Saturday, June 02, 2007



Although Bush is a physical coward and a draft dodger and Patraeus is an actual fighting general, there are some things the two have in common: they're both dangerous anti-democratic, authoritarian partisan hacks and they each forsee a U.S. occupation of Iraq that stretches into the foreseeable future. Whether we're talking about permanent bases or unending war, Bush and his pet general have plans that go way beyond Bush's term in office. And that of course, brings us to the question of who, exactly among the 11 dwarves is the most Bush-like.

The headline in the new Rolling Stone is quite catchy: Giuliani: Worse Than Bush. Hard to imagine worse than Bush, but Matt Taibbi makes a damn good case. He points out, for example, that even with John McCain still-- albeit barely-- in the race, by far the biggest whore running for the GOP nomination is Rudy Giuliani.
In his years as mayor-- and his subsequent career as a lobbyist-- Rudy jumped into bed with anyone who could afford a rubber. Saudi Arabia, Rupert Murdoch, tobacco interests, pharmaceutical companies, private prisons, Bechtel, ChevronTexaco-- Giuliani took money from them all. You could change Rudy's mind literally in the time it took to write a check. A former prosecutor, Giuliani used to call drug dealers "murderers." But as a lobbyist he agreed to represent Seisint, a security firm run by former cocaine smuggler Hank Asher. "I have a great admiration for what he's doing," Rudy gushed after taking $2 million of Asher's money.

Clearly, the always astute Mr. Taibbi feels Giuliani is the best suited of all 11 of the creepy little old white men running for Bush's mantle to wear it. A Bush-Republican to the core, Giuliani sees absolutely nothing wrong with asking "financially interested parties to help shape important government policies."

Taibbi paints a very ugly picture: "virtually neckless, all shoulders and forehead and overbite, with a hunched-over, Draculoid posture that recalls, oddly enough, George W. Bush, the vestigial stoop of a once-chubby kid who grew up hiding tittie pictures from nuns. " But Taibbi thinks Rudy's character is far uglier than his appearance. And his record is even uglier than that. What has Giuliani done that was so bad? Taibbi has a long list-- "like make $16 million a year, and lobby for Hugo Chávez and Rupert Murdoch, and promote wars without ever having served in the military, and hire a lawyer to call his second wife a 'stuck pig,' and organize absurd, grandstanding pogroms against minor foreign artists, and generally drift through life being a shameless opportunist with an outsize ego who doesn't even bother to conceal the fact that he's had a hard-on for the presidency since he was in diapers. In the media age, we can't have a hero humble enough to actually be one; what is needed is a tireless scoundrel, a cad willing to pose all day long for photos, who'll accept $100,000 to talk about heroism for an hour, who has the balls to take a $2.7 million advance to write a book about himself called Leadership. That's Rudy Giuliani. Our hero. And a perfect choice to uphold the legacy of George W. Bush."

And there's Mafia-connected Bernie Kerik, one of Giuliani's closest business associates and confidants. And, of course, there's 9/11, because, afterall, without 9/11 Rudy, like Bush, was just some pol with his career circling the toilet.
For starters, Rudy tried to use the tragedy to shred election rules, pushing to postpone the inauguration of his successor so he could hog the limelight for a few more months. Then, with the dust from the World Trade Center barely settled, he went on the road as the Man With the Bullhorn, pocketing as much as $200,000 for a single speaking engagement. In 2002 he reported $8 million in speaking income; this past year it was more than $11 million. He's traveled in style, at one stop last year requesting a $47,000 flight on a private jet, five hotel rooms and a private suite with a balcony view and a king-size bed.

While the mayor himself flew out of New York on a magic carpet, thousands of cash-strapped cops, firemen and city workers involved with the cleanup at the World Trade Center were developing cancers and infections and mysterious respiratory ailments like the "WTC cough." This is the dirty little secret lurking underneath Rudy's 9/11 hero image-- the most egregious example of his willingness to shape public policy to suit his donors. While the cleanup effort at the Pentagon was turned over to federal agencies like OSHA, which quickly sealed off the site and required relief workers to wear hazmat suits, the World Trade Center cleanup was handed over to Giuliani. The city's Department of Design and Construction (DDC) promptly farmed out the waste-clearing effort to a smattering of politically connected companies, including Bechtel, Bovis and AMEC construction.

...Although respiratory-mask use was mandatory, the city allowed a macho culture to develop on the site: Even the mayor himself showed up without a mask. By October, it was estimated, masks were being worn on site as little as twenty-nine percent of the time. Rudy proclaimed that there were "no significant problems" with the air at the World Trade Center. But there was something wrong with the air: It was one of the most dangerous toxic-waste sites in human history, full of everything from benzene to asbestos and PCBs to dioxin (the active ingredient in Agent Orange). Since the cleanup ended, police and firefighters have reported a host of serious illnesses-- respiratory ailments like sarcoidosis; leukemia and lymphoma and other cancers; and immune-system problems.

"The likelihood is that more people will eventually die from the cleanup than from the original accident," says David Worby, an attorney representing thousands of cleanup workers in a class-action lawsuit against the city. "Giuliani wears 9/11 like a badge of honor, but he screwed up so badly."

When I first spoke to Worby, he was on his way home from the funeral of a cop. "One thing about Giuliani," he told me. "He's never been to a funeral of a cleanup worker."

Yesterday's American Lawyer published a story by Susan Beck that isn't quite as fesity as Taibbi's but is no less damning. Two years ago Giuliani became a partner in a Texas law firm, Bracewell & Patterson, very close to Bush and Rove... very close. The managing partner, Patrick Oxford, has been one of Bush's top fundraisers and a major behind-the-scenes force in Texas politics. He's now Giuliani's campaign chairman and "in the first three months of the year, Giuliani has received more money from Texas-- $2.2 million-- than any other Republican or Democratic candidate. The list of Texas donors includes former Bush supporter and billionaire T. Boone Pickens, Jr. (who has helped raise $500,000, according to the Wall Street Journal), Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks, and Richard Kinder, the chairman and chief executive officer of Bracewell client Kinder Morgan, Inc."

In fact, Taibbi points out that in his rush "to emulate the Bush-Rove model, Giuliani has recruited some thirty Bush 'Pioneers,' the key fund-raisers who served as the president's $100,000 bagmen. In addition, he hired the woman who spearheaded the Pioneer program to be his chief fund-raiser. 'Rudy definitely got some of Bush's heavier hitters, including all the Swift Boater types,' says Alex Cohen, a senior researcher at Public Citizen, who tracks the president's top donors."

According to Beck, Giuliani has had to step back from Bracewell recently, after some uncomfortable revelations. "Recent articles have scrutinized the firm's work for energy companies like Venezuela-owned Citgo Petroleum Corporation, forcing Giuiliani to explain his firm's connections to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The firm has also had to defend its work for companies accused of fighting environmental regulation. In addition, Bracewell has had to concern itself with Federal Election Commission rules that would penalize Giuliani and the firm if his compensation is considered a campaign contribution."

I can't believe I got through a whole post on Giuliani without once mentioning how refreshing it would be to have a president into drag. I mean, Republicans complain that John Edwards spent a lot on a haircut? What do you think this hair and makeup cost Rudy?


Giuliani's high-powered New Jersey supporters having been busy as little beavers for their boy. Bob Novak reports that they've managed to change "New Jersey's longtime proportional representation rules for allocating national convention delegates to winner-take-all, seeking a coup to give the former New York City mayor the lion's share of the state's 52 votes." And who put this together for Rudy? Well, look no further than far right extremist loon David Von Savage, GOP Chair of Cape May County and a big Rudy booster, even though Giuliani refuses to sign the No New Taxes Pledge. Of course, which Bush splintering and smashing the Republican base to smithereens, what difference does it make who wins the toxic nomination?

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At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What do you think this hair and makeup cost Rudy?"

Frankly, I think it will land him the nomination. In case you hadn't noticed, many Republican men favor women who look like cornbread-clad drag queens. Just take a look at Leisure Suit Laura in that picture if you don't believe me. There's more genderfucking in the GOP than there is anywhere else on the planet.


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