The Power Of P-Suasion?

Pity yesterday was a relatively slow news day.  It gave media outlets, and not just the usual suspects, the bandwidth and time to devote attention to the equally awaited and feared release of unredacted documents that at long last put actual names on the rumored alliances and dalliances of the notorious Jeffrey Epstein.

Sure, outlets like the New York Post and other Murdoch-connected entities had a field day with it.  That’s their sweet spot for clickbait and yes, even physical paper sales.  New York commuters still will plunk down spare change for a lurid headline.

But even the Left Angeles TIMES devoted its front page for a change to a subject other than masking up to dutifully report the news of the day, perhaps as a public service to some of its subscribers.  No less than four staffers (wow, they still have that many humans writing for a newspaper?), Alexandra E. Petri, Andrew J. Campa, Jeremy Childs, Noah Goldberg and Terry Castleman, contributed to thie recap:

A New York federal judge is gradually unsealing a trove of court documents connected to Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier accused of orchestrating a sex-trafficking ring that preyed on girls as young as 14. The papers could provide a deeper look at the criminal operation and the high-profile and powerful men associated with Epstein over the years. 

The first two waves of records released Wednesday and Thursday span hundreds of pages and offer additional details into Epstein’s alleged criminal activity along with that of his former girlfriend and longtime associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted of child sex trafficking in 2021 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Thousands more pages of records with names currently under seal are expected to be disclosed in the coming days. It remains to be seen what insights or revelations will come from future disclosures.

Among those named in the documents released Wednesday were several prominent figures known to have associated with Epstein, including former Presidents Trump and Clinton, former Epstein lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Prince Andrew and late former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Other names disclosed include billionaire Tom Pritzker of the Hyatt Hotels Corp., late AI pioneer Marvin Minsky and entertainers David Copperfield and Michael Jackson.

The knee-jerk reaction of those both celebrating and claiming mortification of this news was to be expected.  Many news outlets took the more cautionary and, indeed, legally accurate approach that just because these people had associations with Epstein does not necessarily imply that they were participants in any of the sordid hookups Epstein and Maxwell allegedly procured.  As the TIMES’ Four Horsepeople added:

Their names’ inclusion in the records is not an indication of criminal activity, however, despite internet-fueled expectations and conspiracy theories that the list would provide evidence of wrongdoing by powerful, public men. Many have previously denied any knowledge of Epstein’s criminal and predatory behavior.

And when the name of Stephen Hawking turned up, it’s, at least to me, evidence that all of this was about way, way more than merely the sex acts that the lawsuits instituted on behalf of several of Epstein’s alleged victims that date back to 2008, brilliantly reported on a decade later by the MIAMI HERALD team of eleven reporters and producers who actually did do investigating and legwork, unlike those who work for today’s TIMES, described and demanded justice from.

The HERALD’s most damning evidence pointed to the deal that Epstein’s lawyers worked out with then-U.S. attorney for Southern Florida Alex Acosta to effectively give Epstein a hall pass for much of what he inflicted.  Dershowitz was indeed one of those aggressively working Acosta over the coals, along with, as the HERALD reported, Jack Goldberger, Roy Black, former U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis, Gerald Lefcourt, and Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater special prosecutor who investigated Bill Clinton’s sexual liaisons with Monica Lewinsky.

But that story is one you have to dig for today.  The appeal and allure of the names that have been tabloid fodder since the HERALD’s reporting is what seems to matter, and it serves the purpose of fueling political fires as well.   And as SALON’s Tatyana Tandanpolie reported yesterday, even those who wish to connect the dots along party lines are not beyond throwing both sides under the bus:

“Fox & Friends” began its Thursday morning show diving into reports about the 40 files and over 900 pages of court documents related to a 2015 civil lawsuit made public on Wednesday that disclosed the names of more than 100 people allegedly connected to the disgraced financier described as his associates, victims or affiliates. (T)he talk show’s panel mostly approached the subject with caution, but host Steve Doocy highlighted a New York Post report about Epstein’s brother, Mark Epstein’s, claim that his brother suggested to him that he had incendiary information on both the Clintons and Trump.

His brother, Mark Epstein, spoke to The New York Post a couple of days ago,” Doocy said. “Mark Epstein, the brother, said Jeffrey told him once, quote, ‘If I said what I know about both candidates running in 2016′ — meaning Hillary and Donald Trump — ‘they’d have to cancel the election.’ He did not elaborate what that meant, however.”

Let’s get one thing clear.  What happened to the likes of Virginia Giuffre and others whose allegations were the source of the unredacted documents now made public was horrific.  Epstein deserved his fate, Maxwell deserves hers.  And no, the fact that her father was Rupert Murdoch’s longtime tabloid rival in England and New York shouldn’t be part of the reason why his intrepid “journalists” are giving all of this so much air.

And it’s not about the presence of so many Democratic sympathizers, as conservative media might like to highlight.  It’s clear that some of the counsel DJT offered to Billy Bush may have come about from some of his associations with someone he once called a “good friend”.

Frankly, it’s not even just about Epstein.  He’s not the first megolamaniac rich guy with an insatiable sex drive.  Study the case of Canadian fashion executive Peter Nygard sometime.  The parallels are eerie.

Rather, it’s about a culture and a world that creates the opportunity for folks like Epstein and Maxwell to have had the opportunties to not only indulge their fantasies, but curry favor with those who have different ones.  And it’s no surprise that a state like Florida would seem to be Ground Zero for all of this.

Florida houses vacation resorts and amusements parks that cater to the wonderment and awe of fulfilling fantasties for the first time.  Disney and Universal prey on families seeking the thrill of a day spent at Epcot or on the Twilight Zone ride with the same kind of zeal that one Courtney Wild described she experienced.

When you’re a little older, the adrenaline rush of getting the chance to ride in a limousine or visit a mansion for the first time is right up there in endorphine production than those memories that Disney and Universal produce.  And when you’re still older, much like a junkie in need of a stronger fix as a tolerance builds up, you then are prone to the urges of Epstein and, perhaps, some of his associates.

And if you’re human, and perhaps living a more normal life amidst all of this, you might actually be a little envious.  Willing, in fact, to cut someone you secretly wished you could be a break.

A onetime friend of mine, in response to an internet meme Q&A that asked when and where was the first time they went to a club, recently replied it was Club 1235 on Washington Avenue in South Beach.  When this person was 14, they bragged.  And with their parents’ blessing.

Parents also signed off on their kids going for sleepovers at Neverland.  With one of those alleged friends of Epstein’s.

The Beatles accurately crooned “Money Can’t Buy You Love”.  But it can buy you what to some is a reasonable facsimile.  And enough to look the other way even if their children are being put in harm’s way.

Epstein knew that.  Nygard knows that.  Heck, if you’re to believe some in his orbit, Hugh Hefner knew that.

And what’s the real reward?

That adrenaline rush.  That power that the pursuit of and the passions induced by a certain body part seem to induce in even the most powerful men–and women.

That power of P-suasion, one might say.

It certainly drives pop culture.  The internet.  The world of fashion.  Diet and exercise.  This time of year, perhaps a little bit more than usual.

We’re all guilty to an extent.  Hopefully never to the level of excess that the likes of Epstein and those on this list needed to indulge.  But I would defy you to try and honestly say you can’t relate at least a little to being motivated by forces outside your own bodies and spiritual realms.

So when you do give in to temptation, let it merely be satisfying your curiosity by uncovering the ENTIRE story of those who have existed in any world connected to those of the likes of Epstein.  Know what underlying dynamics allowed it to be a possibility in the first place.  And know that they haven’t died or been incarcerated.

And then be thankful and praise your deity of choice that you don’t have a private island or mansion of your own.

Until next time…




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