by John W. Whitehead
July 12, 2019
"As political and
economic freedom diminishes,
sexual freedom tends compensating to
And the dictator
(unless he needs cannon fodder and
families with which
to colonize empty or conquered territories)
do well to encourage that freedom."
Brave New World
Anyone who believes differently hasn't been paying attention.
Politics, religion, sports, government, entertainment, business,
it doesn't matter what arena you're talking about,
they are all riddled with the kind of seedy, sleazy, decadent,
dodgy, depraved, immoral, corrupt behavior that somehow gets a free
pass when it involves the wealthy and powerful elite in America.
In this age of partisan politics and a deeply polarized populace,
corruption - especially when it involves sexual debauchery,
depravity and predatory behavior - has become the great equalizer.
Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund billionaire/convicted serial
arrested on charges of molesting, raping and sex
trafficking dozens of young girls.
It is believed that Epstein operated his own personal sex
trafficking ring not only for his personal pleasure but also
for the pleasure of his friends and business associates.
According to The Washington Post,
"several of the young women… say
to the rich and famous as sex partners
at Epstein's parties."
At various times,
Epstein ferried his friends about on his private plane, nicknamed
This is part of America's seedy underbelly.
As I documented in the
in-depth piece I wrote earlier this year, child sex trafficking
- the buying and selling of women, young girls and boys for sex,
some as young as 9 years old - has become big business in America.
It is the
fastest growing business in organized crime and the
commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.
purchase children for sex
at least 2.5 million times a year in
the United States.
It's not just young girls who are vulnerable to these predators,
According to a 2016 investigative report,
make up about 36% of children caught up in the U.S. sex industry
(about 60% are female and less than 5% are transgender males and
Who buys a child for sex?
from all walks of life.
could be your co-worker, doctor, pastor or spouse,"
journalist Tim Swarens, who spent more than a year investigating the
sex trade in America.
Ordinary men, yes...
But then there are the extra-ordinary men, such as Jeffrey Epstein,
who belong to a
powerful, wealthy, elite segment of society that operates
according to their own rules or, rather, who are allowed to sidestep
the rules that are used like a bludgeon on the rest of us.
These men skate free of accountability by taking advantage of a
criminal justice system that panders to the powerful,
and the elite.
Over a decade ago, when Epstein was first charged with raping and
molesting young girls, he was gifted a secret plea deal with then-U.S.
Attorney Alexander Acosta, President Trump's current Labor
allowed him to evade federal charges and be given the equivalent
slap on the wrist:
"work" at home six days a week before returning to jail to
That secret plea deal has
since been ruled illegal by a federal judge.
Yet here's the thing: Epstein
did not act alone.
I refer not only to Epstein's accomplices, who recruited and groomed
the young girls he is accused of raping and molesting, many of them
homeless or vulnerable, but his
of influential friends and colleagues that at one time
Bill Clinton and
Both Clinton and Trump, renowned womanizers who have also been
accused of sexual impropriety by a significant number of women, were
at one time passengers on the
As the Associated Press points out,
"The arrest of the billionaire financier on child sex trafficking
charges is raising questions about how much his high-powered
associates knew about the hedge fund manager's interactions with
underage girls, and
whether they turned a blind eye to potentially illegal conduct."
In fact, a recent
decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals allowing a
2,000-page document linked to the Epstein case to be unsealed
references allegations of sexual abuse involving,
prominent American politicians, powerful business executives,
foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world
not a minor incident involving minor players.
This is the heart of darkness...
Once again, fact and fiction mirror each other...
Twenty years ago,
Stanley Kubrick's final film
Eyes Wide Shut
provided viewing audiences with a sordid glimpse into a secret sex
society that indulged the basest urges of its affluent members while
preying on vulnerable young women.
It is not so different from the
real world, where
powerful men, insulated from accountability, indulge their base
These secret societies flourish,
implied Kubrick, because the rest of us are content to navigate
life with our eyes wide shut, in denial about the ugly, obvious
truths in our midst.
In so doing, we become accomplices to abusive behavior in our midst.
This is how corruption by the power elite flourishes.
For every Epstein who is
- finally - called to account for his
illegal sexual exploits after
years of being given a free pass
by those in power, there are
hundreds (perhaps thousands) more in the halls of power and wealth
of those most vulnerable among us continues unabated.
alleged crimes are heinous enough on their own, he is part of a
larger narrative of how a culture of entitlement becomes
a cesspool and a breeding ground
for despots and predators.
who was charged with operating a phone-order sex business?
Her clients included
thousands of White House officials, lobbyists, and
Pentagon, FBI, and IRS employees, as well as prominent lawyers, none of whom
were ever exposed or held accountable.
Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton
absolute power corrupts absolutely...
It doesn't matter whether you're talking about a politician, an
entertainment mogul, a
corporate CEO or a police officer:
give any one person (or
government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to
believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held
accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be
We're seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across
A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away
A president employs executive orders to sidestep the
Constitution and gets away with it.
A government agency spies on its
citizens' communications and gets away with it. An entertainment
mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it.
The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and gets away with it.
Abuse of power - and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate
disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible - works the
same whether you're talking about sex crimes, government corruption,
or the rule of law.
It's the same old story all over again:
man rises to power, man
abuses power abominably, man intimidates and threatens anyone who
challenges him with retaliation or worse, and man gets away with it
a culture of compliance in which no one speaks up because they
don't want to lose their job or their money or their place among the
It's not just sexual predators that we have to worry about.
For every Jeffrey Epstein (or Bill Clinton or
Harvey Weinstein or
Roger Ailes or Bill Cosby or Donald Trump) who eventually gets
called out for his sexual misbehavior, there are hundreds - thousands
- of others in the American police state who are getting
away with murder - in many cases, literally - simply because they
The cop who shoots the unarmed citizen first and asks questions
later might get put on paid leave for a while or take a job with
another police department, but that's just a slap on the wrist.
shootings and SWAT team raids and excessive use of force will
continue, because the police unions and the politicians and the
courts won't do a thing to stop it.
The war hawks who are making a profit by waging endless wars abroad,
killing innocent civilians in hospitals and schools, and turning the
American homeland into a domestic battlefield will continue to do so
because neither the president nor the politicians will dare to
challenge the military industrial complex.
The National Security Agency that carries out warrantless
surveillance on Americans' internet and phone communications will
continue to do so, because the government doesn't want to relinquish
any of its ill-gotten powers and its total control of the populace.
Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing,
egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will
continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our
Police officers will continue to shoot and kill unarmed citizens.
- including local police - will continue to dress
and act like soldiers on a battlefield.
Bloated government agencies
will continue to fleece taxpayers while eroding our liberties.
Government technicians will continue to spy on our emails and phone
Government contractors will continue to make a killing by
waging endless wars abroad.
And powerful men (and women) will continue to abuse the powers of
their office by treating those around them as underlings and
second-class citizens who are unworthy of dignity and respect and
undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be
afforded to all Americans.
As Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the at the University
of California, Berkeley,
observed in the Harvard Business Review,
"While people usually gain power through traits and actions that
advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration,
openness, fairness, and sharing; when they start to feel powerful or
enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade.
The powerful are more likely than other people to engage in rude,
selfish, and unethical behavior."
After conducting a series of experiments into the phenomenon of how
power corrupts, Keltner concluded:
"Just the random assignment of power, and all kinds of mischief
ensues, and people will become impulsive.
They eat more resources
than is their fair share.
They take more money.
think unethical behavior is okay if they engage in it.
People are more
likely to stereotype. They're more likely to stop attending to
other people carefully."
And absolute power corrupts absolutely...
However, it takes a culture of entitlement and a nation of
compliant, willfully ignorant, politically divided citizens to
provide the foundations of tyranny.
As researchers Joris Lammers and
Adam Galinsky found, those in power
not only tend to abuse that power but they also feel entitled to
"People with power that they think is justified break
rules not only because they can get away with it, but also because
they feel at some intuitive level that they are entitled to take
what they want."
As I point out in
America - The War on the American People',
for too long now,
Americans have tolerated an oligarchy in which
a powerful, elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots.
They have paid homage to patriotism while allowing the military
industrial complex to spread death and destruction abroad. And they
have turned a blind eye to all manner of wrongdoing when it was
We need to restore the rule of law for all people, no exceptions.
Here's what the rule of law means in a nutshell:
it means that
everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally
accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass
based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their
status or any other bright line test used to confer special
treatment on the elite.
This culture of compliance must stop.
The empowerment of petty tyrants and political gods must end.
The state of denial must cease.
Let's not allow this
Epstein sex scandal to become just another blip
in the news cycle that goes away all too soon, only to be forgotten
when another titillating news headline takes its place.
Sex trafficking, like so many of the evils in our midst, is a
cultural disease that is rooted in the American police state's heart
It speaks to a far-reaching corruption that stretches
from the highest seats of power down to the most hidden corners and
relies on our silence and our complicity to turn a blind eye to
If we want to put an end to these wrongs, we must keep our eyes wide