Friday, June 22, 2007
Election 2008: Rudolph W. Giuliani
by CLINTON FEIN
There IS nothing “fair and balanced” to say about a man as unfair and imbalanced as former mayor of New York and Republican Presidential frontrunner, Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Every supposed strength is nothing more than a sordid display of hypocrisy at its ugliest.
His supporters claim he “cleaned up” Manhattan. His tough-on-crime cleansing was achieved by a police force with enforcement methods to make any decent human being cringe.
First, he turned 42nd Street into Disneyland. So instead of New Yorkers being able to enjoy their First Amendment protected pornography or pick up hookers in a contained vicinity, Giuliani thought it would be better – perhaps more Catholic – to bring them into Gracie Mansion instead, and screw them with his wife and his children in the house. This, of course, was after he had already divorced his second cousin.
Then there was Rudy, the Puritan and art critic.
"If you want to desecrate religion in a disgusting way, if you want to promote racism, if you want to promote anti-Semitism, if you want to promote anti-Catholicism, if you want to promote anti-Islamism, then do it on your own money". Thus spake Giuliani on February 17, 2001 in response to photographer Renée Cox's "Yo Mama's Last Supper," in an attack on the Brooklyn Museum of Art's exhibition "Committed to the Image."
Much like a similar tirade in 1999 with a controversial and unsuccessful attempt to shut down the "Sensation" exhibition over a painting of Virgin Mary decorated with elephant dung, as common an art medium in Africa as paint is in the United States. By slashing $497,000 in city funding to the Brooklyn Museum and going to court to evict it from the city-owned building. "Why you would want to have an exhibit of the Virgin Mary, have feces thrown at it, have body parts of women displayed all over it, I don't know,” he lisped. Never mind that elephant dung is a popular art medium used in Africa, intended as a material, not an insult, and never mind that Virgin Mary was, well, a woman.
And who can forget his relationship to the disgraced Bernard Kerik? Despite his lack of education, Giuliani’s former driver and bodyguard was appointed the 40th New York City Police Commissioner by Giuliani on August 21, 2000, raising many an eyebrow, a position he remained serving in during the attacks of September 11th 2001.
In a recent debate, Giuliani chillingly stated what his position on torture would be, if President. He has the history to back him up. The Abner Louima case revealed the torture and brutality that permeated his police department, long before anyone had heard of Abu Ghraib.
In the early hours of August 9th, 1997, members of Rudy Giuliani’s police force arrested Abner Louima following a skirmish at a nightclub, and beat the shit out of him along the drive to the 70th Precinct, where he was violently tortured. According to a Vanity Fair journalist, Marie Brenner, Louima described his encounter this way: "They threw me to the ground and start beating me up. And then one of them–there was two of them–one pick up something on the floor. I don’t know what it is, but it looked like a plunger to me, and just, you know, push it on my ass, and then it came out with shit and blood.... They put it in my mouth. He said that’s my shit… I tried screaming. I screamed.... When they take me to the bathroom, there were other officers around–they don’t do anything. They don’t try to rescue me.... [Volpe] said lots of things. He said, ‘Nigger, have to respect us. This is Giuliani, this is not Dinkins time.’"
Giuliani indeed. An attorney for one of the four accused officers, Justin Volpe, attempted to blame Louima’s internal injuries on gay sex, bolstered by Fox News’ Sean Hannity, but which Volpe himself ultimately refuted. "In the presence of another officer, I sodomized Abner Louima with a stick," Volpe told the judge. "I threatened to kill him if he told anybody."
A 1998 Amnesty International report cited the Abner Louima case among others of reported police brutality and torture.
Then September 11th happened.
Within four days Rudy Giuliani had transformed from a beleaguered mayor battling prostate cancer and the relentless focus on his high profile and rather ugly divorce at the twilight of his final term as mayor to an international superstar.
While our timid representatives signed legislation that diminished our voices and gave the President carte blanche to endanger ourselves and our children every waking moment ever more, we were too busy gaping at whitewashed history revisions, painting over Rudy Giuliani’s censorship tirades and petty, messy divorce shenanigans with colorful and glowing hues of heroism.
Although I warned at the time that September 11th did not change who Giuliani was, it took years before his ineptitude on and leading to September 11th came to light.
Aside from positioning first responders in the actual tower that collapsed, and doing nothing in his tenure to ensure that communications strategies between the Police and Fire Departments were up to snuff, his former chauffeur who ingratiated himself to Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik, proved to be a major embarrassment, following in the steps of his boss with affairs (including disgraced publisher Judith Regan), a fuck pad within spitting distance of ground zero, and unsavory relationships with inappropriate people.
Later, following a business partnership with Giuliani, resulting in Kerik's nomination as Secretary of Homeland Security (at the urging of Giuliani), along with a fast-track, short-cut vetting process by the White House (and surprise, Alberto Gonzales), his indiscretions and lack of experience were revealed, derailing his nomination. To this day, Kerik mourns the loss of his friendship with Giuliani, who ditched his friend in the name of political expedience.
His flip-flopping on abortion, gays in the military (despite his cross-dressing propensity and gay friends) and other such hypocrisies, Giuliani continues to use the blood spilled on September 11th as a stepping stone for his political ambitions.
His fear-mongering, torture-friendly, censorship-happy, expedience-driven candidacy reveals that he’s probably the only man who, if elected to office, would be a worse President and unleash more damage domestically and internationally, than President Bush himself.
If you despise America, and want to see her lose the remaining vestiges of moral authority and altruistic credibility, vote Giuliani.
Not even al Qaeda could inflict more damage.
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