Thursday, July 18, 2019

Last Call For Weekend At Jeffrey's

The judge in Jeffrey Epstein's trial has ruled on his bail hearing, and Jeff is absolutely staying in jail.

A federal judge on Thursday denied bail to wealthy investor Jeffrey Epstein, citing the potential danger he poses to the public and the risk that Epstein will flee to avoid prosecution for child sex trafficking charges.

The decision by Judge Richard Berman means that the 66-year-old Epstein will remain in jail pending trial in the case, where he faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

“I doubt any bail package could overcome dangerousness .... to community,” Berman said during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, agreeing with the recommendation by prosecutors to keep Epstein locked up.

Berman said that risk was “the heart of this decision” to deny the financier release on bond.

He noted that two women who claim they were abused by Epstein gave “compelling testimony” at a court hearing on Monday, where they had expressed “fear for their safety.”

The judge also called Epstein’s proposal for bail “irretrievably inadequate.” 
Epstein, a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, had asked Berman to release him on a bond of as high as $100 million or more.

Epstein had also suggested strict bail conditions, which could include requiring him to remain in his New York City mansion, round-the-clock security monitoring and an electronic trafficking device.

But Berman said that prosecutors had established that Epstein could be dangerous by “clear and convincing evidence,” and had shown by a “preponderance” of evidence that he could flee.

The judge noted that Epstein’s “great wealth and his vast resources,” which include private planes and a residence in Paris, France.

And Berman said Epstein’s possession of a passport issued by the country of Austria worried him.
That expired passport has Epstein’s photo but a different name on it, as well as stated residence in Saudi Arabia. It was used in the 1980s for travel, according to prosecutors. 

The odds of Epstein fleeing the country were about as close to 100% as it could get.  The guy had a second fake passport ready to go, quite literally.  Like I said before, he'd end up in a no-extradition country within 24 hours.

Judge Berman made the right call here, no doubt.

Meanwhile, Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman sets the table for the discovery phase of the Jeffrey Epstein mess, with hundreds of pages of documents and dozens of very well-connected people holding their collective breath.

The Jeffrey Epstein case is an asteroid poised to strike the elite world in which he moved. No one can yet say precisely how large it is. But as the number of women who’ve accused the financier (at least, that’s what he claimed to be) of sexual assault grows to grotesque levels—there are said to be more than 50 women who are potential victims—a wave of panic is rippling through Manhattan, DC, and Palm Beach, as Epstein’s former friends and associates rush to distance themselves, while gossiping about who might be ensnared. Donald Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, architect of the original 2007 non-prosecution agreement that let Epstein off with a wrist slap, has already been forced to resign. 
The questions about Epstein are metastasizing much faster than they can be answered: Who knew what about Epstein’s alleged abuse? How, and from whom, did Epstein get his supposed $500 million fortune? Why did Acosta grant Epstein an outrageously lenient non-prosecution agreement? (And what does it mean that Acosta was reportedly told Epstein “belonged to intelligence”?) But among the most pressing queries is which other famous people might be exposed for committing sex crimes. “There were other business associates of Mr. Epstein’s who engaged in improper sexual misconduct at one or more of his homes. We do know that,” said Brad Edwards, a lawyer for Courtney Wild, one of the Epstein accusers who gave emotional testimony at Epstein’s bail hearing. “In due time the names are going to start coming out.” (Attorneys for Epstein did not respond to a request for comment.) 
Likely within days, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will release almost 2,000 pages of documents that could reveal sexual abuse by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders,” according to the three-judge panel's ruling. The documents were filed during a civil defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a former Mar-a-Lago locker-room attendant, against Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell.“Nobody who was around Epstein a lot is going to have an easy time now. It’s all going to come out,” said Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies. Another person involved with litigation against Epstein told me: “It’s going to be staggering, the amount of names. It’s going to be contagion numbers.”

I have serious doubts over this case affecting politics the way Harvey Weinstein's fall affected Hollywood, but if a lot of obnoxious people with ten- or eleven-digit net worths get rounded up for child molestation, I won't lose a wink of sleep.

Of course, if Donald Trump isn't getting a wink of sleep because of this, well I'm not going to feel bad either.

Symbolic Gestures 101

Despite all the considerable drama this week, House Democrats did hold votes to find Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to respond to subpoenas.

The House voted Wednesday to hold Atty. Gen. William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with its subpoenas seeking information about why the Trump administration wanted to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
It marked the first time the full House held Trump Cabinet officials in contempt since Democrats took over the chamber.

The mostly partisan 230-198 vote comes days after Trump, blocked by the Supreme Court from proceeding with the citizenship question, announced that he would give up the legal battle.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the reason Ross had provided for adding the citizenship question — to help in enforcing the Voting Rights Act — was “contrived.” The justices blocked the Commerce Department from adding the question unless administration officials could provide a more compelling rationale.

Critics say the real reason for adding the question was to suppress census turnout in Democratic-majority states like California, where large immigrant populations would be afraid to respond. That would lead to a drop in congressional seats and federal funds for those states.

The House Reform and Oversight Committee voted last month to advance the contempt resolution to the full House after Barr and Ross declined to share documents detailing the rationale behind the proposed citizenship question.

The contempt citation will be automatically referred to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., for prosecution, but that almost certainly won’t happen, since Barr oversees the office.

It’s more likely that Democrats intend Wednesday’s vote as a symbolic gesture meant to show their disapproval. They could also turn to the courts for help in enforcing their subpoenas.


Symbolic gesture.


That would explain this then.

Whole bunch of symbolic gestures happening, with none of them getting a vote in the Senate because of Mitch.  The ones that House Democrats actually have full control over, well those are also symbolic gestures and go nowhere, so that's nice.  It's really great that House Democrats have passed scores of legislation that go nowhere and don't benefit anyone.

House Democrats passed another symbolic gesture today, actually.

The House voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, delivering a long-sought victory to liberals and putting the Democratic Party’s official imprimatur on the so-called Fight for $15, which many Democratic presidential candidates have embraced.

The bill would more than double the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour — about $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week, or about $10,000 less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. It has not been raised since 2009, the longest time the country has gone without a minimum-wage increase since it was established 1938.

The measure, which passed largely along party lines, 231-199, after Republicans branded it a jobs-killer, faces a steep climb in the Senate. Only three Republicans voted for it, while six Democrats opposed it.

But it previews what Democrats would do if they capture the Senate and the White House in 2020, and it demonstrates how fast the politics have shifted since 2012, when fast-food workers began to strike in cities around the country, demanding $15-an-hour wages and a union.

At the time, the figure seemed absurdly high, and even Democrats thought it was politically impossible. In the years since, even Republican states like Arkansas and Missouri have raised minimum wages, encouraging Democrats on Capitol Hill. In 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, pushed the issue to the fore when he challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“This is an historic day,” declared Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who argued that raising the minimum would disproportionately help women, who make up more than half of minimum wage workers, and would particularly help women of color. Turning to Republicans, she said: “No one can live with dignity on a $7.25-per-hour minimum wage. Can you?

Nancy Pelosi delivered on her promise, Democrats got it done, right?

Well, there's a problem. Mitch McConnell will never allow it to come up for a vote.  Never.  Because he's protecting America, you see.

Hiking the U.S. minimum wage to $15 per hour would give millions of Americans a raise but put a smaller share of people out of work, according to projections released Monday.

Raising the pay floor to $15 per hour by 2025 would boost wages for 17 million workers, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated. At the same time, 1.3 million people would lose jobs, according to the CBO projections.

So Republicans will say "We saved over a million jobs from Democrat socialism!"  And people will continue to vote for Republicans in the Senate to balance out those wacky Dems and their symbolic gestures because that's how the both sides game works.

Symbolic Gestures 101 is a fun class, no?

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family who are Republican voters are increasingly adopting Trump's "white identity" rhetoric when it comes to "making America great again" according to new Pew Research data.

A majority of Americans (62%) continue to say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation.”

But the share expressing this view is 6 percentage points lower than it was in September – a result of a shift in opinion among Republicans. Democrats continue to overwhelmingly take the view that openness is an essential characteristic of the nation.

Currently, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that if the United States is too open to people from around the world, “we risk losing our identity as a nation.” Fewer (37%) say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential to who we are as a nation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 10-15 among 1,502 adults.

Both last fall and in 2017, Republicans’ opinions on this question were divided. Since September, the share of Republicans who say America risks losing its identity if it is too open has increased 13 percentage points, while the share who view the nation’s openness to others as essential has declined 10 points.

Over the past two years, there has been virtually no change in Democrats’ attitudes. Today, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation; 85% said this last September.

Opinions about whether America’s openness to those from other nations is essential – or a risk – to its identity also differ by gender, race and ethnicity, and education.

Women are more likely than men to say America’s openness to foreigners is essential (70% vs. 55%). In addition, there are sizable age differences, with adults under 30 more likely than older people to express this view.

While majorities across racial and ethnic groups see American openness as essential, blacks are particularly likely to have this view (78%, compared with 66% of Hispanics and 58% of whites).

In addition, adults who have not completed college are less likely than those with at least a four-year college degree to regard America’s openness to foreigners as essential. Among whites, 71% of those with at least a four-year college degree say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential, compared with only about half of those who do not have a degree (51%).

A majority of Republicans now have adopted the basic core of white nationalist hatred, guys.  Immigrants are bad, and they dilute/destroy the American "identity", which of course is white supremacy lite.  Pretty soon everyone who's not that "identity" becomes a threat, and must be removed.

Down this road there is only bloodshed and violence.

Supporters at President Trump’s campaign rally on Wednesday chanted “send her back” about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) after the president launched into a diatribe against the first-term lawmaker and Somali refugee.

Trump tore into Omar early on in his rally in Greenville, N.C., a continuation of his days-long attacks against her and three other progressive minority congresswomen. The crowd raucously booed Omar at the first mention of her name.

The president went on to accuse Omar of demeaning U.S. service members and minimizing the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“She looks down with contempt on the hard-working Americans saying that ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country,” Trump said.

The crowd then broke into a chant of “send her back” in reference to Omar, who came to the U.S. as a Somali refugee as child.

The country will not survive a second Trump term without massive and breathtaking violence.  Hell, it may not survive the first. Trump is a symptom.  The real problem are the people who voted for him and who still enable him.

"Send her back" doesn't just mean Rep. Ilhan Omar.  It means your black neighbors, the Guatemalan family at church, the Hmong kids your son plays soccer with,  it means your Indian co-workers, it means the Chinese couple in the park, but it sure won't mean the Russian woman who has come here to have a child.

No, it's going to get a lot worse from here, and quickly.


Related Posts with Thumbnails