Bare-knuckles do-gooder

In today’s Boston Herald, Casey Ross shows how hard House Speaker Sal DiMasi went at casino-gambling supporters — to the point of awarding lucrative leadership positions to six legislators who had supported expanded gambling in the past. Four voted “no” last week, and the other two missed the vote.

Naturally, those who were interviewed by Ross deny there was any quid pro quo. But let’s say there was an understanding. It would be too cavalier to dismiss it with a “so what?” But this is the way the legislative game has been played for so long that I can only be amused at the outrage over DiMasi’s use of strong-arm tactics to stop something that would be of incalculable harm to the state.

The danger now is that some of these same legislators seem to think they’ll get their way in pushing through slot machines at the state’s race tracks. Let’s hope not. For now, though, I think DiMasi deserves credit for using his muscle for the greater good.

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48 thoughts on “Bare-knuckles do-gooder

  1. Anonymous

    Too bad he comes from a Rte.128-area district, (too far east). Rep. Charlie Murphy would be a natural for higher office, (e.g. Lt. Gov.),Democratic version of Scott Brown. (And no, I have no connection to him).

  2. MC

    I wonder if you would be so amused by the Speaker’s tactics if he had used them to assure the passage of the Casino bill?

  3. Dan Kennedy

    MC: No. I wouldn’t. In this case he used his power for the public good. I certainly wouldn’t be praising him if he had used it to harm the state.

  4. Rich

    I suppose this is more of DiMasi’s (and your?) “moral high ground” that you were praising the other day?(snicker!)

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Yes, Rich. It is. Saving us from what DiMasi has called the “casino culture” — traffic, crime, and increases in the rates of gambling addiction, divorce, and suicide. Compared to that, we’re supposed to be aghast because he passed out a few chairmanships? Please.

  6. Peter Porcupine

    DK – the other day, Ryan Adams wrote a similar post on his blog. And I’ll ask you what I asked him – this business of arm twisting and rewarding, while I agree on the issue, isn’t sort of…well…everything you were working against when you went on about change and transparency?What happens when he uses his power for evil?If you excuse the tactics merely because you agree with the outcome – THAT is hypocricy.

  7. TR

    You know, Rich, you should have travelled to Middleboro during this process when you couldn’t attend a single meeting without wading through crowds of paid casino supporters and listened to the jeers, comments, insults and intimidation.There were threats, name-calling and all sorts of unpleasant stuff that residents were forced to endure.This is our home, yet we were overwhelmed with out-of-town casino funded animosity. Democracy, anyone?

  8. Dan Kennedy

    PP: Ryan was a Patrick supporter. I supported no one. Yes, I vote. But I’ve been a journalist too long to get all that excited about anyone.Perhaps you can point me to a post in which I went on about change and transparency? Those can be good qualities sometimes, and maybe I wrote something along those lines; I don’t remember. But I’m not a process liberal and I never have been. You may recall that I was fully in favor of getting out the brass knuckles to keep same-sex marriage off the ballot.And I do think there’s a difference between using tough tactics to advance some public-policy initiative as opposed to, say, pushing through patronage jobs or protecting the state police or teachers union. Nor does it have to be something I agree with — if DiMasi crushed a spending program or a tax hike I thought was a good idea because he thought it would hurt the economy, I could respect that.What critics overlook is that this is democracy. This is how legislatures operate. House members could vote DiMasi out as speaker on Monday if they want to. That’s not much of a dictatorship.

  9. Anonymous

    Dan- Where was the outrage of the political pressure put on the residents of Middleboro. The Selectmen told everyone that they had to vote for the agreement or the town would get nothing! Casino interests spent over $100,000 to get the people to understand that a casino was in their best interest- I wish I could tell you a figure but campaign finance rules don’t apply to Town Meeting issues. Go ahead and oppose the idea and see how fast they call you “RACISTS”.I find it odd and sad that many- EXCEPT FOR YOU DAN- ignored everything that was going on in Middleboro. Now we want to hammer Sal because he knows that the Governor’s bill puts every town and city in the Commonwealth up for bid. Try to defeat a casino “vote” in your town and see how much they spend!THe Governor had the same opportunity to push his plan that Sal did. HE LOST! Maybe I will be outraged if Sal starts to attack the 40 or so that voted against him. For now, I will say thank you!

  10. Anonymous

    A general observation I make quite frequently in these matters:It’s almost never about the general principle when people bemoan or dismiss the bemoaning about tacticts. It’s almost always about whose ox is being gored.Bob in Peabody

  11. O-FISH-L

    Happy Easter / Happy Purim to all in the nation.Dan, not much keeps O-FISH-L awake at night, but, the thought that you may be teaching our future journalists that this is democracy in action triggers a chronic bout of ichthyo insomnia.Your logic is perverse. Passing money to a government official to persuade him to act in your favor is corruption in its most unmitigated form. Most sovereign states outlaw it with the label bribery. Of course in Massachusetts the money is hidden under sheeps’ clothing, aka “vice-chairmanship” and those receiving the money deny everything and demand proof. Meanwhile, the depravity is applauded by some in academia.Both Peter Porcupine in his 11:10 comments and Merriam-Webster in their definition, hammer this one out of the park. Kudos also to Casey Ross and the Herald for the chutzpah to expose this.Main Entry: [1]bribePronunciation: ‘brIbFunction: noun1 : money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust

  12. Anonymous

    Several years ago, when a casino was proposed in Plymouth, the casino investors did much the same thing — flooding the town with out of town paid ‘volunteers,’ glossly brochures, and all the other strong arm tactics. There’s too much money involved for these investors not to resort to those tactics. It’s a shame the casino supporters who are now criticizing diMasi can’t see through the facade.

  13. liamstliam

    Ya know, Dan.I struggled with this a little, too.I would have been angry if he used these techniques to support the casino bill.It’s situational ethics. Is it OK to be unethical to save a state from its governor’s ideas.As I have said before, living in southeastern Connecticut in the 1990s will sour you on casinos forever.Good analysis.Also, the anonynous:*****Where was the outrage of the political pressure put on the residents of Middleboro.*****The Globe buried it.I hate to say that. I am a newspaper guy at heart, and I hate criticism like that, but The Globe just didn’t get it.

  14. Jim

    Mother of God, POLITICS was used at the STATEHOUSE, of all sacred venues, to advance a public policy position. I’m going to write a strongly worded letter.Seriously, DiMasi used political tactics; Patrick and his union fellow-travelers used political tactics; DiMasi (and, perhaps only incidentally, the public good) won, because he’s actually a professional at it. And now the Patricios want to make a fuss? Hell, I’m thinking, finally some (backhanded) good comes of having elected an amateur as governor.

  15. Aaron Read

    Fish – assuming for a moment that DK is teaching his students about democracy (technically he’s a journalism professor, not a government/political science prof)…I think Dan would be right to teach students that this is really how democracy works in today’s day and age. I think it begs Dan, or any professor, to also teach that in a perfect world…money would not be the loudest form of protected free speech when it comes to talking to a legislator. And that if you’re going to be a journalism, particularly an objective journalist, it’s important to know that there’s a difference between the way things “should be” and the way things really are…and to account for that in your reporting.All this said, I am completely torn by this. My history as a former Green party member has me disgusted that this is what it took to get a horribly bad idea to be defeated. In other words, that the idea was not defeated on its own poor merits.However, even though I don’t live in Massachusetts anymore, I certainly don’t want to see casinos there EVER. (I grew up in SE CT during the 1990′s, myself) So there’s a part of me…and not a small one…that had a “win at all costs” philosophy to this.I suppose this is why we, as a public, often rail about how awful and soulless and terrible lawyers are…until we need one. And then we want the shark that’ll do ANYTHING it takes to make sure we win.To put it another way, Fish, I suppose it’s a GOOD thing that all the “bribery” is up-front and open…McCain-Feingold certainly proved that money finds ways to flow around any law you put in front of it when it comes to politicians. Arguably it’s better to be more open about it rather than to say it’s illegal and force it underground, where everyone “knows” it happens but nobody really knows how much or how badly it affects things.

  16. The Scoop

    You should really turn your focus away from this casino thing. I started reading this blog for media review, and I feel like we get less and less of that while we get more and more “casinos are bad!”Furthermore, this latest post shows how badly the issue has clouded your judgment. You are basically saying that it’s OK for elected officials to act in an ethically suspect way, as long as they do so to support a cause you endorse. Come on!

  17. Anonymous

    If what DiMasi did was bribery, so was union support for the casino bill, especialy the teachers union, which I am utterly disgusted with. They know that casinos would be bad for families hence bad for children. They have proven once again that their union mantra “for the children” is bogus. Their slogan should be “for our pocket”.

  18. Anonymous

    Scoop, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There was nothing “ethically suspect” in the way DiMasi handled this. House Speakers giveth and taketh away committee chairs and other goodies to people who vote their way. That’s the way it works.That’s the way it’s supposed to work.As Dan pointed out, if the House wants to vote him out as Speaker, they can do it right now.Also, please see the top of this page. It says:Media NationBy Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

  19. The Perfessor

    Dan, I’d like at some point to explore more closely the use of such tactics without regard for the end to be achieved.Are the means employed by DiMasi defensible in themselves? Or is this just a case where the end justifies the means?

  20. Steve

    Dan, doesn’t Ross’s article cast significant doubt on Keller’s claim that “the governor had the same bag of tricks available to the speaker”?On the other hand, what do you make of the timing of the lead story in the Globe today about a software company’s contributions to a DiMasi charity? Did the Globe have this story 2 weeks ago, and if so, why did they hold it until after the casino vote? Is this story part of a Gov. Patrick pushback? Are these questions just conspiracy mongering? :-)

  21. Dan Kennedy

    Perfesser: As I say above, of course the purpose matters. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something I agree with, but I would expect a legislative leader to use tough tactics in advancing his public-policy agenda.So much of what I’m reading here is astoundingly naive. The tactics DiMasi used are pretty much out of a high-school civics textbook, and have been used by legislative bodies from time immemorial. I doubt Pericles, or Jefferson, would be surprised.I’m not sure what the benefit is of having a leader who doesn’t lead.

  22. Dan Kennedy

    Steve: The article on DiMasi and the software company is a follow-up to an earlier article published before the casino debate. That one didn’t make DiMasi look good, either.I don’t think my good friend Keller meant to suggest that the governor has exactly the same kinds of rewards and punishments to hand out as the speaker. Clearly DiMasi can more directly affect a legislator’s life. But there’s plenty a governor can do, and plenty Bobby Haynes can do, too.

  23. Anonymous

    Let me get this straight–A year ago: the governor, the speaker and the senate president openly employ pressure tactics to prevent a vote on the marriage amendment, then allow a vote only after lobbying to gain a sufficient number of votes to kill the proposed ballot question. They are lauded by various outlets, i.e., the Globe, that supported their position. Good government, they call it.Fast forward a year: The speaker uses the same tactics, but this time against the casino bill. He is condemned as using old-style backroom pressure tactics. The Globe is offended that he stands in the way of a proposal it has hailed as a panacea to the state’s financial ills.Irony? Hypocrisy? I guess your view depends on which sides of the issues(s) you’re on.

  24. Mr Punch

    “Quid pro quo” is not the right term. House committee chairs are members of leadership, and as such are expected to give deference to fellow chairs, by supporting (or at least not opposing) other committees’ recommendations. It comes with the territory — no deal had to be offered and accepted.

  25. Anonymous

    Jim’s observation deserves attention:”Hell, I’m thinking, finally some (backhanded) good comes of having elected an amateur as governor.”Exactly right. At least we know we can control him.

  26. Anonymous

    I may be wrong, but I thought a “no” vote on this bill was FOR the governor’s plan. The way the legislative wrangling worked, a “yes” vote was a vote to send the bill to a study committee, which would effectively kill the bill.

  27. Dan Kennedy

    ANon 2:40: You’re right. A “yes” vote was a “no” vote. I’m just simplifying here.

  28. Long-time reader first-time caller

    Dan,As a journalist, a longtime reader of your reporting, your column, and now this blog, I’m signing off. I agree with those who say that you’ve lost your way — not in having an opinion on one side or another of the gambling issue, but in thumping it so relentlessly. I don’t believe journalists should take positions on matters of public policy, and I don’t believe journalism professors should, either. It calls into question the fairness of all of us. Somewhere over the past month, the signal-noise ratio went into the red here, so I’m afraid my daily visits will stop. Good luck, and I hope you’ll send up a flare when you get back into the journalism/criticism biz.

  29. Dan Kennedy

    Long-time: Since you’re leaving, I’m not sure whether you’ll see this. You ask a serious question, and it deserves a serious answer. Do you think it’s acceptable that opinion journalists take positions on matters of public policy? How could they not? Surely you know that’s a large part of how I’ve made my living since 1994. Do you read op-ed pages? Alternative newspapers such as the Boston Phoenix? Magazines such as The New Republic and The Weekly Standard?We opinion journalists owe you our independence. I don’t make campaign contributions. I don’t take money from advocates. I don’t endorse candidates or even say who I’m voting for. I have a sentimental attachment to my hometown of Middleborough, but I have no family there and own no property. I do have a few friends there, but you know what? We haven’t talked about it. For all I know, they favor the casino.Two journalists better than I — the legendary Christopher Lydon and photographer Mark Ostow — have both recorded videos in staunch opposition to casinos at CasinoFreeMass.org. Have they abrogated their responsibility as journalists?As for driving people to distraction, and then into not reading Media Nation — hey, I always knew that was going to happen. This is too important.

  30. Anonymous

    Dan: It is interesting, but I think that you do need to examine how you have lost any objectivity on this casino debate. I have been reading your blog for a long time (but never written or reached out in any way), and have always found you provocative, thoughtful and interesting. However, on this one issue, I think you’ve gone around the bend. I am no “process liberal” by any stretch, but to maintain that you aren’t just a little queasy about DiMasi’s tactics is quite astounding. If you can stand the analogy, you went in my mind from being on par with Talking Points Memo, to going all Daily Kos on us. Come on back, pal, we need you cool and cerebral, not blinded and and angry. (Of course, unlike “First Time,” I will keep reading.)

  31. Anonymous

    Dan, I would never had visited your blog if it were not for the casino issue. I appreciate your opposition to casino, present and future. I believe that bloggers blog and reporters report. Bloggers have a different set of rules, whether you write for a newspaper, or blog on the computer, you choose your weapon and go to battle.You never make everyone a fan, thats the beauty of it all. Thanks again for believing in it. NO BINGO HALL IN MIDDLEBOROUGH!

  32. Jacquie

    Good for you Dan! Don’t be swayed by those who don’t find the casino issue important enough….you have gained many NEW readers as well!Dan, we need your support…so please keep blogging about it!

  33. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 8:53: I appreciate your point, but I would argue that I am not selectively queasy about DiMasi’s tactics. Or about those of Finneran, Flaherty or McGee before him. (Keverian really did believe in democracy. Nothing got done.) Indeed, unless we find out more, I would have to say that DiMasi’s tactics are pretty mild compared to those of Finneran, who regularly stripped people of their chairmanships, or McGee, who took away members’ office space if they dared stand up to him.

  34. Peter Porcupine

    DK – one of DiMasi’s first actions was to strip Marie Parente not only of her chairmanship, but of her office (she then demanded that the dungeon she was relegated to in the basement be painted lipstick pink – and got it!). Tom O’Brien, before fleeing for Plymouth County, was given the 5th floor hovel that Byron Rushing had languished in during the Finneran regime – and for the same reason, a lack of philosophical agreement with the Speaker. Di Masi also banished the GOP leaders from the courtesy access to the rostrum they had enjoyed under prior speakers – just to show he could.As you put it, “using tough tactics to advance some public-policy initiative as opposed to, say, pushing through patronage jobs or protecting the state police or teachers union” are really two sides of the same coin. The Speaker has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be a petty and vindictive man. He believes in the spoils system which created him, and would build a casino in Middleboro next week if it keeps it out of the North End. In that regard, he is a capricious ally.Again – I AGREE with you about casinos. I do NOT want them in Mass. But wrong is wrong, no matter how Pollyanna you may think it to say so, and to be co-opted by such tactics because you like the result if to be cheapened by them.

  35. Dan Kennedy

    PP: I had forgotten that, but I firmly believe in the old adage “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies.”

  36. Neil

    I’m with PP on this. I’m not in favor of casinos either, but at the same time am put off by the moralistic nature of your opposition Dan. Leave arguing from the “moral high ground” to the mullahs and the bombers of abortion clinics. And pointing to casinofacts.org as a source for neutral information, a site whose “research” page consists of a list of partisan assertions, was almost enough to make me forget why I didn’t think casinos were a good idea in the first place.Somewhere along the line, where the logical arguments took a back seat to the eerily Bush-like certainty (I’m right because I know I’m right), tactics you would otherwise complain about rationalized because the cause is “too important”, you lost your perspective I think. “Too important” is reminiscent of the current administration’s fearmongering: we’re in a state of permanent emergency–this is no time to worry about such luxuries as civil rights–fighting terrorism is too important. Be afraid!Is the threat from casinos really so very dire that it justifies “Bush mind”? The righteous have no need of rationality, their minds are made up. Just awful. And needless, since the practical, non-moralistic case against casinos, it seems to me, can stand on its own merits, without claiming the “moral high ground”.

  37. Anonymous

    You know Dan, there is something suspicious about self-proclaimed “readers” of yours commenting that they think it’s inappropriate for you to blog so much on the casino issue. As I pointed out here earlier, the header says “The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions.” This is a personal blog. The number of casino-related posts has been up lately, but that’s obviously due to recent events.And the Globe can use the massive force of its editorial page to support the governor’s casino plan, but an opinion journalist can’t strike back on his personal blog?A few blogs have been a major thorn in the side of pro-casino advocates, and I’m guessing this is one of them. I am sure they would like to discredit you.

  38. Anonymous

    Neil, here is what is so wrong with your comparison: the Bush administration has repeatedly broken laws and violated the constitution and justified it with moral certainty; DiMasi did not. Nothing DiMasi did is against the rules, nor is it worse (actually, it’s much better) than the governor’s tactics.Also, questionable morality of the governor’s plan was only one element in DiMasi’s argument. He also pointed out there is ample evidence casinos won’t really and will actually do considerable harm , as in, fiscal harm.

  39. Jacquie

    Neil,In response to your comment;” I’m not in favor of casinos either, but at the same time am put off by the moralistic nature of your opposition Dan”.There is no way you can comprehensively make a judgement on pro/con of casinos without considering the moral implications. To make a decision on casinos without considering the social/moral costs is not educating yourself enough about the impact of casinos to make a stand.Unlike your assessment of self-righteous behavior or taking the moral highground, I would argue that those who DON’T consider the moral implications are trying to take the political so-called “high ground” by implying that they are above the moral issues and only consider the economic impacts.

  40. Gladys Kravitz

    Neil,You write, ‘Is the threat from casinos really so very dire that it justifies “Bush mind”?’When I first heard about a casino coming to Middleboro, I did my own research. Casinofacts.org did not even exist at that point. And what I found gave me much cause for concern. In fact, it’s turned me into an activist. I care very much about the place I call home and do not want to see an increase in crime and social issues, and don’t want to see my already-financially-stressed community stressed further. To me the situation IS dire. But, having gone to the hearing in Boston last week, and the hearing in Middleboro yesterday, I want to let you know that casino-opposition definitely had the FACTS on their side. And Mr. DiMasi did too. If casino investors ever manage to wiggle their way into the Bay State, it will be their influence that prevails at the State House, so I’m glad Mr. DiMasi used what influence he had now to keep them out.And because of my experiences in Middleboro, I can assure you the “Bush Mind” is alive and well – with casino-proponents. Many simply see it as a great glittering cash cow they can milk forever, and haven’t looked into the issue very deeply or have dismissed opponents arguments out of hand. (I’m right because I say I’m right.)

  41. Peter Porcupine

    Gladys – please do not misunderstand me. DK and I are not discussing the morality of casinos, which we both agree are bad, but the morality of DiMasi’s tactics.Case in pont – the Honourable Mr. Murphy. A casino supporter and Deval-ite when he ran. After a stint of five months, he finds himself as a Committee Vice Chair for Capital Expenses, his prior experience being his law degree and a stint on his local Conservation Commission. No financial or banking experience at all. Now, he will be vetting the long term debt proposals presented to the Commonwealth from various financial and government entities, which our children and grandchildren will be paying off – talk about gambling!He was awarded this position, and its stipends and perks, coincidental to changing his vote on the casino. Heck, after 5 months, he hasn’t even given a maiden speech, or had a CHANCE to impress in other ways.I am happy with the outcome, but we really need to gulp and ask ourselves if the ends DO justify the means – becaue by accepting and applauding these tactics now, you lose admonition rights in the future when they are used for something you DON’T like.

  42. Anonymous

    PP, I should know better, but, two things:- What state rep is an expert on everything?- You talk as if DiMasi did something illegal. A little sense of perspective, ok?

  43. Neil

    Jacquie so it’s not enough to be against casinos, a person has to be against them on your terms and if they don’t then it’s because they haven’t educated themselves to a level (ie, your level) that qualifies them to even express a point of view. Great.Don’t conflate social and moral “cost”. The social cost of a certain incidence of alcoholism for example, is a price we pay for the freedom to choose to drink. It’s not a “moral” cost. The state should limit its concern to illegal rather than so-called immoral acts.Ideally we as a society ought to, and used to, tend to favor individual freedom over a nanny state. Many people consider themselves libertarian in this regard, until some particular thing comes along that happens to get their backs up, then they change their tune pretty damn quick. I’m a libertarian but… I hate smoking! …but my poor rural town! …but not a strip club! Limousine libertarians, as it were.When you hear a phrase like “the moral high ground” hold your nose because the whiff of hypocrisy will be nearby. I await, for example, outrage similar to the anti-casino stance directed towards the state lottery system. Surely those against casinos on moral grounds likewise find the state’s encouragement to buy scratch cards morally repugnant and will encourage Sal DiMasi to do whatever it takes to get rid of the lottery. But, perhaps not? Suddenly we’re all libertarians again, since our towns benefit and it only affects families somewhere in MA after all, rather than in our town. Morality? Hey, it’s their choice to gamble!

  44. Anonymous

    Neil, In Jacquie’s defense and in reference to casino’s in particular, they are not legal here, so why create a new problem, I understand minus the millions in revenue, blah,blah,blah. Casino’s are nothing but money vacuum’s, and the folks that visit them tend to be the rich,who have disposable income, and the poor, who WE ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR. “Choice” is already with us. The lottery,booze,strip clubs. We should not create new ways for people to become socially dependent and morally confused.

  45. Jacquie

    Neil, first casinos are illegal in ma (and thank you anonymous for coming to my defense)…so you’re telling me that you can make a judgement on casinos without considering the moral implications? Do you know anything about how slots are made? If not I suggest you view this link:http://bellicose-bumpkin.blogspot.com/2008/03/dr-natasha-schull.htmlThese slots are made to intentionally keep players at them so they can “spend all their money”. Your argument would probably be that “hey, let them play the slots and do what they want”. At least smoking and drinking are legal. However, there is another clear and very important distinction. Both cigarettes and alcohol have warning labels on them that state these products may be hazardous to your health, and a person has a RIGHT to buy them if he or she chooses. I’ve NEVER seen a slot machine in Connecticut with a warning on it saying “WE ARE INTENTIONALLY TRYING TO MANIPULATE YOU AND TAKE ALL OF YOUR MONEY”.The money lost from casinos is a “social ” cost… the deception that is used to obtain that money is a “moral” one….

  46. Neil

    Well I presume that at least part of the purpose of Patrick’s proposal to “establish and regulate” the three casinos was to address the small matter of their illegality.I agree with you about warning labels on slot machines. There aren’t enough warning labels already and they should be on more products such as high fructose corn syrup. But our alien overlords, like casino owners, don’t want us to learn about the dangers, as revealed in this internal memo. Keep the lemmings fat, happy and stupid, pulling the slots and chugging the soda.At work I sometimes get a paper cup from the cabinet and fill it with Coke or iced tea. The cups are printed with “Caution: Contents Hot!” on the side. How does the nanny know, I wonder, that what you fill the cup with is going to be hot?

  47. Jacquie

    Interesting analogy….slots and high fructose corn syrup. I agree, both are major contributors to societal problems…and our “alien overlords” don’t want us to learn about the dangers. High fructose corn syrup has been a major cause of the obesity epidemic and has cost millions of health care dollars in increasing the rate of Diabetes in this country. So should the accountability be placed on the manufacturer or the buyer? Should the manufacturer be able to place anything they want in a product and it’s up to the buyer to decide? The FDA exists to regulate products, educate and inform the public ie: high fructose corn syrup….who is in charge of educating,regulating and informing the public about slots? BTW, It’s the very illegality of the slots that Patrick was hoping to make all of his money.

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