Daily Archives: October 20, 2008

the taliban of meah shearim

For explanation of the obscure groups involved here, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shomer_Emunim_(Hasidic_dynasty)

Sukkot strife in Meah Shearim over modesty
Neta Sela, YNet, Oct 20 2008

They say that if you haven’t seen a Simchat Beit Hashoeva festivities, you have never really witnessed true elation. However, the past celebration in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Meah Shearim this Sukkot may leave some room for interpretation. The water-drawing festival is a time-honored tradition held in the Hasidic courts of the capital for decades. The celebrations are a known crowd draw, with some 15,000 people visiting the events every night, in the past few years. This year, an all out war ensued between the Toldot Aharon Hassidic sect and the extremists whose stronghold is the Ohel Sarah Synagogue; blows were given and received on both sides. Each Sukkot, thousands of people pile into the neighborhood, to participate in the festivities at the synagogues and batei midrash (religious study halls) spread throughout Meah Shearim and its surrounding neighborhoods. In the last few years, the streets have been divided and the men have been asked to pass on one side and the women on the other. This holiday eve, the arrangement did not satisfy extreme groups including the Sicarii who began threatening that they will physically prevent the entrance of the masses of visitors, especially women, since this situation is likely to impinge chastity levels which exist in the city throughout the remainder of the year. In addition, about 2,000 signatures were collected from neighborhood residents calling to completely cancel the festivities. Finally, Badatz (the Court of Justice in the Orthodox community), decided that the celebrations will only continue until 12:30 am instead of 2:30 am as they did every previous year. Moreover, it was decided to close the women’s section to outside visitors, and only the wives and daughters of the area’s Yeshiva students were permitted to enter with a special authorization issued to them.

Kabolas ol malchus shomayim ceremony –
Toldos Aharon rebbe at anti-gay-parade
prayer rally in Jerusalem

During the holiday, visitors were separated according to gender on Meah Shearim Street in order to maintain chasteness. The women-intended side was covered in cloth sheets, but people in the neighborhood were angered by the fact that the men’s section was on the side of the Toldot Aharon Beit Midrash, and their goal is to attract a crowd to the area, especially donors, and to their dismay, “instead of spending time on Jaffa Street they come to Meah Shearim” said Yisrael Meir Hirsh, who lives in the neighborhood. According to him, the separation apparatus created by Toldot Aharon was constructed in a way in which it is impossible to pass by on the street or enter the Toldot Avraham Yitzhak Beit Midrash and “they (Toldot Aharon members) caused all the looseness and disorder in the neighborhood during the holiday.” Thus, last Thursday a number of Yeshiva students from Ohel Sarah decided to block all passage to women in protest against what they believe were defective separation arrangements. The outcomes of the extremists’ deeds had already boiled the blood of Toldot Aharon members and punches were thrown on both sides. One of the boys even found himself unconscious at the Bikur Cholim Hospital. The following day, three accusatory and curse-filled notices were printed. In one of the announcements, the extremists blamed the “group of hooligans from Toldot Aharon.” They also included messages like, “Tens of thousands and amongst them whores, arrived from around the country and flooded the narrow alleyways of the neighborhood…”

The opening shot fired on Thursday night continued to reverberate throughout Shabbat in the neighborhood, in which property was damaged. Hirsh, for instance, had stones thrown on his sukkah and one of them cracked a house window under which his baby daughter was lying. “It was a miracle nothing happened,” he said. Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, the Chief Rabbi or Govad of the haredi Rabbinical Court, was compelled to intervene and asked both sides to “keep a low profile.” After the rabbi’s intervention, the extremists really did not go out into the streets to block the women’s passageway, but they decided to hold a prayer and psalm-reading gathering as a result of the looseness that spread throughout their neighborhood. However, some of the signs carried by those who assembled after Shabbat at the Meah Shearim square once again boiled the blood of Toldot Aharon. The signs denounced the phenomenon of looseness and one of them read, “Murderers in stripes.” This was in protest to the severe beating they received two days earlier by the Hassidic group identified by their striped clothing. A short while afterwards, a group of Yeshiva students from Toldot Aharon arrived. According to reports from the scene, they poured tear gas and beat some of the extremists, threw tables and broke benches. Following the violent acts, additional announcements were printed and placed on neighborhood walls. This time, the title was “Blood-cravers.”

The notices hung by Toldot Aharon claimed that their rivals will not stop beating Yeshiva students at the appearance of blood, but that in the heat of their passion for murder they threw a rock inside one of the sukkot to purposely kill a woman in confinement there. Toldot Aharon was also accused of threatening to entirely burn a synagogue with the Torah scroll in it. Hirsh, and the rest of the Ohel Sarah Synagogue worshippers are unwilling to allow this “pogrom” they endured to be left unanswered. “We will raise hell against their cruelty,” he promised. Another Meah Shearim inhabitant who tried to remain neutral actually cried to YNet about the war between the sides and the fact that it occurred during the Sukkot holiday, in which it is a mitzvah to be joyful. “The hatred that exists between the sides is awful. Instead of dancing and rejoicing, they are fighting. If this is what’s going on in Meah Shearim, I guess the Messiah must really be coming soon,” he said hopefully.

mccain’s cash starved campaign

Russian UN mission gets letter from McCain
seeking election cash

RIA Novosti, Oct 20 2008

Russia’s permanent mission to the UN has received a letter from John McCain asking for financial support of his election campaign, the mission said in a statement on Monday:

We have received a letter from Senator John McCain with a request for a financial donation to his presidential election campaign. In this respect we have to reiterate that neither Russia’s permanent mission to the UN nor the Russian government or its officials finance political activities in foreign countries.

According to Ruslan Bakhtin, press secretary of the Russian mission, the letter, dated Sep 29 and signed by McCain, was addressed to Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s envoy to the UN, and arrived on Oct 16. The ambassador’s title was not included in the letter, and it was not clear why the letter had taken over two weeks to arrive. Enclosed was a request for a donation of up to $5k to McCain’s election campaign to be returned with a check or permission to withdraw the money from the donor’s credit card until Oct 24.

Individual donations to candidates’ election campaigns are capped by law at $2.3k, and it is illegal to accept donations from foreign nationals. McCain accepted the $84m in public financing available to his election campaign, and consequently cannot accept private donations. However, the RNC is collecting donations that can be used to support his candidacy in limited ways. Legal barriers aside, the request and the official response from the Russian mission appear even more confusing in the light of McCain’s overall negative attitude toward Russia. Last year he said the G8 should exclude Russia, citing “diminishing political freedoms, a leadership dominated by a clique of former intelligence officers, [and] efforts to bully democratic neighbors.” On Aug 12, during the brief conflict between Russia and Georgia in its breakaway region of South Ossetia, McCain said he had told Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili: ” I know I speak for every American when I say to him, ‘Today, we are all Georgians.”’ The Gallup Poll daily tracking survey on Sunday showed Obama leading McCain nationally by 52% to 42%.

tariq ali, superficial but fun (57 mins)

nick turse : u.s. evictions & suicides

The Rising Body Count on Main Street :
The Human Fallout from the Financial Crisis

Nick Turse, Tom Dispatch (extracts)

On Oct 4 2008, in the Porter Ranch section of LA, Karthik Rajaram, beset by financial troubles, shot his wife, mother-in-law, and three sons before turning the gun on himself. In one of his two suicide notes, Rajaram wrote that he was “broke,” having incurred massive financial losses in the economic meltdown. “I understand he was unemployed, his dealings in the stock market had taken a disastrous turn for the worse,” said LA Deputy Police Chief Michel R. Moore. In recent days, AP, ABC News, and others have begun to address the burgeoning body count, especially suicides attributed to the financial crisis. (Note that, months ago, Barbara Ehrenreich raised the issue in the Nation.) In February, when a sheriff’s deputy went to serve an eviction notice on a home owner in Greeley, Colorado, he found the man had slashed his wrists and was lying in a pool of blood. Rushed to a nearby hospital, the man survived, while the Sheriff’s office tried to downplay economic reasons for the incident, saying, according to the Denver Post, that “it wasn’t linking the suicide attempt to the eviction because the man had known for a week that he was to be kicked out.”

In March, Ocala, Florida resident Roland Gore killed his dog and his wife, set fire to his home which was in foreclosure, and then killed himself. In April, Robert McGuinness, a 24-year-old process server, arrived at the Marion County, Florida doorstep of Frank W. Conrad. According to an article in the local Star Banner, the 82-year-old Conrad was reportedly “cordial” at first. When McGuinness produced the foreclosure notice, however, Conrad got angry and left the room. He returned with a .38 caliber pistol and announced, “You have two seconds to get off my property or you will go to the hospital.” Marion County sheriff’s deputies later arrested Conrad. On Jun 3, agents of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) set out to inform New Orleans resident Eric Minshew that he would be evicted from his “Katrina” trailer. After Minshew threatened them, the FEMA employees called the police. When they arrived, Minshew allegedly threatened them as well and “locked himself in his partially-gutted home, adjacent to his trailer.” A SWAT team was called in and tear-gassed the man. Interviewed by the Times-Picayune, local resident Tiffany Flores said, “Some SWAT members told my husband they had never seen anyone withstand that much tear gas.” The standoff went on for hours before “an assault team of tactical officers” invaded the home. Though Minshew opened fire, they eventually cornered him on the upper floor. When — they claimed — he refused to drop his weapon, they gunned him down.

That same day, in Multnomah County, Oregon, sheriff’s deputies served an eviction notice on a desperate tenant. According to Deputy Travis Gullberg, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer, the evictee promptly pulled a gun from his pocket and pointed it at his head before being disarmed by the deputies. In July, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Habecker told the Sacramento Bee that twice this year “homeowners about to be evicted have committed suicide as he approached to do a lockout.” In another case, he said, “a fellow Sacramento deputy found a note in the home that told him where to find the foreclosed homeowner’s body.” The Bee reported that such cases “received no publicity when they happened,” which raises the question of just how many similar suicides have gone unreported nationwide. In July, when police delivered an eviction notice at the Middleburg, Florida home of George and Bonnie Mangum, the couple barricaded themselves inside. Eventually, George Mangum was talked into surrendering and was arrested. “He did the only thing he knew to do, protect his family, all he did was sit on the other side of the door and say I have a gun, I have a gun and that’s why he’s going to jail because he threatened the police,” said Bonnie. The couple’s daughter Robin added, “This is my home, this is all our home and I don’t think it’s right. My dad was a Green Beret, he’s sick, how are you going to kick him out?”

Pinellas Park, Florida resident Dallas Dwayne Carter was a 44-year-old disabled, single dad who lost his job, fell into debt, and was faced with eviction. “He always talked about needing help — financially and help with the kids,” neighbor Kevin Luster told the St. Petersburg Times. On Jul 19, Carter apparently called the police to say he was armed and disturbed. When they arrived, Carter fired his pistol and rifle inside the apartment, before emerging and pointing his weapons at the officers on the scene. Police say they ordered him to drop them. When he didn’t, they killed him in a 10-round fusillade. On Jul 23, about 90 minutes before her foreclosed Taunton, Massachusetts home was scheduled to be sold at auction, Carlene Balderrama faxed a letter to her mortgage company, letting them know that “by the time they foreclosed on the house today she’d be dead.” She continued, “I hope you’re more compassionate with my husband and son than you were with me.” After that, she took a high-powered rifle and, according to the Boston Globe, shot herself. In an interview with the Associated Press, Balderrama’s husband John said, “I had no clue.” His wife handled the finances and had been intercepting letters from the mortgage company for months. “She put in her suicide note that it got overwhelming for her,” he said. In the letter, she wrote, “take the [life] insurance money and pay for the house.”

The day after Balderrama took her life, 50 miles away in Worcester, Massachusetts, a 64-year-old man, who had already been evicted, barricaded himself inside his former home. Police were called to the scene to find him reportedly prepared to ignite four propane tanks. “His intention was to burn the house down with him in it,” Sgt. Christopher J. George told the Telegram & Gazette. With the man becoming “even more despondent” as “a moving van arrived on the street,” police stormed the house to find him “holding a foot-long knife to his own chest” as a piece of paper burned near the propane. The man was disarmed and the fire extinguished. That very same day, in Visalia, California, a Tulare County sheriff’s deputy tried to serve an eviction notice to Melvin Nicks, 50. Nicks responded by stabbing the deputy with a knife and barricading himself in the house for several hours. He later surrendered.

Bay City, Michigan residents David and Sharron Hetzel, both 56, “lost their home to foreclosure and filed for bankruptcy protection. But they did not follow through with the Chapter 13 proceedings.” On August 1st, say police reports, David Hetzel mailed a letter of apology to his family members. Later that night, according to the local police, he attacked his sleeping wife, striking her in the head with a golf club and repeatedly stabbing her with a kitchen knife. After that, he began setting fires throughout the house before crawling into bed beside his wife and killing himself with “a single, fatal wound to his torso.” On Aug 12, sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Saddlebrook, New Jersey home of 88-year-old Beatrice Brennan, another victim of the mortgage crisis, who had refinanced her home and fallen behind on payments. Refusing to stand idly by while his mother was put out on the street, her 60-year-old son John pulled a .22 caliber handgun on the lawmen. That sent the movers, waiting for a court-imposed 10 a.m. deadline, scurrying for their van. Brennan was able to delay the eviction briefly before a SWAT team arrested him and his mother lost her home. “I’m heartbroken over this,” Vincent Carabello, a longtime neighbor, told the local paper, the Record. “How could this happen?” Roseville, Minnesota resident Sylvia Sieferman was under a great deal of stress and beset by financial difficulties. She worried about how she would care for her two 11-year-old daughters. On August 21st, according to police reports, Sieferman “repeatedly stabbed the girls and herself.” “She reached her limit,” her friend Carrie Micko told the Star Tribune. “She couldn’t cope anymore… she felt that her daughters were suffering because she was failing to provide for them.” As Micko further explained, “After a series of financial mishaps, she just couldn’t see her way through. She was under extreme financial, emotional and spiritual distress and didn’t want to fail them.”

The Boston Globe reported that, on September 5th, “[f]our protesters trying to prevent the eviction of a Roxbury woman from her home were arrested… after they chained themselves to the steps of her back porch.” As 40 protesters chanted in the street, officials from Bank of America ordered Paula Taylor out of her house. “This is our eighth blockade and the first time there have been arrests,” said Soledad Lawrence, an organizer with City Life, a non-profit organization seeking to halt the large numbers of foreclosures and evictions in Boston neighborhoods. “They can be more aggressive and we’ll be more aggressive,” she added. On Sep 25, six Boston police officers confronted about 40 City Life activists in front of the home of Ana Esquivel, a public school employee, and her husband Raul, a construction worker, both in their fifties. The Globe reported that four protesters were arrested as police shoved their way through in order to allow a locksmith into the house to bar the Esquivels from their home. “We’ve been destroyed by the bank,” Ana Esquivel said, sobbing. “The bank is too big for us.” While the Esquivel blockade failed, Steven Meacham, a City Life organizer, told a Globe reporter that “the protests have helped to stop about nine evictions. In the successful blockades, the homeowners were given additional time by their mortgage holders to negotiate alternatives to foreclosure.”

Two days earlier, LA County sheriff’s deputies came to the Monrovia home of 53-year-old Joanne Carter and her 67-year-old husband John to serve an eviction notice. Joanne Carter refused to accept it. According to “Monrovia spokesman” Dick Singer, as reported in the Pasadena Star-News, she “told deputies she had guns in the house and showed them a shotgun.” The next day, Monrovia police officers showed up at the home after being informed that the woman “may have made threats to a workers compensation agency.” Police Lieutenant Michael Lee said that Carter told them if they “tried to come in, she would defend her house at any means necessary.” She and her husband then reportedly barricaded themselves inside, after which a shotgun was fired. Police from other local departments were called in. Following an hours-long standoff, the Carters surrendered and were arrested. That same day, in northern California, Cliff Kendall, Petaluma’s chief building official, shot himself with a rifle. A week earlier, Kendall had learned that he was being laid off. “He was afraid we’d lose our home, and we probably will because I can’t afford to keep it,” his wife Patricia, who is on disability with a back injury, told the Press Democrat. “He was extremely upset about it and hurt.”

On Oct 3, the day before Karthik Rajaram’s mass murder/suicide in Los Angeles, 90-year-old Addie Polk was driven to extremes by the financial crisis. With sheriff’s deputies at the door, Polk evidently took the only measure she felt was left to her to avoid eviction from her foreclosed home. She tried to kill herself. Her neighbor Robert Dillon, hearing loud noises from her home, used a ladder to enter the second floor window. He found Polk lying on her bed. “Then she kind of moved toward me a little and I saw that blood, and I said, ‘Oh, no. Miss Polk musta done shot herself.'” While she was in the hospital recovering from two self-inflicted gunshot wounds, Fannie Mae spokesman Brian Faith announced the mortgage association had decided to forgive her outstanding debt and give her the house “outright.” On Oct 6, in Sevier County, Tennessee, sheriff’s deputies, with police in tow, arrived to evict Jimmy and Pamela Ross from their home. They heard a shot and entered the home to find 57-year-old Pamela dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Neighbor Ruth Blakey told WVLT-TV, “I know she really hated to leave that house. She did not want to leave that house.” Wanda Dunn told neighbors she would rather die than leave her home. On Oct 13, the day she was to be evicted, the 53-year-old Pasadena, California native apparently set fire to the home “where her family had lived for generations” before shooting herself in the head. “We knew it was going to happen,” neighbor Steve Brooks told the LA Times. “It was nobody’s fault; it was everybody’s fault.”

peter dale scott : jfk & 9-11 (57 mins)

nato to perish by over-expansion

NATO reaches into the Indian Ocean (extract)
M K Bhadrakumar, Asia Times

A well-planned move

The most far-reaching decision at the Budapest meet was NATO’s decision to establish a naval presence in the Indian Ocean, ostensibly for protecting World Food Program ships carrying relief for famine-stricken Somalia. Announcing the decision on Oct 10, a NATO spokesman said, “The UN asked for NATO’s help to address this problem [piracy off Somalia’s coast]. Today, the ministers agreed that NATO should play a role. NATO will have its Standing Naval Maritime Group, which is composed of seven ships, in the region within two weeks.” He added that NATO would work with “all allies who have ships in the area now”. By Oct 15, seven ships from NATO navies had already transited the Suez Canal on their way to the Indian Ocean. En route, they will conduct a series of Persian Gulf port visits to countries neighboring Iran : Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which are NATO’s “partners” within the framework of the so-called Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. The mission comprises ships from the US, Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey. NATO’s SACEUR, General John Craddock, acknowledged that the mission furthers the alliance’s ambition to become a global political organization. He said, “The threat of piracy is real and growing in many parts of the world today, and this response is a good illustration of NATO’s ability to adapt quickly to new security challenges.” Evidently, NATO has been carefully planning its Indian Ocean deployment. The speed with which it dispatched the ships betrays an element of haste, likely anticipating that some among the littoral states in the Indian Ocean region might contest such deployment by a Western military alliance. By acting with lightning speed and without publicity, NATO surely created a fait accompli.

more circus from baron bloomberg

Criticism of Bloomberg Over Nonprofits’ Support
Michael Barbaro, NYT (extract)

Several of NYC’s top political figures on Sunday denounced Mayor Bloomberg’s administration in unusually harsh terms for asking nonprofit groups to support legislation that would allow Bloomberg to seek a third term in office. Many of the organizations contacted by the administration rely on Bloomberg, a billionaire, for tens of thousands of dollars a year in private donations and millions in city contracts, making it difficult to turn down the request, these leaders said. “It is an abuse of power, and it must stop,” said the city’s top financial watchdog, the NYC comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr., who may run for mayor next year. Representative Anthony Weiner, another likely candidate for mayor, said that “if you rely on the mayor or the administration to fund your organization, saying no when the mayor calls is not an option.” Bloomberg’s tactic, he said, “walks right up to the line of coercion, and it’s very corrosive.”

The NYT reported on Saturday that the mayor and his top deputies had pressed social service, arts and neighborhood groups that receive donations from Bloomberg to express support for his third-term bid by testifying during public hearings and by personally appealing to undecided members of the City Council, which will vote as early as this week on a bill that would amend the city’s term limits law, allowing Bloomberg and dozens of elected officials to serve 12 years in office, rather than the current eight. During public hearings in the Council last week, leaders from five groups that rely on Bloomberg’s donations — the Doe Fund, the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Public Art Fund, the Alliance of Resident Theaters and the St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation — testified on behalf of the bill, praising the mayor for his steady leadership. But none of the leaders disclosed that their groups received money from Bloomberg. For example, Harlem Children’s Zone, which provides services for children and families, has accepted more than $500k from Bloomberg since he was elected, and receives millions in city funds. […]

new and deeper pits to fall into

Iran warns West against talks with Taliban (AFP)

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned the West on Sunday not to push for talks with the Taliban militia, which had stormy relations with Tehran when it ruled Afghanistan up to 2001. “Today, the whole world knows about the strategic failure of foreign forces in Afghanistan and we advise them not to try a new failure,” the foreign minister told a news conference. “We advise them to think about the consequences of the talks (with the Taliban) which are taking place in the region and in Europe and avoid being bitten in the same spot twice,” Mottaki said, citing a Persian proverb. Last month, Afghan government representatives met Taliban leaders in the Saudi holy city of Makkah for talks on ending the insurgency that has plagued Afghanistan ever since the Taliban was ousted from power in a US-led invasion seven years ago, the Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported. The Afghan government denied the report but President Hamid Karzai has long called for talks with the Taliban on condition that they accept his government’s constitution and are not involved with Al Qaeda. Several western countries have expressed support for negotiations with the militia. “The West should not think that they can confine extremism to Afghanistan, Pakistan and central Asia,” Mottaki said, warning that extremism would one day also reach Europe and the West.

more ‘anti-semitic’ jews

Mud slings over chicken-swinging rite (extracts)
Ben Harris, JTA. Oct 12 2008

PETA’s kapparot video

On the night before Yom Kippur last year, animal rights activist Philip Schein says he was physically threatened when he showed up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn for the annual kapparot ritual. An undercover investigator with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Schein long has been concerned about kapparot, or kapporos, in which chickens are swung over one’s head in a symbolic transferring of sins a day before Yom Kippur. Schein says he identified himself as a PETA member and was filming the ceremony when several people physically harassed and threatened him. “It was just fortunate that there were police around,” Schein told JTA. “They said I have the right on a public street. I wasn’t disrupting anything. Who knows what would have happened if they weren’t there?” Fearing a repeat, Schein grew a beard and donned a cap in an effort to better blend in with the Lubavitch Chasidim who mount a massive kapparot operation each year in Crown Heights. Last week, shortly before 10 o’clock on the night before Yom Kippur, Schein and his wife, Hannah, also a PETA investigator, set out to monitor this year’s kapparot.

The Oct 8 scene in Brooklyn and the ritual at its center may seem inhumane and somewhat bizarre. Amid a carnival-like atmosphere featuring food vendors and street sellers, the largely Chasidic crowd lines up to purchase live chickens from a truck. With a wing and a prayer book in their hands, the Chasidim shlug, or swing, the birds around their heads while reciting a prayer before lining up to have the chickens ritually slaughtered. It’s all in full view of Eastern Parkway, a teeming thoroughfare that is the headquarters for the Lubavitch movement. Organizers estimate upward of 10,000 chickens are slaughtered in the street during the ritual, which winds down at sunrise. Chickens are placed in inverted red traffic cones after they are killed so their blood can run down. Once the chickens stop moving, which can take several minutes, they are transferred to garbage bags and piled on the sidewalk. Processing takes place in a cramped alley behind the Hadar Hatorah Rabbinical Seminary on Eastern Parkway. With an electric saw, the birds’ heads and legs are removed. A group of yeshiva students then pulls off the feathers and passes the chickens to the mashgiach, or kashrut supervisor, who removes their intestines for inspection. Those deemed kosher are then soaked and salted and placed in a freezer. All the chickens are then given to charity, says Rabbi Shea Hecht, a prominent figure in the Lubavitch movement and one of the main organizers of the kapparot event in Brooklyn.

Hecht’s prominent role in organizing the kapparot has made him a target of PETA. After years of investigating kapparot, PETA asked the New York State Kosher Law Enforcement Division in August to open a fraud investigation against Hecht. As Yom Kippur approached, PETA also issued an action alert to its followers, which led to a flood of emails and faxes to Hecht’s office. Hours before the ritual was set to begin, Hecht issued a statement condemning the PETA campaign, which he claimed had led to some “threatening” and anti-Semitic e-mails. NYC Police reportedly opened an investigation. The Scheins claim that the volume of birds slaughtered far outstrips processing capacity, resulting last year in some two-thirds of the birds being discarded in Dumpsters. Organizers are violating two Jewish injunctions, the Scheins say — against causing unnecessary suffering to animals and against wastefulness. Hecht adamantly denies both charges and says Schein made up the two-thirds figure. “He’s a liar,” Hecht said last week. “Their agenda is to wipe out shechita — period. No. 2, their agenda is to hurt Torah-observant Jews.” As evidence, he cited PETA’s targeting of him as the most visible proponent of kapparot. “If they take me down, everybody else is going to stop doing it,” Hecht said.

newt’s secret buzzwords

As you know, one of the key points in the GOPAC tapes is that “language matters.” In the video “We Are a Majority,” Language is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party, along with Agenda, Rules, Attitude and Learning. As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates, we have heard a plaintive plea: “I wish I could speak like Newt.” That takes years of practice. But we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases. This list is prepared so that you might have a directory of words to use in writing literature and mail, in preparing speeches, and in producing electronic media. The words and phrases are powerful. Read them. Memorize as many as possible. And remember that, like any tool, these words will not help if they are not used….

Contrasting Words

Often we search hard for words to help us define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.

decay… failure (fail)… collapse(ing)… deeper… crisis… urgent(cy)… destructive… destroy… sick… pathetic… lie… liberal… they/them… unionized bureaucracy… “compassion” is not enough… betray… consequences… limit(s)… shallow… traitors… sensationalists…

endanger… coercion… hypocrisy… radical… threaten… devour… waste… corruption… incompetent… permissive attitudes… destructive… impose… self-serving… greed… ideological… insecure… anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs… pessimistic… excuses… intolerant…

stagnation… welfare… corrupt… selfish… insensitive… status quo… mandate(s)… taxes… spend(ing)… shame… disgrace… punish (poor…)… bizarre… cynicism… cheat… steal… abuse of power… machine… bosses… obsolete… criminal rights… red tape… patronage

Optimistic Positive Governing Words

Use the list below to help define your campaign and your vision of public service. These words can help give extra power to your message. In addition, these words help develop the positive side of the contrast you should create with your opponent, giving your community something to vote for!

share… change… opportunity… legacy… challenge… control… truth… moral… courage… reform… prosperity… crusade… movement… children… family… debate… compete… active(ly)… we/us/our… candid(ly)… humane… pristine… provide…

liberty… commitment… principle(d)… unique… duty… precious… premise… care(ing)… tough… listen… learn… help… lead… vision… success… empower(ment)… citizen… activist… mobilize… conflict… light… dream… freedom…

peace… rights… pioneer… proud/pride… building… preserve… pro-(issue): flag, children, environment… reform… workfare… eliminate good-time in prison… strength… choice/choose… fair… protect… confident… incentive… hard work… initiative… common sense… passionate