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We the People: GOP debate reverberations continue

Donald Trump insults his Republican rivals and now has moved on to insulting women in general when he told CNN’s Don Lemon that Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” in commenting on her harsh questions during the first televised debate.

Trump has dismissed the notion that this “blood” comment referred to a woman’s reproductive cycle but in typical fashion he assumed no responsibility for it and suggested that everyone else has the problem. The bizarre comment was an obvious inappropriate and sophomoric reference to the reproductive cycle. Is this is the best that the GOP can put forward when our nation faces issues of health care, immigration, job creation, nuclear proliferation, race relations and education?

Jeb Bush, the most likely candidate to prevail in the long and drawn-out primary battle, will still have to deal with his father’s legacy, the infamous Willie Horton divisive campaign ads and his big lie, “No new taxes.” His brother’s disastrous decision to allow Haliburton to declare war in the Middle East based on the known lie that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will also be hard to explain since he has said he would have made the same decision.

The candidates with the most appeal and least ideological baggage, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, will never be accepted by the extreme right wing of the Republican Party that hijacks the party during presidential elections.

On Sunday, August 9, the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki was remembered at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Abe of Japan and dignitaries from dozens of countries including the U.S. It was a reminder that we must stop nuclear weapons proliferation.

Japan is committed to three non-nuclear principles: it won’t possess, make or introduce on its territory any nuclear weapons. These are principles that the world’s leading powers should ensure all nations follow.

The Iran nuclear agreement brokered by President Obama is an imperfect solution for a dangerous situation but it holds hope that the world powers, when they work together, can peacefully address dangerous conditions without an immediate resort to war.

The same concerted effort should be directed at ISIS in Iraq and Syria to end that conflict. If the West refused to buy oil from ISIS and more importantly if Turkey refused to be the middleman for that illicit oil trade, it would cripple ISIS’s ability to continue fighting.

The U.S. attorney is still investigating state lawmakers for various possible problems. State Senator John Sampson a force in South Brooklyn politics, was convicted of obstructing justice and lying to FBI agents by a federal jury in Brooklyn. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.

The charges emanated from an investigation of allegations that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars entrusted to him as a court-appointed referee of foreclosure properties. He beat those charges on a technicality but other evidence reflected that he asked a business associate for money to replace the funds and told the associate, staff and others to lie to the FBI when questioned.

The web of lies is just another shameful betrayal of the public trust for greed and self-interest. Bharara’s office is prosecuting former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Dean Skelos and convicted former Senator Carl Kruger.

Bharara is looking at State Senator Marty Golden for possible campaign finance improprieties. The prosecutor has not indicted Mr. Golden or made any public announcements about the investigation, but he has spent $31,000 of campaign funds to pay for legal representation in regard to the investigation.

It has been speculated that the inquiry was generated by the $541,599 in campaign money that Mr. Golden steered to the Bay Ridge Manor catering hall that he owned but that is now owned by his brother. It is also possible that the probe is linked to his activity involving multi-million dollar tax breaks he sponsored for luxury real estate developers in Manhattan, including a $44 million waiver to an organization called Extell Development.

The U.S. attorney should take a peek at Mr. Golden’s disregard of a change in campaign finance laws which prohibits campaign funds from use to pay country club or health club dues. Mr. Golden has continued to use funds to pay membership dues for the Fort Orange and University Clubs in Albany according to the Times Union. Lawmakers are now prohibited from using campaign funds to pay for recreational facilities.

John Quaglione, a spokesman for Mr. Golden, told a reporter that there was an “agreement” with the governor’s office and such use was still permitted. “There has been an agreement between the legislature and the governor that they can maintain paying club memberships if it is for strictly business purposes [and] … Marty does a good portion of his business there,” said Quaglione.

The governor’s office denied that explanation. Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said such an explanation was false and, “There was no such agreement.” We need honesty and straight talk from candidates and our elected representatives.

 

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