Roaming charges: The grifter’s lament


Dance of the thieves.

I have no idea if Paul Manafort will be convicted in his tax evasion trial in Alexandria, Virginia. But the financial crimes (tax evasion, bank fraud, embezzlement, money laundering) confessed to by the man Trump didn’t fire, Rick Gates, are fairly eye-popping…until you compare them to the $120 million Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is accused of grifting.

Now we have the case of Rep. Chris Collins, the Martha Stewart of the House, who used inside information on a failed trial for a multiple sclerosis drug to tip his son about the potential collapse in the stock price for Innate Immunotherapeutics, a pharmaceutical company on whose board the congressman sat. Collins’ son dumped his stock days before the news became public and the share value plunged by 92%, saving himself more than $768,000. Then, like Stewart, Rep. Collins lied to FBI agents during his interview about the pump-and-dump scheme.

Collins was one of the first politicians to endorse Trump and served as a key member of his transition team. They had much in common. Both were brash New Yorkers with millions in the bank and an antipathy toward any federal regulators scrutinizing their financial transactions. In fact, Collins, whose net worth is upwards of $65 million, is one of the wealthiest members of Congress.

It doesn’t get much sweeter than this. The indictment alleges that Collins, acted on his inside trading tip while at the White House picnic for members of Congress!

Remember that $40 million yacht owned by Cruella DeVos’s family, which some heroic pirate cut loose from its moorings in Port Huron, Ohio, and set adrift in Lake Erie? Turns out it’s registered in the Cayman Islands as a tax dodge…Making America Great Again!

The unplugging of InfoWars from its corporate platforms was a stupid and cynical move to silence a cynical and stupid man after Alex Jones started to hurt their bottom line. As with all forms of censorship, Jones will portray himself as a martyr and probably make even more money. Still, I can’t imagine a true feral journalist like Jean-Paul Marat whimpering that the Bourbon-owned postal service refused to distribute his L’Ami du Peuple rag to the Sans Culottes…

Whether the “Left” defended Alex Jones’ fascist theatrics on free speech grounds or wanted to see his mouth firmly muzzled with a red ball gag, we can be certain of one thing: the desires of the “Left” played no role in the decisions of the social media companies to yank his plug.

Almost to the day Cockburn died, he referred to CounterPunch as a “Twitter-free Zone,” blissfully unaware that Nat had set up a CP Twitter account a couple years earlier. But Alex understood that relying on FB or Twitter meant that you submitted to their corporate rules & whims not our own.

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