Friday, August 19, 2016

UPDATE: David Cay Johnston on Trump; Bloomberg a Consistent Hypocrite...

Update: This is an interview I produced with the great investigative journalist, David Cay Johnston, discussing his new book, The Making of Donald Trump.

Also, if you didn't already know, Michael Bloomberg's PAC's recently endorsed incumbent PA senator, Pat Toomey--you know, the poster child for Grover Norquist's little fiefdom, the Club for Growth (CFG).

Why on earth would someone so "reasonable" and "moderate" as Bloomberg back an individual who--except for his support of expanding background checks for gun purchasers--has a belief system antithetical to the interests of NYC? 

Toomey is widely know to be a Koch brothers flunky, completely anti-regulations that will do anything to hamper business interests--regardless of how those interests affect our air, water, environment, food, safety etc. In fact, the CFG website touts Toomey's, "advocacy for economic freedom" while "consistently standing up to big-government liberals in both parties." (WTF?) 

Furthermore, Toomey has a "murky" record on the whole-terrorists-being-permitted-to-by-guns matter, according to PolitifactPennsylvania. So much so they deemed Bloomberg's ad about Toomey crossing party lines, "misleading at its core...and rate the claim mostly false." Toomey even boasted of his 100% NRA rating

So, what's the deal Mr. Mayor? 

Well, anyone in NYC can tell you at length about Bloomberg's history of donating thousands of dollars to keep the state senate in the hands of the GOP. This, even though the Republican-controlled senate has consistently worked against the city on array of issues--from housing to home rule to LGBTQ rights and gun control measures, etc. Bloomberg's baby, right?

This Toomey endorsement simply underscores what a fraud Michael Bloomberg is, was, and remains. 

Unfortunately, there are rumors already circulating Bloomberg is considering another run for mayor---apparently three terms was insufficient for his ego (not to mention the fact that third term was borderline illegal, and definitely unethical.) But he smells blood in the water--like many other potential 2017 mayoral candidates--because of the growing vulnerabilities (predominantly self-imposed) of Bill de Blasio. 

New York barely survived two terms of Rudy--who graciously offered to remain in office after 9/11--and was resoundingly rejected across the city. It did not withstand three terms of Bloomberg. Even a single de Blasio term is turning out to be disastrous..... Being an atheist, I'm not really one to invoke any kind of deity, but GOD HELP US if he runs, and wins. 


Now, about the presidential race...

Word of former Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement of Hillary Clinton and speech at the DNC convention has been in the ether all week, along with an article in the NYT. (I'm astounded the article, which quotes Bloomberg 'senior advisor,' Howard Wolfson, never mentions Wolfsen served as communications director on previous H. Clinton campaigns. That doesn't seem like a minor detail to me.)

Anyone who knows anything about New York politics can't possibly be surprised. What is surprising is how the article discusses Bloomberg's apparent 'dismay' about the Trump candidacy. You may recall earlier this year, Bloomberg hinted at his own potential run because of similar feelings when VT Sen. Bernie Sanders was gaining momentum in the Democratic primaries.

Putting aside the obvious false equivalent Bloomberg and others have made about Trump and Sanders--as if a self-aggrandizing, self-absorbed opportunistic blowhard ridiculously unqualified for any elected office 
could ever be compared to a sitting U.S. senator and former mayor who has spent his long public service career trying to help others. 

This minimizes Sanders, and with good reason: people like Michael Bloomberg are terrified of Sanders and what he represents: change.

If you read between the lines, this is really about Bloomberg's inability to tolerate any group not part of the status quo or establishment; no revelation there, given how the man governed. Bloomberg was the quintessential elitist--not out of a superiority complex or from the safety of generations of inbred privilege--but because he has been so wealthy for so long, he clearly has no inclination or empathy for the majority of NYers, the non-one percenters. Bloomberg was, and remains, entirely out of touch.

Bloomberg's speech Wednesday night was fine, essentially what was to be expected. He did, I think, appear to relish, insulting and mocking the Donald, belittling Trump's 
"success" as a businessman. Which makes the reality even odder.....

Putting aside also the absolute myth Trump is somehow not part of this status quo, Michael Bloomberg actually helped create the delusional bubble in which Trump resides. The most notorious example was the Trump "hotel" in SOHOwhich went into foreclosure in 2014.

With support from former Council Speaker Christine Quinn and now-Comptroller Scott Stringer, Bloomberg and the others were accomplices by allowing Trump to flagrantly flout existing zoning codes (and then brag about it.) The list of examples where Bloomberg's people enabled Trump, or ignored their duties like enforcement, is pretty astonishing. 

In other words, Bloomberg directly fed into Trump's entitled view of himself, which clearly extends to his smarmy children......

Remember when daddy Trump bought Ivanka's modelling "career" in the 80s, and then he and his PR machine tried to sell the public she was some kind of super model? The main difference here is apparently we were collectively smarter 30 years ago, not so easily fooled and manipulated. 

Then again, we bought It's Morning In America, all while the federal government willfully ignored the burgeoning AIDS epidemic...And ketchup was a vegetable... And the president's inner circle funded and trained Central American death squads and tried to overthrow a democratically-elected government by trafficking crack in the US, and arms to Iran just a few years after our hostages were released in 1981. 

Never mind.


I know many progressives have been initially disappointed by Hillary Clinton's choice for vice president, myself included. Whether or not VA Sen. Tim Kaine is liberal enough, or has too many ties to the oil industry, will be debated for a long whileRegardless, one thing I don't really understand in much of the post-announcement analysis has been the preoccupation with the fact that Kaine is a pro-choice Catholic. Shock and horror!

Kaine has legitimate bona fides: Planned Parenthood and NARAL have both given him a 100 percent rating. But NEWS FLASH--this is not a new phenomenon, nor is it mutually exclusive. Our late governor Mario Cuomo's career and his mystique were partially based on his committed opposition to the death penalty and for being consistently pro-choice, despite church doctrine. 

What about the current Vice President, Joe Biden? Or the late great MA Sen.Teddy Kennedy? And, notice how Catholic female elected officials--like former MD Senator Barbara Mikulski or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi--don't seem to provoke the same ire and backlash? Is this just a twisted version of paternalism, or are these women considered too far gone to bother? After all, they're only women, and we women get so emotional about things like control of our bodies........ 

The point of being pro-choice is precisely that--being in favor of giving someone the opportunity to determine for (her)self what she consider best for her health and well-being. That's why it's called being pro-choice and not pro-abortion per se, and why the anti-choice movement using the pro-life moniker is so inaccurate. 
(I'm always struck by the double standard when it comes to reproductive freedom and the church versus the death penalty and the church, and the free pass given to Catholic death penalty supporters.)

Someone pro-choice doesn't have to be pro-abortion, just understand other people may believe differently from him or her, particularly when those beliefs are based on a religious view that is not universal. 

This is a clearly manufactured, contrived issue. But why has it gained any traction, and why has the media permitted it to do so? I'd really like to hear from you. Tweet me @ethicsaintpretty.