The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

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

@marissahiggins_

VIDEO: Why This Ukrainian Woman Offered Sunflower Seeds To Russian Soldier

Delusional, hateful, horrifying Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine. Most recently, Putin called for the Ukrainian army to overthrow its own leadership, describing Ukrainian leaders as “drug addicts” and “neo-Nazis” who have taken the Ukrainian people “hostage,” as reported by The Guardian. (Among other factors, neo-Nazism is a serious problem in Russia, though, of course, Putin doesn’t seem to care about that.)

People in the region are not accepting Putin’s violent, unnecessary invasion, nor his televised calls to action. We’ve seen reports of people protesting in the streets in Russia, for example, risking arrest almost immediately. People within Ukraine are protesting as well, as evidenced by a now-viral video of a woman standing up to heavily armed Russian soldiers with some deeply poignant words. Let’s check out the video and context below.

As captured in a video widely circulated by Internews Ukraine (an independent news source based out of Ukraine), a woman is seen speaking to a Russian soldier. She appears to offer him sunflower seeds.

“Who are you?” The woman asks (as translated by The Independent) armed soldiers during Russia’s invasion on Thursday.

“We have exercises here,” a soldier replies. “Please go away.”

The woman clarifies that they’re Russian, then says, “So what the f—k are you doing here?” She goes on to call them “occupants” and “fascists.”

“What the f—k are you doing on our land with all these guns?” She tells the soldiers to take some of her sunflower seeds—sunflowers being the national flower of Ukraine—saying they can put the seeds in their pockets, “so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.”.

Truly an icon.

As of now, both the European Union and the United States have announced sanctions against Russia. Weapons are being passed out to civilians in Ukraine to help protect their country. Here in the United States, advocates have been putting the (important, necessary) pressure on the Biden administration to allow Ukrainian refugees and provide relief.

Things in Ukraine are undeniably very bleak: families are hiding in shelters, saying goodbye to loved ones, and for some generations, reliving some serious trauma. But as highlighted on social media, there is still hope.

For example, a number of allies have lit buildings with colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Athletes across the globe are also issuing calls for support in Ukraine, which is especially meaningful as it may highlight the reality of the situation for folks who aren’t otherwise following the news.

As are groups protesting in solidarity around the world.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Republicans Are Suddenly Banning Books--Here's Why

As Daily Kos continues to cover, Republicans are more than happy to distract the general public from failures to lead amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals filling up? Spew anti-trans rhetoric. People can’t afford groceries? Don’t let trans folks change their birth certificates! Thousands of people dying from COVID-19 every single day? Let’s burn books.

And no, that isn’t being dramatic. A truly concerning number of conservatives have jumped on the train of trying to get books banned from school and public libraries, if not outright calling for texts to be burned. Many of these books involve (or were created by) people of color and LGBTQ+ people. As reported by The Guardian, many of the people and groups pushing this anti-book mission along are connected to “deep-pocketed right-wing donors.”

As the Guardian breaks down in an excellent, thorough deep-dive, you’ve likely seen these book ban stories framed as though it’s just concerned parents or residents who are speaking up at school board meetings. In reality, groups that at first seem like they’re local, grassroots efforts seem to actually be tied to—and backed by—conservative donors who carry some serious influence.

Moms for Liberty, for example, comes up. As the Guardian discovered, Moms for Liberty groups can be found on Parents Defending Education (PDE), and the groups wrote a joint letter to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona last spring. What about? Critical race theory, of course. PDE’s website also encourages people to run for school board positions as conservatives.

The president of PDE? Nicole Neilly, who once worked at the Cato Institute and served as the executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum. Cato, for the curious, is a right-wing thank tank co-founded by none other than Charles Koch. Meanwhile, the vice president of PDE, Asra Nomani, has made time to rally against books on none other than Fox News.

If attacking books by and about marginalized people hasn’t been an obvious enough mission, the ties between these seemingly local groups suggest a much bigger trickle-down of money, values, and influence. How many parents and teachers swept into this hysteria know this? It’s hard, if not impossible, to accurately assess that. But for the students who are having valuable books taken from them, the outcome is the same.

At this point, we’ve seen Republican elected officials push anti-book bills in order to keep the work of LGBTQ folks and people of color from the hands of young readers. We’ve seen public librarians essentially threatened and harassed over keeping age-appropriate, diverse books on the shelves. We’ve seen conservative school board members try to get young readers tattled on to their parents for checking out LGBTQ+ books from the school library. It’s sick, it’s divisive, and it’s pointless.

Make sure to check out the Guardian’s full deep-dive here.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Sinema Getting Dropped Left And Right By Major Democratic Allies

Senate Democrats are trying to get rid of the filibuster for voting rights legislation. This shouldn’t be a controversial decision, and in some ways, it isn’t; Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia are the biggest obstacles. When Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer opened the Senate session on Tuesday, he reminded folks that the “eyes of the nation” will be watching what happens with voting rights, as reported by CNN.

Specifically, the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act covers several important dimensions in terms of voting access. The package protects access to early voting, as well as voting by mail and makes Election Day a national holiday—changes that could be huge for the average working person or parent in the nation. The bill also allows the Justice Department to intervene if necessary when it comes to states that have a history of interfering with voting. So, why are Sinema and Manchin holding out? The bill allegedly has their support, but apparently not enough for them to get rid of the Republican filibuster using what is sometimes called the “nuclear” option. And now major progressive organizations (in addition to her colleagues and constituents) are putting pressure on Sinema to act. Or, you know … lose their support.

Emily’s List (a group dedicated to getting pro-choice women into office) released a statement to Twitter today from organization president Laphonza Butler. The group notes that while Sinema is pro-choice in terms of abortion rights, her failures to actively support the voting rights legislation ultimately outweigh her position on reproductive rights.

“Electing Democratic pro-choice women is not possible without free and fair elections,” the statement reads in part. “Protecting the right to choose is not possible without access to the ballot box. So, we want to make it clear: if Sen. Sinema can not support a path forward for the passage of this legislation, we believe she undermines the foundations of our democracy, her own path to victory and also the mission of EMILY’s List, and we will be unable to endorse her moving forward.”

The statement notes that Emily’s List hasn’t backed Sinema since her election in 2018, and added that the organization is “proud” to work with pro-choice Democrats who do the work to “protect” “critical” rights, including both for voting and reproductive freedom.

This situation is deeply, deeply frustrating, and it’s no wonder people with power and influence are speaking out. In an open letter to the Senate, NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson stressed that there is not a “time more defining to the American story” than the chapter they’re currently involved in. Johnson then asked the question: “What country will your children and grandchildren be left with, given the relentless assaults on American freedom and democracy?”

Progressives are being asked to answer for Sinema and Manchin, too. For example, host Nate Burleson spoke to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on CBS Morning this past Sunday and asked if she thinks the two senators should be challenged in their upcoming 2021 primaries. Warren delicately stepped around this possible firepit of a question and tried to appeal to the masses (and hopefully, the senators in question) by discussing on air who is truly vulnerable to cuts in voting rights protections.

“Who are they trying to keep from voting?,” Warren said in reference to Republicans. “Black people, brown people, college students, people who live on tribal reservations, trying to keep those folks from voting because they might vote Democratic,” she stated. Warren is, of course, right, but it remains to be seen if Sinema and Manchin will actually act.

While the circumstances are not exactly the same, we know that Sinema (and Manchin, for that matter) did vote to waive the filibuster when it came to raising the debt ceiling back in December. There’s been a lot of antagonizing about setting precedence and consequences to changing Senate procedures, but at risk of sounding callous, there is perhaps nothing more fundamental and vital in our country’s politics right now than protecting voting rights, especially when we already know Republicans are looking for ways to attack the most vulnerable, marginalized voters. (If you want a deeper dive into the similarities and differences between these situations, I recommend this write-up by Amber Phillips at The Washington Post, by the way).

Just last week, Sinema practically gave Republicans a metaphorical hug when she declared her aforementioned support of the voting rights legislation—before explaining why she won’t actually support it in practice. Sinema said the bills “treat the symptoms of the disease” but don’t fully address it, and she will not “support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division affecting our country.”

Democracy is in danger, folks. The time for “both sides” rhetoric and making nice is long past gone (if it was ever remotely appropriate, to begin with…) and the absolute least these people can do is actually protect our constitutional rights… Why does even typing that make me feel like I’m writing about Republicans?

Maybe because I practically am.

Rerpinted with permission from Daily Kos

Bizarre Trump Letter Demands Georgia Officials Name ‘True Winner’ Of 2020 Election

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

In a letter sent on Friday, Donald Trump insisted that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger decertify President Joe Biden's election win based on Trump's obsession over (unsubstantiated) voter fraud claims. In not one, not two, but three separate recounts, it's been confirmed that Biden beat Trump in Georgia by 12,000 votes.

Surprising no one, the Trump letter is chock-full of lies and incorrect information. The letter, which was sent via email, accused both fellow Republican Raffensperger and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of "doing a tremendous disservice" to the state and nation. He describes the country as being "systemically" destroyed by an "illegitimate" president and urges that the "truth must be allowed to come out," as covered by the New York Daily News The truth is, of course, that Trump lost the election. And that he can't face reality.

"I would respectfully request that your department check this," the letter reads in part, in reference to a report of what he says are more than 40,000 absentee ballots in violation of the chain of custody rules. "And, if true, along with many other claims of voter fraud and voter irregularities, start the process of decertifying the 2020 Election, or whatever the correct legal remedy is, and announce the true winner."

Mind you, Georgia prosecutors are already investigating Trump's fervent attempts to overturn the election results, with the secretary of state's office looking into phone calls made by Trump, in which he attempted to pressure Raffernsperger into finding the votes needed to make him the winner.

"All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes," Trump told Raffernsperger during the now infamous January 2 phone call. Beyond this well-covered one-liner, criminal investigators have been gathering documents, interviewing folks, and building out contacts with congressional investigators in order to solidify a case against the national embarrassment.

"The Trump investigation is ongoing," Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told reporters per CNN. "As a district attorney, I do not have the right to look the other way on any crime that may have happened in my jurisdiction." Willis added that while she has a team dedicated to investigating Trump, her biggest priority is to keep "violent offenders off the street."

On the one hand, it's tempting to let Trump's endless hysteria fade into the background. Whether or not it's even worth it to give him national coverage is debatable; does it add or detract from how seriously voters take him? How does it impact the credibility with which people might believe his claims? At what point will people see Trump's blabbering for what it is: obsessive, baseless delusion with no evidence to back it up?

But the sad reality is Trump does have a fan base and his incessant fraud claims clearly made an impact on at least some folks in the United States. The biggest example? The mob that literally stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's election win.

Florida Doctors Walkout To Protest Vaccine Resistance

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic first hit the United States, people on all sides of the political aisle have praised physicians—as well as others in health care, like nurses and janitorial and cooking staffs—for their tireless work and dedication in the face of increased workload and, frankly, increased trauma. As some are holding out on getting vaccinated, however, and cases are skyrocketing again in particular pockets of the country—hi, Gulf Coast—some medical professionals are burned out and fed up. And as we saw on Monday morning, a group of physicians in south Florida staged a walkout in an appeal to the public to get their point across.

As reported by The New York Times, Florida leads the nation when it comes to daily average cases, as well as hospitalizations. And the doctors, ranging from emergency room physicians to plastic surgeons to neurologists, treating patients in Palm Beach County, Florida, are desperate to get one message across: Vaccines are safe, and if you trust physicians to treat you when you're hospitalized, trust them enough to get yourself and your community vaccinated.

As covered by my colleague Joan McCarter at Daily Kos, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. Specifically, this vaccine, branded Comirnaty, has been fully approved for people 16 and over. For youth between 12- and 16-years-old, it's authorized for emergency use. In theory, this should reassure vaccine holdouts who argued the vaccine hadn't been vetted enough for them to feel comfortable taking the leap. That plus the reality that medical professionals are basically begging for people to finally get the shot.

"We exhausted our patience and resources are running low," Dr. Rupesh Dharia, an internist, said on Monday, as he and more than 75 peers across medical specialties protested early Monday morning. "We need your help."

Worse, this isn't even the first time physicians in this area have appealed to the public to please do their part and get vaccinated. For example, earlier this month, gynecologists and obstetricians in Florida made a public plea to pregnant people to get vaccinated. Dr. Pam Carbiener, who works at Halifax OBGYN in Daytona Beach, Florida, told local outlet WESH that the COVID-19 surge at her local hospital included pregnant patients. She urged folks to get vaccinated.

"I had to do an emergency Caesarean section early so that we could get her on a ventilator because her [illness] was so severe," Carbiener told the outlet in early August, then stressing it's been shown that when pregnant people are vaccinated, it can also help their baby.

"Antibodies that they create, those can pass both through the placenta to the baby and later on through the breast milk to the nursing baby," she added.

One would think that nothing would bring people and a sense of camaraderie together like facing a literal global pandemic, but plenty of people are apparently willing to put themselves and vulnerable community members—like pregnant people and babies—in danger. Between people going to theme parks and beaches, on vacations, and generally itching to return to normal life—or, perhaps, having never stopped living "normal" lives—we've seen countless reports of Florida being a hotbed for the virus, no thanks, of course to the state's Republican governor.

In speaking to The Palm Beach Post, neurologist Robin Kass said the pandemic is the "worst it's ever been right now," and added that "nobody realizes that." In Florida specifically, illnesses and deaths related to COVID-19 are growing faster than previously in the pandemic. For example, the state's case count exceeded three million on Friday, with more than 1,400 deaths and 150,000 new cases last week alone.

And how do protesting physicians, many of whom work at Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens medical centers, feel about vaccine skepticism and hysteria? Exhausted.

"It's incredibly frustrating," Dr. JT Snarski explained to NBC's correspondent Kerry Sanders. "Because we know vaccines are safe and effective. And it's people who go out and talk against them that really go against physicians and medicine and science." She stressed that vaccines are "safe" and that it's imperative we "get our communities vaccinated."

"The vaccine still remains the most effective and reliable way to stop this madness," said Dr. Leslie Diaz, an infectious disease specialist, while speaking to the public on Monday. "The face of COVID is the person standing next to you. It is the unknown, and it is very unpredictable."

For context about Florida in particular, Sanders reports that 85% of ICU beds in Florida are full, in addition to the hospitals in the state that actually have no ICU bed spots, and are instead resorting to other spaces, like conference rooms and cafeterias, for patients.

If you're assuming this group of overworked doctors also wants to see kids wearing masks in school, you'd be right. A pediatrician at Jupiter Medical Center, Dr. Sarrie Katz, stressed that to "help" the youngest child, we must "encourage" them to mask up, adding that she's personally seen children get sick with serious symptoms like shortness of breath.

You can watch an interview clip from the protest below.

Physicians stage walkout in South Florida and plea with the public to get vaccinated www.youtube.com

Thankfully, on a nationwide scale, more and more entities are requiring the vaccine. For example, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday that staff in all of the city's public schools must get at least one dose of the vaccine by Sept. 27. This rule applies to teachers, admin staff, and principals as well as cafeteria workers and custodians. This lines up with de Blasio's prior announcement that city employees must either get vaccinated or be tested for the virus on a weekly basis.

Also on Monday, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, John Kirby, said all service members would be required to get vaccinated.

In Leaked Video, Greene Hints At Assassinating Vaccination Surveyors

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is at it again, as evidenced by a leaked video of the Georgia representative's appearance at a Republican women's event in Alabama. As per the video, Greene suggests that Alabama residents would shoot President Joe Biden's "police state friends" if they went door to door asking if residents had received their COVID-19 vaccinations and taking down their names, family names, address, cell phone number, and "probably" social security number, as reported by AL.com. So yes, it's her usual conspiracy theory hysteria—and then some.

"What they don't know is in the South, we all love our Second Amendment rights," Greene told the audience at the Alabama Federation of Republican Women event on July 23, who responded with cheers. "And we're not big on strangers showing up on our front door, are we? They might not like the welcome they get." Her framing for this bizarre and horrifying scenario rested on Alabama's concerningly low vaccination rate.

You can watch some of this leaked video here, as shared on Twitter.

"We all love our Second Amendment rights," Greene stated, as reported by the Alabama Political Reporter. "And we don't like the federal government coming on our property to tell us what to do. You have HIPAA rights and you do not have tell your medical information and you can tell them to get off your front porch and get off your front lawn."

Somehow, Greene's shocking statements did not end there. Greene discussed a range of opinions with the crowd including communism, Dr. Anthony Fauci, reproductive health, trans rights, and, of course, holding barbeques during the pandemic. She reminded the audience Biden "takes" his paycheck but that Donald Trump didn't.

In speaking to the crowd, Greene reminded the group she's a supporter of Trump and that she continues to believe he won the 2020 presidential election (Trump did not win, of course). She told the group "We have got to take out the trash in Washington," and mentioned firing Dr. Fauci, impeaching Biden, and expelling Rep. Maxine Waters.

Greene flung out conspiracy theories, including alleging that the coronavirus had not only been developed in a lab in Wuhan but that Fauci knew and concealed this information. "This man sent your dollars and my dollars to the Wuhan lab," Greene spewed, alleging that Democrats "protect" Fauci as people die all over the world. She painted a surreal picture of Fauci getting to watch the virus spread from a "front-row seat" and framed it as his "experiment."

Perhaps the scariest part? The crowd reacted with cheers and applause.

She also said parents should be able to choose whether or not their children wear masks or receive the vaccine, and suggested that Democrats wearing masks is mere virtue signaling.

Mind you, for the QAnon congresswoman, much of this isn't surprising. As Daily Kos has covered, Greene compared COVID-19 vaccinations to the Holocaust and to Nazi experiments. She's suggested vaccines are merely a "political tool" to control people. Greene has been booted from her House committee assignments after downplaying the insurrection on Jan. 6 and endlessly promoting the conspiracy theory that Trump actually won the election (again, he did not). She's also suggested the Sandy Hook and Parkland mass shootings were staged. Surprising absolutely no one at this point, she's even a 9/11 truther.

Greene is dangerous, and her rhetoric and conspiracy theories really might get someone harmed, if not killed. It's not just that Greene is a Republican, or that her views are abhorrent and non-inclusive, but her platform and message are legitimately concerning for the safety of people in general, and especially Democrats.

WATCH Jen Psaki Slam A Home Run Off Fox Reporter's Bogus Pitch

Even with Donald Trump out of office, his fervent lies and hysterias about voting fraud (and especially, mail-in voting fraud) live on. As Daily Kos has covered, the latest voter suppression effort propped up by these lies about voter fraud comes to us out of Georgia. As has now gone viral, a Black legislator, state Rep. Park Cannon, was arrested while trying to expose white Republicans celebrating the sweeping and extreme voter suppression law.

The optics of the voter suppression bill signing are actually worse than you might have imagined. Georgia has faced blowback in the form of calls for boycotts already, and big corporations based in the state, like Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, have issued clarifying statements on where they stand on this legislation. The GOP has recently stepped up to battle Major League Baseball. And now? MLB has moved its 2021 All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado.

All of this background sets the stage for a question from Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy at Tuesday's White House press briefing. Doocy asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki: "Is the White House concerned that Major League Baseball is moving their All-Star Game to Colorado, where voting regulations are very similar to Georgia?" A misleading, inaccurate question at best, for reasons Psaki delves into in her response. Her swift correction is really a must-watch.

Here's what Psaki has to say in the clip below:

Well, let me just refute the first point you made. First, let me say on Colorado. Colorado allows you to register on Election Day. Colorado has voting-by-mail where they send to 100 percent of people in the state who are eligible applications to vote-by-mail. Ninety-four percent of people in Colorado voted by mail in the 2020 election. And they also allow for a range of materials to provide, even if they vote on Election Day, for the limited number of people who vote on Election Day.

Psaki continued:

I think it's important to remember the context here. The Georgia legislation is built on a lie. There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Georgia's top Republican election officials have acknowledged that repeatedly in interviews. What there was, however, was record-setting turnout especially by voters of color.

So, instead, what we're seeing here is for politicians who didn't like the outcome… They're not changing their policies to win more votes, they're changing the rules to exclude more voters. And we certainly see the circumstances as different. But ultimately, it's up to Major League Baseball to decide where they're holding their All-Star game.

On Fox News, Fauci Urges Trump To Back Vaccination Drive

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, appeared on Fox News Sunday to speak with host Chris Wallace about COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supply versus demand concerns, where the nation might be in terms of the virus come to the Fourth of July, and of course, Donald Trump.

Based on recent polling from PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist Poll that suggests nearly half of Republican men don't plan to receive the coronavirus vaccine, many are already worried that even when we have enough vaccine supply, we might run out of demand. Fauci broke down what he believes Trump, who unlike some of his recent predecessors has taken a notable backseat in promoting the vaccine, can do to help matters along. Because, after all, public health matters affect both the individual person and, in the big, big picture, the whole country.

First, Fauci and Wallace discuss whether Fauci thinks President Joe Biden's tentative time outline for vaccine availability and distribution might be reasonable. Biden has suggested that by May 1, states open vaccine eligibility to all adults and that by July Fourth, he believes it's possible people will be able to have small, outdoor gatherings, like a barbeque, with family.

Fauci said he does believe this timeline is entirely possible, but warned against states reopening too early, as that could cause another surge in cases. He noted that while a fresh surge would not necessarily affect vaccine availability, it would still negatively impact our overall public health situation. He also pointed out that our nation has previously experienced dips in cases only to have numbers surge back up. Basically: States need to slow way down. Now is not the time to get confident and toss out masks and regulations.

Wallace played a short clip wherein a number of past presidents, including Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, promoted getting the coronavirus vaccine. Trump, notably, was absent. Wallace pointed out that, according to recent polling, nearly 50 percent of Republican men do not plan to get the vaccine.

Wallace's question: How much of a difference does Fauci think it would make if Trump "leads a campaign" for the people who are "most devoted to him" to actually get the vaccine?

"I think it would make all the difference in the world," Fauci stated. He went on to say that he is "surprised" at the high percentage of Republicans who say they don't want to get vaccinated, stressing that it's not a political issue, but a public health issue. "I just don't get it, Chris, why they don't want to get vaccinated," he added.

Wallace, for the second time in the segment, credited Trump for vaccines being widely available (in reference to Operation Warp Speed) and asked Fauci why he thinks Trump didn't participate in the PSA promoting the vaccine. Fauci, delicately, said this was "puzzling" to him.

"I wish he would," Fauci stated. "He has such an incredible influence over the people of the Republican party, it would be a game-changer if he did."

Fauci explains what he thinks Trump can do to encourage his supporters to get the COVID-19 vaccine www.youtube.com

Finally Birx Tells The Terrible Truth About Trump’s Pandemic Botch

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

If you followed along with Dr. Deborah Birx, former White House coronavirus task force coordinator, you might have experienced some frustration at what the White House was (or more accurately, wasn't) doing in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Some viewers began to wonder why Birx appeared to be tiptoeing around being direct, especially in terms of her sometimes too optimistic-seeming virus projections, and her considerably lenient sidestepping over Trump's continued failures. On the other hand, at least one clip of Birx seemingly reacting to former President Donald Trump's babbling went viral, suggesting that Birx was no happier with the Trump administration than the rest of us.

Read Now Show less

Nashville Bomber’s Girlfriend Warned Police He Was Building Bombs

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Pamela Perry, a girlfriend of Anthony Q. Warner, the 63-year-old man who set off the explosion in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, early in the morning on Christmas Day, apparently told police last year that Warner was making bombs in his RV, as reported by The Tennessean. And it reportedly wasn't only Perry, but also an attorney who once represented Warner himself, who raised a major red flag 16 months ago.

On Friday, an explosion outside an AT&T transmission facility injured at least eight people, in addition to damaging at least 40 nearby buildings. The explosion also affected telecommunications for police and hospitals in the Southeast region. Warner's motive is still unknown, and investigators are still working through debris to gather evidence from the crime scene. As reported by CNN, Warner's remains were found at the scene. He was identified based on comparing DNA from the scene to that found on a hat and gloves found in a vehicle he owned. Red flags about Warner went up more than one year before the explosion.

Attorney Raymond Throckmorton, who at one point represented Warner and Perry, said he called police to Perry's home on Aug. 21, 2019, after he says he received "suicidal threats" from Perry on the phone. As reported by CBS News, Perry was transported for psychological evaluation. While police were at her residence, however, Throckmorton was present, and he told authorities Warner "frequently talks about the military and bomb-making." According to the report, he also told authorities he "believes that the suspect knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb."

According to a police report, Perry told authorities Warner was "building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence." From there, the police went to Warner's home—where he did not open the door, and they, apparently, did not investigate further. Why? There was no evidence of a crime. According to the report, officers did see the RV parked outside of Warner's residence at the time, but could not see inside of it or access it. The report noted that security cameras and wires were attached to the door of the RV.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department then sent the report on to the FBI.

Warner's girlfriend's report is particularly important because, as Slate points out, state authorities initially said they didn't have a file on Warner. From their end, they had no clue he might be a danger. In fact, according to CBS, Warner's only arrest ever was for a marijuana-related charge in the late '70s. But, according to that local police report, at least two people spoke up with very specific concerns more than one year ago.

WATCH: Dr. Fauci Says Vaccines Will Work But Warns To Keep Distancing, Masks

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

As the nation continues to face the novel coronavirus pandemic, we have lost 250,000 Americans. Among survivors, some live with long-term effects of the virus that we're only beginning to understand. While no one is immune to the virus, we know that some subsets of the population—including people with compromised immune systems and older folks—are particularly vulnerable. We've seen instances of the virus spreading quickly among group settings from schools, to churches, to an enormous motorcycle rally (no, it wasn't canceled). And yet some people still believe that instead of wearing masks or trying to mitigate the spread of the virus, we should just wait until the nation achieves herd immunity.

Read Now Show less

Watch: AOC Urges Democrats To Push Back Against 'Republican Narratives'

On Saturday, The New York Times published a thorough, exciting interview with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the subject of running for reelection, progressives being seen as the enemy, and President-elect Joe Biden's big win. On Sunday morning, Ocasio-Cortez appeared on CNN's State of the Union to speak with host Jake Tapper about more of the same. The pair talked about division within the House caucus, the importance of rejecting Republican narratives about the progressive movement, and what it means to Ocasio-Cortez to see Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the White House. Let's check out the clips below.

As we know, all four members of the Squad were reelected this November, as well as Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush, a progressive activist. Bush will be Missouri's first Black congresswoman. We also saw a rainbow wave across state and local elections, and a groundbreaking number of Muslim Americans elected to office. Certainly, all of those wins are victories to be celebrated.

That said, Democrats carry a majority in the House, but a smaller one than before. And people from all sides of the aisle have thoughts on what might have cost people votes or seats—blatant support for movements like defunding the police, Black Lives Matter, Medicare for All, and such among them. On a private call, for example, Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger from Virginia suggested to colleagues that "no one should say 'defund the police' ever again."

On Sunday morning, Ocasio-Cortez talked to Tapper about butting heads within the House and her message to her peers.

"If you look at some of these some of the arguments that are being advanced," Ocasio-Cortez told Tapper, "that 'defund the police hurt' or that arguments about socialism hurt, not a single member of Congress, that I'm aware, of campaigned on socialism or defunding the police in this general election." What's a possible solution other than dropping progressive values from the campaign trail? Ocasio-Cortez suggested digital campaigning as an area where centralized democratic operations can improve, and become more resilient to Republican attacks.

"I believe that we need to really come together and not allow Republican narratives to tear us apart," Ocasio-Cortez said on divisions within the House caucus. Noting that the House holds a narrower majority than before, the New Yorker stressed that it's "going to be more important than ever for us to work together and not fight each other."

Ocasio-Cortez reminded viewers of what many on the left already realize, saying that progressives have "assets to offer the party that the party has not yet fully leaned into." She added that the conversation is deeper than simply "saying anything progressive is toxic and a losing message."

Here are those clips.

Here is former Ohio Governor John Kasich pressing the narrative that Biden needs to listen to Republicans, as opposed to the "hard left" or "far-left," when it comes to policy and getting things done.



And here is Ocasio-Cortez responding to that assertion.

Here is Ocasio-Cortez responding to Kasich.



And in a heartwarming side, Ocasio-Cortez also talked to Tapper about what it meant to her as a woman of color to see a Black woman elected to the White House.

"It's really incredible," she said. "For so many of us, especially women, we have grown up… And I know, my entire childhood, we are told we are too emotional, and that this country would never elect, first, a Black president. And luckily, that happened, with the election of Barack Obama, but now, a woman of color, and no less, a Black woman, to the second-highest seat in the land. I mean, it's really remarkable. You can't be what you can't see. That's very often said. It's so amazing that so many little girls are growing up with this being a norm for them."

Huge Mural Honoring RBG Goes Up Just Blocks From White House

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

It feels like public mourning flooded the nation when we learned that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday. People flocked to social media to share their thanks for her decades of relentless work; though she's undoubtedly a feminist icon and pioneer for women's rights and equality, Ginsburg's work did not only benefit women, but everyone. And of course, people were eager to make sure her "fervent" wish was communicated to the masses: That she "not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Read Now Show less

Pelosi Will Fire ‘Every Arrow In Our Quiver’ To Stop GOP Court Grab

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Appearing on ABC's This Week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi honored the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by aptly describing her as a "brilliant brain" on the Supreme Court, reminded people that it's absolutely imperative to get out and vote this November, and the ongoing importance of battling the novel coronavirus pandemic. On the subject of the vacant Supreme Court seat, the Democrat from California didn't rule out launching an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump (for the second time) or Attorney General Bill Barr, which would delay the Senate's ability to confirm a Supreme Court nominee of Trump's, either.

Read Now Show less

Twitter Flags Trump Tweet Smearing Election Drop Boxes With Fraud And Virus

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Sunday morning, Donald Trump unleashed yet another unfounded claim about voting. This time, he suggested without evidence, that "Mail Drop Boxes" actually "make it possible for a person to vote multiple times." His tweet also says mail drop boxes are not "Covid sanitized." As with his usual refrain on voting, he rounded out the tweet with: "A big fraud!"

Twitter has labeled the tweet but is letting it stay visible. The label reads: "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible." A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge that people will be able to Retweet with Comment, but not like, Reply, or Retweet it, which is the norm for tweets that receive this label.

Read Now Show less

Meadows Insists That Lack Of Proof Actually Confirms Voter Fraud

On CNN's State of the Union, host Jake Tapper talked with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the Trump administration's latest favorite talking point: voter fraud. Specifically, voter fraud via voting by mail. In this case, Meadows came out swinging against the notion that states should send ballots to all registered voters. In perhaps the most mind-blowing exchange, Tapper (accurately) pointed out that there is no proof of "widespread voter fraud," and Meadows said, "there's no evidence that there's not, either." Then, Meadows added: "That's the definition of fraud, Jake."

How did we get there? Let's check out the now-viral Sunday morning clip below.

Read Now Show less

Pelosi: Trump Donning Mask Is ‘Admission’ It Can Stop Virus Spread

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked about Donald Trump's recent public appearance in a face mask. Trump's non-mask moments have made headlines, and for good reason. As the nation battles against the novel coronavirus pandemic, experts point to a few ways we can work to slow the spread of the virus; wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing, avoid large crowds, oh, and wear a mask or face covering. Trump, famously, has not worn a mask when visiting a PPE factory in Pennsylvania, or recently, when arriving in Miami, in spite of the county's mask mandate. Vice President Mike Pence has also famously foregone a mask at events; for example, while visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Read Now Show less