Monday, November 17, 2008

Free Mark Cuban! (Significant Update, November 18)

Obnoxious? Yes -- but gifted, too:
50-year-old billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, targeted by the Feds for daring to oppose the Great Plutocrat Swindle.

During an NBA contest between the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz several years ago, a shoving match at the low post quickly mutated into a bench-clearing brawl.
In time-honored pro sports fashion, the fans were treated to the spectacle of world-class athletes conducting an empty and largely harmless pantomime of actual violence.

Somehow, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ended up on the floor at the periphery of the melee.

Cuban, a legitimate self-made billionaire entrepreneur, can usually be found sitting court-side. With splendid indifference to the informal rules of team owner decorum, Cuban can be found mingling with the fans and hurling abuse at opposing players and officials alike. So when the scuffle erupted, Cuban figured he'd get a taste of the action -- or at least a suitable substitute that he could enjoy at a minimum safe distance.

The following day, Cuban made a comment to the effect that he wanted a piece of Jazz power forward Karl Malone. This gesture was a bit like an asthma hound chihuahua calling out a cape
buffalo. I found myself admiring Cuban's audacity even as I entertained doubts about his sanity.

Just in case you thought Cuban was serious....

Only recently did I learn that Cuban, in addition to being a wildly successful businessman and a genuinely brilliant if occasionally abrasive person, is an individualist whose favorite author is Ayn Rand.

Cuban's favorite book is
The Fountainhead, which in my view was Rand's best work; Cuban claims to have re-read it on several occasions, and was prepared to finance an updated version of the film. (The 1949 film, in my view, is among the finest movie adaptations from a novel, surpassed only by the pitch-perfect 1962 adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.)

Much to his credit, Cuban's defiant individualism extends to more important matters than court-side deportment. He provoked the theatrical condemnation of coprocephalic talk
show goon Bill O'Reilly by offering to bankroll the cinematic distribution of the 9-11 revisionist documentary Loose Change, which presented evidence that the Black Tuesday atrocity was an "inside job."

O'Reilly, who suffers a severe
histaminic reaction whenever he's exposed to critical thinking, insisted that Loose Change was a "diversion" from the sacred war on terror that shouldn't be "given a platform" of the sort Cuban offered. Cuban riposted that since the film was already in circulation on the internet and through other samizdat channels, it made more sense to bring it out in the open and confront its claims honestly.

"I'm not going to back away from a topic because it's controversial," Cuban promised, doubtless causing O'Reilly's
wattles to become empurpled with outrage. [See update at the bottom of the essay.]

Cuban's most recent effort to expose official squalor to the disinfecting rays of public sunlight is the investigative website, which is devoted to chronicling and exposing the details of the largest economic crime in history: The theft of trillions of dollars from the middle class to cushion the financial collapse of politically favored Wall Street welfare whores.

Mr. Cuban's willingness to finance this indispenseable exercise in forensic journalism has earned him more than the self-congratulatory disapproval of Bill O'Reilly: It has made him an Official Enemy of the Ruling Oligarchy and exposed him to retaliation by the Regime.

Today (November 17), the Securities and Exchange Commission, one of the Regime's more inept and corrupt enforcement appendanges, announced it was filing a civil complaint against Cuban alleging that he had been involved in "insider trading" four years ago.

The SEC complaint is really weak beer. It alleges that in 2004, the CEO of a Canadian internet company called notified Cuban -- at the time the company's largest shareholder -- that the company was going to raise capital through a PIPE (Public Investment in Private Equity) offering. Reportedly offered a chance to participate, Cuban allegedly became very upset, believing (correctly, as it happened) that a PIPE offering would dilute the value of his own holdings.

Cuban supposedly complained that he was "screwed" because he "couldn't sell" his stock on the basis of privileged information, and would simply have to take a beating. Yet, according to the complaint, Cuban did arrange to unload his entire share in before the PIPE offering was made public. This, according to the SEC, was "securities fraud [committed] by engaging in insider trading," and that by engaging in this purported fraud "Cuban avoided losses in excess of $750,000."

The "evidence" adduced in the complaint amounts to Cuban's word against that of an unspecified accuser, filtered in such a way that parts of it amount to second-hand hearsay. The merits of the evidence aside, I'm of the opinion that the activity called "insider trading" is an artifact of corrupt prosecutorial ambition, as opposed to a description of a legitimate crime of fraud.

It's worth remembering that last September the SEC, which would have us believe Mark Cuban is a menace to honest commerce, actually banned short-selling the stocks of financial institutions whose rotted foundations were visibly disintegrating. This ban was imposed, according to the SEC, in order to "restore falling stock prices that have shattered confidence in the financial markets...."

Well ... no.

That ban was imposed to keep the stock prices of fatally corrupt financial institutions artificially high. It was more than simply a vulgar political manipulation of the market; it was an act of Soviet-style intimidation in the service of a politically necessary fiction for the benefit of the favored, fraudulent few on Wall Street.

Herr Paulson, Comrade Bernanke, and their enablers and minions have redistributed an estimated five trillion dollars into the hands of impenitent fraud artists and thieves.

The architects of that crime insist that they owe no accounting to anybody for their actions. Thanks to the bailout legislation extorted from Congress under the literal threat of state terrorism, there is no mechanism of public accountability for this process.

Mr. Cuban, who is among the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, recognizes a critical market gap when he sees it. He also has an honest man's impatience with self-serving bovine residue. Hence his decision to fund, which immediately began to exhume and publicize fetid details regarding carefully redacted crony contracts, the squalid
compensation arrangements for the mendicant Wall Street nomenklatura, and other invaluable details regarding this world-historic crime.

So now the same official financial enforcement apparatus that is laboring to put hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars into the hands of unreconstructed Wall Street criminals has targeted Mark Cuban for ruin over a purported offense involving $750,000.

This is like Stalin and Vyshinsky taking a breather from the work of slaugthering millions of human beings in order to prosecute someone for cruelty to animals.

Let there be no ambiguity about the matter: This is unalloyed retalitatory intimidation, the purpose of which is as transparent as the mechanics of the Plutocrat Bailout have been opaque. The rulers of this nation are aware that the financial system is in an irreversible implosion; like their counterparts in the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union circa 1990, they are prepared to strip this country bare before the collapse is consummated, and they're willing to ruin anybody with the means to pose any kind of plausible threat.

Cuban denies the allegations and promises to fight the SEC. Taking on the Leviathan is an even more formidable prospect than throwing down with Karl Malone. It would be worthwhile for decent people in numbers as large as can be arranged to let Cuban know that we have his back.

UPDATE, November 18: The SEC's "Patriotism Enforcement" Division vs. Mark Cuban

Today's New York Times offered this intriguing glimpse of the backstory of the SEC's dealings with Mark Cuban. The paper received copies of e-mails sent by Jeffrey B. Norris, an SEC lawyer in Fort Worth, chastising Cuban for "being unpatriotic" by helping to finance the 9-11 revisionist documentary Loose Change.

Referring to the film as a "vicious and absurd documentary," Norris treated Cuban to various limp-wristed assaults on his character and threatened to tattle on him to SEC commissar Christopher Cox:

"If this [criticism] upsets you, I wonder how George Bush feels. I assume that Mr. Cox would view your involvement with `Loose Change' much as I do. After all, he served his country as a Republican congressman from Orange County for nearly 20 years and was appointed by President Bush."

Only a high-octane sychophant could refer to whatever it is that congressmen (with one conspicuous exception) do as "serving their country." Leaving that aside, it's worth noting that the tone of this little missive is unambiguously threatening. It would make pretty compelling evidence of criminal intent in an extortion plot, which may explain why Norris has made himself scarce.

The e-mail excerpted above was apparently part of a longer exchange between Cuban and Norris. From comments made in that missive, it appears that Norris had heard Cuban's exchange with O'Reilly, in which Cuban defended disseminating Loose Change so that people could make their own judgments about its merits.

Norris took inconsolable offense over the entire affair, and -- in the fashion of a particularly dutiful Brownshirt -- leapt to the defense of his beloved Fuhrer. It appears that Norris fashioned some kind of derogatory depiction of Cuban and threatened to make it public; this, it seems, prompted Cuban to threaten action of some kind in defense of his reputation.

All of this led to the following from Norris:

Previously, I thought you were merely foolish and naïve. Now, however, I see that you are also a hypocrite. I guess your belief in free speech has severe limitations. If someone else is the victim of an absurd conspiracy theory, you defend your right to participate in smearing the good name of a patriot like President Bush. But, when you are the subject of a parody of the attack you have endorsed, you suddenly issue threats.

I think I will e-mail this to Chairman Cox myself. I think he will enjoy it. I’m sure he is also a Laker fan.

Since Chairman Cox may not know the background, I will explain. [The following would be sent to Cox by Norris.] Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and has participated in distributing the vicious and absurd documentary, “Loose Change,” which posits that President Bush planned the demolition of the World Trade Center as a pretext for going to war against Iraq. We have had some past exchanges about my opinion the Mr. Cuban’s support for this project is irresponsible and immoral. Below, I parodied his position that every opinion, no matter how absurd and vicious, deserves to be broadly disseminated.

How can this be interpreted as anything other than a blackmail threat, best summarized as follows: "Withdraw your support for Loose Change, and retract your unpatriotic smear of our Dear Leader, or I'll take up this matter with someone who can really mess your s**t up"?

Available now!

Dum spiro, pugno!


Puck T. Smith said...

Thank you for putting two and two together. It struck me as odd that someone like Cuban would risk imprisonment for 750k--he probably spends that much every time he goes out to dinner. I had forgotten all about Now it all makes sense.

liberranter said...

If only the scenario depicted in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged could take place. That is, the productive elements of society effectively going on strike and disappearing underground, fomenting socioeconomic collapse in the process. I know, of course, that this is pure fiction and an impossibility in the "real world", but would that something of that nature were possible as a means of halting the kleptoligarchy's depredations and restoring liberty and the rule of law.

Good luck to Mark Cuban, and God Bless. May this travesty be recognized by "the People" for what it is and provoke sufficient public outrage to stop it dead in its tracks.

willb said...

The trademark of a fascist society
is that any individual in that
society can be found guilty of some
crime at any time.

"As you can see, we've had our eye
on you for quite some time, Mr.Anderson."

Thanks again, Mr.Grigg.
Another article worth my time and

cranky_old_guy said...

Not a follower of basketball, I had no idea who Cuban was. It also struck me as very odd that this type of guy was being prosecuted for a financial "thought crime".

FeirFactor said...

Great post. I wonder if you're right about the SEC's motivation. It seems plausible. If that's true, it's just sick. I hope Cuban didn't do it though. Not that insider trading should be a crime. But it is one.

robin said...

On the subject of novel to film adaptions, "Lilies of the Field" with Sidney Poitier is also good and incredibly faithful to the original.

William N. Grigg said...

That IS another very worthy selection, robin.

Another example of a very different kind would be the novel-to-film adaptation of Ian Fleming's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," which is my favorite Bond film. The movie takes minimal liberties with the plot, dialogue, and characterization (although Blofeld in the film is a more thuggish character than he was in the book).

arevolutionofone said...

Excellent post. Not a fan of Ayn Rand, but a well stated and informative defense of Cuban. He is a bit obnoxious, and is obviously being persecuted for doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Kuddos to Cuban! I did'nt know such a person exsisted. I will have to research him. Stand up for truth dude!

I got a battle raging right now with a real corrupt dude and since been arrested for trying to buy a parking sticker.

Lee Shelton IV said...

It's easier for the feds to go after someone everyone thinks is obnoxious. Look at what they did to Martha Stewart. Unfortunately, most Americans are more concerned about who's going to win Dancing with the Stars than our nation's slide into outright fascism.

Bearded Spock said...

"coprocephalic"!! My new favorite word. So many applications...

Anonymous said...

Now...didn't all the Securities Exchange Commission investigative findings in regard to stock market corruption prior to September 2001 all go to powder in WTC Building 7?

Anonymous said...

there is a special place in hell for people like Norris

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

I may commission a law clerk to research whether or not Norris can be referred to the State Bar over this.

Anonymous said...

insider trading laws are stupid. it's like you learning that your house is about to burn down, but the police will arrest you if you leave it.


Bob said...

Ministry of truth agents like Orielly and Hannity and their alien sedition view of the first ammendment only cause the people like myself to question and doubt the official story of the sept 11 attacks all the more. The Loose Change documentary raises a number of salient points, none of which the nay sayers address they merely resort to ad-hominem attacks and back alley thugish take downs like they have done to Cuban, Charlie Sheen and many others.

liberranter said...

there is a special place in hell for people like Norris

As there is for anyone and everyone who serves the most criminal and destructive functions of the State.

David J said...

Google WTC 7.

Anonymous said...

I am sure, now that the election is over, Jeffrey Norris will now busy himself hymning new praises to the newest Emperor to take the throne. All he needs to do is replace the name GW Bush with Barack Obama and he will officially be in good graces. My how low people will stoop for a paycheck.

Anonymous said...

". . . empurpled with outrage": brilliant!

zach said...

Boy, this government is out of control. I'm getting nervous. The criminal actions of the government aren't even being hidden anymore-it's gone totally rogue. And as far as "absurd conspiracy theories" go, scratch the theory part. The wtc towers were NOT brought down by fire alone. Granted, I have an engineering back ground, but how is it the layman cannot see that wtc 7 was imploded? There is no theory about it: there was a successful conspiracy to bring down the buildings to make it easier for the corporate empire to expand.

The Omega Man said...

My favorite novel-to-film adaptation, and one all too applicable to our situation, is the movie version of George Orwell's "1984". I've never seen a movie so true to the book.

Anonymous said...

When I heard about Mark Cuban being prosecuted, his exchange with Bill O'Reilly was the first thing that I thought of. When you include his support for it makes the prosecution even more odious! Do "they" really think that their motives aren't obvious, or have the "authorities" dispensed with all pretext of even trying to fake being legitimate?

Doc Ellis 124 said...

Lee at 3.53: "It's easier for the feds to go after someone everyone thinks is obnoxious. Look at what they did to Martha Stewart." Excuse me? More like look what they did to the Mongols MC. The feds stole the group's IT through a court order. They did this in October. Now they're going after Cuban. Stewart was not obnoxious, just cloying.

Doc Ellis 124

Doc Ellis 124 said...

personal note to Will:

Have as blessed a Holiday as you can.

May you have many more.


Michelle Fire Eater said...

Sweet. You are most excellent wordsmith on this farce. All hail both Cuban and Grigg!

I also noted this link
on my own blog.

When we're done with the SEC, let's all go after Rep. (now Senator - gasp!) Mark Udall's useless fed dept, "The Federal Office of Space Commerce." I mean, for crying out loud....

Thanks a bunch to proLibertate!!!

American Combatant said...

Two post-9/11 noirs worth seeing:



Steven Wevodau said...

Hang in there Mark and keep fighting!

Steven Wevodau

CycleTimeChart said...

Just wanted you to know Will that an article about Mark Cuban has appeared on the Lew Rockwell blog.

According to the article, he is involved in a company involved in facial recognition hardware/software.