As if it’s not bad enough that we live in a country where crony capitalism is so entrenched that the oligarchs never face justice and are consistently bailed out on the tax payers’ dime, but now we have to suffer from oligarchs using their fortunes to buy-off elections all over the country. I am specifically referring to one of the biggest hypocrites alive today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Super PAC, Independence USA. I want to highlight two recent stories in order to demonstrate exactly what this particular oligarch is up to. First, from a recent Washington Post article:
It’s a bad day when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political action committee rolls into town to take you on.
Former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.) is finding that out the hard way right now, as she suffers from a barrage of ads from the super PAC, also known as Independence USA.
The PAC, which has backed gun control supporters and targeted those who oppose it, regardless of party, has so far spent about 20 times the amount Halvorson has been able to raise for her campaign in the special election to replace former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.). While Halvorson has raised just about $100,000, Independence USA has spent $2.16 million against her, citing her ‘A’ rating from the NRA.
So because “Your Highness” Bloomberg doesn’t like guns (except when it’s the people protecting him that have them), he overwhelms an Illinois election with money to defeat the pro-gun candidate. The outcome? She lost. This is what Bloomie had to say in the aftermath:
“This is an important victory for common sense leadership on gun violence, a problem that plagues the whole nation, and it’s the latest sign that voters across the country are demanding change from their representatives in Washington — not business as usual. As Congress considers the president’s gun package, voters in Illinois have sent a clear message: we need common sense gun legislation now. Now it’s up to Washington to act.”
LOS ANGELES — On Tuesday, voters in Los Angeles will go to the polls for a mayoral primary. But much of the attention will also be on the three races for the school board, a battle that involves the mayor, the teachers’ union and a host of advocates from across the country — including New York City’s billionaire mayor — who have poured millions of dollars into the races.
The outcome of the political fight for the school board seats will have a profound impact on the direction of the nation’s second-largest school district. But the clash has also become a sort of test case for those who want to overhaul public education, weakening the power of the teachers’ union, pushing for more charter schools and changing the way teachers are hired and fired.
After years of pressing to take power away from local school boards, some advocates have directed their money and attention directly to school boards in the hope that they will support their causes, as unions have done in the past.
The union has spent nearly $450,000 to help elect its candidates, but Mr. Fletcher bristles at the involvement of Mr. Bloomberg, Ms. Rhee and others from outside Los Angeles and their attempt to influence the results.
“We don’t elect a superintendent, but school board races are a way to take the temperature of whether people like the direction schools are going in,” Mr. Fletcher said. “This is a race for Los Angeles, not the school board race of America. It would be really tragic if the voices are drowned out by folks who have no sense of what is going on here to begin with.”
“It will be interesting to see what kind of impact we can have by investing heavily in this race,” Ms. Rhee said. “It could determine whether or not we should move in this direction.”
So I’m sure you noticed the name Ms. Rhee above. She is Mayor Bloomberg’s close ally in the race…so who is she? Her full name is Michelle Rhee and she is a prominent national leader of the education “reform” movement.
Writer David Sirota at Salon profiled her and her “movement” recently and he wrote:
Taken together, the education “reform” movement is waging a comprehensive war on the most basic notions of democracy — and not a secret war, either. It is quite explicit, as evidenced by the comments of the most famous and politically renowned leader of that movement, Michelle Rhee.
During her tenure as the head of the Washington, D.C., public schools, Rhee engaged in mass firings and school closings; helped private testing companies impose a strict standardized testing regime on students; did nothing about a massive cheating scandal in her midst; and, as PBS Frontline notes, produced an academic achievement record that leaves “Washington still among the worst in the nation and D.C.’s high school graduation rate dead last.”
That’s where Rhee’s little-noticed but incredibly revealing comments come in. As grass-roots opposition in the local community understandably rose up to oppose her destructive policies, Rhee made quite clear what she and her movement thinks of the notion of local control of schools and community involvement in education policy:
MICHELLE RHEE: People said, “Well, you didn’t listen to us.” And I said, “No, I listened to you. I’m not running this district by consensus or by committee. We’re not running this school district through the democratic process.”
FRONTLINE: [on camera] It’s not a democracy.
MICHELLE RHEE: No, it’s not a democracy.
Gotta love the name of Mr. Bloomberg’s Super PAC: “Independence USA.” Independent from what exactly Mr. Mayor?
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