By Pam Martens: February 22, 2015
Let’s hope this latest rant by former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, ends once and for all that preposterous moniker of “America’s Mayor” that he claimed solely because of 9/11.
While Mayor, Giuliani was sued 30 times by the New York Civil Liberties Union. It won 27 of the lawsuits. Many of the cases involved Giuliani’s assault on free speech and other First Amendment abuses under what truly makes America unique: its Bill of Rights.
In case there is still someone on the planet who hasn’t yet heard the rant, on Wednesday night Giuliani told about 60 guests at a right-wing dinner at Manhattan’s 21 Club that: “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the President loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
The rant was reported Wednesday night by Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn. According to Politico’s Dylan Byers, the dinner guests included Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker; John Stossel and Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business Network; CNBC’s Larry Kudlow; James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page; and Stephen Moore, a former member of the Journal’s editorial board who is now Chief Economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Wall Street On Parade has previously raised questions about Stossel, Kudlow and Moore’s ties to right-wing front groups and Maria Bartiromo’s involvement with Citigroup while she was at CNBC.
This is what the New York Civil Liberties Union had to say about the Giuliani era in its 60th Anniversary Annual Report:
“Defending civil rights is always a priority for the NYCLU, but some eras—and elected officials—demand greater vigilance. Over the eight-year term of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (1993-2000), the NYCLU, under the leadership of Executive Director Norman Siegel, filed more than 30 lawsuits and amicus briefs directed at Giuliani administration policies and practices. We won over 90 percent of them.
“Many focused on Giuliani’s disregard for the First Amendment as he sought to silence his critics. The NYCLU successfully challenged the Giuliani administration for NYPD retaliation against black and Latino police officers who spoke out about racial profiling, and opposed gag rules that tried to ban city employees from speaking with the press on their own time. The NYCLU successfully challenged Giuliani administration efforts in 1998 to limit protest on the steps of City Hall.
“When the mayor tried to censor a bus ad that satirized him, courts agreed with the NYCLU and rejected his attempt at censorship as unconstitutional. The NYCLU also vindicated the First Amendment rights of city cab drivers when the Giuliani administration ordered a blockade of East River crossings in a failed effort to stop them from conducting a taxicab caravan protest across the bridges.
“And in 2001, we defended the right of housing advocates to protest by sleeping on the sidewalk across the street from Gracie Mansion—and we defended the right of a church to allow homeless people to sleep on its own church steps. That same year, an NYCLU lawsuit forced the NYPD to abandon its policy of arresting and holding protesters overnight, for next-day arraignments, in favor of issuing them desk appearance tickets…
“Throughout the Giuliani administration, the NYCLU kept close watch on the NYPD and its oversight body, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, publishing seven separate reports that criticized the agency for failing to provide meaningful oversight of the police. The NYCLU’s 1998 report Deflecting Blame critiqued Giuliani administration failures to reform police practices in the wake of several notorious cases of police brutality—the brutal torture of Abner Louima and the killing of Anthony Baez, Michael Stewart, Amadou Diallo and far too many others.
“From solstice-worshippers on a Staten Island beach to protesters at rallies, marches and demonstrations, the NYCLU consistently worked to ensure that free speech in the Giuliani era was for all New Yorkers — not just the mayor’s fan club.”
I was one of those successfully defended by the NYCLU for having my right to protest and right to free speech assaulted by the Giuliani administration and his later jailed Police Commissioner, Bernie Kerik. While peacefully protesting on a public sidewalk alongside volunteers from the National Organization for Women’s New York City chapter in April 2001 over serial corruption at Citigroup, I was grabbed by police and hauled off to jail. The plan was to hold me for up to three days in jail but thanks to friends faxing the NYCLU and a City Council Member, I was released at the end of the day. We later learned from a leak inside the Police Department that the Giuliani administration had instituted a policy of jailing protestors if they appeared in a group of 20 or more protestors.
This is what the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights has to say on that score:
“The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.”
For attempting to shed some early light on the dangers building up inside the serially corrupt Citigroup, I was silenced and jailed by the Giuliani administration. The bank collapsed in 2008 and is alive today only because of the greatest taxpayer bailout in the history of finance.
It takes a unique brand of chutzpah for a man like Giuliani to challenge the President’s love of America.