Epstein, Faction, and Neopatrimonialism

By Dan Corjescu

Faction: a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

— James Madison Federalist #10

August 14, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –   Never has the word “conspiracy” been spoken so easily.

Never has the dark evil that is Factionalism and Neopatrimonialism been on such stark display.

If you think Jeffrey Epstein, a man with an inordinate, if strongly misguided lust for life, killed himself rather than was murdered by his erstwhile “friends and associates” you still haven’t taken the red pill.

The writers of the Federalist Papers were famously concerned about the possibility of faction in the United States; their fear was founded in part by their understanding of human psychology and ancient history. They were rightly skeptical about the possibility of totally avoiding the rise of an organized collection of individuals who would capture the state and by implication spread their influence and power throughout the fabric of civil society.

Such a relatively large faction is in existence today, although it is, for the most part, hidden in its day to day workings. As the founding fathers well understood, nothing is more natural than a group of persons tacitly agreeing to work together to further their own private interests at the expense of all others who are not included in their surreptitious compact. The group that can successfully capture the state is master of all else. This activity is emphatically not a direct result of capitalism but of something much more ancient and primordial; the lust for total control and unlimited power. Cabals, cliques, compacts, conspiracies, secret hierarchies have existed in all types of polities, places, and times. Machiavelli spoke of it at length. Even Kant mentioned it. It is nothing outlandish or new. People will scheme for unfair advantage and privilege; even animals do it on a regular basis.

Yet the problem is that human beings are also equipped with a sense of justice and fair play. When a polity that purports to epitomize the ideal of a modern democratic state with the rule of law, representative government, separation of powers, an impartial bureaucracy, and careers open to all talents is de facto nothing of the sort, it becomes inevitable for symptoms of decay, rot, and outrageous human vice not unlike that of the Roman Empire to increasingly appear.

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When a faction, however large, has taken over a society that society becomes what is known as Neopatrimonial. Even conservative thinkers such as Francis Fukuyama have pointed out the accelerating nature of this political disease that, like a cancer, spreads its tentacles throughout the world’s bodies politic, even the most “progressive ones”. Neopatrimonialism presupposes powerful elites who as patrons work closely with armies of less powerful clients who are often dependent on them for current positions, possible advancements, and other privileges and emoluments not limited to themselves, but crucially, for their offspring as well. A telephone call, a manipulated email, a lunch meeting, a tacit agreement by powerful lawmakers, all the way to secret directives tailor made by the security forces and the “executive” (often, maybe always, one of the de facto administrative chiefs not of the “people” but of the “faction”); all are but a few examples of how Neopatrimonialism functions.

At times, the fierceness of the faction shows as well as their haughty disregard and unconcern at public exposure. So sure are these consummate assassins of the body politic of their perfect unassailability. So sure are these cool headed ringleaders in their total command of the real that nothing can threaten their mobility, reach, and Morphean powers over the manufacturing of collective gullibility. Sheep are to be sheared and faction rules are to be obeyed.

Somewhere along the line, Jeffrey Epstein, for all his power, wealth, and connections significantly betrayed the trust of those who not only raised him up from literally nothing but protected him for so many years. A protection that extended, not surprisingly, from the state itself. The “faction” has the power of deciding the “exception”. And for a long time, Jeffrey Epstein was one of those exceptions.

If you believe that Epstein’s sexual depredations are what ultimately brought him down you are confusing means with cause. The fatal breach that led to both his incarceration and eventual murder within the heart of American Empire (for it is truly New York City and not Washington D.C.; the first is the iron fist, the second the theatrical glove) the public will never know. But the draconian rules of the faction are clear; we are many and you are only one; nothing, not billions, fame, potential usefulness, belated contriteness, can excuse the dictatorial rules of factionalism in a Neopatrimonial state masquerading as a representative democracy. Jeffrey Epstein’s demise is not one of conscience, fear, self-pity, inmate rage, or ironic justice; the voracious hive has deliberately, admonishingly devoured one of its own.

Dan Corjescu teaches Political Philosophy and Globalization at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany

This article was originally published by “ Dissident Voice” –

Who wanted Jeffrey Epstein dead?

By Patrick Martin

August 14, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  Let’s begin by stating the obvious: Jeffrey Epstein’s violent death in a Manhattan jail cell prevents a trial or a plea deal that threatened to expose business associates and political enablers who made use of the services provided by his alleged sex-trafficking activities, or who profited from this and other sordid operations of the multimillionaire money manager.

Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his death, the efforts of the media—and theNew York Times in particular—to dismiss out of hand any suggestion that Epstein’s death was the result of anything but a suicide reek of a high-level cover-up. Whether he was strangled in a jail cell by a hired killer or allowed to hang himself is almost beside the point.

Epstein’s life came to a violent end while in the custody of the US government. This is an undeniable fact. Even if he committed suicide, the act could not have succeeded without the direct complicity of those who were responsible for his safety.

And while Epstein was accused of deplorable crimes, it should hardly be necessary to point out that he—yes, even Epstein—had the right to a vigorous defense in a trial. That his untimely death preempts and prevents the trial from taking place is a matter of staggering seriousness.

The suspicion of homicide is clearly justified. That Epstein was murdered—whether by an assailant or by the calculated enabling of his jail cell suicide—is far more plausible than the official account of what took place at the Metropolitan Correctional Center over the past three weeks. According to prison officials, Epstein was found hanged in his cell Saturday morning. His guards had neglected to perform their every-half-hour inspection during the night and only belatedly took a look at their prisoner at 6:30 a.m.

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This occurred even though Epstein was arguably the most notorious prisoner currently in federal custody, with his arrest on sex-trafficking charges given saturation coverage in the New York and national media. Moreover, he had been placed on suicide watch from July 23, when he was reportedly found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck, until July 31, when the special provisions, including 24/7 surveillance, were lifted without explanation.

Epstein’s attorneys and other visitors said they saw no signs that the multimillionaire was in low spirits or likely to take his own life, and he had been participating in preparations for his legal defense in an upcoming trial for as much as 12 hours a day.

Investigations have now begun by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department inspector general, all of whom have ample reason to rig the result and cover up what really happened. So far, the most elementary facts have been withheld from the public. It has not been reported how and with what material Epstein was hanged, or whether there is a video recording of his cell that would show the alleged “suicide” or otherwise shed light on the physical circumstances of his death.

The legal and political circumstances of Epstein’s death are a different matter; they strongly suggest that Epstein had become a danger to an entire section of the Wall Street and political elite, who had a powerful motive to silence him.

The media has quickly moved to denounce anyone who points to the obviously concocted character of the official story as the promoter of a “conspiracy theory.”

The New York Times is aggressively promoting the official claims of suicide. The newspaper’s editorial Sunday begins, “By apparently committing suicide in his Manhattan jail cell on Saturday morning, Jeffrey Epstein spared himself a lengthy trial that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life on federal sex-trafficking charges.”

The use of the word “apparently” is entirely out of place. In the absence of any details relating to this death, nothing is “apparent.” The Times is simply conditioning the public to accept the suicide narrative without an urgently required criminal investigation into Epstein’s death, which must be considered suspicious.

Furthermore, why does the Times state that Epstein was “spared” a trial? Do the editors have information that supports their assumption that Epstein did not want to have a trial? What about the possibility that his death “spares” other powerful and influential people from having their connections to Epstein’s proven and alleged criminal activities, either sexual or financial, brought into the public eye by a lengthy legal proceeding.

“Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department’s inspector general would open an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death in federal custody. While Mr. Epstein will never face a legal reckoning, the investigations into his crimes, and those of others connected to him, must continue. His premature death shouldn’t stop law enforcement authorities from finishing the job that they finally took up seriously years after they should have.”

This is cynical claptrap: The Times knows full well that Epstein’s death, without a trial or conviction (technically, Epstein dies an innocent man, at least on the most recent charges), will effectively end the investigation. There is no longer the danger of a plea deal, which Epstein’s lawyers would certainly have attempted to negotiate in return for his testimony in trials of others whom he might have implicated in the alleged sex-trafficking ring.

The Times does not raise these obvious issues, let alone demand a criminal investigation and public hearings into the circumstances of Epstein’s highly suspicious death.

Any elementary review of the facts makes clear that Epstein’s death must be treated as a criminal investigation. Only 24 hours before his death, more than 2,000 pages of documents were released by a Florida court in a civil suit brought by one of the women who has charged Epstein with enslaving her as a teenager as part of his systematic abuse of young girls. The woman filed a defamation suit against Epstein’s partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly had acted as a procuress, recruiting teenage girls to service him.

Maxwell is herself a product of the super-rich milieu that vomited up Epstein. She is the daughter of the late British billionaire publisher Robert Maxwell, also the target of numerous allegations of fraud and other financial crimes.

In a grisly similarity, Robert Maxwell died under mysterious circumstances in 1991, when he allegedly fell off his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine (named after the daughter), and his naked body was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean several days later. The death was ruled accidental, although both suicide and homicide were widely suggested at the time.

The documents released Thursday named a number of prominent political and society figures as patrons of Epstein’s sex ring, including two top Democrats, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former governor and Clinton cabinet member Bill Richardson, a one-time presidential candidate, as well as Prince Andrew, second son of the Queen of England.

Whatever the truth of the allegations against these individuals, there is no question that Epstein was for many years an integral part of the financial and political elite in the United States, hobnobbing with former presidents like Bill Clinton and future presidents—and equally corrupt billionaires—like Donald Trump.

Epstein was a Palm Beach neighbor of Trump, and some of the girls he abused were recruited at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. That circumstance may account for Trump’s extraordinary response to the news of Epstein’s death, as he retweeted a right-wing supporter’s suggestion that Epstein was murdered at the orders of Bill Clinton.

The death of Epstein so obviously invites the assumption that this is a case of removing an inconvenient personality, one who could have implicated dozens if not hundreds of powerful people if he were finally brought to trial, that the official claim of suicide made possible by neglect on the part of low-ranking prison guards has been greeted with disbelief. Epstein’s death evokes recollections of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.

The Epstein case, in all its criminal depravity, sheds light on the state of American capitalist society. The super-rich prey upon the poor and the vulnerable, using them as they wish. They make use of their connections to cover up their crimes, or, depending on the circumstances, arrange for the elimination of those former friends and associates whose activities have become an inconvenience or a danger.

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This article was originally published by “WSWS” –

Italy was the world’s superpower TWICE. They screwed it up both times

In 750 BC, according to ancient legend, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus founded a tiny hilltop settlement in central Italy.

Romulus slew his brother for violating a magical superstition, and then named their new city after himself: Rome.

And for the first several centuries of its existence, Rome was nothing special. It was one of many minor kingdoms on a peninsula controlled by the Etruscan civilization… and existed at a time when Greek city-states like Athens and Sparta were the dominant superpowers.

Rome’s status began to rise dramatically after Alexander the Great died in 323 BC and left a void of power in the Mediterranean.

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But it took until 146 BC, when Roman general Scipio Aemilanus vanquished Carthage in the final siege of the Punic Wars, for Rome to become the clear, undisputed superpower of the known world.

The city’s dominance lasted for nearly 500 years until Roman emperor Constantine the Great moved the capital city to modern-day Turkey in the 4th century AD.

In that time, Rome surpassed even ancient Greece as the most advanced civilization in the history of the world up to that point.

From their vast road networks to the famed aqueducts, ancient Rome’s engineering works were unsurpassed in Europe for more than 1,000 years.

Their architecture and military tactics were copied for centuries.

Their rule of law is still widely used in many modern legal codes to this day.

And the system of government they created has been emulated throughout the world countless times.

During the time of Augustus in the early 1st century AD, it would have been impossible to imagine a world in which Rome wasn’t the dominant superpower.

And yet the managed to screw it up.

Weak leadership, ridiculous overspending, excessive warfare, currency debasement, idiotic trade policies, price controls, etc. all contributed to the gradual decline of Rome’s wealth and power.

Eventually all of Italy was conquered by invading barbarian tribes, and the grandeur of ancient Rome was relegated to the history books.

Then something interesting happened.

Nearly 1,000 years later, when there was yet another void of economic power in the Mediterranean, a handful of Italian city-states began to emerge as regional leaders.

The movement started in Venice, where the city took steps to enshrine economic freedom and create an economy where anyone who worked hard and took risks had the chance to become prosperous.

This was a radical concept in medieval Europe, when most of the continent was stagnating under the remarkably foolish Feudal System, in which peasants had few rights and zero prospects for growth.

Venice was truly the America of its day– a shining beacon of freedom and opportunity that attracted hard-working, talented people from all over the world.

In time, other Italian city-states like Florence, Genoa, and Pisa also rose to prominence, and Italy once again had become the center of wealth and power in Europe.

Similarly, it would have been nearly impossible for one of the powerful banking families of Florence living during the time of Cosimo de Medici in the early 1400s to imagine a time when they weren’t the dominant superpower.

And yet they managed to screw it up as well.

This is history’s constant lesson: no one… no country, no empire, no ruler… is entitled to the top spot forever.

Wealth and power are constantly changing. And the most pompous superpowers invariably believe that they’re going to last forever. They simply cannot imagine a world where they’re not #1.

Italy is very unique in this sense because it was the dominant superpower TWO times in its history– the first with Ancient Rome, and the second during the early Renaissance.

Both times they were eclipsed by other rising powers, in large part from their own mistakes and stupidity.

The world has seen so many superpowers in its history– from Ancient Egypt to the Ottoman Empire to the Mongols to the Soviet Union.

Every single one of them eventually faded… and sometimes rather chaotically.

It would be utterly foolish to presume that this will never happen again… to believe that THIS time is different.

It’s never different.

But it would be equally foolish (and paranoid) to believe that some great historical reset is going to take place tomorrow morning. Or that the world’s dominant superpower is going to ‘collapse’ overnight.

These things take time. Decay is a slow process.

But it never hurts to take sensible steps to protect yourself from what may come.

As an example, if you happen to be living in a country that has accumulated the largest mountain of government debt in the history of the world, you might not want to keep 100% of your wealth and savings there.

If your central bank is INSOLVENT on a mark-to-market basis, you might not want to keep 100% of your savings denominated in its currency.

If your home country is highly litigious where some of the most ridiculously frivolous lawsuits can cost millions, you might not want to keep all of your assets there.

If your government routinely snuffs out its most basic, enshrined freedoms under the guise of safety and security, you might consider options for a second citizenship based on your ancestry.

If Bolshevik politicians who hate individual success are rising to power and calling for absurd tax rates, you might want to start thinking about legal ways to reduce your tax bill.

Each of these ideas makes sense, no matter what happens (or doesn’t happen) next.

You certainly won’t be worse off lowering your tax bill, or making it more difficult for people to sue you, or taking steps to inflation-proof your savings.

But if the decay accelerates, these are potentially game-changing solutions.

And that’s what a good “Plan B” is all about.