Opinion: The death of honor

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

It was on life support…honor in government, that is. But the President pulled the plug last week.

So many cases of political corruption and personal misdeeds by our elected officials in the past number of years. Greed, lying and sexual indiscretions had become so prevalent that the public was nearly numbed by it and almost accepting such behavior as a new norm.

But with the cascading revelations and accusations against powerful men (and some women) engaging in sexual abuse and intimidation towards their underlings and others, there was a national consensus building that such behavior is simply beyond the bounds of decency or acceptance, until President Trump weighed in.

With the precipitous downfall of such important and famous persons as Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein and most recently Charlie Rose, as well as Senator Al Franken and others in Congress, it appeared that America had reached a watershed moment where such sexual abuse could not and would not be tolerated, no matter what or who. But then the President of the United States declared that politics was more important than the abuse of women or even minors.

That’s right, Donald Trump who himself stands accused of improper conduct by over a dozen women, whom he calls liars and losers, last week asserted that it was preferable for voters in Alabama to elect an alleged Republican pedophile than to vote for any Democrat. Most rational people regardless of party affiliation including the three leading newspapers in Alabama say that they believe the women who have accused Senate candidate Roy Moore of vulgar touching and unwanted aggressive sexual advances towards young girls and even one who was fourteen years old. But Trump supporters including the Alabama governor say they will vote for Roy Moore on December 12. Astonishing!

This American President who has sworn an oath “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” to stand for justice and be a role model for our youth has chosen to side with Mr. Moore because he does not like the politics of his opponent.

But perhaps we should not be surprised. After all this is the same man who by his own words bragged about groping women because “celebrities can.” And of course this is the same man who could find no difference between white supremacists and Neo Nazis espousing their twisted ideologies in Charlottesville with those who opposed them. This is the man who denigrates the appearance of female political opponents and calls them by derogatory names and mocks a disabled reporter.

Once again Donald Trump is sending a clear message that the nefarious actions from generations gone by when white men suppressed minorities and objectified women is fine with him. So while much of the rest of the country is turning the page and will no longer be silent or tolerate such behavior, the leader of our nation sides with America’s past as well as his own.

There is no honor in this administration, just the politics and proclivities of one man who defends only himself.

 

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Opinion: A trip to Dallas and the past

In the background is the Texas Book Depository Building. The corner window below the top floor is where Oswald was said to have fired his shots. The marking in the street is where JFK was struck.

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

This year is the centennial celebration of the birth and life of our nation’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy. He was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

Despite the official conclusions of the Warren Commission, the killing of Kennedy has been shrouded in mystery for decades. Fifteen years after the Warren report pronounced Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman acting on his own, a congressional inquiry into the events of 1963 determined that it was “probable” that there was a conspiracy.

Like many, I had always been fascinated by the events culminating in the shooting in Dealey Plaza and the aftermath. So last week I traveled to Dallas to see for myself what I had read in books and seen in actual film footage… the site of America’s most shocking murder.

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Opinion: JFK’s enduring legacy

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

This week marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. President for less than three years, Kennedy still fascinates and inspires us even after more than fifty years since his assassination in Dallas.

Born into a family of wealth and privilege, nonetheless John Kennedy was instructed that “to those who much is given, much is expected” and that public service was a high calling.

What is it about the JFK legacy that still kindles a flame within us?

I suspect that part of it was the manner in which he left us so young with so much unfulfilled promise. I also suspect that part of the Kennedy mystique is attributed to the turbulent years that were the 1960s. It was a time of hope and change and also triumph and tragedy.

Kennedy embodied all of that.

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Opinion: Mirror, mirror

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

For many it seemed unthinkable. For some it was inevitable. But for all of us the moment is here. Donald J. Trump is our nation’s 45th president starting at noon, January 20, 2017. Stunning!

As with most new presidents the conjecture begins as to which other president does he most admire or wish to model himself after. The answer can offer a clue as to how he will govern.

Three Republican presidents come to mind and top the list of most admired amongst the party faithful. They are Lincoln, (Theodore) Roosevelt and Reagan. So for fun let’s mix and match and see which of these political icons best suits our new president.

Lincoln…probably not a good fit. Unlike Trump, Abraham Lincoln encouraged internal debate and criticism. He filled his inner circle with people who opposed him but whom he respected. He had empathy for people who were enslaved or victims of bigotry. And far from mocking his adversaries, as is de rigor for Trump, Lincoln declared a policy of “malice towards none and charity for all” even for those who engaged in rebellion. Trump on the other hand never misses an opportunity to attack those who have criticized him. Lincoln often deflected political affronts with self-deprecating humor.

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Only aggressors are those stopping feeders

Re: “Are Stuyvesant Town’s squirrels getting more aggressive?”, T&V story, July 14

Dear Sabina.

“A child was bitten by a squirrel in Stuy Town.” Can you share with us where and when this happened? Was the child taken to the hospital? In that case which hospital? It is very unprofessional to report such a thing without proof. We don’t need that in the Town & Village newspaper or any other newspaper. How come this is reported as a fact by you when the spokesperson for StuyTown property Services said that no proven incidents involving squirrel bites have been reported to management?

How come this is reported as a fact by you when I have been feeding squirrels with my two children in Stuyvesant for a long time and haven’t seen any “aggressive” ones?

A few weeks ago we were feeding the squirrels when one security guard approached us, stating he was “advising” tenants not to feed the squirrels because a child was bitten by one.

As I told this guard and a few women who have approached me: Thank you for the advice, but I will not stop feeding the squirrels because that is not a true story.

One young woman told me she had a friend whose neighbor’s baby was bitten by a squirrel. When I asked her if she was present when that happened, she said no. When I asked her if she knew this person, she said no. But she did tell me to stop feeding the squirrels because they “look aggressive.”

On another occasion, a woman who was walking by with her daughter and grandchild while I was feeding the squirrels, stopped me and asked if I would consider stopping feeding the squirrels because they had bitten a child. When I replied that I would not consider it, she couldn’t believe it. I didn’t argue, I didn’t curse and I have never been disrespectful to my neighbors, but this is getting ridiculous.

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Letters to the Editor, June 30

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Bernie’s still pretending to be a candidate

Dear Sir,

Mr. John Giannone in his letter appearing in the June 16 issue of T&V (“In defense of Bernie’s attacks on Hillary”) goes after Steven Sanders for his piece questioning the motives of Bernie Sanders to remain a candidate for the Democratic Party after Hillary Clinton became the indisputable presumptive nominee and defends Bernie’s attacks on Hillary (“Helter Skelter Bernie,” T&V, May 25).

We could agree that Steven Sanders might have been somewhat hyperbolic in his allegations about Senator Sanders’s motives. However, Bernie Sanders’s insistence on continuing to pretend that he is still a candidate and the inconsistencies and even hypocrisy in some of his demands, lend credence to suspicions of some ulterior motive.

Hillary Clinton won the nomination fair and square with 4 million more votes and 2.218 pledged delegates in 34 contests, to Sanders’s 1,833 super delegates and win in 23 contests. Sanders, who started by exciting many progressive democrats, myself included, who welcomed his candidacy and even sent him money feeling that he was moving the Democratic Party in the correct direction, effectively lost me and many others when he was asked “How?” All he has done is offering non-stop his line about the “revolution” and descriptions about what needs to change in this country, without one iota of an actual plan about how he is going to achieve anything. For me and the 15,805,135 voters who voted for Hillary Clinton, that was not enough. We were looking for a presidential candidate, not for a revolutionary-in-chief.

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Opinion: Slaughter in Orlando

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

American-born Omar Mateen, an avowed ISIS sympathizer now heads the list of infamy… the roll call of U.S. citizens who have committed mass murder against their fellow citizens.

This time the city was Orlando and the target was a well-known nightclub spot where gays congregated. At least 49 persons were slaughtered with an assault weapon legally purchased in Florida.

Previously it was a shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech which killed 32 in 2007 that topped the list. More recently 26 toddlers and teachers were gunned down at an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut in 2012, and a dozen theater goers were shot to death in Colorado in 2013. The shooting at a Charleston South Carolina bible study class left nine dead.  And of course Columbine High School will be forever synonymous with senseless mass murder after two of its students methodically murdered 13 of their fellow classmates.

Each incident, and dozens more, have its own unique and horrific characteristics. Shooters who held grudges, or were driven by some irrational ideological or religious madness. There is no particular rhyme or reason. Murder and mayhem have existed since biblical times and before. In some respects the human impulse towards unspeakable violence has not changed in thousands of years either on a national scale or individually. Once upon a time, they were called Barbarians, or Huns or Crusaders or Nazis or ISIS.

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Letters to the Editor, June 16

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

In defense of Bernie’s attacks on Hillary

To the Editor:

Helter Skelter Bernie Indeed! Reading Steven Sanders’ “Helter Skelter Bernie” (T&V, May 25) was absolutely galling.

Mr. Sanders posed a number of hypotheses concerning the senator’s motivation for contesting the former first lady, nominee contender, secretary of state, and nominee contender (again) at this late date in the nomination fight. Of course none of Mr. Sanders’ musings are really hypotheses. I mean, how the devil does one go about demonstrating that Bernie Sanders continues to battle Mrs. Clinton because he wants The Donald as president because that, according to Mr. Steven Sanders, is what Senator Sanders believes will bring about so much hurt as to cause the very revolution that he, the senator, now wants but cannot secure with his own talents?

Nowhere in his voyage of fantasy does Mr. Sanders entertain the notion that Senator Sanders, though well-behind Mrs. Clinton, is in the race because of ethical differences between the two. So let’s bring out one difference that has been there all along. It is one that Mr. Trump is right about and will likely use; quote, “They lied!”

Indeed, they did, and they still do. They lied when they claimed that “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction!” Mrs. Clinton now tells the rest of us, “If I knew then what I know now, I would not have voted to invade Iraq.” She was, I gather, just a bit short on information.

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Opinion: He was the greatest

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

In many ways, Muhammad Ali symbolized the American Dream. Multitudes around the world mourn his passing because he was a reflection of ourselves, our aspirations, our times… the good and the bad. His mark is indelible.

Born Cassius Clay to a poor family in Louisville Kentucky when racism, segregation and poverty were still very much ingrained in the American culture, he learned how to box in a local gym from a police officer who took a liking to this young boy.

His innate pugilistic talents were quickly recognized and carried him to the 1960 Olympics in Rome where he won the Gold Medal at the age of 18. He became a professional fighter a year later. He beat the odds by winning the Heavyweight Championship from the nearly unbeatable and fearsome Charles Sonny Liston in 1964. He won the title a record three times while dominating the landscape of his sport for two decades.

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Politics & Tidbits: Now it’s personal

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

The traveling Presidential campaign trail has reached New York State. The Republican and Democratic primaries are coming this Tuesday, April 19. It is now up close and personal. With the races in both parties showing signs of tightening, the results will have a consequential effect on the race for the Presidency. Of the four leading candidates from both parties, three can actually boast of their New York roots. Republican Donald Trump was raised in New York City and the center of his business empire sits in Manhattan. Democrat Bernie Sanders (no relation) spent much of his childhood living in Brooklyn and now is Senator from the neighboring state of Vermont. And of course Hillary Clinton resides in Westchester and served in the United States Senate for eight years representing New York State. Ted Cruz traces back to Canada, and now Texas.

The last President of the United States to call New York home was Franklin Roosevelt and before him Theodore Roosevelt. Beyond the Roosevelt family one needs to go back to the 19th century to find the last President from New York State.

Say what you will about Democrats Sanders or Clinton… they are both qualified to be President. This in spite of the increased political hyperbole from both campaigns. Both have served in government for a long time and more importantly, both thoroughly understand the issues of the day. And although the United State Constitution specifies that the only qualifications needed to be President are that you be a natural born citizen and at least 35 years of age, historically we expect far more from our national leader, especially in this complex day and age.

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Op-Ed: The importance of Kim Davis

KENTUCKY COUNTY CLERK KIM DAVIS (Carter County Detention Center via AP)

KENTUCKY COUNTY CLERK KIM DAVIS

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Kim Davis is a County Clerk in Kentucky recently imprisoned (though later released) for defending her deeply held religious beliefs.

When the Unites States Supreme Court made same sex marriage the law of the land throughout the entire nation, Ms. Davis decided that civil disobedience in defiance of what she considered an immoral law and contrary to her religious beliefs was her only option. So she is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay or lesbian citizens of Kentucky.

Peaceful civil disobedience is part of the American political tradition and a tactic used to great success during the Civil Rights movement and protesting the Vietnam War and other unpopular public policies.

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No end in sight to gun violence

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

More gun fire, more tears, more grieving, more funerals, more hand wringing and finger pointing… No action in Congress.

This time the shooting occurred on real life reality television as a deranged person murdered a reporter and her cameraman on live TV, and by design. He methodically (and easily) purchased a gun following the shooting massacre several months ago in a Church in Charleston, South Carolina and then proceeded to carefully plot his televised crime. Ironically this horror came on the very day that James Holmes received his life imprisonment sentence for his 2012 massacre of 12 people in a Colorado movie theater. That shooting occurred the same year as the mass murder of two dozen toddlers in a Newtown Connecticut pre-school ten days before Christmas.

These are the gun related deaths that make the front pages. But every day nearly 100 Americans die from gun violence. This stunning figure stands in stark contrast to every other industrialized nation which has enacted tough laws restricting the access to firearms in their countries.

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 27

aug27-toon-bad-apple

Sick of rowdy drunks that barrel though ST

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, August 16, from about 4 a.m. until well past 5 a.m., a drunken brawl broke out among ten pub crawling twenty-somethings in front of Playground 10 and the Oval fountain and near 19 Stuyvesant Oval.

“He punched me. He punched me. He punched me,” screamed one drunk female victim again and again at the top of her lungs.

Eventually responding to the shouting and cursing in two different areas, two security officers meandered to the scene and tried their best at drunken crowd control. They were not very effective! The scene went on for a very long time and must have prematurely awakened much of the previously sleeping community.

This pub crawling activity occurs every weekend and holiday on our transitioning “college campus” and security and management and ownership (although now mentioning a line on being good neighbors in the list of suggestions for new tenants), has done nothing despite many and frequent complaints to act in a proactive, substantial manner. They need to stem the tide of drunken rowdy behavior by the twenty somethings that now rule the night.

Do we have a large enough security force on the night shift? Do they have the necessary mandate and willingness to enforce disturbing the peace rules and regulations? Does security have the training and ability to move these unruly tenants along or have them arrested? If you can’t do the job, call in the NYPD and set the tone for the next drunken lot to appear next weekend.

Perhaps some readers have missed out on this nightly occurrence of shouting, cursing, singing, chanting, hosting outdoor parties from 3:30 to 5 a.m. every weekend and holiday. Let’s set a precedent, make some arrests, evict some of these tenants and let’s take back our law-abiding, courteous tenant population.

Name withheld, ST

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Killing our sacred cow

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Like millions of people around the world I was appalled by the murder of Cecil. Cecil, you will recall, was the African lion that was designated in a protected class of animals because of his majestic bearings as well as to protect the species from extinction. Cecil by all accounts was a very intelligent animal with impulses and emotions. He was pursued and killed by an American hunter. He was first wounded by a high tech bow and arrow with a telescopic sight, and then put to death with a rifle. Cecil was murdered.

The ecstatic American hunter then posed next to his murdered prey smiling ear to ear. He could not have been happier at having callously snuffed out the life of another living being. What a sad spectacle. This kill was not done for any other reason than it gave the hunter pleasure to track and destroy this animal. He gave no thought to the suffering that he was inflicting. It was all about his own twisted lethal pleasure.

So ask yourself, how far removed are those animal hunters from persons who stalk human victims and derive sick pleasure from killing them, and often many at one time? As far as I am aware only the human species, the most “advanced” and evolved form of life on planet earth, kills not for food or protection but for sheer thrills. Makes you wonder about Darwin’s theory of evolution.

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 13

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

How we can help the homeless around ST

I am writing in response to the letter that was sent in about the homeless people sleeping on benches in Stuyvesant Town and the lack of actions from our security department (“Homeless around ST,” T&V, July 30).

I’d like to focus on the word people for a moment. Yes, there are people sleeping on benches in Stuyvesant Town and begging on the street along First Avenue and other places in the city. We do have a big homeless problem but the problem is not with the security department at Stuyvesant Town. The problem is so much bigger than that.

These are people. People like you and me who have met with hard times or a mental illness that they did not ask for. And they are people. People who need shelter, a place to sleep, food, companionship and meaningful work. This problem needs addressing from a perspective so much bigger than the security department here. I’ve seen countless articles and interviews on TV from our mayor addressing the horse drawn carriages and their plight.

I’d like to see a focus on humans over horses at the moment. I’d like to see our politicians addressing this homeless problem and how we can offer useful help to these people so that we don’t have to feel uncomfortable about encountering them in our community and more importantly they have a place to sleep each night that is sheltered, offers them nourishment and encouragement to better lives.

My small Band-Aid of the solution is to carry breakfast bars in my handbag. Along with the breakfast bars I carry a referral card to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen where they offer a daily hot meals and counseling to help people get off the streets.

When I encountered homeless people in our neighborhood or in other places that I walk during the day I’m able to offer them an immediate solution of something to eat and a longer-term solution of a place to go where they can find solutions if they want them.

I encourage anyone interested to join me on this mission. It’s just one small way that we can help address this problem while forces with resources bigger than ours can address a long-term solution.

With blessings,

Susan Turchin, ST

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