After a right-wing lobby group unveiled a billboard in New York City’s Time Square on Wednesday blaming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez alone for the decision by retail and technology giant Amazon to “take its ball and go home” by pulling the plug on its planned HQ2 project in nearby Long Island City, it was pretty clear what was going to happen next.
As political pundits who oppose the common good like Laura Ingraham began championing the billboard, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t demure. She shot back:
While the billboard directly charges that Ocasio-Cortez was behind Amazon’s decision to ditch the project it had planned for New York, the many New Yorkers who opposed the deal have made it clear such a charge simply is not true.
In an appearance on MSNBC after Amazon’s announcement earlier this month, Democratic state Sen. Michael Gianaris—a vocal critic of the Amazon deal—explained why it was good for New York that the corporate giant ditched the project.
“There’s no reason the richest among us can shake us all down to get as much of our public dollars as possible just to grace us with their presence. And today New York took a stand,” Gianaris said.
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“If the terms of their being here were a ‘take it or leave it’ proposal that they put on the table, where they get three billion of our dollars and there was no discussion of making sure the housing market could accommodate them, that the subways would not be continuing to crumble as they are, that the schools would not continue to be overcrowded—none of those conversations happened,” Gianaris concluded. “The only thing that happened was they said, ‘Give us your money or we’re leaving.’ And if those are the terms, then it’s a good thing that they left.”
While right-wing dark money groups like the Jobs Creators Network—deploying hashtags like #SocialismTakesCapitalismCreates—want to create the impression that it was the evil young congresswoman who self-identifies as a democratic socialist had the singular power to defeat one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful corporations, it was Ocasio-Cortez in the wake of the company’s decision who credited “a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors” for defeating “Amazon’s corporate greed.”
As the congresswoman herself pointed out Wednesday night, citing this Wikipedia page, the Job Creators Network that funded the billboard “is an advocacy group founded by Home Depot co-founder and former CEO Bernie Marcus. It describes its agenda as to promote small businesses and has been described as leaning conservative.” As Media Matters reported in 2017, the group is heavily backed by the right-wing billionaire Mercer Family, one of the key financial backers of President Donald Trump.
Referencing an infamous scene from television series The Office, Ocasio-Cortez continued by saying, “Billionaires paying to put up anti-progressive propaganda in Times Square is like the obscenely rich version of the scene where Michael Scott points to the Bubba Gump and saying ‘This is it, this is the heart of civilization, right here.'”
For the unitiated, the joke is that only out-of-town tourists spend any time in the city’s Times Square:
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