This is a tale of two escape artists in one city. Let’s start with my old friend the Rev. Al Sharpton. I call him an old buddy because about 15 years ago, in a downtown restaurant, a boxer friend asked the strutting Sharpton if he wanted to meet yours truly. The reverend did not miss a beat: ‘Man, I got better things to do than meet Taki,’ he snorted. I burst into laughter, so he stopped and shook my hand and I pretended to count my fingers and then it was his turn to laugh.
As some of you may remember, Al became famous 30 years ago by playing the race card non-stop and claiming that a young black girl had been kidnapped and raped by a white district attorney working for Rudy Giuliani. The case turned out to be a classic: full of baloney, as they used to say in Brooklyn in the good old days. Tawana Brawley, the so-called victim, turned out to have run away from home and to have made up the story to escape punishment. The tabloids went ballistic. An assistant DA kidnapping a 14-year-old black girl and raping her was a once-in-a-lifetime scandal. The DA resigned and spent the next ten years fighting the case. Which turned out to be as phoney as a three-dollar bill and then some. Once Tawana confessed, the DA sued the reverend for defamation and many other things. The DA won his case after numerous appeals by Sharpton but never collected a cent from the good reverend himself. Sharpton instead relied on his celebrity supporters to bail him out a few years later.
Oh well, it’s water under the dam now, as they used to say in Alabama, where the reverend’s momma came from, and where people used to tell tall tales about the fish they caught and the women they slept with. The Rev. Al has done very well since. He has led countless protests against the fuzz, now has his own TV network — yes, I said network — is on national television, to boot, and has countless cars and apartments all over these United States. He is occasionally sued by the IRS for taxes but always pleads poverty and the matter is settled. He also claims it’s racism, something he’s an expert on.
His latest, however, is as good as it gets. The Rev. Al, it seems, got a bit panicky when during an FBI sting operation he was taped having a chat with an undercover officer about the possibility of a 10 per cent cut for helping to smuggle ‘pure coke’ into the US for 35,000 smackers a kilo. When the video was played back to him by the Feds, Al knew the game was up so he decided to turn patriot. This was back in 1983. Sharpton met an agent who was posing as a South American drug lord seeking to launder money. When the video was played back Al said he’d be willing to wear a wire and expose the mob. After he turned snitch, he helped bust famous mob figures like Vincent ‘The Chin’ Gigante and other such socialites. Last week, when his government ‘work’ was exposed, he turned defeat into a famous victory by claiming that he had driven the mob out of the community and that he was no rat.
Black people cheered and are still cheering. Including — just wait for this — Attorney General Eric Holder, the highest law officer in the American government, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the President himself, Barack Hussein Obama. All four of the above attended Al’s convention in the Bagel for the National Action Network, his very own network that works solely for the advancement of himself. His stunt got the usual coverage but the Times failed to print one single word about how Al became a government snitch. I think it even cancelled the Coke commercials in case someone got the wrong idea, but I cannot confirm this. This is the paper of record.
Mind you, you gotta love Al. Talk about chutzpah. He’s got more of it than the whole of Israel. He’s legitimised his misdeeds and instead of punishment he’s got the President of dem United States himself flying into the city to kiss his ring. The bigger the controversy, the more black people and leftists signed up and genuflected.
I will not bother to go and figure. Instead, I will tell you about another very honest man, another old friend, Stevie Cohen, multibillionaire fund manager. Stevie is short, fat and bald, whereas Al is short, recently thin, but has a Samson-like hairstyle. The bald one has 11 billion smackers, and has recently agreed to pay the US government 900 million as a settlement — part of a total 1.8 billion in criminal and civil penalties — to close the books on his fund’s role of insider trading. His SAC Capital fund has seen six of his top employees convicted of the foul deed, but Stevie has kept his own hands squeaky clean. The fact that he knew when someone spent too much on paper clips in the office was deemed irrelevant by the DA. Stevie gets to keep out of jail and, more important, 9 out of his 11 billions. As I write, two more of his top execs are waiting to be sentenced. These guys have sure made the best of a bad situation. Happy Easter to all of you. Both Stevie and Al will be on their yachts somewhere in the Caribbean.
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