2016-10-05 / Political Page

Giuliani Advises Don, ‘Skip Debates’

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was among those who objected to the way Lester Holt moderated the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last week. Giuliani felt Holt treated Trump poorly during that session. Giuliani, who’s a major advisor to Trump, was quoted in a story that ran in the New York Post after the debate, that he thought Holt was unfair to Trump, badgering him with questions while Trump was responding to queries, breaking his train of thought and making him seem unsure of himself.

“If I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact checker.”

Sometime after the debate, the Trump camp said there wasn’t a chance that he would miss Debate 2, which is this Sunday night. Trump agreed with Giuliani’s criticism of Holt, who anchors a news program for WNBC/TV saying he didn’t ask Clinton key questions.

But Giuliani’s criticism did serve a useful purpose. The moderator for next Sunday’s debate, whoever he or she is, is on notice that Trump and his advisors will not sit quietly for what they felt were Holt’s errors, and that the next moderator must be fair to Trump during the debate.

Speaking about Debate 2, we have the feeling that it might be a trifle dull, considering that they’ll be going over the same questions and answers. But the startling revelations regarding Trump that burst on the scene like a thunderbolt over the weekend might guarantee a different attitude, with the audience inside the debate arena, or outside of it, sitting tensely, waiting for each question to drop.

Meanwhile, since Giuliani leveled that criticism at Holt, he has abruptly dropped his anger and is now changing his tune, calling Trump “a genius” because of what appeared in Sunday’s New York Times. The Times reported that Trump in 1996 claimed on his tax return for the previous year a loss of $916 million, which the IRS allowed, so that Trump would be required to not pay any taxes for the next 18 years after that date.

Another top Trump apologist, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, joined Giuliani in anointing Trump a genius as they also denigrated Clinton’s money handling talents.

We’re sure this yarn about Trump’s failure thus far in the campaign to reveal anything about his taxes, past or present, will surely come up at Debate 2, thanks to the unknown person who dropped that 20-year-old tax return in the Times’ lap.

By the way, neither Trump nor anyone in his campaign, failed to acknowledge that the tax return purporting to be Trump’s was the real thing.

SCHUMER SPARKS – OBAMA OVERRIDE: As promised, Democrats and Republicans easily killed with a vengeance President Obama’s veto of the bill to allow families who lost loved ones killed in the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for its role in the horrendous terrorist attacks. The bipartisan setback for Obama, in which U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) played a key role, was achieved with a lopsided 97-1 Senate vote and a 348-77 vote in the House.

Schumer who sponsored the veto override in the Senate, said afterward, “Democratic and Republicans don’t agree on much these days, but we agreed on JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Both parties believe that the families of the 9/11 victims should be able to seek justice.”

Describing the first override of this administration, the President stated, “I think it was a mistake. It’s a dangerous precedent.”

And for the families of the 9/11 victims it concluded a 15-year fight to get justice against the country that made the attack such a huge defeat against the U.S.

Obama opposed the bill because it will subject similar foreign actions to use the courts against us rather than use diplomatic means and creates the risk that our military actions will be subjected to suits.

MENG SENATOR MARKEY SEEK BPA BAN IN ALL FOOD, BEVERAGE CONTAINERS: Congresswoman Grace Meng (D–NY) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D–MA) introduced legislation to ban the dangerous chemical bisphenol-A, commonly referred to as BPA, from food and beverage containers. Specifically, the “Ban Poisonous Additives (BPA) Act” requires that reusable food and beverage containers (such as thermoses) that contain BPA and other food and beverage containers (such as food or beverage cans) containing BPA cannot be sold. BPA, a toxic chemical used to harden plastics and found in such everyday household products as canned foods and beverages, has been linked to breast cancer, infertility, early puberty and other health conditions.

“Banning BPA from food and beverage containers is common sense,” said Meng. “As a founder and Co-Chair of the Kids Safety Caucus, it has been a priority of mine to help keep children out of harm’s way, and this bill would ensure that kids and families are not exposed to such a dangerous and toxic substance. It would also better protect factory workers who manufacture products that contain this hazardous chemical. I respectfully call on my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass this important legislation, and I thank Senator Markey for partnering with me on this critical effort.”

Markey stated, “Doctors, researchers and parents all know that BPA is toxic for our bodies, especially for vulnerable groups such as infants and young children and workers,” said Senator Markey. “It’s time to take the concern out of canned goods by taking the BPA out of food and beverage containers. The Ban Poisonous Additives Act will help ensure that our factories and our entire food supply are free from this damaging chemical. I thank Rep. Meng for her partnership on this legislation and for standing up to say that it’s time to ban BPA and move to safer alternatives.”

“We commend Senator Markey and Representative Meng for their tireless efforts to secure stricter FDA regulation of the toxic chemicals used in food packaging that are contributing to an increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive harm and a host of other diseases,” said Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy at the Breast Cancer Fund, one of the bill’s key supporters. “Parents, workers, and consumers everywhere applaud their unwavering leadership and commitment to ridding food packaging of BPA once and for all.”

In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended its regulations to no longer allow the use of BPA in infant formula packaging due to a petition from Senator Markey. In 2012, then- Rep. Markey was the first member of Congress to ever submit this type of petition, which requested that the FDA permanently remove regulatory approval for the use of BPA in infant formula packaging.

VAN BRAMER BILL INCREASES COMMUNITY INPUT IN PERCENT FOR ART PROGRAM: City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer has introduced legislation to increase and codify community input in the Percent for Art selection process. Under Intro 1290, the panel that determines which artists receive Percent for Art commissions would be required to include three art professionals, one of whom must be an artists; representatives from the City agencies sponsoring the capital project, representatives from the Art Commission, as well as representatives from the Borough President’s Office, the City Council Members Office, and the Community Board. While this panel makeup is currently the recommendation and practice of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Majority Leader Van Bramer’s legislation would make community representatives a requirement.

“We must make sure that communities have a say in the massive art projects that grace our public spaces,” said Council Majority Leader and Cultural Affairs and Libraries Chair Jimmy Van Bramer. “My bill ensures that the people who will interact with and enjoy Percent for Art projects every day will be able to take part in the artist commissioning process, and bring greater participation and transparency to this important public initiative.”

In 1982, the Percent for Art law was initiated by Mayor Edward I. Koch and passed by the Council of the City of New York requiring that one percent of the budget for eligible City-funded construction projects be spent on artwork for City facilities. Nearly 300 projects have been completed since the program’s inception, with accumulated art work commissions of over $41 million. Since 2002 almost 100 projects have been completed— a third of the total collection—and more than 70 artist commissions are currently in progress.

MALONEY APPLAUDS OVERRIDE OF OBAMA’S VETO OF JASTA: Following the U.S. House of Representatives 348-77 vote to override President Obama’s veto on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) praised the bipartisan action in the House and Senate.

“While I understand and give weight to the President’s concerns about the effect the passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act may have on Americans and American interests abroad, I believe that this bill is needed to clarify existing law, so that U.S. nationals who were harmed by terrorist attacks committed on U.S. soil can sue those, including foreign governments, who were responsible for such attacks. With all due respect to a President that I greatly admire, there are also other, and I believe more, important factors that weigh more heavily on my decision to support this bill and veto override.

“The attacks of September 11th were singular acts of appalling cruelty, barbaric crimes that knowingly targeted civilian non-combatants and violated all norms of civilized conduct – and all of the international conventions of armed conflict.

“Though the hijackers of those planes died that day, it is virtually indisputable that there are people who conspired with them in the planning, preparation, execution and financing of those horrific acts who still walk the streets freely in foreign capitals today believing that because of a peculiar court interpretation of international law that they will not face any consequences. This bill will finally change that.

“We need JASTA to correct some shortcomings in previous legislation and lower court decisions to enable the survivors and the families of the victims of such savage acts of international terrorism to seek a measure of justice through our civil courts. This bill is needed because both Congress and the Executive [branch] have affirmed that civil litigation against terror sponsors, including foreign governments, can have an important deterrent effect. This bill is needed so that those around the world who seek to do us harm know that we will Never Forget.’”

CROWLEY STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF PRELIMINARY NOISE EXPOSURE MAPS FOR LAGUARDIA AIRPORT: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D–Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and a leader in the effort to curb aircraft noise pollution, released the following statement on the Draft Noise Exposure Map Report released by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as part of the Part 150 Airport Noise Compatibility Study for LaGuardia Airport. Crowley’s district includes LaGuardia and many of the nearby communities most affected by airplane traffic to and from the airport.

“For over a decade, I have called on the Port Authority to complete this critical study to help those families whose lives are disrupted by the constant roar of airplanes. I’m pleased the process is well underway, and that the Port Authority is ready to engage our community with its findings and gather feedback at its impending public workshop.

“Yet, as the Noise Exposure Maps reveal, many homes remain outside of the noise contours deemed incompatible with aircraft noise by the FAA. This means that, while I’m encouraged this study could lead to desperately needed mitigation measures for some in the airport’s surrounding communities, more needs to be done to protect the health and quality of life of the remaining residents, who for too long have been burdened by aircraft noise. That’s why I will continue to work with the Port Authority, the FAA and with my colleagues in government to advance real solutions for those impacted.

“As the Port Authority prepares for the next phase in this study, and evaluates noise abatement and mitigation options, I urge it to continue involving the members of our community and ensure their concerns and ideas are given due consideration as we work toward providing the relief they deserve.”

In April, Crowley announced that he is an original co-sponsor of the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act of 2016, which would require the FAA to determine the health impacts of airplane noise on local communities.

Crowley is also the author of The Silent Skies Act, legislation that aims to improve the quality of life for communities heavily impacted by aircraft noise pollution by requiring airlines to begin stocking fleets with newer, quieter aircraft.

In 2014, Crowley co-founded the Quiet Skies Caucus in Congress, which works to raise awareness on the issue of aircraft noise and find meaningful solutions to the problem. The caucus consists of members from across the country whose constituents are adversely affected by incidents of airplane and helicopter noise.

CROWLEY ON PASSAGE OF BILL TO TEMPORARILY PROVIDE ZIKA FUNDING: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D–Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5325, legislation that will fund the federal government through December 9, avoiding an immediate government shutdown, as well as provide emergency funding to respond to the Zika virus:

“While I’m relieved that we could pass at least some sort of funding bill just days before another Republican shutdown of the federal government, the fact remains we should have never been in this position in the first place. Yet again, we see a Republican majority grappling with how to do something as simple as funding our government and keeping lights on, not to mention addressing a public health crisis like Zika. The American people can’t just kick their decisions down the road. They need to make the tough choices and do the hard work – which are two things this Republican majority refuses to do for themselves.

“Instead of governing from crisis to crisis, Republicans should join us in working on issues like strengthening our economy, fixing our nation’s broken immigration system, addressing the gun violence epidemic, tackling public health crises, and finally creating a bipartisan budget that works for our economy and the American people. Our constituents sent us here to do the big things – to take actions that will benefit their lives and our country. Something like keeping the government up and running or protecting citizens from Zika should be assumed as a given, not touted as unusual accomplishments.”

MENG PROVISIONS TO ASSIST VETERANS IN QUEENS, COUNTRYWIDE SIGNED BY OBAMA: Several provisions authored by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D–Queens) that aim to assist veterans in Queens and across the country were signed into law this afternoon by President Obama.

Meng’s provisions – part of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations legislation – were attached to the stop-gap spending bill that the President signed to avert a government shutdown. Her measures include:

• A provision that seeks to have the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hire more female health care professionals in order to provide female veterans with greater opportunities to choose the gender of their health care provider. The measure would create more options for female veterans who prefer to select female health care providers.

• A provision that seeks to have the VA allow religious emblems (emblems of belief) on headstones of unclaimed, deceased veterans. The measure would allow religious identifiers to be on the headstones of these veterans as long as documentation of the veteran’s beliefs can be produced, such as through dog tags or other military documentation.

• A provision that seeks to have the Secretary of Veterans Affairs appoint an additional Asian American to the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans. Asian-Americans are currently underrepresented on the panel which provides the Secretary and Congress with advice about medical care, benefits, and services for veterans.

• A provision that seeks to have the VA accept medical opinions from non-VA doctors in order to determine whether or not a veteran has a disability. Usage of non-VA doctors for this purpose would facilitate faster payment of disability benefits.

“I am extremely pleased that these important measures are now the law of the land,” said Meng. “We must continue to do all we can to take care of our nation’s veterans, and these provisions will help our former service members in several key areas. Many thanks to the President and my Congressional colleagues for moving these items forward.”

The stop-gap spending bill keeps the government open by funding government operations through December 9th, Meng noted.

PHEFFER AMATO BLASTS BUILD IT BACK COST OVERRUNS: The following statement was issued by Stacey Pheffer Amato, of Rockaway Beach, who is seeking the Democratic Party nomination to run for the 23rd AD Assembly seat, which covers the Rockaways and some surrounding areas. Former Assembly Member Phillip Goldfeder held the seat previously, which he has resigned from.

“Build it Back’s budget shortfalls confirm what our families have known for some time: that the program is a bloated, bureaucratic mess. It’s bad enough that City Hall is making New Yorkers foot the bill for cost overruns now when it had no problem paying out consultants at the start of the program. However, the greatest insult of all is that nearly four years after Sandy devastated our communities, homeowners are still waiting to be made whole. There must be accountability, and I join families across Southern Queens and Rockaway in demanding a full review of how Build it Back has been spending our money.”

Build it Back was a NYC program initiated after super storm Sandy to help storm-ravaged homeowners rebuild their homes.

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