Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A Predator With "Friends"

There's a lot that's hard to stomach in reading about the extensive abuse Jeffery Epstein is charged with, but the chilling thing to me is that he seems pretty damn guilty and got let off the hook once, and it looks for all the world like it was because money and influence can do that for a person, no matter how reprehensible they are. Now, stories are flying around about important people whose names and reputations will go down in flames, or who will face criminal liability for any involvement. And good--that's what should happen. Knowing that something evil is happening and saying nothing, risking nothing, is enabling it to persist. To me, it isn't political in the least, but about what justice means. Justice should be blind with respect to party or class. It shouldn't be something that can be bought off or threatened away.

It's also chilling in hindsight that there were lots of signs that Epstein's world was a deeply weird construction of mysterious deals (probably lots of financial shenanigans) and the cultivation of "friends" in a oddly useful sort of way. A lot of people are making the connection now that his investments might actually in part equal "A fuckton of blackmail." What does this sound like:

Finally, despite having been previously convicted of a sex offense involving an underage victim, the defendant has continued to maintain a vast trove of lewd photographs of young-looking women or girls in his Manhattan mansion. In a search of the New York Residence on the night of his arrest, on July 6-7, 2019, pursuant to judicially-authorized warrants, law enforcement officers discovered not only specific evidence consistent with victim recollections of the inside of the mansion, further strengthening the evidence of the conduct charged in the Indictment, but also at least hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of sexually suggestive photographs of fully- or partiallynude females. While these items were only seized this weekend and are still being reviewed, some of the nude or partially-nude photographs appear to be of underage girls, including at least one girl who, according to her counsel, was underage at the time the relevant photographs were taken. Additionally, some of the photographs referenced herein were discovered in a locked safe, in which law enforcement officers also found compact discs with hand-written labels including the following: “Young [Name] + [Name],” “Misc nudes 1,” and “Girl pics nude.” The defendant, a registered sex offender, is not reformed, he is not chastened, he is not repentant;6 rather, he is a continuing danger to the community and an individual who faces devastating evidence supporting deeply serious charges.

so much as a trove of evidence to be used as leverage later on the off-chance it would come in handy? But also looking back at pieces written about Epstein from mere years ago, the nebulousness of his income stream and odd hedonism comes through in ways that seems a bit like foreshadowing.

From Vicky Ward's Vanity Fair piece:

Unlike such fund managers as George Soros and Stanley Druckenmiller, whose client lists and stock maneuverings act as their calling cards, Epstein keeps all his deals and clients secret, bar one client: billionaire Leslie Wexner, the respected chairman of Limited Brands. Epstein insists that ever since he left Bear Stearns in 1981 he has managed money only for billionaires—who depend on him for discretion. “I was the only person crazy enough, or arrogant enough, or misplaced enough, to make my limit a billion dollars or more,” he tells people freely. According to him, the flat fees he receives from his clients, combined with his skill at playing the currency markets “with very large sums of money,” have afforded him the lifestyle he enjoys today.

Why do billionaires choose him as their trustee? Because the problems of the mega-rich, he tells people, are different from yours and mine, and his unique philosophy is central to understanding those problems: “Very few people need any more money when they have a billion dollars. The key is not to have it do harm more than anything else…. You don’t want to lose your money.”

Why the mega-rich? Because under the right circumstances, they'll let you hold their money for them so nothing bad happens. They're more anxious than other people--they have more to lose.

Or take this piece from 2002 at New York Magazine:

But beautiful women are only a part of it. Because here’s the thing about Epstein: As some collect butterflies, he collects beautiful minds. “I invest in people – be it politics or science. It’s what I do,” he has said to friends.

It seems corny: "I invest in people". Sure. If one is a philanthropist, great. And "To Serve Man" is a cookbook to a man-eater. And sometimes, those people being invested in are a network of abused underage girls who are traded like units without any regard for their wellbeing.

This will be very ugly. I see that AG William Barr has recused due to prior associations. Time will tell us whether that means anything. And in a very rare concurrence with myself and the Concerned Women of America, I agree that Alex Acosta needs to be removed from Trump's cabinet, because defending himself regarding the sweetheart plea deal he made with Epstein should be his new full-time job.

UPDATE: Oh, it's like that, then:

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