Long ago, I was a policeman both in Scranton, Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Even in the distant sixties and seventies, gangs and the ‘mob’ were realities of urban life. In my travels around the globe, I encountered areas where criminals and their fellow travelers operated and sucked the prosperity out of an area.
In Northeastern Pennsylvania, where I grew up, mob corruption is fairly well documented in the book, The Quiet Don by Matt Birkbeck. The economic impact of criminal activity is long lasting and still affects the area. Talk about the high cost of government and taxes; you have seen nothing compared to the high costs imposed by the corrupt.
During his campaign, Trump mirrored the loudmouth politicians and public figures that fronted for mob leadership. Donald Trump acts as if he is the boss and in charge. We shall find out. However, based upon both my observations and experience, here is what the world can expect from a Trump Administration.
1. Lying at each and every level. Even the cabinet members will never know what is happening or coming next. Lies are the coinage of mob and gang power. We saw this during the campaign in Trump’s conflicting lies on Iraq war support. Being the boss means never having to say you are sorry or you made a mistake.
2. Absolute obedience to the boss is required. Every member of the gang is expected, without excuse or exception, to attack any opponent. All orders must be obeyed without question. Rewards will be dribbled out to followers slowly and never with any certainty. Trump’s cabinet appointment testimonies display an admirable independence. Many will soon hear the infamous, “You’re Fired”, or they will surrender all independence.
3. Fear of retaliation, public or private, will threaten every waking moment for his gang and the public. All perceived slights or insults will bring immediate punishment to them and theirs. If they have family, they too will be punished by association through loss of employment or business. Revenge and retaliation will be the normal mode of operation as in the recent Meryl Streep and Representative John Lewis incidents. No person can be allowed to display courage or resistance unscathed.
4. Foreign Policy will be based upon the gangland rules of fear and dividing up turf. Trump may extend professional courtesy to Putin as another ‘strong leader’. Trump does not understand much but he does understand power and apparently fears Putin for being the ‘real man’ that Trump knows he is not. Expect Trump to deal with nations as any mob boss would deal with rival gangs – submit or face retaliation.
5. Every transaction must benefit the leader. Those benefits should be hidden from view. The reason for the hidden tax returns and numerous corporations and business ties is to hide what lies beneath. With too much power, the leader develops no discipline and many whims and phobias. However, this weak man fears being dethroned and will become ever more erratic when confronted with competition.
Countering Gangland Rules:
1. Never, ever accept a favor or benefit from a gang leader or his lieutenants. One tiny favor will cost you dearly. Few have ever avoided the slippery, slimy slope that follows. You will owe them and you will pay dearly.
2. Just as cockroaches hate the light, mob bosses and gang leaders fear public scrutiny. Trump and his associates are the same. Here is the reason Republicans tried to weaken house ethics and Reince Preibus threatened the ethics chief on public television. The future of the nation and our alliances will depend on information, congress and the press. Without brave and courageous people in elected office, the nation will be seriously and perhaps irreparably damaged.
3. Strength matters; gangsters are cowards whose pettiness and unpredictability are notorious. Mob and gang bosses love strength and threats as long as they can remain immune. We must steal their immunity and target both the minions and leaders openly and loudly. Use the courts and legal system as they do – often. Mob boss power rests upon illegal acts. These bosses will use the courts to tie up and cost opponents dearly. Citizens and governments must confront threats directly with politics and the justice system. It is no mistake that Trump attempts to delegitimatize the press, the intelligence community and private citizens; he fears all of them.
4. Successfully corrupt bosses will co-opt the legal system from police to lawyers to judges with subtle threats and offers of ‘generous’ financial gain through the use of retainers or business partnerships. When confronting mob bosses, always demand over the top concessions; bosses will lie, cheat and generally not fulfill any agreements without constant pressure and confrontation. While Putin and the Mexican gang bosses offer the choice of silver or lead; US political corruption seldom resorts to this crude choice of take a bribe or be shot.
With a Trump Administration, the United States government appears to be going under new rules, gangland rules. The taxpayers will pay dearly. The nation’s safety will be weakened. The extent of the damage and the costs will be determined by how well the media, the politicians at local and state level and citizens force action at every level. Mob and gang bosses are defeated by strength and the resolve of honest people. Will the majority of Americans fight back or surrender?