Corruption Rules…Again in Rhode Island: State election results great for corruption fans, national not so much

Election time has come and gone. we can’t tell you how exciting it was this year – our first election since Corruption Rules went public. Elections always make us a bit nervous because things may not always go our way and they are often a referendum on how well we are doing. But this is Rhode Island so “What, us worry?” We’re happy to say, this year most of it was good news, especially in Rhode Island.

As you should know by now, Corruption Rules has long advocated and promoted all forms of political corruption in Rhode Island and throughout the country, and have now gone public as a soon-to-be nonprofit, PAC, and maybe a church or temple. While we certainly support the use of corruption for people to personally enrich themselves, if you are one of those who actually want to do good things in a corrupt system with flawed people, you will often have to turn to or overlook it in order to succeed, as we have seen time and time and often more time again in Rhode Island and nationally.

Unfortunately, we have some work cut out of for us nationally with the Republican loss of the House in Congress, something that could have a devastating impact on President Trump and his ability to function effectively. We did fortunately gain some Senate seats but make no mistake about it, much damage has been done, especially with Trump’s efforts to cover up all the great stuff that he and others are doing. Our only compensation for this is it should up the entertainment value tremendously, one of the great side benefits of political corruption and conflict. Only because it’s actually true, unlike House of Cards, Wag the Dog, or Lex Luthor’s presidency.

Not so much in Rhode Island. While Republicans are our favorites nationally, we support Democratic rule in Rhode Island, due to their exemplary track record and willingness to screw over many living and working here in order to cater to political insiders and special interests, as well as run the state into the ground. We are especially thrilled with Governor Raimondo’s and Speaker Mattiello’s victories, and the fact that Democrats carried not only all the major offices, but many formerly Republican local offices.

Nationally, while we are especially proud of Trump for having taken crime commission, lying, hypocrisy, narcissism, being mentally challenged, dishonesty, childishness, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, scare tactics, the spread of hate and fear, perversion, groping, destroying the country, and other remaining forms of corruption and malfeasance up a notch or ten, we have always been concerned that he may need to tone it down a wee bit.  When fact checkers are thinking of only reporting anything truthful you say for the sake of efficiency, it might be time to reconsider some things.

While we applaud people for taking risks, creative thinking, and trying to bring things to new levels, we try to encourage corruption practioners not to go too overboard or off the wall. It doesn’t do us any good when you lose power, effectiveness or your office, turn things over to the other side, or end up in prison, especially when you are likely to take a bunch of people with you and they start to talk. On a self-serving note, it’s bad for our image. Ultimately we want to be seen as great strategic thinkers and tacticians, not criminals.

Having said that, it’s important to remind people that the pro-corruption movement never really loses. We always win, although not always to the same degree. While we have our favorites and ups and downs, as some people and organizations are higher practitioners of the art than others, since all individuals are flawed and both parties their own versions of crime syndicates, corruption to some degree never ends. We can certainly work with the national Democrats who in part gave us Trump and many Republican victories over the decades due to people getting tired of their corruption, ineptitude, in-fighting and other things. Remember, the Democratic message during the last Presidential election was “why vote for the last person you would want near the White House when you can elect the second to last.”

The bottom line is that anyone coming into contact with politics by voting, supporting candidates and parties, getting involved with campaigns, or working for government, practices some form of corruption, whether committing it, enabling it, or seeing it but looking the other way. Everyone in politics is working for us. You can’t avoid it. You are also working for some version the Firm (IMDB the Tom Cruise movie to know what I’m talking about). If you prefer one over the other, any individual or party that gains power will likely give it back at some point, which spreads the riches around and means good news for almost everyone.

In Rhode Island, it’s primarily the Democrats we support, and thanks to Tuesday’s election they hold every major statewide office, most of the legislature, and most local offices. Rhode Island’s own version of taking things to higher levels was victorious in the gubernatorial race. We were concerned about Governor Raimondo going potentially overboard but obviously in Rhode Island, there was no need to worry, at least for now.  Let’s not forget Rhode Islanders do occasionally wake up from their comas when poked or beaten upside the head, and we want none of that.

Raimondo deserves credit for writing a new chapter in the book on how to best make corruption and mismanagement work best for politicians. It begins with winning the Governorship on pension reform where many pensioners lost their COLAS, while the state lost mega millions through ridiculous investments that only made money for her business friends, while city pension problems were ignored. That was just the start.

She won overwhelmingly this year on a platform of incompetence and corruption including UHIP, DCYF mismanagement, the initial botched tourism program, truck tolls, questionable political hirings, questionable contributions tied to state business, road repair screw-ups, loss of the Pawsox (remember, she was part of the initial proposed move to Providence that started the public uproar that led to them leaving), a questionable CCRI free education program, deciding not to wear an American flag because it’s decisive, support in part of illegal immigration, initial failure to lower state flags after Buddy Cianci’s passing, questionable tax incentives and management of Commerce RI, sleazy campaigning including accusations of holding damaging information until after the election. Some put the cost to the state of her abuse and mismanagement at over 1 billion dollars and a few people being hurt in some way. Let’s not forget the state ranking at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to many important issues.

Despite all this, she accumulated a massive war chest used to beat back Mayor Fung on a couple of issues, purchase better approval ratings and vote counts, and gain national prominence, often mentioned in the national media as someone headed for the Presidency or some prominent national position. The lesson here: if you have a bunch of screw-ups that hurt lots of people and cost the state tons of money, patch together some sort of record, give away lots of free stuff, and attack the other guy with lots of money and you’ll do fine.

When Governor Raimondo says let’s keep going, let’s hope she means it. Let’s hope she continues on this path, setting a great example for pols everywhere, and continuing to make us proud. Hopefully, she’ll move onto national prominence where she obviously belongs and continues spreading the good word and doing good deeds throughout the country.  In fact, she could be spokesperson for our planned economic development initiative to promote Rhode Island as a great training ground for corrupt politicians. Maybe call it “Corrupt ‘R Us.”

While Mayor Allan Fung accomplished some things we approve of, such as the police scandal and resulting State Police report, rent scandal, refusing to debate in the primary (although note that this could have hurt him) and wearing a Trump hat, he lost us with his calls for line item veto, Inspector Generals, and investigations of Raimondo’s pension actions with Ted Siedle, someone who should stay home minding his own businesses. Plus he’s supported by radio man John DiPietro, who we have a problem with for trying to be some kind of reformer and rabble rouser against many of our favorite politicians. As is often the case with state Republicans and so-called reformers, they are often their own worst enemy by launching awful campaigns (part of Fung’s problem), failing to effectively fight corruption, or becoming as corrupt as the other guys when they get the chance. Overall, we felt Fung’s record was too clean, and his intentions to clean things up could potentially result in much damage, if he actually followed through. After all, in Rhode Island, reform often means just changing who has access to the proverbial cookie jar.

As for Rep. Trillo, how can you not have a special place in your heart for someone who was State Chair for a Presidential candidate who is (see list in the 5th paragraph from the top). We applaud Trillo for supporting Trump and recognizing what he has done for our movement and country and Trillo does have his scummy side that we admire. For a minute, we thought he might really be serious about cleaning things up although crashing his yacht into a rock with music blaring, accusations about deals with Raimondo, and ridiculous poll claims, plus a bunch of other things convinced us otherwise. We do admire him for trying the poll shtick even if it gave him no credibility, but Trillo deserves credit for turning Patricia Morgan and the Republicans to the dark side by removing her credibility and ensuring a Raimondo victory.

Special kudos go to the national Republican Party for withdrawing funding for Fung and a lifetime achievement award for the Rhode Island Republican Party for continued ineptitude in fighting Democratic corruption in the state.

As for the statewide races, the only one of any interest was the Treasurer’s “race”, if you want to call it that.  As we’ve seen with Raimondo and Seth Magaziner, clearly the last thing Rhode Islanders want is a Treasurer with any real investment competency that could save substantial money while making the state more money, and not pay ridiculous sums of money to Wall Street.  Mike Riley should have realized this and saved himself a lot of time and backed off since fortunately no one wants to hear that argument.

Maybe it was his campaign tactics of seeming to withdraw mid campaign, then threatening to beat up NEA leader Bob Walsh for betraying the teachers, and give up doing anything for the greater good to just hunt corruption perpetrators down for sport in a post that made Riley seem like he shouldn’t be near a computer when he’s off his meds.  To Riley goes a special thanks for being someone recognizing the corruption and need to change, but eroding any credibility by at times acting like a lunatic and again, running a poor campaign. At least he was smart enough not to spend any money during the election, something we heartily recommend to all reform candidates to show sincerity and avoid looking like they are trying to buy an election.

While Peter Neronha was a definite shoe-in, we hope he will avoid any investigation to determine who’s at fault and responsible for any past Rhode Island scandals. Let’s have a moratorium, for the good of the state, since we really need to heal. Again, we need to move forward and hope that despite a reputation for fighting corruption, he’ll realize it’s not important to place blame, and not what Rhode Islanders really want. And we heartily recommend adopting AG Kilmartin’s public record policies. we believe some stores supporting our efforts offer special bulk rates for government agencies seeking black magic markers.

On the legislative side, we don’t get into specific ideology too much, such as the progressives vs. pro business people. Corruption knows no ideology, political or demographic group. It’s the common denominator for all voter groups. We were happy to see what’s left of the Providence Journal support Speaker Mattiello along with Raimondo with something like “while they may have issues, it’s worth re-electing them.”  Mattiello deserves commendations for preventing so many ridiculous items like line item veto, closed voting for legislative leadership, and Inspector General, while continuing to support legislative grants (and cleverly giving the highest amount to himself), last minute legislation, ignoring or covering up sexual harassment and other at best unethical activities such as Frank Montanaro Jr.’s free tuition, limiting or preventing access of legislators to discussing and voting on legislation, as well as conducting questionable campaign tactics including claiming he didn’t know what account he was writing checks from. There are also questions about his involvement with 38 Studios.

Many rightfully buy Matiello presenting himself as a superhero who, as he states, is a firewall to protect the vulnerable public from ultra left-wing groups. This was another example of voters weighing good vs. bad about someone and despite bad being awful, re-electing him. We also commend his statement that he will more likely deal with news outlets that treat him fairly and are objective. We’ll adhere to that request by calling him Rhody Trump, calling all media criticizing him fake news, and reporting his every move. The good news is we can then probably get tons of good interviews with him. In fact, we should be able to get a direct pipeline between Corruption Rules and the state legislature.

By the way, did you notice that reformers happy with the Pawsox leaving never mentioned the corrupt way Mattiello killed any chance of them staying.  This is another great example of supporting corruption when it suits your ideological or other purposes, and why corruption is here to stay. We obviously oppose closed votes for Speaker and Senate Majority Leader and urge all legislators to vote for Nick Mattiello as Speaker. After all, your legislative life will depend on it.

One other legislative point. We were thrilled to see RI Republican Chair Brandon Bell lose handily, both his own election and the party’s statewide and local elections. The last thing we want is for anyone in the Republican Party to gain confidence they can be effective at anything.  We shouldn’t give him this advice but maybe now he’ll have more time to teach Republicans how to help and campaign for one another should they have a chance of winning vs. trying to elect Democrats.

We were happy to see Nellie Gorbea campaigning for Mattiello along with making changes to voter info without any public input.  We support voter abuse and recognizing our version of quality candidates so we’re glad to see she’s coming around to our side.

On the local side, we support Mayor Elorza’s victory, even though we were taken back by his attack on challenger Deedee Witman for her work with our idol, Buddy Cianci, and Allan Fung.  We applaud many of Elorza’s governing tactics including avoiding teacher contracts when kids can’t get a proper education and failing to appoint police officers while crime is rampant to be able to say the city is running a surplus, purchasing products for unpopular policies from a business employing his former chief of staff as a lobbyist, paying tens of thousands of unapproved payments to lobbyist Joe Walsh, being unprepared for the school bus strike, the speed camera fiasco, establishing practices that hurt local businesses, and maintaining a billion dollar pension deficit with a questionable solution at best, and other questionable financial practices. In our minds, a tremendous record.

We have a special message for Ken Block. Go away and mind your own business.  Are you that brain dead to not realize that in this state, exposing corruption benefits and is wanted by no one. It’s really poor practice to assume just because you exposed the firefighters’ side deals and they immediately inspected your business that it was anything but a timing coincidence, and your besmirching of firefighters is unforgivable.  We do, however, want to thank you for not using the Moderate Party in a way that would have really hurt our efforts, and not doing anything similar today. Not that we want to be too helpful or give you any ideas, but for every scandal you uncover, you are probably missing thousands, so you better work harder.

The 2022 statewide elections have now begun, and promise to be much more exciting,  with many potential candidates already lining up for Governor and other statewide offices, a reduced Congressional delegation, and new terms for Mayor of Providence. For those running and voting, we want to make it clear that whether you are a voter, politician, party supporter, government worker or whatever, remember that corruption can and will continue to be your best friend. We will be sure to keep you informed so you can make intelligent decisions about who to support and vote for, or how to use corruption for your own candidacies or political activity.

Special thanks for all your past and anticipated future support from the Corruption Rules team, and we look forward to serving you by publicly continuing our state’s tradition of practicing and promoting all forms of corruption. Not to be immodest, but things should improve greatly thanks to our ongoing public participation and advocacy.

Be sure to watch for our training programs and other services that will help you be part of our great political process. Oh, and be sure to vote. It’s your civic duty after all. It’s our civic duty to remind you that once you do, you can’t avoid coming into contact with corruption. There is nothing you can do about it. Our job is to make you realize that and the fact that there is nothing you SHOULD do about it.

There you have it. Rhode Island, with Democratic control, continues to be in good hands and leads the country by example. Remember, despite what people may claim, despite their yelling and screaming, Rhode Islanders don’t really want to end corruption. It’s not because they are too stupid or lazy. It’s because they are too smart.

To all of you in the reform movement, please keep up the good work anyway.  Sure you have had some victories and put roadblocks in our way but in the long run, you are losing the war. And you will continue losing the war if you keep up what you are doing, the way you are doing it.  If it will make you feel any better, there is a way you could really make a dent in stopping state political corruption if you really want to but unfortunately, it’s not our job to tell you what it is. Maybe you can figure it out. Hint:  It’s Rhode Island, therefore we are open to bribes. After all, we’re not hypocrites and corruption rules.

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