This is chiefly idiocy at work

The American Cultural Revolution continues apace:

The mayor and city council in Duluth, Minnesota, are considering renaming any position containing the word “chief” because they believe it is a “microaggression” for Native Americans.

Job positions within the city’s government, including chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, would be renamed under the new policy as part of the city’s efforts to be more inclusive.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said the city will vote next week to remove the word “chief” from city job titles “so that we have more inclusive leadership and less language that is rooted in hurt and offensive, intentional marginalization.”

Alicia Kozlowski, Duluth’s community relations officer and a member of the Grand Portage and Fond du Lac bands of Lake Superior Chippewa, told the Star Tribune that the city is being proactive in working to remove these titles even before protesters have made the request. She said she finds the city’s use of the word “chief” to be “a racial epithet, and it turns into a microaggression.” (emphasis added)

First of all, I detest the word “microaggression,” which in reality means “I have such thin skin and a chip on my shoulder that I chose to take offense at something you said, regardless of any actual intent to offend.”  And it’s telling that now cities are actively looking for things to do to look virtuous to various groups without anyone actually saying they’re offended in the first place.  Nice to know Duluth is so well-run that they can devote such effort to incremental improvements towards paradise.  I’m sure whatever will be spent on changing signage, stationery and such to reflect the new titles is worth some potholes not getting repaired.

As is the case with most fussing these days, this issue completely ignores history:

chief (n.) – from about 1300 A.D., “head, leader, captain; the principal or most important part of anything;” from Old French chief “leader, ruler, head” of something, “capital city” (10c., Modern French), from Vulgar Latin *capum, caput “head,” also “leader, chief person; summit; capital city” (from PIE root *kaput- “head”). Meaning “head of a clan” is from 1570s; later extended to headmen of American Indian tribes (by 1713; William Penn, 1680s, called them kings. Commander-in-chief attested from 1660s.  (emphasis added)

In other words, the term “chief” was used to refer to people in positions in Europe THREE CENTURIES before any indigenous Native American officials were bestowed the title by Europeans trying to approximate their position in familiar language.  The application of the term acknowledged the leadership of the tribes being encountered.  But the term was not appropriated from the tribes’ own languages.  Duluth (or any other city) has no business attempting to eradicate its usage.

Where does this end?  In the U.S. Air Force, the top enlisted rank (E-9) is called a Chief Master Sergeant.  Achieving that rank is a career pinnacle, and much of the trappings associated with it uses imagery of Native American “chiefs.”  The Navy has a similar term: “Master Chief Petty Officer” (also the service’s highest enlisted rank).  Such modern usage it titles should be recognized as simply acknowledging authority, but today’s Red Guards refuse to see any history, reason or nuance in their efforts to pull down all of the present in favor of the latest “Year Zero.”

History is important.  Language is important.  Culture and tradition are important.  That’s not to say that change isn’t sometimes needed.  But in the effort to pull up weeds, we need to avoid killing vital roots that sustain our way of life.  Slashing and burning the past never yields much in the way of good fruit.

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within”  – Ariel Durant

Does anyone doubt we’re doing a good job of that these days?

See the hypocrisy inherent in the system

National Public Radio (funded by you, dear taxpayer), can’t seem to make up its mind.  Yesterday, it assured readers of its website that the World Health Organization was cool with all these protests riots despite COVID still hanging around:

Protests important NPR

[The WHO Director-general] recommends that protesters follow the guidance of local health officials and take precautions to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus. “We encourage all those protesting around the world to do so safely,” he said, “Clean your hands, cover your cough and wear a mask if you attend a protest.”

OK.  Got it – don’t let a disease keep you from letting your voice be heard.  But then fourteen minutes later, this story also posted on the NPR site:

Trump restart rallies - NPR

President Trump this month will begin hitting the road once again to make his pitch for reelection in the 2020 White House race, despite the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which continues to wreak havoc on the lives and livelihoods of households across the country…

Public experts continue to warn against large gatherings of people, even as the country has begun in the past several weeks to reopen the economy. The coronavirus crisis has already killed more than 100,000 people in the United States — the highest number of fatalities of any country in the world.

This must be proof the COVID-19 virus is engineered, instead of naturally occurring.  After all, it’s apparently safe enough for leftist agitators, but not for traditionally conservatives voters for whom a Trump rally is essentially a protest against the destruction of the country they’ve known.

I hope the headline writers at NPR don’t suffer frequent whiplash from all their twists and turns.

American insurgency

“The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.” – Mao Zedong

Under cover of protesters reacting understandably to what appears to be yet another instance of police brutality, the enemies of our nation have launched what amounts to a full-blown insurgency.  Pallets of bricks conveniently show up in time to be thrown through store windows.  Networks of celebrities are providing bail money for those who are arrested.  Politicians are pledging support to Antifa, even as the Federal government finally labels it a terrorist organization (spoiler: it always has been).  And the airwaves are thick with misinformation and misdirection, minimizing the extent to which actual violence and destruction have become daily routine over the past week.

And if that wasn’t enough, at least one potential agent provocateur has now been arrested while posing as a National Guardsman.  Keep that in mind the first time you hear of an incident between a Guardsman and a ‘protester.’  Things are not always as they seem, especially in press reports.

This is perhaps the most dangerous moment for the U.S. since 1861.  President Abraham Lincoln rightly pointed out:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow?  Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. (emphasis added)

And so it was our adversaries, beginning in the Cold War, began the “long march” through American institutions, seizing control of the means to shape the culture in such a way as to alienate a significant portion of the population from loyalty to the United States.  Their efforts were greatly aided by the deep scars of slavery and racism in our country.  One of the major reasons any sort of lasting racial reconciliation eludes us is that the issue is too useful a wedge for gaining influence — and yes, this is a trick used by partisans of many persuasions.  Remember the adage “divide and conquer.”

Now we’ve arrived at a point in our cultural programming where trying to rightly discern between protest and pillaging is dismissed as ‘racist.’  Now Mao’s ‘fish’ in the above quote can swim easily in the ‘sea.’  If only pillaging were the only goal, however.

Mao Zedong literally wrote the book on insurgency, after successfully fighting the Japanese in World War II and toppling the post-war Nationalist government of China.  He identified three phases to a revolutionary insurgency:

(1)  Organize: Build cells and support
(2)  Guerilla Warfare: Undermine the Government
(3)  Conventional (open) Warfare to topple the Government

Our internal enemies are well organized and enjoy considerable support from “the commanding heights” of society: educators, politicians, entertainers, wealthy ‘movers and shakers’ and so forth.  The violence we now witness is the movement into phase two.  Our Federal, State and local leaders are confronted with a choice: show restraint, in which case they look weak, or crack down, in which case the propaganda machine will work overtime to paint them in the worst possible light.  Either way, the insurgents seek to reduce support for our government.  President Trump has openly criticized State and local leaders for not doing more to control the violence.  Contrary to published reports, he is not calling for the arrest or abuse of peaceful protesters.  (Don’t rely on reports: listen to the man’s own words.  And notice ABC’s headline for the linked video.  Do they match?)  The corporate media blur the distinction between protester and criminal so that the president’s calls for law and order appear to be an effort to curb legitimate expressions of dissent.  Heads, they win.  Tails, he loses.

Do not lose sight of the fact that during all of this chaos, the public is not paying attention to the recent declassification and release of very damning documents that show how contrived and politically motivated the entire “Russia Russia Russia” hoax was, and how Michael Flynn was wrongly targeted as part of that process.  Powerful people have great reason to do anything to keep focus from turning to these developments.  Many have remarked about 2020’s penchant for disaster. Think of the main media themes in the U.S. this year: in January, it was impeachment.  Hardly had that fizzled than we were told COVID would kill us all, so better shut society down.  Once it was clear society was tired of being shut down and was de facto on the way to opening up, suddenly a case of police brutality sets the nation on fire.  (By the way, want to see ‘diversity?’  Look at the four officers involved and fired — it wasn’t a gang of white cops, but photos of officers Thao, Kueng and Lane don’t appear in the Minneapolis Star’s report on Monday. Why is that?.)

None of these events are occurring in isolation.  This is not a normal election year.

I believe the experience gained in our overseas fights must be put to use here at home, and quickly.  The networks of support for organizing violent, criminal activity, must be rolled up, and those involved forced to pay a high price for their incitements.  There are very good reasons not to like Donald Trump, who is a deeply flawed man.  But many of his opponents (on both sides of the aisle) are no longer the “loyal opposition” — they are literally fifth columnists who are a domestic threat to the Constitution of the United States, willing to overturn an election through rumor and innuendo from within the apparatus of shadowy government agencies.  Never forget that our leaders and our armed forces take an oath requiring them to defend that document against ALL enemies, foreign AND domestic.  At the very least, there are a large number of people guilty of sedition in this country.  And while treason is a word too lightly tossed around these days, an argument could be made it’s applicable in some cases as well.

Even if the government moves effectively to end the current crisis, it’s not finished.  The reason insurgency is so hard to defeat is that unless the ideas and motives behind it are completely discredited, even losing in stage three can leave a small cadre of the committed to begin all over again.  This is the type of war we have been fighting in Afghanistan and the Middle East since 9/11, and the reason Al Qaeda and Islamic State still persist, however diminished.  Killing combatants is easy.  Killing an idea is damned well impossible.  (I use “damned” deliberately, as the resiliency of Marxist and Jihadist aspirations, despite the long historical record of horrors in their names, shows the hellish perniciousness of their deceit.)

This is why the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.  We have been lulled into complacency, our attention directed anywhere other than where it needs to be.  Whether the insurgency grows to phase three or is knocked back to the starting line for another generation depends on Americans learning what’s really going on.  Lots of dots need to be connected to see the picture.  The question is whether we have the attention span and discernment to do so anymore.  Otto von Bismark, the statesman most responsible for the creation of a unified Germany in the 19th Century, is said to have remarked “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.”

I certainly hope that still holds true.

The clueless would-be rulers

Today’s must-read, by Walter Mead:

This is not what his critics expected. At 49% overall job approval in the latest Gallup poll, and with 60% approval of the way he is handling the coronavirus epidemic, President Trump’s standing with voters has improved even as the country closed down and the stock market underwent a historic meltdown. That may change as this unpredictable crisis develops, but bitter and often justified criticism of Mr. Trump’s decision making in the early months of the pandemic has so far failed to break the bond between the 45th president and his political base.

One reason Mr. Trump’s opponents have had such a hard time damaging his connection with voters is that they still don’t understand why so many Americans want a wrecking-ball presidency. Beyond attributing Mr. Trump’s support to a mix of racism, religious fundamentalism and profound ignorance, the president’s establishment opponents in both parties have yet to grasp the depth and intensity of the populist energy that animates his base and the Bernie Sanders movement. . . .

That a majority of the electorate is this deeply alienated from the establishment can’t be dismissed as bigotry and ignorance. There are solid and serious grounds for doubting the competence and wisdom of America’s self-proclaimed expert class. What is so intelligent and enlightened, populists ask, about a foreign-policy establishment that failed to perceive that U.S. trade policies were promoting the rise of a hostile Communist superpower with the ability to disrupt supplies of essential goods in a national emergency? What competence have the military and political establishments shown in almost two decades of tactical success and strategic impotence in Afghanistan? What came of that intervention in Libya? What was the net result of all the fine talk in the Bush and Obama administrations about building democracy in the Middle East? . . .

On domestic policy, the criticism is equally trenchant and deeply felt. Many voters believe that the U.S. establishment has produced a health-care system that is neither affordable nor universal. Higher education saddles students with increasing debt while leaving many graduates woefully unprepared for good jobs in the real world. The centrist establishment has amassed unprecedented deficits without keeping roads, bridges and pipes in good repair. It has weighed down cities and states with unmanageable levels of pension debt…

Mr. Trump’s supporters are not comparing him with an omniscient leader who always does the right thing, but with the establishment—including the bulk of the mainstream media—that largely backed a policy of engagement with China long after its pitfalls became clear. For Americans who lost their jobs to Chinese competition or who fear the possibility of a new cold war against an economically potent and technologically advanced power, Mr. Trump’s errors pale before those of the bipartisan American foreign-policy consensus…

…the U.S. establishment won’t prosper again until it comes to grip with a central political fact: Populism rises when establishment leadership fails. If conventional U.S. political leaders had been properly doing their jobs, Donald Trump would still be hosting a television show. (emphasis added)

To reinforce the point, Exhibit A, from the just-passed Senate coronavirus relief bill:

Kennedy Center

The legacy media portion of the establishment is no better, in their deranged hatred both for Trump and those in the country who prefer risking him rather than the proven failures of past leadership.  CBS screamed in a headline recently that a man died and his wife was seriously hurt after taking an anti-malarial drug (hydroxycloroquine) Trump and Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have expressed optimism about as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  The problem?  What the Arizona couple actually did was notice their fish tank cleaner contained the chemical, and consumed it as a preventative measure, without consulting any medical expert.  Only two-thirds of the way through the story does it clarify the headline: “The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive that the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated.”  In other words, despite the headline, the couple didn’t take the drug.  They drank fish tank cleaner!  A factual headline, though, wouldn’t have been potentially damaging to Trump, which seems to be the primary goal of all mainstream journalism these days, facts and context be damned.

We’re supposed to be practicing social distancing.  But the elites in this country are (and have been for some time) so far out of touch with the common person’s daily experience that it shouldn’t be a surprise the latter has had more than enough of the former.

We can no longer afford China

This writer summarizes what needs to change as a result of current events:

We tried making China rich to make the Chinese people free. The globalists’ theory was that trade would make prosperous people who would then demand their freedom, and the Chinese Communist Party would either grant it or die. It hasn’t worked. China has become more prosperous but less free. Its people live under a digital dictatorship fed by social media algorithms and always-on video surveillance. Their future is cradle-to-grave monitoring for thoughtcrime. The paranoid communists are as brutal and ruthless as ever, shuttering churches with hammer and sickle and using Uighurs and dissenters as slave labor. China uses its wealth to buy hearts and minds in Africa and positive propaganda press everywhere. China uses its wealth to fracture our own bedrock rights, as when it turned the NBA into its red, white, and blue thought-police right here on American soil. This cannot stand.

The world cannot get into this situation again. We can’t just pretend this did not happen, resume normal trade relations, go on with our lives, and keep allowing the communists to rob us blind and make us vulnerable. We can’t let China’s criminal caste of communists brutalize their own people, threaten their peaceful neighbors and menace the world. We can’t.

We depend on China for cheap labor and cheap goods. But we cannot afford China any longer. The price is too high. We must divest. We must redirect. Some of our manufacturing in China must come back home. Some must go elsewhere, to India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, to other free republics with open societies. We must favor free peoples everywhere, shun tyrants everywhere, and do business with friends of liberty everywhere.

For our own good. (emphasis added)

Vote fraud? There’s an app for that

The Democrats start the 2020 presidential campaign with a debacle in Iowa:

As hour after hour slid by on Monday night, it started to become clear to anyone paying attention that something was wrong with the Iowa Democratic Party’s counting of the results in the first caucus of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. Something was very wrong.

That there is no winner — or even a single tabulated result — reported by the party early Tuesday morning (or even a time to expect that result) speaks to the depth of the issue in what is the one major job of officials in every election: counting the votes.

As Iowa Democratic Party officials scrambled to explain what had gone wrong — “inconsistencies” in the tally — they were careful to note, in the words of a party spokeswoman, “this is not a hack or an intrusion.”

Then what’s the problem?  Given the shenanigans the Democratic National Committee played in shoving Bernie aside for Her Hillariness in 2016, and the surprise announcement over the weekend that final commercial polling data wouldn’t be published, is it really that much of a stretch to think something underhanded may be going on here?  The party is very clearly in fear Bernie may win the nomination — not necessarily because of policy differences, but because unlike most of them, he’s open about his desire to take America down the road of socialism.  For all they call themselves “democrats,” that party’s leadership clearly believes they know better than the average American.  What’s the saying?  “The voters decide nothing.  Those who count the votes decide everything.”

“It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in an emailed statement. “And these are the people who want to run our entire health care system?” (emphasis added)

A fair observation, that.

Setting an example

Many of us of a certain age are increasingly concerned about the growing popularity of socialism among the younger generations.  We rightfully point out that the horrors of communist life in the 20th Century have been minimized in our history classes, so that the siren sound of “equality” has regained some of the appeal it lost amid prior carnage.

The truth, though, is that America has been flirting with socialism for about a century ourselves — we just haven’t called it that.  And while the young may not be as wise as we might hope, they’re not completely blind to the hypocrisy:

…the irony is that these old anti-socialists already live in a wonderland of government generosity that bears a passing resemblance to the socialism they so dread.

The federal government already guarantees single-payer health care to Americans over 65 through Medicare. Senior citizens already receive a certain kind of universal basic income; it’s called Social Security. While elderly Americans might balk at the idea of the government paying back hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt, they are already the grand beneficiaries of a government debt subsidy: The mortgage-interest deduction, a longtime staple of the federal tax code, effectively compensates the American homeowner (whose average age is 54) for their mortgage debt, thus saving this disproportionately old group approximately $800 billion in taxes owed to the federal government each decade. The economist Ed Glaeser has likened these policies to “Boomer socialism.”

In this framing, Sanders is not offering his more youthful constituency a radically new contract. Instead, he is extending the terms of an existing social contract to cover more—and, necessarily, younger—Americans.

Now, while I’m inclined to agree with this diagnosis, I don’t agree with the proposed treatment: “Some, but not all, of the problems facing young adults would be well addressed with an expansion of government.”  The socialism we’ve tacitly accepted since the days of the Progressive Era and FDR has already warped our society and economy in harmful ways.  Government spending in the areas of healthcare and education (much of it debt subsidy in the latter) has allowed prices in those arenas to skyrocket far beyond the rate of inflation (itself a result of government meddling with the currency).  Want to reign in health costs?  Put the consumer back in control by forcing providers to post price lists and compete for business that’s paid for at the point of sale.  When someone else is paying the bill, there’s no incentive to reduce costs, and those who don’t have that “someone else” are left priced out of the market altogether.  Same with education – get the government treasury out of it, and institutions will suddenly no longer have funding for “diversity coordinators” that add little value to the transmission of useful knowledge that leads to gainful employment.

For many years I’ve said I’d love to have the option to sign away my claim to any Social Security benefits in exchange for never paying the tax again.  As I get closer to retirement, that’s obviously less of a good deal for me.  But while I’d love to have the taxes I’ve paid in my private accounts rather than in Uncle Sam’s, the fact is that *if* I draw what Social Security currently projects for me (something I certainly don’t count on), I’ll recoup my contributions in less than 6 years.  So if I live another decade or more after that, where’s the money coming from?

The paychecks of younger workers, that’s where — the very generation that realizes the system will not work for them as it has their elders.  Where their contributions don’t cover it all, Uncle Sam’s uses his credit card, the balance of which is a drag on everyone’s fortunes whether they realize it or not.  For example, Sam is desperate to keep interest rates low, so he can continue to carry that balance (and add to it!).  But in doing so, he robs those who dutifully save of the interest they would normally make as a result of their frugality.  Since the elderly on a fixed income can no longer live on interest earnings, Social Security becomes an essential part of most people’s retirement plans… and the cycle begins anew.

That which can’t go on forever, doesn’t.  Our current structures are unsustainable.  We are at a crossroads: either we double down on what is known to be a failed economic model (planned economies), or we get the government out of the driver’s seat.  We need to find a way to set the sun on Social Security and Medicare (just for starters), while putting consumer protections in place like truthful labeling of medical costs and investment risks.  Government is supposed to police abuses of the market, not become the major provider of a good or service.  I’ve said it before: the worst result of our current hybrid system is that it isn’t true market capitalism in many respects, but is believed to be.  As a result, truly free market economics gets a bum rap.

So it’s worth keeping in mind the difficulty of convincing Bernie Bros not to point our nation toward full-blown Marxism when we’re already relying on programs of which Karl would have heartily approved.

Wait, what?

The U.S. government recently arrested senior academics for being in cahoots with China:

Three people tied to universities and a hospital in the Boston area were indicted on charges they lied about their ties to China or tried to help the Chinese government. Among them was Dr. Charles Lieber, the chair of Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology…

Federal agents said Lieber lied about his ties to China when he bid for [U.S. government] contracts.

“It appears China paid Lieber hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for his involvement with the Chinese entities and for his work on research for Chinese gain,” said U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling.

All well and good — the U.S. government has finally begun pushing back against Chinese influence in academia and their efforts to steal technology and intellectual property.  But don’t skip the second paragraph of the linked story:

Prosecutors said Lieber had a contract with Wuhan Institute of Technology. He also ran a group that had contracts with the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health.

Wuhan…. now where have I been hearing that name recently?  Oh, yeah:
Continue reading

All or nothing

The Democrats insist on dragging out the impeachment circus as long as possible by calling for witnesses that should have been heard by the House if they were so important to the case.  Naturally, the RINOs* (Sen. Romney, Sen. Collins, and Sen. Murkowski) are only too happy to help the “stupid party” prove once again it rarely knows how to use majority status to effect its goals:

GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine claimed credit Wednesday morning for shaping the initial impeachment procedures resolution to require a vote adding witnesses and additional evidence. A Senate vote on whether to consider calling witnesses and allowing other new evidence is expected as early as Friday.

“I am pleased that I along with Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and others worked very hard to get into the resolution a guaranteed vote on whether or not to call witnesses at this point in the trial,” Collins said Wednesday.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to ensure that if witnesses are called, it’s not a selective assortment designed solely to try to make the president look bad.  No, if we’re going to call witnesses, let’s hear from those whose activity the president was concerned about in the first place:

Even Mitt Romney, the first link to break, has said that he thinks calling witnesses should be reciprocal. That means Joe and Hunter Biden, at minimum. But calling the Bidens in exchange for calling John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney has been rejected by Democrats.

So McConnell’s way out it to force Democrats to reject a witness deal. That way, Democrats are the ones responsible for no new witnesses. It provides cover to people like Susan Collins who may be concerned how voting against witnesses my impact their reelection chances.

McConnell needs to go nuclear. Mutually Assured Destruction nuclear on witnesses — the Bidens or bust.

The GOP has become more politically assertive and aggressive with Trump in the White House, and that’s been a pleasure to see.  I’ve said before that if he does nothing else, Trump’s at least showing the Right how to fight.  That said, there are still plenty of “Republicans” who’d be happy to see the president fail.  McConnell must insure that if the investigation is going to be rehashed in the Senate, that it’s done in full, so that all the truth comes out.

Otherwise, there will be a lot of people like me who will wonder what point there is in handing the Republicans political power at all.  If they fail here, they should expect alternative political organizations to challenge for their place.  And they’ll deserve their irrelevance.

* RINO = “Republicans in Name Only,” for those unaware.  And no, it’s not a compliment.

Straining credulity to infinity and beyond

There’s been plenty of memery online about Jeffrey Epstein.  It’s so easy even I can do it:

AP Explains Iran Revolutionary Guard

While all this has done a good job of keeping the story of Epstein alive, it’s really not all that funny when you look closely as his alleged “suicide,” as the CBS program “60 Minutes” did Sunday.  Attorney General William Barr himself said there were “serious irregularities” involved in the case.  There are just too many “monumental failures at all levels,” in the words of former Federal prison warden interviewed by CBS.  As the saying goes, once is chance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.  So exactly how many ‘failures’ were there in this so-called suicide?

1. After what was reported as an earlier attempt, Epstein was placed on suicide watch… for only a week.

2. Epstein claimed the first incident was actually an attack by his cellmate, a former police officer jailed for a murder believed to be related to drugs and Mexican organized crime. The cellmate’s lawyer obviously denies the accusation.

3. After release from suicide watch, Epstein was returned to a cell and required to have a cellmate. The night before his death, though, his cellmate was released, and no new one was assigned.  Epstein’s lawyers say during their visit the day before his death, their client was “upbeat” and looking forward to an upcoming bail hearing.

4. The night of his death, two guards required to check on him every 30 minutes failed to do so for over 10 hours, and are now facing charges of falsifying logs to conceal the fact (revealed by video) they were web surfing or sleeping instead.

5. Regarding video, however, in response to requests from the lawyer for the inmate Epstein said attacked him, the Feds have now given differing explanations for why footage from the day of the first incident isn’t available. The latest story is that they preserved video from the wrong cell.

6. The camera that should have captured footage of Epstein’s cell door and of the other cells in the block the night of his death was “corrupted,” and no footage exists.

7. Though there are photos from Epstein’s cell showing nooses and other items after his death, there are no photos of his dead body inside the cell, even though such an incident requires preservation of evidence as a crime scene.  Instead, Epstein’s body was taken to an emergency room before any photography occurred.  Did the 6-foot Epstein hang himself by a sheet attached to his bed frame a mere four feet off the floor?  Nobody’s saying, and there’s no photos to explain how he pulled off his own demise in a facility allegedly designed to minimize the chances of such.

8. The forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s family says the noose sketched in the autopsy report doesn’t match the wounds on Epstein’s neck, which appear more consistent with strangulation by a wire.  The wound was also on the middle of the neck, rather than just below the jawline, as would be expected in a hanging, and says he has never seen the three fractures present in Epstein’s neck in a case of suicidal hanging.  The pathologist acknowledges the public might believe he is biased by working for the family.  But he also says he’s hesitant to make a final judgment until all the evidence is in.

9. The government declines to give the pathologist video and additional forensic reporting, citing the ongoing criminal case against the two guards. ((Convenient, no??))

Given the high-profile nature of the Epstein case, the fact his jet was dubbed the “Lolita Express,” and his known connections to many famous and powerful people, it’s simply inconceivable that his incarceration was just bedeviled by all-around shoddy administration.  Two guards are on trial, but the warden was ‘reassigned.’  Why not fired outright?  What about the psychologist who cleared Epstein off suicide watch?

The day Epstein’s death was reported, I was at a relative’s house.  I was immediately infuriated, saying “they got to him.”  I’ve never even entertained the idea it was a suicide.  Evil is only too willing to hide behind perceptions of incompetence.  It’s said the devil cannot abide being mocked, but he’s happy for you to think he’s an impotent fool — the better to help you drop your guard.  The most aggravating thing about this is the lack of public outcry and demand for accountability.  Sure, Ricky Gervais may have slapped Hollywood with Epstein’s name at the Golden Globe Awards.  But like all the memes online, this is simply acknowledging the public’s not buying the official line this time.

How do we get from joking to justice?