Gangster Giuliani: The GOP's Worst
By Margaret Kimberley
Black Agenda Report
Thursday 08 November 2007
If a potential Giuliani presidency in any way resembles a Giuliani mayoralty, then the country would be in for a truly awful time.
It is a supreme irony that Rudolph Giuliani became mayor of New York City because his opponent and predecessor, David Dinkins, is a black man. The myth of the always liberal white New Yorker was proven to be just that on election day in 1993. White voters deserted Dinkins in droves and elected a Republican mayor for the first time in 30 years.
Giuliani, a former prosecutor, took office and immediately began treating New Yorkers, particularly black New Yorkers, like criminals. He specialized in pleasing white people by beating up black people. Under his leadership the police were unleashed and given the right to arrest for petty offenses and even to kill when they felt the urge to do so.
When Haitian immigrant Patrick Dorismond was killed by a police officer, Giuliani illegally released his juvenile justice records to police. Adding insult to injury, he smeared the dead man by stating that he was "no altar boy." The Dorismond case was one of the tipping points that made even some white New Yorkers long for the day that Giuliani would be their former mayor.
His public actions involving his private life also took the bloom off of the Rudy rose. In 2000 Giuliani informed his wife he was leaving her for another woman. He brought her that news via press conference. New York sophistication should not be confused with moral laissez faire. The tacky behavior was never forgotten.
On September 11, 2001 New Yorkers were giving collective thanks because term limits legislation insured that Rudy would soon be gone for good. Only a small number of dead enders were still in his thrall. But the terror attacks on the twin towers put him back in the spotlight. He was dubbed "America's mayor," and made a Knight of British Empire. He then made a bundle by forming Giuliani Partners and making up to $200,000 for a single speaking engagement, marketing himself as a terrorism expert because he managed to look calm for a few days.
Now Giuliani is running for the Republican presidential nomination and he is the very worst of a bad lot. He unabashedly supports the occupation of Iraq and a military attack on Iran. He doesn't think simulating drowning via water boarding is torture and agrees wholeheartedly with the Bush destruction of civil liberties.
If a potential Giuliani presidency in any way resembles a Giuliani mayoralty then the country would be in for a truly awful time. As mayor Giuliani promoted the worst, least competent people to high positions in New York City government. Bernard Kerik, an undercover cop, had the shrewdness to put himself in the right place at the right time when he volunteered to drive Rudy around during his mayoral campaign. Despite the lack of any other credential, his rise to power was swift. First he was made a Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Corrections, then Commissioner.
Kerik was nothing but a crook. Fully aware that Kerik was under investigation for taking money from a construction company with organized crime connections, Giuliani nonetheless appointed him Police Commissioner. While others insist that they informed Giuliani of Kerik's mob ties, Rudy claims not to remember. He certainly didn't remember when he recommended his pal for a cabinet level position as Secretary of Homeland Security. When Kerik imploded under an avalanche of bad publicity Rudy just shrugged his shoulders, confident that he would continue to get away with doing whatever he wants.
Giuliani has credibility with most Republican voters because of his warmongering and inclination to inflict physical pain on dark people. He is still in trouble with conservative Christians for his pro-choice position as mayor of New York City and for publicly treating his wife and children like dirt. He plans to make up for that by being more overtly racist.
He will remind white Republicans of the good old days when he cut the welfare roles. He did so by breaking the law and denying benefits to eligible people, but no matter. He knows his audience. When they hear the word welfare they will salivate like Pavlovian dogs and decide that Rudy is their man.
There is every reason to believe that Giuliani will act out his every sick fantasy if he were to occupy the oval office. There is no reason to believe that Democrats would finally behave like an opposition. A Giuliani presidency is a nightmarish scenario. We will all be Patrick Dorismond, assumed to be guilty of something and therefore worthy of punishment. It is hard to imagine a worse president than George W. Bush, but Rudolph Giuliani fits that description perfectly.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley' maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com.
Social Conservatives Fracture as Robertson Endorses Giuliani
By Steven Thomma and Matt Stearns
Wednesday 07 November 2007
Washington - Televangelist Pat Robertson endorsed Rudy Giuliani's campaign Wednesday, a surprising embrace that underscored the divisions among Christian conservatives about the field of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.
By itself, Robertson's support of the former New York mayor was an unusual partnership between a Christian conservative who once blamed the 2001 terrorist attacks on American sins such as abortion and a social liberal who supports abortion rights and gay rights.
But coming the same day that another prominent Christian conservative — Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas — endorsed Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and two days after influential conservative Paul Weyrich endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, it was a fresh sign that one of the most influential blocs of voters in the party remains splintered.
That's good news for Giuliani, and far more important than the largely symbolic value of support from a TV preacher. It suggests that Christian conservatives aren't ready to coalesce behind any single candidate, thus they're unable to stop Giuliani from winning the nomination. Yet the competing endorsements could raise the profile of social issues such as abortion at the very time that Giuliani is working to keep primary voters focused instead on the threat of terrorism and the promise of tax cuts.
"In the short term, it helps Giuliani if he can get his small share of the Christian conservative vote while the rest are splintered among all the other candidates," said Greg Mueller, a Republican strategist with close ties to social conservatives.
"But all these endorsements also are going to elevate the cultural issues more, which will energize the base of the party. It may put a target on his back for rivals to raise the cultural issues in coming debates."
Like many Christian conservatives who support Giuliani, Robertson suggested Wednesday that other issues such as fighting terrorism, cutting taxes or reducing crime trump social issues.
"Rudy Giuliani took a city that was in decline and considered ungovernable and reduced its violent crime, revitalized its core, dramatically lowered its taxes, cut through a welter of bureaucratic regulations, and did so in the spirit of bipartisanship, which is so urgently needed in Washington today," Robertson said.
Yet Giuliani's support of abortion rights and gay rights — not to mention his three marriages — make him suspect to many social conservatives.
Other candidates embrace the social conservative agenda but haven't managed to unify support. Why the split? Largely because each of the top-tier candidates has at least some flaw in the eyes of conservatives.
Brownback, who ran briefly for the nomination himself, said Wednesday that McCain had "a consistent 24-year pro-life record of protecting the rights of the unborn" and called him the only candidate who could "lead our party to victory in 2008 while keeping faith with our most cherished values: life, faith and family."
But McCain once criticized Robertson and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell as intolerant, and many social conservatives describe him as an unreliable ally prone to bucking his own party.
Romney drew the backing Monday of Weyrich, a founder of the Christian conservative movement in the late 1970s. But Romney previously supported abortion rights and championed gay rights in a 1994 Senate campaign.
The Republican candidate who may seem the best fit for social conservatives could be former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister with a long record of support for social conservative causes. Yet Mueller noted that many social conservatives think he can't win.
"Some people have become more process-focused than they are principle-focused," Huckabee said Wednesday in Cedar Falls, Iowa. "It's pretty disheartening to see that it's not necessarily based on people saying, `Gosh, these guys have the right principles.' "
Judging from responses from several self-described Christian conservatives at the Huckabee event, the three endorsements may not be all that valuable.
"That probably takes Pat Robertson down more than it would take Rudy up," Glenda Gehrke, 63, of Evansdale, said of Robertson's endorsement of Giuliani.
As for Weyrich's endorsement of Romney: Nobody in Cedar Falls who was asked knew who Weyrich is.
US Will Ask a Grand Jury to Indict Kerik
By William K. Rashbaum and Russ Buettner
The New York Times
Thursday 08 November 2007
Federal prosecutors will ask a grand jury today to indict Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York police commissioner, on charges that include tax fraud, corruption and conspiracy counts, according to people who have been briefed on the case.
The grand jury, convening in Westchester County, has heard evidence about Mr. Kerik for about a year as part of a broad federal inquiry into a variety of issues, including his acceptance of $165,000 in renovations from a contractor who was seeking a city license.
Prosecutors are also seeking to charge Mr. Kerik, 52, with failing to report as income more than $200,000 in rent that they say was paid on his behalf to use a luxury Upper East Side apartment where he lived with his family around the time he left his city post, the people briefed on the case said.
Investigators have not suggested that Mr. Kerik's benefactor, Steve Witkoff, a commercial real estate developer, was involved in any wrongdoing. If the grand jury approves an indictment, as expected, it will remain sealed until tomorrow, when Mr. Kerik would be arraigned in United States District Court in White Plains, N.Y.
Charges could complicate the presidential campaign of Mr. Kerik's friend, patron and former business partner, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican, whose mentorship was partly responsible for Mr. Kerik's sharp ascent into prominence. Mr. Giuliani declined to comment through a spokeswoman yesterday, but has said he is not worried about the impact such charges might have on his campaign.
While Mr. Giuliani served as mayor, he appointed Mr. Kerik, who was a New York City detective, to a series of positions within his administration, finally naming him police commissioner in 2000. He later recommended him to President Bush, who nominated him in 2004 to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. But Mr. Kerik's nomination quickly collapsed when he said he had not paid taxes on a nanny who cared for his children.
In the following days, Mr. Kerik was the subject of a stream of accusations about personal, ethical and financial improprieties.
Last year, he pleaded guilty in state court to misdemeanor charges, admitting he failed to report accepting renovations to his Bronx apartment that had been paid for by Interstate Industrial Corporation. The company, which was suspected of having ties to organized crime, was seeking a city license to operate a transfer station when it paid for the work.
Some of the tax and corruption charges expected to be considered today by the federal panel stem from the renovations and Mr. Kerik's relationship with Interstate, including his efforts to lobby for the license on behalf of the company, which had hired his brother and a close friend, the people briefed on the case said.
The company never received the license, and city officials did not learn about the renovations until after Mr. Kerik's nomination for the Homeland Security position collapsed in 2004.
But Mr. Giuliani has acknowledged that New York City's investigations commissioner, Edward J. Kuriansky, told him that he had been briefed about some of Mr. Kerik's involvement with Interstate before the police appointment. And Mr. Kuriansky's diaries and later recollection support the commissioner's account.
Mr. Giuliani has said that neither he nor any of his aides can recall being briefed about the Interstate matter, and that, as a bottom line, Mr. Kuriansky had cleared Mr. Kerik's appointment.
Three times in the last two weeks, Mr. Kerik's lawyer, Kenneth M. Breen of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker L.L.P., has met with prosecutors from the office of Michael Garcia, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. But Mr. Breen said that the office had not notified him that charges were imminent. "If they decide to bring charges, we will fight them, and he will win," he said.
The charges are expected to include a count that accuses Mr. Kerik of having lied on his application to serve as Homeland Security chief, a post for which Mr. Bush nominated him after his service in training Iraqi police, those briefed on the case said.
Mr. Kerik lived in his apartment in the Bronx during a period in which he served as the city's correction commissioner, a position he left in August 2000 when Mr. Giuliani elevated him to the police post against the advice of many in his cabinet. Crime declined during Mr. Kerik's tenure, and he was widely credited with helping to improve police relations with many black leaders.
Mr. Kerik lived in the luxury Manhattan building around the time he left the police post for the private sector at the end of 2001. The monthly rent for the apartment, at the Lucerne, at 350 East 79th Street, was more than $9,000 and was paid for by Mr. Witkoff, a friend, said a person with knowledge of the payments.
In recent months, a steady stream of witnesses have provided evidence to prosecutors and to the grand jury. Those witnesses included Mr. Witkoff, as well as Mr. Kerik's accountant, former subordinates at the Correction and Police Departments and former city officials to whom Mr. Kerik is alleged to have spoken on Interstate's behalf, those briefed on the case have said.
Prosecutors have interviewed Raymond V. Casey, Mr. Giuliani's cousin, a former city official who directed the inquiry in the late 1990s into whether Interstate was deserving of a city license, given the accusations that it had mob ties. The company has consistently denied the accusations and is not expected to be named in the indictment.
Mr. Kerik has acknowledged that in July 1999 he had dinner with Mr. Casey at a Lower Manhattan restaurant and spoke about the company. In the following weeks, Mr. Kerik phoned Dyana Lee, another assistant city commissioner involved in the inquiry, and said that as far as he knew, the company was free from organized crime ties, according to people briefed on her account.
Ms. Lee's and Mr. Casey's accounts are expected to figure in prosecutors' assertion that Mr. Kerik engaged in "theft of honest services," a charge that essentially accuses a government employee of defrauding the public by depriving it of his honest service as an official.
People briefed on the case said it would not mention discussions by the former Westchester County district attorney, Jeanine F. Pirro, about having Mr. Kerik eavesdrop on her husband, Albert, whom she suspected of having an affair, in 2005. The plan was never carried out, and Ms. Pirro has said the discussions did not constitute a crime.