I didn’t vote for him on November 3, but Mike Bloomberg has done the country a service and I wanted to acknowledge it. In stark contrast to his predecessor, the insufferable demagogue Rudy Giuliani, Bloomberg has voiced support for Eric Holder’s decision to try KSM and other 9/11 defendants in a civilian court here in New York. One now sees why President Obama endorsed Bill Thompson only halfheartedly and campaigned for him not at all: because on the national stage, Bloomberg is not an Obama foe. (In some respects, Bloomberg is more liberal. In a yes-or-no lightning round during the first mayoral debate, he was asked whether Obama has done enough on gay rights. “No,” Bloomberg said.)
Political odds, ends
I can think of few things more nauseating than Giuliani, Dick Cheney and others lecturing the country on the proper way to deal with terrorists. One chief argument is that we shouldn’t grant these suspects the full constitutional protections enjoyed by U.S. citizens. But these same people support the denial of such protections even to defendants who are citizens, such as Jose Padilla. They also believe the Geneva Conventions are “quaint” and don’t apply to anyone detained in the war on terror, citizen or not. So Giuliani, Cheney, the especially ludicrous Sarah Palin — they’ve all made plain their contempt for due process and the rule of law across the board. Thankfully, they have no authority on these matters at present and we must work to keep it that way.
Furthermore, the Obama haters — these supposed authorities on national security — are the same people who plunged the U.S. into an occupation of Iraq with no planning whatsoever; who awarded key posts in Iraq to the inept sons and daughters of GOP cronies; who frittered away billions upon billions of dollars not just on the cost of the war itself, but on outrageous boondoggles, hopelessly mired in corruption. (And now we’re warned in apocalyptic terms about health care reform adding to the deficit.)
I can scarcely keep up with the avalanche of stupidity surrounding the impending trial, the Sarah Palin “book” tour, the ongoing campaign to derail health care reform and etc. But just as Palin is a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the right, I have to point once again to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez as a symbol of everything wrong with the left.
Chavez has now taken the step of praising the hostage-taker and murderer Carlos the Jackal. He once again cites Robert Mugabe and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as “brothers” and even has positive words to say about Idi Amin.