Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Last Call For Maxwell, Silver Hammered

Indicted Epstein sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded guilty and was denied bail today at her hearing, and is facing a trial date over a year from now, meaning she'll be a guest of decidedly substandard federal housing for nearly 375 days before she even gets to make her case before a jury.

A federal judge Tuesday ordered Ghislaine Maxwell jailed pending trial, saying the significant financial resources, international ties and "extraordinary capacity to avoid detection" of the one-time girlfriend and alleged accomplice of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein made her a flight risk. 
At a court proceeding, Maxwell, 58, pleaded not guilty to charges by New York federal prosecutors that she helped recruit, groom and ultimately sexually abuse minors as young as 14. 
The British socialite, whom prosecutors have described as having been "in hiding" since Epstein's arrest last summer, participated in the hearing by videoconference from a federal jail in Brooklyn, providing the public its first glimpse of her in more than a year. 
Dressed in a brown crew neck prison shirt, her dark hair pulled into a bun, Maxwell fidgeted in her seat as US District Judge Alison Nathan rejected arguments by Maxwell's defense counsel that she should be granted bail. At one point, Maxwell sighed, but betrayed no emotion. 
Regarding possible bail conditions, the judge said: "The court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that no combination could reasonably assure her presence in court. The risks are simply too great."

Prosecutors had urged the judge to order detention for Maxwell, saying her wealth -- with numerous bank accounts containing as much as $20 million, according to court filings; multiple foreign citizenships, including in France, which doesn't extradite its citizens; and skill at hiding made her an "extreme" risk of flight. 
In court Tuesday, prosecutor Alison Moe laid out "serious red flags" and detailed what she described as additional evidence of Maxwell's deception, saying Maxwell told a real estate agent involved in the sale of her New Hampshire estate -- where Maxwell was living when she was arrested July 2 -- that she was a journalist named Janet Marshall.
Only upon seeing Maxwell's photo in news reports following her arrest did the agent realize he had been duped, Moe told the court. 
"These facts make clear to the court that the defendant has the ability to remain in hiding," Moe told the judge. "She's good at it," she said, adding that Maxwell has the "ability and willingness to live off the grid indefinitely."

There's no way Maxwell, if granted bail, would not be on her way to the French Riviera or another playground without an extradition treaty with the US tonight as you read this. She knows too many powerful people, who owe her too many favors to keep her from talking.

Because putting her in a federal facility in Brooklyn for a year before even getting a trial date is exactly what federal prosecutors are hoping will force her to cooperate.  There's no way she sails through a year unscathed as someone the world believes rounded up kids as sport for consumption by hungry predators. She knows this.

She's going to talk. (Well, if she's not ganked. Again, powerful people involved.)

It'll come sooner rather than later, too. Maxwell doesn't strike me as the "Orange is the New Black" quick learner type. She'll need to give up some heavy hitters though.

We'll see.

Bluenami Tsunami, Con't

Last week I noted Cook Political Report now had Joe Biden breaking the 270 electoral vote threshold in their forecasts meaning a clear win a November (whether or not Republican states will try to manipulate the results of or even try to nullify a Biden win is anyone's guess right now, but 2016 GOP voter suppression tactics will certainly apply).

This week Sabato's Crystal Ball remains at 268-204 Biden, with 66 toss-ups, but given the consistency of Biden's 8-10 point lead, several Safe Republican states are moving to Likely and could be in play if Biden's lead holds up at the state level, which given the 5-6 point overestimation of Clinton's state level polling in 2016 remains a gargantuan-sized if.

Sabato's Kyle Kondik:

2020 is shaping up to be a bad year in American history, which Republican lobbyist Bruce Mehlman illustrates in his latest look at the political environment. It is not the kind of year when one wants to be an incumbent running for reelection, and a majority of the public appears to believe that this president is not meeting the moment.
A few weeks into the public health crisis, we explored the possibility of Trump being the second iteration of Jimmy Carter, whose reelection bid fell apart among myriad crises in 1980. Since then, the Trump-as-Carter scenario has grown even more plausible.

There is time for the situation to change — as we wrote a few weeks ago, we want to see where things stand after the conventions, around Labor Day. But Trump is extremely unlikely to win if the polls continue to look the way they do now.
And if these numbers represent a new normal, we need to account for the possibility that this election won’t be particularly close, and that new states may come into play. In other words, if the national picture remains bleak for Trump, then the slippage he’s seen from earlier this year wouldn’t just be limited to a handful of swing states.

Over the past few weeks, there have been some interesting little nuggets here and there about the map expanding into red turf. The very well-sourced New York Times trio of Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Martin, and Alexander Burns recently reported that internal Republican data showed Trump with only a small lead in Montana and trailing in Kansas, two states that Trump carried by about 20 points apiece in 2016 (both have competitive Senate races, too).

Enterprising members of the #ElectionTwitter community spearheaded a fundraising campaign to poll under-polled states: Public Policy Polling, the Democratic pollster, stepped up and polled Alaska and Montana on their behalf, with the money raised going to charity. Trump was up 48%-45% in Alaska and 51%-42% in Montana. (The #ElectionTwitter polling project remains underway, and we have supported them and we encourage others to as well at their GoFundMe page.)

Democratic pollster Garin-Hart-Yang had Biden up two points in Missouri, a 19-point Trump state; an earlier poll for Missouri Scout conducted by Remington Research, a GOP firm, had Trump up eight. On Monday, polling from Saint Louis University/YouGov had Trump up by a similar 50%-43% margin.

A UtahPolicy.com/KUTV 2 News poll of Utah had Trump up just 44%-41% there in late May, although the pollster (Y2 Analytics) later re-weighted the poll by education, which suggested a lead for Trump more in the six-to-10-point range, depending on which weighting was used (the Y2 post includes a thoughtful discussion of education weighting, an important factor in polling and something that might have contributed to some Democratic bias in state polls in 2016).

One other caveat comes from friend of the Crystal Ball Dan Guild, who has noticed that in the last three elections, some summer polling has seriously overstated eventual November Democratic performance in red states. That may be a factor now.

But Trump’s position is weak enough in mid-July that we have to concede there are some signs of competitiveness in states that were not competitive in 2016. This sort of thing can happen when the overall election is tilted toward one side over the other, which is the state of play at the moment and the advantage Biden currently holds.

If Trump were up by 10 nationally, we might be moving Safe Democratic states that Hillary Clinton won in the low double-digits, like Delaware and Oregon, into more competitive categories.

More to the point, we continue to rate states like Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia as Likely, not Safe, Democratic. That’s despite it being hard to imagine Trump carrying any of them, even if his position dramatically improves.

So we’re moving seven Safe Republican states to Likely Republican: Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Utah.

Do we think Biden will win these states? Not really. In all likelihood, these red states are going to vote for Trump, and not just by a few points.

But could one or more flip if Biden wins decisively in November? Possibly. Let’s remember: A “Likely” rating still means we see one side — in this case, the Republicans — clearly favored in a state. We just don’t feel 100% certain about these states in the event of a lopsided election.

It's not much of a shift as far as the electoral picture, in fact it's a not a shift up front at all.  But if states like Indiana, Kansas, and Montana are no longer 100% Trump locks, then the entire electoral map has shifted at the back end since Memorial Day weekend.

Still, the second the Biden people believe they are up by 8 rather than down by 8 is the seond they start ensuring a second Trump term.

Take nothing for granted and fight like you're dying.

Because we are.

The Race Against COVID-19, Con't

The death rate of Black America from COVID-19 is only getting worse as the virus spreads into the Deep South, where health risk outcomes of Black patients and systemic racism in the US healthcare system are already stacking the deck against survival.

If you’re Black in America, Covid-19 is more likely to kill you, and the disparity has only widened as cases have surged across the U.S.
In counties where the majority of residents are Black, the death rate has climbed to 3.5 times the national average, up from roughly three times as high in May, an ongoing analysis of Johns Hopkins University and Census Bureau data by Bloomberg News finds. In places where African Americans exceed 13.4% of the population, the proportion they make up of the U.S., the death rate is double the national average, also a slight uptick from two months ago.

Since as early as April, public health experts and lawmakers have pushed the federal government to release more data and work to reduce the disparities. Absent national figures, the picture of racial health outcomes in the U.S. is still incomplete. What statistics exist have continued to show Black Americans bear the brunt of the virus. But with imperfect information, officials can't properly deploy resources or develop plans to tackle the issue. Four months into the pandemic, the problem appears to be getting worse.

Study after study of available information points to the same grim reality. In places with more than 100 deaths, Black Americans have made up 23% of them, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost twice their share of the national population. Federal statistics on 1.5 million coronavirus patients obtained by the New York Times showed that Black and Latino people who contract the virus are twice as likely to die. Even these statistics have gaps, with demographic information missing from hundreds of thousands of people.

The disproportionate toll persists even when accounting for age, pre-existing health conditions, geography, occupational exposure and housing conditions, Richard Reeves, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute has found. “These starkly different numbers for African Americans would withstand every empirical argument you can make. You cannot explain this away,” he said. “It’s acting as an expression of a whole set of cumulative disadvantages faced by Black Americans.”

The Bloomberg analysis of more than 3,100 U.S. counties can only infer the deadliness of the virus among Black Americans. In our data set, which covers all deaths from March 23 to July 10, the race of those dying is unknown. In many cases, race and other demographic information is not being collected or released.

Minority communities and cities with large Black populations, like New York City, New Orleans and Detroit were some of the earliest hotspots. But as the virus has spread elsewhere, the disparities remain. The CDC data published by the New York Times showed Black people dying at higher rates across state lines and in areas rural, urban and suburban.

And again, even when controlled for health risk factors like diabetes, hypertension and obesity, even when controlled for wealth and location, Black Americans face a higher death rate, more than twice the national average, and it's only getting more blatant.

COVID-19 kills because our healthcare system kills Black Americans at a higher rate.


Systemic racism kills.  I don't know how much more clear I can be about it.


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