Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Albany's Bad Bet

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”

                                             Vito Corleone “The Godfather”

Often times the truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Not even Hollywood could come up with a script that tops what New York’s politicians are capable of, on what seems a daily basis. According to the New York Times in the last seven years more than 30 NY politicians have either been indicted, convicted of a crime, censured or otherwise accused of misconduct. It's no wonder that our state vies annually for the title of most corrupt and dysfunctional in the nation. One can now add the sordid chapter of trying to legalize gambling to the mix.

Albany’s latest move merits it’s own prize for chutzpah. Instead of using neutral and proper wording for the casino ballot initiative they've changed it into an advertisement for all the supposed benefits of gambling. And speaking of rigged games and stacked decks, in a move positively reeking of cynicism, the Albany brain trust has come up with what it regards as a fool proof plan to bring even more gambling to the state. Their plan, simply stated is this, if the hayseeds dont vote to change the state constitution and allow casino gambling, we’ll plaster upstate with barn’s chock full of video lottery terminals. Forget all the drivel about “economic development” and aid to education for “the children,” the only thing that matters is getting their paws on the money. Oh, and that promise not to accept campaign contributions from casino interests? Like the morning mist that one disappeared. Does anyone really think their taxes will go down if gambling is legalized? And just whose pockets is this money supposed to come from?

When viewed in the proper context the answer to the last question reveals not only the depth of cynicism but the total moral bankruptcy of Albany’s elites. For it is to come from those of us who can least afford it, the weakest and most vulnerable. While the special interests can lobby politicians with money for favors, who speaks for the poor sap who thinks his only chance at success in life is purchasing lottery tickets? Who speaks for the grandmother spending her social security check on slot machines? According to Albany they and others like them are expendable.

And talk about irony why are our elected “leaders” promoting gambling - a frivolous activity now? Whole regions of the world are in an economic depression, the American economy is posting it’s worst performance in the modern era with record breaking bankruptcies and Albany thinks now is the time to gamble? Never has a more discordant note been struck with the reality that faces millions of New Yorkers. And perhaps the supreme irony is Albany’s passage of the “Safe Act” . Passed in warp speed, the act is ostensibly supposed to “protect” New Yorkers. The only thing it does is to trample the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens. Some protection that.

New Yorkers can and must say no to the corrupt class that rules Albany. We cannot be a party to or enable their conduct. We cannot allow the spectacle of another shady multi billion dollar deal being cut in Albany’s back rooms. Saying no to the casino referendum will send a loud and clear message that New Yorkers want real economic development - the kind that doesn’t profit from human misery. 

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