Monday, March 9, 2015

Speaker Fox Goes to Jail: The Party is Over

Former Speaker, now Convicted Felon
Gordon Fox (D-Providence, RI)
Oh happy day! (Oh happy day!)
When Speaker Fox (when Speaker Fox)
Was taken away!
I can’t help myself: I am so happy that Gordon Fox went from the hen house to the state pen.
Rhode Island readers: prepare for a massive dose of Arthur C. Schaper breaking his arm to pat himself on the back.
I wrote about his questionable, even crooked dealings on 38 Studios.
When he resigned as speaker, but stayed on as a member of the Assembly, I knew that there was more to the story.
Fox, 53, was charged with bribery, wire fraud and filing a false tax return, all following an 18-month investigation by a federal grand jury, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday. He reached a plea deal in exchange for a three-year prison sentence.
Fox used his campaign account for a wide array of personal expenses, and he took a $50k bribe to help a Providence restaurant, aptly named “The Shark”. No one can make up this stuff. Yes, he cried, he said he was sorry, and he stood by his lawyer, a former House Speaker himself, who supposedly put principle ahead of friendship.
More prescient voices in the background believe that Fox struck a deal with higher-up officials (like GTA David Cicilline), so that one Fox gets out of prison, he will have an office job waiting for him. Despite the guilty pleas, the state has no answers about Fox and 38 Studios, or the grimy powers behind the throne pulling the strings.
Convicted Felon Roderick Wright
Don’t feel so bad, Rhode Islanders. We Californians have endured our fair share of (Democratic) corruption in Sacramento. In 2014, four state senators were arrested, indicted, and/or convicted of public integrity/corruption charges. I confronted my state senator, (now Congressman, sadly) who had refused to publish a statement or vote to get rid of one convicted felon colleague, who went on paid leave and refused to resign. The pressure grew strong enough (and could have upended his Congressional chances) that he was the lone Democrat to vote with the  minority Republicans toward expelling convicted felon Roderick Wright.
Speaker Fox in his power days
The moral bankruptcy of California politics has not ended, but is finally getting the fair hearing, the necessary airing long neglected by the liberal media class. Republicans pushed back and removed the Dem supermajority in Sacramento. What happens in 2016 is anyone’s guess, but Democrats already gave up on two special elections in Southern California, and they are eating their own in an East Bay area seat.
Yet for many concerned, conservative inhabitants, they are less interested, or even capable, of forcing change in the system. They all have one question on their minds: “When can I leave?”
It’s sad, but when the poor, parasitical classes depend on the political class, and the wealthy 1% never absorb the consequences of government micromanaging (because they can buy hordes of lobbyists), the working taxpayers, property owners, and small business entrepreneurs will do the easiest thing to safeguard their interests:  move.
How much longer will Smith Hill hammer the makers and create more takers?
For now, the biggest problem facing the Ocean State is not the over-generous welfare state. It’s not the onerous regulations on business.
It’s corruption. When a mayor’s race gets exciting and conflicted because a two-time winning (and two-timing felon) runs for a third race, and has strong backing to do so, it’s time to admit:
“Providence, we have a problem.”
So far, the not so merry-go-round of corruption has not troubled Rhode Islanders enough, yet.
Talking with Rhode Island’s chattering classes, I found that many agree: residents think corruption is cute, funny, and entertaining. One Rhode Islander here in California even laughed it off, then told me she was moving back home to care for her sick mother.
The next question comes to mind: at what point will Rhode Islanders get tired of this circular  swirl of pay-for-play?
It’s not funny. It’s pathetic. It’s stupid, and it should no longer be tolerated. But has business as usual become a sclerotic status quo which no one can or even wants to do anything about? What is it going to take before voters stop thinking that corruption is merely business as usual?
Gordon Fox Goes to Jail
Perhaps in order for anyone to do anything about this culture of corruption, innocent people, perhaps even children, will be hurt, or killed. Sorry to be so harsh, folks, but a direct threat to one’s life, not just livelihood, will have to jolt voters to stop promoting same insane Democratic litany of greedy public sector unions and seedy interest groups, stealing from dwindling public sector pie.
I was horrified enough to read about school children targeted with terrorist threats last year. Then I read about a former police officer who beat down a suspect, yet his conviction was reduced, his record scrubbed, and his pension protected. What happens when that next victim of corruption and malfeasance is you and me? Will this Fox episode be one more anecdote, or will it be enough to force Rhode Islanders to shout “Enough!” and “The party is over”?

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