From today’s OPINION JOURNAL, this straightforward column by Ms. Debra Burlingame, “GROUND ZERO, Where Is the Memorial?”. Ms. Burlingame is a director of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, is the sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame III, the pilot of American Flight 77, which terrorists crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Read Ms. Burlingame’s other revealing article, “THE GROUND ZERO HEIST”.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is among the proponents of amnesty for illegal aliens and defends the continued flow of “workers” from outside the United States (the concerns as to who they are, how they’re documented or not, are subservient to the fact that they’re available for use). Billionaire Bloomberg, when asked just a few weeks ago about his position on illegal immigration on FOX News, and when asked about his political affiliatiion/party registration, responded with irritation and displeasure at the very questions, declaring that he was “a businessman” and implied that “party labels” (his words) were subservient to his positioning in “business.” He continued on to aggress upon reasonable people everywhere that illegal aliens were necessary to “business.”
What does that actually mean? What’s Bloomberg actually saying, as do those who speak siimilarly to Bloomberg? It’s possible to presume a higher sense of self importance when you know you’ve got great wealth (or any wealth) at your disposal. But beyond the social presumptions inherent in that response to very reasonable questions of a publicly elected official — which Bloomberg is supposed to be, anyway — you get a defensiveness as to amorality. It’s the “I can do whatever I want because I have a lot of money so please stop asking me these ridiculous questions because they’re boring” response. It works in socially-needy-positioning garden parties and points of sales when it’s clear that someone with the most dollars has greater economic leverage, but it’s offensive from someone elected for purposes of representing people of all incomes and economic accomplishments, for people in PUBLIC OFFICE.
Wealth is not offensive, that is, but those who use their position as wealthy to inflict amorality on others. Combine amorality with public office and access to billions of dollars that one not only does not earn but can command given influence on others in government, in defiance or without regard for what the taxpayers need and anticipate in exchange for their taxes paid, and you get corruption of the American Dream.
My impression of Bloomberg is that he is moreorless serving out a term in office for other incentives than service, like many lately in our Senate and sadly, also in the White House. It’s a given that there are amoral people among the poor — among people of all degrees of economic achievement or acquisition — but when was the last time you saw a poor person elected to public office? The point is amorality, and since it’s almost consistently an accomplishment of the wealthy to gain the use of public office, or those who are otherwise beholden to the wealthy who are, it’s a question of amorality and this driving sense today that corruption motivates moreso than morals in our country, and worse, from those in positions of trust.
So, how is it that the United States elects and continues to elect ethically compromised — possibly corrupt — certainly arrogant people to political office, and by that, continues to hoist amorality (and by that, corruption) as leadership?
I also note that the Department of Transportation — issues under their purview, issues of transportation — appears frequently in association with issues of fraud, mismanagement and corruption. Or — if not fraud, mismanagement, corruption — the DOT certainly creates a lot of smoke in those regards. Cities, states, counties, they have their billions in taxpayer funds for their special projects, and yet the taxpayer doesn’t. Instead, we get increased corruption on our dollar, we get increased special projects that the average United States citizen can see on our horizons and yet rarely can access, we get our noses pushed often into the news about how the billions are spent, the grand benefits bestowed upon unions involved, luxurious “benefits” for those in office and their employ, the swilling away of public trust. Voters pay the tolls, or, they ride bicycles.
United States citizens and every one of us who votes needs to continually keep in mind that the greater these “awards” of public dollars to various government, the less that’s in every individual’s pocket. Worse, what we all really need to start doing is to stop voting for people who, well, “manage” government like “a CEO” because they just do not perceive taxpayers as stock holders but as hourly workers.
From Ms. Burlingame’s most recent column, there is this:
“…The public has heard plenty about the ’empty pit of Ground Zero,’ but most do not know that the $2.8 billion allocated to Lower Manhattan in cash grants has virtually all been spent. It is difficult to trace where all the money went while being routed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and six different city and state entities. Now, after four-and-a-half years of press conferences, ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings (the Freedom Tower has had two), at which the lost 343 firefighters were invoked and the memorial and museum was touted as the ‘centerpiece’ around which hundreds of millions of dollars in spending projects would turn, Gov. Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have teamed up to tell the public that it’s time to ‘rethink’ the project where the history of those valiant firefighters will be secured. Not only does this undermine Daniel Libeskind’s master plan, which always included a museum of “memory and hope,” it also manifests a standard of fiscal responsibility that the governor and the mayor have refrained from imposing anywhere else at Ground Zero.
“The Port Authority’s massive new transportation hub, designed by superstar architect Santiago Calatrava, will cost an estimated $2.2 billion. Some $2 billion of that is federal money, which means that the entire country is supporting the ‘awe-inspiring’ makeover of a terminal that will serve a mere 40,000 commuters (a number so embarrassing the Port Authority upped it to 80,000 by including round trips). The chief executive of a construction firm involved in the building illustrates the absurdity of what insiders call a ‘vanity project’ by pointing out that $2.2 billion is enough to build a metropolitan airport.
“The governor has also handed out hundreds of millions in relief money to corporate powerhouses, ostensibly to get them to relocate to Lower Manhattan or to prevent them from leaving. He signed off on $25 million worth of recovery funds for American Express, which expressly announced it hadn’t intended to leave Lower Manhattan and posted doubled profits less than a year after 9/11. Goldman Sachs, which made $4.55 billion dollars in net profits in 2004, received a $2 billion ‘assistance’ package consisting of triple-tax-free Liberty Bonds, tax credits and cash the following year.
“Mr. Bloomberg talks about a ‘sensible’ approach to Ground Zero rebuilding, but has declined to fully explain his allocation of $650 million dollars worth of Liberty Bonds to construct the Bank of America tower in midtown, an allocation that competes with downtown redevelopment; or why he awarded $114 million in Liberty Bonds to the Ratner office tower — in Brooklyn.
“The mayor has suggested locating the World Trade Center Museum in the controversial Freedom Tower, declaring it ‘a good use of that lobby.’ To put the story of that day in another commercial office tower is an insult to the memory of the 3,000 who died and to the thousands who barely escaped. Would the Holocaust Museum be treated as an afterthought and crammed into such a space? Moreover, why would any commercial tenant be attracted to a building that will be the destination of as many as 20,000 to 30,000 tourists per day?
“The mayor’s proposal was promptly embraced by New York’s cultural elite — the same folks who were despondent over the loss, last fall, of the International Freedom Center and its slavery exhibits. The New York Times editorial page went so far as to suggest that the 9/11 museum is not really necessary since ‘most of us remember that day very clearly.’ The same paper, in contrast, published six hyperventilating editorials last year, telling us that the Freedom Center must be built on sacred ground to provide the memorial with ‘historical context,’ albeit one that didn’t include a word about terrorism…”
Thanks to website, TAKE BACK THE MEMORIAL for the links and the ongoing work on behalf of the nation in attempting to bring clarity for the individual against this extreme degree of mismanagement in New York City of public dollars. I pause to consider just to what degree the taxpayers are being continually fleeced in other transportation and transportation-affiliated projects nationwide. And that those who fleece are in positions of trust (“…doing the work Americans aren’t willing to do…”).