Monday, October 26, 2009

Bloomberg Plays the Race Card as Rangel's Chief Tormentor Exemplifies Hypocrisy

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg played the race card in his fight to remain Mayor of our nation's largest and most wonderful city, and the Republicans' chief attack dog against Charlie Rangel was found to have failed to disclose $300,000 of profits from sales of oil industry stock before his last re-election bid.

Bloomberg Plays the Race Card

The New York City Mayoral race hit a new low last week when Mayor Bloomberg chose to play the race card.

After tacitly supporting Rudy Giuliani's racially divisive approach to the campaign and after spending far too many hours in the presence of Giuliani, Bloomberg seemed to attempt to one-up Giuliani and demonstrate even greater racial divisiveness than Giuliani.

When Giuliani spoke last week in an white community that had supported him heavily in his mayoral campaigns, Giuliani stated that electing Bill Thompson would bring back the "wrong" leadership that led the city in the early 1990's - an obvious reference to the only Black mayor in the history of New York City. With Bill Thompson seeking to be the second Black Mayor in New York City History, Giuliani stated that his white audience will likely be too afraid of crime to walk outside if Thompson is elected. Giuliani's racially divisive remarks were criticized by many prominent New Yorkers, but Bloomberg failed to distance himself from Giuliani's remarks. Instead, he tried to prove his own racial solidarity with those who oppose the Black community in New York City.

Bloomberg, when asked why he had not distanced himself from Giuliani's comments, launched into an attack on Detroit. Detroit??????? Why is Bloomberg campaigning against Detroit? "When Bill Thompson ran Detroit . . . " Bob Herbert of the New York Times wrote about the Detroit reference:

Mr. Bloomberg has had many opportunities to disavow Mr. Giuliani’s remarks, to say that as a city we’re better than that, to repudiate (as he has before) the very idea that exploiting fear and division for political gain is acceptable in this great city. But he has chosen not to. He chose instead, later that same day, to raise the specter of one of the worst big-city tragedies in American history: Detroit, which was laid low by every ill you can imagine, including a catastrophic race riot in 1967. Detroit, said Mr. Bloomberg, “went from a great city with lots of good-paying jobs to a city that’s basically holding on for dear life.” Well, that’s true. But what’s that got to do with New York City, or this year’s mayoral election? New York is not an incipient Detroit. New York will not become Detroit if Mike Bloomberg is not re-elected.

The mayor disingenuously said that Detroit’s decline was more about economics than “some other things.” But anyone who knows the sad history of Detroit knows about those “other things.”

This had all the appearance of Mayor Bloomberg piggybacking on Giuliani’s fear-mongering. He picked the worst-case urban scenario available, a crime-ridden, destitute city from which most whites have long since fled, and offered it as a suggestion of what might be in store for New York, a thriving metropolis filled with people from virtually every ethnic group on the planet. Open a window, please. Some fresh air is in order.

Rangel's Chief Tormentor Exemplifies Hypocrisy

Last week, we learned that Texas Representative John Carter, the primary Republican attacker of Charlie Rangel, had failed to disclose $300,000 of profits from the sale of oil stocks. The hypocrisy problem is clear, but the story gets worse. The Lone Star Project website provides a great summary:

Unbridled Hypocrisy

What John Carter Said:
Carter’s complaint against Rangel centered on his failure to disclose profits on his personal financial disclosure. Carter has spent most of October bragging about his experience as a Judge and respect for the law and justice.
“I spent 20 years of my life in a courtroom making sure people followed the rules." (Fort Worth Star Telegram, October 9, 2009)
"Either this House repairs this damage, or the American people will have to replace this House." (Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 2009)
When asked about the looks he was getting from Rangel while he read his resolution, "I used to sentence people to death, and they’d glare at me” (Fort Worth Star Telegram, October 9, 2009)

What John Carter Did:
In 2006, Carter sold Exxon Mobile stock for just under $200,000 profit. He hid this profit from the public on his personal financial disclosure
In 2007, Carter sold Exxon Mobile stock for a profit just under $97,000. He hid this profit from the public on his personal financial disclosure.
On the bottom of his personal financial disclosure, Carter signed under the statement, “Any individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies…this report may be subject to civil penalties and criminal sanctions.”

What John Carter Needs to Do Now:
Given Carter’s background as a Judge and his clear understanding of House rules based on his relentless attack on Mr. Rangel, John Carter should:
Ask the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics Committee) to open an investigation of his actions.
Immediately make public ALL financial holdings and transactions with Exxon and all other financial relationships.
Issue an apology to Mr. Rangel and to both Republican and Democratic Members of the Ethics Committee for questioning their competency and their integrity.
Refrain from making any floor statements or other public statements that do not directly involve legislation affecting his district or the State of Texas.

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