Criticism Giuliani Politics

Stopping Rudy 2012 Before It Starts

[digg-reddit-me]In the Times piece on the White House’s stepping into New York’s state politics by suggesting Governor David Patterson not run for office in 2010, Karl Rove is quoted as saying this move is all about sidelining former Mayor Rudy Giuliani:

The only reason they are doing this in New York is to try to strangle a potential opponent in 2012.

Rove seems to mean this as a criticism, accusing the White House of making crass political calculations which, of course, Rove himself never did. But this makes an opportune point to bring up that the politician being sidelined here is the same one who said:

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.

Yes, this “Mister 9/11” who never met an executive power he didn’t like is now searching for another balcony to take yet another shot at the White House.

This man is truly the one person I truly would be frightened of as president. (Sarah Palin runs a close second.)

[Image by VictoryNH licensed under Creative Commons.]

Election 2008 Giuliani McCain Obama Politics

Giuliani Doesn’t Get It

Rudy Giuliani proves he doesn’t get it in this clip.

Barack Obama is popular because he’s tapping into anti-Americanism?  Or is it because – as most foreign observers have said – because Obama gives people whose hopes for America have been dashed under this president another chance to hope?

Is this the anti-Americanism that Giuliani was talking about:

Patrick Devedjian, the head of President Sarkozy’s center-right political party, called Mr. Obama’s candidacy ‘’a very beautiful image of America, the image of a candidate who transcends race and got to where he is because of merit alone.” And Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, declared: “His candidacy carries an enormous hope for his country and for peace in the world…”

That sense of optimism trickled through to Hong Kong’s financial district. “I feel his image is younger, fresher and more energetic, with no baggage and a shorter history,” said Richard Law, 50, a lawyer…

The enthusiasm was also clear among conservative politicians, such as Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the foreign policy spokesman for the Christian Social Union, the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats.

If Mr. Obama becomes president, “we will reach a new peak of trans-Atlantic romanticism,” he said…

Here’s the clip of Giuliani:

(h/t The Hill.)

Election 2008 Giuliani New York City Obama Politics The Clintons

Hillary running to be president…of 9/11

Ben Smith at the Politico also picked up on one of my observations from my post about last night’s debate:

Hillary… brought up 9/11, more or less unprompted, three times so far in the debate, a level not seen since Rudy Giuliani dropped out in January.

The three examples:

“For Pastor Wright to have given his first sermon after 9/11 and to have blamed the United States for the attack, which happened in my city of New York, would have been just intolerable for me.”


“If I’m not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments, which were deeply hurtful to people in New York and, I would hope, to every American, because they were published on 9/11, and he said that he was just sorry they hadn’t done more.”


“I certainly would not meet with Ahmadinejad, because even again today, he made light of 9/11, and said that he’s not even sure it happened and that people actually died.”

She’s not at the “a noun, a verb, and 9/11” level yet – but then she just started playing this card last night…

Election 2008 Giuliani Obama Politics The Web and Technology

I love reddit, but some source-checking would do wonders.

[digg-reddit-me]The 17th most popular story on reddit at the moment is this hit piece by the Judicial Watch. The Judicial Watch, as some fact-checking reveals, is funded by rather right-wing sources:

Judicial Watch receives funding from mainly conservative sources. In 2002, Judicial Watch received $1.1 million from The Carthage Foundation and a further $400,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation. Both foundations are Managed by Richard Mellon Scaife. The year before the Scaife Foundation gave $1.35 million and Carthage $500,000.

In all, between 1997 and 2002 Judicial Watch received $7,069,500 (unadjusted for inflation) in 19 grants from a handful of foundations. The bulk of this funding came from just three foundations – the Sarah Scaife Foundation, The Carthage Foundation and the John M. Olin Foundation, Inc.

The Judicial Watch was also one of the main groups pushing impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky matter, subpoening Linda Tripp, and starting over 15 lawsuits against President Clinton. They are one arm of the Republican noise machine. And reddit is falling for it.

The list they give of the most corrupt officials fits a bit too easily into the Republican agenda. As Huckabee and Giuliani are the two greatest threats to the Republican coalition of evangelicals and everyone else, they are easy to include. Larry Craig is a gay Republican – who has embarrassed Republicans enormously. Finally, Scooter Libby who has been indicted. It’s an easy list. The list of Democrats though seems to be those conservatives fear most – Hillary, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein, etcetera.

In short, Reddit is currently promoting a right-wing hit piece created by a propaganda organization that was created to promote the Lewinsky affair.  Most important – at least some of the facts included in the piece are wrong.

Defending Obama

I am only defending Obama here, although I am sure most of the other Democrats on the list – Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Conyers, Dianne Feinstain, and even maybe Hillary Clinton – are being unfairly targeted, because I am already aware of the bogus-ness of the charges against Obama. Or at least the flimsiness. And of course – I admit – I’m biased in favor of Obama. It took me a long time to come to see Obama as the best candidate; and although I am still open to another candidate, I’ve examined each of them pretty closely, and his views and temperament seem closest to my own.

Obama has certainly faced criticism for his ties to Antoin “Tony” Rezko who was a big supporter of Obama’s career from the beginning. The senator explained the appearance of impropriety that the reddit submitter referred to thus:

“It was simply not good enough that I paid above the appraised value for the strip of land that he sold me. It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor,” the senator said.

To me, it seems clear that Rezko was trying to do Obama a favor – probably expecting something in return at some point; and Obama should have realized this and rejected the offer. But aside from this lapse in judgment, it does not demonstrate corruption. And as the sale was a transparent process that was revealed as soon as it had occurred, it does not seem intentional on Obama’s part.

The charge relating to the $5,000 worth of stock really has no depth to it.

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign Wednesday defended two investments he made right after his election to the Senate, saying he was unaware of the stock purchases at the time and did nothing to directly aid either company in its business before the federal government…

Obama purchased $5,000 in shares for AVI, which was developing a drug to treat avian flu. Two weeks after buying the stock, Obama pushed for more federal funding to fight the disease, but company officials said they never talked to Obama about his work in the area…

The reports found no evidence that any of his actions ended up benefiting either company during the roughly eight months he owned the stocks.

In other words, Obama’s broker (who kept Obama’s money in a blind trust) bought stocks which were related to some hot button issues of the day; and as a Senator, Obama gave a speech pushing for federal funding to fight avian flu.

The amounts of money involved in both transactions are minimal.

As for the final charge: “Obama was also nabbed conducting campaign business in his Senate office, a violation of federal law.” I have no idea what the Judicial Watch is talking about. Someone please enlighten me if you do.

Election 2008 Foreign Policy Giuliani Law Libertarianism Obama Politics Post 9/11 Generation The War on Terrorism

Why I write this blog

It’s been about two months since I’ve started this blog. I started it knowing only that I wanted to write, and that I already had a dozen ideas for posts or articles. There were many times as well when I would read this or that article and be frustrated at the inaccuracies, and I wanted to correct them, or add to them, and I thought could advance the collective conversation.

This blog has in many ways been more successful than I anticipated – with over 125,000 pageviews and over 80,000 absolute unique visitors in this short time. I’ve been writing only in my free time here and there – a few minutes before lunch at work, after I get home at night, and on weekends.

Recently, I have been trying to determine what exactly it is that I have to offer, and therefore what this blog should be about. My most popular link so far was this funny cat video I came across on a Saturday night and embedded; next was this bit of electoral analysis which has proved remarkably prescient, especially in its title “The Beginning of the End of Hillary 2008”; then comes this uneven piece on the rhetoric used in the debate on what to do about terrorists and terrorism. As you go further down the list, there is one piece of pop-political-philosophy discussing the differences between two libertarian-minded political trends; a mention of Chris Rock’s comments introducing Obama with related video; the contrasting stories of the interrogation of two Al Qaeda related prisoners in the aftermath of September 11; and a video of a cheerleader getting trampled by a football team. The posts cover a wide range – from clear fluff to horse-race analysis of the presidential campaigns to more serious discussions of issues.

What is it that I have to offer?

Given my position – having a full-time job and blogging on the side – I cannot do what I would most want to do, in-depth first person research on every topic. ((I am trying to do this though, and to do it more – sending emails, letters, and in other ways trying to contact the subjects of my pieces; and also trying to get more information in this way.)) But I think there are other things I have to offer. I am a voracious consumer of media – especially about news and politics. I listen to many unedited candidate and policy-maker speeches. ((Through C-Span, the Constitution Center, and the Council of Foreign Relations primarily.)) I care deeply about a number of issues and follow them closely in the news including the issue of liberty in America today, the fate of Pakistan, the attempt to create a practical and moral foreign policy, and the construction of a strategy to wage a smart and effective War on Terror. I read opinions from a broad political spectrum, and take them seriously. Or at least most of them. I have read books by Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Barry Goldwater, as well as books by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and I regularly read both conservative and liberal blogs and magazines, as well as some radicals that are not so easily classified. ((I believe there is a third way in politics – but that neither Bill Clinton nor his wife have found it, relying instead on cynical triangulation and the papering over of large differences with clever rhetoric.)) I believe I have generally sound judgment and a sense of the political winds, as well as a unique and insightful views on current events.

So what I have to offer is this: a funny video every Saturday; analysis of where the politics is headed in the near and slightly-less-near future; and serious policy discussion (leavened with some humor).

What this blog is about

There is one issue which above all shapes my thoughts today and is the impetus behind this blog: the precariousness of the American experiment. I am convinced that America’s status as a liberal ((In the classical sense.)) democratic republic is in existential danger. This danger is not only from terrorism, but from our government’s response to terrorism. I have come to believe that the Bush administration has undermined and subverted many of the institutions and ideas that have kept executive power in check since our founding: the media, the Supreme Court, the independence of executive agencies, the military, the Congress, and the rule of law. At the same time, the Bush administration has posited monarchical powers for the presidency, they have been relatively reticent in using them. ((Only relative to what they have asserted is their power. For example, the Bush administration has asserted that it does not need Congressional approval to go to war, but it still asked for it.)) For example, while Bush has asserted the authority to declare any person a terrorist and enemy combatant and hold them secretly and indefinitely without trial or charge and torture them for information, and given such a broad definition of terrorism as to include anyone who even criticizes him, he does not seem to have used this power to the extent he has asserted he can. This has led many people to see the rhetoric of those raising the alarm about these issues as unhinged from the reality of their lives. But because Bush has asserted such powers and undermined every check on his power, we are closer than ever to a police state.

Let me be clear – I think in every practical sense, America today is far from a police state. But with the theoretical foundations laid down by this administration, and the subversion of any check on executive power, we seem to be only one 9/11 away from a fall from authentic liberal democracy. It is this concern that is the prism which affects how I see every issue: it is why I became a Barack Obama supporter; why I am afraid of Rudy Giuliani; why I am so opposed to torture; why I am so concerned about our strategy in the War on Terrorism; why I started this blog; and why I will continue to write and seek other ways to affect America’s fate.

Election 2008 Giuliani New York City Politics

Giuliani: There is something deranged about you…

[digg-reddit-me]Worth revisiting as long as Giuliani is still in the presidential race is this bizarre rant against a ferret owner protesting the city’s ban on the pets. The clip is from 1999 when Rudy was mayor of New York and dropping fast in opinion polls.

In an unrelated note, here is the definition of the psychological term “projection”, which is related to the Orwellian technique of transference that George Soros attributed to Giuliani a few days ago.”Projection” is defined as a defense mechanism in which one attributes to others one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions. Projection is commonly associated with paranoid personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and psychopathy. It’s not as if Giuliani (TM) ((Yes, Giuliani has also trademarked his name.))has ever been described as a paranoid, narcissistic jerk though.

Do any of these characteristics remind you of anyone? A selective list of some symptoms of these disorders ((I know there are going to be some who say all politicians have all of these characteristics. To some extent this is true, but most of these characteristics can be balanced in a healthy personality. Ambition and confidence can be good; a grandiose sense of self-importance ends up being destructive.)):


  • Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
  • Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
  • Persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
  • Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack


  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • A strong sense of entitlement
  • Arrogant behavior


  • Tendency to violate the rights and boundaries of others (property, physical, sexual, emotional, legal)
  • Aggressive, often violent behavior
  • Disregard for the safety of self or others
  • Lack of remorse for hurting others
  • Superficial charm
  • Impulsiveness
  • A sense of extreme entitlement


  • Superficial charm and good “intelligence”.
  • Untruthfulness and insincerity.
  • Lack of remorse or shame.
  • Antisocial behavior without apparent compunction.
  • Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience.
  • Pathological egocentricity and incapacity to love.
Election 2008 Giuliani Humor New York City Politics

Sex on the City

Rudy’s scandal has now been named: “Sex on the City”.

Election 2008 Giuliani Politics

Mister 9/11

Giuliani: Mister 9/11

The New York Post ran this below the fold on page one yesterday evening. The Post had this comment in the body of the article:

A group of 9/11 families and firefighters who oppose Giuliani’s candidacy were outraged.

“Giuliani is running on 9/11 and portraying himself as a hero. It’s disgusting. It’s horrible,” FDNY Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches said.

“This guy will do anything to get elected.”

The little man in search of a balcony appears to be doing his best to try to live up to satirists’ expectations.

Here’s hoping Giuliani has finally overplayed the 9/11 card.

Breaking news:

The Weekly Standard reports that Rudy’s “achievements in New York – not, as is so widely claimed, his leadership on September 11, 2001 – serve as the touchstone of his presidential candidacy.”  It looks like Rudy’s campaign didn’t get the message (scanned from the Post.)

Election 2008 Foreign Policy Giuliani Obama Politics

Obama v. Giuliani

Giuliani decided to echo Hillary Clinton’s attacks on Barack Obama last Friday, saying that Obama’s decision to engage in aggressive diplomacy with Iran was “naive” and “irresponsible”. The Obama camp responded thus:

While Rudy Giuliani may embrace Hillary Clinton’s policy of not talking and saber rattling towards Iran, Barack Obama knows that policy is not working. It’s time for tough and direct diplomacy with Iran, not lectures from a Mayor who skipped out on the Iraq Study Group to give paid speeches, and who was naive and irresponsible enough to recommend someone with ties to convicted felons for Secretary of Homeland Security.

This is what I like to see, and the statement is on par with the Obama camp’s response to Hillary Clinton’s campaign when they started to attack Hillary defector David Geffen.

Election 2008 Giuliani Politics

“September 12 happened one day after September 11…”

From the Huffington Post, describing an Iowa meeting at which Giuliani was asked by a participant:

“Can you name one thing that happened on September 12?”

Mr. Giuliani seemed taken aback by the question, clearing his throat and drinking from a glass of water as if to buy time before responding.

“That’s a good question,” Mr. Giuliani said. “September 12 happened one day after September 11 — and we must never forget the lessons of September 11.”

Priceless. And shameless.