Tag Archives: Democratic Party

Trump – Gangland Rules

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.

Gangland Rules:

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?

Democratic House Needs Cleaning

The Democratic Party failure did not begin with this election. For decades, party poohbahs have been protected behind old barriers of power. Revamp the Democratic Party right down to the county level. Time to put someone in charge of the party who fosters drastic (correct word) change at the state and local levels. This change must include establishing local rules to force maximum inclusiveness right down to the real grass roots. Replace non performing old leaders and failed coalitions with new leaders whose younger ideas have been stifled too long.

For decades, state and local levels of the Democratic Party failed to act, allowing Republicans to rule at the state level. How many states have Republican legislatures and governors? For years, the party has moaned that the Democrats don’t turnout in off year elections. They never asked why or what leadership was required to organize them to show up in off years. The surprise this election is that this failure was so long in coming.

Is it time to organize alternative approaches to the parties at the local level? In primary elections, citizens should select slates of candidates offering real solutions to real problems. Such actions would force the parties to change or become historic relics. Conservatives swamped a Republican Party that opposed Trump, many right down to election day. If national leadership is too slow or too resistant to change, the local voters must act. They did in this Presidential election.

As always, big elections are about ideas. At the very root of the grass roots, the Democratic Party had no ideas other than the status quo. Party leaders sat around year after year, as they lost state legislative seat after seat with governors to follow. Growing fat and lazy on their union and old people laurels, many local parties ignore everyone else. The irony is that the union base was voting ever more Republican. The successful county party will address and solve LOCAL issues. Currently, many local parties ignore the local issues, or worse, are invested in them.

Now is the time to organize people of all persuasions locally and within the states. Howard Dean got this idea part right with his fifty state strategy. However, seeds need fertile ground to sprout and many county Democratic and Republican local parties are far too insular to contain the least bit of fertility. Low turnout in midterms is dramatic proof of this reality and the results are disastrous. Change will come and the grassroots are where this change must develop, if necessary, without the political parties. Most often successful elections are about ideas. Begin to organize locally around developing solutions to the most pressing local challenges facing citizens. Ideas and solutions matter. The party or group providing them will prevail.

One promising approach is local people, including many individuals who actually donated time and energy to campaigns, organizing online and on the ground. Millennials and people who came out and knocked on doors can form a powerful group to drive change. People like this can identify three big issues facing their community or county; develop workable solutions to those issues that appeal to a majority and energize voters to show up at the polling stations.

Armed with these powerful tools, groups can recruit strong candidates for state and local offices to contest primary elections while offering workable solutions to real problems. The size and enthusiasm of the voter group should deliver winning majorities at the polls. Increased voter turnout and high quality elected candidates dedicated to actually solving real problems facing citizens should provide good government.

Where do the political parties fit into this approach? They are the tools. The issues based groups use party primaries to run candidates for offices where no candidates exist or to challenge candidates who refuse to develop real solutions to real problems. Political parties should remain completely neutral in primaries. If an incumbent or favored candidate cannot win in a primary, they are unlikely to long prevail in an open election. If the political party backs a candidate in a primary, large enough groups of organized people taking coordinated action can nullify the party support.

Change must come and here is a pathway toward making political parties responsive to local voters and improving government.