Thursday, March 9, 2023

Last Call For Householder Of Cards, Con't

It took more than three years, but disgraced former Ohio GOP House Speaker Larry Householder has been convicted on federal racketeering charges.


A federal jury found both former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and ex-Ohio Republican Party chairman Matt Borges guilty of racketeering conspiracy – a dramatic outcome in the biggest public corruption case in state history.

The guilty verdict marks the end of Householder’s long political career in which he twice held the speaker’s gavel. He’ll be in the Ohio history books as the only speaker expelled from the Legislature and then convicted in a federal corruption case.

Householder and Borges face up to 20 years in prison.

The case made it to federal court because of its sweeping scope: $61 million in bribe money paid by FirstEnergy Corp. via dark money groups to help Householder seize political power and in turn pass and defend a $1.3 billion bailout law known as House Bill 6.

“This isn’t typical political activity, and they know it,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Painter said. “Mr. Householder abused that (public) trust and Mr. Borges helped him do it.”

Borges lobbied for the bill and worked to block a referendum to put it on the ballot in 2019. He paid a $15,000 bribe to get insider information on the referendum.

Borges, who had an ethics conviction expunged more than a decade ago, declined a chance to sign a guilty plea that could’ve given him no more than six months in prison. Householder wasn’t given such an offer.

Prosecutors introduced nearly 900 exhibits into evidence and slogged through volumes of text messages, emails, bank records and more than demonstrated what the men knew and actions they took.

Two key players, Former FirstEnergy Solutions lobbyist Juan Cespedes and Householder’s political adviser Jeff Longstreth, took plea deals and testified against them. A fifth defendant, lobbyist Neil Clark, died by suicide in March 2021 after his arrest.


Ohio Republicans remain arguably the single most corrupt state party in the country right now. Remember, every single Ohio Republican who was associated with the scandal was re-elected in 2020. Every single one of them. 

First Energy, now Energy Harbor, paid a nearly quarter-billion dollar fine two years ago. But none of this would have been possible without Householder.

And now he's going to (hopefully) spend a long time in prison.

More Republicans from Ohio need to join him...

Seeing Red For Walgreens

In the wake of national pharmacy chain Walgreens saying it will no longer carry abortion medication where red state abortion bans prohibit the sale or use of it, despite federal law allowing it, California is scrapping the state's $54 million contract with the company.


California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday withdrew a $54m contract with Walgreens after the pharmacy giant indicated it would not sell an abortion pill by mail in some conservative-led states.

Newsom ordered state officials to not renew a contract with Walgreens to purchase specialty pharmacy prescription drugs for California’s prison healthcare system, including antiviral and antifungal drugs and medication used for congestive heart failure. Walgreens has received about $54m from the contract, which expires 30 April.

Newsom’s office said the state will buy the drugs elsewhere.

“California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” Newsom said in a news release. “California is on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world and we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose.”

A representative from Walgreens, based in the northern Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois, did not respond to an email from the Associated Press seeking comment. But earlier this week, the company said in a statement it plans to dispense the drug, called mifepristone, “in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so”.

“Providing legally approved medications to patients is what pharmacies do, and is rooted in our commitment to the communities in which we operate,” according to a statement posted onto the company’s website.

Mifepristone is a medication that when combined with another drug will end a pregnancy. The US Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2000 for use up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Today, more than half of all abortions in the US are drug-induced, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

After the US supreme court last year overturned the federal right to an abortion, more than a dozen states restricted the use of abortion pills. But those restrictions are being challenged in court.

Attorneys general in 20 states, mostly with Republican governors, have warned Walgreens and CVS that the companies could face legal consequences if they sell abortion pills in their states. Last week, Walgreens confirmed it sent a response to each attorney general saying it would not dispense the drug in their states.

Newsom responded to that news on Monday, posting in a message on Twitter that California will not be doing business with Walgreens “or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk”.

“We’re done,” Newsom said.

Losing the California contract will have a small impact on Walgreens’ revenues, as the company reported $132.7bn in sales for the fiscal year that ended 31 August.
Walgreens could care less about California's contract, it's literally 0.04% of the company's yearly revenues. The bigger problem is that the parent company's stock after it purchased UK-based pharmacy chain Boots has dropped by more than 50% in the last four years. Avoiding getting sued out of existence by Red states is far more damaging than Gavin Newsom.
Of course, the real reason why red states want to make abortion impossible nationwide remains very, very simple
Single women — who are postponing marriage or forgoing it altogether — are a growing economic force, accounting for a larger share of growth in the job market, homeownership and college degrees, according to an analysis of federal data.

The majority of women in the United States — a record 52 percent — were unmarried in 2021, according to a report released Wednesday by Wells Fargo. The census bureau has been tracking Americans’ marital status since at least 1900, when just 7 percent of surveyed women were single. Among the factors driving the rapid rise in single-women households over the last decade: A 20 percent increase in the number of women who have never married.

But while decades of changing norms around marriage and work have empowered women to carve their own paths, a stubborn wage gap continues to keep many women, especially single mothers, from enjoying the same economic gains as single men and married couples. Never-married women earned just 92 percent of what never-married men did last year, and have 29 percent less wealth, Wells Fargo economists found.

More and more Millennial women aren't getting married, and they don't have a reason to economically. Punishing them for not being married, or for having sex out of wedlock at all, is being done deliberately. Putting women back under the economic, social, and legal control of men has always been the key factor in the crusade to end abortion.

Remember that.

Border Line Insanity, Con't

Republicans got the judge and the ruling they wanted on President Biden's immigration policies as the White House's "catch and release" program has now been blocked by a Trump judge.

A federal judge on Wednesday handed a victory to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody as he delivered a blistering rebuke to the Biden administration’s immigration policies.

U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell ordered federal immigration authorities to revamp one key policy that he says runs counter to federal law while at the same time castigated the Biden administration for its handling of what he called an “unsustainable” crisis on the nation’s southern border.

“For the most part, the court finds in favor of Florida because, as detailed below, the evidence establishes that defendants have effectively turned the Southwest border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country,” wrote Wetherell, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump.

Wetherell added that the Biden immigration policies were “akin to posting a flashing ‘Come In, We’re Open’ sign on the southern border. The unprecedented ‘surge’ of aliens that started arriving at the Southwest Border almost immediately after President Biden took office and that has continued unabated over the past two years was a predictable consequence of these actions.”

The ruling comes amid reports that the Biden administration is considering reopening previously shuttered detention centers to house migrant families.

Moody, whose office first filed the lawsuit against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other federal officials in March 2021, hailed the ruling.

“Today’s ruling affirms what we have known all along, President Biden is responsible for the border crisis and his unlawful immigration policies make this country less safe,” Moody said in a statement. “A federal judge is now ordering Biden to follow the law, and his administration should immediately begin securing the border to protect the American people.”

Jeremy Redfern, deputy press secretary for DeSantis, said in an email that “Judge Wetherell vindicated the governor’s actions and ruled that the Biden Administration is breaking federal immigration law by failing to fulfill the duties of his office and secure the nation’s border.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment on the ruling.

Florida, along with other Republican-led states such as Texas, has been sharply critical of immigration policies pursued by the Biden administration. DeSantis, who is expected to run for president, pushed for the creation of a contentious migrant relocation program that resulted in the state flying nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last September.

The state’s lawsuit took aim at immigration policies put in place right after Biden entered office, asserting that federal authorities were ignoring a federal law that requires those entering the country illegally to be detained and that undocumented migrants coming into Florida were costing the state.
Republicans don't want any immigration. Corporate interests who fund Republicans need cheap labor. Increasingly, the "solution" to the problem pushed by both groups is eliminating child labor laws in states.
But most of all, Republicans are trying to make immigration impossible, and they're winning.  Can't have a white supremacist theocracy if America keeps accepting the tired, poor huddled masses from those places.
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