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Guns and Crime

The blockbuster Jeffrey Epstein story, shortened

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The blockbuster Jeffrey Epstein story shortened

The Miami Herald did a fantastic job on an investigative series on Jeffrey Epstein, the multimillionaire who liked to hang out with powerful men and underage girls. They kept political bias out of it, mostly, even though there were connections made between Epstein and President Trump, as well as President Clinton and a prominent member of the White house, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

It’s a very long, detailed series of articles. Here are the key takeaways:

Jeffrey Epstein is worse than Harvey Weinstein

Had the #MeToo movement been in full swing just over a decade ago, there’s a good chance Epstein would have been utterly destroyed in the court of public opinion. Moreover, it would have been nearly impossible for him to get away with his crimes after serving just 13 months in prison.

Weinstein used his power to “help” women get a leg up in Hollywood, but in reality he was exploiting young starlets sexually. Epstein paid, manipulated, and threatened girls as young as 13 so he and potentially others could sexually assault them.

That’s not to downplay Weinstein’s crimes by any means. He’s a monster. But Epstein is a sexual predator on a higher scale with a constant flow of teen girls brought to him at his various lush abodes. He handed them out to his powerful associates like party favors.

Many powerful men have been accused

From Presidents Trump and Clinton to Democratic commentator and lawyer Alan Dershowitz to Prince Andrew, the list of powerful men whose names have been invoked in association with Epstein’s crimes is quite long. Credit once again to the Miami Herald for treating the accused as innocent until proven guilty. When powerful men are in the crosshairs, it’s easy for a news outlet to exaggerate the claims or make them appear more guilty than the facts portray.

Nevertheless, some of the stories are quite compelling. None of the accused powerful men have had enough evidence presented against them to compel the police into action beyond inquiry. Still, it’s hard to imagine that none of the dozens of frequent visitors to Epstein’s residences participated. At this point, they are all still to be considered innocent.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta helped Epstein get a sweet plea deal

As a leading contender for Attorney General, Acosta may be the most affected by these stories. It’s impossible to imagine he has a future in the Trump administration and calls will be coming in for the President to fire him.

According to the report, Acosta signed off on an agreement that not only gave Epstein minuscule punishment for his heinous crimes, but also saved him from federal prosecution while keeping the victims in the dark until Epstein was already in jail. It goes against everything the justice system is supposed to do for victims.

And Acosta signed off on it as U.S. attorney in Miami.

Alexander Acosta gave Jeffrey Epstein the deal of a lifetime

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.htmlAs part of the arrangement, Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it.

This is the story of how Epstein, bolstered by unlimited funds and represented by a powerhouse legal team, was able to manipulate the criminal justice system, and how his accusers, still traumatized by their pasts, believe they were betrayed by the very prosecutors who pledged to protect them.

So much more

Now that you know the highlights, I recommend taking time to read the whole series. It includes three long stories, a list of Epstein’s connections, and a timeline of the events.

Many of the victims have been paid off in settlements, but no amount of money can buy back the youth, trust, and self-esteem they lost at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein. He and his associates must continue to be exposed.

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Entertainment and Sports

As Jussie Smollett story evolves, let’s not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

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As Jussie Smollett story evolves lets not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

When a juicy story hits social media, the instant reaction is to run with it and all the implications. That’s the nature of our on-demand, always-on, real-time media world. The only thing faster than hot takes from the first hint of a story are the assumptions made by both sides regardless of the details.

Such is the case with Jussie Smollett, the actor who was allegedly attacked by MAGA-loving bigots. Smollett, a gay man of color, was allegedly targeted on the streets of Chicago, but now reports are coming in that it may have been an elaborate hoax designed to help him save his job on the cast of Empire.

But so far, police have only confirmed that Smollett is still being treated as a victim. Yes, there were two persons of interest questioned by police. Yes, Smollett skipped a voluntary interview with police this morning. Yes, the story was strange from the start and this new narrative seems to match much better regardless of which side of the political or cultural aisle you’re on.

And yet, nothing has been confirmed.


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It’s incumbent on us, whether journalists or simply social media users, to wait for the facts before jumping to conclusions. It works in both directions.

Was it all a hoax? Possibly. Some who are looking at he evidence today and the report released by local Chicago news may come to the conclusion that a hoax was likely. But let’s not assume until the truth is revealed by officials.

 


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Democrats

Democrats push background check bill in the House

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Democrats push background check bill in the House

As social media buzzes about the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Democrats hope to put their latest iteration of gun control on the floor and onto the Senate. Called a “bipartisan” attempt to initiate more background checks on firearm purchases and sales, many conservatives on Capitol Hill are speaking out against it.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill yesterday.

My Take

Gun control bills, of which this is merely the first to be pushed by the current iteration of Democrats, usually have two things in common. First, they don’t address the problem they’re allegedly trying to solve; neither the Parkland shooting nor any mass shooting in the 21st century would have been prevented had this bill been in place. Second, they are a stepping stone through which leftists will attempt to initiate more draconian laws that eat away at our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

As with the abortion issue, the gun control issue is one in which “common sense” is used to push harsher laws down the line.

It should be strange to cognizant Americans that Democrats continue to push laws that make it easier to kill preborn babies while making it harder for innocent people to defend themselves with firearms. Are you seeing a trend in their mentality?

 


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Guns and Crime

Freedom-lovers, keep an eye on AG William Barr

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Freedom-lovers keep an eye on AG William Barr

Today, William Barr is likely to be confirmed to be the next Attorney General. While he’s a qualified leader to take the reins over the Justice Department and a strong patriot, there are concerns that we must remember as he joins the Trump administration.

First and foremost, Barr’s record on the 4th Amendment is abysmal.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

One would hope the top law enforcer in the nation would be an ardent defender of the 4th Amendment, but Barr has demonstrated not only a willingness to circumvent it at times but has also expressed annoyance that it prevents law enforcement from doing its job, particularly as it pertains to stopping terrorism. He’s also a fan of the Patriot Act, though if anything it didn’t go far enough.

Sadly, only a tiny handful of Republicans in DC seem to be concerned.

The tribalism that has infected the country and plagued groups on both sides of the political aisle has struck once again. There would be plenty of objections from conservatives if Barr had been nominated by President Obama or another Democrat, but since he’s a Trump nominee it appears he’s going to fly through with no GOP Senators objecting other than Rand Paul.

It’s a shame that the President decided to go with Barr. It’s likely he did so based on Barr’s objections to Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian hacking of the election, but otherwise Barr’s record is one that doesn’t seem very conducive to freedom. We’ll be keeping a close eye on him.

 


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