By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 20, 2018 ~
Michael Bloomberg served three terms as New York City’s Mayor from January 2002 to January 2014. In 2009, the New York Times reported that Bloomberg had spent “$261 million of his own money” in order to get elected to those three terms as Mayor. When Bloomberg took office, there was a two-term limit in place which had been voted on in public referendums in 1993 and 1996. But two years before Bloomberg’s second four-year term ended, he asked the City Council to repeal the two-term limit to allow him to serve a third term.
Because voters had already expressed their will in a public referendum twice, numerous members of the City Council felt it would be unethical for them to repeal that decision and that the matter should be determined by another voter referendum. But the City Council went forward with their vote in 2008, repealing the will of the people and giving Bloomberg his third term. The City Council’s vote was 29 in favor, 22 against. A Quinnipiac University poll at the time showed that 89 percent of New York City voters felt the issue should have been decided by a voter referendum, not the City Council.
That’s strike one against Bloomberg running for President – he’s not bothered at all about ignoring the will of the people, precisely the failing of the current occupant of the Oval Office. According to Forbes, Bloomberg’s current net worth is $52.4 billion. If he enjoys life in the White House, we have no idea how many billions he might decide to spend to try to repeal two-term limits for the Presidency.
Bloomberg also shares another Trump problem – he has massive business conflicts of interest. He owns both a business heavily linked to maintaining Wall Street’s goodwill and he owns a media outlet, Bloomberg News. The vast majority of Bloomberg’s wealth has come from leasing his Bloomberg market data and news terminals at a cost of approximately $24,000 per terminal per year to tens of thousands of Wall Street trading desks and global banks around the world.
Just how protective of Wall Street Bloomberg is was on display during the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011 and 2012 when his administration oversaw the brutal pepper-spraying and beating of protesters attempting to realign their democracy from the iron grip of Wall Street plutocrats. This stunning video, which was entered as evidence in a court case, shows the New York City police during the Bloomberg era brutalizing the Occupy protesters.
As wealth inequality grows in America there are likely to be renewed protests in the streets to wrest control from the one percent. Bloomberg has demonstrated that he believes in using brute force to quell dissent.
A seminal work on Bloomberg’s character is Neil Fabricant’s book, Mike! Wall Street’s Mayor, with brilliant illustrations by Keith Seidel. Fabricant writes:
“When it comes to homeless people who don’t have many supporters, the iron fist comes out of the velvet glove. He once told attendees at a Working Families Party forum that the reason that shelter occupancy rates have reached record levels is that he has made city shelters ‘more attractive’! One of Mike’s first attractive shelters was an unused Bronx jail that Rudy Giuliani had rejected as a shelter. The levels of peeling lead paint were eight times the toxicity level defined by the city’s Health Department.
“Mike began filling the old jail with homeless families, 90 to begin with. A firestorm of criticism erupted. Mike said he’d compromise and stop sending children younger than six years old to the jail. The courts finally ordered him to close it down…The Coalition for the Homeless reported that a record 113,553 homeless people – including 42,888 children —slept in city-funded shelters in 2010, a 37 percent increase from 2002. The number of homeless families is 45 percent higher than when Mike took office.”
Wall Street On Parade also reported in 2011 that during Bloomberg’s terms as Mayor, his administration oversaw the building of a spy center in lower Manhattan which was staffed with the NYPD along with some of the worst actors on Wall Street: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, as well as the regulator who was asleep at the switch as the corruption leading to the 2008 crash evolved, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Bloomberg administration effectively used $150 million of taxpayer money in order to satisfy demands from Wall Street and build this spy center.
Wall Street On Parade filed multiple Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests with the Bloomberg administration in 2011 and 2012 seeking information on the full list of Wall Street firms that were involved in staffing the spy center (known as the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center). The FOIL law was ignored and our requests for information went unanswered.
Jamie Dimon, the current Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, a bank that has pleaded guilty to three criminal felony counts while Dimon has been in charge, is an equally disqualified candidate for any public office, much less hopping from no prior public service to President of the United States in one swift move – unless haughty arrogance has now become the defining trait to qualify for the Oval Office.
Last week Dimon spoke at a company event at JPMorgan Chase. According to CNBC, Dimon had this to say about a run for President: “I think I could beat Trump because I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is. I would be fine. He could punch me all he wants, it wouldn’t work with me. I’d fight right back.” Dimon later walked back his comments.
This isn’t the first time that Dimon, a billionaire, has suggested he’s smarter, tougher or richer than other people. In 2013, during a public forum, Wall Street analyst Mike Mayo asked Dimon a question about whether higher capital at rival bank UBS might create a competitive advantage against JPMorgan. Dimon responded: “You would go to UBS and not JPMorgan?” Mayo responded: “I didn’t say that; that’s their argument.” Dimon then states: “That’s why I’m richer than you.”
Dimon’s uncanny knack for insulting the sensibilities of fellow Americans was on full display in the holiday cards he sent out while serving as JPMorgan’s Chairman and CEO in 2013. The card featured expansive views of Dimon and his family in jeans, blissfully playing tennis in their lavishly appointed living room. Chris Hayes at MSNBC said the image suggests “hey, we’re so rich we can destroy our own stuff.”
Comedian Stephen Colbert dedicated a skit on his show to Dimon’s card, saying tongue-in-cheek that the 99 percent need to believe that money has made people like Dimon miserable. Colbert suggested that Dimon’s card should have illustrated him “weeping alone on a pile of money clutching a sleigh.”