It’s sort of like one of those old “Twilight Zone” episodes. What if you had a billion dollars, but you couldn’t use it to buy what you wanted?
With a net worth of about $34 billion, former Wall Street banker Michael Bloomberg is reportedly the sixteenth-wealthiest person in the world. He spent about $74 million each time he got himself elected Mayor of New York, an office he then tried to use to make all New Yorkers healthier by banning sugary soft drinks in large containers — stuff like that.
Mind you, New Yorkers could still buy all the smaller sugary soft drinks they wanted. But in the world of the left-liberals, it’s your intention that counts.
(The soda ban was overturned by a New York State Supreme Court Judge last year because it arbitrarily applied to some businesses while inexplicably exempting others, like 7-Eleven – “apparently those businesses with the political prowess to lobby for exemptions,” commented Karen Harned of the NFIB Small Business Center.)
Mr. Bloomberg clearly feels “the law” is meant to be used by wiser souls (him) to impose their preferences on others. But what happened when the law threatened to limit his own ambitions?
When he ran for mayor, Bloomberg knew the law allowed him to serve only two terms. So he went to wheeling and dealing, got the law changed, and ended up serving three terms.
Now he’d like to change another law: The Second Amendment.
Upon leaving office, right after being appointed by U.N. chief kleptocrat Ban Ki-moon as “United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change” to “press for action on global warming” (despite the fact there’s been no global warming for 14 years), Bloomberg decided his victim disarmament fund-raising outfit, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” should be re-named “Everytown for Gun Safety.”
Don’t think this just means he wants us to carry our hammers down on an empty chamber, though. Bloomberg is a big time gun-grabber. People who thought their records of seeking psychiatric help decades ago were sealed and who were thus advised they could mark the “No” box on those “background-check” forms have gone to prison in this country. They can never own guns again.
But here’s the weird part: Bloomberg wants to finance candidates who’ll come out for more gun control, and he’s having trouble finding them!
“Former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s gun control group announced a round of candidate endorsements this week,” reported David Sherfinski in The Washington Times, Sept. 25, “but his plan to pour $50 million into gun control efforts appears to be struggling to find campaigns to back in nationally watched races.”
You’ve got to read that carefully, of course. Bloomberg’s outfit can find plenty of Democrats (and even a few New England “Republicans” — see Sen. Susan Collins of Maine) in safe seats who’ll accept gun-ban money. Oregon Gov. John A Kitzhaber welcomes the victim-disarmament funding, as do Rep. Robin L. Kelly of Illinois and Northern Virginia Democrat Don Beyer. But these races are so lopsided Democrats could probably call for nationalizing the factories, jailing the owners, and erecting big statues of Joe Stalin — and still coast to victory.
ATTACKING THE SUPERMARKETS?
Throwing money away on “sure things” isn’t going to change the political lineup in Washington. Bloomberg can only do that by funding gun-grabbers in close races. And Democrats in tight races, already in line to get hosed for Obama’s no-recovery economy, seem to be saying “No thanks.”
“More than half of the U.S. House candidates with endorsements are in districts that political analysts deem to be safely in Democrats’ hands, suggesting trouble finding high-profile candidates who could stand to benefit from Mr. Bloomberg’s help,” The Times reports.
Instead, Bloomberg’s victim disarmament group launched a six-figure ad campaign “protesting supermarket chain Kroger’s policies permitting open carry of loaded firearms while prohibiting items such as skateboards.”
Really? Is there some constitutional right to keep and bear skateboards? Are they “necessary to the security of a free state”? Is the presence of teen-agers on skateboards, knocking down old ladies in the dairy aisle, likely to discourage would-be armed robbers?
“Less than two years after the Newtown school shooting spree, the lack of focus on guns in the election campaigns is stark,” the Times reports.
One competitive race where “Everytown” is getting involved is for Colorado’s Senate seat, where Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, faces challenger Rep. Cory Gardner. That one should prove interesting, after two state-level Colorado Democrats lost recall elections as a result of their support of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s push for more unconstitutional gun control in the wake of the 2012 Newtown school shootings.
Bloomberg helped push for the Colorado law and flushed more than $300,000 in a doomed effort to save his pet lawmakers. In a July interview with Rolling Stone, Bloomberg described the recalled senators as coming from a part of Colorado so rural “I don’t think there’s roads.”
“Coloradans have repeatedly rejected Michael Bloomberg’s radical gun control agenda and they will reject Sen. Udall in November,” predicted Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano.
Short on Democrats who want to flame out their careers pushing for more gun control in competitive races, Everytown “has devoted much of its resources this year to state-level initiatives,” The Times reports. The group gave $1 million to push a ballot initiative to tighten background checks in Washington state, and contributed more than $130,000 to an unsuccessful campaign against a ballot initiative in Missouri to reaffirm state residents’ Second Amendment rights.
Meantime, the NRA has decided not to take all this Bloomberg activism lying down. In late August the group launched a multimillion-dollar TV campaign against Bloomberg’s “anti-freedom agenda.”
The first ad, which ran nationally on cable television and over the air in Colorado, was titled “Insult,” and sought to tie Bloomberg’s gun control plans to such nanny-state initiatives as his effort to ban jumbo-sized sugary sodas.
I’d say the NRA is going pretty easy on Mr. Bloomberg, who didn’t limit his anti-choice agenda to soda pop. Bloomberg was instrumental in banning smoking in commercial establishments like bars and restaurants in New York in 2003, smoking in public places (“outdoors”) in 2011, and raising the smoking age to 21. He proposed banning the smoking of e-cigarettes in public places. He tried to regulate salt. He regulated trans-fats in restaurants and banned cell phones in schools in 2006. He banned styrofoam packaging for single-serving food items. He banned “non-fuel-efficient” cabs in 2007 and any new cab that wasn’t a Nissan NV200s in 2013 (also overturned by the courts, a no-brainer.)
BODYGUARDS HIT THE JACKPOT
But none of this gets to the heart of Bloomberg’s hypocrisy. If Michael Bloomberg really believes unconstitutional tactics like random “stop-and-frisk” searches designed to disarm the populace can “save a lot of lives,” as he’s said, the fastest place he could make a start would be to have his driver stop the car the next time he’s crossing a bridge, and order his 17 bodyguards to toss all their hardware in the river.
Just do an Internet search for “Bloomberg bodyguards.” You’ll quickly encounter photos of the mayor moving from place to place surrounded by a beefy cadre of armed, gray-suited goons bearing a strong resemblance to the offensive line of the New York Giants.
Why does Mr. Bloomberg (like so many of his ilk) figure HE deserves this kind of armed protection, but everyday Americans who can’t afford a dozen armed strongmen shouldn’t be allowed to carry a single self-defense weapon with them when they run down to the corner for a pizza?
What’s that? The bodyguards just came with the mayor’s job; he really didn’t have any choice? Bull.
“He’s buying their silence,” The New York Post reported on Nov. 13, 2013.
“Mayor Bloomberg is taking his most trusted NYPD bodyguards with him to the private sector next year — to ensure they don’t spill any of his secrets, law-enforcement sources told The Post.
“’He wants them to go with him because they’ve been with him so long and know him personally,’ one source said. ‘So, he gives them plum jobs to keep their mouths shut.’”
Previous mayors had police bodyguards who stayed overnight inside Gracie Mansion, but because Bloomberg passed up living there in favor of his plush Upper East Side town house, the NYPD built “a special security booth outside that East 79th Street pad.
“Bloomberg, who also owns a sprawling, waterfront estate in Bermuda, takes members of his security team with him on his frequent, private-jet jaunts to the island getaway,” the Post reported. “While the city pays the cops’ wages, Bloomberg has forked over up to $400-a-night for their lodging in a nearby hotel. He also often treats them to meals with him at his favorite restaurants, including the Port O Call, Rustico and Tom Moore’s Tavern, where a grilled, 16-ounce Porterhouse steak goes for $43 and the catch of the day is $37.”
“Bloomberg’s new security team will comprise a current lieutenant and several detectives, all with more than 20 years on the force,” The Post reported. “They will file for retirement immediately after mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is sworn in on Jan. 1, sources said. With public salaries of at least $120,000 each, they’ll all get pensions that amount to at least half that much — on top of their pay to keep working for Bloomberg. . . . ‘They’re all getting six-figure salaries,’ one source said.”
To guard the ex-mayor. With guns.
Vin Suprynowicz is the author of “Send in the Waco Killers” and “The Ballad of Carl Drega.” His next novel, “The Testament of James” is due out later this year.
A version of this column appears in the Nov. 10 edition of “Shotgun News.”