Bloomberg at Harvard

Bloomberg at Harvard
by Stephen Lendman
He’s a multi-billionaire. He made money the old-fashioned way. On March 24, 2014, Forbes ranked him 16th on its World Billionaire List. It estimates his net worth at $33 billion.
He’s founder and 88% owner of Bloomberg LP. It’s a global financial data/media company. He’s a Johns Hopkins/Harvard Business School graduate.
From January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2013, he was New York City mayor. On March 5, Harvard University named him 2014 commencement speaker. It’s scheduled for May 29.
Choosing him follows Harvard tradition. Rare exceptions occur. Last year Oprah Winfrey spoke. She’s an African-American multi-billionaire.
She’s connected to America’s rich and powerful. She promoted Bush’s Iraq war on air. She disgracefully called it a “humanitarian mission.”
She omitted key facts. She sold millions of viewers imperial war. She did so with fabricated reasons. She lied for power. It wasn’t the first time or last.
She appeals to America’s lowest common denominator. She’s a faux progressive. She teamed with Obama during campaigning. 
They conned Americans. Uninformed ones were sold false promises. Oprah bears much responsibility. Don’t expect her to explain.
Previous Harvard commencement speakers include rich and powerful notables. In 2007, Bill Gates was invited. 
The Harvard Crimson called him “Harvard’s most successful dropout.” Admirers and detractors call him unbelievably wealthy. Other Harvard commencement speakers included:
  • former Supreme Court Justice David Souter, 
  • former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 
  • former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, 
  • Alan Greenspan, 
  • Paul Volker, 
  • Madeleine Albright, 
  • Colin Powell, 
  • Helmut Kohl, 
  • Helmet Schmidt, 
  • Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and
  • Winston Churchill among many other likeminded figures.
Nary a progressive in sight. Rarely ever is one invited. Nowadays it’s strictly verboten.
In June 1956, Jack Kennedy addressed Harvard’s commencement. He was Massachusetts junior senator at the time.
An earlier article discussed his address. Today’s politicians don’t speak like he did. Perhaps Harvard regretted inviting him. 
He accused politicians of sacrificing truth for political advantage. Little wonder they’re scorned, he said. He wanted politicians and scholars working together cooperatively.
He wanted elected officials freed from “imprison(ment) by (their) own slogans.” He wanted “the cooling waters of the scholastic pool” lowering the temperature in Washington.
He called it “regrettable that the gap between the intellectual and the politician seems to be growing.”
He said “if more politicians knew poetry and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live on this commencement day of 1956.” 
Kennedy differed from today’s politicians. A previous article explained as follows:
He changed during his time in office. He evolved from cold warrior to peacemaker.
The Bay of Pigs fiasco chastened him. He refused authorizing another attempt to remove Castro.
He supported Palestinian rights. He opposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program. He offended energy giants. He wanted their oil depletion allowance cut or eliminated.
RFK waged war on organized crime. JFK’s first executive order expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). He was a gradualist on civil rights. He believed integration was morally right.
He favored Federal Reserve reform. His Executive Order 11110 authorized replacing Federal Reserve notes with silver certificates if the occasion arose to do so. 
It’s believed he ordered Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon to begin issuing United States notes. Perhaps he had in mind replacing Federal Reserve ones altogether. He was assassinated too soon to know.
He deplored the CIA. He fired director Allen Dulles. He sacked his deputy General Charles Cabell. 
He wanted to “splinter the (agency) into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds,” he said. It was reason enough to kill him.
He increasingly opposed imperial wars. Initially, he sent troops and advisors to Southeast Asia. He opposed sending more to Laos. He wanted conflict resolved diplomatically.
He opposed deploying nuclear weapons in Berlin. He was against using them in Southeast Asia.
He once called Pentagon generals “crazy” for suggesting it. He refused to attack or invade Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis. He said he “never had the slightest intension of doing so.”
He urged abolishing all nuclear weapons. He knew using them is lunacy. He favored general and complete disarmament.
He opposed Pax Americana enforced dominance. He signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty with Soviet Russia.
Weeks before his assassination, he signed National Security Memorandum 263. It called for removing 1,000 US forces from Vietnam by yearend. He wanted them all out by December 1965.
He underwent a spiritual transformation. It bears repeating. He switched from cold warrior to peacemaker.
He was at odds with Pentagon commanders, CIA, most congressional members, and nearly all his advisors.
He understood his vulnerability. He paid with his life. He was favored to win reelection. Imagine if he had two full terms. 
Imagine a new direction. Imagine deploring war. Imagine turning swords into plowshares.
Imagine a world at peace. Imagine nuclear disarmament. Imagine ending the Cold War a generation earlier. 
Imagine a chance to keep it from reemerging. Killing Kennedy, brother Bobby, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X decapitated the political left. New leadership hasn’t materialized. 
It’s needed now more than ever. It’s nowhere in sight. Potential candidates aren’t welcome as Harvard commencement speakers. 
President Drew Faust invited Bloomberg. He’s a multi-billionaire corporatist. She praised what demands condemnation. He “led one of the world’s great cities,” she said.
He “built one of the nation’s most influential information services, and generously committed his attention and resources to worthy causes in public health, the environment, civic life, the arts, and – not least of all – education. I greatly look forward to welcoming him in May.”
He took plenty and then some. He gave back crumbs. He did so to buy recognition. Honor and integrity are earned, not bought. Faust ignored the distinction.
Throughout his business and public careers, he served powerful monied interests. He did so exclusively. He profited handsomely himself.
He ignored public need. He won elections the old-fashioned way. He bought them. He spent millions. He outspent challengers multiple times over. He flooded the airwaves with campaign ads. 
He drowned out opposition voices. He used deep pocket money  power to win. He’s Wall Street’s man. He’s a product of its predatory system.
He was weaned at Solomon Brothers. In 1973, he became a general partner. He headed equity trading. He earned millions. 
In 1981, he used them to launch Innovative Market Systems. In 1987, he renamed it Bloomberg LP. Thereafter, he established Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Message, and Bloomberg Tradebook.
He has his own radio network. WBBR AM New York is its flagship station. His public record was deplorable.
Among America’s 25 largest cities, New York unemployment is among the highest.
Most city workers lack pensions. Many earn sub-subsistence wages. Poverty is extremely high. It rose annually during his tenure. 
Census figures rank New York sixth poorest among America’s 20 largest cities. Over two-thirds of New Yorkers can’t afford a home.
City homelessness is at record levels. It more than doubled since Bloomberg took office. It includes numbers sleeping in public shelters.
It excludes countless thousands on city streets. Many more rely on overcrowded substandard apartments. Others live with family or friends.
New York has a housing crisis. Rental prices are extremely high. Low cost alternatives are in short supply. Demand way exceeds what’s available.
What’s ongoing reflects New York’s unprecedented social polarization. It worsened steadily under Bloomberg.
New York’s top 20% most well off earn 40 times more than the bottom one-fifth. It’s top 1% earns infinitely more.
Bloomberg lied claiming “nobody’s sleeping on (New York City) streets.” Homelessness plagues New York. It’s at epidemic levels. It worsens annually. Little is done to address it.
Since 2008 crisis conditions erupted, Coalition for the Homeless figures show well over 100,000 men, women and children used city shelters. 
Perhaps that many or more sleep on streets, rely on family, or make due best they can. Perhaps double or triple reported estimates. Main Street economic conditions are worse than ever.
City budget balancing harmed ordinary New Yorkers. Onerous tax burdens were imposed. Over $1 billion in public worker concessions were demanded.
Massive layoffs affected thousand of teachers, hundreds of firefighters and many other city workers. Dozens of senior centers and day care ones were closed.
Public wages were frozen or minimally increased. Benefits were cut. At the same time, Wall Street got generous ones on top of trillions of dollars of federal bailout funding.
Throughout his tenure, Bloomberg implemented numerous financial sector tax giveaways. He added billions to his own net worth. 
Ordinary city residents got tax increases. Crisis conditions affect them. It’s increasing annually. Bloomberg largely ignored them.
He waged war on organized labor. He did so on public education. He supports making it another business profit center. 
He wants young kids cheated. He wants them denied opportunities he had growing up. He closed dozens of city schools. Low-income neighborhoods were targeted.
He waged war on Occupy Wall Street. City cops were unleashed ruthlessly. Peaceful protesters were attacked. Beatings and arrests followed.
Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly intensified longstanding NYPD stop and frisk practices. Blacks and Latinos are targeted.
He denounced efforts to end flagrantly racist practices. He wants unconstitutional ones continued. He reflects the worst of irresponsible leadership.
Maybe Harvard will invite him to replace Faust as president when she steps down. Maybe he’ll accept. 
Maybe he’ll run Harvard like NYC and Bloomberg LP. Maybe he’ll order it privatized and buy it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at 
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