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HOW MODERN MONEY WORKS — Economist Alan Nasser presents a slashing indictment of the vicious nature of finance capitalism; The Bio-Social Facts of American Capitalism: David Price excavates the racist anthropology of Earnest Hooten and his government allies; Is Zero-Tolerance Policing Worth More Chokehold Deaths? Martha Rosenberg and Robert Wilbur assay the deadly legacy of the Broken Windows theory of criminology; Gaming the White Man’s Money: Louis Proyect offers a short history of tribal casinos; Death by Incarceration: Troy Thomas reports from inside prison on the cruelty of life without parole sentences. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on how the murder of Michael Brown got lost in the media coverage; JoAnn Wypijewski on class warfare from Martinsburg to Ferguson; Mike Whitney on the coming stock market crash; Chris Floyd on DC’s Insane Clown Posse; Lee Ballinger on the warped nostalgia for the Alamo; and Nathaniel St. Clair on “Boyhood.”
The Contender from a Ridiculous Party

Portrait of Rudy

by SAUL LANDAU


"Rudy Giuliani has defended Newt Gingrich, saying it’s okay Newt had an affair and that no one is perfect. That’s when you know the Republicans are in trouble — when a guy with three marriages and an affair is defending the guy with three marriages and two affairs, so they can team up and beat a Clinton."

–Jay Leno

Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.

– RW Emerson

As Nature sends the world warnings about its production and consumption methods, Ridiculous Party candidates audition for voters with promises to deport immigrants and ban gay marriages. Wars rage in Africa and the Middle East, more than a billion people struggle against starvation, and Ridiculous candidates pledge eternal love of guns, the unborn and brain-dead. Disease spreads; Ridiculous Party aspirants vow to cut social funds and spend more on war.

Education and health systems face crises. A bridge in Minnesota and the dikes in New Orleans collapsed; others face imminent breakdown; kids shoot up ­ or shoot up in — classrooms. In a world demanding serious attention, the Ridiculous politician has devolved into vying in a contest of blatant attention getters, one in which the major candidates resemble opera singers warming up: they sing "me, me, me."

The Ridiculous Party and their rival, the Disappointing Party, have fielded actors for a grade B Hollywood comedy and OUR political reality.

The leading Ridiculous Party candidate, self-proclaimed 9-11 hero, invented a myth — of his own heroism. As New York Mayor, he showed up ­ unlike Bush — at the scene of the tragedy after the planes hit the Towers and spent the day there, emanating a sense of calm. Since Bush didn’t appear, Giuliani subsequently assumed the role of "the mayor who suffered" (albeit briefly) with the victims and their rescuers. Then, he proceeded to take advantage of the fear atmosphere generated by the attacks and stake his campaign on the image of the strong and in control chief executive. He is running for President as Mr. 9-11.

His major rival, Mitt "the Mormon" Romney, ex Massachusetts governor, describes himself as the candidate of optimism. And why not, with upwards of $200 million, he believes he deserves political power because such honor rightfully accrues to vast quantities of wealth. He has a nice smile and, unlike Giuliani, fat hair.

Two other Ridiculous contenders also sing their "Hey, I really want to govern in the worst way" song. John McCain promotes more US military involvement in Iraq while voters overwhelmingly favor withdrawal. Bush bungled the war, but he, McCain, would send in enough (many thousands more) troops and win it. This patter has resonated to the sound of checkbooks closing.

Where, ask the skeptics, will McCain find these troops, given that the army barely meets its monthly quota now and has had to resort to recruiting criminals and "illegal aliens who can go to Iraq and thus ear the right to citizenship. Does McCain want to return to the draft? Is that what parents of teenagers want to hear? Do conservative Americans want to relive scenes of the 1960s when students rallied and rioted against the Vietnam War and thousands fled the country to avoid the draft?

Fred Thompson, the actor with the hayseed accent a New York City DA on "Law and Order," has thus far excelled at boring his audiences. He has yet to explain why he wants to be president since he didn’t rerun for his Senate seat because he said it was too much work.

None of the candidates even consider addressing issues that beset the people of this country or the world.

Giuliani poses as tough on "security" as a cover for mega ambition and mean spiritedness ­ just ask the homeless of New York who found themselves beaten and jailed. In fact, he did not risk his life on 9-11, and certainly not his career by showing up after the planes hit the towers. The NY firefighters, however, blame him for causing countless deaths because he failed to provide them with working two-way radios, thus making it impossible for them to learn that the Tower in which hundreds of them busy rescuing people were about to collapse. A video shown by firefighters and their relatives claims Giuliani exploited 9/11 only to pump up his own image so he could run for president. They present compelling facts that Giuliani was negligent in not dealing with the needed communication devices. Some NY firefighters have openly called for an investigation. http://www.rudy-urbanlegend.com/

When Giuliani subsequently tried to mollify the families of the dead firefighters at the 9/11 Commission hearings by praising the dead men for staying inside to keep everyone calm, the audience booed and hissed. Nevertheless, facts aside, Giuliani has successfully appealed to the "order crowd" ­ those that say "screw civil liberties and just stop crime" — with his "tough" pseudo philosophy. He cheered police as they beat some poor blacks in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights who were protesting against othodox Jews’ behavior in their neighborhood.

"Freedom is about authority," explained Giuliani to a New York forum on crime on March 20, 1994. "Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

This kind of unliterary Orwellianism alongside his disdain for civil liberties might have provoked even his supporter, Jackie Mason, to call Giuliani "the greatest crime fighter that ever lived. He puts you in jail whether you’re guilty or not."

Since leaving his post as mayor, Giuliani has made more than $15 million a year lobbying for causes as distinct as Saudi Arabia, tobacco, oil and drug companies, private prisons and Rupert Murdoch. He has become a major promoter of war against Iran and of course backs the war on Iraq but, like Bush and Cheney, he never served.

The image his campaign has projected, a moralist and adoring husband, might not coincide with some of his behavior. For example, he didn’t telephone his second wife to tell her he was dumping her. He turned that task over to his attorney who apparently called the woman a "stuck pig." One cannot help recall another great conservative moralist, Newt Gingrich, who 86ed his wife just as soon as the anesthetic wore off from her cancer surgery.

Like the current lying, but pompous moron, Giuliani the sneering poseur loves photo ops: "Mission Accomplished George" on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln; Bullhorn Rudy posing at ground zero. Boasting about his own (imagined) heroism got him almost $3 million to write his biography: Leadership.

Rudy’s national security based, free-market capitalism reflect his "changed mind" on abortion rights, gay rights and gun control, all of which he stood for as NY mayor. As Ridiculous candidate, he tries to appeal to fundamentalists who abhor abortion, gays (out of the closet) taxes and government?

On foreign policy, he remains a neo con, oblivious of the failure that group has imposed on the world in Iraq. To advise him on Middle East policy, Giuliani hired Michael Rubin, former idea man in Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans. One can find Rubin’s originality and brilliance in such statements as: "In the Islamic world, confrontation may work better than dialogue. . ." Or, his urging of "military force to disarm Syria of weapons of mass destruction." ()

Scandal, however, haunts his presidential undertaking. Former NY Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik in 2001, who Rudy nominated to run Homeland Security, made $6 million from stock options from a stun gun company that sold its ware to his department. Taser International, a Soprano-like company, aspired to forge greater business ties with Giuliani’s mayoral office. Bernie faces federal charges "that will likely include allegations of bribery, tax fraud and obstruction of justice." NY Daily News Oct 12, 2007

Rudy the hero, bullhorn at mouth, at the World Trade Center claimed "no significant problems" existed. Tough Rudy, after his day as a hero, went on a high fee speaking tour while cops, firemen and cleanup workers at the World Trade Center got sick from toxics.

The musk of corruption emanating fro Rudy’s relations to Kerik, got stronger from the perfume of Senator David Vitter’s (R-LA). This fervent anti-sinner endorsed Giuliani last March, before the media outed him for using hookers.

Futher attar came from a federal grand jury indictment of South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel — for distribution of cocaine. Ravenal resigned as State chairman of Rudy’s campaign.

Additional aromas arise from an accused (of you know what) priest who annulled Rudy’s first marriage and then worked for his consulting firm. Rudy leads the Ridiculous Party in the polls and stands as the man who Hillary, lead polling star for the Disappointing Party, must fear most.

Stay tuned for the next act of Election Farce: a Tragi Comedy that Affects the World.

SAUL LANDAU writes a regular column for CounterPunch and progresoweekly.com. His new Counterpunch Press book is A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD. His new film, WE DON’T PLAY GOLF HERE (on globalization in Mexico) won the VIDEOFEST 2007 Award for best activist video. The event was held in October at the Roxie Theater. The film is available through roundworldproductions@gmail.com