I am of the opinion that there is a grain of truth in many a conspiracy theory and considerably more than that in “the word on the street.” This is probably due to me overhearing my mom’s shop talk when I was a kid (she was a hair stylist) and seeing her sources confirmed, or at least seriously considered, during my copious consumption of investigative journalism and, admittedly, it’s black sheep cousin/sister…ahem…yellow journalism.
Case in point: my mother always said she believed that Texas millionaire, racketeer and church elder Billy Sol Estes and his business associate, former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, were in involved in the JFK assassination.
You see, my mom had the skinny on Sol Estes because during his hey day–the early 60s–she lived and plied her trade in his stomping grounds–Pecos, Texas (pop. 10,000). There, “Billy Sol” was a tractor sized wheel who threw lavish parties for Texas Democrats at his 26,000 acre ranch on Saturdays and preached sermons on the evil of dancing as a lay minister of the Church of Christ on Sundays.
Later, after he served two stints in prison, much was written about his agricultural schemes, the suspicious deaths of seven men tied to those schemes, his embezzlement of funds from the coffers of the Christian schools he oversaw, his connections to LBJ and his knowledge of the assassination conspiracy. In 1984 he testified before a grand jury promising to spill his guts about the whole sordid mess if he was granted immunity.
He wasn’t, so he didn’t; not then, anyway. He did spill them in a book about it thirty years later though, claiming LBJ aid Mac Wallace was one of the shooters, acting on Johnson’s behest. But that was years after I first heard my mother espouse similar theories based, primarily, on beauty shop gossip.
Now I’m not saying I believe my mom’s theory (long time Donald J. Trump friend and Republican dirty trickster, Roger Stone believes it; he also wrote a book about it) but I’m not saying I don’t believe it either. There’s no definitive proof.
There is, however, compelling circumstantial…I wouldn’t say evidence...indicators…pointing to plausibility. Then again…
And now that I’ve brought up Roger Stone, it’s a good time to segue into the Q-anon conspiracy theory…the one about the cabal of Satanic Democrat pedophiles who drink the blood of infants and with the assistance of “Hollywood” (and I’m presuming Broadway and the recording industry as well, with the exception of traditional Country artists circa 1989) would have taken over the world, if not for former President Trump.
Yeah, that Q-anon conspiracy.
Okay, let’s dig in.
So, you recognize these two, right?
Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased multi-millionaire money manager to the richest of the rich (he hanged himself in jail) and his British socialite girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, who currently resides in the Metropolitan Detention Center, of Brooklyn, New York, awaiting trial for trafficking underaged girls to Epstein and several of his high profile clients.
Of course you do.
And you’ve probably seen these:
Of course you have.
But, what about these?
But Trump and Epstein were notorious party pals in the late 90s through the early 2000s, seen in each others company many times in Manhattan and Palm Beach. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life,” he told New York magazine in 2002.
Predictably the two had a falling out over a property deal in 2004 and haven’t socialized since. In 2007 Trump kicked Epstein out of Mar-a-Lago for being inappropriate with a guest’s daughter.
All right then, what about Bill Clinton?
Clinton insists he’s never been at Epstein private Caribbean island, Little Saint James, where underaged girls reportedly engaged in orgies with some of Epstein’s friends, associates and benefactors. But chief Epstein accuser and sexual trafficking survivor Virginia Roberts Giuffre says otherwise. In 2020, unsealed court documents revealed Giuffre’s testimony that she saw Bill Clinton on Little Saint James island with two teenage girls from New York. Giuffre said she could not recall the their names. She does not claim to have witnessed Clinton engaging in inappropriate conduct with them, nor does she claim that he abused her.
Additionally, the young woman photographed massaging Clinton’s neck, Chauntae Davies, who claims Epstein sexually assaulted and trafficked her, has testified that although Ghislaine Maxwell instructed her to give the massage, “President Clinton was a perfect gentleman during the trip and I saw absolutely no foul play involving him.” The incident happened in 2002 while Epstein’s private jet dubbed the “Lolita Express” was refueling.
Clinton was traveling with Epstein, Maxwell, Chris Tucker and Kevin Spacey to Africa on a humanitarian trip associated with his charity. (The picture of Clinton seated, smoking a cigar was taken on Epstein’s plane.) Flight logs confirm that Clinton flew 26 times aboard the “Lolita Express.” Clinton says it was four times.
Then there are the other politicians, one’s that, unlike Trump and Clinton, Giuffre has accused of abusing her while she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell. Let’s see…there’s Prince Andrew, (everybody’s seen that picture and, yeah, I know he’s not really a politician) Ex-New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy under the Clinton administration (he and Bubba are buds) and former Democratic Senator and Senate Majority Leader from Maine George J. Mitchell.
Last and possibly least (I think he’s particularly gross, but that’s just me) there’s Alan Dershowitz, the famous lawyer of O.J. Simpson and Harvey Weinstein and member of Trump’s defense team during his first impeachment trail. Giuffre has accused him, too, of sexual abusing her.
It was Dershowitz who got Epstein the sweetheart deal for his 2008 conviction in which he and four named co-conspirators (along with any unnamed potential co-conspirators) were granted immunity from all federal criminal charges. Epstein served 18 months in conditions that were comparable to Pablo Escobar’s pampered existence at La Catedral prison in Columbia.
In 1997, Dershowitz wrote in an op-ed, “there must be criminal sanctions against sex with very young children, but it is doubtful whether such sanctions should apply to teenagers above the age of puberty, since voluntary sex is so common in their age group.” He went on to opine that “15 was a reasonable age of consent, no matter how old the partner.”
It is these views of Mr. Dershowitz, on age of consent, that spur me to contrarily–but necessarily–play devil’s advocate. The word pedophile is bandied about in the media, describing–in this case–Epstein’s domicile of Little St. James as “pedophile island.” But what is the real definition of a pedophile?
A pedophile is a person who is sexually attracted to prepubescent children, whereas a hebephile is sexually attracted to early adolescent teenagers–ages 11 thru 14–and a ephebophile has a sexual attraction to older teenagers falling below the age of consent. Within these paraphilias there are overlaps and the attraction ranges from preferential to exclusive. While Jeffery Epstein was, no doubt, a contemptuous sexual predator with over lapping paraphilias, he was not–to my knowledge–a pedophile.
The distinction is important because, yes, some abominations are worse than other abominations but, perhaps, even more than that, blurring and exaggerating the lines between deviant, unacceptable and criminal behaviors allows truth to be corrupted with lies. That contamination can lead to outrageous conspiracy theories such as the one about Satanic cabals of Democrats who drink the blood of babies as they seek to take over the world.
And theories like that can lead to riots.
Now, ideally, I should end on that. It’s a good tag line and it sums everything up (plus this getting long and I’m pushing your patience) but I really want to add this anecdote. So here goes…
Years ago, when my husband was still in radio, his boss shared an explosive confidence with him. She swore him to secrecy, just as she had been sworn to secrecy by her best friend, whose son, a member of the Secret Service that guarded the interior of the White House, swore her to secrecy. After all, national security and his job was on the line.
In turn, so explosive was this confidence, my husband (who usually keeps secrets like he keeps watch on our bank account, like a hawk) told me. But before he did, he swore me to secrecy.
That night, hours after everything had calmed down, I suggested that I should pick up some burgers at Steak-n-Shake. He happily agreed. Steak-n-Shake is his favortie.
While I was waiting in the drive thru line, I called my mother. This is pretty much what I said:
“Mom, I’ve got something to tell you. It’s about the president…and it’s bad. It’s all about sex. There’s stuff, I can’t even say…about cigars…and there’s DNA…You’re going to be hearing a lot about it because the whole story is about to break but I wanted to tell you before it does. I think he’s gonna have to resign…”