It all began innocently enough when, in his weekly radio address, Maine Governor Paul LePage compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo, saying, "We the people have been told there is no choice, you must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS."
As a Jew raised with stories of Nazi atrocities, as passed down by relatives who had personal experience with World War II in Europe, I was heartened by LePage's fanning of the historical flame. The plan by Nazi Germany's secret police to round up Jews, gays and political opponents, hand them health insurance cards and provide them with subsidized coverage is surely one of the 20th century's lesser known atrocities, but LePage is right that we must never forget.
Unfortunately, LePage couldn't leave well enough alone and offered clarification of his original remarks…
Said LePage: "What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet."
A reporter asked, "But they're headed in that direction?"
LePage responded, "They're headed in that direction."
The governor was then asked if he thought the IRS was going to kill a lot of people like the Nazis and he responded, "Yeah."
Apparently, that wasn't good enough for some people. So today, LePage formally apologized. "Millions of innocent people were murdered and I apologize for my insensitivity to the word and the offense some took to my comparison of the IRS and the Gestapo," he said in another radio address. There. He's sorry you were offended.
Photo by Diane Bondareff/NBC — NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Tags: Health Care, IRS, Jewish, Maine, Nazis, Paul LePage
Charles Barron is a Brooklyn politician who considers Robert Mugabe a freedom fighter, holds up Muammar Qaddafi as a hero, and gives good quotes, such as, "I want to go up to the closest white person and say, 'You can't understand this, it's a black thing.' And then, slap him just for my mental health."
His opponent in the Democratic primary for the congressional seat being vacated by Ed Towns is Hakeem Jeffries, a liberal state assemblyman enjoying the overwhelming support of New York's Democratic establishment.
Naturally, the constituents of the newly drawn 8th congressional district — 53% of whom are black and 20% Hispanic — have been waiting with baited breath for the endorsement decision of the Grand Douchebag of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke. It seems like a difficult decision, since both candidates are black Democrats with left-of-center views, but only one of them is a horrible anti-Semite, so the Black Panther it was…
Former KKK Grand Wizard and member of the Louisiana Legislature David Duke released a video yesterday endorsing Charles Barron in his race for Brooklyn's 8th Congressional district against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries. Mr. Barron, a member of the City Council and former member of the Black Panther Party who, over the years, has made a series of controversial statements against Israel and in support of African dictators Muammar Qaddafi. He would seem to be an odd choice for a self-described "white nationalist" like Mr. Duke, but in the video, Mr. Duke explains that he thinks Mr. Jeffries has "sold his soul to the international Zio-bankers" while Mr. Barron’s strong past criticisms of Israel outweigh their other differences.
This is one of those "only in America" things, right? I think Dr. King envisioned this moment, when Grand Wizards of the Klan would join hands with unreformed black nationalists and sit at the table of brotherhood, discussing how much they hate Jews.
Unfortunately for Barron, the word of a Klan leader carries as much positive weight in east Brooklyn as Adolf Hitler's ghost endorsement carries in the Israeli Knesset, but at least we know that after thousands of years, Jews still have the ability to bring bigots together.
Tags: House of Representatives, Jewish, New York, New York City, Racism
If the next few editions of the New York Times are thinner than usual, there's a simple explanation. When the universe conspires to let New York journalists write about the grocery shopping habits of Brooklyn yuppies and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the very same article, there are bound to be casualties — few editors can survive the orgasm caused by that kind of confluence.
The story of the century, if you live in an alternative universe where health care reform isn't before the Supreme Court and security forces aren't cracking down on rebels in Syria, is last night's Park Slope Food Co-op vote on whether the grocery cooperative should have a separate vote to decide whether to boycott Israeli products by joining the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement…
The vote, conducted by paper ballot, came during the Brooklyn co-op's monthly general meeting, with 1,005 people voting against the motion to hold a referendum on a boycott, and 653 in favor…
Tensions at the co-op, on Union Street, had been climbing to a breaking point in recent weeks as the members, numbering about 16,300, weighed the matter. Reporters and television trucks had become a common site outside the co-op's doors. Advocates passed leaflets with increasing urgency. Politicians and pundits weighed in. And emotions, in at least one instance, spilled over into fisticuffs.
Prior to the vote, names of Co-op volunteers were drawn at random. Sadly, and despite the aforementioned brawl, the winners of the lottery would not be asked to engage in Hunger Games-style gladiatorial combat to secure organic, local, free-range produce for their families. Instead, they'd be allowed to speak and remind us why rising sea levels cannot come to Brooklyn soon enough…
Tags: Food, Israel, Jewish, New York, New York Times, Palestine
The notion that Jewish Americans are on the verge of deserting the Democratic Party is one of the dumber tropes in political commentary, fed by a combination of selective polling and magical thinking on the part of Republican operatives. But just in case Democrats were getting worried, Rick Santorum has helpfully diagrammed Barack Obama's Jewish outreach strategy…
In 2010, Rick Santorum was paid to speak to a controversial religious group unpopular with some Jewish leaders because it seeks to convince Jews to accept Jesus.
The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America paid Santorum $6,000 to speak at its 2010 annual conference, according to a filing released Wednesday showing a total of nearly $95,000 in speaking fees that Santorum previously failed to disclose.
The alliance supports Messianic Judaism, which embraces Jewish heritage and customs but holds the fundamental Christian belief that Jesus is the son of God. Its beliefs are similar to those of the group Jews for Jesus, which has drawn particular ire from Jewish leaders for its proselytizing efforts.
Oy vey izmir. He couldn't even speak at the Jews for Jesus organization, instead of hawking his wares to some cut-rate competitor.
In any case, it's wonderful that evangelical Christians are now so enamored of Jews, but there's something creepy about being loved so much that they want us to stop being Jewish. Which is why Santorum will probably have the votes of Jews for Jesus, but Obama and the Democrats will probably secure the votes of Jews Just for Being Jews.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Christianity, Jewish, Religion, Republicans, Rick Santorum
After losing almost every primary on Super Tuesday, Newt Gingrich's nomination prospects are looking pretty dim. At this point, the only place Newt has a chance of winning the presidency is his dreams.
Which explains why the candidate drifted off to his own little sleepy fantasyland right before addressing an AIPAC audience yesterday.
You can see the embarrassing footage here…
The best part of the video is when Newt abruptly wakes up and asks for questions from a non-existent panel. "Uh, yes, now I'll take questions from the moon man, ghost of Winston Churchill, my first wife, and guy I vaguely remember from middle school."
Forget Iran. Newt needs a fundamental reassessment of his entire understanding of nappy nap time. Has Newt learned nothing from his hero Ronald Reagan? You're supposed to wait until you're actually president before you start snoozing on the job.
Tags: Israel, Jewish, Newt Gingrich, Republicans, Video