Opinion

Don't Listen to This Old Fool

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I must have stopped mocking Richard Cohen years ago. I figured he had been forcibly retired from his position as an absurd, out-of-touch liberal scold with the Washington Post. His work reads better if you imagine it as a skit from the Firesign Theater that got cut.

How could someone like him, with all of his past indiscretions with women in the newsroom, still have a job? Talk about a prime candidate for being a telecommuter.

Well, the premium that is being paid for unhinged flaky columns must be pretty high right now:

But the Democratic Party is on a tear. One by one, its candidates have embraced losing issue after losing issue. First came reparations for slavery, a noble idea lacking only popular support and practicality and possibly amounting to yet another attempt to right a wrong with money. Before that, the various candidates raised their hands in support of Medicare-for-all, which could strip millions of people of their private insurance plans. That is sure to be characterized by Trump as socialized medicine with the sick growing old and dying, covered in cobwebs while waiting to see the doctor. GOP strategists must be hyperventilating over all the goodies arrayed before them. This is a campaign even Trump could win.

The Democratic Party has a possibly fatal inability to prioritize. The urgent challenge is to rid the nation of Trump, not to mollify this or that identity group or wrestle over issues that could not be solved when they were relevant — such as busing. As it is, the candidates are campaigning in an America of their own imagination — a bit to the left of Sweden and as racially unified as one of those old Coke commercials. They pander to the extremes of the early caucus and primary states, thinking they can seduce the middle later on down the road or, in my case, giving me a choice of one of them or Trump. Sedate me first.

First of all, the voters have to get rid of Trump. I’m tired of having this argument with people. As soon as Nancy Pelosi says, fine, we’ll impeach the horrible bastard, the discipline that exists within the conservative movement will kick in and they will rally to Trump’s defense. It will give them a purpose again.

Second, the American people want socialistic programs without the socialism part, and they don’t want to pay for them, and they’d better work perfectly at all times, or else. This is the bill of goods that incompetent pundits like Cohen have been trying to push since the 1970s. The GOP simply has to act like the daddy party and say no and Democrats have to reinvent the wheel to convince people to stop allowing the looting of the treasury. Republicans promise the grandiose, but Democrats actually deliver working solutions. Republicans take care of their high-dollar donors, Democrats take care of working people. Really, this isn’t hard to figure out if you function normally in the real world.

Third, let’s not forget that Trump is extremely unpopular. The Republican Party is tied to his drowning coattails. There is no separation between anyone in the GOP seeking re-election next year and Trump. And what made all of them unpopular was their embrace of destroying health care in this country, giving a trillion dollars to the rich, wrecking the education system, deregulating polluters, wrapping their arms around corruption, and escalating the destruction of the environment. Democrats who campaign on saving the Middle Class, fixing the damage inflicted upon the Affordable Care Act, correcting the tax code so that it is fair once again, and dealing with global warming are all in line with mainstream voters who give a shit about things like democracy, decency, and breathing clean air.

Remember the first rule for dealing with the likes of Cohen. Democrats must be perfect and have flawless ideas that Cohen can take credit for. Republicans just need to show up, punch someone from behind, and run off.

So, quit with this notion that the Democrats running for the presidency are extreme or out of touch. They are all beating Trump like a drum in polls that should favor the incumbent right now. The Richard Cohens out there aren’t living in the real world and they certainly don’t have their finger on anything clean or morally upright, much less the pulse of the country right now. You can easily dismiss the complaints of a man who isn’t even allowed near the female interns anymore.

When it comes to the Trumpists, would you let your son or daughter anywhere near these pedophiles, rapists and thugs? Tell me again how they’re going to win re-election campaigning on four more years of Evil Incorporated.

The Extortion Scheme Laid Bare

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Jeffrey Epstein is probably one of the most successful human traffickers in history. Rarely does anyone enter that world and emerge from it a billionaire who, at least until recently, could not be touched. I want to draw your attention to one of the details that emerged today:

In a memo filed to the court, prosecutors outlined the scope of Epstein's vast wealth to argue that he has the means to flee the country and escape prosecution, noting that he not only has homes in Manhattan, Palm Beach, New Mexico and Paris -- with his Upper East Side townhouse, of which prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture, alone worth $77 million -- but also owns a private island in the US Virgin Islands.

He also has three US passports, owns at least 15 vehicles and has access to two private jets, according to the memo.

"He is a man of nearly infinite means, your honor," Rossmiller told Judge Henry Pitman.

The prosecutor also pointed out what he described as Epstein's brazenness and willingness to flout the law. He specifically cited the trove of photos that were seized during the search of his house on Saturday, some of which were discovered in a locked safe along with compact discs with hand-written labels that read, "Young [Name] + [Name]," "Misc nudes 1," and "Girl pics nude."

And he said that when officials entered Epstein's Manhattan home on Saturday, they found "the massage room was still set up in the same way it was 15 years ago, with a massage table and sex paraphernalia."

Let’s highlight the part that shows us how Epstein became a billionaire:

…compact discs with hand-written labels that read, "Young [Name] + [Name],"

And let’s really focus on this part:

"Young [Name] + [Name],"

When James Comey famously said, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” this may or may not have been what he was referring to. And these may only be still photographs, but I suspect that what was discovered today was the extortion piece of the Epstein empire. Epstein has photographic or video evidence of a young female with a person that he is extorting information from.

Now, that may or may not be the case here. I do not claim to have insider information—I’m simply looking at what was released to the press today. What I think the Feds have discovered is that Epstein was planning on destroying this evidence or using it in some way. They may have flipped someone weeks or months ago, sent them in with a wire to talk to Epstein, and heard something that would convince a judge to authorize a search warrant of Epstein’s property.

Who was that person? And why does that remind me of everything the Feds do to gain an advantage, even when it comes to someone who was “made” like Epstein clearly was? And when I say 'made,’ I mean it in a more legitimate sense. Epstein was created by someone else and may have been a cog in a larger machine. He was made in the sense that the law couldn’t really touch him. This is what kicked off the whole thing—if it hadn’t have been for the sweetheart deals, this asshole would have been living under a prison somewhere.

Isn’t this what the Supermax is for? The Epsteins of the world?

The fact that he was so brazen is one thing. Why would he have that information on American soil? Why wouldn’t he have it offshore? Or did he ensure that if someone tried to kill him that there would be multiple facilities, both in and out of the United States, where an associate of his could leak fatally damaging information about the people he was extorting? It boggles the mind, unless you’re familiar with the Russian methodology of turning people through the use of compromising material.

Epstein could have created an elaborate system of blackmailing powerful men with pornographic images or what the Russians call Kompramat. That would likely include everyone from Prince Andrew and President Clinton on down to Trump and Alan Dershowitz (or none of them, because, hello, we just don’t know). He could have used dozens of men to manipulate markets, carry out business agreements, and he could have done so by holding this compelling information on them in order to get whatever he wanted. Within some limits of reason, of course. There would have had to have been a mutual advantage to dealing with Epstein that made the extortion tolerable. I think that is one likely explanation for being able to amass a large amount of wealth and then maintain defenders like Dershowitz. It may have been as simple as a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, but remember that I own you’ kind of arrangement.

I mean, holy shit.

Epstein had to have been very calculated and exacting in this manner because otherwise he would have been dead a decade ago. Did the FBI raid reveal one part of his extortion setup? Did they discover the back up files in a place that was hidden and known only to someone who has already been flipped?

Again, this is all mind boggling. And very, very Soviet, if you ask me.