Friday, December 26, 2014

Divide and Conquer—Cuomo Style

Part-time progressive Bill DeBlasio and full-time douchebag Andrew Cuomo are hearing it from unions these days in New York. Members of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association (PBA) turned their backs on DeBlasio in Brooklyn, while leaders of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) called Cuomo “clueless” and challenged him to a series of education shit shows town halls across the state. 

Cuomo, ever eager to bask in DeBlasio’s political fallout, has auditioned for peacemaker between the cops and the mayor, especially after PBA President Pat Lynch used the phrases “educate our children” and “blood on the steps of city hall” in back-to-back breaths following the recent murders of two uniformed cops.

In an interview before the shootings, Cuomo called Lynch a “friend” who was only doing his job as union president in moving to bar DeBlasio from police funerals:
"He was venting that emotion. He is standing up for the police, which is his job, and making the point that police need protection, too, in situations like this, and need respect and consideration in situations like this,” Cuomo told public radio’s “Capitol Pressroom” program.
On the other hand, Cuomo was outraged when NYSUT President Karen Magee vented her emotion and accused the governor of “doing the bidding of billionaires” when it comes to public education. The cowardly Cuomo responded through his spokeswoman, denouncing Magee’s statement as “mind-boggling” and “hostile.”
What would Cuomo have said if Magee had accused him of having the blood of public schools on his hands? 

The metaphor works in this case, since Andrew Cuomo has done more to destroy public education in New York State than Bill DeBlasio will ever do to destroy the New York Police Department.

Cuomo will never call for the same “respect and consideration” for teachers as he does the police. While public schools are a “monopoly” he’d like to “break”, the cops are the only ones blocking the barbarians from breaking down Cuomo’s gates.  

One can only imagine what Pat Lynch would say, for instance, if Cuomo threatened to break the PBA’s monopoly on law enforcement in New York City.    

It should surprise no one that the governor—who visited a whopping two public schools during his first term—was outraged more by comments aimed at hedge funders and their dystopian visions for public education than comments aimed at a fellow democrat and mayor of the nation’s largest city.

DeBlasio has at least attempted to stem the privatization of public education, and that alone quickly earned him a spot on the governor’s enemies list. 

A vindictive sociopath, Cuomo governs on personal vendettas, caressing his donors while plotting revenge against those who refuse to caress his fragile ego. 

Cuomo recently bemoaned being able to control education only through the state budget, even calling requests for more school aid “political correctness.”  
With schools across the state slipping toward insolvency, Cuomo’s only objective is to repay his donors with more privately-run charter schools and pink slips for teachers.  

As this blog has urged 
again and again, NYSUT must move beyond strongly-worded faxes and petitions and take the battle for public education to Cuomo directly. 

It remains to be seen if the Lobbyist for the Students will show up and share his pernicious bloviations about public education at the NYSUT town halls. Though Cuomo apparently has no difficulty speaking to billionaires about education, he’s apt to retreat to his cave at the whiff of educators and parents who actually know what they’re talking about. It seems Cuomo is comfortable talking about education only with those who have more money and less expertise than he does.    

Though Cuomo will likely ignore NYSUT’s invitation to the town halls, Magee must push for this and other specific actions, calling out Cuomo in the press and trailing the governor and his slimy associates across the state. NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn recently offered a speck of hope this might happen: 

What worked for the anti-frackers will work for NYSUT, since public education and our environment each face existential threats.  

Teachers have an opportunity to answer Cuomo’s questions about education in-person this New Year’s Eve at his mansion in Albany. Though Cuomo will likely filter public employees from the visitors list—a driver’s license number is required to register—teachers could take a big step toward Cuomo in 2015 by stepping through his door on the final day of 2014.
Like the anti-frackers did, New York’s teachers must get in Cuomo’s face—even if he tries to hide behind the police. After all, when Cuomo calls for us to protect the police, he’s really calling for the police to protect him and his wealthy donors. 

And as long as the police are on their side, Cuomo and others will keep attacking labor. For as both Cuomo and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker understand, workers must be divided before they can be conquered:

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