The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Psaki Bomb Burns Gen. Milley’s Attackers -- Including Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was bombarded by at least six reporters wanting to know if President Joe Biden has confidence in General Mark Milley, after news about a soon-to-be published book claims the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the end of the Trump presidency contacted his counterpart in China to promise the U.S. would not wage war against that country.

Donald Trump accused Gen. Milley of committing "treason" in light of the reports, and Republicans in Congress and others have demanded his resignation.

Psaki effectively nuked all the attacks on Chairman Milley, repeatedly assuring White House reporters that President Biden has "complete confidence" in his Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

But she also made certain reporters understood that while Milley was not acting beyond his role, Donald Trump was president and was "fomenting an insurrection."

"This president, this current president, who follows the Constitution, who's not fomenting an insurrection, who follows the rule of law, has complete confidence in Chairman Milley and him continuing to serve in his role."

She also smacked down the question from one reporter who asked if Milley could continue serving given how Republicans are attacking him.

"I don't think," Psaki said, that President Biden "is looking for the guidance of members of Congress who stood by while" Donald Trump, "the leader of their party, fomented an insurrection and many of them were silent."

Gen. Milley Secretly Swore Officers To Ignore Nuke Order From Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

General Mark Milley, President Donald Trump's top military adviser and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assembled senior military officials in charge of the National Military Command Center two days after the January 6 insurrection, telling them they were not to take orders from Trump if he were to launch a nuclear attack unless Milley was involved in the decision-making procedure.

The revelation comes in the new book, Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, according to CNN.

Milley was "deeply shaken" by the January 6 insurrection, CNN reports, and "'was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies.'"

"You never know what a president's trigger point is," Milley told his senior staff, according to the book.

On January 8, Milley secretly assembled the top Pentagon officials.

"No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I'm part of that procedure," Milley told the officers, according to the book. He then went around the room, looked each officer in the eye, and asked them to verbally confirm they understood.

"Got it?" Milley asked, according to the book.

"Yes, sir."

'Milley considered it an oath,' the authors write.

Read the entire report at CNN.

Justice Barrett Doesn’t Want You To Think She’s A ‘Partisan Hack’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court whose nomination was rammed through the Senate by then-Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on Sunday told guests invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, "My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."

She was roundly criticized and mocked for that claim, which was reported by the Louisville Courier Journal.

Barrett was nominated immediately after liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, before she had even been buried. She was confirmed one week before the November 2020 election in a 52-48 vote, entirely on party lines, and sworn in the very next day, all thanks to the efforts of Senator Mitch McConnell. McConnell in 2016 infamously blocked President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from even getting a committee hearing, then pushed through Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh before Barrett's nomination.

Here's Senator McConnell celebrating Barrett's confirmation, which indeed was on former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's birthday:

The court now sits with a 6-3 highly-conservative majority, and some across the country feel several of the conservatives have flouted judicial ethics by weighing in on issues, directly or in directly. Justice Clarence Thomas's wife, Ginni Thomas, is a far right wing lobbyist who used to run a Tea Party organization. She is believed to have had a hand in President Donald Trump's expulsion of transgender service members from the U.S. Armed Forces. And Justice Kavanaugh, infamously during his Senate confirmation hearing, infamously threatened revenge against Democrats.

In fact, as Amy Coney Barrett was being sworn in, The New Republic published an opinion piece stating she and Justice Kavanaugh "have demonstrated this week that they should be thought of as political operatives, not justices."

Barrett of course brought this perception on herself, allowing her nomination to be pushed through in the weeks before a highly controversial presidential election, appearing at a super-spreader event at the White House celebrating her nomination, then later standing on the White House balcony with President Trump, days before the election, all of which effectively worked as an endorsement of his re-election.

Los Angeles Times columnist Jackie Calmes noted at the time just how unprecedented this single act was:

Many are mocking Barrett's claim.










Psaki Bomb Flattens Abbott’s ‘Eliminate Rape’ Idiocy

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday expertly dismantled and brilliantly mocked Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's promise to "eliminate all rapists," a promise he made to defend his unconstitutional abortion ban on Tuesday.

"If Governor Abbott has a means of eliminating all rapists, or all rape, from the United States then there'll be bipartisan support for that," Psaki told a reporter asking for a response to Abbott's spurious claim. "But given there has never in the history of the country, in the world, been any leader who's ever been able to eliminate rape, eliminate rapists from our streets, it's even more imperative – it's one of the many reasons I should say, not the only reason, why women in Texas should have access to health care."

On Tuesday Abbott lied about his 6-week abortion ban, forcing women to take to social media to tell him how their bodies work.

Abbott claimed the abortion ban "provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion," which is false. "That said however, let's make something very clear: rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas, by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets."

Watch:

Florida Judge Slaps Down DeSantis School Masking Ban, Again

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A state circuit court judge who not only decimated Gov. Ron DeSantis late last month but his team of advisors and his administration's legal arguments over the Florida Republican's ban on mask mandates is back, and he's doubling down.

Judge John Cooper had ruled from the bench that DeSantis' ban on mask mandates was "arbitrary and capricious," and "without legal authority" – meaning, unlawful. He placed a stay on his ruling knowing that DeSantis would appeal.

On Wednesday afternoon Judge Cooper once again rued against DeSantis, explaining as he did the first time that the law is the law and DeSantis' ban on mask mandates violated a law DeSantis himself signed months earlier, the Parents' Bill of Rights.

"This isn't whether I agree with masking or not," Judge Cooper said Wednesday (video below). "The issue is, have I decided that the governor has to comply with the laws passed by the Florida legislature. I say, everybody has to do that."

"You can't take an action which violates the Florida Parents Bill of Rights," Cooper concluded, handing DeSantis another defeat.

"It's undisputed that the Delta variant is far more infectious than the prior to their prior version of the virus, and that children are more susceptible to the Delta variant than to the form from a year ago," Cooper said, as CNN reports. "In particular for children under 12, they cannot be vaccinated. Therefore, there's really only one or two means to protect them against the virus as either stay at home, or mask."

CNN adds that effective immediately, "the state of Florida must stop their enforcement of a mask ban, which ends sanctions against several school districts who have implemented mask mandates."

At least 13 school districts have implemented mask mandates to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which had been surging through Florida in per-capita numbers greater than any other state.

Senate Judiciary Panel Will Probe Supreme Court ‘Shadow Docket’ Abuse

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is blasting the conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of their 5-4 decision to allow Texas' unconstitutional abortion ban to become law after women's rights groups urged the Court to pause and examine the legislation.

Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) is announcing he will hold a hearing to examine how the Court handled the case, while accusing its right wing jurists of "abuse of the shadow docket," CBS News reports.

The New York Times calls the shadow docket a "process intended to help the court deal with emergency petitions and routine matters," but notes it "has grown into a backdoor way of making major policy decisions."

"The Supreme Court," Chairman Durbin said in a statement, "must operate with the highest regard for judicial integrity in order to earn the public's trust."

"This anti-choice law is a devastating blow to Americans' constitutional rights—and the court allowed it to see the light of day without public deliberation or transparency. At a time when public confidence in government institutions has greatly eroded, we must examine not just the constitutional impact of allowing the Texas law to take effect, but also the conservative court's abuse of the shadow docket."

Kellyanne Blasted When She Pops Up To Mock Jobs Report

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former Trump White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway is getting blasted for gloating over a disappointing jobs report.

235,000 new jobs were created, and unemployment fell to 5.2 percent, the lowest in 18 months. President Joe Biden spoke about the report Friday morning, saying it "means that we have been adding an average of 750,000 jobs per month, on average, during the past three months."

"And in the three months before I became President? Well, we were adding 60,000 jobs a month," he noted, calling the "total job creation in the first seven months of my administration ... nearly double — double any prior first-year President."

But to Conway, it was all bad news – which appeared to delight her.

"Read it and weep," she tweeted, along with other remarks.

Many were angered by what they saw as her rooting for the economy to fail in order to prop up her former boss's horrific record.

In a rare moment of apparent anger, MSNBC host Chris Hayes unleashed his fury on Conway's comments, saying she worked in a White House "that was objectively pro Covid and helped get many many people killed unnecessarily."

"I hope," he added sardonically, she is "not spiritually haunted by the mass death and misery she so blithely facilitated."

Hayes was responding to Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell, who noted that "this is a strange thing to gloat about. the slowdown in hiring is driven by people refusing to get vaccinated and thereby enabling delta to spread (and kill people) faster."

Those "people refusing to get vaccinated" are in large part almost entirely Trump supporters.

Hayes and Rampell were far from the only ones angered or perplexed by Conway's remarks.

VIDEO: DeSantis Declares ‘It Really Doesn’t Impact Me’ If People Get Vaccinated

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to push his dangerous anti-vaxx policies and his promotion of expensive treatment versus prevention, announcing that "it really doesn't impact me or anyone else" if someone gets vaccinated, which is false.

"I don't want a biomedical security state," said the GOP governor, whose state now ranks 26th in full-vaccination rate of those 18 or older.

"At the end of the day, the vaccines have helped people ward off severe illness, and you know, we obviously worked very hard to distribute it. At the end of the day though, it is what somebody, it's about your health and whether you want that protection or not, it really doesn't impact me or anyone else because we've seen the data on that."

The coronavirus is transmitted through the air.

A study published in July in The New England Journal of Medicine finds that vaccinated individuals "are likely to be less contagious than unvaccinated people and don't transmit the virus as much to others," WebMD reports.

More vaccinated people mean less infections, more hospital beds, fewer cases of long-term COIVD, fewer deaths, and less chance of new strains or variants cropping up.

Watch:

Psaki Bomb Levels Reporter Trolling Biden Over Abortion

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki once again was forced to school a right-wing reporter, this time not Fox News'Peter Doocy, but Owen Jensen, who is the Washington, D.C. correspondent for EWTN, Eternal Word Television Network.

"Why does the President support abortion when his own Catholic Faith teaches abortion is morally wrong? Jensen asked.

"He believes that it's a woman's right, it's a woman's body, and it's her choice," Psaki replied to the question that President Joe Biden has made extremely clear countless times.

Not dissuaded, Jensen pressed on.

"Who does he believe should look out for the unborn child?"

Not willing to debate whether or not a fetus is an unborn child, Psaki moved on.

"He believes that it's up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor. I know you've never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices this is an incredibly difficult thing, President believes that right should be respected," she replied, quickly moving on telling another reporter, "go ahead."

Jensen refused to drop the question, pressing forward.

"I think we have to move on – you've had plenty of time today," she concluded.

In early February Jensen made news when he asked Psaki since "President Biden has stated he wants to unite the country," is he "going to make any effort to reach out to pro-life Americans in his administration?"

VIDEO: Ron Johnson Admits Biden Won 2020 Election In Wisconsin

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Far right Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was caught on camera admitting that Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election because GOP voters voted for other candidates, and acknowledged "there's nothing obviously skewed about the results."

"The only reason Trump lost Wisconsin," Sen. Johnson told Lauren Windsor, a woman who poses as a Trump supporter, "is 51,000 Republican voters didn't vote for him."

Asked if President Joe Biden "won the state fair and square," Johnson would only say, "it's certainly plausible, there's nothing obviously skewed about the results."

Johnson is one of the country's biggest purveyors of the "Big Lie," and regularly traffics in dangerous conspiracy theories and far right wing propaganda, from election fraud lies to false claims about the insurrection to vaccine and coronavirus lies.

Windsor is the executive director of American Family Voices and the executive producer of the political web-show "The Undercurrent," and has caught other politicians on camera, like Sen. Ted Cruz.

Watch:

VIDEO: GOP Candidate Threatens Anti-Mask Violence Against School Boards

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Steve Lynch, a far right-wing conspiracy theorist and pro-Trump Republican who claims "massive fraud" in the 2020 election put "a total incompetent foreign agent in our White House," appeared to threaten to use violence and intimidation to remove school board officials who voted to implement mask mandates.

"School boards: you are done. You're done," said Lynch, who is the Pennsylvania Republican Party's nominee to become Northampton County Executive.

"Forget going into these school boards with freaking data. You go in to these school boards to remove them. I'm going in with 20 strong men and I'm gonna give them an option – they can leave or they can be removed," he said at a "Freedom Rally" against mandates, in Harrisburg on Sunday. FreedomNews.TV documented the rally with photos and videos.

"Men, where are you? Men. Wake up, smell the coffee. Let's go. Make men great again. Make men men again. Men, men. Let's go, men, I need you. I need you in the coming weeks because when we walk into those school boards, we're gonna have everything we need to do to go in there with those 9-0 school boards that voted to put these masks back on the children with no scientific – it's done."

"This is how you get stuff done," he added.

Also at that rally Lynch claimed "they weaponized" the coronavirus "to get rid of the President, number one, that was number one. Let's not forget that okay, it doesn't matter what your political beliefs are, that took place to destroy what this country was doing we were thriving, the economy was thriving, they destroyed, these people, all of them, anybody that's not standing up for this, at a minimum, belongs in jail at a maximum, and a maximum should be tried for treason and we all know what treason is."

Longer video here.

House Select Panel On Jan. 6 Attack ‘Is Going After Trump Now’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A former New York state prosecutor says the bipartisan House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is definitely targeting Donald Trump, the disgraced former U.S. president.

Tristan Snell, who served as assistant attorney general for New York state and helped lead the prosecution against Trump University that resulted in a $25 million settlement says the Select Committee's work this week makes "crystal clear" what it's objectives are.

"A robust, comprehensive, no-stone-unturned subpoena effort is the foundation of any real investigation," Snell explains. "And they're going after Trump himself. That is crystal clear now."

House Panel Dramatically Expands Jan. 6 Investigation

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Just two days after demanding a massive trove of records from the federal government, the bipartisan House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is indicating it is expanding its investigation even further. On Friday Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) sent letters to 15 social media companies requesting a massive amount of data on disinformation, extremism, and foreign influence.

The letter details a list of 14 topics to be included, including data and documents on "Misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation relating to the 2020 election"; efforts to overturn the certification of the election; "Domestic violent extremists"; and "foreign malign influence," among many other topics, according to Forbes' Andrew Solender.

Among the 15 companies or platforms are Facebook, Gab, Google, Parler, Reddit, Snapchat, Telegram, Tik-Tok, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube, Solender adds. Also included are message boards 4chan and 8kun that have been popular with QAnon cultists and other conspiracy theorists, and thedonald.win, a pro-Trump message board that has since been scrubbed of its content. And Zello, a walkie-talkie app which "hosted far-right groups who stormed Capitol," The Guardian reported earlier this year.

Solender posted the letter. Click on each of the four images to expand:

Capitol Police Officers Sue Trump Over Jan. 6 ‘Acts Of Terrorism’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Donald Trump is being sued by a group of seven Capitol Police officers for his role in the January 6 insurrection in what is being called the "most expansive civil effort to date" to hold the former president and his associates and allies accountable.

The lawsuit accuses Trump "and nearly 20 members of far-right extremist groups and political organizations of a plot to disrupt the peaceful transition of power during the Capitol riot on January 6," and implicates "members of the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers militia and Trump associates like Roger J. Stone Jr.," The New York Times reports.

Five of the seven officers are Black, the Times notes, reporting that the lawsuit "contends that Mr. Trump and his co-defendants violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, an 1871 statute that includes protections against violent conspiracies that interfere with Congress's constitutional duties. It also accuses the defendants of committing 'bias-motivated acts of terrorism' in violation of District of Columbia law."

The Times also calls it the first lawsuit "to allege that Mr. Trump worked in concert with both far-right extremists and political organizers promoting his baseless lies that the presidential election was marred by fraud."

Read the entire report here.

Big Majority Supports Mask And Vaccine Mandates As FDA Boosts Pfizer Jab

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A new poll just released proves the vast majority of Americans support mask and vaccine mandates just as the FDA Monday granted full and final approval to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. The approval extends to those who are 16 years old and older.

"As a fourth wave of the coronavirus surges, Americans by a wide margin say protecting the common good is more important than ensuring personal liberty when considering whether to require people to get a COVID-19 vaccination or wear a protective mask," USA Today reports.

"An overwhelming 72 -- 28 percent of those surveyed by USA Today and Ipsos called mask mandates 'a matter of health and safety,' not an infringement on personal liberty. By 61 percent -- 39 percent, they endorsed requiring vaccinations except for those with a medical or religious exemption."

More than seven out of 10 Americans support mask mandates and more than six out of 10 support vaccine mandates, so why are Americans contracting coronavirus at alarming levels again, and why are hospitalizations and deaths – especially among children – now spiking?

This clip from Donald Trump's speech at a rally in deep red Alabama Saturday night after he cautiously urged supporters to get vaccinated makes clear where this small constituency stands.

"You know what? I believe totally in your freedoms. You got to do what you have to do, but I recommend: take the vaccines. I did it, it's good," Trump told them.

"Shortly afterwards, some boos could be heard in the crowd, which was mostly maskless. Trump acknowledged the crowd's reaction and said it was OK," USA Today reported. "That's alright. You got your freedoms. But I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know. I'll call Alabama say, 'Hey you know what?' but it is working. But you do have your freedoms."

The current seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is just under 150,000 per day. Mask and vaccine mandates would greatly help.

Trump Scrubs Boasting About Afghan Agreement From Website

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Donald Trump, the former president, published several statements about Afghanistan on his personal website, including one bragging about his efforts to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. As recently as April Trump wrote that pulling all U.S. troops "out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw [from Afghanistan] on May 1, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible."

That post, as well as others that mention Afghanistan, have been scrubbed from Trump's website in the past few days.

Read Now Show less

Ex-Prosecutor Says Gaetz Indictment ‘Is Ready And He Will Face Charges’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A former New York State prosecutor say Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) will be prosecuted by federal authorities and insists the "indictment is ready."

Tristan Snell, who served as assistant attorney general for New York state and is now the founder and the managing partner of Main Street Law helped lead the prosecution against Trump University that resulted in a $25 million settlement.

Snell has been sharing what he says he knows, via Twitter, and on Wednesday laid out the "Gaetzgate" case as he sees it.

"What we know," Snell writes, is that the "indictment is coming in the next few weeks, either in August or just after."

"Also clear that the US Attorney's Office is taking very strong positions with Gaetz and his counsel and is ready to indict Gaetz and others," Snell claims.

"What's really going on is that the feds are applying a lot of pressure on Gaetz to flip and cooperate — if the feds are taking a strong position, it's to get cooperation," he adds. "But what would Gaetz be able to cooperate on?"

"Gaetz could cooperate on the existing case they have open in federal court in Orlando — adding to the testimony from Gaetz's buddy Joel Greenberg."

Greenberg is the former Florida tax collector who was indicted on 33 federal charges, including theft, sex trafficking of a minor, stalking, and multiple counts of fraud. As part of a plea deal in May Greenberg pleaded guilty to six counts, including sex trafficking.

Gaetz has called Greenberg his "wingman."

Meanwhile, Snell adds that "the issue with Gaetzgate is not a lack of evidence or lack of a case. It's that there's soooo much evidence – and the case has gotten way bigger."

Snell, who has appeared on CNN and other media outlets and last month penned a Washington Post op-ed on prosecuting Trump, says "the more interesting question" is "what else could Gaetz do? What other things could he cooperate on?"

"So to be clear, the issue with Gaetzgate is not *if* he will face charges. He will," Snell insists. "The questions are when and how. Does he cooperate now? Or does he plead not guilty for now? And what would cooperation look like? If they're having this discussion now, the indictment is ready."