This 16 February 2020 video by United States presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says about itself:
The simple truth is that Mayor Bloomberg, with all his money, will not create the kind of excitement and energy we need to defeat Donald Trump.
We’re going to win this election and transform the country, but we can’t do it alone. The way we win is person-to-person contact, knocking on doors and making the case for people to get out to vote. Are you in?
By Patrick Martin in the USA:
Bloomberg’s billions and the politics of oligarchy
17 February 2020
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has spent more than $300 million on television and internet ads that present “Mike” as an up-from-poverty, self-made fighter for progress and decency, a friend of the common man.
The marketing of Bloomberg involves distortions so grotesque that one commentator recalled the massive advertising campaign by Ford Motor Company, in the early days of television, to promote an exciting new model named the Edsel, arguably the ugliest and most unsuccessful car ever produced.
The Bloomberg campaign is spending more than $1 million a day on average just on Facebook ads. In advance of the March 3 primaries dubbed “Super Tuesday”, when there will be voting in 14 states, Bloomberg has spent $40 million on television and internet advertising in California, $33 million in Texas, $9.5 million in North Carolina and $6 million in Massachusetts. He is the only candidate to air TV ads in Virginia and Alabama. Except for fellow billionaire Tom Steyer, no other Democratic candidate has thus far spent even $10 million in all 14 states combined.
The electoral impact of Bloomberg’s vast expenditures—a drop in the bucket from his $60 billion fortune—is difficult to estimate in advance of the voting on “Super Tuesday”. March 3 will be the first time that the former mayor of New York City is on a primary ballot. Polls suggest that Bloomberg is close to the 15 percent mark required to win delegates to the Democratic convention. His aim, should he fail to win enough delegates to gain the nomination, is to combine with other “moderate” candidates to block a victory by the current front-runner, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Whatever the outcome of the primary campaign, it is clear already that Bloomberg’s spending exerts a vast influence on the Democratic Party establishment and on the corporate media (of which Bloomberg News, part of his empire, is a major component). It is safe to say that no other Democratic presidential hopeful could have survived last week’s series of press reports on Bloomberg’s support for “stop-and-frisk” police attacks on minority youth, his blaming the 2008 Wall Street crash on loans to minority borrowers, and his abusive treatment of female employees.
Last week, reports surfaced of Bloomberg’s 2015 comments on his policy as New York mayor of “stop-and-frisk”, in which he declared, “Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities, 15 to 25.” He went on to add, “The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”
Anticipating the crisis, Bloomberg had already met with a group of prominent black pastors who had been critical of “stop-and-frisk” but were willing to administer absolution if the billionaire candidate was sufficiently apologetic—and generous. As Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, put it, with revealing frankness, “He used his money, which is one of the reasons I continue to support him, to express his sincerity.”
As a 5,000-word profile in the New York Times Sunday edition detailed, Bloomberg, who spent $270 million on his three successful campaigns to buy the mayoralty of New York City (2002-2013), built “an empire of influence” through targeted donations to an array of liberal and pro-Democratic Party groups over the past decade. According to the Times account:
Since leaving City Hall at the end of 2013, Mr. Bloomberg has become the single most important political donor to the Democratic Party and its causes. His personal fortune, built on a financial information and news company, is estimated at over $60 billion. It fuels an advocacy network that has directed policy in dozens of states and cities; … rewritten election laws and health regulations; and elected scores of politicians to offices as modest as the school board and as lofty as the Senate.
This includes an estimated $270 million to gun control campaigns, largely through the Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety group. He has pumped large sums into … charter school advocacy groups and similar organizations, giving himself near-veto power over their campaigns.
In one incident described by the Times, the Center for American Progress, a Democratic Party think tank, edited a report on anti-Muslim bias in the United States to remove a chapter on New York City police spying on Muslim mosques and communities that had eight references to Bloomberg by name. Bloomberg gave nearly $2 million to the organization.
This 17 February 2017 video from the USA is called How Bloomberg-Funded Center for American Progress Censored a Report on NYPD Surveillance of Muslims.
A longtime Democrat who adopted the Republican label in 2001 to run for mayor, then ran for reelection as a Republican in 2005 and as an “independent” in 2009, Bloomberg supported Republican presidential candidates George W. Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008. He returned to the Democratic Party as an endorser only in 2016, when he backed Hillary Clinton. He later changed his registration to Democratic.
In 2018, Bloomberg spent more than $100 million supporting Democratic Party candidates for Congress through his personal super PAC, and he has pledged to spend $1 billion to elect Democrats this year …
In the wake of the “stop-and-frisk” controversy, an array of video and audio clips has surfaced documenting Bloomberg’s long record of racist and sexist comments.
The Associated Press reported last week that Bloomberg made comments in 2008 in which he blamed the collapse of the mortgage security market, which triggered the Wall Street crash, on efforts to restrict the practice of “redlining”—racial discrimination by bankers against predominately minority residential neighborhoods. A spokesman for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition called this “a billionaire defending other billionaires and placing the blame on lower-income homeowners.”
In a 2018 conversation with International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, made public Sunday, Bloomberg can be heard opposing minimum wage laws and defending the fingerprinting of food-stamp recipients. He called the minimum wage one of “these impediments to job creation” that he favored eliminating.
On Sunday, the Washington Post published a 4,000-word profile of Bloomberg that documented a long series of allegations by female employees, largely about profane and sexist comments, many of them demeaning, some outright threatening. These were not #MeToo-style allegations of alleged personal misconduct, but charges that Bloomberg encouraged a hostile work environment for women employees. These conditions generated dozens of lawsuits and numerous settlements in six and seven figures.
Any of these episodes would have destroyed another candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. But for Bloomberg and his media acolytes, it is a big “so what?” Being a right-wing, dictatorial, foul-mouthed, racist, sexist billionaire is not a problem for the Democratic Party establishment, as long as the billionaire’s money finds its way into their own pockets.
What dominates the Democratic Party, no less than the Republicans under Trump, is the politics of oligarchy. It is naked and shameless.
The financial aristocrats, the multimillionaires and billionaires, control the two-party system and dictate the course of the stage-managed political events called “primaries”, “conventions” and “elections”.
Later this week, Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders are likely to appear on the same platform, if Bloomberg, as expected, qualifies for Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada.
2020 DEMS TARGET ‘MONEY MIKE’ With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, Democratic presidential candidates are fixated on a rival who isn’t contesting the state. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg on Sunday all targeted billionaire Mike Bloomberg, accusing him of buying his way into the election and making clear they were eager to take him on in a debate. [AP]
BLOOMBERG’S CAMPAIGN HID HIS RECORD BEHIND THE CURTAIN Bloomberg’s rise in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary campaign is fueled by an unprecedented torrent of cash that has enabled the financial-media tycoon to hide behind a $360 million advertising curtain. This campaign has allowed Bloomberg to leapfrog the other candidates while evading scrutiny, since his omnipresence on the airwaves and online has drowned out almost everything else about him. [HuffPost]
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