Juliet Risdon, director at JML Property in Macau, said that despite new housing supply such as the 19,000 subsidised home-ownership and social housing units due to be ready by the end of the year, overall new property supply was relatively short.
"I think it's very disappointing as a long-term resident of Macau, for my friends and colleagues here, that they are continually in a position where they cannot buy property," she said, adding that potential residents were frustrated about the small size of the new units and the exorbitant one-off cost of a car park berth, which has hit 1 million patacas (around $125,000) near one of the new low-cost housing developments.
The quality of housing is also under scrutiny, with some 200 residents evacuated from their apartment in the north of Macau's peninsula earlier this month after cracks appeared on the walls of the 30-storey structure.
Macau's transition from tranquil fishing village to casino boomtown has seen dependence on the gambling industry grow despite the government's efforts at diversification, said Jose Pereira Coutinho, a Portuguese legislator in Macau who heads the Civil Servants Association.
"There is no diversification of industry. We are too much dependable on gambling, so if something happens in mainland China, something bad, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and people stop coming over to Macau, then the economy is in a mess," he said.
Small and mid-sized businesses struggle to survive, with many forced into bankruptcy in recent years, while others grapple with rising rents and skill shortages as graduates head straight to the casino industry where salaries are more than double.
Bobo Chan, a 26-year-old Macau university graduate, stopped working in the Sands Macau casino last year after she felt unable to cope with the lengthy overnight shifts in VIP rooms and the smoke-filled environment.
Chan, who now works for the Civil Servants Association, said that while she was able to switch industry, both her parents still work at the Sands Macau casino, with her mother on shifts from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. most nights. While new casinos create opportunities for young people, Chan said the government is too focused on using gambling revenues to benefit Macau.
"There are already so many casinos in Macau. I think they had better put the money in education. I remember many years ago people came to relax, but now so many mainlanders come to Macau just to gamble," she said.
The social implications are taking their toll on residents, too, with local media reporting a 30 percent increase in the number of those seeking treatment for mental health problems in the past few years.
Some hope a change of leadership in China will help shift the political agenda in Macau.
"Let's hope when Xi Jinping becomes president something changes here in Macau. I don't know ... I hope so," said Coutinho, referring to the man widely touted as China's next leader. (Additional reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

A Red Carpet for Radicals at the White House :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism

A Red Carpet for Radicals at the White House :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism

October 20, 2012

Obama and His Animus Toward Israel

Obama and His Animus Toward Israel

What does Barack Obama really think about Israel? The evidence makes it obvious; he has contempt for the Jewish State in every way, and his nurturing of Islamist takeovers around the Middle East only adds to the perception that the safety of Israel is not of concern to him.

As Caroline Glick has pointed out, supporters of Obama refer to several of Obama’s actions:
  1. He has given billions of dollars in military assistance
  2. He has gotten harsh sanctions against Iran passed by the UN Security Council 
  3. The US has supposed increased its intelligence and military coordination with Israel
  4. Obama has opposed some anti-Israel resolutions at the UN
Glick answers these mantras with a reality check:
  1. The billions of dollars in military assistance, including the Iron Dome Defense system, is the fulfillment of a pledge from George W. Bush
  2. The sanctions against Iran have not slowed down its nuclear program one bit and Obama opposed stronger sanctions that Congress wanted
  3. Obama’s Administration has repeatedly leaked vital covert Israeli information, including four times when it revealed which countries Israel had effected a deal with to fly over for an attack on Iran
  4. Obama backed an extraordinary session at the UN Security Council where the United Nation's High Commissioner for Human Rights, the notoriously anti-Israel Navi Pillay, briefed the Council on the subject of Israel--and Israel alone, as if Israel were the worst offender of human rights in the world.
How about the repeated efforts by Obama to publicly humiliate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? And the time Obama stated that Israel should return to the suicidal pre-1967 borders? Or the elision from the 2012 Democratic platform of some key elements from the 2008 platform, namely that Israel was the strongest US ally in the Middle East, that Hamas should be isolated from being a partner in the peace process, that the bogus Palestinian right to return should be opposed.  Or the refusal to name Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and the absolute unwillingness to condemn Arab terrorism.
Contrast that with the 2012 Republican platform, which stated:
The Palestinian people must support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law… Israel should not be expected to negotiate with entities pledged to her destruction ……radical elements like Hamas and Hezbollah must be isolated because they do not meet the standards of peace and diplomacy of the international community.
Let’s take a further look at Obama’s animus toward Israel:
  1. Hillary Clinton's 43-minute telephone pillorying of Netanyahu for announcing construction in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem.
  2. David Axelrod asserting that President Obama considered the housing approval "an affront, an insult...and very, very destructive.” 
  3. Joe Biden ripping Israel for endangering American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  4. Clinton's demand that Israel unilaterally concede negotiating positions and release hundreds of Palestinian terrorists even before "indirect" peace talks could begin. 
  5. Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling Israel "an ungrateful ally."
  6. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's chastising Israel to "get back to the damn [negotiating] table. 
  7. Obama shoving PM Netanyahu out the White House back door, no dinner, no joint statement.
  8. Pushing Israel to apologize for the terrorist Gaza flotilla
  9. On an open mike, Obama agreeing with French President Sarkozy's statement that "I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar," adding, "You're fed up, but I have to deal with him every day.” 
  10. Obama's speech, sandbagging Netanyahu just before he arrived in Washington, calling on Israel to retreat to the 1949 Armistice line as a starting point for negotiations?  
  11. No condemnation whatsoever for the anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian leadership, including celebrating the grisly murder of the Fogel family and their sleeping little boys and baby girl?  No condemnation of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem -- whose salary comes from American taxpayers -- urging Arabs to "fight and kill the Jews"? 
The thought of Jews in America voting for this man, (Jews who are largely secular and have long ago eschewed their tradition), this man who has an animus toward Israel greater than any other president, is enough to make you wonder if those same Jews value Israel at all. They certainly don’t have the allegiance to Israel that a Jewish identity demands. If they see themselves as part of Jewish history at all (and many don’t) they should know that their reelection of Barack Obama will have terrible and final consequences for the Jewish people.

October 16, 2012

Destroy-Israel Conference Comes to Illinois

Destroy-Israel Conference Comes to Illinois

On November 22-25, activists with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas will come together at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort in Illinois for American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) Conference for Palestine in the U.S.: A Movement United. The event also highlights the Islamists’ success in forging interfaith partnerships with Reverend Donald Wagner of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding as one of the speakers.
American Muslims for Palestine isn’t just about Palestinian statehood. It’s about the elimination of Israel. Michael Rubin points out that “Its home page depicts the conference logo—a map of Palestine made from birds showing the Palestinian state encompassing all of Israel. So much for the two-state solution.”
AMP conferences promote Islamist thought. In 2004, its chairman, Hatem Bazian, praised the “uprising in Iraq” (which was against U.S. soldiers) and the “intifada in Palestine” and said an American intifada is needed to “change fundamentally the political dynamics here.” He boasted, “They’re gonna say some Palestinian [is] being too radical – well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet.”
In June, Bazian described the U.S. as a racist country that tries to get “darker people [to] fight our war.” He teachesthat the “military-industrial complex” is promoting “Islamophobia” and is persecuting Muslim leadership in the U.S. in order to build support for wars against Muslims overseas.
AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid, another speaker at the conference, describes the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas as a form of “legitimate resistance.” He used to be the editor of an Arabic publication made by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, which the American Muslim Brotherhood’s internal documents identify as having been one of its fronts set up to support Hamas.
Another board member is Salah Sarsour. His brother was arrested by Israel in 1998 and informed his interrogators that Salah was financing Hamas through the Islamic Association for Palestine and the Holy Land Foundation. The latter was shut down by the U.S. government and five of its officials were convicting of funding terrorism. He even said that Sarsour transferred funds to a Hamas military commander.
The conference, which has Turkish Airlines as a sponsor, features some of the top Brotherhood-linked speakers.
Nihad Awad is the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The federal government named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial, listing it among “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee.” Awad declared his support for Hamas in 1994. In 2004, he refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah, instead choosing to call them “liberation movements.”
Safaa Zarzour is the Secretary-General of the Islamic Society of North America. Like CAIR, it was designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial and was listed by the government as a Muslim Brotherhood entity. FBI investigators identified ISNA as a Brotherhood front as far back as 1987. A 1991 American Muslim Brotherhood document also lists it as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.”
Jamal Badawi is listed in an American Muslim Brotherhood directory from 1992 and is a listed unindicted co-conspirator for his fundraising on behalf of the Holy Land Foundation. He is a founder of the Muslim American Society, a Brotherhood front. In 1999, he justified suicide bombings, saying, “So when an act of heroism like that is required to save others, it is self-sacrifice, you cannot really call it suicide.” In February 2009, he criticized the West for describing “martyrs” from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as terrorists.  In March 2010, he said Islam justifies the “combative jihad” of Palestinians.
Jamal Said is the imam of the Mosque Foundation. He was also designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial and is listed as a member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee. In 2000, he asked attendees at an Islamic Association for Palestine event to “pay for the family of a martyr.” In 2009, he said, “We need to raise our children to know the martyrs of Gaza.”
Amin al-Ali is the imam of the Islamic Community Center of Illinois. Its websitepromotes books by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood; Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, a powerful pro-Hamas Brotherhood cleric; and Abul Ala Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami. Tellingly, these books are listed under the section of suggested texts about “Islamic movement and training.”
Othman Atta is the executive director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. Hecriticizes the labeling of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups and an FBImemo from November 2001 states that some members of his mosque were fundraising for the Holy Land Foundation. He condemns Palestinian attacks on “innocent civilians” but says “it’s within the right of an occupied people to resist their occupiers.”
Shaker Elsayed is the imam of Dar al-Hijrah, a mosque with a long history of extremism. In 2004, he said that the teachings of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood, are the “closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life.” In 2002, he said that suicide bombers are “unfairly named” and that jihad requires Muslims to fight “with every tool that they can get in their hand.” A 2002 Customs and Border Patrol document said the mosque is “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in the U.S.”
Muslims aren’t the only ones that AMP seeks to influence. Reverend Donald Wagner of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding will be speaking. On October 13, AMP took part in an event called “Jews in Solidarity with Palestinians.” The 2010 conference featured Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, who blasted the “racist Occupation” and praised Palestinians held in Israeli prisons “because they resisted, because they struggled, because they waged jihad…”
On November 22-25, the Prairie State will be home to an event designed to serve the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas agenda. And it will be done with the help of an evangelical activist and sponsors like Turkish Airlines contributing as much as $15,000.
This is what the Brotherhood was talking about when its documents called for “sabotaging” the West by “their hands and the hands of the believers.”
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Anti-Semitic Surge on Twitter Enrages French Jewry - Jewish World - News - Israel National News

Anti-Semitic Surge on Twitter Enrages French Jewry - Jewish World - News - Israel National News

Anti-Semitic Surge on Twitter Prompts Possible Legal Action

Jewish organizations in France have expressed outrage over a wave of anti-Semitic messages that have been sweeping through Twitter.
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By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 10/15/2012, 8:44 PM

France's President Hollande
France's President Hollande

Jewish organizations in France and other anti-racist groups have expressed outrage over a wave of anti-Semitic messages that have been sweeping through Twitter.
The hashtag #unbonjuif, which in English literally means “a good Jew,” has been one of the top trending words on French language tweets in recent days and has led thousands of Twitter users to enter what the French daily Le Monde termed “a competition of anti-Semitic jokes.”
One user posted a picture of an emaciated Jewish woman in a Nazi concentration camp as the interpretation of "a good Jew," while others tweeted that “a good Jew is a dead Jew.”
Anti-racist groups MRAP and SOS Racisme joined the CRIF, the umbrella group representing French Jewish communities, in denouncing the hateful messages and vowing to sue those sending anti-Semitic tweets.
MRAP said in a statement that Twitter should "take the appropriate measures" to end what it called a "flood of anti-Semitism" and said it was proposing to meet with executives from the firm, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
French authorities remain on alert after a sweep left one man dead and several others in detention for allegedly being involved in a series of anti-Semitic attacks, including the bombing a kosher supermarket in Sarcelles, near Paris, last month.
President Francois Hollande vowed to increase security measures for the Jewish community in France, the largest in Europe.
"I have reaffirmed that the state will not compromise in fighting racism and anti-Semitism. Nothing must be tolerated," Hollande said.
France's SPCJ Jewish security watchdog said last week that anti-Semitic acts surged by 45 percent in the first eight months of this year and were given new impetus by the deadly attacks in March by Islamic terrorist Mohamed Merah, AFP reported.
Merah went on a shooting rampage in and around the city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, three Jewish children and three French paratroopers before being shot dead in a police siege.

RJC Billboards Target Jewish Voters (CBS12 News, 9/12/2012) - YouTube

RJC Billboards Target Jewish Voters (CBS12 News, 9/12/2012) - YouTube

October 14, 2012

RJC Presents: "Perilous Times" - YouTube

RJC Presents: "Perilous Times" - YouTube

Column One: US Jewry’s cherished ... JPost - Opinion - Columnists

Column One: US Jewry’s cherished ... JPost - Opinion - Columnists

Column One: US Jewry’s cherished values

10/11/2012 21:36

For 70% of American Jews, party loyalty trumps all of their conceivable rational interests.

US President Obama with Mitt Romney at debatePHOTO: REUTERS / POOL
Decades ago, the sociographer Milton Himmelfarb coined the aphorism that “American Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” And his words ring as true today as ever. Surveys show that roughly 70 percent of American Jews intend to cast their ballots for President Barack Obama’s reelection next month.

Himmelfarb’s quip indicated that American Jews abjure their economic interests in favor of their liberal values. Certainly it is true that for American Jews to vote for Obama next month they must act against their economic interests.

Obama’s economic policies have taken a huge toll on the economic fortunes of American Jews who invest disproportionately in the stock market. His nationalization of the college loan business has given universities impetus to raise tuition rates still further, thus dooming more young American Jews to start their adult lives under a mountain of debt. And it isn’t at all clear how they will be able to pay off this debt since under Obama half of recent college graduates cannot find jobs.

Obama’s gutting of Medicare to pay for Obamacare has harmed the medical choices for older Jewish Americans.

His war on tax deductions for charitable contributions has placed synagogues, Jewish schools and nursing homes in financial jeopardy.

So with economics ruled out as a reason to support Obama we are left with American-Jewish values.

But is Obama really advancing those values? What are those values anyway? Well, there’s civil liberties.

American Jews like those. But Obama doesn’t.

Take freedom of speech. Obama is the most hostile president to freedom of speech in recent memory. He has advocated implementing the so-called “fairness doctrine” for radio to stifle the free speech of his political opponents on talk radio.

He has sought to undermine the freedom of the Internet through federal regulations and intimidation of Internet companies such as Google.

He has made repeated and outspoken attempts to intimidate individuals, groups and businesses including Google to bar freedom of speech as relates to criticism of Islam. He has purged the lexicon of the federal government of all terms necessary to describe jihad, Islamic radicalism and terrorism, and so made it impossible for federal employees to examine, investigate, discuss or understand the nature of the greatest national security threat facing the US.

Then there are women’s rights. American Jews like those.

True, Obama has distinguished himself as the greatest ally of abortion-on-demand ever. He even supported infanticide of babies who survived abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature. But, we women are a bit more than reproductive machines.

We also work and raise families. And Obama’s economic programs hurt women as much if not more than they hurt men.

Aside from that, there are females who live outside of the US.

American Jews have long been outspoken champions of women’s rights around the world. But here Obama’s record is arguably worse than any president in US history.

Obama has abandoned the women most at risk of gender-based discrimination, rape and murder – the women and girls of the Muslim world. Whereas the Bush administration liberated the women and girls of Afghanistan from the maniacally misogynist Taliban regime, the Obama administration is negotiating with the Taliban and setting the conditions for its return to power. If the signature image of the Bush administration’s war in Afghanistan was that of women voting, the signature image of Obama’s war in Afghanistan is the photo of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai. This week Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for her defense of the right of girls to go to school.

Then there is the cause of good governance. American Jews like that.

But here, too, Obama fails to live up to liberal values of clean politics. Every day seems to bring with it another scandal related to the Obama administration.

This week we learned that the Obama campaign is illegally soliciting funds from foreigners.

According to a report published by the Government Accountability Institute, some 20% of visitors to the Obama campaign’s fund-raising site “my.barackobama.

com” are foreigners, barred by US law from contributing to political campaigns. So, too, the Obama.com website was registered by Robert Roche, a US businessman living in Shanghai with ties to Chinese state-owned companies. Roche is an Obama campaign bundler. Sixty-eight percent of the traffic on the site comes from foreign users. Obama.com is currently managed by a Palestinian rights activist in Maine.

Finally, there is the cause of Israel and US-Israel relations that American Jews are assumed to care about.

After the fiasco at the Democratic National Convention when the widespread antipathy for Israel raging in the Democratic Party was broadcast on primetime television, the Obama administration has stopped even trying to hide its contempt for the Jewish state and its American Jewish supporters.

Whereas the US refused to walk out of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s obscene address to the UN General Assembly last month, US Ambassador Susan Rice chose to absent herself entirely from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s address before the body.

Adding insult to injury, last week Obama appointed Salam al-Marayati to represent the US at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s annual 10-day human rights conference. Marayati is the founder and executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. As Robert Spencer recalled this week, on September 11, 2001, Marayati gave an interview to a Los Angeles radio station accusing Israel of being responsible for the jihadist attacks on the US.

He is an outspoken supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah.

And Obama appointed him to represent America at a major human rights conference.

So what is it that drives over two-thirds of American Jews to support Obama? The only issues that come easily to mind are social issues – particularly the two flagship causes of American Jews these days – abortion and homosexual marriage.

While it is true that Obama shares their positions on these issues, it is hard to believe that these two issues have become the cri du coeur of more than two-thirds of American Jews.

It isn’t that it is wrong for people to support abortions on demand and homosexual marriage. And it isn’t wrong for people to oppose them. There are reasonable, Jewish arguments to be made for a woman’s right to abort her unborn children. But there are also reasonable Jewish arguments for constraining that right. There are Jewish arguments in favor of permitting homosexuals to wed. And there are Jewish arguments opposing such unions.

Then there is the relative urgency of the issues. With the US economy in a rut and American national security increasingly imperiled, are abortion rights and gay marriage really the American Jewish community’s top priorities? True, there are some American Jewish fanatics who are propelled to near violence when faced with opponents of their beliefs. And they are capable of intimidating a large proportion of their fellow Jews into toeing their extremist lines. Their intolerance has been on display in all of its ugliness at synagogues around the US since the start of the election campaign. In one recent, outrageous incident, one gay marriage partisan managed to intimidate his congregation on Erev Yom Kippur.

On the most sacred evening on the Jewish calendar, at Anshe Emet synagogue in Chicago, congregant Gary Sircus led other congregants in walking out of services when, in keeping with synagogue protocol (and common courtesy), Rabbi Michael Siegel acknowledged the presence of US Rep. Michele Bachmann in the audience.

After staging the walkout, Sircus went home and began an online assault on Bachmann and on his synagogue for extending the outspoken and stalwart supporter of Israel the courtesy of acknowledging her presence at services.

Sircus wrote a letter of support to Jim Graves, Bachmann’s deep-pocketed Democratic opponent in her reelection campaign. In it, he referred to Bachmann as “this evil woman.”

Rabbi Siegel did not decry Sircus for his shocking behavior. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune Siegel said, “I am aware of the fact that our congregation’s policy in regards to [welcoming public officials to the community and honoring their presence] clearly caused pain to some members of our community on the most precious day of reconciliation on the Jewish calendar. That we regret deeply.”

In a letter of explanation to synagogue board members, Siegel spoke of the need to welcome visitors even if they don’t share the community’s “values.” But when did the members of Anshe Emet take a vote to determine that support for gay marriage is their shared value? Undoubtedly, Sircus’s success in embarrassing his entire community owed in part to his willingness to intimidate his fellow congregants with his moralistic sanctimony on Erev Yom Kippur.

But it isn’t only gay marriage champions who use intimidation tactics to silence their communities into conforming with their views. American Jewish Democratic partisans have taken a leading role in blocking dissenting voices from their midst.

For instance, this past May B’nai Emet Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, invited Amb. Susan Rice to address the congregation. Synagogue officials not only rejected offers to have Rice debate opponents of Obama’s treatment of Israel. They barred community members known for their opposition to Obama from attending the speech. For these synagogue officials, the idea that their partisan prejudice might be challenged was simply unacceptable.

To be fair, there are some American Jews who have been willing to approach politics with an open mind. For instance, Susan Crown, of the Chicago-based Henry Crown business empire, has transferred her support from Obama to Mitt Romney. In an interview with Chicago Magazine Crown explained that she switched candidates last May when Obama gave his speech calling on Israel to withdraw from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and contract to within the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. Crown said that her switch was due as well to economic and foreign policy considerations.

Crown’s arguments for transferring her support from Obama to Romney are all rational. On the other hand, the positions taken by the likes of Sircus and the management of B’nai Emet are emotional and unthinking.

Unfortunately, the polls indicate that more than two-thirds of American Jews are with the synagogue bullies at B’nai Emet and with Sircus, not with Crown.

For 70% of American Jews, party loyalty trumps all of their conceivable rational interests. For them, partisan loyalty is more important than facts. They do not want to use independent judgment. They just want to be Democrats.

The most disturbing aspect of the surveys of American Jewish voters is not that they are willing to vote for the most hostile US president Israel has ever experienced in order to remain true to their party. The most disturbing aspect of the American Jewish community’s devotion to Obama and the Democrats is that it indicates that the vast majority of American Jews have abandoned their faculties for independent thought and judgment in favor of conformism and slavish partisanship. They have rendered themselves unreachable.