That (One?) Time Jeffrey Epstein Tried to Blackmail Bill Gates - The Monday AM Quickie 5/22/23

I'm currently enjoying Poker Face, where Natasha Lyonne channels Peter Falk. - Corey

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WSJ: Jeffrey Epstein Tried to Blackmail Bill Gates

It's never been totally clear where the late sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein got all his money, but informed opinion has long assumed that blackmail was key to his illicit business. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal dropped a big scoop, based on documents, that confirms this theory. The paper says Epstein used his knowledge of an affair that Bill Gates was carrying on with a young Russian bridge player to attempt to extort money from the billionaire.

The Microsoft co-founder met the woman around 2010, when she was in her 20s. Epstein met her in 2013 and later paid for her to attend software coding school. In 2017, Epstein emailed Gates and asked to be reimbursed for the cost of the course, according to the people familiar with the matter. ... The implication behind the message, according to people who have viewed it, was that Epstein could reveal the affair if Gates didn't keep up an association between the two men. ...
Mila Antonova, the Russian bridge player, declined to comment on Gates and said she didn't know who Epstein was when they met. "I had no idea that he was a criminal or had any ulterior motive," she said of Epstein. "I just thought he was a successful businessman and wanted to help." She added: "I am disgusted with Epstein and what he did."
The new details about Epstein and Gates reveal a layer of complexity to their relationship, and shed new light on how Epstein operated. In the years between his 2008 conviction and death, Epstein packed his days meeting with politicians, businessmen, academics and celebrities. He provided favors and sought to use the connections for his own purposes. And when the relationships soured, he could turn against people.

A spokeswoman for Gates said he didn't make the payment requested by Epstein. Which may well be the case, even though Gates previously misrepresented his relationship with Epstein by saying they only discussed philanthropy. How many times did Epstein attempt this shakedown? And how many times did it work? In any case, this is an instructive story when it comes to how things work at the most powerful levels of our society.

The Latest on the Ukraine War and the G7 Summit

  • Zelenskyy Says Bakhmut Has Been Destroyed, But Not Occupied "Bakhmut is only in our hearts," the Ukrainian president said in Hiroshima yesterday. via the Washington Post.
  • Biden Tells G7 Leaders Ukraine Will Get F-16s The U.S.-made fighter jets could allow Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia without entering Russian airspace. via BBC News and the New York Times.
  • Russia Sanctions Trump's Enemies "Among the 500 people singled out for travel and financial restrictions on Friday were Americans seen as adversaries by [Donald] Trump, including Letitia James, the state attorney general of New York... Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state of Georgia... [a]nd Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot the pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6, 2021." via the New York Times.
  • U.N. Secretary-General Calls for Reform of Postwar Institutions "The global financial architecture became outdated, dysfunctional and unfair," Antonio Guterres said yesterday in Hiroshima, and the Security Council is problematic too. via Reuters.

Former Trump Lawyer Says Boris Epshteyn Was an Obstacle

Timothy Parlatore, who quit Donald Trump's legal team last week, told CNN on Saturday that he quit because of infighting. In particular, Parlatore named Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, best known for his unhinged commentaries on news stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, as an obstacle to his attempts to defend Trump from the Justice Department's inquiries. Per the New York Times, Parlatore claims Epshteyn tried to prevent Trump's legal team from conducting additional searches of Trump's properties after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and found more than 100 classified documents that weren't supposed to be there. A Trump campaign spokesperson called Parlatore's claims "unfounded and categorically false." Who or what is Epshteyn trying to hide?


  • Biden to Talk Debt Limit with McCarthy Today The GOP House Speaker says talks have stalled because Biden is listening to Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. via Politico.
  • Leftist Party Syriza Finishes Second in Greek Election The conservative New Democracy came in some 20 percentage points ahead in Sunday's election, but it may have a hard time forming a ruling coalition. via BBC News.
  • Senate Dems Would Need Nine Republicans Votes to Replace Feinstein on Judiciary Neither California Gov. Gavin Newsom, nor Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, nor any of her Senate colleagues have publicly pressured the ailing Dianne Feinstein to resign. via the Washington Post.
  • Doug Mastriano May Announce U.S. Senate Bid This Week The wacko far-right Pennsylvania state Sen., whose gubernatorial campaign flopped last year, says the race is "ours to lose in the primary." via the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Weeklong Ceasefire Begins Today in Sudan "On Saturday, the [two warring] sides promised to stop their forces from occupying new areas; to refrain from detaining or threatening civilians; and not to impede aid groups and workers from providing lifesaving assistance." via the New York Times.


63 percent

That's how much of every dollar spent by its political clients that Axiom Strategies founder Jeff Roe claims to "capture," helping the consulting firm earn $22 million in profit last year. As the Washington Post reports, "Roe is expected to be a central figure in [Florida Republican Gov. Ron] DeSantis's 2024 political apparatus and was named this year to lead Never Back Down, the pro-DeSantis super PAC."


5/22: Happy Monday! Sam and Emma host Rosie Collington, Ph.D candidate at University College London, to discuss her recent book The Big Con: How The Consulting Industry Weakens Our Businesses, Infantilizes Our Governments, And Warps Our Economies, co-authored with Mariana Mazzucato.


LEAK: McCarthy Making Secret Deal With Democrats?

His position isn't solid and he must know that.

Fox News in Panic Mode After Tucker Carlson's Departure

I'm pleased and amused that d-bag Jesse Watters got passed over.


"They killed my daughter, because she was nearly a day and a half without being able to breathe. She cried and begged for her life and they ignored her. They didn't do anything for her."

-- Mabel Alvarez Benedicks, whose 8-year-old daughter died in Border Patrol custody last Wednesday, speaking to the Associated Press about how agents denied hospital care to the sick girl. Alvarez Benedicks' daughter died on the family's ninth day in custody, though agency policy says people are to be held no more than 72 hours.

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