2016-10-12 / Political Page

Exhaustive Hil-Don 90-Minute War

Debate watchers at last Sunday’s Clinton-Trump battle were treated to 90- minutes of sex, lies and whatever as the combatants let it all hang out in their furious fight for the presidency.

When it was all over, the bitter, never-stop action had produced a threat from Trump that he would consider putting Hillary in jail for her e-mail shenanigans, Trump finally admitted that he got an 18- year no-tax deal from Uncle Sam, and Trump also fulfilled his threat to drag Bill Clinton into the scrap.

Meanwhile Hillary continued to exasperate Trump with her fixed smile while his tenuous support from Washington GOP’ers continued to evaporate after his 1995 “locker talk” was divulged.

At the end of it all, the eagerly-awaited poll of CNN debate watchers, produced a Clinton poll victory by a 57-34 count, with one more debate scheduled for Wednesday, October 19 in Las Vegas as the clock ticks down to election day on November 8th in 29 days.

The tone was set almost immediately after the start of the festivities. Unlike their first debate, which they started with a friendly handshake, for Debate II the combatants, seeming slightly nervous, merely exchanged smiles and without shaking hands, turned and took their positions.

The second question was posed by moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN, who asked Trump to comment in his statement about how he treated women, which had been reported a few days previously. Trump responded it was “just” locker room “talk.” But he then quickly switched subjects, saying “wars are breaking out all over,” “other countries are doing so much better than us,” and “I’m gonna make our country great again.”

Anderson then asked Clinton to comment, and she repeated her often-used line that “he’s not fit to be president.” Then, pointedly, she said about his 2005 comments that surfaced last Friday, “it represents exactly what he is.”

Anderson’s counterpart, Martha Raddatz, of Channel 7 (WABC-TV), posed another question to Trump related to his treatment of women’s and she got the same answer from Trump: “it was just locker room talk.”

But then Trump brought Bill Clinton into the discussion and stated something like, “Bill Clinton was the worst with women.” He added also that he was “ashamed” of Hillary. Then Hillary was asked to comment and her response to Trump was that “he never apologizes to anyone” and he never apologized to Obama for the “birther” business.

When Trump again was asked to comment, he opened up on Hillary, especially singling out her “email mess,” and warned that if he became president, he would direct his attorney-general to “get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there have never been so many lies.”

Hillary responded that everything Trump said was “absolutely false,” and later added, it was good that “Trump is not in charge of the law in this country,” but with perfect timing, Trump snapped, “Because you’d be in jail.”

Further into the debate, Clinton and Trump both said Obamacare was a disaster and Trump said he would repeal it or change it to create more competition between insurance companies to bring rates down. But Clinton disagreed, saying giving insurance companies any opportunity would cause higher rates.

On the immigration issue, Trump has changed his position, that he would not ban all Muslims from coming in. But he would still put them through “extreme vetting.” Clinton welcomed the change.

In Syria, Trump said he didn’t like Assad, but he is “killing ISIS,” as is Russia. Clinton said she would not send any ground troops into Syria.

Meanwhile, it’s been generally reported that the Republicans who quit Trump following his past reported treatment of women, are switching their financial resources to GOP colleagues who are running for reelection.

After all the bluster and fighting, Trump and Clinton parted company at the end of the debate shaking hands.

CROWLEY REPORTS THE PASSING OF FORMER ASSEMBLYMAN IVAN LAFAYETTE: Ivan Lafayette, who served 37 years consecutively (1977-2008) as a New York State Assembly Member covering the areas of Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst has died, according to Congress Member Joseph Crowley, whose district also includes those areas. Lafayette, 86, is survived by his wife, Bertine, three sons; Jonathan, a journalist; Mark, an attorney; and Richard, a doctor, and eight grandchildren.

Lafayette was succeeded by Assembly Member Michael DenDekker in 2009.

Ivan and Bertine moved to Jackson Heights from Brooklyn in 1956, after he served for two years in the Army from 1952- 1954. He held several high positions in the Assembly’s Democratic Party majority, which controlled the Assembly during his tenure, including Chairman of the Majority Steering Committee, and was the Majority Whip for the 1997-98 legislation term.

Congress Member Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and Queens Democratic Party chairman, who served as as Assemblymember member from 1987 to 1998 during Lafayette’s tenure, issued the following statement on the passing of Lafayette:

“It gives me great sadness to learn of the passing of my friend and former colleague Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette. I want to extend my deepest condolences to his family, and may it be comfort to them that an entire community will join them in mourning his loss. For 12 years, I had the honor of serving alongside him in the State Legislature and I witnessed first-hand how deeply he cared about the people he represented. Through his more than three decades of public service, Ivan touched the lives of so many, and I know he will be sorely missed.”

KOO STATEMENT ON FOX NEWS: City Council Member Peter Koo stated the following regarding Jesse Walters’ segment on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor” in which he repeatedly stereotypes Chinese voters in Chinatown:

“Passing off this blatantly racist television segment as “gentle fun” not only validates racist stereotypes, it encourages them. The entire segment smacks of willful ignorance by buying into the perpetual foreigner syndrome. How is it, that in New York City in 2016, this is still ok? Short answer, it’s not, and it is unfortunate that Fox News needs to be reminded of that.”

ADDABBO REPORT ON MASPETH TRAIN ACCIDENT: State Senator Joseph Addabbo released a statement regarding the “lack of safety” on The New York & Atlantic Railroad: “The recent Federal Railroad Administration safety report investigating last year’s train collision in Maspeth only further solidifies what we already know – railroad safety on the New York & Atlantic (NYA) Railroad is lacking. These disturbing details once again indicate the lack of safety procedures of NYA. Their inadequate record keeping indicates a callous disregard for employee and public safety. It is ultimately the responsibility of the MTA to ensure that the company they select to operate the freight concession does so in a responsible and safe manner. NYA has failed to hire certified, trained conductors and engineers, putting their employees and the public in harm’s way. It is crucial that New York & Atlantic listen to the recommendations of not only the community in which it operates, but from elected officials and government agencies that have put forth multiple suggestions on how to improve safety before another tragic accident occurs. New York & Atlantic owes it to those around them to cooperate with the community before it is too late.”

ADDABBO REELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKOFF: State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach) will launch his reelection campaign tomorrow (Thursday, October 13th), at 5:30 pm at his headquarters at 159-55 102nd St., Howard Beach.

Addabbo’s campaign issued the following notices: “Join us as we launch NYS Senator Addabbo’s reelection campaign. Joe will be speaking to our volunteers, past and present, to thank them for their hard work and support. Light refreshments will be made available to all. Then after we will hit the ground running making phone calls dropping literature off to our constituents and beginning canvassing. It is more important than ever to support our local electeds.”

MALONEY QUESTIONS WELLS FARGO CHIEF ON ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, senior member on the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, questioned Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf about the suspicious timing regarding his selling of Wells Fargo stock in late 2013 and reports of employees opening fraudulent accounts dating back to 2007, during a hearing on Capitol Hill on September 29.

During their exchange, the Congresswoman entered two items into the record, Stumpf’s Form 4 filing from 2013 and a court case from 2007, Finstad v. Wells Fargo.

Following her exchange with Stumpf, Maloney released the following statement:

“More than 5,000 Wells Fargo employees were fired and held accountable for creating more than 2 million fake accounts without their customers’ permission, but this mass firing does not address the need for the bank’s leadership to be held accountable for their actions. I am deeply troubled that Mr. Stumpf sold $13 million worth of Wells Fargo stock on the open market on October 13, 2013 – just months after whistleblowers first contacted the CFPB about the bank’s fraudulent actions, seemingly cashing in before rectifying the situation and informing clients that their accounts were compromised.

“Additionally, Wells Fargo has only pledged to a review of practices and accounts dating back to 2009, while we have accusations that these illegal practices go as far back as 2007. Mr. Stumpf must commit to a review that protects all customers and reviews all the information and indications of fraud, no matter how far back they date.

“Wells Fargo’s leadership must be held accountable for this systemic abuse of their customers’ trust.”

The Congresswoman’s questions, as prepared, are below:

Question 1: We know now that whistleblowers first contacted the CFPB about the fraud at Wells Fargo in mid-2013. You said in your Senate testimony that you first found out about the fake accounts in late 2013. And the L.A. Times article about this scandal was published on December 21st, 2013.

I have right here your Form 4 filing – which I’d like to submit for the record – that shows that on October 30th, 2013, you sold $13 million worth of Wells Fargo stock on the open market. That is by far the largest open-market sale of Wells Fargo stock that you’ve made in your nine years as CEO.

So my question is: Did you dump $13 million dollars of Wells Fargo stock – which you did through your family trust – right after you found out that your bank had been fraudulently opening hundreds of thousands of scam accounts?

Question 2: Mr. Stumpf, you have said that Wells Fargo is conducting a review of all accounts going back to 2009, in order to identify any scam accounts. But last week in the Senate, when you were asked if you would extend the review back to before 2009, you refused to commit to extending the review back even earlier. If you were presented with evidence that Wells Fargo was engaged in some of these same illegal practices prior to 2009, would that change your mind about extending the review?

MENG URGES CITY, NYA TO IMPLEMENT SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS ON TRAINS: US Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) urged the City of New York and New York and Atlantic Railway (NYA) on September 30 to implement critical safety improvements that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) outlined in its report on the Maspeth train crash.

In letters to New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYA President Paul Victor, Meng called for immediate upgrades to local grade crossings in order to prevent additional collisions.

The Maspeth crash occurred on July 8, 2015, when a freight train operated by NYA slammed into a tractor-trailer at the grade crossing on Maspeth Avenue. The gate at the grade crossing failed to come down in time and the tractor-trailer burst into flames after the impact. Meng called on the FRA to investigate the incident and the agency’s report – which was released Sunday, September 25 – revealed that NYA was at fault. It also highlighted numerous operational and safety problems with the railway company, including issues at local grade crossings where only NYA freight trains pass through, according to Meng.

“Dangerous safety conditions remain at area grade crossings, and every day that lingers without these critical improvements is another day where lives are at risk,” said Meng. “The City and NYA must act before another crash occurs. The safety of drivers, local residents and train personnel cannot continue to be jeopardized.”

Meng also asked Trottenberg and Victor to notify her when the safety upgrades are completed. The specific grade crossing improvements outlined by the FRA, and the ones that the City and NYA are each are responsible for fixing, are listed in the respective letters.

NYA is based in Glendale. A grade crossing is an intersection where a road or highway crosses railroad tracks at the same level.

KOO CONGRATULATES PS 242 ON BLUE RIBBON DESIGNATION: On the occasion of the designation of PS 242 Leonard P. Stavisky School as a National Blue Ribbon School, Council Member Peter Koo stated the following:

“Congratulations to PS 242 Leonard P. Stavisky School and Principal Patricia Costa on being named a National Blue Ribbon School. This is a prestigious honor that reflects the hard work and tremendous dedication of the faculty, staff, students and parents to creating a well-rounded education. A Blue Ribbon designation is further proof of what many in our community already know: that Flushing schools are some of the best in the borough. Keep up the good work!”

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