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AMERICA’S MARTINET: The DANGEROUS Candidacy of Rudy Giuliani
The mass media sometimes calls him “America’s mayor.” Critics label him a dangerous fascist. Whether he’s the alleged hero who “took charge” on September 11, 2001, or the frightening face of a new American Reich, it appears Rudolph Giuliani will carry George W. Bush’s torch into the 2008 presidential election.
When Giuliani emerged from the toxic dust of the World Trade Center the national media caught a quick case of amnesia, preferring the iconic image of a “hero” over reality. They quickly forgot Giuliani’s dismal tenure in mayoral office, his life-costing failures to address the threat of terrorism, and his sorry performance on the morning of September 11, 2001.
Before picking up the “hero” moniker, Giuliani was commonly referred to in the city he governed as a despotic fascist and a mean-spirited thug. These accusations didn’t just come from civil libertarians either. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch likened Giuliani to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. According to Koch, Giuliani “uses the levers of power to punish any critic.” Koch went on to explain, “He doesn’t have that right – that’s why the First Amendment is so important.” Yes, and by the end of 2002 the courts had found Giuliani in violation of that constitutional pillar of American freedom twenty-seven times!
More than 35 successful lawsuits were brought against Giuliani and his administration for blocking free speech. In his book Speaking Freely, First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams said Giuliani had an “insistence on doing the one thing that the First Amendment most clearly forbids:
using the power of government to restrict or punish speech critical of government itself.”
Giuliani’s disdain for freedom of speech is best exemplified by the case of Robert Lederman, an artist that drew caricatures of Giuliani as a dictator and depicted his policies as transforming New York into a police state. Lederman was ARRESTED FORTY-ONE TIMES during Giuliani’s reign, not by street cops but police brass under Giuliani’s orders, for displaying his art at political demonstrations and on the streets of New York. All were false arrests, as Lederman was never convicted of a crime.
In a similar fashion and again in brazen violation of the First Amendment, Giuliani ordered paid advertisements for New York Magazine removed from public buses because the ads touted the magazine as “possibly the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn’t taken credit for.” Giuliani’s response to criticism thus often proves it was highly justified.
According to the New York Times, the Daily News, and the New York Post, now New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer went on record in October 1998, saying, “the current Mayor thinks he’s a dictator, and does not have sufficient respect not only for other branches of government, but also for the citizenry and its opportunities to speak out and be heard.”
Spitzer’s statements, like Lederman’s false arrests, stemmed from Giuliani’s totalitarian “zero tolerance” policies, which he claimed would improve the “quality of life” in New York by punishing trivial violations such as jaywalking, drinking in public, marijuana possession, and panhandling, and even non-violations such as Lederman’s persistent expressions of free speech. Under this policy, New Yorkers were handcuffed and dragged off to jail for peacefully drinking beer on their front stoops – the New York City equivalent of hanging out on the porch. Marijuana possession arrests increased by well over 4,000 percent. Arrests were even made for such things as riding a bike without a bell on it and sitting on milk crates on the sidewalk.
Giuliani’s courtship of rogue police officers and seduction of the NYPD to become his personal Gestapo began in September 1992, when he addressed an angry rally of cops protesting then-mayor Dinkins’s proposal for a civilian board to review police misconduct.
It was a rowdy, often threatening, crowd. Hundreds of white off-duty cops drank heavily (a violation for which, under Giuliani, many citizens would later be arrested), and a few waved signs like “Dump the Washroom Attendant,” a racist reference to mayor Dinkins. Twice, Giuliani called the Dinkins proposal “bullshit.” The crowd cheered, and Giuliani was jubilant. “Rudy was out there inciting white cops to riot,” Mr. Dinkins stated.
As mayor, Giuliani’s racial and ethnic biases and favoritisms were blatant. For over a century the public use of firecrackers by the Asian-American community for their New Years celebration, a religious and cultural tradition, had been allowed. In 1997 though Giuliani lined Chinatown streets with hundreds of police to suppress this, and even refused to allow a permit for a professionally supervised display. The Christian equivalent of this would be banning Christmas trees and decorations because they occasionally start fires. Giuliani never relented on this. On the Jewish festival of Purim however, when fireworks are used in the streets of Jewish neighborhoods, the police continued to look the other way! They also ignored bonfires set in Jewish neighborhood streets to destroy leavened bread before Passover. Can you imagine the police response to this in any poor, Black, Hispanic, or Asian-American community? Giuliani’s lasting legacy is that in New York fireworks are!
OK on Purim, but celebrate the 4th of July with them and you can get busted. So much for “Independence” Day.
Eventually almost 70,000 citizens sued the city for such police abuses as strip-searching suspected jaywalkers. In 1999 James Savage, president of the New York City police union, referred to Giuliani’s zero tolerance policy as “a blueprint for a police state and tyranny.” Under the guise of fighting crime, Giuliani had thus transformed the NYPD into his own private Gestapo, going as far as assigning two NYPD detectives, at taxpayer expense, as round-the-clock bodyguards for his MISTRESS. This after his closing down all the strip clubs on “moral grounds!”
Giuliani shored up control of the police department by appointing crony Howard Safir as commissioner. Safir then made the department’s Street Crimes Unit into what New York journalist Nat Hentoff described as a “rogue operation” that made “Dirty Harry look like Mahatma Gandhi.” Fashion-wise, the unit had a resemblance to Guatemala’s notorious military death squads, wearing “We Own the Night” t-shirts, and shirts citing Ernest Hemingway’s “There is no hunting like the hunting of man” quote – quite a variation from standard issue uniforms!
This is the police unit that became notorious for shooting innocent African immigrant Amadou Diallo FORTY TIMES as he reached for his wallet after being ordered to show identification. When New Yorkers took to the streets to protest the unjustified killing, Giuliani told the press that people were protesting due to “their own personal inadequacies.”
Hatian immigrant Abner Louima, arrested in 1997 on a minor charge, was brutally beaten on the trip to Brooklyn’s 70th precinct. There officers took him into a bathroom where convicted rogue cop Justin Volpe sadistically shoved a plunger handle up Louima’s rectum, then forced the same object into his mouth, breaking his teeth. Louima was hospitalized with serious injuries, and stated that during his torture one of these sadists said to him “This is Giuliani time!”
When Safir left, Giuliani appointed Bernard Kerik to take his place. This is the man Giuliani also recommended to head up Homeland Security. Kerik later pleaded guilty to accepting gifts and loans from businesses with alleged organized crime ties while he served as police commissioner.
Some credit Giuliani’s Draconian excesses with the drop in crime during his tenure, but he just happened to be in the right place at the right time to take credit for this. During this period crime dropped similarly nationwide, mostly the result of changing demographics and better policing methods.
Eventually the Giuliani-sanctioned anything-goes extremism infected other units in the police department. When plainclothes cops asked a black man on the street to sell them marijuana, the man, Patrick Dorismond, took offense to being called a drug dealer and got into a scuffle with the unidentified officers, who then SHOT HIM DEAD. Giuliani issued a knee-jerk defense of the killer cops, telling the press that Dorismond was “no altar boy.” Salon.com pointed out that in fact he WAS an altar boy! Desperate to justify the killing, Giuliani ordered the ILLEGAL release of Dorismond’s sealed juvenile record – for disorderly conduct! It seems that under Giuliani, this justifies the death penalty. Giuliani’s contribution to Dorismond’s funeral was a squadron of police in full riot gear, inciting violence that would not have occurred without their unnecessary and disrespectful presence.
Former schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, a one-time pal of Giuliani, stated: “There’s something very deeply pathological about Rudy’s humanity – He was barren, completely emotionally barren, on the issue of race.” Giuliani’s vile racism has even been acknowledged by his successor, Mayor Bloomberg: “You forget that every single decision [in the Giuliani administration], everybody, every story, everything was always couched in terms of race” – quoted in the November 4, 2003 Daily News from Vanity Fair magazine.
By the time his ship came in on September 11, 2001, Giuliani’s approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, had hit a Bush-like 37 percent. Hizzoner got downright weird, proposing a Taliban-style “decency panel,” operated out of his office, that would have the power to determine what would be considered “art” in New York City. This came after the debacle of Giuliani’s failed attempt to cut public funding for the Brooklyn Museum because he considered art on exhibit there to be offensive. He also began having nightclubs lacking a cabaret license raided by the police for allowing patrons to dance. And early in 2001 he ordered a city-wide ban on pet ferrets, claiming there was something “deranged” about opponents of the ban, and that “excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.”
In desperation to recover his plummeting popularity, Giuliani seized upon any and every opportunity to appear the “hero.” Despite demanding a crackdown on speeding, his car and entourage were seen and reported in the press as greatly exceeding the speed limit in racing to locations of newsworthy events so he could appear there in front of the media cameras.
Giuliani’s perhaps most criminally negligent if not malevolent pretense to heroism came with his West Nile Virus hoax. This usually mild, mosquito-borne disease is not contagious person to person and is far less dangerous than common influenza, but Giuliani had the media play it up as an impending disaster, and came on like a knight in shining armor with a solution. His solution was far worse than the disease, and no doubt has caused and will cause many illnesses and deaths, as did his post-9/11 assurances that the Ground Zero air was safe to breathe. He had the entire city repeatedly sprayed from the air with Malathion, a highly toxic insecticide, and completely disregarded the manufacturer’s advised safety precautions in doing so. Note that malicious intent is far harder to prove in such environmental poisoning cases than when the police are ordered to falsely arrest someone, or tacitly encouraged to brutally beat suspects or shoot them to death.
Giuliani himself was actually responsible for the alleged West Nile Virus threat. He had disbanded New York’s Pest Control Unit, whose job was to find and eradicate pools of stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. Thus he set the stage for his “heroic” response to this “crisis.”
Regarding the Ground Zero air and the many now dead or dying therefrom, former EPA Secretary Christine Whitman has stated that she urged Ground Zero workers to wear respirators, but that Giuliani blocked her efforts, and also that the Giuliani administration appeared to be more concerned with its image than the safety and speedy response of EPA employees in the wake of the subsequent anthrax scare.
Jerome Hauer was the city’s emergency management director from 1996 to 2000, and is recognized as a leading expert on biological and chemical terrorism. “Rudy would make a terrible president and that is why I am speaking now,” Mr Hauer told London’s The Sunday Telegraph. “He’s a control freak who micro-manages decisions, he has a confrontational character trait and picks fights just to score points. He’s the last thing this country needs as president.” Mr Hauer also accused Mr Giuliani of failing to sort out turf battles between the city’s police and fire departments, and of appointing inexperienced cronies to key positions.
Pet ferrets weren’t the only ones to get the boot in Giuliani’s New York. Hizzoner boasted of moving people from welfare to workfare, where thousands of people earned less than two dollars per hour replacing an equivalent number of parks department employees whose positions were downsized. During this period, 13,000 welfare-dependent City University students were FORCED TO LEAVE COLLEGE and enter the menial workfare force, where less than six percent of participants transition to real employment paying minimum wage or more. In this we see Giuliani’s cruel rewarding of riches and punishing poverty, as if wealth and poverty were not inherently rewarding and punishing conditions.
Mega-real estate developer Donald Trump described Giuliani as “maybe the best [mayor] ever,” obviously meaning the most profitable for him. However, Ralph Nader called him “the oligarch’s mayor.” Giuliani took credit for a high-end real estate boom while presiding over double-digit rises in homelessness, cutting public spending on affordable housing by nearly half and housing for the homeless by nearly three quarters.
Today, “America’s mayor” lives and breathes a 9/11 mantra. Forget the pathetic, cruel, even sadistic details of his tenure in Gracie Mansion; he is now portrayed as an iconic American hero
– the “leader” we needed when George W. Bush was otherwise occupied on September 11, 2001.
But was Giuliani really a hero on that infamous day of horror?
Just like Bush, Giuliani’s failing political career was rescued by the terrorists that attacked New York and Washington on 9/11. Some believe these terrorists had help from within the US government, and even that some within the government itself were the terrorists. To find criminals, one must consider who most benefited from the crime.
It is strange if not truly sinister that Giuliani stated to Peter Jennings in an interview that on 9/11 he had prior knowledge of the World Trade Center collapses, but subsequently he denied and continues to deny that he said this. Here Giuliani is caught in a direct lie – you can hear it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hNmf76GUCw More documentation can be found at: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/wtc_giuliani.html
On 9/11 New York was left without an emergency command center because Giuliani, against the advice of both the police and fire departments, decided to locate the center conveniently near City Hall in World Trade Center building 7, along with tanks containing tens of thousands of gallons of fuel, in direct violation of New York City fire laws. This was despite a 1993 bombing of the WTC, proving it to be the number one terrorism target. It was this decision that put him on the street on 9/11 instead of inside a command center coordinating operations. Ironically, this decision also put him in front of hundreds of press cameras, sparking his image transformation into a “hero.”
While our “hero” was posing for the cameras, however, there was no communication possible between the police department and the fire department, whose REAL heroes were rushing to their deaths inside the towers. And there was likewise no communication between the police officers who identified an open stairway for escape from above the fire zone and the 911 phone operators who were telling soon-to-be-dead office workers to stay put and wait for the firefighters. Giuliani had been aware of the inadequacy of the emergency services’ communications equipment for many years, but did absolutely nothing about it. This criminal negligence also doomed hundreds of firefighters and police that were unable to hear the orders to evacuate the north tower.
Whatever possibility existed for communication between the police and fire departments, whose radios operated on different frequencies, evaporated when Giuliani visited a makeshift fire/police command center that had formed in his absence. There he ORDERED THE POLICE BRASS TO LEAVE and accompany him uptown. This “heroic leadership” effectively put the fire department and police department brass in different physical locations with no communication possible between them.
Present Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stated that he doesn’t have any idea who was in charge on 9/11 because Bernie Kerik and all the top chiefs in the police department basically acted as bodyguards to Giuliani and no one was running the shop.
A month after the September 11 attacks, firefighters took to the streets to protest Giuliani’s decision to limit the number of uniformed firefighters and police officers sifting through the rubble for remains, and the “scoop and dump” haste of the cleanup. They accused the administration of rushing the cleanup at the cost of trashing the remains of victims. [And, it is pointed out by 9/11 conspiracy theorists, to dispose of any incriminating evidence as quickly as possible. The steel, some claim bearing evidence of demolition explosives, was shipped to China and quickly melted down.] At the firefighters’ demonstration Giuliani, in signature style, ordered Peter Gorman, head of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, and Kevin Gallagher, head of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, to be ARRESTED at the protest site! A spokesperson for Gallagher told the media “The mayor fails to realize that New York City is not a dictatorship.” Gorman went a step further, joining h!
ordes of New Yorkers calling the mayor a “fascist” – which brings us back to the fascistic conduct issue that dogged Giuliani throughout his mayoral tenure.
Giuliani often answers the charge by accusing his detractors of ethnic bias – as if “fascist” were somehow an ethnic slur against Italian-Americans. His charge itself, however, reeks of anti-Italian-American ethnic bias, ignoring the role New York’s Italian-American community has played in local politics – giving the city, for example, its most revered mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia. The fascist charges do not stem from Giuliani’s ethnicity, they stem from his own actions and statements, such as:
” – FREEDOM IS NOT A CONCEPT IN WHICH PEOPLE CAN DO ANYTHING THEY WANT, BE ANYTHING THEY CAN BE. FREEDOM IS ABOUT AUTHORITY. FREEDOM IS ABOUT THE WILLINGNESS OF EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING TO CEDE TO LAWFUL AUTHORITY A GREAT DEAL OF DISCRETION ABOUT WHAT YOU DO AND HOW YOU DO IT.”
– Mayor Giuliani, quoted in the New York Times, March 17, 1994.
Though sworn to uphold our Constitution, by the end of 2002 the courts had found Giuliani in violation of the First Amendment TWENTY-SEVEN TIMES. Mayor David Dinkins, his predecessor in office, bravely stated that Giuliani is ” – a bully, mean-spirited, and he rules through fear and intimidation.”
At reason.com/blog, one finds a statement by David Weigel regarding Giuliani:
“This is the cornerstone of his philosophy: For liberty to thrive, you need to dramatically empower the state and the legal system. Criminals and would-be criminals should have less freedom in order for the rest of us to enjoy our freedoms. This is the framework he’s applied to basically every issue – ”
Who, we must ask, are the “would-be criminals?” Obviously ALL OF US, as at one time or another everyone knowingly or unknowingly commits a violation such as jaywalking, speeding, or drinking in public. So under Giuliani’s rule we ALL have less freedom, and the priveleged “rest of us” are those that rule over us, the “dramatically empowered” state. Does this sound like something out of Mein Kampf?
And you thought that George W. Bush was a dangerous tyrant?
When the lessons of history are ignored, history repeats.
Compare the following to the above Giuliani “Freedom” quote:
“State authority must provide for peace and order, and peace and order in turn must conversely make possible the existence of state authority. Within these two poles all life must now revolve…Ideas of ‘freedom,’ mostly of a misunderstood nature, inject themselves into the state conceptions of these circles.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf.
And an old but relevant news story:
Berlin, Monday, Aug. 20, 1934 — Eighty-nine and nine-tenths percent of the German voters endorsed in yesterday’s plebiscite Chancellor Hitler’s assumption of greater power than has ever been possessed by any other ruler in modern times. Nearly 10 per cent indicated their disapproval. The result was expected.