I’ve always assumed that the people who lie professionally on television about politics and current events were in it for the money. I’ve also always assumed that lots of them knew better and kept doing it anyway. Given that, what Senator Richard Burr pulled with the stock market – encouraging people to risk fatal danger in order to make money – is remarkable only in its crystal clear cause, effect, and self-interest.

Here’s what happened: a couple weeks after Burr wrote an op-ed saying the coronavirus was no big deal, he told his rich buddies that shit was about to go down. He (and presumably they) sold stocks accordingly, and made a killing.

You can’t convince me that this doesn’t happen all the time: it’s always seemed to me that high-profile Republicans, the smart ones, anyway, don’t buy their own bullshit. It’s part of the whole act. I wonder if their own voters are in on it. I can only think they assume that liberals, progressives, socialists etc. are suckers for believing any of it matters at all, or are playing the same shell game. If you think everyone in politics is there to rip you off, you may as well pick the people who aren’t going to nag you.

Nearly any evidence-based issue, like climate change or mass incarceration, plainly exists to anyone who understands data and statistics. And you don’t get to be a rich businessman and investor like Burr by being bad with numbers. (I was going to say you couldn’t make it to being a senator if you were a total moron, but then I remembered that Rick Santorum was a senator for a long-ass time.)


What would shock me is if anything actually happens to Burr. He’s been blatantly sketchy for decades. A brief glance at his Wikipedia page on March 20 yielded these corruption-related gems:

  • “Burr opposes the DISCLOSE act, which would require political ads include information about who funded the ad.”
  • “Burr supports the decision on Citizens United by the U.S. Supreme Court, which allowed political action committees to spend an unlimited amount of money during elections so long as they were not in direct coordination with candidates.”
  • “Burr has a known aversion to reporters, once even climbing out of his office window while carrying his dry cleaning to avoid them.”
  • “Burr believes the government should have less control over the banking industry, and was critical after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Wells Fargo $185 million and required they pay back their customers after the bank was caught opening millions of cost-inducing personal accounts and credit cards without customer’s knowledge.”
  • “He has voted to increase his pay seven times including most recently in 2015.”

Also, according to a Washington Post headline, Burr “voted in 2012 against banning insider trading for Congress.” He’s been pulling this shit for decades, so why stop now? At least he’s consistent.

In fact, he must feel untouchable. How else do you explain this?

Asked by NPR for a comment on the senator’s stock sales, Burr spokesperson Carroll replied, “lol.”

We’ve all known for years that guys like Burr are ripping us off. But hey, at least he’s having a good time doing it.