Activism

There are a variety of non-profit organizations that are immersed in issues aligned with JUDJ’s mission. Representatives of most of the following organizations have been amongst the speakers in our “Community Conversations” series and the “America at a Crossroads” virtual series. We encourage you to connect with and support these organizations, many of which have volunteer opportunities and other ways to take action.

JUDJ Newsletter

JUDJ regularly sends supporters newsletters highlighting upcoming events and a round up of important articles and news coverage related to our efforts and issue areas.

November 9, 2021 

Dear Friend:

Tomorrow’s America at a Crossroads program features two of the most incisive analysts of America’s political scene, political strategists Steve Schmidt and Bob Shrum.  Steve Schmidt was the manager of the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John McCain. He is quoted frequently and noted for his unflinching analysis of the political scene, letting his rhetorical barbs fly freely. He is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and other news networks and a founder of the influential Lincoln Project.    Bob Shrum is the director of the Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California and the holder of the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw chair in Practical Politics. His Democratic presidential campaign experience runs from George McGovern to John Kerry. He has been described as “the most sought-after consultant in the Democratic Party.” Register here
 



TUCKER CARLSON DOCUMENTARY DAMAGES OUR DEMOCRACY 
According to The Atlantic’s Anne Appelbaum, Tucker Carlson is stirring up hatred in America and his new documentary aims to “sow mistrust of the country’s most important institutions.” In this article in this week’s The Atlantic Appelbaum describes how Carlson’s documentary, Patriot Purge, uses a “combination of violent, rapidly changing film clips, ominous music, and earnest ‘witnesses’ to provoke feelings of danger, anger, and mistrust around the FBI, the U.S. military, the White House, the American government as a whole.”  She writes that the goals of this project is “to describe the events of January 6 as a false-flag operation cooked up inside the deepest layers of the American deep state—and thus to cast doubt on everything that will come out of Congress’s January 6 hearings, everything revealed by every Washington Post or network-television investigation, everything turned up by the FBI. ”  And, as an ancillary benefit, the documentary will help to undermine confidence in future elections.

In January 2022, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Anne Appelbaum will be a featured America at a Crossroads guest; stay tuned for registration information.  

WHAT DO THE EVANGELISTS REALLY WANT FROM OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?
In this column in today’s Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin shares her views on the objectives of the white evangelical voting base.  She dismisses the notion that pursing social policy objectives, like anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage laws, is their goal; rather she suggests that those issues are more of an organizing tool than a commitment to policy.  Rubin opines that the agenda of the White evangelical movement has merged with the MAGA/Trump movement which is racially driven.  “Many [amongst the White evangelical and MAGA adherents] essentially see politics as a great battle between White, Christian America and the multiracial, religiously diverse reality of 21st century America. They want someone to help them win that existential fight. Government is there not to produce legislative fixes to real-world problems but to engage their enemies on behalf of White Christianity…It’s all about race and religious identity, not policies founded in Christian values and certainly not about finding a role model for civic virtues. Trump was determined to protect White evangelicals against people of color and the decline in Christian identification; that was all they could hope for in a politician.” 

Re-SEND: FORMER HEAD OF US JEWISH REFORM MOVEMENT SOUNDS THE ALARM: TRUMP IS BAD FOR THE JEWS SAYS YOFFE
In this article in Ha’aretz (which I summarize below since you might only be able to access if you have a subscription), Rabbi Eric Yoffe who is the former President of the Union for Reform Judaism expresses his fears about a second term for former President Trump.  He writes that the chaos ,”mob rule” and undermining of our democracy which Trump has demonstrably brought to public life threatens Jewish welfare and Jewish lives. Rabbi Yoffe passionately sounds an alarm as he writes, “Jewish well being in America is directly related to America’s stability, pluralism, and relative tolerance, along with established constitutional guarantees of freedom and equality. No other Diaspora community has come close to offering its Jews the security and peace of mind that they enjoy in America… Our only hope now is to awaken Americans from their dozing indifference, remind them of the danger and the stakes, take on the odious haters and would-be authoritarians in our midst, and reaffirm the constitutional norms that protect all Americans, Jews included.  And this too: we must call out Donald Trump by name. We know who he is and what he has done, and we will not forgive or forget.  With due respect to other concerns, however weighty, the fight against Trump must now be the heart of the American Jewish agenda.”

Dear Friend:

If you missed today’s conversation between Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Warren Olney  you can watch the full program at this link.  It will be posted within a few hours after the conclusion of the program.  All of our programs can be found at that link and remain there indefinitely. 

Congressman Schiff’s recently released book, Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy…And Still Could can be found here.  Today the book was listed as #1 on the New York Times bestsellers’ list.  At this link is The NY Times’ review of Congressman Schiff’s new book.



WHAT ARE THE TAKE-AWAYS FROM YESTERDAY’S ELECTIONS?
In today’s Washington Post, EJ Dionne Jr.’s column focused on the take-aways from the results of yesterday’s elections.   Dionne opens his column with this sentence: “There was only one good thing for Democrats in Tuesday’s elections: A defeat so comprehensive and disastrous does not leave room for excuse-making, blame-shifting or evasion.”  After providing his analysis of the Virginia and New Jersey results, he admonishes Democrats, in order to spare themselves more and greater losses, to move quickly to enact and defend the president’s program.  He urges the Senate Democrats to not “allow the filibuster to block action on voting rights, now a more urgent cause than ever. Republican state governments will continue to throw up roadblocks to voting — and Black voters who were key to Biden’s victory will not forgive the president or his party if they just walk away from the pivotal civil rights battle of our time.”

RE-SEND: WASHINGTON POST RELEASES ITS REPORT OF ITS INVESTIGATION OF THE INSURRECTION

Here is the Washington Post’s summary of the results of their extensive investigation on the events of January 6th.  In Sunday’s Washington Post, there was an in-depth report written by the Post’s White House Bureau Chief, Philip Rucker, detailing the results and conclusions of Post’s extensive investigation. The Rucker article, entitled Bloodshed, is behind a paywall and can only be read if you have a subscription to the Post.  The one sentence subtitle to the Rucker article reveals a great deal about their findings–“For 187 harrowing minutes, the president watched his supporters attack the Capitol — and resisted pleas to stop them.”  The summary which appears in the Post’s politics newsletter, The 5-Minute Fix, is accessible to the entire public and gives an excellent summary of the findings.



FORMER HEAD OF US JEWISH REFORM MOVEMENT SOUNDS THE ALARM: TRUMP IS BAD FOR THE JEWS SAYS YOFFE
In this article in Ha’aretz (which I summarize below since you might only be able to access if you have a subscription), Rabbi Eric Yoffe who is the former President of the Union for Reform Judaism expresses his fears about a second term for former President Trump.  He writes that the chaos ,”mob rule” and undermining of our democracy which Trump has demonstrably brought to public life threatens Jewish welfare and Jewish lives. Rabbi Yoffe passionately sounds an alarm as he writes, “Jewish wellbeing in America is directly related to America’s stability, pluralism, and relative tolerance, along with established constitutional guarantees of freedom and equality. No other Diaspora community has come close to offering its Jews the security and peace of mind that they enjoy in America… Our only hope now is to awaken Americans from their dozing indifference, remind them of the danger and the stakes, take on the odious haters and would-be authoritarians in our midst, and reaffirm the constitutional norms that protect all Americans, Jews included.  And this too: we must call out Donald Trump by name. We know who he is and what he has done, and we will not forgive or forget.  With due respect to other concerns, however weighty, the fight against Trump must now be the heart of the American Jewish agenda.”

Dear Friend:

Tomorrow, renowned columnist and socio-political commentator, George F. Will, will be in conversation with NPR’s Madeleine Brand.  Register Here.

George Will’s recently released book, American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020 includes nearly 200 of Will’s Washington Post columns written over the past 50 years.  One reviewer wrote, “The nearly 200 columns collected here confirm that Will is still a brilliant prose craftsman as well as a keen and dyspeptic political observer. Love him or loathe him, there is no one else like him.”



ROLLING STONE’S EXCLUSIVE REVELATIONS ABOUT JANUARY 6 RALLIES AND INSURRECTION:
In this article published in Sunday’s Rolling Stone, Hunter Walker exposes the contents of conversations between Rolling Stone and two of the planners of the January 6th rallies which led to the attack on the US Capitol.  The two planners have spoken with Congressional January 6th House investigators and, according to Walker, will likely be cooperating witnesses.  According to Rolling Stone, these planners have provided explosive information which confirms that Trump’s team, going as high up as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, knew of the erupting violence, were in a position to stop the attack, but declined to do so.  The two planners also reported that they were all but assured that they’d receive blanket presidential pardons. There is also extensive reporting on the involvement by many GOP Congress members in planning the events of January 6, including  Reps: Marjorie Greene (R-Ga.) Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.),  Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.),  Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.),  Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), all of whom have defended the actions of the January 6 rioters. 



SHOULD ATTORNEY GENERAL GARLAND PURSUE TRUMP? BOOT SAYS “YES”
In this column in yesterday’s Washington Post, Max Boot writes about the dilemma confronting Attorney General Merrick Garland as to whether to prosecute predecessor leaders; aggressively prosecuting past leaders beckons comparisons to banana republics, while failing to do so encourages future bad conduct and breeds a climate where politicians are not accountable for their actions.  Boot contends that while some restraint might be acceptable, the exercise of restraint in holding former President Trump responsible for his actions is unjustifiable.  After enumerating just some of Trump’s actions which Boot feels require Garland’s attention, Boot writes, “That’s why I think Garland needs to appoint a special counsel to thoroughly investigate Trump’s abuses of power; indeed, he should have done so months ago. Naturally Trump and his partisans would describe any investigation as a ‘witch hunt’, but they will make the same accusations against local prosecutors who are also Democrats. That it would still be up to a jury to convict him would provide a measure of political insulation.”

Dear Friend:

Today at 5 pm pacific Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, a leading scholar of the US constitution and democratic institutions, who has authored nine books, will be in conversation with Stanford political sociologist Larry Diamond on the topic of The Trajectory of Our American Democracy. (Register here)

FREEDOM TO VOTE ACT:  SENATOR KING’S IMPASSIONED PLEA
Yesterday,  Senator Angus King (I-ME) gave this impassioned speech in support of the Freedom to Vote Act which will be taken up in a procedural vote today; the Republicans are threatening a filibuster.  Senator Angus King (I-ME) noted that our democracy is fragile and can fail, as so many other democracies around the world have failed.  He stressed the importance of free and fair elections and of the peaceful transfer of power.  He excoriated the disenfranchisement of voters, and the lies claiming voter fraud which have degraded trust in our election processes, systems, and results. Senator King said  that to save our democracy we must, “pull our country back from the brink, and to begin the work of restoring our democracy as we did in the Revolution, as we did in the Civil War, and as we did in the Civil Rights struggles: first, by simply telling the truth and then by enacting a set of basic protections of the sacred right to vote.”  He admonished his colleagues, “Now is the moment that we’re called upon to reach beyond our region, our state, our party, ourselves to save and reinvigorate the sputtering flame of the American idea.”

BLOOMBERG OPINION BLOG: NOAH FELDMAN
Professor Feldman is a regular opinion columnist for Bloomberg in which he writes frequently about the critical issues of the day which relate to our democracy; his blog entries are at this link.  In anticipation of tomorrow’s program, consider Noah Feldman’s blog post about abortion and the US Supreme Court; he writes, “If five conservative justices overturn Roe v. Wade, Biden and Democratic leaders might not have a choice but to support increasing the size of the court.” 

AMERICAN PURPOSE NEWSLETTER: LARRY DIAMOND
In this recent posting by Larry Diamond in the American Purpose digital newsletter, Diamond writes about the dangers confronting American democracy; he notes that while the dangers are clear and present, so are the solutions.  “Defenders of democracy” writes Diamond, “won’t win at the polls simply by denouncing their opponents’ betrayals of democratic norms; they must peel away populist supporters through inclusive messages that address these voters’ economic and cultural anxieties and show real respect for their dignity and worth. As the party in power now, Democrats must deliver on their promises to improve economic fairness and opportunity for lower- and middle-income Americans, including those in rural areas; they must also show they are serious about combatting crime and illegal immigration. These requirements fly in the face of far-left Democratic demands to ‘defund the police’ or simply accept illegal immigration.”
THE HILL: NEW QUINNIPIAC SURVEY
In this article published today in The Hill, it is reported that according to a new Quinnipiac University survey almost 80% of Republicans want former President Trump to run in 2024. “Seventy-eight percent of Republicans polled said they think Trump should run again, while 16 percent said he should sit out the 2024 race. Meanwhile, 94 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents said Trump should not run.”
Dear Friend:

Today at 5 the topic is the 2021-2022 United States Supreme Court term which began last week.  Several monumentally important issues such as abortion rights, gun rights, and voting rights will be considered by the Court.  We will hear from two experts, Prof. Rick Hasen of UC Irvine Law School  and Slate’s and Newsweek’s Dahlia Lithwick, who will discuss the Court and what is at stake in conversation with  KPCC’s Larry Mantle. Register here

SOME ARTICLES RELATED TO TODAY’S PROGRAM (RE-SEND)
1. On the issue of Election Law and how to avoid future presidential candidates from stealing elections, consider this column by Rick Hasen which was recently published in the Washington Post. Hasen writes that  “we face a serious risk that election results will not reflect the will of the people in 2024 or some other future American presidential election.” He proposes legislative actions which Congress must expeditiously take to minimize this serious risk.  And, while he believes that bi-partisan support of election reform legislation is preferable, he writes that ” iif Republicans won’t act, that shouldn’t stop Democrats from moving ahead on this issue. If protecting elections isn’t worth setting the filibuster aside for — if only temporarily — it’s hard to know what would be.”
2. On how to best understand the rulings which will be issued during the current US Supreme Court term,  this column co-written by Dahlia Lithwick and published recently in Slate, warns “we have a tendency to accept the framing of the debate in terms that can obfuscate the significance of what the court is actually doing.”  By listening to politicized reporting of the Court’s decisions, many of the rulings can be misunderstood; for example, by focusing simply on whether the court will overturn Roe v. Wade, the public could easily miss devastating blows dealt by the Court to abortion rights even if the court does not overturn Roe v. Wade.
3. On whether expanding the number of justices on the US Supreme Court is a good idea, Staci Zaretsky, a senior editor at Above the Law discusses the issue in this column in which she quotes one highly accomplished constitutional law scholar who feels court expansion would be a grave error.


Monday’s Posting: Letters from an American, a daily newsletter
This outstanding blog entry from Heather Cox Richardson’s  “Letters from an American” discusses the op-eds published this week by 3 well-known Republicans who are urging Republicans to vote Democratic until the authoritarian faction that has taken over the Republican Party loses their influence. Cox Richardson writes that these GOP voices are calling for Republicans to put country over party and support moderate Democrats, while also asking Democrats to concede that “‘there are certain races where progressives simply cannot win and acknowledg[e] that it makes more sense to throw their lot in with a center-right candidate who can take out a more radical conservative.”  One of the Republicans who is quoted in the blog post is our frequent America at a Crossroads guest Max Boot who recently wrote, “It is mind-boggling that a defeated president won’t accept the election outcome…. What is even more alarming is that more than 60 percent of Republicans agree with his preposterous assertion that the election was stolen and want him to remain as the party’s leader.”   Cox Richardson noted that  these pronouncements by (former?) Republicans this week were  particularly exceptional because (1) what they are calling for was not a separate party, but for Republicans to shift their votes to the Democrats, and (2) their identification of the Republicans as an existential threat to our democracy is being published in major newspapers.You can subscribe to Letters from an American, which is a daily blog post by Heather Cox Richardson, an American historian and professor of American history at Boston College.

Dear Friend:

Due to the votes to be taken in the Senate tomorrow evening, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has had to cancel his appearance on America at a Crossroads Virtual Town Hall. We are working with his office to reschedule as soon as possible.
We were extremely fortunate to be able to secure polling maven, political pundit, and uber analyst Ron Brownstein of CNN and The Atlantic to join in discussion with KCRW’s Warren Olney at 5:00PM [Pacific].

They will discuss topics ranging from the pending Senate bills to the latest polls, to the filibuster, to the extraordinary dysfunction we are witnessing in the House and the Senate.  Brownstein is a journalist, historian, and widely quoted political expert. He is a senior political and election analyst for CNN and an editorial director of Atlantic Media Company. His columns and analysis regularly appear in The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times and the National Journal. He recently authored The New York Times best-seller, Rock Me on the Water: 1974, The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics (click here to order the book).

Join us next week for a discussion of the 2021-2022 United States Supreme Court term. This year’s docket has several monumentally important issues and warrants special attention. Prof. Rick Hasan of UC Irvine Law School will be joined by Slate’s and Newsweek’s Dahlia Lithwick; KPCC’s Larry Mantle will moderate. Register here

ARTICLES OF SPECIAL NOTE 
1.  In this op-ed in Sunday’s NY Times, guest columnist CUNY Professor of International Studies Zachariah Mampilly explores the question of what is driving citizen protests which are occurring across the globe.  While he acknowledges that the triggering event for these protests is the pandemic, he feels the problem goes much deeper than the pandemic.  He writes: “While many demonstrations explicitly invoke the pandemic, the bigger, latent concern is the inability of modern governments to serve the majority of their populations, especially the middle and poorer classes…Add the botched responses to Covid and it is no surprise that citizens have little confidence in their leaders, elected or otherwise, to confront these challenges.”  His conclusion about the breakdown in trust in social systems is a stark reality which reminds us of the repair work to be done in societies across the globe, as well as domestically,  “Social trust is a precious thing. It can take generations to build but can be lost in a flash. And so protests are likely to continue wherever that trust remains low…The pandemic has revealed the disconnect between governments and their citizens.”

2. In this op-ed in today’s NY TImes, Donald Ayer, a U.S. attorney and principal deputy solicitor general in the Reagan administration and deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration, expresses concern about the right-wing ideological bent of the majority of the current Supreme Court.  Ayer was an advocate for the Reagan-era policy which shunned judicial activism, and points out that this very conservative court is violating its charge as “stewards of an existing body of law and not innovators charged with radically remaking it.”  Ayer critically reviews the cases decided by the Court in the previous docket, pointing out the ways the Court has abandoned core and long-held democratic and legal principles.  Based upon those prior rulings by this Court, Ayer writes, “the expanding right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has relied on an array of innovative constitutional rights to undermine traditional governmental actions while discarding longstanding precedents with which they disagree…[while] at the same time it seems ready to cast aside certain constitutional rights” by giving “sweeping new interpretations” to well established rights and invokes those new interpretations “to radically narrow certain government powers that were until quite recently uncontroversial, including, for example, powers related to public safety or our democratic process.”

3.  The subject of  this op-ed by the editorial board of the Washington Post, involves an anti-semitic campaign mailer which was paid for by the Virginia Republican Party and which invoked the age old negative stereotypes about Jews; the mailer was sent out by a GOP challenger to the incumbent democratic Virginia state legislator whom the Washington Post endorsed in the column.  According to the reporting, the anti-Semitic tropes raised in the mailer “follow a recent GOP pattern among Virginia Republican candidates in this fall’s legislative elections.”
Dear Friends:  

Today at 5 pacific we welcome the prolific and brilliant Jennifer Rubin who will discuss the outsized role women are playing in our elections and in our democracy.  Last week, her book, RESISTANCE: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump was released.  Register here.

ARTICLES OF SPECIAL NOTE 
Tom Friedman Challenges the Moderate and Progressive Dems
1.  Tom Friedman’s op-ed in today’s New York Times asks this question of Congressional Democrats, with a particular emphasis on both the “moderates” and the “progressives” : “Are you ready to risk a lot less than Liz Cheney did to do what is necessary right now — from your side — to save our democracy?”  Friedman writes that given the rogue behavior of all but 2 Congressional Republicans (Cheney and Kinzinger), the Democrats must act alone to protect electoral integrity and save our democracy from  this “Trump-cult version of the G.O.P.”. While Friedman notes that it will be a huge (and unfair) challenge, he also notes that “if Cheney can risk everything to stop Trump, then Democrats — both moderates and progressives — must rise to this moment and forge the majorities needed in the Senate and House to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill (now scheduled for a Thursday vote in the House), a voting rights bill and as much of the Build Back Better legislation as moderate and progressives can agree on.”

Robert Kagan’s Chilling Op-Ed about Threats to our Peace & Democracy (re-send)
2. The opening sentence of this chilling op-ed in last week’s Washington Post by columnist Robert Kagan paints an extremely bleak picture of the near-future of our American democracy: “The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves.”  He warns that the stage which has been set by Trump and his allies ensures that the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential elections will create massive chaos that, according to Kagan, no one is taking seriously enough to adopt and implement measures to prevent the all-but-certain chaos and threats to our domestic peace and our democracy.  While Kagan’s perspective is depressing, to say the least, many of the country’s democracy scholars have taken note of the op-ed and have all-but-agreed with Kagan’s analysis and predictions. 

Jennifer Rubin on how Republican Tactics will Backfire and Benefit Dems (re-send)
3. In yesterday’s Washington Post op-ed column, Jennifer Rubin opines that the Republicans’ current policies and tactics are likely to politically backfire. Rubin references the outcome of the California gubernatorial recall, and writes, “There is nothing like the specter of misogynistic antiabortion policy or Republicans’ willful refusal to fight a deadly pandemic to engage the Democratic base. Moreover, in stressing these issues, Democrats do nothing to alienate independents or sane Republicans. To the contrary…”.
3. Also in yesterday’s Washington Post, this Jennifer Rubin column discusses the continued promulgation by Trump and allies of “the big lie”  and their never-ending calls for post-election audits, which will, in Rubin’s opinion, inure to the benefit of Democrats in upcoming elections.  She writes, “Democrats relish the reminder to voters that Republicans are a threat to the sanctity of elections and will invite chaos if the races do not go their way.”   
Dear Friends:  

Wishing all who celebrate, a joyous Sukkot holiday.  On Wednesday, September 22 at 5 pm, we will welcome The Atlantic’s David Frum in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand to discuss Trump’s continuing impact on American politics and on the world. The zoom link is provided above.  You can register here.


PAST PROGRAMS:  You can access recordings of ALL of our past programs here.   



Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.  

Article of Note
This Wall Street Journal article co-authored by America at a Crossroad’s recent guest, Michael Bender, discloses a growing divide between Trump and McConnell and reports that Trump is in search of a challenger to “depose” McConnell as the Senate’s Republican leader. “The main disagreement has been over the style of candidate best suited to pick off seats from Democrats. Mr. Trump has leaned on personal relationships and loyalty tests for most of his endorsements. In contrast, Mr. McConnell has looked to Republicans who have been vetted, with a demonstrated ability to win in their states.”

Washington Post columnist George F. Will has written a new book entitled,   American Happiness & DIscontents. In last week’s Washington Post,  Will’s column is highly personal; he recounts his career and reflects on how he came to be a “commentary columnist”.  The column, entitled, The Pursuit of Happiness is Happiness, is a prelude to his newly released book, and concludes with these words which suggest that the book is about the intersection of the personal and the political during these complicated times: “It has been well said that the United States is the only nation founded on a good idea, the proposition that people should be free to pursue happiness as they define it. In recent years, however, happiness has been elusive for this dyspeptic nation, in which too many people think and act as tribes and define their happiness as some other tribe’s unhappiness… Perhaps the information, the reasoning and, I hope, the occasional amusements in newspaper columns can help readers think through, and thereby diminish, our current discontents…They will diminish if, but only if Americans adhere to two categorical imperatives: They should behave as intelligently as they can, and should be as cheerful as is reasonable. The pursuit of individual happiness, and of a more perfect union, never reaches perfect fulfillment, but never mind…For Americans, the pursuit of happiness is happiness.”
Dear Friends:  

There is no program today because of the observance of Yom Kippur.  Next week, on Wednesday, September 22 at 5 pm, we will welcome The Atlantic’s David Frum in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand to discuss Trump’s continuing impact on American politics and on the world.  You can register here.


PAST PROGRAMS:  You can access recordings of ALL of our past programs, including last week’s Amb. Dennis Ross exceptional briefing on Afghanistan, here.   



Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.  


SPECIAL ESSAY FOR YOM KIPPUR
In deference to Yom Kippur, we share this essay by Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, published this week in the NY Times on the topics of forgiveness, Yom Kippur, T’shuvah and the special challenges posed by atonement in the context of “cancel culture”,  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/12/opinion/yom-kippur-forgiveness.html
Dear Friends:

If you missed tonight’s enlightening program about Afghanistan featuring Ambassador Dennis Ross in conversation with Patt Morrison you can listen to it at this link later tonight. (It remains there indefinitely).  

Next week, due to Yom Kippur, there will not be an America at a Crossroads program.  We return on Wednesday, September 22 at 5 pm with The Atlantic’s David Frum in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand to discuss Trump’s continuing impact on American politics and on the world.  You can register here.


PAST PROGRAMS:  You can access recordings of ALL of our past programs here.   



Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.  


ARTICLES OF NOTE
1. Anarchists versus Authoritarians
In this op-ed in Tuesday’s Washington Post, Max Boot questions whether today’s Republicans are anarchists or authoritarians; ultimately Boot decides that recent Republican actions prove them to be both anarchists AND authoritarians.  Boot cites many recent actions taken to support his contention: the Texas anti-abortion statute, the voter suppression laws passed in 18 Republican-controlled legislatures, the laws prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory in 8 Republican-controlled states, the actions taken by 5 Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices, and more.  Based thereon, Boot concludes, “Republicans are fighting…to establish a state in which conservative White Christians are in charge. But until that happens, they will undermine every institution that they perceive as being under the control of their progressive foes…Republicans are ludicrously convinced that the left has hijacked even institutions such as big business and the military.”
 
2. Extremism in Texas: Anti-Abortion Law & Anti-Voting Law
Last week, the US Supreme Court declined to stop a Texas law that restricts most abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy, According to Sue Halpern, the writer of this piece in this week’s New Yorker, by so doing, the Roberts Court “dramatically further[ed] the illiberal, anti-democratic tendency of the” Court.  Interestingly, Chief Justice John Roberts, himself, dissented. Most controversially, the law, which has been dubbed “a vigilante law”, gives individuals, rather than the state, the right to enforce penalties against those who in any way participate in the illegal abortion. In a stinging dissent, Justice Sotomayer said that the statute and ostensibly the Court’s refusal to block it, “is a breathtaking act of defiance—of the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”  Halpern connects the odious Texas anti-abortion law with the newly passed Texas voter suppression law, the latter being a set of “draconian laws to make it harder to vote, especially for people of color. “Though the two laws address different domains, they are connected: in Texas and elsewhere in the country, a ligature of racism connects efforts to deny people of color their right to vote and women—disproportionately women of color—their right to terminate a pregnancy.
Dear Friends:

Next week due to  Rosh Hashanah, our program will be on
THURSDAY, September 9 at 6 pm.  

We will once again welcome Ambassador Dennis Ross, this time to brief us on AFGHANISTAN: What Happened and What Does it Mean? Ambassador Ross has served in numerous senior national security positions in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, and is expert on the Middle and Near East in particular.  He has been a frequent guest of America at a Crossroads.  Register here



Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.  


ARTICLES OF NOTE
 
In anticipation of next Thursday Afghanistan briefing by Dennis Ross…
 In this op-ed in Sunday’s NY Times, Dennis Ross ,who will be giving us a briefing on Afghanistan next THURSDAY and who served in numerous senior national security positions in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, challenges those who feel that the Afghanistan crisis has dealt a “mortal blow” to America’s position and credibility on the world stage. Without diminishing the tragedy of Afghanistan, Ross provides perspective by reviewing other times of credibility crises which the US has confronted in recent history, including Viet Nam, the Iran hostage crisis (Carter), the terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia which killed 19 US soldiers (Clinton), the invasion of Iraq (Bush 2), the repeated threats to pull out of NATO (Trump), and so many more.  All of these situations to greater or lesser degree, were major crises and all damaged American credibility in varying measures.  Ross concludes by writing that “America is the most powerful country in the world, and its allies will need its help to combat direct threats and an array of new, growing national security dangers, including cyberwar and climate change. That does not mean that the United States can dismiss the costs of its mistakes in Afghanistan. But it does show that America can recover.”

Kevin McCarthy Threatens Firms that Cooperate with  January 6 Investigation
In this op ed in yesterday’s Washington Post, Michael Gerson analyzes the various flanks of the Republican Party and specifically writes about McCarthy’s demagoguery and the danger to our Republic were he to become House Speaker. Gerson writes: “Here is the problem: When a leader such as McCarthy fully embraces Trumpism — both its content and methods — as the essence of governing Republicanism, he is not only determining the predominant ideology of his party. He is also implicitly affirming the new ideological ecosystem of the American right — its lawless governing theory, its cultlike conspiracy theories and its threat of political violence. This is very much a package deal.”

Dear Friends:

If you weren’t able to join us this evening for an interesting and wide-ranging conversation between Susan Glasser and Patt Morrison, you can watch the entire program at this link starting a few hours after the program has ended. All of our past programs reside at that link and remain there indefinitely.
Thank you for your donations! We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads. America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI). All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI. Donations can be made here: JUDJ website or here: CAI website. JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.
CURRENT EVENT: RECONCILIATION BILL PASSED THE HOUSE

In this op-ed in today’s Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin describes Speaker Pelosi’s skills at managing the various factions amongst Congressional Democrats as masterful. The particular issue this week was a noisy and very public battle staged by 9 centrist Congressional Democrats who were threatening passage of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill if Pelosi did not first call for a vote on the bi-partisan infrastructure bill. According to Rubin, “[i]t seems the nine members obstructed the caucus to obtain leverage in crafting the reconciliation package to junk the $10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. If so, they suffer from political tone-deafness, as the deductions primarily help wealthy homeowners in blue states.” The reconciliation bill was passed by the House yesterday, which clears the way for Congressional Democrats to move forward on a sweeping package that includes President Biden’s key domestic policy proposals. Rubin concludes by reiterating the rule of thumb in DC: “Never bet against Pelosi.” Also yesterday, Pelosi set the deadline of the end of September for the bi-partisan infrastructure bill vote.

How an upstart L.A. group crushed the Jewish internet: JUDJ featured in The Forward.

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