UPDATE: As the subject of this post has dropped by for a visit, I am going to clarify: I am not defending, and did not defend, the deliberate targeting of minority-dominated neighbourhoods for frisking, drug swoops etc. Nowhere did I even mention those in this post. I was responding to Sirota’s criticisms of the increase in the number of arrests and the money and time Bloomberg is choosing to spend on it. I think that’s pretty obvious when you read the actual paragraph in question. But then, I’m not chronically intellectually dishonest.
….is the rules must be constantly changed to deny all but David Sirota membership.
A theme you will often see with Salon’s twin beacons of supreme self-righteousness, David Sirota and Glenn Greenwald, is that they are ‘courageous’ for holding the opinions they do, for Evil Obama Cultists or Imaginary Evil Authority Figures are, as we speak, threatening to throw them in the gulag for daring to speak out against what most people see as sanity and common sense, but they see as the creeping onslaught of fascism.
Now Sirota goes even further in this narcissistic hogwash in his latest screed about a NYT’s reporter’s tweet on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy. This tweet, in fact (which I will agree is too deferential in tone for my liking too, but otherwise has valid points):
So what? Bloomberg shouldn’t be given any kudos at all for championing gay rights. He’s mayor of fucking New York City! The only place safer to support gay rights is a gay bar…in San Francisco! So yeah, big deal Bloomie. Or so says David Sirota, for whom being right (ie being of the same mind as Sirota) is now no longer enough to get you that Scooby Snack. No, now you have to be right while locked inside an asylum filled with lunatics, screeching howler monkeys and rabid dogs infested with fleas carrying the Black Death.
As mayor of the Big Apple, Bloomberg is a national political figure — and his positions supporting dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, backing gay marriage and defending the right of an Islamic center to be built in Lower Manhattan are certainly of national interest, laudable and pro-freedom. However, two of those three positions (Ai Weiwei and gay marriage) are hardly politically courageous in a socially progressive city like New York. More important, citing these three isolated examples to declare Bloomberg “The Freedom Mayor” who represents a “full-throated defense of liberty” is a propagandistic whitewashing of his larger anti-freedom record — and such hagiographic sloganeering is particularly disturbing coming from an allegedly objective meme-shaper like Barbaro.
Being a pragmatist, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Given that New York State’s last attempt to legalise gay marriage failed in the Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo says the votes still aren’t there, the support of an independent, powerful political figure and former Republican could prove extremely useful. But there I go again, bringing common sense into the argument. And standing up for the 1st Amendment, the cornerstone of freedom in the Constitution,during the ridiculous fuss over the Park51 project, is what I’d call a ‘full throated defence’ of liberty.
While there are many valid criticisms to be levelled at Bloomberg, the other criticisms Sirota offers are, to put it mildly, laughable. His chief concerns are the NYPD arresting people for possession of pot and ‘Big Brother’ surveillance cameras. Whether you think pot should be criminalised or not, the fact remains it is currently against the law and will be until the law is changed. What exactly are the police supposed to do – not enforce a law because some people don’t agree with it? You know, believing pot leads to people taking harder drugs is a perfectly legitimate position to have, and Bloomberg has every right to get tough on it if that is his position.
As for this ‘ZOMG Big Brother is watching us!!11eleventy!!” reaction to surveillance cameras, what these hysterical morons seem to forget is that the the cameras are recording to tape so they can be closely examined later in the event of a crime occurring, and people in the observation rooms are on the lookout for antisocial and criminal behaviour. They are not interested in watching you, Mr Par. A. Noid, adjust your tin foil hat every 5 seconds.