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Palast writes: "But there was another Cuomo, the one that tried to stop the US publication of my book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy; the Mario Cuomo who went to court to try to put the Palast Investigative team out of business while we worked to expose the Bush Family election heist and the con job leading to war."

New York governor Mario Cuomo tours the decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant on June 28, 1990. (photos: Don Jacobsen, Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday)
New York governor Mario Cuomo tours the decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant on June 28, 1990. (photos: Don Jacobsen, Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday)


A Tale of Two Cuomos

By Greg Palast, Reader Supported News

03 January 15

 

The tragic end of the inspired voice and the duplicitous pol

knew Mario Cuomo well. Too well.

I helped write the talking points for the speeches that got him elected governor and I grieved that he did not become president.



But there was another Cuomo, the one who tried to stop the US publication of my book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”; the Mario Cuomo who went to court to try to put the Palast Investigative team out of business while we worked to expose the Bush Family election heist and the con job leading to war.

I just read the glowing New York Times obit. Even in death, Cuomo has pulled off one last con. The Times lauds his single stellar accomplishment as governor: “He closed the Shoreham nuclear plant on Long Island,” New York.

No, he didn’t. As usual with Mario, he gave a great speech – and won election by calling for the nuclear plant’s closure. But behind the scenes, the other Mario, the back-room wheeler-dealer, the toady to the bankers and power industry magnates, moved heaven and earth to stand in the way of the courageous statesmen and activists who actually closed this dangerous, radioactive monstrosity.

On July 2, 1985, the New York State Legislature was about to pass the historic law authorizing the public takeover of the out-of-control private company that owned Shoreham. Near midnight, one of Cuomo’s stooges called me (the legislature had tasked me to write the law’s first draft) to ask that we delay the vote, “because the governor still hasn’t made up his mind.” I said, “Tell Governor Hamlet that history won’t wait for him.”

The bill passed the next day – and Cuomo made a big show of signing the bill he secretly tried to dilute and kill. But I admit, he gave a great speech.

After nearly a decade of investigation, I recommended that the government bring civil racketeering charges against the builders of the Shoreham nuclear plant for, among other frauds, falsifying records on the plant’s earthquake safety and emergency diesel generators. (See the “Fukushima, Texas” chapter in “Vultures’ Picnic.”) Charges were brought, and a federal jury found the nuclear industry bigs liable for conspiracy, fraud, and racketeering.

The jury award would cost the plant owner $4.3 billion.

In public, Governor Cuomo praised the jury verdict; but behind the scenes the other Cuomo went to work, scheming in back rooms to cut the award and save the company from bankruptcy – and save the banks that held its bonds. Daily, the judge’s master would tell us, “The governor called again.” There’s nothing corrupt or illegal about the governor secretly calling the judge’s chamber, just two-faced and sickening.



Cuomo won. He got the case settled, over the objections of the officials and activists who had brought the charges, for less than a dime on the dollar. The public got shafted out of billions, and the company and banks were saved.

Cuomo took full credit for putting the rogue company out of business, for closing the plant and buying it for just $1. It was a great speech – a great fairy tale.

Cuomo’s little games meant the nuclear plant would cost the public billions of dollars, not a buck. When I tactfully explained this uncomfortable fact to the governor, he responded with an Italian gesture that cannot be translated in a family newspaper.

But duplicity has its price, and the Devil has the last laugh. While Cuomo was pleasing the bankers in private while publicly waving the liberal anti-corporate banner, a much brighter politician in Arkansas both pleased the bankers and sang their praises. The bankers’ favorite, their champion of the deregulation that Reagan could never dream of accomplishing, became president. And Cuomo spent his last, bitter years trying to hush up those like me who cast a shadow on his fabricated Glory Days.

Let me name a few of those who did close the Shoreham nuclear plant: Peter Maniscalco, Nancy Newell, Steve Liss, the Hon. Wayne Prospect, and the Hon. Paul Harenberg. I name them here because I doubt their obituaries will make the front page of The Times. They are the heroes, all of them bullied by Cuomo but unbowed. I cherish them for their actions, not their speeches.

It is the harsh and uncomforting work of a journalist to reveal the unforgiving facts when history is falsified. It’s a task I would rather avoid, especially now that The Governor’s great, golden voice, the voice that spoke for the working person, is silenced forever.

The conflicted soul he carried within him must have been a terrifying burden.

Now, may you rest in peace, Mario Cuomo. Both of you.



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+75 # annieblue 2015-01-03 10:07
Thanks, Greg, for this informative post. I wondered how the son got so far away from the politics I thought the father espoused....... .Now it all makes sense. Sad that he could speak so eloquently yet not uphold the values he spoke about.
 
 
+35 # SusanT136 2015-01-03 12:23
Yes although Andrew Cuomo is not as skillful as his father at hiding the duplicity. He is a social liberal but a blatant corporate lackey on financial issues. It's only because shale fracking had become economically unviable for companies in NYS (due to the courts' upholding of Home Rule, allowing localities to decide for themselves whether or not to allow fracking), and the strong, cautionary words of his fact finders Marten and Zucker that he banned fracking. He carefully distanced himself from their findings before they spoke, "deferring" to them. This way he can get the thumbs up from the anti-frack movement while still claiming to be "impartial" and leaving the door open if there are "safety improvements" in fracking in the future.
 
 
+5 # RLF 2015-01-04 06:53
There is little liberal about Andrew Cuomo. He is all about politics, dirty or otherwise that will keep him in power...taxpaye rs money to corrupt businesses...lo ng as it keeps him on top of the world.
 
 
-52 # joan 2015-01-03 10:22
This is soeret of a wacky article, offering anger but neither evidence nor motive. I'm sorry Mr. Palast had these embittering experiences, if he did, and I'll be really sorry if I find out Cuomo tried to support the power plant he eloquently celebrated the death of. But I need at the very least a logical speculation as to motive before I agree to dishonor the man in my memory, and as a "reality-based" type I'm also reliant on evidence. I'm sure Mr. Palast can supply the latter as well as the former, as he was a serious journalist before he became a pundit.
 
 
+42 # kalpal 2015-01-03 12:07
Why not read some of the books that do provide evidence? In the USA there are no honest, ethical or moral elected officials. Such people are not elected. Some wealthy people are needed to get anyone on the primary ballot and provide more support. If the wealthy guys are sure you are not corruptable, you will never be elected to any political job.
 
 
+58 # SusanT136 2015-01-03 12:36
Quoting joan:
This is..a wacky article, offering anger but neither evidence nor motive. I'm sorry Mr. Palast had these embittering experiences, if he did….


Motive: money. Duh. Campaign contributions. Sweetheart deals. Political pressure from powerful wealthy people…any of this ringing a "reality based" bell for you?

Palast is a serious investigative journalist. You obviously haven't been to his website or you would know that is what he does, period. He's not a "pundit".

By saying "if he did" you're implying that Palast is lying about what happened. Palast tackles controversial subjects and brings to light inconvenient and even scandalous truths. Anyone who does that for a living is constantly being scrutinized, and would be crucified for fabrications.

Unlike politicians who make a living by lying.
 
 
+11 # unitedwestand 2015-01-04 02:54
Thank you for lauding beautifully the very gutsy and brilliant Greg Palast. For anyone doubting what he says shows their lack of that fact and of the fact that anything that he writes is based on impeccable research or from his long personal experiences.

All the blinders are off from me regarding politicians having any integrity. Cuomo Jr. has been an enigma considering we wanted to believe he fell from a tree of integrity, but we've been suspecting sometimes that that is not not so much.
 
 
+19 # lfeuille 2015-01-03 14:40
Quoting joan:
This is soeret of a wacky article, offering anger but neither evidence nor motive. I'm sorry Mr. Palast had these embittering experiences, if he did, and I'll be really sorry if I find out Cuomo tried to support the power plant he eloquently celebrated the death of. But I need at the very least a logical speculation as to motive before I agree to dishonor the man in my memory, and as a "reality-based" type I'm also reliant on evidence. I'm sure Mr. Palast can supply the latter as well as the former, as he was a serious journalist before he became a pundit.


Palast was writing from his own personal experience. Are you saying he is lying. Either these things happened or they didn't. There is no room for interpreting historical fact. Motive doesn't come into it.
 
 
-15 # ericlipps 2015-01-03 19:51
Quoting lfeuille:
Quoting joan:
This is soeret of a wacky article, offering anger but neither evidence nor motive. I'm sorry Mr. Palast had these embittering experiences, if he did, and I'll be really sorry if I find out Cuomo tried to support the power plant he eloquently celebrated the death of. But I need at the very least a logical speculation as to motive before I agree to dishonor the man in my memory, and as a "reality-based" type I'm also reliant on evidence. I'm sure Mr. Palast can supply the latter as well as the former, as he was a serious journalist before he became a pundit.


Palast was writing from his own personal experience. Are you saying he is lying. Either these things happened or they didn't. There is no room for interpreting historical fact. Motive doesn't come into it.

Of course it does. This article reads like a posthumous last shot in a personal grudge match.

Palast doesn't have to be lying to be deliberately casting things in the worst possible light where Cuomo is concerned, conveniently when is target is in no position to defend himself.
 
 
+1 # 4RealDemocracy 2015-01-10 07:35
You seem to be, like the majority of Americans & the fewer that vote, a victim of the "fog of capitalism'. Its called a 'system' for a reason. All moving parts are owned, run, managed and a part of the machine that is just beginning to be exposed, finally, by writers & journalists like Palast. Yes, its hard to believe a systemic lie has kept so many confused into the 'reliance' on the Duopoly/Dems-Re ps for 'saving us'...when in fact THEIR BUSINESS IS TO SAVE THE SYSTEM. Protection is meted out to the corporations in the delusional & self-serving hope that then 'we the people' will be protected & saved. No. Cuomo the Elder had great inner ideals but the speeches ended at the 'back door' of political practicality (aka as VENAILITY). I loved his speches & believe he 'believed the words'...but in practice, he was entangled in the mob/machine of the Dems...as he would have ben if he were a Rep...Only grassroots alternatives (Green Party, independent voices)should be voted into as many offices as possible..befor e we have no more political process left to support because in this country we've been deluded by thinking the only 'choice' we have CAN EVER HAVE..is between the 'two parties of business-as-usu al'. We MUST build a NEW POLITICAL MOVEMENT that unites all of us who are struggling 'alone' to end nuclear, fracking,wars,l ow wage jobs, TPP, NAFTA etc...and join to transition towards the New Society to want AND NEED! PeopleForANewSo ciety
 
 
+1 # joan 2015-01-05 14:18
No, I'm not saying he's lying: if I wanted to say that I would have said it. I'm saying what I said: Mr. Palast offers no hard evidence. I know he is capable of doing so, he is an investigative reporter with a long and hnorable pedigree. He may in the future decide to write a serious article about these charges. I do think it is better to wait for hard evidence before agreeing to smear the reputation of a dead (or for that matter living) person.
 
 
+11 # ljslotnick 2015-01-03 23:19
Just read some of Greg Palast's writing. His facts are generally indisputable.
Motive: Are you kidding me? Open your eyes to the world of politics...and what an elected official will do to get there, and stay in office.
 
 
-1 # RLF 2015-01-04 06:56
He says he was there and contacted by the governor's office...doesn' t seem like evidence to you? You're a lackey for a corrupt family of politicians. I don't need any more evidence than this comment to see that. Pay attention in NY for 10 minutes and you wil notice cuomo self dealing.
 
 
+1 # joan 2015-01-05 14:24
I'm in no position to be a lackey for anyone! And I despise Mr. Cuomo's son, the current conservative-op portunist governor of New York. I am merely stating a principle: I need evidence in the case of any individual before believing that they are corrupt liars. Mr. Palast, as I keep pointing out, understands the point and purpose of evidence, and knows how to get it. I am not saying there is no evidence--how would I know? Just that any human being deserves to have the evidence against him considered before being condemned in the courtof public opinion.

ljslotnick thinks we should know that the former governor is corrupt because "the world of politics" is (I presume that's the implication of "Just look at..."). Does that then mean Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Paul Wellstone are also corrupt? They too are or were politicians.
 
 
+49 # Guy 2015-01-03 10:45
If you ever watched the series Boardwalk ,you would realize that nothing much has changed in US politics ,from the 1920's to today and possibly have gone from bad to worse.
Thank you Greg.
 
 
+45 # HowardMH 2015-01-03 10:57
I agree Guy.

Until there are thousands of really, really pissed off people at the Capital all at the same time – with base ball bats, or 2 x 2s) raising some serious hell against the Lunatics, and idiots absolutely nothing is ever, ever going to happen to these totally bought and paid for by the richest 50 people in the world that are becoming more and more powerful with each passing rigged election thanks to the stupid people.

So, scream, yell, chant, stomp your feet, and beat your drums so the media can show it on the evening news, while all of those who can actually do anything about it are home counting their donation money and laughing all the way to the bank.
 
 
+21 # Deboldt 2015-01-03 10:50
Unexpectedly sad. I thought we had a man with integrity. Sometimes the better the speech, the blacker the heart. Another politician comes to mind--Obama.
 
 
+6 # Gooshlem 2015-01-03 14:00
Obama does not have a black heart! It is red, like everyone else's
 
 
-14 # dquandle 2015-01-03 14:31
On the contrary, Obama received Cheney's old heart, and is making use of it just as Cheney did.
 
 
+12 # lfeuille 2015-01-03 14:48
Quoting Deboldt:
Unexpectedly sad. I thought we had a man with integrity. Sometimes the better the speech, the blacker the heart. Another politician comes to mind--Obama.


True, but Cuomo was so much more eloquent, and as he mostly kept his toadying behind closed doors, it was much easier to buy him as a true progressive. This is very disappointing. But, I guess it just emphasizes the need to follow the cause, not the man who seems to be championing it at the moment.
 
 
+36 # dick 2015-01-03 11:06
I am extremely grateful that RSN carries pieces like this. Send them some $$$.
 
 
+26 # anarchteacher 2015-01-03 11:48
For yet another side of the consummate political operative and duplicitous back-room manipulator that was Mario Cuomo, see this cogent and highly edifying 1994 snap shot analysis below of that mercenary and Machiavellian façade known as New York politics, where the "cream of the crap," the worst of the worst, rise to the top:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/01/murray-n-rothbard/politics-is-a-circus/

The New York Political Circus, by economist/histo rian Murray N. Rothbard


"Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators, and beneficiaries from those of a professional-cr iminal class."

- Albert Jay Nock


“The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.”

- H. L. Mencken
 
 
+6 # anarchteacher 2015-01-03 12:00
http://www.amazon.com/Political-Corruption-101/lm/R3L5NJ21QGHEH6/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full/lewrockwell

Political Corruption 101 - an Amazon book list

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Brokers-Fixers-Elite-Insiders/lm/3R15C6XC3B7QI/ref=cm_lmt_fvlm_f_2_rlrsrs0/lewrockwell

Power Brokers, Fixers, and Elite Insiders - an Amazon book list
 
 
+15 # goodsensecynic 2015-01-03 12:19
I confess that I didn't think about it much, but I occasionally wondered - mostly after the fact - what might have happened if Mario Cuomo had contested and won the 1992 presidential race.

I mused that maybe some remnants of Glass-Steagall might have survived, the attack on Iraq might never have happened (regardless of who won in 2000, Cheney would probably not have so tightly clutched weapons of mass destruction and unleashed the debacle upon Iraq, enabled ISIL, etc.) and the collapse of 2008 might not have occurred (or mightn't have been as disastrous).

As usual, I was probably too optimistic by half.
 
 
+24 # MHAS 2015-01-03 12:41
Mario Cuomo actively presided over a massive expansion of the prison system in NY state...as I recall, doubling the number of prison cells during his tenure and making several rural communities economically dependent on their contiinued high occupancy.

His interview show on WAMC was fun...that was the Dr Jekyll side of his personality...b ut his prison policies have had major ramifications and are his most heinous legacy in my mind.
 
 
+8 # brux 2015-01-03 14:05
Of course every lie, trick and deceit is used to give us the image of people who are common American citizens with our common values to get them elected to bypass real democracy and maintain our system as it is.

Cuomo is the tool of the elite, like virtually all of the other politicians in the country ... as well as virtually all of the journalists in the country.

Thinking that the Left is somehow going to change this by voting for and electing the right guy for President, or Senator, or anything else just shows how off-base the left is these days.

We are told how much everything is wrong, but there is no way to change the system, and sadly, the system is not going to change.

What the Left really should do is to focus on what it can do.

Educate, and find the political spaces where it can have an effect. Usually local politics and social movements. The problem is that stooges and hoodlums from the Right will infiltrate, bribe and take over any specific movement with any of hundreds of dirty tricks that most people do not and cannot know about.
 
 
+11 # Art947 2015-01-03 14:41
It is always interesting to see how these individuals, who were considered duplicitous when they were in office, are suddenly portrayed as paragons of virtue when they die. I think of the transformation of Nixon from crook to statesman, Reagan from sleepwalking, lying, sob to great grandfather of the country, etc. I am anxiously waiting for the accolades when the Bushes leave this living earth. Mario didn't get the nickname "Hamlet on the Hudson" without reason.
 
 
+2 # turnoutthelights 2015-01-03 17:22
Wow. President Obama is the same.
 
 
+3 # tm7devils 2015-01-03 18:15
Isn't "Political Corruption" an oxymoron...?
 
 
-1 # Daniel Noel 2015-01-03 21:26
Interesting article, but not truly needed. Cuomo's failure to denounce the criminal controlled demolition of the twin towers under evacuation is sufficient to establish his untrustworthine ss. The twin towers is such a simple and useful litmus test to eliminate bully pulpits as terribly ignorant or terribly hypocritical.

Love,
 
 
0 # joan 2015-01-06 19:45
Before concluding that one writer of eloquence who presents a view without evidence or sources is correct in his assessment, read one other writer--also a left-liberal long-time investigative journalist (and btw citizen of the Empire State), with different account. Then choose between them--or decide that ppeople are complicated. Eric Alterman in The Nation:

http://www.thenation.com/article/194009/mario-cuomos-patchwork-quilt
 

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