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

House Select Committee Issues Subpoena To Former White House Counsel

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Cipollone sat for an informal interview with the committee on April 13, according to a letter from the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MI), but has since refused to cooperate. He is likely to fight the subpoena in court.

Toddler Troll Margie Rants At British Reporter: 'Go Back To Your Country'

During a press conference Wednesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) aggressively told a British reporter to "go back to your country" when questioned about gun violence nationwide.

At a press conference, Greene called out the 14 Republican senators — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who had voted on Tuesday to advance the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a gun safety bill.

"These are the Republican senators that Republican voters do not support anymore," Greene said.

At the press conference, Siobhan Kennedy, a Washington correspondent for British broadcaster Channel 4, noted the disparity in gun violence between the United States and the United Kingdom.

"We don't have guns in the U.K., that is true, but we don't have mass shootings either," Kennedy said. "Children aren't scared to go to school."

"You have mass stabbings, lady," Greene replied. "You have all kinds of murder. And you've got laws against that."

When the reporter attempted to highlight America's higher rates of violence, Greene replied, "Well, you can go back to your country and worry about your no guns. We like ours here."

The Georgia congresswoman later took to Twitter to boast about her xenophobic comments: "When British press wants to argue about our God-given American gun rights, my answer is: 'go back to your own country.'"

In 2020, the homicide rate per 100,000 people in the United States is 5.3, while the U.K. has a rate of just 1.2, according to WorldAtlas.

Moreover, the Washington Post noted that the United States, in fact, has a much higher rate of stabbing homicides at 6.3 per million residents, compared to the United Kingdom's 3.9 per million residents.

This is not the first time Greene has made xenophobic or anti-immigrant comments.

In April, while speaking to a far-right Catholic activist, Greene claimed that Christians who help undocumented migrants are under Satan's control.

In 2020, GOP House leaders condemned Greene's racist, Islamophobic, and antisemitic statements after Facebook videos uncovered by Politico showed the then-candidate saying that Muslims do not belong in government, calling Jewish Democratic megadonor George Soros a Nazi, and suggesting that Black people "are held slaves to the Democratic Party."

A final Senate vote is expected on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act this week.

The compromise bill does not include many measures Democrats have pushed for, such as universal background checks for gun sales, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, or a national red flag law. However, it would take steps to disarm convicted domestic abusers, enhance background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21, and would expand gun dealer registration rules.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

'You Are Doing Nothing': O'Rourke Confronts Abbott Over Uvalde Massacre

Not long after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his entourage showed up on a stage in Uvalde, Texas, to offer the usual thoughts and prayers that follow a gun massacre, Democratic rival Beto O'Rourke suddenly strode up to confront him.

Pointing a finger at the governor, he yelled: "You're offering us nothing!"

A native of El Paso, where a white supremacist gunman murdered 23 people and injured 23 more at a Walmart in 2019, O'Rourke is way past fed up with Republican refusal to pass gun safety legislation of any kind.

"The time to stop the next shooting is now, and you are doing nothing," O'Rourke said, quite truthfully, before he was escorted out of the press conference by security.

Predictably, the Republicans present reacted with scorn. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told O'Rourke, who came close to defeating him in 2018, to "sit down," while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick scolded the Democrat as "out of line and an embarrassment."

Following O'Rourke's departure Abbott went into saccharine mode: "There's no words anybody shouting can come up here — and do anything — to heal those broken hearts." But O'Rourke had no time for the governor's feeble condolences.

"I want us to do something right now," he said after leaving the auditorium. "We can do something right now. But if we continue to accept this, it is on us. It's not just the governor's fault, it is on us. I'm not going to accept it, so I'm here, I'm calling attention to it....And I'm calling on all Texans of good conscience — and I could care less whether you're a Republican, a Democrat or an independent — to stand up right now for yourself, for your kids, for our families and to stop the next shooting just like this one."

As O'Rourke said, the lax gun laws and regulations promoted by Abbott, Cruz, and Patrick have only made things much worse.

Action to stop gun violence, or more thoughts and prayers and NRA money? That seems like a simple choice, as we bury a couple dozen more innocent victims of American apathy.


Texas Appellate Panel Stays Lucio Execution, Returns Case To Trial Court

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals today stayed the scheduled Wednesday execution of Melissa Lucio, whose death sentence has sparked protests around the world as doubts have grown about her guilt in the 2007 death of her two year-old daughter Mariah.

The appellate court returned the case to the Cameron County, Texas court where Lucio was originally tried, to re-examine questions concerning her innocence -- and whether the state presented false testimony at trial and hid evidence from the defense. The court's ruling came only minutes before the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles was set to vote on a recommendation that the governor delay Lucio's execution for at least 120 days.

France Re-Elects Macron, Rejects Neo-Fascist LePen By 56-42 Margin

French President Emmanuel Macron defeated his neo-fascist challenger Marine Le Pen today by a substantial margin, according to the latest returns, winning a second term and preventing what threatened to be a catastrophe for France, Europe, and global democracy. Sunday saw the lowest turnout for a French presidential election in many years as some voters on the left, many of whom dislike the centrist Macron, stayed home in protest.

Official results indicate that Macron secured 58 percent to 42 percent for LePen -- not nearly as close as some pollsters and analysts had suggested. LePen delivered a concession speech saying she looks forward to legislative elections in May.

Giant Russian Battleship Moskva Sinks After Ukraine Claims Missile Strike

Moskva, the giant flagship of Russia's Black Sea naval fleet, has sunk according to the BBC, which quoted Russian state media.

The huge vessel, with 510 crew members, was being towed to port when "stormy seas" caused it to sink, according to a public release from the Kremlin. Previous messages from the Russian government about the ship in distress claimed that it had suffered a fire onboard due to a munitions explosion -- and that the fire had been brought under control even as crew were evacuated.

But Ukraine officials have said their forces struck the Moskva with anti-ship missiles -- and claimed a victory in sinking the enemy flagship.

"We don't have the capacity at this point to independently verify that [missile strike] but certainly, the way this unfolded, it's a big blow to Russia," US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told Reuters.

Heavily armed with its own missile batteries, Moskva played a central part in one of the war's early episodes, when Ukrainian troops on Snake Island in the Black Sea urged the ship's commander to "Go fuck yourself" after he demanded they surrender.

History! Judge Jackson Confirmed To Supreme  Court By 53-47

In a historic vote, the United States Senate today approved the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. All 50 Democrats voted to confirm Jackson and were joined by three Republicans -- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Every other Republican senator voted no.

Chosen by President Joe Biden in fulfillment of a campaign promise, Jackson is the first Black woman nominated and confirmed to sit on the nation's highest court. She currently serves on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and will replace Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, the most senior member of the court’s liberal bloc. Breyer, for whom Jackson clerked early in her legal career, announced his retirement months ago.

Vice President Kamala Harris, presiding over the Senate, pronounced the nomination confirmed as the chamber broke into applause. The Democratic nominee's triumph represents the culmination of a process that included vicious attacks on Judge Jackson and those who have supported her by the Republicans, both in the Senate confirmation hearings and in media.


Friends And Colleagues Mourn Admired Media Critic Eric Boehlert, 57

Eric Boehlert, the incisive and prodigious media analyst who became one of the most respected critics of right-wing disinformation and mainstream fecklessness, died on Monday evening in a tragic bicycle accident. He was struck by a commuter train while cycling in Montclair, New Jersey, where he lived with his wife Tracy Breslin and children Ben and Jane. He was 57 years old.

His dear friend, journalist and filmmaker Soledad O’Brien, announced his passing on Twitter, describing him as “a fierce and fearless defender of the truth,” and “an awesome human being, handsome/cool/witty dude who kicked ass on our behalf. Crazy devotion to facts, context, and good reporting, enemy of BS, fake news.” He was, she wrote, “Brutal to bad media on Twitter, sweetest guy in real life.” She was far from alone in that assessment.

To readers of The National Memo, Eric was a familiar and welcome byline whose writing appeared in these pages nearly from the beginning a decade ago. He was a former colleague of editor Joe Conason at Salon.com and a longtime friend.

“We were always thrilled to share Eric's articles,” said Conason, “first from Media Matters for America, later from Daily Kos – and over the past two years, he honored us by allowing frequent reprints from the PressRun site that he created in 2020.”

Kind and warm as well as astute, Eric was broadly admired despite the fact that he routinely published harsh judgments on the work of other outlets and reporters. He didn’t take himself too seriously but believed deeply that improving political media was crucial to the survival of a democratic society. He worked hard at that mission. And wherever he worked, he was loved for his humor, generosity, and friendship.

In the hours following his death, hundreds of tributes appeared on social media, where he had long been a powerful presence.

Media Matters, Salon, and Daily Kos issued moving statements recalling his contributions to their pages.


James Fallows, both a pathbreaking journalist and a penetrating critic of press myopia, explained why he will be missed. “I had met Eric only once in ‘real life. But I corresponded with him with increasing frequency over the years, especially this past year, and considered him a conscience and inspiration,” wrote Fallows on his own Substack. “He was fearless and absolutely unsparing in his writing about this era’s mainstream press.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted her appreciation of Eric, who began to exercise his independence from herd journalism when her husband was president.

Articulate and telegenic, Eric made many appearances on all kinds of media -- he was a popular guest on major television broadcasts but often lent his talents to far smaller independent media outlets. Among those who featured him most frequently was MSNBC's Joy-Ann Reid.


Randy Rainbow Has A Very Brief Word For DeSantis

Randy Rainbow has a message for Ron DeSantis that could upset the trying-to-be-trumpier-than-Trump governor's fragile sensibilities. Another brilliant -- and may we say beautifully sung -- video from America's favorite satirist. He gives the Florida Governor all the respect he deserves. DeSantis' attempts to exploit homophobic bigotry and fear are certainly not going unanswered.

As Randy says, "Let's bask in the splendors of all shades and genders!"

Watch 👇🏼 and enjoy.


Manchin Says He Will Vote To Confirm Jackson For Supreme Court

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued a statement on Friday morning announcing that he will support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court. His vote is likely to assure Jackson’s confirmation, even if no Senate Republicans support her.

Manchin issued the statement following the adjournment of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination marked by Republican smearing and badgering of the jurist, who received the highest rating from the American Bar Association and the support of many legal and law enforcement organizations.

“I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice,” said Manchin.

Cheney: House Panel Considering 'Enhanced Penalties' For Trump's Crimes (VIDEO)

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) told NBC News' Chuck Todd on Sunday morning that the House Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection is examining whether Congress should enact “enhanced criminal penalties” to punish the “supreme dereliction of duty” by former President Donald Trump during the attack.

Speaking on Meet the Press, the Wyoming Republican said that the public will learn "new information" about the assault on the Capitol and the events leading up to it.

“Certainly our first priority is to make recommendations,” said Cheney. “And we’re looking at things like do we need additional enhanced criminal penalties for the kind of supreme dereliction of duty that you saw with President Trump, when he refused to tell the mob to go home after he had provoked that attack on the Capitol.”

What she has learned from the committee probe has made her even more troubled by Trump's conduct and the threat it posed to the nation.

“I have not learned a single thing since I have been on this committee that has made me less concerned, or less worried, about the gravity of the situation and the actions that President Trump took and also refused to take while the attack was underway,” Cheney remarked.

#EndorseThis: Sung In Ukrainian, Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' Sends A New Message

Everyone knows the late Leonard Cohen's classic modern hymn, but you may never have heard it in Ukrainian before -- or perhaps you have, since the song has been revived again as an inspiration to that nation's beleaguered people. A primary school class in Cornwall recently recorded another version with new lyrics dedicated to Ukraine, which you can view here.

Evidently this video was recorded several years ago when Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea, the first military action of his aggressive war against Ukraine.

#EndorseThis: Randy Rainbow Raps Those Crazy 'Karens,' Margie And Lauren

The new Randy Rainbow video opens with his usual, a fake news interview -- and this time the target is a smiling Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

"You’ve had a busy few weeks speaking at white nationalist conventions, heckling the president's State of the Union," quips Randy. "Tell us, how do you balance your day job as a bigoted, fame-hungry conspiracy theorist with your personal life as a bigoted, hypocritical seditionist and overall threat to civilization -- and a mom?”

Drawing a bead on Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) as well, he defines the pair in his latest parody song, “Gurl, You’re A Karen” -- sung to a tune from Little Shop of Horrors (appropriately enough).

We don’t have to tell you this video is insanely funny. Why are you waiting to click?

Jury Finds Arbery's Killers Guilty On All Counts In Federal Hate Crimes Trial

Following less than a day of deliberations, a Georgia jury has delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty on all counts against defendants Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan in their federal hate crimes trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

The jury found that racism motivated the pursuit and shooting of Arbery by the defendants as he fled from them through a coastal suburb in February 2020.

Charged with violating Arbery's civil rights, kidnapping, and for the McMichaels, an additional charge of use of a firearm to commit a crime, all three men face a possible life sentence. All three were already convicted of murdering Arbery in a state trial last year and sentenced to life in prison.

The defendants, who originally sought a plea agreement with the Justice Department, will have 14 days to appeal.

Over four days of testimony during last week's trial, witnesses recalled racist remarks by Gregory and Travis McMichael, and prosecutors cited copious examples of racist texts and other messages from the defendants in digital evidence.

Trump Pardons Accused Fraudster Bannon During Final Hours In Office

President Donald Trump pardoned his former campaign strategist Steve Bannon on his last day in office, according to CNN, following a fierce internal debate over Bannon's fate that was ultimately decided in his favor.

Bannon faced charges brought by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York in an indictment released last August. Prosecutors allege that Bannon and three co-defendants defrauded thousands of donors to "We Build The Wall," a group raising money to construct a barrier along the southern border. The indictment charged that Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea siphoned at least a million dollars from the non-profit organization while claiming that the money went only to their construction project.

Attorneys and other Trump aides reportedly tried to discourage Trump from pardoning Bannon, but the president suddenly was keen to protect his former adviser, who has echoed Trump's lies about the presidential election. In fact Bannon has been among the most fanatical media promoters of unrest and even violence, as a leading voice in the "Stop the Steal" crusade that led to the sacking of the Capitol. That campaign apparently soothed Trump's fury at Bannon over disparaging public remarks about the president and his older children, especially Don Jr., whom he accused of "treasonous" behavior for secretly meeting with Kremlin agents during 2016.

If Bannon was auditioning for a pardon in recent weeks, his bloodthirsty pandering still gave pause to Trump's lawyers – who worried that the former adviser played a culpable role in the Capitol riot on January 6. For many weeks leading up to the assault on the Capitol, he broadcast strident calls to action, comparing the present political standoff to the bloody confrontations of the Revolutionary War and D-Day.

"All hell is going to break loose tomorrow," crowed Bannon on his January 5 "War Room" podcast, hours before erupting violence left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. "And all I can say is, strap in ... You have made this happen and tomorrow it's game day. So strap in. Let's get ready."

Until Tuesday evening, Trump aides and lawyers thought they had quashed the Bannon pardon. Evidently they were wrong.

Trump, Ivanka And Don Jr. Must Testify In Financial Probe, Judge Rules

Donald Trump and his two oldest children, Don Jr. and Ivanka Trump, must appear for questioning under oath in the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into their family firm's financial conduct, a Manhattan judge ruled today. Lawyers for the Trumps had argued against the subpoenas issued by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, accusing her of acting improperly as a criminal prosecutor and of partisan animus against them. But Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled in favor of the attorney general, requiring the former president and his children to testify.

The Trumps must surrender subpoenaed documents within two weeks and appear for depositions within three weeks, the judge ruled, although the response could be delayed on appeal.

Swatting down the arguments of Trump's lawyers, the judge wrote that failure to subpoena him and his children in an investigation of the Trump Organization's bizarre finances "would have been a dereliction of duty" by James.

Both the New York attorney general and the Manhattan district attorney are investigating allegations that Trump manipulated the stated value of his properties in order to obtain loans and avoid taxes.

Before the judge ruled, he presided over a circus-like hearing that featured an astonishing performance by Trump attorney Alina Habba.

“I want to know,” Habba, in court, asked the NY Attorney General, “are you gonna go after Hillary Clinton for what she’s doing to my client?” Habba continued, “That she spied at Trump Tower in your state...Are you gonna look into her business dealings?”

This made a poor impression on Judge Engoron.

“The Clintons are not before me,” the judge replied.

Habba also told the judge that James had undertaken a “selective prosecution,” -- as Law & Crime News managing editor Adam Klasfeld reports.

“It’s unconstitutional,” she claimed. The judge swiftly issued his sweeping ruling against the Trumps.

#EndorseThis: When Trump Blasted Hillary For Mishandling Classified Papers


The Washington Post has put together a flashback reel capturing a few of the very many times that Donald Trump falsely and viciously attacked his 2016 Democratic challenger, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified documents. Which is amusing now that we know how Trump stole, shredded, and even flushed his own presidential documents down the toilet.

"This is calculated, deliberate, premeditated misconduct, followed by a cover-up that included false statements and lies to Congress, the media, and the American people," Trump roared. "In my administration, I'm going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information." Actually nearly everyone in his White House used private and highly insecure communications devices, including his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Four years later, Trump was still talking about her emails: "Forget about what was on the emails. It's irrelevant. Although many of them were classified, highly classified. You go to jail for that."

Watch: