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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘President Bill Clinton’

Yishai and Malkah on Clinton and Gorbachev Speaking in Israel

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

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The 40Days4Israel are underway! Hear all about it! Yishai and Malkah discuss former US President Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev’s upcoming speeches at the annual Israeli Presidential Conference this week, they give us a new perspective on the future of the Jewish nation, and elaborate on why the world continues to hear the same old speeches that miss the point and keep getting more expensive!

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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The President And The Rule Of Law: Where Is Bill Clinton?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Soon after the oral argument in the Supreme Court on Obamacare, when it appeared there was considerable skepticism among the justices as to its constitutionality, President Obama expressed the view that it would be “unprecedented” for the unelected court to overturn legislation passed by an elected legislature. But not only did the president’s words fly in the face of the court’s role as ultimate arbiter of a law’s constitutionality, he has arrogated to himself the right to unilaterally override legislative enactments. We have already noted, for example, his effectively amending U.S. immigration law by creating an exemption in the law, which Congress has refused to enact, for certain illegals in terms of deportation.

Within hours of the Obamacare argument in the Supreme Court, when it appeared likely Obamacare would be struck down, President Obama issued a statement in which he said,

There is not only an economic element to this, a legal element to this, but there is a human element to this. And I hope that’s not forgotten in this political debate.Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.

And I would like to remind conservative commentators that for years what we have heard is that the biggest problem is judicial activism and that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.

To be sure, the president is a nationally elected figure, yet his role, in the words of the Constitution, is to “take care that the laws [enacted by Congress] be faithfully executed….”

Yet earlier this month the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to strike down various provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, overwhelmingly passed by Congress in 1966 (the House vote was 342-67, with two members voting present and 22 not voting while the tally in the Senate was 85-14 with one member not voting) and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Indeed, House Republicans have had to retain private counsel to defend the 16-year-old law because the Obama administration has declined to defend it in court. (Worthy of note is the fact that no state referendum seeking approval of same sex marriage has ever passed.)

However, Mr. Obama, who on May 9of this year became the first president to publicly express his support for same-sex marriage, believes the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies same-sex couples legally married under state law the federal benefits afforded to heterosexual couples, should not be enforced, in direct contradiction of a lopsided congressional vote to the contrary.

Another Clinton-era law enacted by Congress was welfare reform, which contained as a key provision the requirement that welfare beneficiaries must find and maintain some sort of employment in order to qualify for federally funded assistance. Last week, however, the Obama administration , through a memo from the Department of Health and Human Services, asserted it had the authority to waive that requirement and advised state welfare agencies they no longer had to enforce it.

The HHS claim is astonishing and palpably lawless. HHS is relying on two provisions of the Social Security Act which are among several that govern federal welfare programs. Section 402 requires states to submit an administrative plan to the federal government describing how they will spend federal welfare funds. However, Section 1115 also authorizes HHS to issue certain waivers to various sections, including 402, so that a state can experiment with different approaches. The HHS memo claims it is relying on Section 1115. So the HHS theory seems to be that since it can relieve states from the requirement that they provide a welfare-spending plan to HHS, HHS can also relieve them of the requirement that welfare recipients need to work in order to qualify.

This alone shows how much of a stretch this all is. But in addition there is the little matter that part of the language of Section 1115 is: “[A] waiver granted under Section 1115 or otherwise…shall not affect the applicability of Section 407 to the State.” And it is Section 407 that requires welfare recipients to work in order to receive benefits.

Responding To Your Children’s Questions About The Spitzer Episode

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

About eight years ago, I was out walking when our son Shlomie, then 16 years old, called me on my cell phone. He asked me if I heard the news. “What news?” I asked.

“Tatty,” he blurted out, “[New York City Mayor Rudy] Giuliani committed adultery!” “And” I said/asked, not knowing what he wanted from me or how he wanted me to respond. “How could he do this, Ta? I know [President Bill] Clinton did things like this, but Giuliani? He seems like such an honest, decent man,” Shlomie said, with confusion and hurt in his voice.

After a few moments of silence I told him that this is really not fit for a phone conversation, so I invited him to discuss this with me in person upon his arrival from yeshiva later that evening.

That unforgettable “Kodak moment” came to mind as the tawdry details of Governor Eliot Spitzer’s stunning downfall recently unfolded throughout the media. More than a few people contacted me, asking how they should respond to their teenager’s questions/ comments about this matter. Thus, the writing of this column.

Now back to Shlomie: Home from yeshiva, we went for a walk at which time I allowed him to express his disappointment with Giuliani and his bewilderment at how people do these kinds of things. When he wound down, I told him that everything that happens in our lives contains lessons to be learned – and this was no exception.

I told him that my take was that human frailty is such that the only way to prevent one from losing his or her moral compass in a moment of weakness was by establishing boundaries. I then gave him several concrete examples of boundaries that I set in my personal life. I asked him, “Shlomie, think back over the years growing up in our home. Did you ever see an unaccompanied woman come to our home to meet with me (and seek my advice) after dark or when there weren’t lots of people walking around our home?” and “Why do you think that the door to my study is almost completely made of glass?”

I explained to him that I decided long ago to set these boundaries – and others – in order to lessen the likelihood of being placed in a precarious position. (It was quite interesting that despite growing up in our home, Shlomie was unaware of the aforementioned two ‘boundaries’ I had set in my life, since we had never discussed them previously.) We talked about the dictum of our chazal (sages) of “ain apitropis l’arayos,” loosely translated to mean that no one can assume that he/she is immune to temptation. We also spoke about our chazal, in their wisdom, having established boundaries for us such as yichud (the prohibition against secluding oneself with a non-family member of the opposite gender) – in order to help us live within the Torah’s mandates.

Further, I emphasized the deep commitment and love that his mother and I share with each other and with our children, and how disruptive dishonesty can be to relationships. We talked about how trust is built and expanded over a period of time with loved ones, and how important it is to always be truthful with the people we care about. (Here are two quotes I find meaningful: “The first lie is always the hardest” and “There is no such thing as a single lie.” The latter means that when one is not truthful, he/she will inevitably need to lie many more times to “cover” for the original one.”)

I advise parents to not get flustered if and when your child raises this topic. Take it as a supreme compliment that he/she is comfortable discussing these matters with you. Keep in mind that you cannot guide your children if they don’t seek your advice.

Don’t make sweeping generalizations like “Frum people don’t do these things” or “Gentiles or non-frum people do.” That might carry the day now but, sadly, no community is without its bad apples. Your message to your child will be demolished and your credibility diminished when he/she discovers that we are not completely immune to poor and immoral behavior, and that there are deeply moral people outside our community.

Talk about our community’s family values, commitment to marriage and low divorce rate, and the Torah’s eternal lessons to help us maintain our spiritual and moral compass in the most trying of circumstances.

Talk about trust. It is an invaluable lesson for your teen to learn – now in his or her relationship with you and later in life when establishing his or her own family.

Do listen, for the real discussions take place when you stop lecturing and start listening. Create an environment where your child is comfortable asking you anything.

Always keep in mind that a repressed question is an unaddressed – and unresolved – one.

And Good luck!

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.

To purchase Rabbi Horowitz’s Dvar Torah Sefer, “Growing With the Parsha” or his popular parenting tapes and CD’s – including his 2-CD set on “Raising your Adolescent Children” – please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com, e-mail udi528@aol.com, or call 845-352-7100 x 133.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/responding-to-your-childrens-questions-about-the-spitzer-episode/2008/03/26/

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