Saturday, March 05, 2016

Deal with the Devil: Trump, Christie's Mob Ties

The video of Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, endorsing Donald Trump looked like a man with a gun being held to his back. The impression is so staggering, Christie defended himself to CNN, declaring he was not being held hostage.

The notion of a gun being held to Christie, figuratively or literally, is not from left field if one has a firm grasp of the mob-related corruption in New York-New Jersey. I grew up in upstate New York. Knowledge of political-organized crime corruption is bred into us.

I was a reporter at the Times-Union when the large Capitol complex was being built in Albany at the cusp of the Seventies. Everyone knew someone who worked in construction. The construction crews burned down at night what had been built during the daytime. It was common knowledge.  It was just damned hard to prove that the fire had not been started by night crews to keep warm and got out of control by accident.
To identify Trump as a builder in New York construction, and his less successful casino ventures in New Jersey, is to say that he has been in bed with the mob for a long time.

Politifact, in a balanced, well-researched article, points out that Trump may not  have been happy to deal with the mob, has never been charged with a crime, and provides evidence of the longstanding ties.

David Marcus, at the avowedly conservative The Federalist, reports:

"The Atlantic City story starts with Trump’s purchase of a bar, at twice its market value, from Salvatore Testa, a made man in the Philadelphia mafia and son of Philip “Chicken Man” Testa, who was briefly head of the Philly mob after Angelo Bruno’s 1980 killing. Harrah’s casino, half owned by Trump, would be built on that land, and Trump would quickly buy out his partner, Harrah’s Entertainment, and rename the casino Trump Plaza.

"Author Wayne Barrett lays out a slew of suspicious dealings and associations.
Trump Plaza’s connection to the mob didn’t end with the land purchase from Testa. Nicademo “Little Nicky” Scarfo (who became boss after the elder Testa was blown up) and his nephew Phillip “crazy Phil” Leonetti controlled two of the major construction and concrete companies in Atlantic City. Both companies, Scarf, Inc. and Nat Nat, did work on the construction of Harrah’s, according the State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation’s 1986 report on organized crime," concludes Marcus.

Not coincidentally, Christie is New Jersey and literally has family connections to crime.

 It strains my credulity that Christie, with his fat ass stuffed on manicotti, has not kissed the ring of a mob boss or two. In fact, Christi complained that he looked like a mob boss in a photo on Time magazine cover.

What can one say but, "If it looks like a duck, maybe it is a duck." Does it walk like a duck?

The New York Times reports that Christie visited Tino Fumera, a mob boss and family relation, in prison. In 2002, he recused himself as New Jersey top prosecutor when Fumera was involved.  As with Trump, the connections span time. It looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, and in the endorsement video, I submit it quacks like a duck.

Is it far-fetched to ask if what I shall genteelly call behind-the-scenes pressure was put on Christie to support Trump? It would not be the first time organized crime has been implicated in presidential politics. “In his 1997 book, The Dark Side of Camelot, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh alleged that the elder Kennedy eventually did meet with Giancana in Chicago, to solicit his support for JFK in the general election” (National Geographic History.
But the Kennedys had class and idealistic values, qualities Donald Trump lacks.

Republican Party elders are saying they have to support this Fascist meglomaniac if he wins the popular vote.  This is a deal with the Devil.  The Republican Party in Weimar Germany believed that Hindenberg was the only person who could stop Hitler from being elected. Hitler was appointed vice chancellor to Hindenberg and arrogated power to himself when Hindy died in office. Then Hitler disbanded the elected Reichstag. 

Appeasing bullies is a slippery slope to Hell. It did not turn out well for Germany or Europe the last time appeasement of a power-made lunatic was tried.

The only firewall between Trump and power at this point is the Democratic candidate. Hillary does not fill me with hope. Polls and surveys suggest she is perceived as unlikable. She  carries her own corruption baggage. As in the case of Trump, no political slime has resulted in criminal charges. But perception, not truth, is what prevails in today’s over-mediated society.

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate whose stacks up in likeability to Trump's obscene reality-show posturing and charismatic strong-man bullying.

Political analysts suggest that Trump represents the authoritarian strain in US politics. No secular organization is more authoritarian than organized crime. It’s dog eat dog, kill or be killed, and Trump is a bully in the stamp of a godfather. The nouveau riche gaudy gold trappings of his vision of what success means is straight out of the Sopranos’ playbook.

America, be very scared when Trump starts offering the Republican Party a deal they are saying they can’t refuse.