October 16, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am #900087YekkyMember
ROMNEY! At first I did not know him, but after hearing him @ the debate and fund raising dinner, I am not only anti-Obama, but firmly excited about Mitt! He is clearly OUR choice! Go ROMNEY!October 16, 2012 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm #900088
Yytz that is just not the case. Why does everyone thing all abortions are going to end WHEN Romney is president. Read his platform. In cases of incest, rape and if the mothers life is threatened, you can terminate. # 1 do you know long it will take for a new policy to go into effect? A long time. Romneys policies are NOT anti Torah. Obamas are and if you can’t see that you are clearly not paying any attention. Also I might ad, Romney is not going to stop all subsidies to private school, yeshivos etc. why does everyone believe all of this ” malarkey”. He does want to tighten the chain on welfare, food stamps etc, and good for him. Our country is in free fall, we need to get off our lazy tucheses and stop thinking that life is going to hand us every single thing on a platter with no hard work! BH Hashem made us able bodied, let’s put that to some good use!October 16, 2012 7:04 pm at 7:04 pm #900089HealthParticipant
And around the track they go. It’s neck in neck. It seems that the white horse is leading the brown horse. But we won’t know until they cross the finish line – who the winner is.October 16, 2012 7:33 pm at 7:33 pm #900090EzratHashemMember
The debate moderator for tonight should be replaced, even at this late hour, since she publicly claims she will not honor her contract to remain neutral.October 17, 2012 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #900091
I understand what you are saying. I am mystified as to why the moderators do not nip the interruptions and rude behavior during these debates in the bud. That behavior really alienates me.October 17, 2012 4:40 pm at 4:40 pm #9000922scentsParticipant
I personally think that Obama did not behave right nor directly answer the questions.
On the other hand Romney had class, addressed the answers, and showed the president that he was lying in a very polite way.October 17, 2012 7:18 pm at 7:18 pm #900093
FTR, I am not an attorney.October 17, 2012 7:50 pm at 7:50 pm #900094
I believe that however the spin docs will try to save this debate, that Obama showed a singular lack of leadership, and Romney SHOULD have called him on it. If my embassy is attacked and R”L people are murdered in the attack, THAT is not an act of terror. It is an act of WAR. The President took his sweet time in reacting appropriately (still hasn’t, btw)and in calling a spade a spade. He did NOT say this was an act of terror when he was in the Rose Garden. He said the US will not tolerate a terrorist act (paraphrasing a bit). Meanwhile, that is PRECISELY what he is doing, through his astonishing failure to take immediate action, but going out and campaigning at fund-raisers in the aftermath of this tragedy.
There is a fine difference between saying an act of terror has just been committed against our nation, and saying that we will not tolerate acts of terror. One, informs the people of something crucial to the public knowledge, something which the president and his representatives did not do. The other, merely spouts more useless rhetoric. And that is exactly what Obama did in the Rose Garden, as well as in the debate last night. He merely mouths old and tired sound bytes. And that is as effective as his “bite” will ever be.
I would also like to address the incredible chutzpah and bias-showing of the moderator. It was clear she favors Obama (I could not care less about that, it is her right to prefer whichever candidate she wishes), but she repeatedly interrupted Romney, never gave him the extra time she kept promising to give him to complete certain thoughts (and we have subsequently learned that Obama was in fact given 4 minutes more than Romney to speak, which means Romney was entitled to 2 minutes of rebuttal that he was not given), and she interjected on the Benghazi issue with what is turning out to be misleading and misdirected information.
Did anyone find it appalling that as with Joe Biden, the President was alternating between smugly grinning and looking daggers? I find it hard to believe that ANY rov would suggest voting for such a sonei Yisrael. I can’t wait to hear his foreign policy debate. Maybe he will have an asnwer for how he was able to find time to appear on The View and Letterman, when he had no time to meet with a world leader such as Netanyahu. I wonder what he would have done had Achmedinejad requested the pleasure of his company.October 17, 2012 9:43 pm at 9:43 pm #900095
I have been having almost the exact same conversations (with your points above) with my mother all day! She is a wise woman 🙂
I find the facial gestures to be very unseemly, unprofessional and unbecoming.
I also cannot understand why the moderators have been passive when it comes to moderating behavior, interruptions, etc. If a free-for-all was what was supposed to happen, then why have a moderator at all?
Regarding appearances by the president (or any candidates) on late-night television and day-time talk shows, I find this behavior unseemly and inappropriate as well. I feel that our office holders and those running for office should be appearing in forums that reflect the ostensible dignity of the offices in question. I am not enthused by the prospect of our president or candidates doubling as entertainers, even if for a short time. I think that a president is not elected to be appearing in such venues.
In a similar vein, I am flummoxed when elected office holders, such as our legislators, do not appear at the jobs for which they were elected because they are busy campaigning for their next political positions. I think that each time a legislator is not present for a vote on the floor of the House or Senate (or votes something noncommittal such as “present”), this information should be broadcast far and wide by news channels and media, so that at least the flagrant disregard of public duty and legislative nonfeasance is theoretically made known to potential voters.
Sorry to get fired up there in the last paragraph. The flippant disregard of public and governmental duty galls me to no end! I did not mean to rant. 🙁October 17, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm #900096batsevenParticipant
ROMNEY obviously.October 18, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am #900097
Morarach, you didn’t address the substance of my comments. It may sound fine if they outlaw abortion but allow it if the mother’s life is in danger. But that interferes with the practice of our religion, for two reasons. First, in at least some cases the doctor will think the mother’s life is not in danger, or not in enough danger, but the rabbi looking at the same situation may say she is enough danger for the abortion to be not only permitted but required. So there would be situations where halacha, as interpreted by a rabbi, would mandate an abortion, but it would be illegal. And if the rabbis are right, women could die. For this very reason, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein opposed pro-life legislation, even though he was very much against abortion. Second, if you follow the Tzitz Eliezer, it is halachically permissible to abort a fetus with certain abnormalities or conditions. In both ways, pro-life laws would interfere with our freedom of religion.
It’s not true that Romney is for the Torah and Obama is against it. I can only think of two ways in which Obama’s positions are contrary to the Torah. First, toevah marriage, but unlike in the abortion case, that doesn’t interfere with freedom of religion. Second, he disapproves of Jews living or building in East Jerusalem. For the latter reason I’ll never vote for him. So I’m not voting at all!October 18, 2012 2:46 am at 2:46 am #900098
For the latter reason I’ll never vote for him. So I’m not voting at all! “
That’s the same as a vore for Obama, unfortunately. I hope you reconsider.October 18, 2012 2:50 am at 2:50 am #900099
“flummoxed” (SUCH A GREAT WORD)
Do we know each other???? That is the exact word I used to describe how Obama looked in the debate when Romney cornered him.October 18, 2012 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm #900100
Oomis, I don’t understand how you can say that not voting at all is a vote for Obama. I guess that assumes I would be voting for Romney if it weren’t for his problematic abortion stance. But that’s not the case.
A few of each side’s positions, as I mentioned above, arguably violate the Torah. But most of them don’t. Though there are Torah sources that pertain to things such as taxes, environmental protection, health care, employment regulations, education, the criminal justice system and anti-poverty policies such as food stamps or job training (see a recent Chabad video series exploring these issues), there’s not necessarily a clear Torah position on these topics. It can go either way, depending on how you interpret the Torah, on which competing considerations are most important to you, and on which approach you believe is most effective, based on your view of the evidence.
In my view, the Democrats’ positions on most domestic policy issues, such as social spending, environmental protection, and health care, are based on a more correct understanding of the facts, and more likely to improve people’s lives. So I actually hope Obama wins.
Even though I oppose Obama’s Israel policy, it’s not much worse than Bush’s (he was responsible for the Gaza pullout, for example), and I doubt Romney’s would be much better in practice. I also think Democrats are naive when it comes to terrorism and “moderate” Islamists, but I don’t trust the Republicans on foreign policy either. Bush campaigned on a promise to stop “nation-building” but started a totally unnecessary and bloody war with Iraq to impose democracy on the country (Democracy, you might note, is a nice thing but it’s not exactly mentioned in the Torah, much less as a motive for war.)
Even so, I can’t bring myself to vote for someone (Obama) who believes Jews should be ethnically cleansed from East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (to make way for the Palestinian state, where Jews won’t be allowed). Just because the whole world believes that, doesn’t make it right — it’s always wrong to ban a religious or ethnic group from a country or area.October 18, 2012 4:39 pm at 4:39 pm #900101
How how how on earth can you think Obama policies will improve anyone’s lives? Obama got rid of the work requirement for welfare ( shocker). He has taken away people’s incentive to actually work for a living, and attempt to get off of welfare. He is the biggest supporter of class warfare I have ever seen, he is basically at war with anyone and everyone who has ever worked hard, inherited money etc. He lies up and down about his view on woman’s rights, but when you look at his staff and campaign workers, the salary differences between men and women is vast.
Now I love israel and I agree with you, somewhat. Romney IS a big supporter of israel. In almost all of his conferences, campaign stops, speeches you name it, he discusses his love for Israel and his hope for its safety. He basically condemned Palestinians saying there will never be peace with them because they don’t want it. He said that they actually have no real ties to the land, which is true, and completely supports bibi. He has been friends with Bibi since the 70’s, he would never snub him time and time again the way that the Obama admin. has. Please reconsider your vote because I do not think you have all the facts.October 18, 2012 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #900102
MorahRach, it’s not exactly accurate to say that Obama ended the work requirement. He issued guidelines which gave states more flexibility in deciding upon work requirements. This is a reasonable thing to do, because the strict requirements of welfare were in many cases (based on social-scientific studies I’ve read) making people’s lives miserable.
For example, did you know that women receiving TANF benefits are often forbidden from going to college or taking job training courses? Instead, they’re often forced to take dead-end minimum-wage jobs that will never allow them become self-sufficient or rise out of poverty.
According to Rambam, the highest level of tzedakah is helping someone become self-sufficient. So why should the government prevent poor people from doing the only things they can (getting job training or a college education) to become self-sufficient? Certainly, people who are able to work should do so, but that doesn’t mean that, in every case, impoverished women need to put their 6 week old baby in a low-quality daycare so they can work a minimum-wage dead-end job, in order to keep their (temporary) government benefits.
More generally, Romney/Ryan promise to make huge cuts in social spending, including such things as unemployment insurance, food stamps and health insurance for poor uninsured children. That will certainly make a lot of people’s lives worse. As has been noted by others in the CoffeeRoom, all the gedolim in Israel support parties that always oppose cuts to government spending on the poor. That spending needs to be done intelligently, of course. But Romney’s plan to just slash it like crazy (to finance huge tax cuts for the rich no less!) is just not acceptable, in my view.
About Israel, you may be right, but I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to vote for someone whose domestic policies are so bad. Anyway, there’s so much pressure among policy elites for the president to push Israel around and tell it what to do that I think Romney would still end up playing the same general role (as did Bush).October 18, 2012 5:54 pm at 5:54 pm #900103PosterMember
i am also a strong supporter of ROmney. I think Obama is a pack of lies. He has proven himself by lieing again and again. How anyone trusts a word he promises is simply beyond my comprehension….October 18, 2012 6:14 pm at 6:14 pm #900104
I have been reading your posts here — thank you for stimulating my thoughts on many topics! I have been mulling over what you wrote above on the discrete issue of abortion. I suspect that doctors treating pregnant women who are seeking rabbinically-sanctioned abortions for life or health reasons are not going to stop the abortions from happening. I can tell though that you seem to think otherwise, and I was wondering if you could explain to me why? Maybe there is some aspect of this situation that I have not considered yet. I had thought that Romney has been supporting exceptions for maternal life and health. I am inclined to think that doctors would interpret “health” fairly broadly — e.g., taking the mother’s emotional health into consideration in a situation where a baby would be born with Tay Sachs, for instance, covering the situations where some rabbis allow abortions due to that condition in the baby.October 18, 2012 6:59 pm at 6:59 pm #900105
You’re welcome, Aurora — I enjoy your posts too. There was an article on the NY Times yesterday about Romney’s abortion views. Apparently his campaign just released an ad on this topic. The ad says he supports abortion “to save a mother’s life.” In the past, he may have said he supports it for the mother’s “health.” But now, it seems to be just to save the mother’s life.
My problem is with who makes the decision. According to halacha, abortion is required if it would save the mother’s life. Only rabbi is qualified to decide when the halachic requirements are met. Sometimes what is considered a lethal condition in halacha is different from what is considered a lethal condition in secular terms. I’m sure this isn’t replicated in the abortion context, but even some seemingly minor conditions are sometimes considered a life-threatening condition for the purposes of violating the laws of Shabbos. For example, a charedi rabbi recently told me that there is no halachic problem with removing a splinter on Shabbos (even if it involved prohibited activities like squeezing), because it’s an internal injury that might become infected (of course, consult your local rabbi for a ruling on such issues). This is an extreme example — I’m sure most differences of opinion on abortion would be more subtle. The point is, what the government or a doctor will consider life-threatening is not necessarily the same as what a rabbi will.
Keep in mind that many pro-lifers in America, especially Catholics (since this is the Church’s official position) believe that abortion is wrong even if it would be necessary to save the life of the mother. If the doctor or bureaucrat involved in deciding whether the mother’s life is at stake is one of these hard-core pro-lifers with views diametrically opposed to the Torah position, then I wouldn’t exactly trust that person to make the decision.
This danger, I assume, is what halachic authorities such as Rav Moshe Feinstein opposed pro-life legislation. Nowadays, there are some Orthodox rabbis, such as R’ Yehudah Levin, who wholeheartedly support the pro-life movement. Yet just because some people are apparently convinced that the standard Republican positions are necessarily the Torah positions, doesn’t mean that’s the case.
If pro-lifers consistently gave us assurances that our rabbis would be allowed to make the final decision on whether an abortion is permissible, then that would alleviate my concerns. But they will never do so (it would be unconstitutional because it would only apply to Orthodox rabbis — many non-Orthodox rabbis believe abortion is often permitted and the approval of a rabbi is not required).October 18, 2012 8:34 pm at 8:34 pm #900106
This is not Israel though. We shouldn’t be fully relyin on these social programs. It is a huge burden on the rest of society when someone is on WIC, food stamps, welfare etc. Why should I work 9 hours, get doubly taxe because I dont work in the state that I live, so that the family down the block can eat and live on my dollar? Yes in some circumstances people really do need gov assistance, and they should get t! This foolery of Mitt completely ridding our country of welfare and benefits is a crock, and you know it. He has never said he it going to cut all of these programs, but as I have states before, he wants to look at them again and fine tune them. Do you think it is right for someone to work off the books and make a decent salary, and then take benefits from the government? I think it is absolutely disgusting.
May I add, anything you read in the NY times is so biased it is as though you are hearing the words from obamas campaigners themselves. Back me up guys.October 18, 2012 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #900107
MorahRach, I never said Romney would end all welfare. However, every serious analysis of his budgetary and tax proposals concludes that he would drastically cut spending for the needy. That shouldn’t be surprising, because that the mainstream Republican position at this time, touted by everyone in the leadership of the party, is to cut taxes for the wealthiest and pay for it with deep cuts to social spending. Look at the bills the House Republicans have proposed or passed, including Ryan’s budget plan, and you’ll get an idea of what I mean.
I don’t think it’s the case that there are loads of people laying around living off your dollar. Benefits in this country are generally much lower and less available than they are in other Western industrialized countries, including Israel. Food stamps and other benefits aren’t a huge amount of money. Most of them go to people who are working, but whose salaries are so low that they are under the poverty line. Most of the poor are the working poor. For those who aren’t working, often the problem is that they are taking care of children, are uneducated and have no job prospects, are sick or disabled, or have psychological or addiction problems. Lots of people need more help than they’re getting, especially more education, job-training and treatment for health and addiction problems. So our system certainly needs reform, but that’s not going to happen by drastically cutting everything.
MorahRach, working off the books is illegal — I certainly don’t approve of that. The law of the land is the law of the land, and we are ethically and halachically bound to follow it. And I think there should be some kind of relief for people like yourself who are double-taxed.
By the way, I don’t rely on the NY Times. I only cited a news story that quotes Romney’s ad about abortion. You can find the same news story in numerous sites on the Internet, including on pro-life and conservative sites.October 18, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm #900108
Let’s agree to disagree. I appreciate everything you wrote, but I will still never understand the left and their way of thinking, I assume the same goes for you and the right. I don’t have time anymore tonight to post, but I did not want you to think I was ignoring you. Whatever happens in November, I hope only the best for our country.October 18, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm #900109
Thank you for taking the time to explain some of these complications to me — I wish I were versed Halacha to better understand the nuances and their applications to the pressing questions of our day.
I had a thought to bounce off you that has more to do with how the situations might play out than with the letter of the law…tell me what you think: suppose the secular law of the land were to change so that elective abortion for non-life and -health reasons became illegal. In this scenario, a pregnant woman whose health is jeopardized by the pregnancy comes to her rabbi and gets permission (is this called a “heter”?) to get an abortion. Is it likely that the rabbi might be able to direct this woman to a doctor whose views on life and health exceptions are in line with the rabbi’s views?
I am inclined to think that, within reason, it is within the doctor’s discretion to determine what conditions/scenarios jeopardize a mother’s health and life under the law as it currently stands. It seems to me that doctors are making these determinations at present, when pregnant women are past the viability cut-off for abortion that varies state by state — at that point, doctors can only perform abortions if the mothers’ lives or health are in jeopardy. (As sad a commentary as it is, I have some familiarity with the legalities of these situations because in the child welfare law that I practice, we have to be familiar with the law and protocols in this area as they apply to pregnant teenage girls.)
If the doctors are already operating within the bounds of this discretion, would there be difficulty in practice finding such a doctor whose views are aligned with a rabbi’s? Perhaps a frum doctor?October 18, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm #900110
“Flummoxed” is such a fabulous word, I agree! It brings such a vivid picture to one’s mind’s eye 🙂
Sadly I do not think we know one another, as I live a stone’s throw from the state of Delaware.October 18, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm #900111uneeqMember
I started to read this thread until I scrolled down and noticed the length of the average comment.
To answer the OP’s question, Who the “oilem” thinks will win? Gallup’s newest poll of the American oilem has Romney leading 52 – 45. Elections are only eighteen days away.
Better start packing your bags, Mr President.October 18, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm #900112
Agreed, MorahRach! May Hashem have mercy on us and give us the best possible government, regardless of who wins. I don’t think people like us should get too carried away with our political opinions anyway — instead, let’s work on middos like patience and humility and learning from every person. After all, Hashem decides who gets elected and what policies they carry out.October 19, 2012 4:05 am at 4:05 am #900113
Aurora: You may be right. It depends on how the law is structured. Policymakers may be hesitant to give doctors all the authority, because the vast majority of doctors are pro-choice. (Pro-life medical students report being harassed and ridiculed for their views). So perhaps the doctors will make a recommendation and then have a civil servant from some new government agency give a thumbs up or thumbs down? That could be a problem.
Regardless, the pro-lifers will never be happy with an amorphous law that allows abortions for “health” reasons (whether of the mother or fetus) if the mother’s life isn’t at stake. So those following more lenient halachic opinions would be denied the freedom to live according to Jewish law. But if they just left it up to the doctors, and they weren’t afraid of being criminally prosecuted for questionable abortions, then it might work out OK.
If Rowe v. Wade is overturned, I think a bunch of states will pass sweeping anti-abortion laws without much deliberation. The content of the laws will probably vary widely, depending on the nature of the pro-life movement in each states. I highly doubt many legislatures would take the concerns of Orthodox Jews into consideration.
By the way, I’m an attorney too (though I don’t practice in an abortion-related area). 🙂October 19, 2012 4:11 am at 4:11 am #900114
Sadly I do not think we know one another, as I live a stone’s throw from the state of Delaware. “
Too bad. I am a Noo Yawka all the way. Perhaps our paths will cross one day. I would love to meet other YWNers. I have already re-discovered a dear close friend on this site, one with whom I had lost touch for a very long time, and I thank the CR for being the inadvertent shaliach responsible for bringing us back together.October 19, 2012 6:39 pm at 6:39 pm #900115
That would be cool…they do say it’s a small world! It is nice when a lost friend like yours is able to find you again; it’s one of those times when you can really feel the hand of G-d in your life 🙂October 19, 2012 6:48 pm at 6:48 pm #900116
Sometimes it all seems like such a hopeless mess! I wish I weren’t familiar with this area of the law through work — I feel sad when I think about it all. I’d be interested in hearing your perspectives from your practice of law.October 19, 2012 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #900117EnderParticipant
First, The USA is a Federalist Country, NOT democratic. If you don’t know the difference look it up.
Second,YYTZ: Romney supports abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. But even more importantly as President, Romney couldn’t ban abortion even if he wanted to. The most he could do is stop federal funding. He could also nominate pro-life Supreme Court Justices. However, even a pro-life justice wouldn’t ban abortion, the most they would say is that it is a question for the several states and not up for the Federal Government to decide.October 21, 2012 1:52 am at 1:52 am #900118OneOfManyParticipant
I think it’s a Democratic-Republic, actually.October 21, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am #900119uneeqMember
OneOfMany: Ender is right. This country is a Federal Republic. A truly democratic country would let you vote on the actual issues. Instead we vote for someone to represent us, and that representative votes on the issues for you.
One difference in reality would be the case with marijuana usage. If this country is Democratic, marijuana would have been legal a long time ago.October 21, 2012 5:46 pm at 5:46 pm #900120OneOfManyParticipant
What you are describing is a “democratic republic” – a representative form of government (republic) that gives ultimate power to the citizens (democracy) in the election of officials. Which is also known as representative democracy, which is really a form of republic (hence democratic-republic, with democratic as modifier). A country where people vote directly on issues is stam a democracy, no? And a country where the vote is not distributed equally is a republic that is not democratic. Of course, as is self-evident, the U.S. did not start out as democratic, but now can be described as such.
And stam, the term “federalism” is not really in contradiction of anything. It just means that there is a division between tiers of government – at the local level, and in a central governing power.
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