Sunday, May 29, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Congressman Rebukes Donald Trump, Saying He Received 9/11 Aid Intended for Small Businesses

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a Democrat whose district includes Lower Manhattan, has written a scathing open letter denouncing Donald J. Trump for receiving grant money intended for small-business owners after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mr. Nadler’s broadside against Mr. Trump is the latest salvo in efforts by Democrats to illustrate his use of various loopholes over the years to help his businesses.

Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, frequently invoked New York’s post-9/11 resilience to combat criticism from his primary rivals over his New York roots.

Mr. Nadler described those words by Mr. Trump as “exploitation” of the city’s darkest day.

“When do you plan on returning the taxpayer money that was designated to ease the suffering of our city’s small-business owners?” Mr. Nadler wrote in the letter, a copy of which his office provided to The New York Times.

He was referring to reports that Mr. Trump had received $150,000 from the World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant program for his property at 40 Wall Street.

“It’s been reported that on your grant application, you claimed 40 Wall Street L.L.C. — which employed 28 people and had $26.8 million in annual revenues at the time — as a ‘small business,’” Mr. Nadler wrote. “Despite the federal definition of a small business as having less than $6 million in revenue, you accepted a $150,000 payout.”

He added, “In grabbing that money with both fists, you took it out of the pockets of small-business owners in New York who were truly hurting, and prevented them from taking full advantage of the relief so generously offered by their fellow citizens.”

Mr. Nadler pointed out that Mr. Trump had later been quoted in a television interview saying none of his properties were harmed in the attacks. Mr. Nadler also made a demand: “Return the funds you received or donate them to a charitable organization dedicated to providing legitimate support for the victims of 9/11.”

Mr. Trump recently made his first trip and first donation to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, at the site of the devastation. He has not taken a position on the proposed extension of a bill providing health benefits to recovery workers who became ill at the World Trade Center site during the months of cleanup.

In response to Mr. Nadler, Mr. Trump said, “The company received this small amount of money after qualifying, given the limited number of employees working at the property,” he said, adding, “For many months, I allowed people to stay in the building, use the building and store things in the building.”

“I was happy to do it and to this day I am still being thanked for the many people I helped. The value of what I did was far greater than the money talked about,” he said.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/05/28/us/politics/jerrold-nadler-donald-trump-sept-11.html?_r=1&referer=http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Democratic Super PAC eyes NY 21

Voter turn out and perception of how closely U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, is linked with Donald Trump will be key factors in the 21st Congressional District race, according to a Democratic-aligned Super PAC.

"In a district where President Obama twice received over 52 percent of the vote, Stefanik has plenty of reason to worry," said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of House Majority PAC, in a memo on New York House races the group distributed to reporters on Thursday.

Stefanik, a first-term incumbent, is running against Democrat Mike Derrick, a retired Army colonel from Peru, in Clinton County, and Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, a bread company owner and political activist from Hudson Falls.

Full story. 

http://poststar.com/blogs/all_politics_is_local/democratic-super-pac-eyes-ny/article_9369c07d-b924-5d35-b737-097971f1e323.html

Vince Foster’s sister pens blistering op-ed shaming Trump for his insane conspiracy theories

If you followed politics in the 1990s, you might remember the trail of insane conspiracy theories that arose after Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster took his own life in 1993. Although there was absolutely nothing to suggest that there was any foul play involved in Foster’s death, Donald Trump nonetheless claimed this week that there was supposedly something “fishy” about his suicide.

Although many pundits have thoroughly debunked this conspiracy theory, no one has done so more powerfully than Foster’s own sister, who has written a blistering op-ed for The Washington Post that shames Trump for using her brother’s death for political gain.

“It is beyond contempt that a politician would use a family tragedy to further his candidacy, but such is the character of Donald Trump displayed in his recent comments to The Washington Post,” writes Sheila Foster Anthony. “In this interview, Trump cynically, crassly and recklessly insinuated that my brother, Vincent W. Foster Jr., may have been murdered because ‘he had intimate knowledge of what was going on’ and that Hillary Clinton may have somehow played a role in Vince’s death. How wrong. How irresponsible. How cruel.”

It certainly is, although it’s sadly not surprising given how he’s run his presidential campaign so far.

Anthony goes on to note that “five investigations, including by independent counsels Robert B. Fiske Jr. and Kenneth Starr, concluded that Vince suffered from severe depression that caused him to be unable to sleep, unable to work, unable to think straight, and finally to take his own life.” She also recounts her own personal history of seeing her brother struggle with his personal demons and of the intense demands of his job.

The whole piece is worth reading and can be found here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Average CEO Raise Last Year Amounted to 10x What Most Workers Make in Total

It was another banner year for chief executives at the biggest companies.

For its latest annual study of CEO compensation, the Associated Press, using data from Equilar, looked at what 341 executives at companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index brought home from salary as well as other perks like stock awards and deferred compensation.

The study found that the median compensation was $10.8 million, up from $10.3 million the CEOs took in the year before.

The median CEO pay raise was 4.5 percent from 2014—and that bump alone, nearly $470,000, is about ten times what the average U.S. worker makes in a year, the AP notes.

The top-paying industry was healthcare, with a median compensation of $14.5 million.

The CEO of Expedia, Dara Khosrowshahi, was both the highest paid CEO in 2015, raking in $94.6 million, as well as the CEO with the biggest raise, up 881 percent from the year before.

The AP/Equilar study comes on the heels of the AFL-CIO's most recent figures on its Executive PayWatch, showing that the average CEO of an S&P 500 company in 2015 brought home 335 times more money than the average worker, while the Economic Policy Institute noted last year that "inflation-adjusted CEO compensation increased from $1.5 million in 1978 to $16.3 million in 2014, or 997 percent," compared to the inflation-adjusted compensation for the "average private-sector production and nonsupervisory worker [which] rose from $48,000 in 1978 to just $53,200 in 2014, an increase of only 10.9 percent."

"The income inequality that exists in this country is a disgrace," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka last week. "We must stop Wall Street CEOs from continuing to profit on the backs of working people."

http://commondreams.org/news/2016/05/25/average-ceo-raise-last-year-amounted-10x-what-most-workers-make-total

Clinton Campaign Attacks Donald Trump for Housing Bubble Comments


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The NRA’s Endorsement Of Donald Trump Is Premised On A Lie

The NRA supported its endorsement of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump at the group’s annual meeting by repeatedly telling the lie that likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton opposes gun ownership and would confiscate guns as president. 

The NRA lying to its members -- and anyone else observing the annual meeting -- is anathema to the group’s 2016 election messaging, which is centered on the claim that the NRA “doesn’t lie” but that instead Americans are constantly lied to by “the political and media elites at the highest levels.”

Moments before the NRA endorsed Donald Trump at its annual meeting on May 20, the NRA’s two top members of leadership, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, and Chris Cox, the group’s top lobbyist who also runs the NRA’s political efforts, told a series of lies about Clinton’s position on guns. 

According to repeated campaign trail statements, Clinton has expressed support for both people being allowed to own gunsand for regulations on firearms, such as expanded background checks. PolitiFact found there is “no evidence” for the claim Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment and that Clinton’s position on whether the Second Amendment confers an individual right to gun ownership is “more or less in line with the George W. Bush administration’s position” on the landmark Second Amendment decision District of Columbia v. Heller.

In his remarks, Cox claimed that Clinton thinks it’s “wrong” that “the Supreme Court said you have a right to protect your life against a murderer in your own home.” (Clinton actually believes Heller was “wrongly decided” because it “may open the door to overturning thoughtful, common sense safety measures in the future” such as a child access provision that was struck down in the ruling, not because she opposes firearm ownership for lawful self-defense.)

Cox continued, claiming Clinton “wants us to surrender our firearms,” “to live in a place where only law enforcement has guns,” and made repeated references to his claim Clinton wants “to take our guns.”

Then, moments before the NRA’s formal endorsement of Trump, LaPierre took the stage to claim that “if she could, Hillary would ban every gun” and that Clinton “craves” gun confiscation. The next day at the official meeting of members, LaPierre grouped in Clinton with other entities the NRA claims don’t support self-defense, saying, “We will not give up our God-given right to defend ourselves, our families, to the elites, to Obama, to the media, and sure as hell not to another Clinton.”

None of these claims are true. Yet, the NRA has increasingly positioned itself as a truth-teller about the 2016 elections. In an article in the March edition of the NRA’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom that attacked the honesty of Clinton and President Obama, the NRA wrote, “Let’s get something straight: The NRA doesn’t lie. The NRA tells the truth, no matter how unpopular, how politically incorrect or how much the truth might offend those who fear or hate freedom.”

LaPierre made similar remarks during his March 3 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, claiming, “At a time when all of us are bombarded with media agenda, their web of spin and political conniving, the very best, most effective and surest way to defend freedom is found in those four little words: Thou Shalt Not Lie” and that “History proves that if you give the American people the straight truth, they will choose honest freedom every time. That is why, for decades, the NRA has been the guiding light for American gun owners and those who treasure our constitutional freedom. … We’ve been exposing the liars about our freedom for decades, telling the truth that most Americans know in their hearts to be right.” In sum, LaPierre referenced “the truth” 11 times during his speech.

LaPierre spoke on the same theme during a March 23 address to Liberty University, claiming, “The lies go on and on, an epidemic of untruth at the highest levels of our country. Everybody spins a fabric of lies, and the American public sits out there and goes, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s got to stop!’ Yet when someone does tell the truth, they get clobbered. It’s all upside-down. Lies seem normal and the truth seems like bizarre, crazy talk.”

What the NRA has said about its endorsement of Trump also speaks to the organization’s dishonesty. 

While the NRA’s endorsement of Trump -- given his willingness to adopt the NRA’s extreme agenda -- makes sense, NRA top lobbyist Cox attempted to sugarcoat the endorsement for members, calling the decision “easy” and claiming “show me a Republican presidential nominee in our lifetimes, or for that matter, in the past 100 years, who has spoken so forcefully about not only the right to own a gun, but the right to use it to defend yourself.”

Clinton Versus Trump: Predicting The Electoral College

President Donald J. Trump?

In this feverish year, the most recent symptom of distemper is media blather that — based on polling nearly 6 months out — America is on the cusp of electing Donald Trump. Before this conjures the megalomaniacal horror of Trump’s inaugural address, let me offer a consoling reality — that political fun house mirror known as the Electoral College.

We may not love it but, like shingles and pneumonia, this particular college will forever be with us. And so, a spoiler alert. At the end of this piece, I’m revealing who won the presidency in November, right down to the last electoral vote. Faced with a national nervous collapse, it seems unkind to wait.

I’m not alone in trying to be helpful. One day after the Indiana primary, the New York Times predicted the electoral vote count for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A day earlier, I went through a similar exercise, and got an identical count.

Full story at http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/9848032

Monday, May 23, 2016

Joseph Percoco, will take personal control of the state Democratic Party

Gov. Cuomo, hobbled by US Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe of longtime political operative Joseph Percoco, will take personal control of the state Democratic Party on Monday — even as he names Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown as its new “figurehead” chairman, sources told The Post.

Brown’s selection — to be rubber-stamped at a meeting of the state Democratic Committee — is worrying many city and suburban Democrats, who say the Buffalo mayor, unlike Percoco, won’t have direct access to the governor when important decisions have to be made.

“Joe was also Andrew’s eyes and ears, letting him know how party people were feeling, but Byron’s a six-hour drive from [Albany] and he can’t do that,’’ a senior Democrat said.

A second prominent Democrat called Percoco “the ‘go to’ person,’’ and asked, “Who will we go to now?”

Cuomo is also expected to name former New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn as the state party’s No. 2 official, but her selection was described by party insiders as more a rebuke to Mayor de Blasio, the governor’s nemesis, and not an effort to find a replacement for Percoco.

Brown was described by a well-known Democratic official as “always a gentleman and never temperamental,’’ but also as someone out for personal or political gain.

“He’s the most transactional person I ever met in politics,’’ said the source.

Party activists said Brown’s selection was meant in part as a gesture to economically distressed Buffalo, where many leaders fear that Bharara’s investigation has put the governor’s Buffalo Billion project in danger.

“Cuomo’s whole upstate political strategy is built around helping Buffalo in one way or another, and what’s going on with Bharara looking at the Buffalo Billion is obviously of concern to him,’’ said a source close to the governor.

Percoco — Cuomo’s former top aide and close friend and, since December, senior vice president at Madison Square Garden — and Cuomo family associate Todd Howe are the subject of an explosive investigation by Bharara over the fees they received helping clients with business before the state.

Bharara served Cuomo’s office with a subpoena late last month seeking records related to Percoco, Howe and 24 other individuals and companies involved in a massive set of state contracts, including the Buffalo Billion project.

The subpoena rocked the Cuomo administration, where what some call a fearful “lockdown’’ is in effect, and has left many close to the governor convinced that criminal indictments are forthcoming.

“Preet Bharara’s subpoena is a turning point for the Cuomo administration,’’ said a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation.

“The administration isn’t what it was and, depending what Bharara comes up with, it may never be the same.’’

http://nypost.com/2016/05/23/cuomo-is-taking-control-of-new-yorks-democratic-party/


Friday, May 20, 2016

Top 0.1% would be big winner under Donald Trump's tax plan, Wisconsin Hillary Clinton supporter says

For being Hillary Clinton surrogates, two Wisconsin lawmakers sounded rather like Bernie Sanders when they got on the phone with reporters to denounce Donald Trump’s tax plan.

"For the billionaires, by the billionaires," state Rep. Cory Mason of Racine declared in the May 11, 2016 teleconference, which was arranged by Clinton’s Wisconsin campaign.

Mason was joined by fellow Democrat Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse, the Senate minority leader. Her attack was more specific.

Shilling stated that with Trump’s plan, "the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers -- people earning multiple millions of dollars a year, on average -- would get more tax relief than the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers combined."

Economic inequality has been a signature issue for Sanders, whose presidential campaign has kept Clinton from claiming the presumptive nominee title Trump has on the Republican side.

When Sanders said in Madison that the top one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, we rated his claim Mostly True  .

Let's take a look at Shilling’s one-tenth of 1 percenters claim -- which, as we’ll see, was made at something of a moving target.

The figures

Standing in the lobby of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan in September 2015, Trump rolled out his tax reform plan -- which some analysts immediately saw as a boon for the wealthy.

He proposed significant cuts across the board, PolitiFact National found, but the wealthiest would get the most in tax cuts. For the highest income earners, the top income tax rate would drop from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.

When we asked about Shilling’s claim, Clinton’s Wisconsin campaign cited an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of two Washington, D.C. think tanks: the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.

The analysis found that on average, under Trump’s plan, households at all income levels would receive tax cuts -- but the highest-income households would receive the largest cuts, both in dollars and as a percentage of income.

More specific to Shilling’s claim:

  • The highest-income 0.1 percent of taxpayers -- those who had an income of over $3.7 million in 2015 -- would get an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million in 2017.

  • That same group would receive 18 percent of the tax reduction, while the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers would receive 16.4 percent of the reduction.

At our request, the liberal Citizens for Tax Justice also did calculations, which came out nearly the same: The top 0.1 percent would get 17 percent of Trump's proposed tax cuts and the bottom 60 percent would get 13 percent of the cuts.

To some extent, this isn’t a surprise, in that the wealthiest pay the lion’s share of income taxes. In a June 2015 report, the Tax Policy Center said the top 0.1 percent pay 21.1 percent of all individual income taxes and the bottom 60 percent pays 1.5 percent.

Alan Cole, an economist with the Tax Foundation, also ran the numbers and told us Shilling’s claim is accurate. But Cole noted that under Trump’s plan:

-- People in the 40th to 60th percentiles have about 99 percent of their income tax liability removed.

-- People in the 0 to 40th percentiles who paid positive income taxes have about 100 percent of their income tax liability removed.

"So the reason Trump’s plan doesn’t cut middle-class income taxes by more than that is, well, you can’t cut middle-class income taxes by more than that," Cole said.

 

So, the figures back Shilling.

The thing is, shortly before she made her claim, Trump’s tax proposal was changing. Sort of. Maybe. Or was it?

Trump’s equivocation

In the three days prior, Trump said he might raise, not lower, taxes on the wealthy. Then he indicated the wealthy would get tax cuts, but the cuts might be less than what is in his plan. And then Politico reported that Trump’s campaign had enlisted conservative economists to revise his plan, and that they were advising a top tax rate of 28 percent -- higher than the 25 percent in Trump’s proposal.

All of which has caused some confusion as to what Trump would do with taxes.

Nevertheless, by the time Shilling made her statement, Trump had not changed his tax proposal, which remained on his campaign website.

(Indeed, for what it's worth, the day after Shilling’s claim, a Trump spokeswoman told the New York Times: "There are no changes being made to the plan.")

Our rating

Shilling said that under Trump's tax plan, "the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers -- people earning multiple millions of dollars a year, on average --  would get more tax relief than the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers combined."

A report from a respected nonpartisan research group calculates that the 0.1 percent -- those making more than $3.7 million per year -- would receive 18 percent of the tax cuts under Trump’s proposal. The bottom 60 percent of taxpayers, meanwhile, would enjoy only 16.4 percent of the cuts. Another tax group found similar figures.

Trump has indicated he might make alter his tax proposal, but he hadn’t as of when Shilling made her statement -- so we rate the statement True.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

As the Republican Party melts down around him, Donald Trump ponders his vice presidential pick

Donald Trump is picking a running mate. That is a sentence that can be said now: After dispatching with the rest of the Republican field via a rigorous program of pomposity and insult comedy, Donald Trump now must decide who precisely he would like to hoist up has his vice presidential pick—a difficult problem, given that Donald Trump doesn't consider anyone other than himself to be qualified for anything. He may yet pick himself as his own running mate, just so he can be sure there's someone in the position who admires him as much as he thinks he should be admired.

Barring that, ex-presidential candidate turned Donald Trump hanger-on Ben Carson spills the beans as to who is being considered.

The most favorably regarded contenders after himself, he was told, were John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie.

Note that there are several caveats to this. First, Ben Carson likely does not know what he is talking about. Second, "after himself" is a red herring, as he claims he doesn't want the job. Third, he later called the reporter to say that he was just throwin' out names and was not necessarily accidentally leaking important insider information that others in the Trump campaign would have his head over. Fourth—Sarah Palin?

Sure, why not. If you consider running the nation to be no different from running a reality TV show, it stands to reason you'd pick a reality TV icon to do the job. Plus, you don't want anyone with either knowledge or eloquence in the VP slot, lest they show Donald up.

In related news, Republican National Committee chairman and willing captain of the good ship RMS Clusterf--k Reince Priebus has been expressing his own hope that Trump will not screw this step up. He's powerless to do a thing about it, of course, but he still muttered to omnipresent radio conservative Hugh Hewitt about how Trump "understands" that "there has to be a degree of diversity on the ballot."

"Now whether it be diversity of age or whether it be diversity of gender or ethnic background, somehow or another, diversity is important in some respects," Priebus said.

Well that narrows it down. As long as that person is maybe a slightly different age or maybe prefers mahogany over gold leaf, it sounds like Reince will count it a success. It’s easy to wonder, though, how much Priebus is phoning in the diversity talk at this point. When you've just selected the most belligerent xenophobe in the race as your presidential candidate, that ship has sailed. Or, to be more accurate: sailed, got struck by lightning, burned to a crisp, sunk to the bottom of the sea, and then somehow burst into flames again.

Because Donald cannot help but be Donald. If there's a "general election" mode to be had there, this may be it. This may be all he's capable of.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Donald Trump has challenged the new London mayor to an IQ test after Sadiq Khan said he was ignorant.

It’s highly likely that 80 percent of the people on this planet could beat Donald in an IQ test, including Sarah Palin, and we strongly suspect that if Donald Trump has ever actually taken such a test it was administered on the back of a half-full box of Cap'n Crunch. You can also expect this to be one of President Trump's go-to methods of international diplomacy, and that within the first two years of his administration we would be subjected to a nationally televised competitive IQ test between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, judged by their own closest staff members, in which the world would learn that both are so astonishingly clever that mere IQ tests cannot even measure their godlike mental powers. Then they would shake hands and agree to not destroy the world with the power of their own thoughts, so long as the rest of us treat them properly.

This is only going to get worse, you know. It keeps being said, and it keeps being true. For all we know Donald Trump is vetting a particularly photogenic horse to be his vice presidential contender, just to stick it to Reince Priebus yet one more time. There doesn’t seem to be a bottom here.

http://m.dailykos.com/stories/1527030

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mark Cuban dunks Donald Trump: “You’re a goddamn airhead”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks he knows exactly what kind of guy Donald Trump is.

“There’s that guy who’ll walk into a bar and say anything to get laid,” Cuban explained at a conference in Las Vegas on Thursday. “That’s Donald Trump right now to a T. But it’s all of us who are going to get fucked.”

“Everybody’s got that friend that you just shake your head at,” Cuban continued. “He’s that guy who’d get drunk and fall over all the time, or just says dumb shit all the time, but he’s your friend.”

Cuban said he has a “love-hate relationship” with Trump, and his past comments reflect his mixed feelings on the Republican presidential nominee. In July 2015, Cuban hailed Trump as “the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time,” but earlier this year Cuban excoriated his fellow billionaire for saying “nothing of true substance.” In February, Cuban said he hadn’t ruled out voting for anyone, except Trump’s then-rival Ted Cruz.

Full story http://www.salon.com/2016/05/13/mark_cuban_dunks_donald_trump_youre_a_goddamn_airhead/


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bill Maher And Michael Moore Vow To Take Down Donald Trump


Bill Maher is determined to stop Donald Trump’s campaign for president in its tracks.

And the “Real Time with Bill Maher“ host found a natural ally during his show on Friday night — in Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.

The duo pledged to team up to prevent the presumptive Republican presidential nominee from winning the race for the White House this fall.

“Bill, the question you asked, what are we going to do between now and November? You and I are going to take him down. You and I,” said Moore.

“No seriously, this is the end of Donald Trump. He is not going to the White House. That is not happening,” he added.

Watch Friday night’s full clip above.

 

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

Also on HuffPost

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Donald Trump masqueraded as publicist to brag about himself

The voice is instantly familiar; the tone, confident, even cocky; the cadence, distinctly Trumpian. The man on the phone vigorously defending Donald Trump says he’s a media spokesman named John Miller, but then he says, “I’m sort of new here,” and “I’m somebody that he knows and I think somebody that he trusts and likes” and even “I’m going to do this a little, part time, and then, yeah, go on with my life.” 

A recording obtained by The Washington Post captures what New York reporters and editors who covered Trump’s early career experienced in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s: calls from Trump’s Manhattan office that resulted in conversations with “John Miller” or “John Barron” — public-relations men who sound precisely like Trump himself — who indeed are Trump, masquerading as an unusually helpful and boastful advocate for himself, according to the journalists and several of Trump’s top aides.


More at. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/donald-trump-alter-ego-barron/2016/05/12/02ac99ec-16fe-11e6-aa55-670cabef46e0_story.html

Friday, May 13, 2016

Republican legislators seek to overturn state law

http://oswegocountytoday.com/county-legislature-supports-passage-of-home-rule-bills/

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Legislature’s majority voted to support the passage of state bills that would correct a problem caused by five of its members not signing their oath of office cards in time.

The legislature Thursday afternoon approved a home rule request in support of NYS Senate Bill S.7009 (Ritchie) and NYS Assembly Bill A.9613 (Barclay) regarding oaths of office for the current term of the county legislature.

The vote should be about respecting the will of the people and not politics, Legislator Tim Stahl said.

The vote should be about respecting the will of the people and not politics, Legislator Tim Stahl said.

Five legislators didn’t timely file a written oath of office card with the Oswego County Clerk, resulting in a vacancy by operation of law in the elective office of Oswego County legislator for each of the following respective legislative districts: 1, 2, 3, 10, and 22.

At its February meeting, the legislature appointed the five to their seats.

The two state bills would permit the execution of new oaths of office and avoid having to run a special election.

Legislator Tim Stahl ( R ) noted that because of the legislators involved “this has become much more about the division between the political parties and much less about the will of the people who chose those representatives.”

“This should not be a vote by partisan lines. And this should not be a vote to further any political agenda,” he said. “This should be a vote to honor the will of the voters, who spoke loudly and overwhelmingly.”

However, the Minority Leader Legislator Dan Farfaglia didn’t agree.

He asked Chairman Kevin Gardner whether the legislators involved should abstain from the vote.

“They can do as they see fit,” the chairman replied.

“I am completely embarrassed that once again we are dealing with this mess. As most of us in this room are aware, whenever elected officials take office they have to submit an oath card in a timely manner; in addition to actually taking the oath of office,” Farfaglia pointed out.

That responsibility lies with each individual legislator and no one else, he added.

Failure to follow the law means the legislator’s seat is vacated and a special election is required, he said.

There is no excuse for what happened, they knew they had to do this, he said.

The five broke the rules and should have to face the consequences, Legislator Dan Farfaglia said.

The five broke the rules and should have to face the consequences, Legislator Dan Farfaglia said.

Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Will Barclay, both Republicans, are working at the state level to correct the matter and avoid the need for a special election.

“This is a very, very bad idea,” Farfaglia said. “When people make mistakes, there are consequences for their actions. This is an epic political favor. This is why the general public has a very cynical view of politicians and why our voter turnout is always so pathetically low.”

There wouldn’t be an additional cost to hold the election because the presidential election will be held this fall, he pointed out.

There was a legislator in another county in the same situation who wasn’t reappointed (as were the five Oswego County legislators).

“What makes these five so special? Again, this is an epic political favor and it is wrong,” he said.

Farfaglia noted that he is in favor of changing the law so that no one has to deal with this type of situation in the future.

“I’m in favor of doing that for everybody, not just a select few,” he said.

“This is not a partisan debate. This is a legal debate,” Minority Whip Jake Mulcahey said. “Mistakes were made, no matter who it is. They have to suffer the consequences. If there is any partisan behavior going on it’s from the other side of the aisle. Using political influence and political connections to manipulate state law for the benefit of five individuals in one county in the state of New York – it’s crazy.”

Do what the law says, or change the law so it benefits every elected official, regardless of party, he suggested.

Legislator Tom Drumm (D) noted that at the state level the bill was tagged “priority.”

“That’s outrageous,” he said. “The (FitzPatrick) nuclear power plant – that’s a local priority. Our crumbling roads, our crumbling bridges – that’s a local priority.”

Legislator Heather DelConte (D) made a motion to amend the resolution, removing the five legislators, and re-wording it so it “represents the larger principle.”

“Then, I think we can all get behind it,” she explained. “I’d like to amend the resolution so that it would not be specifically for five people … So it reflects that larger principle that we feel that elections should not be overturned just on technicalities.”

That motion, however, failed along party lines. By the same margin, the original resolution was passed.