Why Jeffery Epstein will always be a conspiracy theory.

Image result for jeffrey epsteinJeffery Epstein was an American financier with ties to President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton as well as a plethora of other powerful individuals. He is also a known and convicted sex offender. On Aug. 10th Epstein, while awaiting his trial for sex trafficking charges in a Manhattan jail, was found dead.

This was not his first brush with crime however, back in 2007 Epstein was indicted and later convicted of sexual assault of a minor as well as solicitation of a prostitute. However, unlike most other sex offenders in the state of Florida, where he lived at the time, Epstein was given special privileges. Instead of prison, Epstein was admitted to a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade. If that didn’t make matters worse he rarely ever spent time in a cell and was actually allowed to work at his West Palm Beach office twelve hours a day.

By the end of it, Epstein only had to serve 13 months of an 18-month sentence before being let go on house arrest, thanks to a plea deal set by our ex-secretary of labor Alexander Acosta. Acosta claimed he had no clue of the liberal treatment Epstein was provided but records show that all federal prosecutes that were under his authority were very aware of the circumstances and demands.

What followed immediately after were a large slough of sexual assault charges levied at Epstein from his alleged previous victims. Eventually, he was arrested once again on sex trafficking charges and promptly held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. While under investigation a considerable amount of damaging evidence of sex trafficking. He was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to traffic minors for sex. He was also denied bail by US District Judge Richard M. Berman who posited that Epstein posed a serious danger to new victims due to his “uncontrollable” sexual fixation on young girls. He also feared  Epstein was a serious flight risk and might use it to flee prosecution.

Of course, Epstein never actually had the chance to be prosecuted, because he died in his cell at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center. It was alleged he had killed himself using nothing but a jail bedsheet. He was supposed to be checked up on regularly due to a previous attempt he made on his own life, however, the guards who were in charge had fallen asleep while making their rounds.

Jeffery Epstein will never face the trial.

This is a summary of what is currently accepted as the true story of what happened to Epstein. However, the details are shaky at best and come from a smorgasbord of sources all of which with varying levels of reputability. Of course, with there being conflicting accounts and misinformation rampant, the case of Epstein is a very difficult one. Among its many instances of foul play its given ways to one of the 2019’s hottest conspiracies. The question of whether Epstein did or did not kill himself is a point of contention for many. It’s implications even more so.

So let’s talk about conspiracy theories. Head on over to Merriam Webster and they will tell you a conspiracy theory is “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.” This is the official definition we will be running with for the duration of this article.

The possibility of foul play or a “secret plot” surrounding the events of Epstein’s death arose not long after he was pronounced dead. The Post unveiled a story on Aug. 11 focusing on a former NYC jail inmate. In said story, the inmate said there was “no way” Epstein was able to kill himself while incarcerated. At the same time, another article this time on CNN reported that Epstein’s death would be looked into, as per the request of Attorney General William Barr.

This is essentially what lit the fuse on the whole debacle. Afterward, several new discoveries were made that all had to do with Epstein’s supposed suicide.  Medical examiners found evidence that many believed to be more consistent with strangulation rather than hanging. Regardless, medical examiners in New York City officially ruled his death as a suicide on Aug. 16. However, this answer is not sufficient for many and a private investigation is still ongoing.

So whats this investigation trying to prove? We are aware that they believe Epstein didn’t kill himself but what does that really mean? It would seem everyone has their own take on the matter. What makes this case so compelling is the number of connections Epstein made during his trudge through life. What business does a convicted sex trafficker have with President Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew?

The short answer is, we will never know, but many have used this information to support their own unfounded conclusions. Some think he was killed to be silenced, others think he was forced to kill himself and so on and so forth. The running theory or joke, depending on who you are, is that Epstein didn’t kill himself.

So let’s analyze a few pieces of “damning” evidence people have used to “prove” Epstein didn’t kill himself.

For one, the official autopsy of Epstein reported a break in the hyoid bone. A U shaped bone positioned between the skull and postcranial skeleton. Some have used this to say that there is evidence of strangulation. However, CNN makes it clear that the bone can be broken in either case, whether it’s homicidal strangulation or suicide. The fact that it is more often broken in a homicide is neither here nor there, it’s a small detail irrelevant to the manner of death.

Many often cite the lack of camera footage as proof for there being foul play regarding the death of Epstein. Reuters actually reported two cameras positioned outside Epstiens cell mysteriously malfunctioned. However, tampering is actually a common occurrence in prisons and jails among inmates aside from this one instance. Videosurveillance.com makes this very clear: “There exists a risk that inmates will attempt to tamper with a facility’s security equipment. While many prisons use tamper-resistant cameras to cope with this problem, there’s always a possibility that a camera will be damaged and lose its signal.”

Again there are pages of possible malfunctions and issues revolving around tampering listed in official documents about security cameras released by correctional facilities. Obviously, it’s a big enough issue in prisons and not uncommon for a camera to malfunction randomly due to tampering or some other form of manipulation whether Epstein was there or not.

Finally, let’s go over the most interesting piece of evidence: the security guards. Two security guards were meant to check up one Epstein every thirty minutes due to previous behaviors. However, both accidentally fell asleep while doing their rounds. During this time is when Epstein killed himself.

To debunk this allow me to take you back to seventh-grade science class. The scientific method is an empirical method of study meant to test a hypothesis. A hypothesis is based on observable phenomena and can be proven or disproven using rigorous testing. On the flip side, we have conspiracy theories that begin with a conclusion and scramble for any information to prove their idea, substantial or not. This is also a demonstration of a common cognitive bias found in people.

The confirmation bias states that people tend to listen more often to information that confirms the beliefs they already have. Through this bias, people tend to favor information that confirms their previously held beliefs. If you keep telling yourself Epstein didn’t kill himself, of course, you’re going to find information that “proves” he didn’t. This manner of thinking throws the scientific method completely out the window. Beginning with your conclusion may net you lots of evidence but you have no idea how to differentiate between that and conjecture.

I didn’t have to explain why those pieces of evidence were wrong because the whole thing was wrong from the beginning. To agree with this conspiracy, you would also have to agree with a plethora of other instances inconsistent with reality. I could have released this article back when this topic was still relevant because I purposely wanted to wait for the trend to die down. Now that it’s no longer funny to say “Epstein didn’t kill himself” I think we can all focus on the raw facts here.

So there you have it. While Epstein may be dead, the case has not been allowed to rest. With several of his alleged victims filing lawsuits toward his estate, it would seem old habits die hard.

 

Duncan Hunter responds to my scathing letter.

Image result for duncan hunterThis article is going to a tad personal so please bear with me.

When I was in Highschool taking my useless AP Government class one of our projects required getting involved in politics itself. Our class had a lot of leeway on what we could do and one of the more easy options was emailing a letter to your congressman.

I live in California and our U.S. Representative for the 50th congressional district is none other than Duncan Hunter. I probably don’t have to do much to explain why that name should send a cold chill down your spine but in case, here’s a little refresher.

Last year Duncan Hunter and his wife were indicted on twelve criminal charges including wire fraud and campaign finance crimes. The prosecutors allege that they used over 250,000 dollars to fund their family activities like personal trips to Italy, buying school lunches and, my personal favorite, fly a relative’s pet rabbit to Washington.

So I sent an email to Duncan Hunter and absolutely tore him to pieces. I don’t have the original letter anymore and neglected to make a copy, so sadly I can’t show you everything I said. However, I vividly remember the main idea of it. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the letter.

  1. I listed every crime he committed and then blatantly called him a criminal
  2. I said, “I worry for our great state.”
  3. I sad I had no faith in him as a representative
  4. I asked what he planned to do as our representative.
  5. I commented on how it was possible he’d be sent to prison while in office.

I sent the letter back in December 2018 and just last week I finally got my response from good old Duncan Hunter. I was surprised, to say the least.

Dear Fabian:

Thanks for contacting me regarding your views. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Like many in California’s 50th District, I believe it is crucial to maintain a strong military, rebuild America’s manufacturing base and create economic opportunity for all Americans.  It is important to remember the original intent of our founders to build a nation of liberty, common defense, and domestic tranquility.  In order to maintain that vision, we need to adhere to principles that do not trample on the rights of states and, most importantly, the rights of individuals.

Please be assured that I will continue to fight for these principles with your specific thoughts firmly in mind.  In the meantime, if I can be of any future assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Part of me wished for a more unprofessional response from Hunter but I was well aware that it was unlikely. To be honest, I didn’t even expect a response at all. I’m just glad he had to sift through my inflammatory message. If there’s anything I can take away from this, I’m glad no matter how small my voice is, I can still be heard.

Guess I can scratch this one off the bucket list.

 

Donald Trump vows to free A$AP Rocky

Image result for donald trump and asap rockyIn an unorthodox turn of events, President Donald Trump recently announced on social media his plans to help exonerate rapper A$AP Rocky from Swedish authorities. It all started earlier this month on July 3rd when he was arrested on suspicion of assault. He has been held in Swedish prison for over two weeks and now prosecutors have until the 25th to decide whether they want to charge him or not. If things go array the New York rapper could be looking at a long sentence.

This news shook the internet and caused forces from all over the country banded together to vindicate Rocky. One notable celebrity Kim Kardashian used her white house connections and on July 18th tweeted “Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @SecPompeo, Jared Kushner & everyone involved with the efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends. Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated.”

The story continued to spiral and just today President Trump from his official twitter said, “Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!”

So it would seem this event will be coming to a close soon. With so many powerful forces at play its only natural, this dispute will be solved momentarily. Just hope that guys headphones were worth it.

UPDATE: JULY 25th

The deadline for the prosecutors has been reached and A$AP Rocky has been charged with assault and could be facing up to two years in Swedish prison. The trial date has not been set but is likely going to be happening very soon.

Donald Trump returned to Twitter to lash out at Swedish authorities. In a short series of tweets, Trump wrote, “Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky.” The tread continues, “Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM. We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem! #FreeRocky.”

Following this thread, some people have started to put A$AP in their twitter handles in support of A$AP Rocky. This is truly an unfortunate turn of events.

UPDATE: AUGUST 2nd

As of today, A$AP Rocky has been released from Swedish prison.

A light retrospective on the 2018-2019 government shutdown.

openOriginally written: March 28th, 2019 for a school newspaper.

On December 22, 2018, the United States began what would soon become the longest government shutdown in history. It lasted thirty-five days and occurred when Donald Trump and Congress couldn’t reach an agreement on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Around 800,000 employees had to shut down partially or in full. More than 420,000 of those were government workers who were expected to work without pay. CSNBC reported that the government shutdown cost the economy $11 billion, including a permanent $3 billion loss.

Glancing at a few articles posted early on into the shutdown many expected the government shutdown to end somewhat quickly. Vox even went as far as to call it “a game of chicken” where “in the end, someone has to give in.” With this in mind, one might be met with a plethora of polarizing questions. Here’s everything as it occurred, and a few other key things to consider.

Main concerns over the shutdown arose after it began to overstay its proverbial welcome. It had carried itself into the new year and at this point, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were working unpaid for nine straight days. By January 4th, 2019 the New York Times was reporting that Trump claimed the shutdown could last months or even years. While this is impossible, due to the fact that the fiscal year ends on September 30th, 2019, this possibility was still incredibly alarming to the general public who are mostly politically unaware.

On January 8th, 2019 Trump delivered his first primetime address from the Oval Office. During this address, Trump slightly mentions the devastating effects of the shutdown but his focus remains on the Democrats, who don’t support the border wall. Trump claims in his speech that, “This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited Congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.” In the very same article that chronicles this speech, TIME magazine reports that the shutdown has “no clear end in sight.” At this point, some federal workers and contractors affected by the shutdown have turned to crowdfund sites, like GoFundMe, to raise funds for rent and bills. Many government facilities have also ceased action.

On January 10th, Donald Trump threatens to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress if he can’t reach a deal with Democrats to fund his promised border wall. The following day many federal workers miss their first paycheck. Some workers who are used to earning six-figure salaries now expect an average weekly take-home pay of roughly $500. Then the following day, the shutdown breaks the record for the longest government shutdown in history. The previous occurred in December 1995 at only 21 days.

In the days following, it’s astonishingly clear no negotiations will be made without addressing Trump’s proposal for the wall, a wall that is now estimated to cost around $8.6 billion to create. The government shutdown would later end on January 25th due to Trump’s support for a three-week funding measure that would reopen the government until February 15th. By this point, Federal district courts had officially run out of funds and Federal workers missed yet another paycheck.

However, the aftermath of the whole fiasco was equally as alarming. A bipartisan group reached an agreement which included a $1.375 billion deal for 55 miles of steel border fencing and another $1.7 billion for other security measures. On February 15th, at the White House Rose Garden, President Trump announced that he had signed the spending bill to keep the government open. This was after Trump had already blocked the back pay of federal contractors who were still penniless from the shutdown. During this time Trump also declared a national emergency over the border crisis, hoping to get access to $8 billion to use for the wall.

This was the de facto end of the government shutdown but in its wake, the issue of the state of emergency would take its place. It’s easy to point fingers and blame a single figure for the government shutdown but the fact of the matter is that this was a team effort. It should be noted all federal employees affected were paid back after the debacle was over. Several other provisions were made to keep things running regardless of the government’s status. It’s important to remember that while this moment in history was dire, society was able to come out from it in one piece and is ultimately stronger for it. The government shutdown is a strong representation of American society banding together against all odds.

What the Kavanaugh case says about contemporary politics

Originally written on October 8th, 2018 when this was relevant.

In September 2018 serious allegations were levied at, the now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, following his nomination for Supreme Court. The case has been active since early September and has only become more controversial since Kavanaugh’s confirmation into the Supreme Court on October 6th, 2018. With that said, one might ponder the possible future ramifications this could have on modern-day politics and what it says about the precedent being set by the Supreme Court system in general.

The already turbulent trial was met with much criticism as many attempted to blind the strict regulations of judicial hearings with their own personal agenda. With the inclusion of the #metoo movement in full swing, many are quick to act without first considering all the facts present within the case. It’s at this point that both the affirmative and opposing sides have come to an ideological standstill. Concerned citizens question whether morality should be considered in politics and others want to keep it as traditional as possible. Are we as a society able to adequately judge who’s right?

Well, Michael J. Sandel certainly thinks we do. In his 2009 book: Justice What’s The Right Thing to Do?, he maintains that society, “need(s) a more robust engaged Civic life than the one to which we’ve become accustomed. In recent decades we’ve come to assume that respecting our fellow citizens moral and religious convictions means ignoring them (for political purposes, at least) leaving them undisturbed and conducting our public life – insofar as possible – without reference to them, but this stance of avoidance can make for a spurious respect. Often it means suppressing moral disagreement rather than actually avoiding it.”

What he’s saying may bridge the gap between the opposing sides of the case. It’s clear that any case involving the possibility of sexual misconduct should be treated with the utmost respect and caution. However, in order for this matter to be considered a case there must always be an opposing side and simply having two words that say the opposite thing consistently brings any argument to an impasse. Despite the, as President Donald Trump said, “compelling” circumstantial evidence provided by Mrs. Ford, there is still no substantial concrete evidence that has been brought to the table in order for a justified conviction. This seems to be where the majority of aggravators and activists attempt to fill in the gaps with their own conclusions and agenda. The argument has now been reduced to two people attempting to prove their own idea of the truth with interjections from all political sides.

Does this mean that Sandel correct in his judgment of politics? Are we justified adding our own moral spin on a trial with little to no concrete evidence? Should we face these moral questions? Will it lead us to the truth without unreasonable discourse? The answer isn’t all that simple, and never has been. There are several angles to consider all of which muddle the case even more. Whose perspective is the right one? Is it the one with the moral high ground? That couldn’t be right, for everyone fighting believes their cause is virtuously superior. As a population, we are being led in circles with no hope of seeing a sensible end. Much like the politics of today, the pitfalls and traps are clearly telegraphed to the public. We simply keep falling into them.