The world is in turmoil. Perhaps it is just a continuation of the human condition but in this moment it is all so overpowering. Death and hatred torments us daily from all corners of the globe. The evil is a cancer that is attacking without limitation.
The sorrows in France have resonated in the streets of New York, London, Jerusalem and elsewhere. Terrorism has gained prominence in the minds of the citizenry more so than was felt following the 9/11 attacks. The infection of fear now grips the hearts of many.
Protesters in Dresden demand the end of Muslim presence in Germany. The extreme right wing of Germany is diverting their hatred of the Jews to Islam. The French who gladly participated with the German occupation during the Second World War in exterminating their Jewish population has come to realize the truth that “first they came for the Jews and then they came for me!”
Terrorist groups are strangling Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, most of North Africa and the Middle East. Millions have fled their homes in Syria while ISIS pursues them by conquering large parts of Iraq. Turkey is frightened of the Kurds and is glad to stand back while Kurds die fighting the Islamic State.
In the United States, the Republicans have taken control of Congress. The far right wing of the party truly believes that disagreement with their beliefs defines their opponents as unpatriotic. They believe “activist judges” are usurping the principles of the Founding Fathers when in fact an activist judge is one who finds against their wishes.
At this moment in history the world is looking to the United States for hope and leadership. Unless the political parties accept compromise, that hope is illusionary. This is not the first time that the U.S. has been called upon to temper our political divide to aid an ailing world. Let us pray that reality and patriotism overcomes the political divide that has made Americans enemies to our own!
Michael Panico’s Jan. 16 letter, “Answering the Left,” stated seven responses to my Jan. 9 letter. I wish to clarify issue No. 3: “Still blaming Bush?”
Under Reagan the debt as a share of GDP rose to 41 percent. Bush-41 raised it to 50 percent. Clinton dropped it to 39 percent. Bush-43’s debt went from $5.7 trillion in 2001 to $10.7 trillion in 2008. This was due to his credit card USA spending spree.
Yes, Obama raised the debt to $18 trillion!
Here is a simple breakdown: $3.6 trillion due to Bush’s recession; $3.1 trillion due to two tax cuts; $1.4 trillion due to two wars; $1.4 trillion due to Obama’s stimulus spending to recover from the 2008 financial crisis — on G.W. Bush’s watch!
Take note: Most of our debt took place under three GOP presidents (source: Wikipedia).
May I suggest you readers examine, in the current New Yorker, the remarks made by 50 historians concerning the Obama presidential legacy. I’m sure the GOP and Fox News will be shocked!
Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) wants to clear up some confusion about recent immigration reform and warn immigrants about potential scams.
Along with Neena Dutta, chairwoman of the New York chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Meng explained on Friday in her Flushing office what’s happening, what to watch out for and what steps immigrants should take.
Two former New York City Republican county chairmen told a jury last week that former state Sen. Malcolm Smith freely offered to bribe them for their support in getting the party’s 2013 mayoral nomination.
The New York Post reported that former Bronx Chairman Joseph Savino, testifying as a condition of his guilty plea in the case, admitted taking $15,000 to provide career Democrat Smith with one of the three county Republican organizations he needed per state law to change parties.
Former Councilman Dan Halloran’s sentencing on federal corruption charges has been pushed back again, according to a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Halloran, with previous dates of Jan. 12 and Jan. 22, was one of six people arrested in 2013 in an alleged plot by former state Sen. Malcolm Smith to bribe Republican city officials in order to get the GOP’s nomination for mayor.
A response to: “Fox News: always wrong,” Letters, Jan. 8:
Clearly, there was no mention of the fact that A) Any other cable news network is biased toward the liberals in this country, so apparently that’s OK and Fox can’t be biased and B) someone from the other side should be given a chance to counter writer Anthony G. Pilla’s point, so I figured I’d do it.
1. OK. So, the entire Left uses this argument in favor of Obama that he has nothing to do with gas prices, so Republicans should stop harassing him, yet you want to give him credit for the lower gas prices? Double standard?
2. Eleven million jobs may have been created, but what about the fact that jobs that have been lost are lost permanently? How many of those are temporary jobs? Economics and job numbers are not things you can nitpick. Look at the entire picture.
3. Still blaming Bush? C’mon already. If the annual debt has dropped, how come the national debt has exceeded 18 trillion and is going higher? Go on usdebtclock.org and see how the amount of interest we owe is going down, yet the debt is going up because we are borrowing money to pay the inter
est on the money that we already borrowed. Is Bush to blame? Absolutely. But so is Obama. If we are going to place blame instead of finding a solution to fix the problem, shouldn’t that blame be “fair and balanced?”
4. Unemployment may be 5.8 percent, but you are again leaving out facts. The 5.8 percent does not take into account the number of individuals who have given up looking for work. This also does not count those who are working part-time because of the fact they cannot find a full time stable job. In fact, real unemployment is practically double the number that is always touted by the media that you claim is more “fair and balanced” than Fox News.
5. Obamacare deserves more than just two sentences. Did I mention that my healthcare plan with my employer is going to be more expensive because of Obamacare? And how my family now has to pay more out of pocket because of Obamacare? I would challenge you to a debate about the philosophy of government-run healthcare as a whole in a forum that is larger than just two sentences. Doesn’t do it justice.
6. The IRS scandal is not “alleged.” There are emails that have been unearthed that prove that the IRS was targeting conservative groups. The “fair and balanced” media you think that is better than Fox News didn’t report on it so they can stroke the President’s ego. Same thing goes for the VA. It’s a shame that you refuse to acknowledge a clear scandal against our Veterans.
7. Those portraits have nothing to do with their party. Presidents 41 and 43 are father and son. It’s nice to have that on television, especially during the holidays. I wish more stations showed them. And a portrait of 42 and 44 on Christmas? Man, I would love to be at that Christmas dinner.
Does Fox News have a bias? Absolutely. But, if you compare them to MSNBC, Fox has more people presenting the other side of the aisle than MSNBC. MSNBC will have multiple people with the same viewpoint talk about an issue, instead of promoting debate.
So, no, Mr. Pilla, in answer to your question: You are not correct.
This is in response to a letter to the editor by Steve Behar from Bayside appearing in the January 8th Queens Chronicle titled “Quoting Cuomo.”
Mr. Behar’s letter states that he went back and watched Mario Cuomo’s keynote address at the 1984 National Democratic Convention, and that this speech shaped Mr. Behar into the political person he is today, which is a proud Democrat. In reality, Mr. Behar should be a proud Republican, because while Mr. Cuomo was defending the liberal Democratic agenda, and criticizing the first term of Ronald Reagan in the process, Mr. Cuomo was wrong, and the facts prove it.
Mr. Cuomo mocked Mr. Reagan for calling America a “shining city on the hill.” Instead, he called it a “Tale of Two Cities” (made famous again now by Mayor de Blasio), with homelessness, drug addiction and unemployment dominant in many areas.
Mr. Cuomo charged Mr. Reagan with heartlessness by conjuring up a “woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile.”
Mr. Cuomo claimed the Democratic Party, “which has saved this nation from depression, from fascism, from racism, from corruption, is called upon to do it again - this time to save the nation from confusion and division, from the threat of eventual fiscal disaster, and most of all, from the fear of a nuclear holocaust.”
But the facts prove otherwise:
1) The voters apparently disagreed with Mr. Cuomo, because in November of that year the Democratic nominee, Walter Mondale, lost 49 states as Mr. Reagan swept to a dramatic and historic landslide victory for a second term.
2) The Reagan economy that Cuomo expressed contempt for in his speech and called an eventual fiscal disaster had grown by a roaring 4.5 percent in 1983 and would continue to grow in 1984 to an amazingly unheard of 7.1 percent. And it kept on booming, with an astounding 10.7 million jobs created in Mr. Reagan’s second term alone. This is a fiscal disaster?
3) Mr. Cuomo’s attacks on Mr. Reagan’s pro-military agenda and spending proved to be false as well. In five years, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”). And a major contributing factor to the collapse of the Soviet Union was that it could not keep up with our military spending. Therefore, millions of people were liberated from Communist oppression.
While we all can applaud Mr. Cuomo’s oratory skills, the historical record shows the substance of his speech was staggeringly incorrect.
The message was loud and clear.
The NYPD deserves better than this.
The jury in the federal corruption trial of former state Sen. Malcolm Smith and former Queens Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone has been hearing this week from an undercover FBI agent who posed as a wealthy real estate developer seeking political favors in New York state.
Multiple media sources have reported that the agent, who was known as “Raj,” was subjected to cross-examination on Tuesday from Smith’s lawyer, Gerald Shargel. Shargel is pursuing an entrapment defense, and Tabone’s team is expected to do likewise.
Just in case you thought Edward Snowden hadn’t done enough to drive the debate over freedom and security, or that the Senate Democrats’ report on CIA activities alleged enough abuses under the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war on terrorism, there’s a new work out that keeps such issues at the fore.
Like Snowden’s revelations of government surveillance and the report’s allegations of torture, this one comes from within the government. Unlike those, however, it takes a comedic look at the issues — though it still skewers the likes of former Vice President Dick Cheney, his advisor Scooter Libby and Republican establishment political operative Karl Rove.
Former state Sen. Malcolm Smith, left, and former Queens Republican Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone began their new trial for corruption charges on Monday. But Tabone also has picked up a new charge for alleged witness tampering.
Inside Councilman Eric Ulrich’s (R-Ozone Park) district office desk are three medals that his great-grandfather earned for his service in World War II. On top of the desk stands a small wooden paperweight that says “Support Our Troops.”
One of the first people to greet you when you walk into his office is Redmond Haskins, the councilman’s director of communications and a certified veterans service officer, who is authorized to assist veterans with claims for certain benefits.
Three years ago, the idea of Malcolm Smith and Vincent Tabone being linked in any sort of context might have elicited laughs in Queens political circles.
But with the beginning of jury selection this past Monday in their federal corruption trial, the two stand accused of conspiring to bribe Republican Party officials in New York City so Smith, once one of the most powerful Democrats in the state, could run for mayor in 2013 as a Republican.
To many Queens elected officials, Mario Cuomo was more than a governor — he was a political inspiration.
“A native of Queens, Governor Cuomo was an inspiration to me and to many borough residents who entered public service in the hope of following his example and building on his legacy of achievement,” Borough President Melinda Katz said in a statement.
The latest crime statistics indicate that in 2014 the city saw its lowest robbery and burglary rates of the past 10 years and the fewest murders since reliable records have been kept. Mayor de Blasio held a press conference Monday to announce the positive numbers, which come during a turbulent time for the city and police-mayoral relations.
The stats boast a 4.6 percent drop in overall crime, with 2,600 fewer robberies than in 2013. Housing crime is down 6 percent and subway crime dropped 15 percent with only two deaths. Murder rates decreased to a record low, 332 for the year, despite a 55 percent spike in homicides during the final weeks of December.
Former Queens County Deputy Republican Chairman Vincent Tabone was hit with an additional charge — witness tampering — as his retrial in a political corruption case began on Monday.
The New York Post and the Journal News of Westchester County and other media outlets say Tabone, who is accused of accepting a bribe to help former state Sen. Malcolm Smith get on the Republican ballot for mayor in 2013, now also stands accused of trying to influence Phil Ragusa, the former chairman of the Queens Republican Party who died last June, not to cooperate with prosecutors.
(NAPSI)—Today, our country is facing an unprecedented range of threats that require a more robust response than the current budget limits on national security and research and development spending allow.
Mario Cuomo, a three-term Democratic New York governor, a Queens native and father of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, died on New Year's Day just hours after his son was sworn into his second term.
This week marks the 49th anniversary of the transit strike that started Jan. 1, 1966, a nightmare New Yorkers will never forget as they hitched rides or used skates, bicycles and their own two legs to get to work in Manhattan.
Michael J. Quill, head of the 32,600-member TWU Transit Workers Union Local 100, had enjoyed a behind-the-scenes relationship with Democratic Mayor Robert Wagner for many years, making quiet deals. Wagner was close with the public-sector unions that had helped him win elections. John Lindsay, a Republican who campaigned on changing the system and came into office on Jan. 1, 1966, locked heads with Quill, who was bent on showing him who called the shots.
The Police Department will modify its Patrol Guide to say that the planned IDNYC cards, which the city will offer to all residents regardless of immigration status, are an acceptable form of identification, Mayor de Blasio and other officials recently announced.
The goal of accepting the cards is to prevent arrests for relatively minor violations of the law, the Mayor’s Office said. People with valid ID charged with such violations, such as drinking in public or carrying a few grams of marijuana for personal use, are issued summonses — but those without are arrested.
The year started out with the installation of two new city councilmen — Paul Vallone of Bayside and Rory Lancman of Fresh Meadows. Vallone replaced Dan Halloran, who did not seek re-election following his indictment on federal bribery charges. Lancman replaced Jim Gennaro, who was term-limited out of office.
Southeast Queens had a year with a new mayor and old problems with accusations of political corruption, and possibly lost ground in its fight to keep airplane noise under control.
Little did we know last week, when we wrote in this space that anti-cop attitudes can only harm the city, the horrific form in which that concern would come to manifest itself.
Police officers assassinated, killed in a flash by an assailant they probably never even saw. On the street. In broad daylight. By a piece of human garbage who planned the act, who tried to tell as many people as he could that he was going to do it. And then did.
2014 will go down in the record books as the FDNY’s busiest year in its very active century and a half history, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York and Fire Department data.
There is a growing concern that the constitutional mandate of the United States Postal Service may go the way of the Pony Express! Not by competitive technology, but by political fiat.
The GOP has a master plan to privatize every function big government provides to promote the general welfare. Its goal is to replace it with small government that would promote the welfare of corporate America. Here is proof. Grover Norquist, the GOP field marshal, said, “My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
Let’s review how the GOP plans to destroy the USPS. The GOP Congress enacted the Postal and Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, HR 6407. Bush-43 signed the PAEA into law. Note the fancy title of the law. On the surface, it appeared reasonable. However, the devil is in the details.
The PAEA required the USPS to make payments of $5.4 to 5.8 billion into the Postal Service retiree health benefits fund each year from 2007 to 2016 to “prefund” 50 years of estimated costs. The USPS was ordered to stop using its savings to reduce postal debt. This prefunding is unique to the USPS, in fact unique to the private sector.
What impact will the devil’s law have on the public? 1) Frequent postal rate increases. 2) Elimination of Saturday delivery. 3) Closing rural and poor area post offices. This may create economic hardship on small businesses that rely on a steady flow of commercial mail and will also hurt families. 4) Massive layoffs of postal workers, hurting one of America’s largest unions. This is a priority with Republicans — a weak union means a weak Democratic Party.
Simply put, the GOP is out to choke the life out of the USPS.