Will The Epstein Story Ever be Fully Told?

Will The Epstein Story Ever be Fully Told?

Authored by Bill Rice, Jr.

More than four months after Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest – and three months after his alleged suicide –  it requires no opinion poll to know that few Americans believe the story of the international sex trafficking ring orchestrated by Epstein and his alleged “co-accomplices” will ever be fully told.

More specifically, many Americans believe that most (if not all) of the key questions regarding the case will remain unanswered. For example …

  • How many Epstein “associates” actually received sexual “services” from underage girls? Will all (or even any) of these people be identified, exposed and perhaps prosecuted? Were any of these individuals blackmailed, extorted or in any way compromised?
  • Did employees within agencies of the U.S. government turn a blind eye to Epstein’s activities? Was Epstein, in fact, “intelligence” and, if so, on whose orders was Alex Acosta allegedly told to leave Epstein alone?
  • Did Epstein continue his sex-trafficking operation even after being released from jail in 2009? If so, how was this possible? 
  • Where did Epstein receive the money to fund his operation, including the acquisition of the largest private residence in Manhattan, two secluded private islands in the Virgin Islands, a secluded “ranch” in New Mexico, two large jets and a helicopter?
  • Why, for years, did the “watchdog” press display no interest in a scandal that, if fully told, could qualify as the “story of the century,”  a story that might implicate many more powerful people and government agencies than Watergate?
  • Pertinent facts surrounding Epstein’s death, ruled a suicide, have also yet to be disclosed. One unanswered question: How was it possible an inmate who may have possessed “dirt” on the most powerful people in the world could be left alone in his cell?

In short, at least in the opinion of many, the public will never learn how massively corrupt our system of justice may be, and if a privileged class is in fact held to a different standard of justice, and/or is protected by the powers that be. Nor will the public learn how prurient, immoral and brazen a cross-section of the world’s elite may be.

Of course, authorities may, in fact, do their jobs and ultimately disclose the entire scale of Epstein’s operation. Prosecutions and plea deals to come could include a “Who’s Who” of the world, and expose any government agencies that may have “looked the other way.”

At least theoretically, our government could  expose a decades-long criminal operation, a revelation that very possibly would change the way millions of people view the U.S. government; not to mention how the public views many powerful VIPs who navigate in the orbit of politicians and policy-makers.

Once upon a time, the number Americans who believed justice would ultimately prevail in a case like Epstein’s would probably have filled a good-sized nation. Today, the number who posses this conviction might fill a medium-sized city.

Citizens who doubt the full story of the Epstein saga will ever be revealed have little trouble citing stories that explain their metastasizing skepticism.

For example, plenty of people did notice when Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman suffered no adverse consequences following the gruesome murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a murder many people believe the prince ordered.

Others remain befuddled as UK authorities continue to insist that the government of Russia commissioned a hit team that used nerve agents in the assassination attempt of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, this despite the copious number of holes that pockmark the “official” story.

Similarly, the narrative that Syria President Bashar alAssad “gassed his own people” – a highly questionable proposition to many – has nonetheless been widely accepted as truth, at least by intelligence agencies and a press corps that increasingly accepts official pronouncements as incontrovertible.

[editor’s note: see Caitlin Johnstone’s latest on two OPCW whistleblowers whose claims effectively dubunk the narrative]

The aggressive prosecution (persecution) of Julian Assange is another story that disturbs at least some citizens. The fact so few members of the mainstream press have rallied to Assange’s defense has only deepened the depression of one-time idealists.

And these examples do not include the most dubious government narrative of them all, the assertion Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, a false predicate that ultimately caused the death and suffering of millions of people.

Cynics could also point to an investigation that, unlike several of the above examples, did receive incessant press coverage – the story that Russia somehow “rigged” or “hacked” a U.S. presidential election, a conclusion accepted as gospel by most in the mainstream press, but viewed as preposterous by millions of Americans.

In these and other cases, a growing number of citizens have come to believe that official “investigations” and “official findings” are either a sham or intentionally omit details which do not support the desired meme.

It’s within this context that millions of Americans have latched onto the Epstein story and the growing conviction that our government (and press corp) have become more interested in concealing truths than exposing them.

The Epstein story is not just the latest scandal of the week. The number of individuals who could have been involved, or who might have worked to cover-up its existence, almost certainly dwarfs the number implicated in Watergate.

The list of those who might have some knowledge of Epstein’s criminal enterprise includes a sitting president, ex-presidents, ex-prime ministers, Justice Department officials, State Department officials, FBI agents, employees of domestic and international intelligence agencies, state prosecutors, local law enforcement, politicians, ex-politicians, lobbyists, titans of industry and finance, CEOs, attorneys, accountants, banks and bankers, celebrities, academics, scientists, political operatives and executives within the Fourth Estate.

Almost five months after Epstein’s arrest, one is struck by curious events that have already occurred and by developments yet to occur.

For example, how is it possible that Ghislaine Maxwell – the “Bonnie” to Epstein’s “Clyde” – has yet to be charged with any crimes? Or, as far as the public knows, even been questioned by authorities.

Public skepticism about the “investigation” spiked when, five weeks after his arrest, the FBI finally raided Epstein’s “Lolita” Island.  Epstein’s “ranch” in New Mexico has still not been searched.

The public has also received no indication that authorities are, in fact, questioning any of Epstein’s many “associates,” especially those who may have had sexual contact with girls recruited and groomed by Epstein and Maxwell.

Every person named in court documents or press reports as allegedly or possibly having sex with an underaged girl or young woman at Epstein’s bequest has denied the allegations.  Which begs the question: Who’s telling the truth and who’s lying? To form an opinion on this central question, authorities would presumably need to interview anyone with possible knowledge of alleged sexual or criminal acts. Investigators could then seek information that either corroborates or impeaches each person’s account.

However, evidence is growing that the protocol in a typical “he-said, she-said” investigation is not being followed in the Epstein case. Instead, authorities may have simply accepted as truth the statements of denial issued by powerful public figures.

True or not, many Americans believe the Department of “Justice” will not prosecute (perhaps even question) scores of individuals who may have broken U.S. laws and who may have been victims of a disturbing blackmail operation.

Perhaps authorities have concluded it’s better to not know. Perhaps they realize if they interview one suspected “John,” they’ll have to interview every potential “John.” if this number ends up being massive, and includes a Who’s Who of our society, important illusions about society’s leaders and our system of justice could be shattered.

At its core, the Epstein case will reveal whether government prosecutors and investigators possess the courage and integrity to expose sordid truths about some of the wealthiest,  most-connected, powerful people in the world, and perhaps reveal embarrassing truths about our  government.

Americans might soon learn what objective is more important to Justice Department officials: Protecting the rich and powerful from the consequences of their behavior, or confirming that a system of justice grounded in trust can still be trusted.

Sadly, many Americans are convinced authorities will not do the right thing.

However, in proving skeptics wrong, authorities would accomplish at least four objectives, all noble. They would punish the guilty. They would provide justice to victims too long ignored. They would deter future Epsteins and future “Johns,” especially those unaccustomed to being held accountable for their actions. And, perhaps most importantly, they would allow a ray of sunshine to pierce the shadow of cynicism that’s spread across our country.

While such a development might not restore all trust in government, it would be an eye-opening start. For those who believe the moral character of a nation is important, it would send a message that all hope is not lost.


Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance writer in Troy, Alabama. He can be reached by email at wjricejunior@gmail.com


Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/30/2019 – 22:30


via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2R7FO1y Tyler Durden

Schwab Abandons High-Tax San Francisco For New $100 Million Mega-HQ In Dallas  

Schwab Abandons High-Tax San Francisco For New $100 Million Mega-HQ In Dallas  

Charles Schwab’s $26 billion deal to acquire TD Ameritrade will result in the relocation of its San Francisco-based headquarters to Dallas-Fort Worth, reported The Wall Street Journal

Schwab gave no timeframe on the transition to Westlake, a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. The region is considered one of the fastest-growing financial hubs in the country at the moment. The merger is expected to be completed in 2H20 and could take 12 to 36 months to integrate both firms completely. 

Schwab’s new Dallas-Fort Worth campus will cost around $100 million, covers 70 acres with 500,000 square feet of office space. 

Schwab chairman and founder Charles Schwab noted that one of the drivers in the move out of California was the high cost of doing business in the state, “…the costs of doing business here are so much higher than some other place.”

Schwab expects the merger could produce 20% savings, or about $2 billion. 

“With this transaction, we will capitalize on the unique opportunity to build a firm with the soul of a challenger and the resources of a large financial services institution that will be uniquely positioned to serve the investment, trading and wealth management needs of investors across every phase of their financial journeys,” Schwab President Walt Bettinger said in a statement.

The Journal notes the brokerage house will pay significantly fewer taxes in Texas: 

The Lone Star State imposes a 0.75% franchise tax on business margins (total revenue minus compensation), which is substantially less than the corporate tax rates in California (8.84%) and Nebraska (7.81%), where TD Ameritrade is currently headquartered. The city of San Francisco also imposes a 0.38% payroll tax and a 0.6% gross receipts tax on financial service companies.

Texas has no individual income tax, while the top rate on income and capital gains in California is 13.3%, and the Lone Star State’s housing and energy costs are substantially lower. The average monthly rent in San Francisco is $3,870 compared to $1,200 in Dallas. Schwab workers and executives can have a higher standard of living, and more after-tax income, at the same salaries.”

Schwab said it would keep a “sizeable corporate footprint” in San Francisco, but the brokerage house will likely wind down operations in the state through 2025.

With the cost of doing business significantly less in Texas, the move has become a no brainer. It has also become favorable with employees, who will soon enjoy affordable housing and a cheaper cost of living. They will also enjoy city streets free of epidural needles and human feces, makeshift tent cities, and no rolling blackouts from the local power company. 

The great corporate exit of California will be a devastating trend for the state. Other companies will likely follow suit in the years ahead.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/30/2019 – 22:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/33wiJrK Tyler Durden

China Adopts Malicious “Cybersecurity” Rules

China Adopts Malicious “Cybersecurity” Rules

Authored by Gordon Chang via The Gatestone Institute,

On January 1, China’s Cryptography Law becomes effective. The legislation follows the December 1 implementation of the Multi-Level Protection Scheme 2.0, issued under the authority of the 2016 Cybersecurity Law.

Together, these measures show Beijing’s absolute determination to seize from foreign companies all their communications, data, and other information stored in electronic form in China.

Beijing’s complete visibility into the networks of foreign companies will have extremely disadvantageous consequences. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons.)

President Trump should use his emergency powers to prohibit American companies from complying with the new rules or from storing data in China.

After all these “cybersecurity” rules are in place, no foreign company may encrypt data so that it cannot be read by the Chinese central government and the Communist Party of China. In other words, businesses will be required to turn over encryption keys.

Companies will also be prohibited from employing virtual private networks to keep data secret, and some believe they will no longer be allowed to use private servers.

Beijing’s system, once implemented, will be so invasive that Chinese authorities will no longer need to ask foreign businesses to turn over data. Chinese officials will simply be able to take that data on their own.

“Once data crosses the Chinese border on a network,” writes Steve Dickinson in the China Law Blog,

“100 percent of that data will be 100 percent available to the Chinese government and the CCP.”

Beijing’s complete visibility into the networks of foreign companies will have extremely disadvantageous consequences, Dickinson notes.

First, Chinese officials will be permitted, under Chinese law, to share seized information with state enterprises. This means the enterprises will be able to use that information against their foreign competitors.

Second, China’s new rules will almost certainly result in foreign companies losing trade secret protection around the world. A trade secret loses its status as such when it is widely disclosed. Once a company allows such a secret to be carried on its Chinese network, the company has to assume Beijing will know it. “Since no company can reasonably assume its trade secrets will remain secret once transmitted into China over a Chinese controlled network, they are at great risk of having their trade secret protections outside China evaporating as well,” writes Dickinson.

Third, China’s cybersecurity program exposes companies to penalties for violating U.S. tech-export legislation. Businesses have assumed that technology covered by U.S. export prohibitions is not “exported” if it is kept on a Chinese network protected by end-to-end encryption, in other words, not available to Chinese authorities. Because companies will no longer be permitted to encrypt data end-to-end, they will almost certainly be considered as violating U.S. rules for tech stored on a network in China.

Not every analyst is alarmed by China’s December 1 measures. James Andrew Lewis, for instance, maintains that Beijing’s new rules are a “legitimate effort” to secure networks in China. Moreover, he argues the Chinese do not need the new MLPS 2.0 rules to grab information because they can just steal all they want with their advanced “APT” hacker groups. “Their intent is not to use it for malicious purposes,” Lewis argues, referring to Chinese officials.

It is not clear how Lewis, a tech expert at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, can know the intent of China’s officials. Furthermore, portraying that intent as benign seems naive—laughable even—while their country is stealing hundreds of billions of dollars of American intellectual property each year and while Chinese ruler Xi Jinping continues his determined attacks on foreign business. In these circumstances, we have to assume Chinese officials are acting with malign intent.

Lewis also downplays the basic point that China’s cyber spies, once they have the encryption keys and access to the China network of a foreign firm, will be in a better position to penetrate the networks of that firm outside China. Therefore, it will only be a matter of time before Beijing steals data and puts companies out of business or ruins them to the point where Chinese entities can swoop in and buy them up cheap. Many allege that China stole data from Canada’s Nortel Networks and thereby bankrupted it almost a decade ago. The company was, according to the Financial Post“hacked to pieces.”

Finally, CSIS’s Lewis fails to recognize that Beijing’s December 1 rules generally legitimize China’s regulation and information-custody role–in other words, China’s theft.

Senator Josh Hawley is rightly more suspicious of Beijing’s intentions. In November, the Missouri Republican introduced a bill, the National Security and Data Protection Act of 2019, prohibiting American companies from storing user data or encryption keys in China. Of course, this bill faces opposition from tech companies doing business in that country.

Yet, there is someone who can, with the stroke of a pen, effectively implement Hawley’s bill. President Donald John Trump can use his broad powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 to prohibit companies from complying with the pernicious new rules or from storing data in China.

The rationale for such a sweeping presidential order is that the American people have an interest in China not taking control of American companies with operations in China–a probable consequence of the application of the December 1 and January 1 measures.

Such an emergency order would effectively force American companies out of China, so this step would be drastic. Yet it is China, with its incredibly ambitious grab of data, that is forcing the issue.

The American people have a vital interest in the protection of American data. Trump should issue such an order immediately.

*  *  *

Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China and a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow. Follow him on Twitter @GordonGChang.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/30/2019 – 21:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2rFtoTS Tyler Durden

War And Peace: How Violence Is Disrupting The Global Economy

War And Peace: How Violence Is Disrupting The Global Economy

Although you may not see it, millions of lives are disrupted by violence everyday.

War, homicide, terrorism, suicide, and sexual assault can be found across the world in various degrees; but, as Visual Capitalist’s Katie Jones details below, while certain types of violence can incur costs that result in personal traumas, violence can also create significant economic disruptions.

In today’s Chart of the Week, we visualize data estimates from the Global Peace Index 2019 on the global cost of violence, and its geographical spread.

How is Violence Linked to the Economy?

The Global Peace Index calculates the total cost of violence using purchasing power parity (PPP) by considering three factors:

  • Direct costs: Immediate consequences to the victims, perpetrators and the government

  • Indirect costs: Delayed economic losses following the violent event, including the after-effects of trauma experienced by the victim

  • Multiplier effect: Calculates the additional economic activity that would have accrued if the direct costs of violence had been avoided.

Between 2012-2017, the cost of violence increased by 11% to $14.6 trillion—mainly due to rising violence in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2018, the total cost of violence decreased for the first time in six years to $14.1 trillion. That’s the equivalent of 11.2% of global GDP (PPP), or $1,853 for every person.

In this one year, the $475 billion saved from decreased violence costs was largely due to lower levels of armed conflict in Syria, Ukraine, and Colombia.

The Top 10 Worst Affected Countries

It comes as no surprise that countries affected by conflict incur the greatest costs due to a higher than average death toll, and sizable military expenditures.

Here are the countries with the highest cost of violence according to the report:

Since 2017, Venezuela has climbed the ranking and now sits in the top 10, due to continuing political repression and a spiraling economy as a result of hyperinflation.

The Global Composition of Violence

Government spending on military comprises 40% of the global total, or $5.7 trillion in constant purchasing power parity (PPP).

Naturally, the types of violence costs vary by region, and the most noticeable difference is in military expenditure. It represents 59% of Middle East and North Africa’s violence costs—but only 8% for Central America and the Caribbean.

Interestingly, the Middle East and North Africa boast the lowest levels of violent crime, homicide, and suicide, representing only 4% of the total, compared to South America’s 45%.

Keeping the Peace

Despite today’s chart painting a picture of the world as a dangerous place, it is worth noting that there are two sides to this story.

Of the 163 countries ranked in the index, 86 countries improved their peace score in the last year, with Iceland retaining its number one position for over a decade. In fact, the country has not had any gun murders since the Global Peace Index began in 2007.

Is the recent drop in costs of violence a sign that we are moving towards a more peaceful planet, or just a blip on the radar?

Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/30/2019 – 21:00


via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/35VB82Z Tyler Durden

How To Lose An Election 2.0: Mike Bloomberg’s Train-Wreck Campaign

How To Lose An Election 2.0: Mike Bloomberg’s Train-Wreck Campaign

Authored by Sarah Cowgill via LiberetyNation.com,

Johnny-come-lately to the Democratic primary circus, Michael Bloomberg, is two steps into a tight rope walk without a net and the unzippered tent flaps aren’t keeping out the blustery wind gusts blowing through the Big Top. Already irritating his own media business, Bloomberg News, with an edict to not report the ugliness of truth against Democrats and his own sorry self and polls stuck on the “we like Trump” needle, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign staffers appear ready to mutiny.

Mikey’s 2020 campaign chief, Kevin Sheekey, who says the entire election hinges on Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona, also admitted that “right now Donald Trump is winning, he is winning that election.”

Not even a scintilla of a message, “hey, my guy is in now and look out!” Nope. And then he laid out the most seemingly inept campaign strategy in our lifetime.

How To Lose An Election 2.0

Former mayor of the Big Apple, Bloomberg, is complacent with a large base within a stone’s throw of his ivory towered offices. I’d imagine a New York state of mind, much as Hillary embraced, makes one feel they have the entire nation front and center and rearing to pull the ballot lever just for them. Why else would Madam Clinton skip every rural mile of the Midwest, Bible Belt, and Rust Belt states? And according to Sheekey, that is Team Bloomberg’s 2020 strategic plan as well.

Michael Bloomberg

The first major misstep is the questionable decision to skip visiting any of the early primary states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina – a traditional early indicator of who can go the distance.

But Sheekey has a better, more universal plan. He is calling his Bloomberg appearance strategy a “national political campaign,” vowing Bloomberg will be speaking to “everyone in the country at once.” Pretty ambitious – or downright lazy – when ratings for the Democratic Primary Debates are at dismal levels. Can Americans be forced to listen? Sheekey believes it can be done:

“You can say it’s never been done before, but you also have to say no one’s ever tried it before. We’re going to talk to everyone in the country at once and we’re particularly going to overtalk to those people who need to vote …”

Surround Yourself With Best

Every US president – with only a few exceptions – knew to select the best, most loyal, and in-depth issue-oriented advisors. The same strategy is true in the trenches of a heated, highly populated campaign. You simply hire the best. Bloomberg may want to reassess the plans his campaign chief is spouting on Twitter and CNN about sitting back and allowing the people – all on their own – to tune in to the latest candidate infomercial penned by Sheekey:

“Mike is getting in this race because he thinks that Donald Trump is an existential crisis and he thinks he’s on a path to victory and he’s getting in to alter that dynamic.”

In other words, Mike joined the race because he has an overblown ego and knows the current field cannot beat the president if the election were held today. If this is his best campaign foot forward, he may bow out before early primaries even begin.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/30/2019 – 20:30


via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/35TRnxr Tyler Durden

Which Countries Offer The Longest Retirements

Which Countries Offer The Longest Retirements

In a world where central banks have repressed savers with over a decade of zero and negative interest rates, crushing the middle class and turning the US into a banana republic whose middle class is now shrinking so fast

… it is on par with that of Russia, China and Turkey

… it is perhaps remarkable that workers are still able to leave the workforce and enjoy some years of peaceful retirement instead of working every day until they die.

Of course when it comes to retirement, some countries are more equal than others – especially those where worker entitlements have been historically so generous that removing them would lead to nothing short of revolution, even if it means a slow motion fiscal suicide for the state which can no longer afford such generosity. 

So for all those asking which countries have the most generous retirement systems, here it the answer. We doubt it will come as a surprise that some of Europe’s most fiscally challenged countries are also those that offer the longest retirement across the entire OECD universe. Incidentally, those pointing out the “sexism” that women tend to live longer and enjoy a longer retirement, we are confident that no feminists will touch that particular “inequality” with a ten foot pole.

A tangent of the chart above: just because some of Europe’s most socialist nations have the most retirement regimes right now, does not mean they will in the future: as the next chart shows, in an progressively aging world, where there is roughly 45 retirees per 100 workers, this number is set to skyrocket by 2050, when such retirement havens as Italy and Greece will sport more than 100 retirees per 100 workers, a regime that is absolutely unsustainable.

And one bonus chart: yes, places such as Greece may have one of the most generous retirement regimes, but working all those long years to finally hit retirement in the thrice insolvent European nation is hardly a walk in the park: as the next chart shows, there is a great dispersion between those countries that have the most stressful working environment such as Greece, Turkey, Hungary and Spain, and those where work is a joy such as Scandinavia, New Zealand and the UK (although we somehow doubt the latter will remain on this list for long). Perhaps it’s only fair that after working in hell, one should at least be entitled to a few years of peaceful retirement. 


Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/30/2019 – 20:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2Y4H6eQ Tyler Durden

America Wages Economic Warfare On The Globe By Weaponizing Its Mawkish Culture

America Wages Economic Warfare On The Globe By Weaponizing Its Mawkish Culture

Authored by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog,

American nationalism binds the whole-to-its-parts by using narrative to weaponize emotions and broadcast the idea of American ‘wholeness’ as somehow exceptionally greater than the sum of its parts.

There can be no doubt that zealotry became the dynamic forging the American character . First and foremostly, enunciations spat out by bearded prophets were carried on the winds of ontological time and eventually landing on the shores of the new world along with bible and crucifix to stave off inequities and help shape a mind-set (and foreign policy) for those taking possession of the Kingdom of God. A colonial policy that inevitably consigned the population of the occupied territories into misery and poverty would in time come to be regarded as regime change. The Protestant reformation was always about gilding the God narrative with a work ethic equal to the sum of its mercantile whole.

To this very day, individual achievements take precedence over collective values as missionary zeal is believed to have the potential to sublimate the libido and divert energy into productive work activities. The nub of the narrative being the ineffable Protestant-cum-existentialist credential underpinning the virtues of 19th century Anglophile culture that found ways of appeasing the mind with dreamlike emoluments to convey the promise of earthly rewards for the industrious of mind…or simply put; mercantilism became a-one-size-fits-all solution for man’s irascible struggle with his existential hairshirt.

In time, European mercantile classes would invasively penetrate every corner of the globe for the purpose of wealth extraction. Those who sought material gratification would eventually come to define democracy as freedom to pursue individual desires. What emerged from this was class-identified gentrification and fake sugar-coated democracy supporting a form of fake-individuality that created a class system based on the exploitation on just about everything.

As time passed the existential stature of the state grew, while the existential stature of the individual remained the same. With the advent of mercantilism came a national economic policy designed to maximize exports and minimize imports, with the state taking a more adversarial role in all business arrangements. For the state to be greater than the sum of its parts meant exporting a greater quantity of its manufactured products to its trading partners while minimising the amount of goods they imported from them.

To do this it was necessary to devise policies that aimed to reduce a possible current account deficit and achieve a current account surplus. Mercantilism introduced a national economic policy aimed at accumulating monetary reserves through a positive balance of trade, especially in finished goods…fine policies in theory, but when push came to shove in the competitive arena, greed inevitably exposed these polices to the raw ‘talents’ of people like Sheriff Trump and most of his contemporaries , who interpret business as dealership and mawkishly set out to wage economic warfare on all and sundry.

The practice of sucking in wealth associated with the resources of Africa, India, the Americas, India and other Asian destinations was so successful that Britain…almost inadvertently…found itself in possession of an empire. It had reached a plateau where the sum was greater than its parts and to sustain its ‘sum-status’ meant creating an alliance of collusive narratives to justify its pre-eminence…and the best way to do so and retain control of the narrative was to resort to propaganda and trophy issues that would weaponize the emotions of the population. Hence the modern state found a way to prioritize itself at the expense of the individual. Over time, business cartels in tandem with the government would create ever more contextual paradigms for the individual to deal with.

What was required to sustain the status quo was a narrative to make the people feel proud of the fact that they were part of a-top-dog-team in action. Once the authors of the narrative realized that propaganda, when coupled with patriotism, could produce adherents imbued with convictions that were inherent in the narrative, they realized that language itself could cement a profitable relationship between buyer and seller and public relations became a force unto itself.

If you were part of the bourgeoisie who came into existence in the 19th centuries as a consequence of the wealth pouring into Europe and Britain from the colonial exploitation of Africa or India, Ireland, Asia etc. and your conscience was troubled by virtue of being party to a culture sliding grandiosely up its own existential arse, you could find balm within the isolated confines of the psychiatrist’s couch if your pockets were deep enough. If you were of a humble disposition, there was the pastor or the priest who could deal with your existential woes. If you made it to the 20th century you probably would have become so conditioned by events as to be unaware of other people’s suffering…and if you made it to the 21 century…perish the thought!

It was in this phase of history that commerce cleverly entered the business of explaining the meaning of existence per educational fiat…for a price! Thereafter it would be secular experts who explained the meaning of life to anybody who could afford to pay for enlightenment while simultaneously repressing revolutionary instincts that could, in the first instance, allow the light of reason to filter through.

With the crafting of the existential narrative, more and more people came to see themselves as parts in a new whole. Personal history became the curveball of the 20th century, promoting a vision of America as utopia on steroids, which in turn, produced a sky-is-the-limit kind of optimism. America had long taken over from where Britain had left off after experiencing a fin de siecle stampede through its pearly gates in the 19th century which eventually produced an adrenaline rush to end all adrenaline rushes by the time it put a man on the moon. The net result was that American industry became kingpin for a century which left it convinced of its own invincibility.

When did America start to believe that it had to possess the biggest nuclear arsenal for it to feel that ‘whole’ America had become greater than the sum of its rival’s parts? Which raises the question; given the way power is used by the modern democratic-capitalist state, is the American constitution merely an example of baggage retained for baggage sake? Is there anything beyond raw power that may define its essence? Does it have an essence, or is it merely guided by some dark light that emanates from a single word…’democracy’…that stands alone on the blank piece of paper that was placed in a bottle and cast upon the ocean with information that might help ‘the people’ fulfil their desires?

Do the people not see that they need to be free from illusions that enfold them before they can revolutionize their system…and move on?

The elites who control the narrative remain invisible, they are neither deep nor surface stakeholders, they simply control the money flow. They are the sum-total of the faceless state, protected by protocols, secret intelligence agencies and the reality of the military budget that is put in place to maintain top-dog status for the elites and the illusions that comfort the multifarious minions now quarantined in citizen- zones that continue to emasculate their revolutionary spirit.

The current impeachment process in America best illustrates the sterility the population is immiserated in. They should be impeaching themselves (instead of looking for a scapegoat) for their inability to confront their own record. They seem unaware that they are party to a bloodbath that has devastated much of the Middle East and many other societies across the globe.

Once again, Americans are involved in the early stages of an election that leaves the question of America’s foreign policy in the too hard basket. A charade that would make Machiavelli blush. But alas, when blush comes to shove, American might is a God given right and collateral damage is not something that would soon alter the tone of its pugnaciously thick-skinned approach to reality.

Then there is ever more evidence of the schism that is corporate existentialism as opposed to individual existentialism. The former owning the right to squash the latter ever since Corporate America took the civil out of civilisation by assiduously seeking to remove voices/data/information/truth and honourable journalism from serving the public interest.

To observe how Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden (also Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Wigand, Thomas Andrew Drake and Frank Serpico) were treated for divulging the execrable crimes of the American state are odious to say the least. That so many Americans, in condoning “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” mentality, and dismissive of the service their whistle-blowers are providing, is appalling. A new class of people have come into existence and they hate whistle-blowers because they speak truth to power…pity the millions of Americans who don’t think that way!

And what does the MSM really think of all this? That the New York Times continues to readily publish Bibi Netanyahu’s blandishments concerning existential threats to Israel while ignoring the fact that Palestine have had their country invaded and countless Palestinians now live under appalling conditions where existential rights do not even apply to them. The hurt that is inflicted on Palestinians is akin to the hurt that can be extended to say, Julian Assange, because both insidiously demean the human spirit.

These are actions that highlight the schism that exists between governance and the governed…existence of the state in relation to the existence of the individual…or any other agent in the individual legal zone we recognise as being separate from the privileged existential zone of governments that includes corporations who enjoy limited liability by virtue of their status in law. Existentialism, at the individual level, is a concept born of leisure (think affluence), but when dealing with fiscal reality, finds its sovereignty somewhat overshadowed by the external trappings of an existential system designed to keep the checks and balances that favour the imperial narrative.

Six months ago when the US Government slammed Assange with 17 charges under The Espionage Act for publishing the Chelsea Manning Leaks, indications were that these actions were taken to stifle the existence of a precedent that challenged the rights of a government to suppress the existence of truth itself; eventually it became their right to gag the message and the messenger.

The American police state is a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle meant to keep the property and the resources of the American people flowing into corrupt government agencies and their corporate partners. In its present incarnation, it unmistakably exists as a pariah whose insidious meddling in other people’s systems knows no limitations. It unrelentingly spews out lies at every opportunity which vaunt variations on a theme of America’s self-righteous greatness ad nauseam. Its porous foreign policy exists to suck-out the essence of vulnerable states that are exposed to the gravitation pull of weaponised systems such as Wall Street and The Pentagon.

The systems that have weaponized American culture have spawned a host of ‘yes’ men and women…the MSM is aglow with them. The emotional and intellectual life of main street America is ominously self-righteous and defensive. To understand how reflexive American politics is, is to discover…by merely surfing channels…that the American public has become the meat in a political-duopoly sandwich.

To listen to Elizabeth Warren expostulating on Bolivia attests to a form of political incest that bedevils America. The Massachusetts Senator wanted to air her foreign policy bona fides in an interview with a former Barack Obama administration apparatchik on the podcast “Pod Save America.”

Warren praised Trump’s strategy of appointing the deflated Venezuela coup leader Juan Guaido as president and declared, “I support economic sanctions.” She also described the country’s democratically elected president Nicolas Maduro as a “dictator.” …although the interview was conducted back in February, video clips have recently resurfaced and gone viral on social media.

Which brings me back to the observation that America’s mawkish culture is viral in ways that are mainly lethal for those it disapproves of. It behaves like a giant octopus forever extending its tentacles into places that it wishes to exploit or annihilate. And behold The American Posse has morphed into stealth forces that operate outside of international law, human decency or basic accountability. It abhors the idea that leaders like Nicolas Maduro could curb the extortionist practices of corporate America and set about eliminating poverty in his beloved Bolivia. Worst of all is the fact that the American public condones regime change and all the other rapacious practices it is known for.

Sadly, America has become like an illiterate robot in a mathematical minefield stomping and headbutting everyone and everything it perceives as a competitor while waving its nuclear missiles and pruning shears at spectres of the existential sub-particle kind that threaten to lead humanity in a direction where it might discover that dancing the socialist fandangle might be o.k. after all.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/30/2019 – 19:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/33A4sKA Tyler Durden

Epstein Tapes? Sordid Case Takes A Bizarre Turn After Mystery ‘Hacker’ Emerges

Epstein Tapes? Sordid Case Takes A Bizarre Turn After Mystery ‘Hacker’ Emerges

Shortly after Jeffrey Epstein’s August death in a Manhattan detention facility, a shadowy figure claiming to have set up encrypted servers for the convicted sex offender told several attorneys and the New York Times he had a vast archive of incriminating evidence against powerful men stored on overseas servers, including several years worth of the financier’s communications and financial records which allegedly showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and diamonds.

Going by the pseudonym Patrick Kessler, self-described ‘hacker’ said he had “thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras” from Epstein’s multiple properties, which included former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew, along with three billionaires and a prominent CEO, according to the Times.

It has been long speculated that Epstein recorded his high-profile guests as part of an international blackmail operation.

Armed with nothing more than blurry photos of what he claimed were high-profile individuals in compromising situations, Kessler approached lawyers representing several Epstein accusers,  John Pottinger and David Boies – the former of whom suggested that billionaire Sheldon Adelson – an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – might pay for the alleged footage of Barak.

According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. –New York Times.

After several weeks, the attorneys invited the New York Times to speak with Kessler in mid-September. Then things got even more unbelievable. Following a mid-September meeting with The Times in the Boies Schiller offices, Kessler went rogue – contacting the paper and accusing Boies and Pottinger of an extortion plot against the subjects of said tapes.

Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.”

Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O.

At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents,” writes the Times.

Weeks after the meeting, the lawyers struck a deal with the Times during the last Friday in September. They would send a team overseas to download Kessler’s evidence from his servers (and had alerted the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan of their intention to do so), and would then share all the evidence with the paper on the condition that they would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when.

Separately, Kessler had arranged to give the Times his evidence using a convoluted series of steps. On the day the data was to be transmitted, Kessler canceled at the 11th hour, claiming ‘a fire was burning’ and he had to flee to Ukraine. 

In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3.

Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct.

Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage.

On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv.

Except two hours later, Kessler contacted Pottinger and didn’t mention any emergency. Instead, he asked Pottinger to formulate two schemes for prying up to $1 billion from potential targets with the footage which the Times suggested may have been a trap.

Pottinger obliged, describing two options for capitalizing on the evidence. The first, a “standard model” for legal settlements, would include splitting the money among Epstein’s victims, a charitable foundation, Kessler, and the lawyers – who would get up to 40%.

In the second hypothetical, the lawyers would approached the high-profile men, convince them to hire them to ensure they wouldn’t get sued, and then “make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of their retainer.”

Pottinger would effectively represent a victim, settle their case, and then represent the victim’s alleged abuser – a legal, yet morally questionable practice for an attorney to engage in.

Dershowitz and the weird recorded phone call

In late September, Dershowitz’s secretary related a message that Kessler wanted to speak with him about Boies – with whom Dershowitz has a long-running feud. Dershowitz recorded the call, during which Kessler said he no longer trusted Boies and Pottinger.

“The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally,” said Kessler, adding “They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.”

“Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked.

“There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.”

“Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?”

“Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.”

“And you don’t have anything on me, right?”

“I do not, no,” Kessler said.

“Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.”

As the Times asks, “what was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed?”

Dershowitz told the Times he has no idea why Kessler called him.

Holding out hope

In a November 7 email, Boies told the Times “I still believe he is what he purported to be,” adding “I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.”

That said, he also noted “I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.”

Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines.

Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion?

Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.”

When the Times showed Boies text exchanges between Kessler and Pottinger, he “showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time seeing them.” 

Eventually, Boies concluded that Kessler was probably a con man.

“I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up,” adding that he had probably baited Pottinger into writing things that were more nefarious than they really were.

Pottinger, meanwhile, claims he was stringing Kessler along – “misleading him deliberately in order to get to the servers.”

Despite Kessler’s story falling apart, the Times asks if his claims are plausible.

Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men?

Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room.

I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’”

During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found.

So – it appears that Kessler was either a fraud or an operative, and the entire saga may have been designed to cast doubt over whether tapes actually exist. Or, Kessler is for real – and for some reason hasn’t found a way to release the videos. That said, since he says he’s not interested in extortion, what’s the hold-up?

Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/30/2019 – 19:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2L9ar2J Tyler Durden