Members of the mega rich and politically powerful gathered together last night at Cipriani to distort the truth, bash unions, shower each other with praise and raise $ 7.75 million for education entrepreneur Eva Moskowitz and her ever expanding Success Academy empire. Indeed, Moskowitz who for weeks busied herself acting the helpless victim of evil Bill de Blasio ( while at the same time benefiting from a five million dollar anti de Blasio PR blitzkrieg ) announced that she intends to extend her empire in several ways. “ As of August, Success will have 32 schools and 9,000 students. Four years from now, Success plans to have 55 schools with 21,400 students, which, Moskowitz said, would make it the equivalent of the fifth largest district in New York State and half the size of the Washington, D.C. school system. “
Not only that, “ Success is also investing in an institute to provide teacher training across the country, as well as “a proprietary technology platform” to manage the schools ” — whatever ever that means.
Not too shabby for an organization that a few short weeks ago was facing what Moskowitz, with characteristic precision of language, claimed was nothing less than an “existential threat to our existence”
The event spotlighted the shamelessness and absurdity of two of the privateers’ most persistent stances. The first is that of the helpless victims of selfish politicians, all powerful labor unions and “ special interests”, (such as parents.) The second is as the only benevolent, wise, mildly messianic forces of Light in a Manichaean world of greedy, lazy, sexually abusive teachers dwelling in eternal Darkness and spitefully leaving your children unready for college and careers, not to mention the endless challenges of the new global economy.
Displaying their limitless love for the children of the urban poor were many leading representatives of the occupation that was instrumental in bringing the world to the brink of economic collapse: hedge funders. Indeed, Dan Loeb, of the hedge fund group, Third Point LLC, who is also chairman of the Success Academy board, hosted the event. Jimmy Lee, vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co.has this to say of Loeb: “Away from all the business press he gets, I think being chairman of his board and giving his time, not just his money, makes him a role model. You can tell he cares.”
According to the report in Bloomberg, “ The event was filled with men and women in the hedge-fund industry, including Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital Management, Joel Greenblatt of Gotham Asset Management, Boaz Weinstein of Saba Capital and John Paulson of Paulson & Co. ”
The article in Bloomberg reads like a product of the Stephen Brill school of journalism which is to say, it reads as it were written by a valet.
Consider: “Loeb himself is keen to share his knowledge and network with students. He took a group to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and has also brought journalist Carl Bernstein and chess champ Garry Kasparov to Success classrooms… Loeb also said Jefferies & Co., where he once worked, will be hosting a charity trading day for Success.”
The key note speaker was no less than former Florida Governor and future presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who did an admirable job pretending not to understand de Blasio’s moral and ethical issues with charter schools — namely, evicting members of the most challenged student population in the city so Moskowtiz could again get what she wanted — along with his usual union bashing.
Nestled into a paragraph listing the holy hedge funders was this little line that sent a chill down my spine: “Also present: Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater USA and former Navy SEAL.”
Many may remember Prince from the savage footage taken in Iraq where members of Blackwater, Prince’s private army , were filmed murdering civilians.
Here’s how Vanity Fair recently described the man:” Erik Prince, recently outed as a participant in a C.I.A. assassination program, has gained notoriety as head of the military-contracting juggernaut Blackwater, a company dogged by a grand-jury investigation, bribery accusations, and the voluntary-manslaughter trial of five ex-employees, set for next month. “
Upon reflection there is something poetically apt and even apposite about someone like Moskowitz receiving the support of someone like Erik Prince. Both, after all, are mercenaries whose connections and wealth allow them not only to operate outside the law but to change the law to their personal benefit. And both live and breathe to privatize their respective targets: for Moskowitz, the public school system, for Prince American intelligence and the military. Is Erik Prince, like Dan Loeb,” a role model?” Or was he just there to gather intelligence on politicians and union leaders and anyone else who stands in the way of the total domination of the one percent ?
Also honored at the event was faux journalist Campbell Brown, “ a founder of the Parents’ Transparency Project, which pushes for teachers found guilty of sexual misconduct to be removed from schools,” yet another millionaire created front designed to divide and conquer a gullible public. Brown knows full well that at the insistence of the teacher’s union all teachers even accused of sexual misconduct, no matter how preposterous the claim, are immediately removed from schools and those who are found guilty of such are instantly, rightfully, and forever forbidden from entering any school anywhere. But, what the hey, these facts haven’t stopped this lousy human being from endlessly insinuating that the teachers union protects sexual predators and child molesters. Indeed, Brown has apparently been making a nice living out of beating this decomposing horse. Brown may be an ethical imbecile but she is shrewd enough to recognize an issue that will strike terror into the heart of every parent in NYC and simultaneously open up the check books of the likes of those she addressed, reality be dammed. Just like the gathering she addressed, Brown’s real purpose is to destroy not merely the teachers’ union but the very idea of unionism itself.
“Campbell Brown, the journalist and Success Academy Network board member, used her speech as honoree to direct fighting words at Mayor de Blasio: “He can fight charters and what they do as a threat to union privilege, or he can embrace reform and the chance to be a leader and even a great man, but he can’t do both,” Brown said.
Such nonsense, of course, is like honey to the bees to the messiahs from Wall Street and Blackwater.