Posts Tagged ‘Michael Bloomberg’

Bloomberg’s Appearance at the DNC Makes a Mock of Bill Clinton’s Ode To Hillary

July 27, 2016


For those who were moved by Bill Clinton’s touching if highly sanitized and edited
paean to his wife last night – the man is very, very good at this kind of thing – you would do well to note today’s key note speaker: former NYC Mayor, multi billionaire, union busting and super neo-liberal Michael R Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s political beliefs were most clearly articulated when, through a combination of ruthless employment of the machinery of state, his own immense fortune and an ever expanding host of non-profit organizations serving as mercenaries of the super rich, he purchased a one time only third term as Mayor by corrupting a spineless City Council into allowing him to do so. And this despite two referendums against third terms.

At this point, Bloomberg’s appearance is strange by any normal standards in so far as, like Donald Trump, the man has shown zero allegiance to any political party, moving from Democrat to Republican to Independent depending on how such affiliations benefit Mike Bloomberg at any given moment. And it is particularly note worthy in light of Bill Clinton’s repeated and highly dubious characterization of Hillary Clinton’s history and career as a “builder from the bottom up” and the like.

Bloomberg epitomizes the oligarchic America which Sanders railed against and which Hillary skillfully avoids acknowledging. As NYC mayor, Bloomberg spent 12 long, miserable years expending enormous amounts of energy and money while doing his very best to simultaneously destroy the United Federation of Teachers and privatize the public school system. He failed in both attempts, but the damage he inflicted on students and teachers is immeasurable and still very much present.
Bloomberg spent 12 years doing all he could to remake New York in his image, a desire he shares with his fellow billionaire and would be president Donald Trump. Indeed, Bloomberg is, in many ways, like Trump if only with more cunning, less public vulgarity and with a complete absence of Trump’s phony populism.

I will admit that I was shocked to read of Bloomberg’s appearance at the DNC, even as I am fully aware of what a sham and a fraud the whole circus truly is. Still…Michael Bloomberg? And yet, the more I think of it the more it makes perfect sense. If nothing else, Bloomberg’s appearance reaffirms how ever so close and ever so horrific our two parties have become and will remain until a real alternative is forged.

Linda Hill: An Opportunity For Farina To Exorcise the Lingering Presence of Bloomberg

February 28, 2015
Linda Hill

Linda Hill

Until very recently Linda Hill, principal of Dreyfus Intermediate School on Staten Island , was known, when at all, as the chief tormentor of teacher Francesco Portelos, whose career and reputation she tried and failed to destroy, even if she did cause the man an enormous amount of hardship. Portelos’ offense was to point out to the powers that be that Hill was ripping off the public by claiming to be doing two jobs at the same time in different places: an impossibility. For his courage, Portelos was rubber roomed, investigated endlessly by the Office of Special Investigation (OSI), eventually vindicated but nonetheless, crazily, fined $10, 000.
He has also been proven right. The same OSI that hounded Portelos has confirmed that Hill was doing precisely what Portelos said she was doing.

Not that it matters at all in the strange universe of the Department of Education, made all the more strange, and strangely corrupt, during the reign of Michael R. Bloomberg. Indeed, during the darkness of the Bloomberg years, in which experienced principals were given buyouts and newly minted Leadership Academy replacements were urged to think of themselves as CEO’s, their primary function was apparently to hound, demoralize and degrade teachers as much as possible.
Think of a corporate mini version of Mao’s Great Leap Forward which produced the Great Chinese Famine. Bloomberg’s maneuver, in turn, created a different kind of famine but a famine nonetheless. As a bonus, principals who proved incompetent, insane, sadistic or criminal were not fired but merely shifted to another school or warehoused at Tweed where they continued to collect their significant salaries. I know. I had one who managed to fill all four of those categories and the last I heard she’s still collecting Disgraced Former Principal Dole. As with the mafia or the IRA or the Ivy League, once you were admitted into the club it was very, very hard to be tossed out.

The New York Post, which shamelessly cheerleaded for all things Bloomberg during his twelve nightmare years as absolute ruler of New York City schools, has attempted to somehow link Hill’s criminal behavior with current Chancellor Carmen Farina’s tenure; this despite the fact that Hill’s $55, 000 worth of thievery was done under the watch of Bloomberg’s trio of preposterous non-educator Chancellors of Education, Joel Klein, Cathy Black and Dennis Walcott.

That said, OSI’s confirmation of Hill’s criminality merits an immediate and appropriate response from Farina, namely Hill’s firing (at the very least) and (as much as I know it will never happen) a public apology to Portelos for the hell he’s been put through.

Failure to do so will not merely make a mockery of justice but it will make a mockery of Farina, and billboard what every Leadership Academy scandal reiterates: the ghost of Mike Bloomberg is still very much present.

This is an opportunity. I hope, for the good of all, that Farina uses it and uses it well. But, sadly, I am not holding my breath.

Bloomberg and Billionaires Forever

December 30, 2014

Britain Bloomberg Knighthood Good news for all those New Yorker’s who felt 12 years of Bloombergian rule was just the beginning of political paradise, not to mention as for all those Americans who felt cheated out of a Bloomberg presidency. All six of those people (all on payroll) can rejoice in the fact The Bloomster continues to carry on behind the scenes doing what he does best: purchasing influence, hither, thither and yon, and bulldozing the way to permanent oligarchy like few others! $27.7 million dollars worth of bulldozing, in fact. Thank you very much Citizens United! And mind you, the lovable little tycoon has a net worth of 35.5 billion so such giving can go on and on and on till the end of time. Literally. And, yes, while some of Bloomberg’s money is going for gun control, lots and lots and lots is going for “education reform,” oligarchic patois for union busting, wholesale privatization of the public school system, a major step in the unmaking of the social contract itself ! So cheer up, fellow citizens. Due to the limitless generosity of men like Mike — and there are some 435 other billionaires helping to set the country straight! — and the wisdom of the Supreme Court we move closer and closer to the vision of founding father John Jay who wrote, “”Those who own the country ought to govern it.” Happy New Year! Addendum: See Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty First Century for a more nuanced take on the wonders of oligarchy or Paul Krugman’s take on Piketty’s book.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani Uses the Death and Aftermath of Eric Garner to Bash the Teachers Union.

December 8, 2014

Giuliani Discusses State Of U.S. Security 10 Years After 9/11 Terror Attacks

These days few things seem to energize and enrage former mayor Rudy Giuliani more than protests over police brutality that lead to the death of unarmed black men. To be sure, the protests seem to disturb the former mayor far more than the actual killing of an unarmed man at the hands of the NYPD. One of the things that might enrage the former mayor more is the existence of the United Federation of Teachers about whom, in a desperate search to blame anyone for Garner’s death except the people who actually killed him, Giuliani made the following insane comment:

“He then turned his fire on teachers unions, claiming they are to blame for the problem of poor schools in black neighborhoods.
“Maybe all these left-wing politicians that want to blame police, maybe there’s some blame here that has to go to the teachers union, for refusing to have, for refusing to have schools where teachers are paid for performance, for fighting charter schools, for fighting vouchers, so we can drastically and dramatically improve the education situation. Maybe they should be talking about and holding rallies about the problem of black fathers taking care of the children they fathered,” he said.”

Question: what kind of mind uses a situation such as the death of Eric Garner and the non-indictment of those responsible to union bust and parrot idiotic education reform propaganda ?

Sometimes I think it a miracle nearing the level of the virgin birth that, after eight years of this mean spirited, myopic and divisive man followed by twelve years of the maniacal, spiteful, corrupting Mike Bloomberg, New York City is still standing.

As Bloomberg is Knighted in London, His Legacy Festers in New York

October 13, 2014


Last week brought many a happy puff piece in many a publication announcing the knighting of former mayor Michael Bloomberg in London. Meanwhile, back in the city in which he used his billions to obtain power and rule like a king for 12 excruciatingly long years — the rule of law and democracy be damned — came two less than happy stories dealing with the less majestic aspects of Bloomberg’s reign. It is a reign which, as will be seen, lingers on. Indeed, well into the mayoralty of Bill De Blasio, Bloomberg’s sordid rule remains deeply if insidiously entrenched.

One item, covered apparently only by Crain’s, dealt (kind of) with the legal aftermath of Bloomberg’s mass circumvention of hiring codes and state laws concerning civil servants. 37,000 of them, in fact. In direct violation of civil servant rules and state laws, Bloomberg did this by hiring the 37,000 as “provisional workers. “
“The state constitution dictates that governmental appointments be based on “merit and fitness,” and for many job classifications that is determined by scores on civil-service exams. In many cases, only the top three scorers are allowed to be interviewed for a position.”

Feeling “hamstrung” by the codes and laws, Bloomberg did what any self respecting CEO would do: he did exactly as he pleased.

“The mayor therefore had his agencies circumvent the system by hiring “provisional” employees. By 2007, nearly 37,000 were swelling the ranks of city government, occupying more than 19% of the “competitive” city job titles that were supposed to be filled based on exam scores.”
As “provisional employees”, the workers enjoyed exactly the kind of status Bloomberg and people who think like Bloomberg would like to impose on all workers everywhere: non union, “ at will” employees who could be fired at any time for any reason the Boss Man felt like using to fire them. As a bonus, such workers would be extremely unlikely to “call out managers’ misdeeds, including contracting abuses ” and the like. One has to admit, it is a brilliant system of political control.

This, of course, is precisely how the corporate world envisions all management/ labor relationships. That Bloomberg’s maneuver was a form of union busting – perhaps union preemption is a better way of describing it – is clear.
That it was an undermining of the meritocracy that America is supposed to be built on is also clear. That it is was transparently unfair is undeniable. What was the criteria for hiring these people ?
As working class New Yorkers know, the civil service has long been seen as an entry into the middle class.

But…Hard cheese old chap! Should have thought of that before you were born!

In complete concordance with the apotheosis of corporatism in American life, Crain’s reports Bloomberg’s maneuver, not as a scandal worthy of Boss Tweed and a dangerous throwback to an era of shameless patronage, but rather as a “brain drain “ for DeBlasio. In terms of contempt for the democratic process, the move is reminiscent of Bloomberg’s successful bribe of the City Council, which led to their overturning of not one but two referendums on term limits and the acquisition of his third term. Both are chilling examples of how deeply corporate values have eroded our remaining democratic institutions and sensibilities as well as our sense of simple fairness.

But never fear, Crain’s located a shill from the Manhattan Institute to explain that that fairness and merit are but antiquated 19th century will o the wisps, fit for garbage men perhaps, but far too unsophisticated for today’s world.

“The civil-service system was a progressive reform to ensure good government—but that was 100 years ago,” said Steve Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “Now there’s far more sophisticated technology and different types of positions. But you may still want this kind of test for someone working in the Sanitation Department. There are no easy answers to this.”

There are, of course, very easy answers to this and they have existed since the reforms of Teddy Roosevelt. The answers are to respect the laws outlawing patronage and to treat people fairly.

37,000 jobs is a whole lot of patronage, and it is not unreasonable to think a scandal of this proportion would have brought down the mayoralty of any other mayor who did not happen to be the richest man in the city he ruled.
How can we measure what this one man has done to our collective sense of democracy and law ?

The second item concerns the unconscionable month long suspension of a Department of Education occupational therapist named Debra Fisher for “ theft of services.” Her crime? Fisher helped run a Kick starter campaign for a 13 year old student with cerebral palsy and did so partly by sending emails from a DOE computer during school hours. That she did so with the knowledge of the principal made no difference.

Writes Jim Dwyer of the New York Times: “This is a story of an almost unfathomably mindless school bureaucracy at work: the crushing of an occupational therapist who had helped a young boy build a record of blazing success.”

Dwyer is right, of course, but he is omitting a key component, perhaps the key component in this particular mindless school bureaucracy. And that is the element of malice: malice that is the direct result of the orders of Michael R Bloomberg. Malice that remains, like Bloomberg’s “provisional workers “, long after Bloomberg has gone. Malice that employs the relentless power of the state to crush the state, the sooner to privatize everything in sight and unseen. Malice that is designed to utterly eviscerate any and all union — which is to say “human” — concerns and sensibilities.

While it is surely the nature of bureaucracies to find a rationale to perpetuate themselves, no one working in the department of education during Bloomberg’s reign could mistake the malevolence emanating from the Office of Special Investigations for bureaucratic inertia or a search for a reason to exist.

How many of Bloomberg’s “provisional workers” are OSI? Who knows ? All we know is that at least 4000 were employed in some capacity with the Dept. of Education.

At any rate, even if the average New Yorker remains oblivious or unconcerned with the wholesale corporatization of their city, hopefully the vicious idiocy behind the suspension of Debra Fisher will awaken Bill De Blasio and Carmen Farina to the fact that while Bloomberg may be gone, some of his most horrific policies remain firmly in place and will continue to do so until they are pulled out by the roots, an action that cannot come soon enough.