15 July 2019

Epstein's web

I can't remember exactly when I first heard about Jeffrey Epstein and his "parties", but it was many years ago, long before Trump ran for President.  I always found it bizarre that Epstein has managed to get away with this stuff relatively unscathed for so long, given that his behavior is widely known.  I suspect he "has the goods" on so many powerful men who have indulged similar predilections at his parties or in his company, that he's been practically untouchable.  The absurdly-light sentence and non-prosecution agreement he received in 2008 in Florida, shutting down an FBI investigation into his activities, strengthen this impression.

Mock Paper Scissors posted a speculative piece last week focusing on the huge quantities of photographs of underage girls which Epstein kept, which have now been seized as evidence:

Why would he keep vast quantities of incriminating evidence?.... Epstein did not blackmail anyone, he doesn't need the money.  But what if the pictures are insurance policy of a sort?  What if he had a sort of "Dead Man's Switch" set up that if he gets caught, the pictures would be found, so better not to try to catch him. It's a dumb QED, but he got arrested and this cache of documentation instantly is found.

This makes a lot of sense.  The photo collection might be only part of the evidence Epstein has that would incriminate others, and even just his testimony that other men had engaged in child rape could lead to charges against them or at least ruined reputations.  So whenever Epstein was in trouble, as in 2008, powerful figures have pulled strings, made threats, done whatever they had to do to get him off the hook -- because they didn't dare let him go down and take them down with him.

But this time, it's not playing out that way.  For one thing, the photographs are already in the hands of the authorities, so even if the men incriminated by them (if any) could get Epstein off the hook, it wouldn't save them.  And the case has received so much publicity this time that it's hard to imagine prosecutors offering him another easy deal.

As the investigation continues, it's likely that any other evidence Epstein kept will also be unearthed.  If so, we'll see charges brought against powerful and prominent men, charges which will be extremely hard to deny in the face of photographic evidence.  Speculation has focused particularly on Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.

Now, it has to be emphasized that both Trump and Clinton are fully entitled to the presumption of innocence unless and until they are actually proven guilty of something.  That being said, it wouldn't be terribly surprising if evidence against Trump did surface.  He has already been sued twice by a woman who claimed he raped her at one of Epstein's parties when she was 13 (she dropped the case, citing death threats as the reason).  If irrefutable evidence is found that Trump did indeed commit such crimes, it could well be the end of his Presidency.  I've long opposed impeachment on the grounds that we could never get 20 Republican Senators to vote for removal, allowing Trump to claim vindication and whip up his base, thus actually strengthening his position in advance of the 2020 election which is our real chance to remove him.  But if it's proven that he's a child rapist?  Getting those 20 votes would become a lot more plausible, especially if the evidence leaks and actual photos start circulating on the net.

As to Clinton, frankly the very fact of his close association with Epstein arouses dark suspicions.  Epstein's predilections and behavior have long been an open secret -- his private plane is even known as the "Lolita Express".  Why would any decent person choose such a man as a friend?

(As an aside, if the 2016 election had not been stolen and this scenario were happening with evidence surfacing against Clinton, we would now be facing a huge scandal involving the husband of the President.  It's an interesting exercise in alternate history to consider how that might play out.)

Again, of course, remember that both Trump and Clinton are fully entitled to the presumption of innocence unless and until they are actually proven guilty of something.  I'm speculating here.

My point is, even all that might be only the beginning.  Epstein kept company with a lot of prominent people, and there have probably been others who took care that their activities and association with him didn't become publicly known.  Don't be surprised if the months to come see the disgrace and arrest of some of the biggest names in politics, entertainment, and other fields -- including some we would never have suspected of such crimes.


Blogger Nan said...

I couldn't agree more with everything you wrote. The noose is tightening and I, for one, am delighted. However, I still have concerns that power and money will play a role and things will not materialize as we all might hope.

P.S. I inadvertently "answered" the original email on this post and with Blogger, I'm not sure how that works. If this is a duplicate "response," feel free to delete whatever is necessary.

15 July, 2019 12:53  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm popping the popcorn and settling down in front of the TV right now. Let Justice be served!

15 July, 2019 14:10  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

I just hope something juicy and damming about Cheeto comes out. Yeah, I only hope the worst for him and his minions.
Did you read his lawyer’s wanted him in house arrest in his mansion? And that they found loads of cash, diamonds and a fake passport with a Saudi Arabia address in his property? Goddess are they corrupt.


16 July, 2019 03:48  
Blogger The New York Crank said...

"If irrefutable evidence is found that Trump did indeed commit such crimes, it could well be the end of his Presidency."

Objection! If Trump's overt and impassioned racist pleas barely vibrate the needle, what makes you think the Republicans would give a flying fart about child rape committed by the same individual?

My best bet: Epstein finally takes a fall. Trump takes a pleasant trip to Mar e Largo for a few days, then returns to the White House, sits on his bed, and tweets out some more racist vomit at 5 a.m. And life, such as it is, goes on.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

16 July, 2019 07:23  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I haven't read up on this case enough, yet, to do a post on it, I have only caught some bits and pieces. The MPS post about insurance policies and so forth, probably plays some role ... but he'll need protection as well from government (like "witness protection"), if he talks too much. From what I gather in his first conviction, he gave government some undisclosed information of value, as part of the deal, and that's not going to come out. I noticed they say he had alot of stuff on personal DVD's locked up ... of course he is not dumb, better to have anything on paper or DVD, and NOT keep anything on a computer. I briefly heard in the news this morning, that the judge postponed the bail hearing, that red- flagged me immediately, it tells me that this judge is waiting for other input from politics and money. What I mean is, MSM is saying that it's not thinking about the victims and their testimony, but to me ... even without the victim's input, common sense on the judicial part would not allow bail, clearly based on an almost definite flight risk. He has enough to cash bond, and do it indirectly, so that if he does make flight, someone will still end up getting that bond money somehow, whether through tax write offs or some other way, and Epstein himself wouldn't care about small potatoes in millions anywayz. No one even knows how this guy purchased his $77 mil Manhattan mansion, and that was probably done in some offshore deal, and probably funded by others, and not just cash, who also uses the/ there playdens ... the big money players are not only American but foreign, and it's alwayz nice to have a local American place to play without having to go to some hole like Bangkok or whatever ... you know, for clients.Then you got his Brit ex, that changed positions and became the madame/ pimp, to work the girls for recruitment purposes ... she can play a big role, but she will also need protection if she talks, and they will give her a "deal" because it;'s more complex than it looks, regardless of how cut and dry of a slam dunk case it appears. The only slam dunk I seen, was exposure, which is good, but not good enough for victims, right now, you got MSNBC playing the Trump card, and FOX playing the Clinton card, the usual media political game, pretty basic, to sway political opinion. As far as his defense, I have a pretty good idea what kind of hand they'll play in that, and figured they had it already planned for several years, because of the risks concerning clients (at least if I was defending him, I know what I would play), and that may be another mess ... too much shit to that. That's about it, I'll shut up, because I can on and on till the cows come home.

16 July, 2019 08:18  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nan: So far the authorities seem to be hanging tough. I think it would be much harder this time to get away with pressure to let him off. There's too much publicity.

Debra: Hope you've got plenty of popcorn. The ramifications of this are going to be proliferating for a while.

Sixpence: Yes, I heard that. It's further documentation that he's a flight risk.

Crank: We'll see. Accusations of racism get thrown around so recklessly these days that the word hardly registers any more. Child molesting, especially with photographic evidence, is rather different.

Ranch: Epstein is an obvious flight risk. More and more accusers are coming forward, though. Especially with the fake passport being found, it would be hard to justify allowing bail now. And even if Epstein were to flee, the photographs which could incriminate other people are already in the hands of the authorities.

16 July, 2019 11:03  
Blogger Nan said...

Lordy, lordy! I do hope all this lands squarely in the lap of you-know-who with NO escape. (And I'm not talking about Epstein.)

16 July, 2019 11:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does anyone else feel a bit spooked about how this situation feels a lot like a fun-house mirror version of the Comet Ping Pong child-molestation-on-order story line with the Democratic and Republican sides switching roles. Worse case, even if Bill Clinton is caught up in this, something that remains to be seen, it would seem that his role shifts from organizer to participant. Bill seems to have had problems keeping hit pants on but there is no evidence I know of that he has 'short eyes'. We shall see. Trump, OTOH, has a history of having eyes for under-age girls even as legally admissible proof seems to be lacking.

It has been said that 'every accusation made by the GOP is an admission of guilt'. Boy howdy. Qanon pictures Trump prosecuting a depraved Hillary Clinton et al. Kind of flips when I contemplate a Democratic House enforcing the law on conservative child molesters with Trump leading the pack.

But who knows how Trump's base will take any of this? A whole lot of conservatives were still supporting Roy Moore even after it was corroborated that he liked his women below the age of consent. The accusations against Trump messing with teenagers hasn't made much of a dent. Would a video of him screwing a teenager make any difference? Six years ago I would have said yes; It would sink anyone's political career and they would be sending a long, long time in the house of many doors.

Today? Who the hell knows. We are in a different world. Trump could get a ticker-tape parade for it while all females might be forced to wear burkas when in public. Sure, that has just enough opposite-day feel for it to sound about right.

Interesting times.

16 July, 2019 23:12  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The difference is that "Pizzagate", like most of the right-wing bugaboos, is completely imaginary and this is real. The right-wing world-view consists mostly of delusions whereas ours is based on testable reality (see global warming, evolution, effect of taxes on the economy, etc.). It's one of the fundamental differences between the right and left in the US today.

Would a video of him screwing a teenager make any difference?

For some of them, maybe not. For a lot of them, yes. Especially those that have daughters of their own. Never assume any group of people, even Trumpanzees, is completely homogenous. That isn't reality.

17 July, 2019 02:27  
Blogger Nan said...

"Especially those that have daughters of their own"

The problem with this is a large number of tRumpsky supporters are old, crotchety men whose daughters have long ago flown the nest. Yes, they may have grandchildren, but IMO, they are more interested in keeping their Hero in the WH than most anything else.

17 July, 2019 08:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

A large number, yes, but not all, and not all who are in that age group would react the same way (some would have granddaughters, for example). We don't need every last one of them to change their views of Trump. Just enough to make it possible to swing 20 Republicans in the Senate.

I'm not saying it's inevitable. We don't yet know how graphically, or even whether at all, the evidence will implicate Trump in child abuse. I'm just saying this is the only thing I've seen yet that has any chance at all of making a successful impeachment possible.

17 July, 2019 09:23  
Blogger Glen Tomkins said...

There probably is an age cut-off below which Trump would be doomed even among Rs. But 17 or 16 is probably not below that cut-off. Many (all?) states now have 18 as their effective age of consent, so sure, it would amount to statutory rape (the crime is called different things in different states, and there are age gradations whereby "statutory rape' is the name for one age group but not others) to have sex with anyone before they turn 18. But, especially among older voters who remember when the age of consent was 15, or even 14 or 13 (as it was in Louisiana when I was a kid), having consensual sex with a 17 year-old is not going to add appreciably in their minds to the whole carloads of sin the man hauls in his train.

If you're afraid to impeach over Trump-Russia or kids in cages because acquittal in the Senate could be seen as an exoneration, you're not going ahead over statutory rape unless the victim was no older than, probably, 14-15, at a maximum. You probably don't get certainty of conviction unless the age drops to 12 or below. In fact, you would be reluctant to impeach over a 16 year-old out of fear that an acquittal would lead to a push to roll back the age of consent to what it was a century ago.

18 July, 2019 06:55  
Blogger CD said...

that's perhaps why a billboard asking, "Would you feel safe leaving tRUmp alone in a room with your granddaughter? But you feel safe with him in the White House?" or some such drivel

the Omar business in NC last night comes across as the distraction from this, tRUmp knee jerks reacts by grabbing the pointy hood every time he needs to distract, he doesn't mind if people see him in the hood, it controls the conversation

way past time for justice for the victims of his acts, all of them

18 July, 2019 07:01  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Glen: If it were only a matter of consensual sex with underage girls, that would probably be the case (and in fact, in most advanced countries the age of consent is lower than 18 -- the US is an outlier). But some of the allegations involve coercion or outright forcible rape, as in the case of the California lawsuit against Trump which was later withdrawn. And remember, Epstein may have photos or video of this, which would make it impossible to claim the sex was consensual.

The decision about when to impeach should be based on when public opinion has shifted enough that the necessary votes for conviction in the Senate will be achievable. There will be hard data on that -- polling on the public's views of Trump after the revelations (if any) about him, and private discussions with Republican Senators. Pelosi won't need to just guess based on the ages of the victims -- she'll have actual information about whether and when impeachment can succeed.

CD: I tend to agree that Trump whipped up this feud with "the squad" largely to distract the media from the Epstein case. Looking at the headlines on most media sites, it seems to be working, at least for now.

18 July, 2019 09:42  

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