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Epstein-Barr is a virus that causes, among other things, gastric cancer. Which may explain why I get stomach distress every time I hear or read anything from our Attorney General Billious Barr.

Epstein-Barr Connection

Truth is useful but not nearly as much fun as conspiracy theories. But just because it's a conspiracy theory doesn't mean that it's untrue. Scratch hard enough and we learn that most conspiracy theories either generate a fat profit for some huckster (anti-vaccine campaigns, for example) or feed some emotional need. But from time to time, a conspiracy theory simply fits the available facts better than the corporate "liberal" media version of events.

Which brings us to Billious Barr's "astounded, angry" upset upon hearing of the death of Jeffrey Epstein, while in custody in a special holding unit of a prison operated under the direction of the same Billious Barr. The first interesting point of Barr's response is that it was available, in written form, to the press while Epstein's body was still in transit from the prison to the hospital, where doctors first tried to resuscitate Epstein and then declared him dead.

Don't worry. The timeline of the official documents will be adjusted as necessary.

We know, of course, that Donald promised to, and no doubt has, worked diligently to repair our failing infrastructure. This includes putting super-loyalists like Barr in charge of things like prison improvements. And Barr, eagerly awaiting his promised Supreme Court nomination, has been diligent about such improvements, particularly since guards let another inmate murder Whitey Bulger in one of the prisons managed by Barr, less than a year ago.

Knowing that Donald has ordered his attorneys general, first Jeff Sessions and now Billious Barr, to resolve any issues at federal lock-ups, and make them perfect prisons, what are we to make of the evolving series of stories being floated out of the Justice Department about the Epstein kill?

So, knowing that Donald has ordered his attorneys general, first Jeff Sessions and now Billious Barr, to resolve any issues at federal lock-ups, and make them perfect prisons, what are we to make of the evolving series of stories being floated out of the Justice Department about the Epstein kill?

One of the first stories released to the press was that the video camera monitoring Epstein's cell had broken down. Why not believe that? After all, it was just a standard, prison-service video camera, priced especially high, not to milk the taxpayers, but to pay for the special engineering to make it fault proof in the hostile prison environment.

When Barr was told that there were a lot of snickers about the faulty camera claim, the Justice Department updated the story, to claim that ALL of the cameras in the prison had failed on that fateful, fatal night. This is something that would certainly have been noted on guards' reports from all branches of the prison, if it had happened. The activity logs would reveal the fault. This would discredit the initial story about a single camera failure, and thus raise the question, WHY was the initial false story released?

As Nixon showed the world so clearly, it is the cover-up that gets you, more often than the crime. Assuming that the prison's activity logs can be "adjusted" and "corrected" to match Barr's evolving stories, it only takes one guard in the system to blow the whistle. Will it be one who was ordered to chaperone a visiting congressman around the prison, while the guard's daughter was graduating from high school? Or one who was denied a merited promotion because she refused a demand for sex?

After the story about the camera(s) breaking started leaking like Donald under Putin's questioning, we were told that the prison psychiatrist took Epstein off of suicide watch, even though it was understood that a treasure trove of evidence documents was going to be released from a civil case on Friday. This falls into the "blame the guards" category. "The psychiatrist fucked up" will go the explanation. Or perhaps we can blame some secretary who failed to let the psychiatrist know what everyone else knew. Again, blame it on the low level staffers.

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How much will the psychiatrist be paid to fall on her/his sword, and take blame for a mistake? We might measure the value by looking to the millions of dollars paid to two psychologists who designed Dick Cheney's "enhanced interrogation" (torture) protocols. Or will the psychiatrist have an unfortunate, but unrelated, fatal traffic accident?

As the official stories begin to evaporate in the light of day, we move on to the more believable stuff. Most recently, a new way of blaming the guards has been floated. It seems that all the guards, working under Barr's "fix the problems" regime, were on excessive mandatory overtime. Again, work records will show this. The records will show whether the guards were dragging around, drowsy because they had been assigned mandatory overtime.

But the excessive overtime doesn't resolve another question. When Epstein made his first "suicide attempt," there was another prisoner in the cell with him, according to standard prison protocol. That prisoner intervened and alerted the guards who were (again) not paying attention to such a high profile prisoner. When Epstein was returned to the special status holding cell, he was again assigned a cellmate.

But on Friday, when the cameras were failing, when the guards were all drowsy from working too much overtime, and the psychiatrist had ruled Epstein was not a suicide risk, the prison administration, with Billious Barr in the top administrative position, decided to break standard protocol and remove the cellmate from Epstein's cell, thus eliminating the risk of any meddlesome interference with the "suicide."

It is easy to see how simple minds might misunderstand such a confluence of incredible circumstances to be an indication that the "suicide" was really a murder. And speaking of simple minds, Donald was quick to tweet his understanding that this had been a successful silencing of a dangerous witness.

But these things so often fall apart. Grand plans too often do not involve grand planning. When Billious Barr issued his initial claim that the Mueller Report has completely exonerated Donald, he simply didn't think about what would happen when even the heavily redacted version of Mueller's report would clearly, repeatedly contradict what he claimed.

tom hall

And when Donald tweeted that he knew that Epstein was murdered, and he suspected that the Clintons, with no access to a prison run by Barr, were behind it, he certainly wasn't thinking about the piles of papers of Epstein's and his own, recent activities now in prosecutors' custody. But his tweets have galvanized and energized his base. They are now demanding investigations, certain that the Clintons, rather than their orange messiah, had more cause and more access to murder Epstein. By driving them to call and write their politicians, and to demonstrate, Donald may have woven a noose that even Barr won't be able to undo.

Aren't conspiracy theories fun?! There are lots of questions, some of which may take weeks to answer. But the mere existence of the questions is enough for people to start putting pieces together, like a jigsaw puzzle. And presidential tweets pump adrenaline, and drive people to demand answers, even ones made up out of whole cloth. The time between asking the questions and getting solid, investigated answers is way too long for many people to wait.

As real investigations proceed, new bits of information will come out, supporting new conspiracy theories. Some theories may even help investigators better analyze possibilities. But with his tweets, Donald may have already tied murder conspiracies, murder because of weirdo, sicko sex, tightly to his own campaign.

Tom Hall

Couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving guy!

Tom Hall