The nice lady in this Joel Pett (Tribune) cartoon is speaking specifically about the release of Jeffrey Epstein’s client list, so we’ll begin there. We live, after all, in a world of subjective reality.
Juxtaposition of the Pitiful Airplanes
The nice thing about Al Capone and Dutch Schultz was that there was no legitimate reason to know them. The Simpsons made jokes about “legitimate businessmen,” but it strained credulity to suggest that you hung out with gangsters for innocent reasons, even when there was a lot of nudge-nudge, wink-wink about Prohibition and nightclubs.
But Jeffrey Epstein was a financial advisor in addition to being Whoremonger to the Stars, and he’d have gotten away with that latter interest if he’d checked IDs and made sure everyone was a consenting adult.
And after all, not everyone who has served in the House of Representatives alongside Matt Gaetz …
Well, let’s not go there because it only muddies the argument. Suffice it to say, however, that appearing in Epstein’s little black book is not proof of a whole lot.
You’d have to be a little blinkered not to recognize him as a scumbucket, and the video of him and Trump looking over the ladies, giggling and all but drooling, shows a fair degree of yuck, but the Old Boys Club is a pretty sleazy place. It isn’t necessarily criminal to follow the rule of “If you want to get along, you have to go along.”
Now I can’t remember whether I was attacking people or defending them for having hung out with Epstein, but there’s a difference between not being admirable and actually being criminal.
And having been around drug dealers and commercial real estate developers and mobsters and priests, I’ve somewhat lost my capacity for being shocked.
I’m reminded of Mr. Jaggers, the attorney in Great Expectations, who not only defended criminals but employed an accused-and-likely-guilty murderer as his housekeeper.
He was sleazy but apparently legitimate, and being on his client list would have told us very little.
Juxtaposition of the Obvious
We know that Bill Clinton is a confirmed tomcat, but we don’t know his relationship with Epstein, given that Epstein was a jet setter with legal reasons for associating with people. On the other hand, Prince Andrew — whose tomcatting was so confirmed that the tabloids called him “Randy Andy” — has actually been named as participating in Epstein’s pederasty parties.
It all remains a bit vague, but Andrew reached a settlement with one underaged girl, and we should expect the Royals to defend against a false accusation. Anyhow, while they focused on Harry’s reluctance to play the royalty game, Andy spent way too much time with Epstein. As Burton suggests, he’s got enough skeletons in his closet that fitting anything else in there could be problematic.
However, I got a much bigger laugh out of Emmerson’s piece, because Charlie and his aptly-addressed “Queen Consort” have f-all to say on the topic, though, granted, they didn’t lower royal standards in the process. After all, Henry VIII had Ann Boleyn executed on a charge of adultery, after having impregnated her sister himself.
By the way, most historians consider ius prima noctis, or droit du seigneur — the idea that the overlord has the right under medieval law to have sex with women in his realm — to be a myth.
But we’ve seen how irrelevant the actual law is under even non-royal imbalances of power.
At least those of us with the character to look.
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
Jeremy Banx crosses the Atlantic to comment on US politics, while Ann Telnaes celebrates the anniversary from right here, both of them marking the astonishing ability of American loyalists to deny the evidence in front of their faces.
Yesterday, Joe Biden made a speech in which he pulled no punches, not only refusing to accept the idea of subjective reality but calling it out specifically:
Here’s the rest. It was a bold speech in which he said what needed to be said. Mind you, he said it at three in the afternoon, but, given that it was a campaign speech and not a presidential address, he could hardly have commandeered prime time.
But the New York Times covered it in today’s paper. On Page 11.
And Fox had an article about how Trump said Biden had stuttered, which he hadn’t.
Maybe it doesn’t matter. As Telnaes had said a day earlier, Trump has done a masterful job of scrambling his supporters’ brains so that they are immune from evidence of his stated intention of overturning the parts of the Constitution he doesn’t like, of putting the military in the streets to quash protest and of doing away with the First Amendment protections of a free press.
As Biden said, Trump is not acting alone but with the cooperation of many in Congress and in the press.
It’s not just Fox. Even the mainstream, ostensibly neutral press still sends reporters to rallies and has them single out the most ridiculously festooned groupies in the crowd to interview as typical attendees. Or they send a crew to a diner at midday, to interview the folks who gather to grouse over things while their more average neighbors are at work.
I’ve been there. I’ve seen it. It’s nothing new.
As I’ve said before, if 2,000 normal people turn out for speeches in the park, the editor will select a picture of some clown dressed as Uncle Sam and smeared with fake blood and run it as coverage of an otherwise quiet rally.
The old, likely apocryphal, story goes that, when Frederic Remington reported from Cuba that there was nothing to cover, William Randolph Hearst is said to have responded, “You furnish the pictures. I’ll furnish the war.”
That was 125 years ago, but little has changed.
For instance, American troops have fired drone strikes at pro-Iranian militias in response to their attacks, while the US Navy has shot down Houthi drones and sunk their boats in the Red Sea, but it wasn’t enough for retired Gen. Frank McKenzie, who wants more active combat.
Gary Varvel (Creators) apparently agrees, and is furnishing the pictures.
We’ve heard this song before. Something about heel spurs, as I recall.