Friday, October 22, 2021

Last Call For Russian To Judgment, Con't

Rudy Giuliani associate and Russian fixer Lev Parnas has been found guilty of campaign finance violations for funneling Putin mobster cash to Republicans.

Lev Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, were at Dulles International Airport near Washington two years ago, holding one-way tickets for a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, when the F.B.I. caught up with them.

The two Soviet-born businessmen, who had climbed to prominent places in the orbit of President Donald J. Trump, were arrested before boarding the flight and charged with several campaign finance violations, including conspiring to funnel a Russian tycoon’s money into American politics.

In the years that followed, Mr. Parnas began to open up about his role in events connected to Mr. Trump’s first impeachment. He provided material to House investigators and acknowledged participating in an effort by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate at the time who subsequently beat Mr. Trump.

Still, the campaign finance charges loomed. Even as Mr. Fruman and a second man charged in the case, David Correia, pleaded guilty, Mr. Parnas and a fourth defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, maintained their innocence. Last week, the two men went to trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

On Friday, Mr. Parnas’s activity as a political donor caught up with him, as a jury convicted him on all six counts he was facing. Mr. Kukushkin was also found guilty.

In a statement, Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Kukushkin had conspired to manipulate the American political system to enrich themselves.

”Campaign finance laws are designed to protect the integrity of our free and fair elections — unencumbered by foreign interests or influence,” Mr. Williams said. “Safeguarding those laws is essential to preserving the freedoms that Americans hold sacred.”

Speaking outside court after the verdict was read, Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, said his client planned to appeal and seek to have the conviction vacated.

Mr. Parnas, who is not in custody, was defiant.

“I’ve never hid from nobody,” he said, while thanking his supporters. “I’ve always stood up and told the truth.”

The verdict came after about six hours of deliberations, following testimony from, among others, a onetime finance director of a super PAC supporting Mr. Trump; an ex-chief of staff to a former Republican congressman from Texas; and the 2018 Republican candidate for governor of Nevada.

Prosecutors outlined a two-part scheme, saying Mr. Parnas had lied to the Federal Election Commission about certain campaign donations he had made and that he and Mr. Kukushkin had tried to gain favor among candidates with contributions tied to the Russian tycoon, Andrey Muraviev, with whom they were involved in a cannabis business.

“The purpose behind this conspiracy was influence buying,” a prosecutor, Hagan Cordell Scotten, said during closing arguments on Thursday, adding: “The voters would never know whose money was pouring into our elections.”
Arguably the biggest recipient of Parnas's generosity is former Nevada Republican gubernatorial candidate and current US senate candidate Adam Laxalt, who testified in the Parnas trial last month.

Keep in mind that Parnas's targets weren't federal officeholders, but state Republicans like Laxalt (running for Governor) and current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. What Parnas wanted was in on the ground floor of state-level legalized marijuana in Republican states, and Giuliani was his ticket in.
Don't get it twisted though. Parnas gave nearly a third of a million to a Trump PAC illegally.

When Parnas used his influence in Ukraine to help Giuliani and Trump go after Hunter Biden, he thought he was on Easy Street. Of course, you trust DOnald Trump, this is what happens.

You face prison.

Stacking The Deck

It's redistricting time ahead of the 2022 elections, and no state is more obscenly broken in this respect than Wisconsin, where Democrats actually won 200,000 more state legislature votes last year, and Republicans run the state assembly with a 60-38 margin anyway. The 2022 GOP redistricting plan will actually make that even worse.

Republicans who control the Legislature would maintain a large advantage in Assembly races under a redistricting plan they made public late Wednesday.

The release of their proposed congressional and legislative maps propelled the state's redistricting fight into the next stage.

States must draw new maps every 10 years using census data to ensure districts have equal populations. Where the lines go can give one political party a big advantage over the other for a decade.

Republican lawmakers plan to approve their plans as soon as next month, but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is likely to veto them. That would leave it to the courts to decide how to draw the districts.

Under the plans Republicans released Wednesday, 61 of the Assembly's 99 districts would lean Republican, according to recent voting patterns analyzed by Dave's Redistricting, an online platform that allows the public to review maps.

A small number would have only a slight GOP lean, meaning Democrats would have a shot at winning a few of those 61. But the vast majority of GOP seats would be quite safe for their party. (Republicans would also have a shot at winning a handful of the 38 Democratic-leaning seats.)

Because of the number of GOP-advantaged seats, Republicans would likely continue to hold sizable majorities in the Assembly for years.
That 61-38 margin would be the new baseline in a 50-50 election year, and fewer than ten state House districts would be competitive at all, meaning that Democrats would have no chance of regaining control for another decade, and then Republicans would just redraw another 55+ safe districts again in 2031.

It gets even worse when it comes to the state's eight Congressional delegation seats in the US House.

Six of the state's eight congressional districts would have a Republican advantage — four by double digits and two by single digits, according to Dave's Redistricting. The state's remaining two districts — one centered around Milwaukee, the other around Madison — would be overwhelmingly Democratic.
Republicans would actually gain a US House seat. In fact, redistricting in the nation as a whole would give Republicans about 15-20 more US House seats across the country, net. 

Which is the point. After this year, with this GOP, state control of most of the country's state legislatures will be impossible to flip for Democrats.
Permanent one-party state control.
Coming to a state near you...

Ohio Republicans New Trans-Ender Policy

Ohio Republicans have decided that of all the problems facing the Buckeye State right now, the one that needs immediate attention is quite literally making trans kids illegal under state law.
A new bill would prohibit children under age 18 from obtaining hormones treatments, puberty blockers and surgery to transition genders, even with parental consent.

House Bill 454, called the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, is sponsored by a quarter of the Ohio House. All are Republicans. There are two sponsors — Reps. Gary Click of Sandusky County and Diane Grendell of Geauga County. Twenty-three Republicans are cosponsoring the bill.

The bill seeks to prevent gender-affirming health of youth under 18 through a handful of actions: Through restrictions on private insurance plans and Ohio Medicaid, potential sanctions on the licenses of medical professionals, potential cuts to public funding of hospitals and clinics, limits to what a school official can keep from parents when a child shares their gender identity in private.

The bill is similar to Arkansas’ SAFE Act, which Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed on April 5. A day later, the legislature overrode the veto. By July 21, a federal judge stopped the bill from going into effect as a lawsuit over its constitutionality wends its way through the courts.

Aaron Baer, president of the Center for Christian Virtue, a Christian conservative policy organization formerly known as Citizens for Community Values, said that his group is championing the bill in Ohio and helped draft HB 454. It contains the same provisions as the Arkansas bill, which the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom helped author.

“We’ve been talking about this issue for a very long time,” he said.

Maria Bruno, Equality Ohio’s public policy director, said it’s appalling to see Ohio children being used as political pawns by lawmakers seeking re-election.

“This bill attempts to ban evidence-based medical treatment that is supported by medical professionals, including but not limited to the American Academy of Pediatricians, the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association,” she said
The party of "you'll never take OUR FREEDOMS" and "GOVERNMENT STAY OUT" again has no problem turning the entirety of society into a mechanism of state-enforced monitoring of kids to prevent them being trans, requiring the punishing adults for helping them, and destroying their support networks with no recourse or remorse.

Even the bill's name, Save Adolescents From Experimentation, relegates being trans to "a dangerous phase we have to save kids from" rather than "We should help these kids navigate some really tough choices here and let them know they are loved."


To kids.
Republicans are horrific monsters. And it doesn't matter what DeWine thinks because his veto will be overridden if this many Republicans are co-sponsors.


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