• Faux populist Bill de Blasio won by promising financial, police-state reform in phony campaign rhetoric
By Keith Johnson
It’s business as usual in New York City (NYC), where Wall Street bandits continue to fleece the American economy under the watchful protection of a city government that has and will remain dutifully subservient to their every whim.
NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio (born Warren Wilhelm, Jr.) may have campaigned as an anti-Wall Street crusader who vowed to put the needs of the “99%” above those of the financial elite. Despite his lofty promises, however, the faux populist is proving to be just another Trojan Horse politician who will end up carrying the torch of his many predecessors.
In mid-October, de Blasio broke bread with his “sworn enemy” at a private luncheon held in the boardroom of media-mogul Rupert Murdoch’s Viacom. Contrary to his anti-establishment campaign rhetoric, the far-left Democrat assured NYC’s wealthiest plutocrats that he “was not plotting to go to war with them” and “was painfully aware that the city’s economy hinged on businesses like theirs,” according to an article in The New York Times.
“Wall Street is our hometown industry,” de Blasio reportedly told a group of about 20 executives that included Murdoch, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and bankers from Blackstone and other private equity groups.
This is no surprise coming from a man whose earliest supporters consist of billionaire investor George Soros, Goldman Sachs general counsel Robert Katz and several other leaders from prominent NYC hedge fund firms and investment houses. Nor is it a shock to discover that de Blasio’s transition team is conspicuously absent of anti-Wall Street rebels while boasting a number of insiders like Michael E. Schlein, a former top executive with Citigroup, and Peter J. Madonia, outgoing mayor Bloomberg’s former chief of staff and current Chief Operating Officer of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Regardless of the wildly exaggerated assertions, de Blasio never posed a threat to the status quo. His proposed tax hike on those with an annual income above $500K amounts to less than 1% and is expected to be shot down when it reaches the desk of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who denounced the plan on an Albany radio show late last month.
The fact is, a mayor in NYC has about as much influence over the inner workings of Wall Street as a mayor in Washington, D.C. has over the federal government. De Blasio does, however, wield considerable influence over the rest of the city and has already signaled that he will expand its oppressive police-state apparatus, which has always been an essential component of Wall Street’s ability to command and control the Big Apple.
This intimate relationship between the nation’s leading financial institutions and the city’s top brass is a longstanding tradition that became glaringly obvious during the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011, when thuggish New York Police Department (NYPD) cops brutally persecuted those who dared to speak out against the financial establishment. By that time, the police were already a bought-and-paid-for commodity of the banks. A few months prior to the first demonstration in Zuccotti Park, financial house JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) donated an unprecedented $4.6M to the NYC Police Foundation. Long before that, the NYPD’s Paid Detail Unit was set up to allow the New York Stock Exchange and other financial establishments to rent cops at a rate of nearly $40 per hour.
Today, this disturbing alliance is most evident in the city’s Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, where NYPD cops and Wall Street executives sit side-by-side to monitor citizen activity through the lenses of about 3,000 bank-owned cameras spread throughout the financial district. This partnership will continue under de Blasio, who has vowed to “expand camera use in all five boroughs,” and intends to invest more taxpayer dollars “in technologies that support intelligence-driven responses to crime.”
In terms of the Second Amendment, it can be argued that de Blasio is even worse than his predecessor. During an interview with the news website “Huffington Post,” de Blasio said that Bloomberg was “right on gun control” but didn’t go far enough, adding that “we have to go after the money supply to manufacturers of guns and ammunition.”
De Blasio is straightforward with some of his Orwellian proposals but not so forthcoming in others. Though he’s worked hard to be perceived as an opponent of the NYPD’s unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” policy, he’s never promised to abolish it. In fact, de Blasio has stated that the program is a “valid police tool” that simply needs “meaningful reforms.”
His main gripe is that cops “disproportionately target people of color” when they should be targeting whites for random shakedowns. Earlier this year, while working as NYC’s public advocate, de Blasio made his case for this racial profiling in a report filed by his office, which explicitly states: “according to recently reviewed data, stops of African-American and Latino New Yorkers are consistently less likely to yield weapons and contraband than those of white New Yorkers, indicating a systematic difference in how the tactic is being applied.”
If de Blasio were truly serious about ending this abominable practice and distancing the NYPD from Wall Street’s reach, he would not have chosen William J. Bratton to be his police commissioner. This admitted Freemason, who once served as NYC’s top cop under former Mayor Rudolph “Rudy” Giuliani, is a staunch supporter of stop-and-frisk and has even gone so far as saying that any police department in America that tries to function without it is “doomed to failure.”
Bratton has his own Wall Street baggage. After stepping down as Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, he became CEO of Kroll, Inc., the same corporate intelligence and risk management firm that provided security for the World Trade Center during 9-11. On their website, Kroll describes itself as “Wall Street’s private eye” and boasts bailout recipient American International Group as being both the company’s majority investor and most valued client.
This revolving door between Wall Street and the NYPD extends to the Bloomberg administration as well. Prior to becoming Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly was managing director for corporate security with Bear Stearns and was rumored to be eyeing a seven-figure job with JPMC before ultimately signing on as a visiting fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations.
It’s a vicious circle that will continue to gain momentum under de Blasio. Disguised as a champion of the little guy, the new mayor will prove to be Wall Street’s best friend by feigning to shoulder the popular resentment towards NYC’s thieving banksters and lulling the angered masses back to sleep. It worked with Obama in D.C. and there’s no reason why it can’t work in the nation’s equally-influential seat of power.