Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Trump Scores Again

What an amazing week we experienced when President Trump brought a breath of fresh air into the White House by appointing Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and John Bolton as National Security Adviser.

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We have followed the careers of the appointees for years and applaud them as honest and ethical representatives of the people. Both have been staunch opponents of the destructive Iran “deal” which has empowered Iran to the point where the situation is almost backfiring on them. The Middle East countries, fearful of a nuclear Iran, are now turning more toward Israel and the U.S. Could Obama possibly have foreseen that consequence?

The passage of the Taylor Force Act is also to be applauded. Although there is still money allocated to the PA because of the bleeding heart liberals who believe that money given to Abbas and his cohorts might actually end up helping the people, a substantial amount of U.S. taxpayer money will no longer be given to terrorists and their families as reward money. Hopefully, this might serve as a deterrent to the terrorists.

President Trump is to be congratulated on making excellent choices for his Cabinet. May they all go from strength to strength.

Helen Freedman
Co-Executive Director
Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI

 

 

Playing Dangerously At Chasunas

My son attended a friend’s wedding recently. While it was an enjoyable simcha, one of his friends was actually wounded in action, causing much distress to his friends and of course to himself and his family.

It seems that some of our young men have an interesting tradition. At the end of the first dance, they pose for a photo with the chassan. In some circles, the young men line up in rows so they can all be included in one photo. In other circles, the boys arrange themselves higher and lower, and some boys for fun, quite innocently, may make a running leap and thus land up on top. However, there is always someone on the bottom who must absorb the force of that jump. And in this particular wedding, the young man on the bottom ended up with an injured knee, after his friends leaped on top of him. He had surgery last week and is now, b”H, recuperating at home. This painful injury could have been easily avoided.

Please take heed and no more leaping on top of one another. Iy”H, we will soon be celebrating a beautiful round of simchas once the Sefira ends. May all these simchas be safe and most enjoyable for all!

Shira Dancinger 

 

 

Don’t Praise Cuomo Yet

Regarding “March Madness Comes to Albany” (Albany Beat, March 30): We should not celebrate Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature for passing a budget on time. It is really a terrible April Fools joke on taxpayers who will be stuck with the tab. Consider that the budget includes a revenue shortfall of $4.4 billion which still needs to be resolved. Cuomo claims to have increased the level of MTA funding. How much of this funding allocation is really above and beyond the $5.8 billion he still owes toward his original $8.3 billion promised back in 2014 to fully fund the MTA $32 billion 2015-2019 Capital Plan? It appears he has kicked the can down the road for coming up with $5.8 billion for the MTA to 2019. This would be the last year of MTA’s current five-year capital plan. There appears to be no money included toward his promised 25% or $7.25 billion share toward fully funding the $29 billion Gateway Tunnel project (scope of work includes Portal Bridge replacement, two new tunnels under the Hudson River, upgrading existing tunnels damaged by Super Storm Sandy and other improvements on the Northeast Corridor connecting New Jersey with Penn Station).

Adoption of the budget on time is what they get paid to do. Once again, this budget was negotiated behind closed doors by the usual Four Men In the Room:  Cuomo, State Senate Republican Majority leader John Flanagan, Independent Democratic State Senate Caucus Chair Jeffrey Klein, and Democratic State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Only they, their key aids and many of the infamous Albany State Street lobbyists representing various special interest Pay-to-Play groups were privy to the details. Democratic State Senate minority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Republican State Assembly minority leader Brian Kolb along with virtually all members of the State Senate and Assembly were left out of the process. So much for transparency and open government promised by Cuomo when he first ran for Governor in 2010 and a second term in 2014.

Too many members view the funding of member item pork barrel projects as a path to grease the wheels of re-election or run for higher public office. Like a monkey on their back, they appear to be addicted to this spending. Flanagan and Heastie both use this as a tool to keep their respective loyal flocks in line. Vote as directed by the leadership, for adoption of the new budget, and you will receive your share of a several hundred million dollar pot of gold. Those few Democrats who have to run in competitive races receive “extra” earmarks from Heastie courtesy of taxpayers. The same is true for Flanagan. Klein will get his eight pieces of gold on behalf of his members including himself in exchange for keeping the State Senate in Republican control.

Did members of legislature take an Evelyn Wood speed reading class to absorb the 1,099 pages contained in this spending bill? They received these only hours before being asked to vote up or down. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, we would all be better off if our State Assembly and Senate members took the time to actually read, line by line, any proposed legislation before voting. Their legislative actions impact both our economic and civil liberties. Future generations may have to pay for and live with the consequences.

It is still business as usual in Albany. Upon retirement, too many members of the State Assembly, Senate and their employees join the thousands of infamous State Street Albany lobbyists. They subsequently return to the Capital on behalf of their new employers for client “favors.” Albany lobbyists, just like in Washington, play a behind the scenes role in assisting members and staff of the State Legislature to insert favorable language into bills. This is buried in the fine print contained within the hundreds of bills and annual adopted State budget. This is known as a quid pro quo.

Lobbyists purchase tickets to elected officials fundraising events held during evening hours after the daily Legislative sessions. They also have their own political action committees make direct campaign contributions to candidates running for another term. Union lobbyists will not only deliver dollars, but endorsements which provide volunteers to run phone banks along with canvassing door to door for election day vote pull operations.

Former elected officials and their staff supplement generous state pension plans by double dipping as lobbyists. Upon retirement, they win the trifecta by also collecting Social Security. This is a nice gig, which ordinary taxpayers can only dream about.

Larry Penner

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