I was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1996. Shortly after arriving there, I realized that it was being run like an organized crime family.
Legislation was for sale.
Elected officials became “consultants” to companies doing business with the state.
Politicians who happened to be lawyers, were placed on retainer. One of these, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, made millions of dollars with the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg.
Ex-Assembly Speaker Silver: now a criminal defendant
Silver is now a criminal defendant, for influence-peddling and misappropriation of millions of state dollars.
And then there was “empty chair voting.”
The New York Assembly members did not have to be in the chamber to vote. They could allow the Assembly computer board, to vote for them: without reading the bill memos, or knowing anything about the laws being passed.
The chairs are empty, but the computers keep voting
Then came the “Governor’s message of necessity.” Under this procedure, enacted before the Spanish-American War of 1898, the governor can force legislators to vote on bills without reading, debating, or offering any amendment to them.
A bill might be titled “Basketball in Harlem,” and lawmakers might think they’re voting for an after-school basketball program in Harlem, but they’re also voting for a $20 million solid waste incinerator in Buffalo, buried on page 174 of the bill.
Lobbyists routinely donate to the governor’s re-election campaign, in exchange for these “messages of necessity.” There are many donations, because twenty percent (20%) of New York’s laws are passed with an attached “message of necessity.”
MAFIA TECHNIQUES IN PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico has nothing to be ashamed of. It also has the best legislature that money can buy.
It has 78 mayors, with an average salary exceeding $67,000 per year.
The mayors and the legislature voted themselves a pay raise, even as they hiked taxes and cut pensions for everyone else on the island.
The last governor, Luís Fortuño, laid off 30,000 government workers and closed schools and raised gasoline taxes…while his wife Luz toured the island in a chauffeured limousine and spent over $50,000 on her hair, make-up and nails, all at taxpayer expense (and she still looked like Gerard Depardieu).
Gerard Gepardieu, masquerading as the first lady
Fortuño is now making millions of dollars as a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, where he helps to engineer “public private partnerships” for the island.
These public-private partnerships, also known as “P3s,” are nothing but disguised giveaways to the hedge funds now holding the island’s so-called “debt.” By the end of 2016, they are positioned to own Puerto Rico’s highways, airports, schools, electrical grid, and even its water supply.
The school system was privatized three weeks ago, through Senate Bill 1456, which was fast-tracked through the legislature.
And all of this will be ruled from Wall Street and Washington…by a five-member “Financial Control Board” which will represent the interests of the hedge funds. The person pushing this Board, and ramming it through the Puerto Rico legislature, is none other than the Governor of Puerto Rico…Alejandro García Padilla.
MARK TWAIN SAID IT BEST
Mark Twain once noted that “there is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.”
More than a century later, Twain’s observation remains quite accurate.
But after a century of watching, and taking scrupulous notes, the politicians in Puerto Rico have learned to ape their master.
Luís Muñoz Marín set the template. All the others followed him. They have run Puerto Rico like a Mafia crime operation.
A gangster government.
And now, they’re trying to make everyone else pay for their crimes.