The stark, black screen says it all. “Please stand by. Starting soon…The story of Newark.” Nothing is exactly what did happen–nothing ever did appear on the blank YouTube screen that was supposed to provide a live feed of a speech Thursday by Cami Anderson to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C.
Anderson, already an embarrassment to herself and the state of New Jersey, never did speak, at least not publicly. She canceled her PUBLIC speech. Why? Because a busload of 40 students, parents, and other community residents showed up to hear what she had to say and, perhaps, to ask her a few questions. They had to go to Washington because Cami Anderson won’t talk to them in Newark. Won’t attend public board meetings. Hasn’t since January. The Hermit Queen of Newark.
So those 40 people who yesterday followed her to Washington literally scared her speechless, poor dear. Little Miss Muffet fled indecorously from her tuffet when people like Sharon Smith and Michael Dixon and Kristin Towkaniuk tried to sit alongside her. She recorded her comments “for media only,” according to AEI officials.
That shows how far media has sunk into corporate sycophancy. They are supposed to represent the people, not join in secret cabals with organizations like AEI and privatized school entrepreneurs.
Anderson, the highly-paid toadies she brought with her on the junket to the nation’s capital, and staff members from the AEI, a conservative think-tank, made asses out of themselves by panicking and declaring a small group of perfectly well-behaved and properly registered people “a security breach” and first tried to evict them, turned the lights off in their own auditorium, and then called the police.
A security breach? Some crazy guy with a knife hopping the White House fence and entering the executive mansion–now that is a security breach. Kids and adult chaperones showing up for a buffet lunch in Washington DC is a field trip.
What a spectacle. Like elephants stampeding in the presence of a mouse.
“They just showed a lot of disrespect,” said Roberto Cabanes, a spokesman for NJ Communities United, which helped arrange the trip to Washington, along with organizations including the Newark Student Union, PULSE, and the People’s Organization for Progress.
Cabanes said the Newark residents properly registered and paid their fees for the event and behaved well when they got to the room in the building on 17th Street NW where Cami was scheduled to speak. But one of Anderson’s $175,000-a-year assistants, Peter Turnamian, noticed some familiar faces among the people who came to hear Anderson talk about her “successes” and “triumphs” in Newark. Not the sort of faces normally seen at the events of an organization run by some of the biggest capitalists in the nation–including that patron saint of free enterprise and maniacal public policy, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
(Turnamian, before he became one of Anderson’s roadies, is probably best known for founding a charter school that billed itself as “The Best School in Newark,” a charter school subsequently ordered closed by the state because it was such a failure. Naturally, he would be working for Cami Anderson.)
Turnamian warned the nervous biddies who run the AEI of the dangerous “security breach” and tried to have some of them evicted. Meanwhile, the 11:30 a.m. program was delayed. The AEI folks then said Anderson’s talk would be given elsewhere, perhaps in a lavatory or slop closet somewhere in the building–then finally gave up and canceled Anderson’s antic road show. The Washington Post, however, reported Anderson may have given the speech “without an audience.” Turns out, that’s exactly what she did.
Making us wonder: If Cami gave a speech and no one was there to hear it, would it still be a pack of lies?
The answer is: Yes.
When the students and parents tried to explain the reason for their presence to what was left of the AEI audience after the cancellation was announced, the organization’s staffers decided to combat the security breach by turning off the lights. How better to ensure the safety of people inside a building than to plunge them into darkness? That should have made everyone feel more secure. It understandably got the Newark residents angry.
Want to laugh? Here’s how the AEI describes itself: “The American Enterprise Instituteis a community of scholars and supporters committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity and strengthening free enterprise. AEI pursues these unchanging ideals through independent thinking, open debate, reasoned argument, facts and the highest standards of research and exposition.”
Independent thinking? Open debate? Reasoned argument? Does all that include refusing to answer questions from constituents–and turning off the lights? And hiding behind closed doors?