August 13, 2019
If you don’t want to be called a conspiracy theorist, what do you say when you watch a major national scandal unfold that requires believing in far too many coincidences?
That’s a question many of us face after “financier” Jeffrey Epstein’s “suicide” over the weekend. A disgraced ultra-wealthy pedophile, Epstein was the most high-profile inmate in the federal prison system’s custody.
Just last week, thousands of pages of information came out that, in graphic detail, alleged that Epstein was a serial trafficker and abuser of underage girls. One of his victims went on the record to name names – which included some of the most wealthy and powerful men on the planet.
Everyone expected that once Epstein started naming names himself, enormously influential people were going down with him. It was just a matter of when.
But now he’s dead. How convenient.
The whole thing is a debacle.
I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the Bureau of Prisons – which was holding Epstein in a high-security Manhattan correctional facility – that this was an accident. Gross incompetence is always possible when you are talking about the federal government because there is no degree of incompetence that it cannot achieve. Any degree or level of stupidity is within the realm of possibility.
But someone needs to explain to the public how a senior administrator in the prison system could have made the decision to take Epstein off suicide watch when he had already tried to commit suicide once two weeks ago.
They would also need to explain why his cellmate was transferred right before his suicide, why Epstein wasn’t checked on for two hours (which was supposed to happen every 30 minutes), and why the autopsy report is “pending review.”
Without answers, there’s a lot to take on faith here.
Reminder: My sources on Wall Street have been saying all along that there is absolutely no way that Epstein became a secret billionaire because his investing skills were so good. Nobody recalls his trades. Nobody knows how he made his money because it’s obvious he didn’t do it by picking stocks.
The whole Epstein case has reeked of corruption and incompetence from the very beginning. And there are many critical questions that linger apart from his recent death…
- How did Epstein manage to get away with virtually no punishment in 2008 when the Palm Beach State Attorney had a mountain of evidence against him for sex crimes against minors?
- Why would the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Miami, Alex Acosta, then make a deal for Epstein that was so favorable, Acosta would have to resign from a cabinet position in the Trump administration because of public disgust?
- And does anybody really think Epstein was the only rich and powerful man involved in all this?
His suicide is going to create even more conspiracy theories.
And at least one of them will be true.
There was a conspiracy. The possibility of foul play in his demise was only a small part of it.
The much bigger issue is how a pedophile befriended the global elite, built a massive fortune out of nowhere, and had quasi-immunity from the State of Florida and the Department of Justice while trafficking underage girls.
But so far, most journalists have simply rushed to defend the government… rather than asking questions and digging for the truth.
Meanwhile, on to the financial front…
Keep an eye on Hong Kong. The protestors have effectively shut down an airport, leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights. The situation is a tinderbox that could get a lot worse in the days ahead.
China’s internal political pressures affect how much leeway Xi Xinping has to get some kind of trade deal with the U.S. done, though any comprehensive deal is unlikely even under the best of circumstances. Nobody should hold their breath that a deal will happen before 2020.
Of course, many analysts are more concerned than ever that the U.S.-China trade war could lead to a recession. That would have big implications for your portfolio, as well as the 2020 election.
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Now here are some of the stories we’re reading…
Goldman Sachs said on Sunday fears of the U.S.-China trade war leading to a recession are increasing and that it no longer expects a trade deal before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
A steep slide in U.S. government-bond yields last week wrong-footed investors and left some pondering what was once unthinkable: whether interest rates in America could one day turn negative.
Zimbabwe’s finance minister responded to the country’s worsening economic crisis last week by blacking out inflation statistics for the next six months…
The inside story of how Chick-fil-A used Christian values and a ‘clone army’ to build a booming business that’s defying the retail apocalypse and taking over America
For decades, baseball’s official rule book has required that every ball be rubbed before being used in a game. [This] mud is the only substance allowed. Originally marketed as “magic,” it’s just a little thicker than chocolate pudding—a tiny dab is enough to remove the factory gloss from a new ball without mucking up the seams or getting the cover too filthy.
And let us know what you’re reading at [email protected].
Executive Editor, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke and the Editorial Staff
August 13, 2019