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Opinion: Columnists

The damning endorsement

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Photo - NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28:  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to members of the media at Seward Park High School, which is doubling as an evacuation center, in preparation for Hurricane Sandy on October 28, 2012 in New York City Sandy, which has already claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean, is predicted to bring heavy winds and floodwaters as the mid-atlantic region prepares for the damage.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to members of the media at Seward Park High School, which is doubling as an evacuation center, in preparation for Hurricane Sandy on October 28, 2012 in New York City Sandy, which has already claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean, is predicted to bring heavy winds and floodwaters as the mid-atlantic region prepares for the damage. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Opinion,Gregory Kane,Columnists

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney must be grinning from ear to ear right about now. America's leading Enemy of Liberty has just endorsed President Obama.

America's leading Enemy of Liberty -- he is, in fact, the Public Enemy No. 1 of Liberty -- is none other than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg has his own website, called Bloomberg View. It might not be God's gift to commentary, but at least Bloomberg doesn't commit the crimes against journalism and the English language that other bloggers routinely commit.

On Nov. 1, Bloomberg used his website to officially endorse Obama. The mayor cited the president's commitment to leading the fight on climate change.

"[O]ver the past four years, Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks," Bloomberg wrote. "His administration has also adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help close the dirtiest coal power plants, which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year."

Bloomberg, a "pro-choice" independent who used to be a Democrat and then switched to the Republican Party, also endorsed Obama because he agrees with the president's positions on abortion and same-sex marriage.

"One [candidate] believes a woman's right to choose should be protected for future generations; one [candidate] does not," Bloomberg wrote. "One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America's march to freedom; one does not," Bloomberg wrote about the two candidates' positions on same-sex marriage.

All those Americans who consider themselves friends of liberty, and not enemies of it, should thank Bloomberg; we now know which candidate to vote for on Tuesday. That would be the candidate who didn't get his endorsement.

Bloomberg, now known for putting effort and resources toward the New York City Marathon even as Staten Islanders froze and starved, is not an enemy of freedom just because of his efforts to tell New Yorkers what they should or shouldn't eat or drink. That's bad enough on its own, but it's kid's stuff.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin said there was "overwhelming evidence" that New York City police had made "thousands of illegal stops."

Scheindlin was referring to the more than 200,000 stop-and-frisk incidents NYPD cops made in the first three months of this year, versus the 183,000 they made during the first three months of 2011.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1968 Terry v. Ohio decision that police can only stop and frisk people if they have reasonable suspicion to believe that the person stopped has committed or is about to commit a crime.

Many of the NYPD stops were, Scheindlin ruled, "suspicionless stops," and "suspicionless stops should never occur."

Being an Enemy of Liberty, Bloomberg feels suspicionless stops are perfectly fine. He defended the illegal stops.

Bloomberg also defended the NYPD's spying on Muslim student groups at colleges and universities far outside the city's jurisdiction. Elected officials who advocate spying on citizens engaged in constitutionally protected activity should make us all nervous.

Recently, a man named Shamiur Rahman made allegations that, if true, hint that the conduct of the NYPD in spying on Muslim mosques and student groups might have been much more than surveillance.

Rahman was a paid informant and says he was urged to bait his fellow Muslims into making inflammatory comments.

That tactic is called "entrapment," which is also illegal. If Rahman did indeed get even one of his fellow Muslims to make an "inflammatory" comment, then he crossed the fine line that separates the informant from the agent provocateur.

The actions of agents provocateur are also illegal. I wouldn't be surprised if, immediately after learning of Bloomberg's endorsement, the president felt the sudden urge to take a shower.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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