Friday, July 30, 2010

July 30, 1975 – Jimmy Hoffa Meets Mafia Heads

James Hoffa, once president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, had been through dire straights in the past ten years. He had been born to the working class and risen to fight for labor rights. After being fired as a teenager trying to unionize his fellow grocery workers to fight for fair wages and job security, he joined Local 299 of the Teamsters in Detroit, MI, and rose to the presidency in 1957.

In 1964, his luck changed. He was convicted of attempted bribery of a grand juror and, later, fraud. Gaining a commuted sentence from President Richard Nixon, Hoffa was free on the condition that he not participate in union business until 1980. Resistance in several spheres held back his ability to appeal, and so Hoffa settled to rebuilding his career writing autobiographies and planning his comeback starting again at Local 299.

In 1975, he met at a diner with Anthony Giacolone of Detroit and Anthony Provenzano of New Jersey, both Mafia bosses who had connections with the unions. Provenzano had served as vice-president for the IBT during Hoffa's second term. While the topics discussed remain a mystery, it is believed that Hoffa had a major plan to bring down the Republican Party as vengeance for the betrayal Hoffa felt being kept from union work despite having endorsed Nixon.

Through underground networks, and more openly after 1980, Hoffa began building a massive political machine. Though Reagan would handily win his reelection against Mondale in 1984 (despite the latter carrying Michigan and New Jersey), his Vice-President Bush would narrowly lose out to Michael Dukakis in 1988. Many commentators would say Hoffa's push gave Dukakis the few extra million votes he needed. Hoffa would die of a heart attack the next year at age 76.

The next sixteen years would be a golden age for the Democratic Party. Through two terms of Dukakis (often credited with presiding over the fall of Soviet Russia), a term of Bill Clinton of Arkansas (who would choose not to run in 2000 following a tarnished ), and four years of Al Gore of Tennessee, many progressive Democratic policies would become realities: a nation-wide ban on capital punishment, National Health Insurance, guaranteed housing, an increase of human welfare, and environmental protection.

In 2001, terrorism struck New York City, and President Gore would find himself at the head of a vindictive populace. Pouring resources into international policing and covert operations with the aid of NATO and the UN, Gore would declare a “War on Terrorism.” When Afghanistan repeatedly refused to cooperate in search of Osama Bin Laden, an invasion begins. While the Taliban are quickly knocked out of power, the war grinds to a halt with constant insurgency.

War weariness and a growing national debt would beset the American populace, and the Democratic era would in in 2004 with the election of President John McCain, a Vietnam war hero.

In reality, Giacolone and Provenzano did not meet with Hoffa. In the following investigations, they both denied even making appointments and had sound alibis. What really happened to Jimmy Hoffa remains a mystery to this day.

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