Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani the Thug

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Incredibly damning piece on Hizzoner in today's New York Times. You may know of Giuliani's history of smearing victims of police brutality while he was mayor. The most famous case was Patrick Dorismond. After Dorismond was wrongly killed by NYC police, Giuliani released the man's juvenile record, which by law was supposed to remain sealed. Giuliani said Dorismond "is no altar boy." Actually, Dorismond was an altar boy.

But today's Times piece looks at the depth of Giuliani's vindictiveness, and his willingness to use the power of his office to ruin the lives of those who dare to cross him:

In August 1997, James Schillaci, a rough-hewn chauffeur from the Bronx, dialed Mayor Giuliani's radio program on WABC-AM to complain about a red-light sting run by the police near the Bronx Zoo. When the call yielded no results, Mr. Schillaci turned to The Daily News, which then ran a photo of the red light and this front page headline: "GOTCHA!"

That morning, police officers appeared on Mr. Schillaci's doorstep. What are you going to do, Mr. Schillaci asked, arrest me? He was joking, but the officers were not.

They slapped on handcuffs and took him to court on a 13-year-old traffic warrant. A judge threw out the charge. A police spokeswoman later read Mr. Schillaci's decades-old criminal rap sheet to a reporter for The Daily News, a move of questionable legality because the state restricts how such information is released. She said, falsely, that he had been convicted of sodomy.

Then Mr. Giuliani took up the cudgel.

"Mr. Schillaci was posing as an altruistic whistle-blower," the mayor told reporters at the time. "Maybe he's dishonest enough to lie about police officers."

Mr. Schillaci suffered an emotional breakdown, was briefly hospitalized and later received a $290,000 legal settlement from the city. "It really damaged me," said Mr. Schillaci, now 60, massaging his face with thick hands. "I thought I was doing something good for once, my civic duty and all. Then he steps on me."

The article also notes that aides to Giuliani attempted to pressure NYU's law school to fire Joel Berger, a civil rights lawyer (with whom I've worked in the past) who had the temerity to take on police brutality cases against Giuliani's NYPD. Giuliani's office threatened to terminate a legal clinic set up with the school unless it terminated Berger. The article also discusses a black police officer fired for speaking publicly about police brutality, a social worker fired for criticizing the way the city handled a case resulting in the death of a child, and all sorts of petty political squabbles ending with Giuliani inflicting disproportionately harsh punishment on the people he perceived to be his enemies.

Jimmy Breslin has described Giuliani as "a short man in search of a balcony." Imagine what the guy could do with the powers of the office of the presidency.

Dave Weigel's recent reason cover opus on Giuliani here.

NEXT: He'll Be Back ... and Forth

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  1. He’ll thwart the Islamofascists by occupying the domestic fascism niche before they can get a foothold!

    No wonder DONDEROOOOOO!!! likes him.

  2. Calling Mr. Nice Guy. Calling Mr. Nice Guy. Your order of “why do you guys think Giuliani is such an asshole?” is up.

  3. But…but Giuliani is one of the most libertarian candidates in the Republican Party!

  4. He’s a moral man, that Rudy. Real libertarian-like, iddney?

  5. I was associated with some of Giuliani’s political cronies when I lived in Manhattan, and this sounds right on. I knew Ninfa Segarra quite well, and she was exactly like Giuliani: vindictive, petty, obsessed with status and power. He seemed to give patronage to people that were just like him. She was a disaster who kept getting moved from position to position because she was one of his toadies.

  6. IZE IN UR WITEHAUS

    RAYPIN UR LIBURTEEZ

  7. All of this was well know on 9/10/01.24 hours later he was being compared to Churchill standing up to the Blitz over London.His record in the AG’s office was enough to show what he is,a small,petty man that should not be trusted with power.As a life long Reagan republican I have been driven out of the party.Ron wasn’t perfect[war on drugs] but at least he showed respect for the American people.

  8. A small man in search of a balcony.

  9. “a short man in search of a balcony.”

    What beautiful poetry! It captures Guiliani with a minimum amount of words.

  10. oh…but he didn’t have associates that wrote nasty things in a newsletter (they just got to heart of the matter and shot the people they didn’t like)

    Guliani is a grade A scumbag.

  11. I stole that line from Andrew Sullivan. I wish I was gud enuf with wurds too com up with that.

  12. Warty – according to the post above, it was Jimmy Breslin.

  13. Goddammit. I should read before I comment. I’m gonna go hide now.

  14. “Ron wasn’t perfect[war on drugs] but at least he showed respect for the American people.”

    Why did he not respect people’s abilities to make their own choices? Oh yeah, nanny-stater.

  15. Oh yeah, nanny-stater.

    No, that’s way too soft to describe him. Save that for the Barbara Mikulski types who at least think they’re doing right and are far less obvious in the calculating natures.

    He lost me eternally when I was watching him talk about one of his gun bans as “just a tool”. Though I’m aware that most prosecutors are flaming assballs of arrogant self importance, he seems worse than most. Basically, it came through clearly that he is the one, and only one, who is fit to decide what is good and bad, and he’ll create laws to use as a “tool” to make sure you follow.

    Chilling, really.

  16. Experts agree: Giuliani is a pig.

  17. “a short man in search of a balcony.”

    Sounds like Musilini.

    Guiliani also sounds like the Clintons, stepping on the little guy and whistle blowers.

    By the way, Dondero, Ron Paul has received more votes than Guiliani in 5 out of 6 contests.

    Guiliani, who was expected to be the Republican nominee will probably not even be able to get on track. What an inept campaign, putting all their marbles in Florida where the last poll I saw showed Guiliani running 3rd. No wonder Dondero has gotten Romney as a backup.

  18. There was an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel the other day about how the former NYC residents that live here in South Florida (and are Republican) are supporting Rudy. Curiously, most of the quotes in the article who moved out of NYC before Rudy became Mayor, and are voting for him exclusively on how he “cleaned up the city”. Urg. I’d love for them to read this article.

    Florida’s the key for Rudy… if he doesn’t win here, he’s got no shot at taking the nomination.

  19. I’ve predicted it here before and I’ll stand by it: Giuliani is the most dangerous serious candidate to seek office in twenty years. I can’t help thinking the signs point to a guy who would sell out American liberty for a photo-op, and do so without any real concern for what the long-term consequences were going to be. I really do think that of all the candidates (and I hate Mike Huckabee), Giuliani is the one who must be stopped at all cost.

  20. Guiliani hired away William Bratton, the Chief of Police who instituted the community policing strategy in Boston, to great effectiveness.

    Bratton then started doing the same thing in NYC, and sure enough, crime came down AND relationships between the police and the neighborhoods, especially minority neighborhoods, began to thaw.

    Then Rudy fired him, either because Bratton was getting too much good press for his success, or because he didn’t consider community policing to be “hard enough,” in terms of “showing ’em who’s boss.” Or both.

    What a guy.

  21. hale, who was so scary in 1988?

  22. Reporter: Mayor Guiliani, what do you say about all these charges against you?

    Guiliani: 9/11

    Reporter: Why do you think you have the best chance of winning the general election?

    Guiliani: 9/11

    Reporter: What is your position on gun control?

    Guiliani: 9/11

  23. I should read before I comment.

    Meh. If it wasn’t a good line, it probably wouldn’t have been in the original article.

  24. Hizzoner is going to be at a deli in Palm Beach Gahdens this morning, about five minutes from where I work.

    I have half a mind to go down there and tell him the cosmotarians over at reason are giving him grief, if they don’t kick the jackanapenestrians off the discussion boards.

  25. It’s still early, but I eagerly await the arrival of someone who’ll tell us why Rudy is the mainstream libertarian’s choice. How one can claim to be libertarian and support Giuliani completely baffles me.

  26. Giuliani is Nixon without the modesty.

  27. Go for it Tom Walls. Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity to give him grief when he rolled by the bay area recently.

  28. yeah fine, but he never mismanaged a 100 person circulation newsletter did he?

  29. Mr Balko,

    As context is important, how much of this do you think this is Gulianni and how much is your run of the mill abuse of power you’d expect from most any mayor? This is perhaps the more important question when comparing Gulianni to the other candidates

  30. Giuliani is Nixon without the modesty.

    Hillary Clinton in, er, pants?

  31. Hillary Clinton in, er, pants?

    Hillary is LBJ without the personality.

  32. Other Matt,

    I was referncing the comment about Reagan who was a nany-stater based on his War on Drugs. Rudy isn’t a nanny-stater. He’s a dictator, so on that we agree.

  33. hale, who was so scary in 1988?

    I dunno, but my memory for 80s political runs gets pretty holey, so I figured I’d qualify that statement.

  34. I said it before and I’ll say it again:

    “He had (and has) loads of negatives that ultimately turned people off. He ran on his presumed ability to turn NYC around but the means by which he did it (all the no tolerance stuff, the police brutality, his attacks and harassment on everyone who stood in his way, his back stabbing Bratton, his scandal-tainted cronies, his affair, his belittling people on the radio (that poor ferret guy anyone?), and his general pugnaciousness proved simply unpalatable).

    “Even his once-popular acts (throwing Arafat out of the theater, cutting funding of the Brooklyn Museum over the elephant feces strewn Madonna) started to look weird — and a little dictatorial.

    “And don’t forget: “It’s Giuliani Time””

  35. kinnath,

    You nailed it. Clinton is LBJ, right down to the bullying and corruption, whereas Giuliani is a bit like Nixon – though the comparison that leaps to my mind is Joseph Stalin. Now, that’s not meant to be hyperbole. I don’t mean he murdered 20 million political opponents, or that he would. I mean that like Stalin, he’s a guy who fundamentally has no clue how to do what he’s supposed to, and will compensate with times-a-hundred overkill.

  36. Well, that’s disquieting- Just the kinda guy we need to think that he has wide lattitude to conduct some “war on terror”. The Bush administration has used no-fly lists to punish dissent. What might Giuliani do?

  37. Nick,The thing with Reagen is he could admit when he was wrong.Many people[my parents included]once supported the WOR and now think they were wrong.Reagan was once a New Dealer.People’s thoughts evolve over time.Besides,no one agrees completely.I myself believe in God and abhor abortion for personal reasons.I believe in free will and property rights,the first being you own yourself.

  38. hale, who was so scary in 1988?

    Well that Ron Paul guy was running…

  39. hale, who was so scary in 1988?

    Joke answer: Bruce Babbitt or Paul Simon. Pick one!

    Real answer: David Duke, Al Haig, Pat Robertson, Don Rumsfeld.

  40. whereas Giuliani is a bit like Nixon

    More than a bit. Both felt they needed to do whatever was necessary to achieve some overall “good”. With Nixon it was the war, with Guiliani it was city-wide crime. The only real difference between the two was the scale of the problems they were trying to solve.

    One can guess what Guiliani would do when presented with a national or global problem to work on.

  41. it warms my heart that this fuckhole is getting his clock cleaned on the regular.

    the dorismond bit was especially egregious – an undercover sting (aimed at the wrong guy) that went real wrong real fast.

  42. Those are some damned scary candidates. To be fair (and I’m speculating here, but) I doubt David Duke or Pat Robertson had a real chance of winning majorities, which leaves a couple of Cabinet hacks. I bet Al Haig would’ve been pretty bad, though, and we’ve already seen what Rumsfeld’s about in gory detail.

  43. I’m here for the Giuliani lovefest! Where’s the bar?

    Oops, wrong room.

  44. Did Rumsefeld actually consider running in 1988?

  45. how much of this do you think this is Gulianni and how much is your run of the mill abuse of power you’d expect from most any mayor?

    It’s all Giuliani. In fact, usually the mayor gets kicked around by the city. And you could see it while Giuliani was still a US att’y.

    Huckabee might have worse policy ideas than Giuliani, but he doesn’t arouse the fear in me that Giuliani does. McCain may be as mean as Giuliani, but Giuliani is ruthless about it, while McCain just gets angry. H. Clinton is as sleazy as or sleazier than Giuliani, but Giuliani will gleefully sacrifice any number of innocents to gratify his sleaze.

  46. Did Rumsefeld actually consider running in 1988?

    From Wiki:

    “During his brief bid for the 1988 Republican nomination, Rumsfeld stated that restoring full relations with Iraq was one of his best achievements. This was not a particularly controversial position at the time, when U.S. policy considered ties with Iraq an effective bulwark against Iran.”

  47. It takes a thug to raze a village.

  48. Isn’t there another mayor somewhere that suits up with his police teams and goes on drug bust raids?

    Maybe he can be Guiliani’s running mate.

  49. pdog,

    I think you mean this guy.

  50. Jimmy Breslin has described Giuliani as “a short man in search of a balcony.”

    The only thing worse is a short man with a full bladder and an upset stomach in search of a balcony.

    In Giuliani’s defense, however, we should (repeatedly) say NINE-ELEVEN!!!!!

  51. It’s still early, but I eagerly await the arrival of someone who’ll tell us why Rudy is the mainstream libertarian’s choice.

    I’m not seeing anything unlibertarian about any of the accusations this article levies on Giuliani. Unethical, authoritarian, evil, sure, but not unlibertarian.

    He withheld funds from city-funded organizations in retaliation for criticism, and used the threat of similar actions to silence other orgs. No problem there – no person or organization has a *right* to other people’s money; if they wanted to criticize Big G, all they had to do was turn down the funds.

    He fired a cop who blew the whistle on police brutality – so what? No one has a right to a job.

    [A]ides to Giuliani attempted to pressure NYU’s law school to fire Joel Berger, a civil rights lawyer (with whom I’ve worked in the past) who had the temerity to take on police brutality cases against Giuliani’s NYPD. Giuliani’s office threatened to terminate a legal clinic set up with the school unless it terminated Berger. And from a libertarian standpoint, there’s no problem with Giuliani’s actions – his office can run or not run a legal clinic as they see fit and set up any conditions they wish on the running thereof.

    Wielding one’s power against one’s enemies in every way short of initiation of actual physical force isn’t, in and of itself, unlibertarian. It is, in fact, if you ask liberals, precisely the definition of a libertarian state. 😛

  52. I’m not seeing anything unlibertarian about any of the accusations this article levies on Giuliani.

    authoritarian [is] not unlibertarian.

    Damn, doublespeak is real.
    I fail to see how personal liberty is compatible with authoritarianism. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to explain it.

  53. I fail to see how personal liberty is compatible with authoritarianism. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to explain it.

    From a libertarian standpoint, individuals have the right to act as they please, so long as they don’t violate anyone else’s rights. Yes?

    It follows that, even if individuals act in an authoritarian fashion, as long as the rights of other individuals aren’t violated by those actions, libertarianism condones those authoritarianistic actions – in fact, limiting an individual’s power to act in such a fashion would, itself, be unlibertarian.

    So – given that no one has a right to a job, or a right to government funds, and so forth – how is anything Giuliani did unlibertarian?

  54. I’d say that using the power of the state to bully your enemies, both real and imagined, is about as unlibertarian as it gets.

  55. ithaqua,

    The problem illustrated by these anecdotes isn’t a matter of law but of character.

    If Giuliani will openly attack whistle-blowers in order to protect institutions, one can infer that he has little regard for the casualties of institutions’ actions. It is not far-fetched to believe that this betrays a streak of anti-individualism.

    Moreover, Giuliani has a record of statist sympathies going back to his days as a prosecutor (and certainly more still that are associated with the security-minded legislative reforms of September 11th). I don’t think it is irrelevant to consider the extent to which a statist candidate’s authoritarianism is a marked personal tendency rather than an isolated example of political payback within the law.

    I am of the opinion that these incidents suggest an ends-justify-the-means attitude on the part of Mr. Giuliani, married with a potentially dangerous credulity about his own chosen ends.

  56. subsitute giuliani for nixon and you could be right

    “Richard Nixon was an evil man–evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him–except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship.”

    hunter s

  57. You’re all still whiffing on iquathackialekihioals’s point.

    I’d say that using the power of the state to bully your enemies, both real and imagined, is about as unlibertarian as it gets.

    In this case, as he pointed out, “using the power of the state” translates to “not giving state money or state jobs to people.”

    Personally, I’m sick and tired of the Republicans using the power of the state to deny health care to poor people.

    So, does anyone have a rebuttal to iqeaelehtaieensix?

  58. joe,

    Personally, I’m sick and tired of the Republicans using the power of the state to deny health care to poor people.

    Not to derail the thread, but in brief explain what you mean by that, or link to an explanation.

  59. “””Guiliani, who was expected to be the Republican nominee will probably not even be able to get on track.”””

    It’s all because it’s not a one issue race. Everyone knows that Rudy could only win if it’s all about 9/11, which it’s not.

    The sad thing is that it is not his authoritarian views, but a question of electability that will put him out of the race.

  60. hale,

    As iqeqaelnehoielaeheit pointed out, many of the examples of Guiliani being a thug, and thus unlibertarian, amount to the denial of public funds to groups and individuals.

    I’m constantly being told by libertarians that nobody has a right to public funds, nobody has a right to this, nobody has a right to that, is the heart of libertarian philosophy. So, as iqueehimea asks, what is unlibertarian about the mayor shutting down this publicly funded art show or defunding that community group?

  61. “James Schillaci”

    Hizzoner connived at the squashing of this man for an entirely trivial reason. Used the power of arrest and his “bully pulpit” to silence a private citizen’s complaint. Very un-libertarian.

  62. “Personally, I’m sick and tired of the Republicans using the power of the state to deny health care to poor people.”

    You mean like ending Medicaid? Thanks, Scarecrow!

  63. That whooshing sensation on your scalp, Nick?

    Don’t worry about it.

  64. Wow thats pretty strong, Is it any wonder how,when and why power is abused by those we intrust with power? All I can say is that someone that relies on 911 as a soul reason to run for higher office then, just help all the families that lost instead of his personal gains in office.

  65. While reading the NYT article, I thought of this quote that Radley posted back in August.

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/121958.html

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