Thursday, May 17, 2007

unfit

yeah, springtime – already the focus has shifted from the man currently in the white house to the persons who want his job.

with 18 months to go until the actual election i’m seeing – nothing much has changed.
despite the fact that a female and a black man are fighting for the top position for the democratic race, we’re still talking about Rudy and Hillary and John McCain and Michael Moore and the war and the Taliban and the Gaza Strip. presidential politics – its deja-vu all over again.

have the years of debates over September 11th and the war had any effect? apparently not for Rudy Giuliani - who was - just a few days ago - looking for a distraction over his muddled abortion response. he got the distraction in the form of a statement about September 11th – right where he lives.

Rudy pounced and true to his character- went ballistic.
a little known, dark horse republican candidate by the name of Ron Paul was asked if his anti-war position was out of step with the rest of the party. you probably heard the sound bite of Rudy’s bluster “that’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard”– in case you didn’t hear the statement that provoked it – here is the Texas congressman’s eloquent explanation of his position as a loyal but traditional anti-war Republican:


somehow stating the obvious has become dangerous talk. the mere suggestion that there might be a rational, logical reason that Muslim fundamentalists might target Americans has become unpatriotic. don’t matter what the cia and the state department reports – doesn’t matter what bin ladin said on the subject – though bin ladin’s statements are doubtable for many reasons. if you are a patriot, apparently, your core belief must be that Muslims attacked America because they hate us without any reason. Rudy’s response got him headlines – just the kind he wanted. it also got congressman Paul some attention – and a surge of donations and positive emails according to his spokesman.

this episode just confirmed what most New Yorkers already know – Giuliani was hardly fit to be mayor; his qualifications to be president and his demeanor when questioned - are highly questionable.

this past week, the local tabloids have raised another question- who would make a better president – former mayor Rudy or our current mayor Mike. Bloomberg was considered more fit for the job by a majority of NY’ers polled. now, Bloomberg is not yet running, but with a reported billion-dollar war chest at the ready, he could leap in at any time. we Americans usually judge public figures largely by their image; City hall certainly seems more benign now than under Giuliani. but we should judge public figures more by their history – and two things stay in my mind from the history of Bloomberg’s tenure.

one was the stadium debacle – we’ve had plenty to say about that in the past.
the other troubling piece of the legacy of mayor Mike came a little bit more into focus in the last 24 hours.

Today, the NYPD reluctantly released 600 pages of secret documents from the 2004 republican convention in New York. undercover cops left no stone unturned in its preparations for the convention. they went to meetings posing as activists, they infiltrated chat rooms, they read blogs and monitored individuals and organizations that they suspected might cause trouble. dangerous individuals like:
LL Cool J and Alicia Keys, City Councilman Charles Barron, Aron Kay (the self-proclaimed Yippie who throws pies), cartoonist Ted Rall, and trouble making organizations like: the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village (known as a traditionally gay friendly organization), Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas (known for picketing soldier’s funerals), the Sierra club, the Manhattan Libertarian Party, Billionaires For Bush (a band of performance artists), etc., etc…

this absurd listing of over a years worth of surveillance brings to mind Richard Nixon’s enemies list – and begs the question – what was Bloomberg so afraid of? why did he allow such a laughable wild goose chase? why indeed did he preside over the arrest of thousands of peaceful, law-abiding citizens during that convention, an all time record for arrests in the city? why does he support the continued police harassment and unwarranted arrests of the Critical Mass riders, who after all, are merely riding their bicycles? why did Bloomberg allow the NYPD to block a half-million protesters from joining a peaceful pre-war demonstration on a freezing-cold February day in 2003?

was he getting orders from Karl Rove – or was he thinking about his future status as a republican presidential hopeful?
these tidbits from mayor Mike’s legacy should give us some kind of idea as to how a Bloomberg presidency might play out. if he’s so willing to ignore the constitutional rights of us New Yorkers – what would he do with the rest of the country?

1 Comments:

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