New Op-ed: A billionaire and a Bolshevik walked into a bar
What do an old Bolshevik and a short billionaire have in common?
We're speaking of Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg of course.
They are both leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. One leads in the polls, the other in spending.
Bernie heaps praise on Cuban Communist dictators.
Bloomie heaps praise on Chinese Communist dictators.
And while Bernie praised Fidel Castro's literacy program, Bloomie learned – and practiced – the lessons of literacy, communist-style.
"In China, they have rules about what you can publish. We follow those rules," the diminutive oligarch dutifully recited in a public struggle session on CNBC.
Mike did his best as commissar to turn Bloomberg News into American Pravda, censoring stories that cast the Chinese Communist Party and particularly its general secretary, president-for-life Xi Xinping, in a negative light.
Why would an American who grew fantastically wealthy in a land that cherishes freedom of speech and press stifle those freedoms in service of a regime that opposes private property?
The answer is Bloomberg and the Chinese Communists have a codependent relationship, just as Bernie had a love affair and literally a honeymoon with Soviet Communists.
Bernie and his generation of lefties identified with Marxism. The Sanderista likes to remind Jewish voters he once lived on a kibbutz in Israel. The part he leaves out is that it was a Stalinist collective, far to the left of the then-socialist mainstream of Israel.
But it's Bloomberg's personal fortune, not personal identity, that marries him to China.
Bloomberg LP, of which Bloomberg has an 88 percent stake, has approximately $10 billion in annual revenue. The company may get approximately 5% of its revenues, or $500 million annually, from China and Hong Kong.
Bloomberg LP clients: China's Ministry of Finance and several state-owned enterprises, including the People's Bank of China (PBoC), COSCO shipping, CHALCO Aluminum, China Construction Bank (CCB) and China Development Bank (CDB).
Mini Mike earns substantial income from licensing his eponymous financial data terminals to China, while at the same time he's financing Beijing's communist tyranny.
"Bloomberg LP doesn't make money in China only by selling terminals. Through its massive Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index, Bloomberg LP is helping finance Chinese companies by sending billions of U.S. investor dollars into the Chinese bond market," the Washington Post's Josh Rogin reports.
"This year, the index began a 20-month plan to support 364 Chinese firms by directing an estimated $150 billion into their bond offerings, including 159 controlled directly by the Chinese government. Bloomberg, along with other Wall Street firms, is effectively supporting the Chinese government's efforts to resist the U.S. government's economic pressure, while exposing American investors to increased risk," Rogin writes.
So when Mike says Xi Xinping is not a dictator, when he says "the more that we are able to open our capital and our labor markets to each other, and the more that we collaborate on trade and technology, the better off both our countries will be," we have to understand he is, at best, blinded by his wallet, or, at worst, an agent of influence hopelessly compromised by the Chinese Communist Party.
And while Bernie praises totalitarians, Bloomie acts like one.
He's charged with using his philanthropy to silence civil society groups that would oppose his political agenda. In other words, Mike's using his checkbook to compromise opponents the same way Beijing has compromised him.
And here's another way the billionaire and the Bolshevik are alike.
Both want to stop energy infrastructure that would bring jobs and manufacturing to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Both would sacrifice working Americans on the altar of the climate change gods.
Bernie opposes the Line 3 replacement pipeline across northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, arguing the oil should stay in the ground.
Bloomie puts his money where Bernie's mouth is. He backed Keith Ellison's bid for Minnesota attorney general, then paid lawyers in Ellison's office who are suing to block the pipeline.
Financiers have long sought to concentrate money and power in monopoly hands. Socialism is the ultimate monopoly of money and power – albeit in the hands of the government.
The late Occidental Petroleum Chairman Armand Hammer regularly did business with Soviet bosses, and Bloomberg is not the only billionaire coddled by Beijing's Red mandarins.
Supreme Court Justice Brandeis believed Wall Street financiers were the socialist's best friend. "Just as Emperor Nero is said to have remarked in regard to his people that he wished that the Christians had but one neck that he night cut it off by a single blow of his sword, so they say here: 'Let these men gather these things together; they will soon have them all under one head, and by a single act we will take over the whole industry,'" Brandeis observed.
The really surprising thing about a billionaire and Bolshevik being on the same side is that it's really not surprising when you think about it.
-Curtis Ellis is the Senior Policy Director for America First Policies.