Posts Tagged ‘Rudy Giuliani’

The Fate of A Gesture: NYPD Turn their Backs on de Blasio at Funeral

December 27, 2014

Like millions of people who were horrified at the murder of NYPD officers Wenjin Liu and Rafael Ramos last Saturday, I watched and read of the funeral of the latter which took place this afternoon in Queens. Among what I read was that members of the NYPD, in the hundreds and maybe more, turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Balsio as he eulogized Ramos.

In an event built on symbolic gestures – the posthumous promotion of Ramos to detective, the presence of both the Governor of New York and the Vice President of the United States, a funeral that, with all respect to the police, was more fitting for a head of state than a murdered cop — in all of this, no symbolic gesture will have greater resonance for the people of New York than the sight of hundreds of cops outside of the church turning their backs on the image of Mayor Bill De Blaiso. As both a New Yorker and a person with three family members who are or were NYPD, I felt a sense of both shame and disgust when I read this. And also a chill.

The gesture was many things: shocking, arrogant and petulant, to be sure, but it was above all, dangerous. And the danger is not merely to the political future of Bill de Blasio. “When an assassin’s bullet targeted two officers, it targeted this city, “ said Joe Biden. Like the bullets fired at the cops, the gesture is equally targeted at all of us.

It is almost impossible to imagine that the grossly disrespectful act was done without at least the tacit approval of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. If this proves to be the case, de Blasio should fire Bratton as soon as possible and replace him with a person who respects the political process and is in possession of at least some sense of decorum and decency. This, after all, was a funeral and not the place for politicking. If Bratton did not give his okay, then he needs to rein his people in immediately and remind them that they work for the people of the city of New York.

Like every one else, police have every right to express their dislike or even disgust at Bill de Blasio. Unlike everyone else, they have sworn to protect and serve the people and they have an obligation to respect the chain of command which, in this case, ends with Bill de Blasio.
Question: Can a police force that turns its back on the mayor of a city be trusted to protect the citizens of that city? Make no mistake about what happened today. This was not merely a gesture meant to help in the political destruction of Bill de Blasio. It was also meant to show every New Yorker that the NYPD feels immune to criticism and, to some extent, is its own law.

The rhetoric of PBA President Patrick Lynch – that de Blasio and others have had blood on their hands for the horrific murder of the two cops by a psychotic from Baltimore — has been nothing short of hysterical and should be treated as such by both the cops he ostensibly represents and the public those cops ostensibly serve. But, as hysteria is easier to digest than thought, this is not, by and by, what has happened, and today’s gesture was meant to drive the hysteria home in the most emotionally charged way possible.

With the exception of his foolish legitimization of the execrable
Al Sharpton, ( admittedly an enormous error) I find nothing objectionable and much that is commendable in de Blasio’s handling of the Eric Garner affair. There is a reason that, after the non–indictment of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, New York did not descend into the chaos and brutality of Ferguson and it’s militarized police.
Like him or not, that reason is Bill de Blasio.
Today, the NYPD chose to politicize murder and to do so at what is meant to be a sacred ritual, perhaps the most sacred of rituals. I see no way in which anything good can come of what happened today, not for cops and not for New Yorkers. I can easily see, however, how another Giuliani ( or worse than a Giuliani ) may rise from the feelings that propelled the cops gesture.
Rest assured, reactionaries across the land are plotting away.

Nothing Is Sacred: Capitalizing on Horror is the American Way

December 24, 2014

"Former NYPD" Don Bongino

“Former NYPD” Don Bongino

In America nothing is sacred. Even before the bodies of the dead policemen Wenjin Liu and Rafael Ramos were cold, politicians seeking a soundbite, former politicians seeking the spot light and would be politicians seeking to jump start their careers ,were suddenly all over the place spewing venom and idiocy to all who would listen or could read as to the real reason why two human beings, ambushed in their patrol car in Brooklyn in a period of extreme racial tension, lay dead.

They did not lay dead because a psychotic from Baltimore, who earlier in the day had threatened suicide and then shot his girlfriend, shot them at point blank range.
They lay dead because of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
They lay dead because of protestors.
Somehow, the acts of de Blasio and thousands of others led the killer to act.
This, at any rate, has been the line echoed back and forth across the country since hour one.

George Pataki, who rode the death penalty into the governors mansion and is rumored to be pursuing yet another pathetic run at the presidency, and Rudy Giuliani, who recently disgraced himself by claiming that teacher unions were somehow responsible for the death of Eric Garner, were particularly quick to get in on the act. But they were hardly alone. The rhetoric of Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, with his talk of “bloody hands” and a” wartime’ police department” has been simultaneously ghoulish and fascistic and horrifying.

Under the pretense of honoring the dead, or defending the honor of the police, or saving Western civilization or something like that, the spigot of insane abuse aimed primarily at Mayor Bill de Blasio but including anyone who dared protest the death
of black men at the hands of police, turned into a torrent in no time at all. And it has been going strong for days now, bringing employment to the endless array of Right wing talking heads of Fox News and sickly joy and “talking points” to their millions of viewers.

One of the more egregious of these talking heads, one Dan Bongino, is a man who knows an opportunity when he sees one. Bongino, who called for de Blasio to “resign in shame”, has been particularly revealing. Bongino who was billed as “former NYPD,” spent four years as a cop 15 years ago, has lived in suburban Maryland for years and is currently seeking to be a Republican congressmen in Maryland’s 6th congressional district. Bongino, in short, is a carpet bagging scumbag shamelessly seeking to capitalize on the horrific deaths of the two cops for political gain at the same time he is pretending to be a heartbroken colleague. There was, of course, not a hint of what Bongino, a kind of Right wing mini-version of the despicable Al Sharpton, has been doing the past fifteen years or why he was babbling away in New York in the extended interview Fox allowed the hustling would be politician.

What there was a river of was crazy and ignorant talk of de Blasio, a man, according to Bongino,
“ who believes in the advancement and trading of chaos, believes in the destruction of American institutions” and “subscribes to an ideology that is so un-American…”
English is my native tongue but I confess to utter bafflement over what the words “believes in the advancement and trading of chaos” actually mean, but I do understand that whatever it means, it is not good.
Insinuating that he is still a member of the NYPD and not a resident of suburban Maryland, Bongino reveals the true source of his rage: de Blasio had the temerity to do what no New York mayor has done in 20 years. He reigned in the NYPD. He had them stand down. He allowed New Yorkers to exercise their right to protest without fear and intimidation from the force that is ostensibly there to protect that right.

“Bongino continued, “I have a number of friends I went through the police academy with almost 19 years ago that call me and text me all the time and said that during these protests, ‘yes, we absolutely respect the right to peacefully protest. No question.’ They were told basically to stand down, let them blow off steam, despite the fact, Charles, that there were people out there who were never interested in peaceful protests. They were interested in spitting in police officers’ faces, pushing these people.”

Bongino is correct when he states that there were people out there who were never interested in peaceful protests, “ people “interested in spitting in police officers’ faces, “ as there are such people in any immense crowds of protestors. Some of these people, as was their right, chanted ugly and idiotic things as they marched. I heard them. But so what? That too is their right. A handful even managed to get themselves pointlessly arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge hours after the march began where they allegedly tangled with a group of cops, one of whom had his nose busted. Collectively, I would reckon they constituted perhaps 1% of 1% of the thousands and thousands who marched in dignified protest.
“Former NYPD” Bongino seems to shamelessly suggest that somehow these miniscule numbers and this foolish gesture somehow equals an out right attack on the NYPD and therefore justifies a return to the Giuliani/ Bloomberg days of non stop thuggish police intimidation and worse. Somehow, Bongino, like virtually all of the commentary ( if that is not too lofty a word ) that I’ve read or heard fails to meant the simple fact that the protests were against the very kind of thinking these very commentators were espousing.

It is sickening to encounter this kind of thought but necessary to do so. It reveals part of the sickness underming the political and spiritual health ( which are always linked ) of the country as I write. It bespeaks of the totalitarian nature of the Right, in which a man like de Blasio, hardly a progressive in any meaningful sense of the word, is seen not merely as a threat but as a kind of un American alien who must be utterly destroyed. Destroyed before he somehow kills again.

The argument that, in some way, de Blasio himself or the protesters en masse were responsible for the murderous act of a mentally ill man is, for any self respecting person, well beyond absurd and well into the realm of the obscene. But then again, so is capitalizing on the shocking murders of two cops. Yet, this is exactly what America has been steadily fed since the horror story broke on Saturday and we can expect as much of the same sick stuff as can possibly be squeezed out of the horrible incident.

In America, nothing is sacred. And in a culture where nothing is sacred, in the negative sense of the phrase, anything is possible.

Addendum: Herein more examples of the reckless, irresponsible and opportunistic nonsense spreading around the country including some choice idiocy from former NYPD Commissioner and convicted felon Bernie Kerick, hoping it seems, to ride this tragedy back into something approximating respectability or at least a steady gig on Fox News.

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.

Bloomberg Thwarted As Court Allows the Release of Cathie Black Emails

May 2, 2013
Mike and Cathie: Together Again

Mike and Cathie: Together Again

We will soon know some inside skinny about the day-to-day antics of Cathie Black, Mike Bloomberg’s preposterous replacement for the egregious federal prosecutor turned school chancellor, Joel Klein. Black’s 100 day pseudo reign as chancellor, no matter how well choreographed was nothing short of a spectacle, especially when Black chaired Bloomberg’s grotesque Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) where she was proved incapable of answering even the most basic questions and was openly jeered like I’ve seen no other public official openly jeered. More than any other maneuver by the little mayor, appointing the clueless Black to run the largest school system in America spotlighted “Education Mayor” Bloomberg’s oceanic arrogance and ignorance concerning any thing to do with education. More, Black soon became to Bloomberg what Bernie Kerik became to Rudy Giuliani — the person who called into very, very serious question either man’s basic judgment. It was only a matter of time before Bloomberg discarded poor Cathie like a used tissue, replacing her with the equally clueless Dennis Wolcott who, unlike Cathie, has mastered the art of appearing to be thoughtful and knowledgeable without actually being so.

There is a reason Bloomberg fought like hell to keep these email under wraps. The emails should be a hoot and will doubtless serve to further discredit both Bloomberg personally as well as the Department of Education he has renamed, run and ruined for over a decade. Bloomberg and has minions have hounded and degraded NYC public school teachers for what feels like forever under the pretence of holding them accountable even for things for which they can never be responsible, like the extreme poverty so many of their students grow up in. In doing so Bloomberg has made the working life of every teacher in New York city a pointless misery and has driven many fine educators right out of the field.
Bloomberg was unquestionably responsible for the appointment of Cathie Black. Let Bloomberg be held accountable. For once, let Bloomberg be held accountable.

Looking forward to a good read. And to watching Bloomberg squirm.

See article below.
Bloomberg Loses Final Appeal to Keep Emails Secret
By Nick Pinto Thu., May 2 2013 at 3:10 PM 1 Comment
Categories: Bloomberg, Courts, Secrets

All legal avenues exahusted, Bloomberg must make public emails concerning the hiring of Cathie Black.
Mayor Bloomberg’s fight to keep emails concerning the hiring Cathie Black, whose catastrophic career as school chancellor lasted all of 100 days, has finally ended, and Bloomberg has lost.
The story stretches back to 2010, when Sergio Hernandez, then a Village Voice intern, filed a Freedom of Information Law request for emails related to Black’s hiring. The city first delayed, then refused. Hernandez appealed, and the city refused again. So he sued, represented pro bono by Schlam Stone & Dolan, and he won.

But the Bloomberg administration really didn’t want to let those emails see the light of day; it spent upwards of $25,000 in taxpayer funds fighting the case, appealing to succesively higher courts, consistently losing every time.

Finally, today, the state’s highest court declined to hear the final appeal. The city will have to abide by the initial ruling, which called the city’s arguments “particularly specious” and “wholly devoid of merit,” and required it to turn over the emails to Hernandez within 15 days.

A call to the New York City Law Department was not returned by the time this was posted — we’ll update when we receive their comment.

For his part, Hernandez, who now works as senior business editor for The Week and as a freelance contributor for ProPublica, says he welcomes the court’s denial of Bloomberg’s appeal. “This is their last stop,” he said. “It’s a relief to finally have it over with. I’ll be curious to see what’s in the emails.”
He told the Voice he intends to write about what he finds, and is talking with news outlets interested in publishing what he writes.

[] [@macfathom]

Go to Runnin’ Scared for all our latest news coverage.

There Can Be No Change Under the Reign Of Bloomberg (Except In Ourselves )

April 15, 2011

In a sense, insofar as she so perfectly embodied the hubris, idiocy and recklessness of so much of the education reform campaign and particularly the educational vision of Mike R. Bloomberg, I, for one, am sorry to see the back of Cathie Black.  Of course, she was appalling and an embarrassment to an entire city.  But that misses the point.

No matter how hard Bloomberg and his trained seals tried, Black, unlike Michelle Rhee or Joel Klein or Arne Duncan or Chris Christie, could not be somehow transformed into an heroic figure fearlessly taking on all powerful teacher’s unions, the status quo, and the selfish teachers; those evil foes who were not only damaging the nation’s children (thus hindering them from “winning the future”),  but bankrupting the American economy to boot.

Even aside from her tasteless public comments there was something in Cathie that people could not stomach.  More to the point, there was something so grotesque and so obscene about Bloomberg naming Black the Chancellor of Education and then doing whatever it is that Bloomberg does to bend people to his will to secure Black a waiver that disgusted those generally indifferent to politics. I heard astounded reactions from people who never gave a thought to education before.   And to some extent it galvanized them.   Black’s mere presence at Bloomberg’s insulting Panel For Educational Policy meetings (in which a panel dominated by Bloomberg zombies would pretend to listen to the heartfelt testimonies of parents, teachers, students and community activists before rubber stamping whatever Bloomberg had ordered) created an instant carnival atmosphere where the hapless Black sat like a mute queen, now haughty, now pouting, in silence, surrounded by her praetorian guard (including Dennis Walcott) absorbing heaps of abuse, wholly incapable of answering even the most basic questions of policy.  Her most memorable moment at such “panels” was mimicking the sound of the crowd who jeered when Black protectors grabbed their mics to answer yet another question asked of Black and Black scolded her questioners.

Such moments were at once surreal, illuminating and emancipating. They exposed, as much or more than the most well crafted argument, the idiot logic guiding not merely Bloomberg but all the well heeled narcissistic imbeciles whose imaginations are so paralyzed and egos so bloated that they believe to the core of their beings that corporate business people (like themselves) have somehow attained the highest form of human intelligence and therefore that all human institutions — libraries, hospitals, governments, schools, whatever  –should be  subordinated to the corporate business model.

Like no one else, on an almost daily basis, Black revealed this thinking to be the insanity that it is.   More, as Mike Bloomberg was surely the only man in the entire world who would even consider a person as stunningly unqualified as Black to be the Chancellor of Education for the City of New York, Black revealed Mike Bloomberg to be an arrogant fool.

This, of course, was her undoing. As Bernie Kerik instantly became to Bloomberg’s predecessor Rudy Giuliani the moment people outside of Giuliani’s orbit looked into him, so Cathie Black was daily becoming to Bloomberg:  an embarrassment that called Bloomberg’s  very  judgment into glaring, garish question.

So in the blink of an eye, dilettante “super star manager” Cathie Black was out and soft spoken Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott in. One might think such a self-created disaster as Black would humble a man, at least for the moment.  But not Bloomberg.  Not even for  a moment. Even as he was stating that he “ accepted full responsibility” for the Black debacle, he  sounded pissed that he actually had to say such stuff.   Lost in the shock of the announcement   was the fact that Bloomberg proved again that he is incapable of learning anything as he pulled the same stunt with Walcott that he pulled with Black.

The first sign that nothing will change under Dennis Walcott was the process of selecting Dennis Walcott. Which is to say, there was no process.    There was no search, no consultation with the United Federation of Teachers, no  reaching out to parents, no discussion whatsoever with anyone anywhere over who should replace the disastrous Black and assume responsibility for the education of over one million children in a school system that, from the inside, feels as if it is being held together with dental floss.

Walcott is the man and that is that.  Such is life under the reign of Bloomberg. As both Diane Ravich and Noah Gotbaum have pointed out Bloomberg treats the public schools as if they are his private property to do with as he will.   Many, including friends, have greeted Walcott’s selection with something approximating approval. At any rate, there has been none of the incredulity that came with the selection of Black and remained with her for every one of her 96 days as chancellor. A great deal is being made of Walcott’s public school education, his two years teaching kindergarten, his grandchildren in the system and the fact that he does not need to be surrounded by four deputy chancellors lest some one ask him a policy question. Such banter reveals far more about how thoroughly Bloomberg has degraded the position of chancellor than it does any thing about the qualifications of Dennis Walcott to bear it. Indeed, just like Bloomberg’s  previous selections for chancellor, Walcott does not have the  qualifications.

If anyone has any doubts about why Wolcott was selected, just look at the reception he has received from those who have spent the last decade trying to destroy the public school system any way they can. Geoffrey Canada,  president and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone — he who pays the children in his program do do their homework —   and as such a corporate confidence man extraordinaire, called Walcott a “brilliant choice,” adding, “I feel terrific about it.”  Former Chancellor Joel Klein currently employed as CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s   News Corporation Education Division called Walcott “a superb selection” and “ a fighter for kids.”

I, for one, disagree.  I, for one do not hold Walcott’s selection to be a good thing excepting, perhaps, for Bloomberg whom Walcott will certainly fight for.   While it is true that Dennis Walcott is, by all accounts, an intelligent and amiable fellow and one conversant with the nuts and bolts of the Department of Education, while it is true that long ago and far away he worked in the Urban League, while its true he is now declaring that the school system is “ all about a partnership,”  the greater truth is that Dennis Walcott is  Mike Bloomberg’s  stooge.

After faithfully serving  Bloomberg for nine years no man in New York has more intimate knowledge than Dennis Walcott as to what happens to any Bloomberg appointee who dares to think with his  or her own mind, who dares to speak his or her own opinion: who dares, that is,  to be a free and dignified  human being.

Dennis Walcott is more aware than anyone in New York what he has got himself into.  And Dennis Walcott, for whatever reason, has willingly accepted that role. Anyone who believes the replacement of   Black with Walcott will make an iota of difference that is beneficial to students, teachers and the school system is delusional.

What Bloomberg has been permitted to do is shocking and deeply disturbing.  Or, at any rate, it should be shocking and deeply disturbing.  In nine years Bloomberg has  degraded the political landscape of New York so thoroughly that he has rendered the Chancellorship of Education either irrelevant or a joke. While Bloomberg reigns it does not matter who is chancellor. Klein, Black Walcott, whomever,  they are all there to play dummy to Bloomberg’s ventriloquist and they all know that the minute they speak their own mind is the minute their fates are sealed. What’s worse is millions of New Yorkers know this too and somehow it is accepted. Such is the degraded state of our “democracy.”  Indeed, if Bloomberg had any integrity at all he would simply eliminate the position of Chancellor for the duration of his term (if, indeed, his term ever ends) and save the taxpayers the salary of this now ceremonial position.

How many teachers can be hired on a chancellor’s salary?

There is something diabolical   about Bloomberg.  He specializes in corrupting  people by successful appeals to their basest impulses. Of course, all such  appeals would be unthinkable without his absurd  wealth.  Consider City Counsel speaker Christine Quinn. No matter how long she lives Quinn will have to live with the horrible truth that she helped undermine the political will of millions and millions of New Yorkers when she helped orchestrate Bloomberg’s illegal and legally singular third term. And she should live with it.  And she should be reminded of her treacherous and cowardly act every day.

Consider New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner, the son of the great literary critic George Steiner, who must live the rest of his life with the knowledge that he allowed Mike Bloomberg to somehow persuade him to throw his integrity  to the gutter when he approved non-educator Cathie Black’s waiver to be chancellor with the preposterous stipulation that the job of  “chief academic officer “  — i.e. someone who actually knew something about schools — be created to work beside her.  Steiner had to know that what he was doing was wrong if not out right grotesques.  Nonetheless, like Quinn Steiner  debased himself to do Bloomberg’s bidding.  And by dancing the humiliating dance Bloomberg demanded both did irreparable harm not only to their souls, but also   betrayed the people they swore to serve.

Nothing will change for the better with Walcott. Indeed, Walcott will be far more effective in pushing through Bloomberg’s  agenda of total destruction all the time than Cathie Black could ever dream about. He’s already begun.  Speaking before last Friday’s City Council hearing on the mayor’s preliminary operating budget Walcott made the extremely dubious claim that, “By any measure the gains our students have made in recent years have been extraordinary – far outpacing the rest of the State and cities across the nation.”

As a New York City teacher I have no idea  what Walcott can possibly be referring to here —  but the  language is extremely reminiscent  of   Bloomberg’s  and Klein’s  when they were crowing before Congress about the since-debunked  miraculous gains for  New York students under their  since-debunked miraculous  leadership.

Walcott dutifully went on to channel two other Bloomberg fallacies.  The first was how the city had no choice but to lay off teachers, a claim thrice publicly contradicted by Governor Andrew Cuomo who is no friend of teachers.    The second, offered with no evidence whatsoever from this data loving contingent, was how seniority laws (or LIFO as they are now moronically called) are depriving children of their most “effective”  teachers.

In short, on the part of the DOE nothing has changed, and as long as Bloomberg is mayor nothing will change — least of all Bloomberg. He simply doesn’t  have the moral strength to change or admit he’s  wrong about anything.   Bloomberg  is a free market utopian as impervious to reality as was Milton Friedman if somewhat nastier in his manner.

When he first arrived at City Hall and for some time afterward, Bloomberg repeatedly stated that he wished to be judged on how dealt with education, which was, in fairness to Bloomberg, in many ways, a mess.    For a while, Bloomberg successfully fooled many into thinking that his almost yearly reorganizations, “data based instruction”, high stakes testing, school closings and championing of charter schools were actually making things better rather than just different for New York City students.   This began to change with news of the fraudulent or grossly inflated testing scores and evidence of  doctored graduation rates. Confidence in Bloomberg’s handling of schools went further south with his ridiculous  selection of Black and further still with Black’s darkly comical impersonation of a chancellor of education.

Even as blind  a narcissist as Michael Bloomberg must by this point know that if he is judged by his handling of the schools he would be judged – at the very best — a mediocrity and by many, in fact most, a failure.  (Most NYC teachers, I am convinced, would rank Bloomberg as a catastrophe, a point, I am equally convinced, that would not bother Bloomberg in the least.)

I believe Bloomberg’s  response to his failure  is to spend the remainder of his term accelerating  what he and his fellow “reformers” across the USA have been doing for a decade now:  altering the public school system beyond recognition, setting it up for failure, hastening its demise and setting in motion its rescue by corporate America. This requires the destruction of the UFT, whose power Bloomberg has been undermining since his arrival at City Hall.  All pretense of a working partnership between Bloomberg’s DOE and the UFT is now laughable. Bloomberg would love to leave office as the man who destroyed the teacher’s union.  He’d love that even if that meant, as it would, that teachers could be fired at the whim of any psychotic principal, that the profession would be degraded beyond recognition, that generation of students would be subjected to nothing but test prep.  No matter.  Power has made Bloomberg stranger, crueler, and dumber.   Bloomberg has moved past being reckless and is now so ruthless he is seemingly willing to unnecessarily lay off thousands and thousands of teachers to try and alter public opinion on seniority laws and get his way.

This is sick.

And, if it is not, it should be criminal.

What to do?

Appealing to a figurehead like Dennis Walcott is a waste of time and energy.    The combination of the power of Bloomberg’s obscene wealth   and Bloomberg’s ruthless policies are something not seen for a long, long time if ever before in American politics.   As such they call for a different kind of response, a different method of fighting, some way of not allowing this man to totally degrade our political system and totally destroy our school system before handing it over to his pals in the “free market.”

Bloomberg cannot change.  We must. What we have been doing has not worked.  It may mean massive acts of civil disobedience and massive amounts of consequent arrests.  It may mean sick-outs on a scale unseen in New York history.  It may mean something not yet imagined to match the almost unimaginable reality we are living, in which the richest man in New York is running New York with dictatorial control over almost every aspect of its school system.  This is disgraceful.  This is insane.  We need to figure out how we got here and how we allowed this.   We need to figure out how to get out of here and how to transcend this.  We need to figure out how to keep people as venal and vicious as Michael Bloomberg as far away from political power as legally possible.