Monday, August 16, 2010

Bloomberg Finally Defends Property Rights-But Only for a Mosque

One of the most fascinating aspects of Mike Bloomberg's geshrie for tolerance-a speech that warmed the hearts of everyone over at the far left side of the political spectrum-was the following defense of private property rights: "The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution."

So, for Mike the Mayor-as well as for all of the country's proto-socialists-the issue of the sanctity of private property only emerges when the ownership rights of a mosque become involved. How instructive is that? But our bone to pick is with the mayor-someone for whom the rights of property have never been as sacrosanct as they have suddenly become now with the mosque building issue.

When it comes to the property owners at Willets Point, or the warehouses owned by Nick Sprayregen in West Harlem, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution be damned! What part of, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, " doesn't the mayor get?

And where are the pundits here, to point out that in nine years Bloomberg has sat on his tuchis doing squat about the big hole in the ground where the Towers used to stand? Here's a guy that believes fervently in the right of the state to take your property to build a mall-or to expand a private university-but can't see that the use of  eminent domain to take away the right of Larry Silverstein to obstruct Ground Zero reconstruction is the quintessential public use. As we said earlier this year: "The fact that we still have a hole in the ground while the mayor has had eight years of lockjaw on the matter is to his everlasting shame. That he hesitates to use eminent domain to kick his fellow billionaire out of the site is certainly, as the socialists say, no accident. It's only the little guys who become the targets of government taking-especially when class acts like Mike Bloomberg are running things."

Bloomberg should be ashamed to say anything about the hole in the ground that he has disrespected by his nonfeasance. In fact the entire area, including the space where the mosque and the girlie clubs are located, should have been condemned for the creation of a truly consecrated redevelopment project. But Mike Bloomberg was too busy trying to force little guys Jerry Antonacci and Jake Bono off of their land-and in the process also looking to spend over a billion of tax payer dollars to accomplish this outrage. Check out this damning video.

So, what the mayor's supposedly great speech reveals about him is that, aside from being a private property hypocrite, he really lacks much intellectual depth-and his preening is redolent with passionately held and wrongful conceptions divorced from the reality of the lives of most New Yorkers. Mike Lupica, with whom we normally disagree with on most things, captures what is important about the mosque controversy.

Writing in the NY Daily News this morning, Lupica speaks of honoring the feelings of the 9/11 families: "Her name is Bonnie McEneaney and she is the widow of Eamon McEneaney, who was a husband and father and son and brother and even one of the great college lacrosse players of all time at Cornell. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor and went to work on Sept. 11, 2001, and was another who never came home. So his widow is one you listen to as she speaks in a quiet voice about the proposed plan to build a mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero. You listen to her before you listen to the mayor of New York, or even the President, both of whom try to frame this debate around freedom of religion when it's not."

And the widow speaks from the heart-and to the heart of what the mosque issue is really about: "Nobody disputes the principle of freedom of religion," Bonnie McEneaney was saying yesterday. "Of course Muslims should have the same spiritual rights the rest of us have. The question isn't about that. The question is about sensitivity. To me, this is solely about sensitivity, the feelings of the friends and relatives who lost loved ones on 9/11."

And Lupica really lets the hectoring mayor have it: "Michael Bloomberg tells people where to smoke and where to walk in Times Square, how much fat they can have in their food, bullies anybody who gets in his way. Now anybody who disagrees with him on the building of this mosque is against freedom of religion and the First Amendment. Why? Because Bloomberg stamps his foot and says so, that's why."

Both Bloomberg and the president are rationalists cut from the same cerebral cloth-cut off from the emotions of normal people and the empathy needed to truly understand the wounds that the attack created. Lupica deserves the last word: "That Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf can build his mosque, just not at Park Place, that somehow the honor of the city isn't compromised, or the Constitution, if he doesn't build there. Everything Bloomberg and Barack Obama say about this sounds right. But if the only constituency that matters here - the ones left behind by the victims of Sept. 11 - think they're wrong, they are."