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January 17, 2006


I disagree with your characterization of Reid's mob metaphor as "overboard."

No, no one has tried to whack Reid yet. But that's a simplistic definition of what the mafia is about. Sopranos aside, the main activity of the mafia isn't murder - that's just a tool and a threat, to support the main activity - money-making scams. These include protection rackets, shakedowns, taking control of unions, waste disposal contracts, food supply, construction, money laundering, drug shipments, illegal gambling, and prostitution.

What unites these is the way in which the mafia's role is to conspire to position itself to take a scim off the top of both illegal and legal activities in an illegal way, and then launder those proceeds.

I'd argue that the K Street Project is essentially a corporate lobbying protection racket. New game, new rules, you wanna play, you're gonna pay and make sure that only our guys get jobs. Just because the threat wasn't murder, but being cut out of the legislative process and even being actively punished in ways that would be felt, doesn't change the essence of what it is....a protection racket.

No different than a restaurant having to pay its 10 percent to do business in a neighborhood, then understanding that they'll have to use the "right" suppliers

Josh beat me to it quoting this case...

Then add up the scale of the phoney charities, client fraud, money laundering... on the tens and tens of millions of dollars. That's plenty of juice for the mob, believe me.

Then read Laura Rozen at Warandpiece.com on the Wilkes/Cunningham case, with bogus contracts and bribes, and kickbacks. Tens and tens of millions at stake. Bogus organizations by the dozens.

And its becoming clearer that these different criminal cases share a trait: they involve a game to run these illicit moneys back into the political system, to fuel the republican machine.

Superficially, I'd say its interesting that both mobsters and the Abramoff/Delay crowd have owned friendly restaurants that operate as private hospitality clubs (Signatures).

And, if you want more literally superficial but apt Sopranos stuff, see the Sun Cruz case in Florida, where Abramoff and Kidan seemed to have used legal intimidation to take control, defrauded banks to the tune of 60 mil, and put known made guys connected to the NY 5 Familes on the payroll, who then coincidentally murdered the previous owner. See the Sun-Sentinel, or via Josh...



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