Democracy Has Prevailed.

May 31, 2022

Déjà Vu-All Over Again

Ever feel like you're caught in a GOP/NRA/Mass Shooting Groundhog Day swirly-swirl existence?

You know, that familiar feeling you get after (and between) every mass shooting where the GOP/NRA emphatically objects to any sort of gun control legislation? 

How familiar is this?

This is from 4 years ago and I was quoting something written 4 years before that

Remember that political prop they once called "Joe The Plumber"?

He wrote an "Open Letter To The Parents of Victims Murdered By Elliot Rodger" and it was published at a website called "Barb Wire". It's now defunct but luckily you can find Joe's letter at The Way Back Machine.

Here's the setting:  Elliot Rodger killed a whole mess of people (and then himself) in Isla Vista California in 2014 and there were calls for gun control legislation to be passed.

That was about 8 years ago.

Anyway, Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher wrote this letter and here he is compassionately Joe-splaining the GOP/NRA response:

I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But:

As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.

 And as I wrote 4 years ago about Joe's epistle 4 years before that:

So there it is: hidden behind all of the ersatz sincerity of the many "thoughts and prayers" tweets we've read recently from the GOP, is this one thought - your dead kids don't trump my Constitutional rights.

And then I reframed:

In order to make sure that everyone has easy access to firearms, every now and then (and no one knows where or when), in order to protect our safety and liberty, a few schools/theatres/offices will have to be shot up by someone with easy access to lots and lots of guns and ammo. A few people here and there will have to die a bloody and gruesome death in order to guarantee America's Second Amendment rights.
I wrote that February 16, 2018. It was true May 14, 2014, when Joe's letter was published at Barb Wire and how sad is it that it'll probably be true for some time.

By making it easy to access high powered firearms, they made it easy for Salvador Rolando to shoot up Robb Elementary School in Texas.

They have blood on their hands. It's there forever. It'll never wash off.

May 29, 2022

PA State Senator Doug Mastriano And The Rod Of Iron Ministries

Let's review some sad details.

This week:

The weapon used to carry out the mass shooting in Uvalde on Tuesday is one all too familiar to Americans and lawmakers who have witnessed mass shootings occur over the past decade.

The Uvalde gunman used an AR-15-style rifle, a popular range of semiautomatic weapons that was purchased from a sporting goods store, to carry out the attack, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Two weeks (or so) ago:

The suspect in the Buffalo supermarket massacre purchased the primary weapon allegedly used in the shooting — a used Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic rifle — from a licensed dealer near his hometown but said he then illegally modified the gun so he could use a high-capacity magazine.

And then some context:

The Bushmaster family of rifles is part of the ubiquitous family of AR-15 style weapons — the most common rifle in the United States. Used Bushmaster XM-15s can be bought for about $1,000 or less, putting it on the lower end of some AR-15 models that sell for hundreds more. The rifle is a no-frills option that lacks a rail system, which limits accessories like optics, lasers and forward grips. The alleged shooter complained there was no way to attach a light other than duct-taping one to the hand guard.

The Bushmaster XM-15 is the same model rifle that was used in two other notorious mass shootings: the 2002 D.C. sniper case, in which two gunmen killed 10 people at random during a month-long spree of terror in the Washington region; and the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Square, Conn., during which a lone gunman killed 20 first-graders and six staff members.

AR-15 rifles. Lone gunmen really love 'em.

Know who else really loves the AR-15?

These guys: Rod of Iron Ministries.

You may have missed the story of the Rod of Iron Ministries as it blurped up  a year ago.

What's The Rod of Iron Ministries?

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The Sanctuary church is an offshoot of the Unification Church, which Moon’s father, Sun Myung Moon, founded in 1954. That church is based on unorthodox interpretations of Biblical texts. Sun Myung believed Christ did not complete his role as the Messiah because he died without starting a family, a necessary part of humanity’s path to salvation.

Sun Myung said Jesus passed him the role of savior. He married his second wife, Hak Ja Han, in 1960. Unification Church members refer to them as the “True Parents” who will redeem humanity.


Sun Myung chose Sean as his successor in 2010, two years before his death. Moon separated from the main church in 2012 over disagreements with his mother, Hak Ja Han, who took leadership of the Unification Church. However, Moon still holds his father as a returned Messiah.

Janja Lalich, a cult expert and professor emeritus of California State University, Chico, told Hatewatch she considers the Sanctuary Church “a cult” and Rod of Iron Ministries a “troublesome movement.”

And then from The Pocono Record:

The Sanctuary Church made global headlines in 2018 when Sean conducted a religious ceremony blessing AR-15s. The Unification Church called Sean's theology a "perversion" of his father's beliefs, Sean said it was actually the late Rev. Moon who inspired the Rod of Iron Ministries.

"He is one with God and is still moving in the spirit," Sean said. "He was giving me the insight to see the Kingdom, not as some type of centralized government, but as a decentralized form of government."

That's where the rod of iron comes in.

It's referenced in the Bible as a tool from God used to smite and rule over nations, Moon said. To him and his followers, the rod is the AR-15, and it's the key to saving America from tyranny. 

"Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession," reads Psalm 2:8-9. "You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

 And this is what The Ministry says about Sean Moon, himself:

Rev. Hyung Jin Sean Moon is the youngest son of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. He was named by his father as sole successor to his ministry in 2009 and earned a Masters of Divinity from Harvard University in 2010. Following that he held various positions in Korea. In April 2013, he moved to Pennsylvania, where he and his wife created the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary (WPUS). Initially, worship services were held in his home. By May 2014, the congregation grew to the point where a dedicated building was necessary, and the ministry moved to a 13,600 square-foot former theater and Catholic church in Newfoundland, PA. [Bolding in original.]


Since 2015, as leader of the Sanctuary Church in Newfoundland PA, Pastor Moon has published "The Constitution of the United States of Cheon Il Guk," which lays out the political framework for the future Kingdom of God on Earth. [Bolding in original.]
Yea, you gotta see his Constitution. It looks to me as if Sean Moon took the actual US Constitution and just spliced WPUS stuff into it.

For example there's this:

We the People of the United States of Cheon Il Guk (CIG), in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish in Heavenly Father’s name this Constitution for the United States of CIG.

Lot of that looks familiar doesn't it?

However, this comes right after:

The division of the sexes being ordained by God where man is the subject partner and woman is the object partner, congress shall pass no law that contradicts this divine edict.

Faithful marriage between a man and a woman being the ideal of God’s creation, the government of CIG will pass no law which interferes with or contradicts this Divine Law. The fruit of faithful marriage being the conception of children, congress shall pass no law which permits the injury to all persons born or unborn. Sexual abstinence before marriage being the ideal condition for newlyweds, congress shall pass no law supporting or giving aid to alternative life styles.

Can't get much more anti-LGBTQ, can you?

Then there's these other gifts to social conservatives. 

Article 111 Section 9:

9. Congress is prohibited from creating or funding health care, education, social welfare, and social security programs.


14: Congress is prohibited from forming an Environmental Protection Agency or laws.

Oh, and guess who's running the entire show, according to Sean Moon's Constitution?

Article 1:

1: The King of CIG is the head of state of the United States of CIG. The Kingship is bequeathed from the Lord of the Second Advent Moon Sun Myung to his son Moon Hyung Jin as second King and then to Moon Shin Joon as third King. The Kingship will be bequeathed henceforth to a son of the presiding King. If the King has no son then the Kingship will be bequeathed to a male heir within the direct lineage of Moon Hyung Jin. The King will decide who his inheritor is and will establish the order of succession.

Moon Sun Myung, the leader of the Unification Church passed away in 2012. His son Moon Hyung Jin is Sean Moon. 

This is the Rod of Iron Ministries.

Why is this important?

This is why.

This was posted on the Rod of Iron Ministries Facebook page on April 17, 2021:

And this was posted on May 4, 2021:

And this was posted May 7, 2021:

Has PA State Senator (and GOP Candidate for Governor) Doug Mastriano ever explained his presence on these posters? What was the event like? What did Doug say? Did the even even take place? Are there any photos? I haven't been able to find anything about it.

And yet this poster was posted three times on the Ministry's FB page.

Did you notice the presence of Teddy Daniels, his endorsed candidate for Lt Governor on two of them as well?

Looks like good ole Teddy spoke at the Rod of Iron festival this past 2021:

So Senator, any comment for the blog?

You took an oath to uphold The (real) Constitution. So why is your face plastered all over these three posters for a church looking to replace it with a right wing theocracy?

May 27, 2022

Yea, People With NOTHING To Hide Burn Documents (Pennsylvania Connection!)

Like a weed, this little story grew fast.

We'll start at the NYTimes. In the piece that's ostensibly about how Trump was said to have reacted, on January 6, "approvingly" about the chants to "Hang Mike Pence" - even going so far, reportedly, that perhaps Pence should be hanged, there's this add-on paragraph:

The committee has also gathered testimony that Mr. Meadows used the fireplace in his office to burn documents, according to two people briefed on the panel’s questions. The committee has asked witnesses about how Mr. Meadows handled documents and records after the election. Mr. Meadows’s lawyer did not respond to a question about the testimony regarding the fireplace.

Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows burned documents? Is that even legal? Or safe?

Digging a little deeper into that, we find this piece at Politico:

Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows burned papers in his office after meeting with a House Republican who was working to challenge the 2020 election, according to testimony the Jan. 6 select committee has heard from one of his former aides.

Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked under Meadows when he was former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, told the panel investigating the Capitol attack that she saw Meadows incinerate documents after a meeting in his office with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). A person familiar with the testimony described it on condition of anonymity. [Emphasis added.]

There's always a Pennsylvania connection, isn't there? Sometimes it's interesting but this time it's seditiously serious, apparently.

Politico continues:

The Meadows-Perry meeting came in the weeks after Election Day 2020, as Trump and his allies searched for ways to reverse the election results.

It’s unclear whether Hutchinson told the committee which specific papers were burnt, and if federal records laws required the materials’ preservation. Meadows’ destruction of papers is a key focus for the select committee, and the person familiar with the testimony said investigators pressed Hutchinson for details about the issue for more than 90 minutes during a recent deposition.

What do we already know about Rep Scott Perry?

We'll let's start from that DOJ call in which Perry is mentioned specifically by Trump to the DOJ.

Later in the phone call, Trump touts the virtues of Jeffrey Clark as new head of the DOJ. Trump says, according to the notes:

People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in.

I quoted The NYTimes as context for who Clark is:

The Justice Department’s top leaders listened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had devised a plan with President Donald J. Trump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen as acting attorney general and wield the department’s power to force Georgia state lawmakers to overturn its presidential election results.

The unassuming lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, had been devising ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.


As Mr. Rosen and the deputy attorney general, Richard P. Donoghue, pushed back, they were unaware that Mr. Clark had been introduced to Mr. Trump by a Pennsylvania politician and had told the president that he agreed that fraud had affected the election results. 
And that Pennsylvania politician would be: Rep. Scott Perry.

Again, from The NYTimes:

It was Mr. Perry, a member of the hard-line Freedom Caucus, who first made Mr. Trump aware that a relatively obscure Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, the acting chief of the civil division, was sympathetic to Mr. Trump’s view that the election had been stolen, according to former administration officials who spoke with Mr. Clark and Mr. Trump.

Mr. Perry introduced the president to Mr. Clark, whose openness to conspiracy theories about election fraud presented Mr. Trump with a welcome change from the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, who stood by the results of the election and had repeatedly resisted the president’s efforts to undo them.

That same Scott Perry who met with Mark Meadows and after which meadows burned some documents in his private fireplace.

This is also the same Scott Perry who just this week did this:

York County Congressman Scott Perry continued to stonewall the special House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attacks on the U.S. Capitol Thursday.

Perry had been requested to give a deposition with committee staff, but his only answers this week came in the form of a five-page letter from a Washington D.C. attorney reiterating Perry’s belief that the committee’s activities are out of compliance with House rules, and that on that basis he is refusing the subpoena as null and void.

Too bad this already happened:

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected an effort by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to block a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the January 6 assault on the Capitol, ruling late Sunday that the panel can demand records from the party's email fundraising vendor.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, appointed by former President Donald Trump, is a major victory for the House panel, as he roundly rebuffed the RNC's claims that the committee lacks the proper authorization to exercise investigative power and that its subpoena to Salesforce, the third-party vendor, failed to advance a valid legislative purpose.

Nothing to see here, citizens. Move on. 

An administration that burns documents after a meeting with an important part of their attempted coup has absolutely positively as-God-is-my-witness nothing to hide.

May 26, 2022

Threatening The Life Of A President (Or Vice-President) Is A Felony Offense

The reporting started here at the NYTimes:

Shortly after hundreds of rioters at the Capitol started chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” on Jan. 6, 2021, the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, left the dining room off the Oval Office, walked into his own office and told colleagues that President Donald J. Trump was complaining that the vice president was being whisked to safety.

Mr. Meadows, according to an account provided to the House committee investigating Jan. 6, then told the colleagues that Mr. Trump had said something to the effect of, maybe Mr. Pence should be hanged.

It is not clear what tone Mr. Trump was said to have used. But the reported remark was further evidence of how extreme the rupture between the president and his vice president had become, and of how Mr. Trump not only failed to take action to call off the rioters but appeared to identify with their sentiments about Mr. Pence — whom he had unsuccessfully pressured to block certification of the Electoral College results that day — as a reflection of his own frustration at being unable to reverse his loss.

The account of Mr. Trump’s comment was initially provided to the House committee by at least one witness, according to two people briefed on their work, as the panel develops a timeline of what the president was doing during the riot.

Another witness, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mr. Meadows who was present in his office when he recounted Mr. Trump’s remarks, was asked by the committee about the account and confirmed it, according to the people familiar with the panel’s work. It was not immediately clear how much detailed information Ms. Hutchinson provided. She has cooperated with the committee in three separate interviews after receiving a subpoena.

Here's the thing: Threatening the life of the president (or vice president or anyone in the line of succession) is against the law.

18 U.S. Code § 871 - Threats against President and successors to the Presidency 

Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

 And it's not as if this is an anomaly for that great orange vulgarity.

Last November, Slate reported this conversation between Trump and Jonathan Karl (of ABC News, though this is from Karl's book):

Trump: No, I thought he was well protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think—  

Karl: Because you heard those chants—that was terrible. I mean— 

Trump: He could have—well, the people were very angry.  

Karl: They were saying “hang Mike Pence.”  

Trump: Because it’s common sense, Jon. It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you—if you know a vote is fraudulent, right?—how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?

Except there was no fraudulent vote. And that part doesn't matter, anyway. Doesn't matter the reason to threaten the life of the vice president, the threat itself is against the law.

May 25, 2022

Just This

President Joe Biden last night:

When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?  When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?

It’s been 340- — 3,448 days — 10 years since I stood up at a high school in Connecticut — a grade school in Connecticut, where another gunman massacred 26 people, including 20 first graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Since then, there have been over 900 incidents of gunfires reported on school grounds.

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Santa Fe High School in Texas.  Oxford High School in Michigan.  The list goes on and on.

And the list grows when it includes mass shootings at places like movie theaters, houses of worship, and, as we saw just 10 days ago, at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

I am sick and tired of it.  We have to act.  And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.


The Latest Rightwing Crazie Theory (Of Course Wendy Bell's Pushing It)

Yes, there are far more pressing issues today.

Like who's gonna write the Heartbeat legislation in Texas in response to that state's latest celebration of  our God-given 2nd Amendment freedoms?

All those kids had heartbeats, y'know. Each of those kids had a right to life, y'know. 

But the shooter had the 2nd Amendment. And so we all know what the rightwing solution is to all that blood and brains on the carpet: Thoughts and prayers.

This is America.

Anyway, an astute reader sent in this:

I couldn't see it myself on twitter because Wendy Bell, that Common Sense Conservative champion in the fight for free speech and against so called "cancel culture" has blocked me from seeing anything on her twitter feed.


Anyway, this is the latest RW conspiracy theory. 

The conservative weekly The Spectator had this to say about this theory:

Now, a February study (submitted last August) has come to light suggesting similar experiments may have been carried out in Wuhan on a monkeypox virus. The paper, ‘Efficient assembly of a large fragment of monkeypox virus genome as a PCR template using dual-selection based transformation-associated recombination’, was published in the journal Virologica Sinica (the Wuhan lab’s own journal). It looked to create a monkeypox virus that could be identified on PCR tests. The researchers successfully produced a ‘genomic fragment of monkeypox virus’. The paper identified the potential risks of such research: 

This DNA assembly tool applied in virological research could also raise potential security concerns, especially when the assembled product contains a full set of genetic material that can be recovered into a contagious pathogen.

So could it have leaked? The researchers say that this would be impossible because the monkeypox DNA fragment they produced was so small – ‘less than one-third [...] of the genome’. So the experiment was: ‘fail-safe by virtually eliminating any risk of recovering into an infectious virus.’

So it’s very unlikely that any experiment on monkeypox in the Wuhan lab would have leaked.

I'm just surprised Wendy didn't tie the monkeypox into all those DOJ biolabs that Putin invaded Ukraine in order to save the world.

Hey, Wendy! Do you remember when you said that that was the cause of Putin's war?

I blogged on it on February 26, 2022.

You said it, Wendy. You own it. And you were wrong.

Why should we believe anything you say about any medical issue now?

May 24, 2022

This *is* America

The United States is trash. Any country that allows their children to be slaughtered like this is an obscenity.

PA State Senator (And Now GOP Candidate For PA Gov) Doug Mastriano and January FIFTH

I've sensed recently that there is some investigative interest in "Insurrection Eve" (a.k.a January 5, 2021) and what occured on that day.

For example this:

Got me to wondering, what was our favorite insurrectionist-adjacent GOP candidate for PA Governor doing on that day?

Well, he held a rally, called "Hear us Roar", in Harrisburg.

And if you're ever wondering what Christian Nationalism looks like, it's this:

That's Doug at the Hear Us Roar rally on January 5, 2021.

Pennlive posted some photos from the event.

Among them is this photo of Pennsylvania State Rep Russ Diamond:

Why am I pointing out that Diamond was there?

This is why:

Having failed to gain traction in their efforts to challenge Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results in court, President Donald Trump and his allies in the state considered an even more audacious proposal to reverse the state’s vote, newly released emails show.

A month after the election, Trump adviser and conservative lawyer John Eastman lobbied Republican state lawmaker Russ Diamond, of Lebanon County — now seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor — with a plan to unilaterally declare a new outcome to Pennsylvania’s popular vote, disregarding tens of thousands of legitimately cast absentee ballots.

Citing baseless concerns over the state’s mail voting procedures, Eastman suggested that GOP legislators could simply make up new vote totals that would declare Trump the victor by applying a mathematical formula — based on absentee ballot rejection rates from prior elections ― to subtract votes from then-candidate Joe Biden.

The Atlantic has a bit more:

The absurdity and brazenness of this approach is on display in those new emails from Eastman, uncovered in a public-records request in Colorado, where he was a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado. The most interesting messages are an exchange between Eastman and Russ Diamond, a Republican state representative in Pennsylvania.

Diamond wrote to Eastman, intrigued by his theory that a state legislature had the authority to appoint electors, irrespective of the popular vote. The idea is legally dubious—the overwhelming consensus of legal scholars holds that a state legislature can’t simply change its mind about the method of election after the votes are cast—and perhaps even more politically suspect, given that voters are unlikely to appreciate having their votes summarily ignored. The trick, Eastman wrote, was to “provide some cover” for the legislature.

Here's one of those emails from December 4, 2020 (and that would be almost exactly a month before that "Hear us Roar" rally). It was among those

You'll note, O Gentle Reader, that it was sent from Rep Diamond's government email.

This is something PA State Senator (and now GOP candidate for PA Gov.) Doug Mastriano was doing the day before he wandered around The Capitol building as it was being trashed by members of the Trump mob.

What else did he do that day?


May 23, 2022

The 14th Amendment And Doug Mastriano

We've briefly touched on the 14th Amendment as it pertains to our good friend (and man whose face seems to be Photoshopped onto a hot dog) PA State Senator and GOP candidate for Governor Doug Mastriano. 

We didn't think the handwritten filing would get very far.

However, by way of John Nichols of The Nation we learn about another effort, this time from a group called Free Speech for People.

We'll give Nichols the floor to frame this story:

The group points to Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which declares: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Enacted following the Civil War, the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause has been in the news in recent months because voters have tried to use it to disqualify several members of Congress from appearing on their state’s ballots, including Representatives Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

Free Speech For People makes a compelling case that the amendment is particularly applicable to Mastriano, as a professor at the Army War College, where he taught strategic studies.

You can read their letter to Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman here.

A few interesting highlights of the letter:

The U.S. Constitution places only one qualification on individuals seeking state office: they must not have broken an oath to support the Constitution by engaging in an insurrection against the United States. Under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, “No Person shall . . . hold any office, civil or military . . . under any State, who, having previously taken an oath . . . as a member of any State legislature . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” The Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause applies in every state, including Pennsylvania. It must be implemented by state officials against insurrectionist office-seekers even if they have not been charged with crimes, and even if Congress has not taken specific action against them.
And then there's this:

Mastriano had “VIP” status at the speeches at the Ellipse and subsequently rode a golf cart and marched to the Capitol.19 Videos and photographs show Mastriano at the Capitol during the insurrection, bypassing police barriers that “moved” only because insurrectionists breached them in Mastriano’s presence.20 Furthermore, just one week after the attack, Mastriano described to a radio interviewer how he was present as insurrectionists breached barricades and physically assaulted police officers by pushing them up the stairs.21

The group sums up its case with this:

Douglas Mastriano engaged in an insurrection against the United States within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause after taking the oath as a state senator to support the Constitution. He is therefore disqualified from office within the state of Pennsylvania and, consequently, ineligible to appear as a candidate on the ballot for governor.

As Nichols says, a compelling case.

May 22, 2022

Hey Thanks, Wendy! (Trump Counties Have Higher Covid Mortality Than Biden Counties)

We'll start this sad sad story with NPR

Even with widely available vaccines and newly effective treatments, residents of counties that went heavily for Donald Trump in the last presidential election are more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than those that live in areas that went for President Biden. That's according to a newly-updated analysis from NPR, examining how partisanship and misinformation are shaping the pandemic. 

Partisanship and misinformation, thy name is Wendy Bell.

I'm not saying that our Angel of Death caused the partisanship or created the misinformation (that river runs deep. Deeper than we can deal with here.) but she certainly helped amplify both it here in SWPA. 

How much of the damage is she responsible for? No way to tell.

Anyway, back to NPR:

NPR examined COVID deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. from May 2021, the point at which most Americans could find a vaccine if they wanted one. Those living in counties that voted 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.26 times the death rate of those that went by the same margin for Biden. Counties with a higher share of Trump votes had even higher mortality rates.

The scale of the preventable loss of life is staggering. According to a recent analysis by Brown University, nearly 320,000 lives nationwide could have been saved if more people had chosen to get vaccinated. The Brown analysis also shows a partisan split in how those preventable deaths are distributed. States that went most heavily for Trump – including Wyoming and West Virginia – have among the highest rates of preventable deaths, while states that voted heavily for Biden – such as Massachusetts and Vermont – had among the lowest. 

So since, as they say, that all politics is local, let's see how this has played out in the counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Let's start Biden's winning county.

  • Allegheny County: According to Politico, Biden won with 59.6% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Allegheny County with a 78% vaccination rate is averaging 14 fewer deaths per 100K than the overall average. Allegheny County's vaccination rate is 5 points higher than the overall average.

Now we'll look at Trump's winning counties in SWPA.

  • Beaver County: According to Politico, Trump won with 58.2% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Beaver County, with a 59% vaccination rate, is averaging 92 more deaths per 100K than the overall average. Beaver County's vaccination rate is 14 points lower than the overall average.
  • Lawrence County: According to Politico, Trump won with 64.2% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Beaver County, with a 64% vaccination rate, is averaging 120 more deaths per 100K than the overall average. Lawrence County's vaccination rate is 9 points lower than the overall average.
  • Butler County: According to Politico, Trump won with 65.6% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Butler County, with a 73% vaccination rate, is averaging 46 more deaths per 100K than the overall average. Lawrence County's vaccination rate is the same as the overall average. 
  • Armstrong County: According to Politico, Trump won with 75.6% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Armstrong County, with a 70% vaccination rate, is averaging 195 more deaths per 100K than the overall average. Armstrong County's vaccination rate is 3 points lower than the overall average. 
  • Westmoreland County: According to Politico, Trump won with 63.6% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Westmoreland County, with a 66% vaccination rate, is averaging 51 more deaths per 100K than the overall average. Westmoreland County's vaccination rate is 7 points lower than the overall average. 
  • Fayette County: According to Politico, Trump won with 66.3% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Fayette County, with a 66% vaccination rate, is averaging 158 more deaths per 100K than the overall average. Fayette County's vaccination rate is 6 points lower than the overall average. 
  • Greene County: According to Politico, Trump won with 71.2% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Greene County, with a 60% vaccination rate, is averaging 53 more deaths per 100K than the overall average. Greene County's vaccination rate is 13 points lower than the overall average. 
  • Washington County: According to Politico, Trump won with 60.8% of the vote. According to the NPR analysis, Washington County, with a 73% vaccination rate, is averaging 45 more deaths per 100K than the overall average. Washington County's vaccination rate is the same as the overall average.

Connection's pretty obvious, doncha think? It's right there. Higher death rates and lower vaccination rates in the counties that Trump won.

Thank you, Wendy Bell. thank you and all the other MAGA hat wearing vaccine deniers in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Through your untiring efforts over the last few months, you've nurtured a culture that's more than likely lead to the deaths of many many of our fellow Pennsylvanians. 

It looks like the number of unnecessary deaths statewide is somewhere around 14,000. That's the estimated number of lives that could have been saved had everyone gotten vaccinated as soon as possible.

14K dead, Wendy. You should be proud of yourself.

Wendy Bell, The Angel of Death.

May 21, 2022

Disgraced Trump Ally Rudy Giuliani Testified Before 1/6 Committee

Is this making PA State Senator (and now GOP candidate for governor) nervous? Nervous-er?

This was reported by the NYTimes recently:

Rudolph W. Giuliani, who helped lead President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election as his personal lawyer, sat on Friday for a lengthy interview with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to people familiar with the closed-door interview.

Mr. Giuliani’s interview, which was virtual, lasted for more than seven hours, the people said. The interview was transcribed, and he was under oath. He took a break in the middle of it to host his hourlong afternoon radio show.

It was unclear what Mr. Giuliani told the committee, but his centrality to Mr. Trump’s various attempts to subvert the election made him a potentially pivotal witness for the panel, with knowledge of details about interactions with members of Congress and others involved in the plans.

And it was also reported by CNN:

Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's onetime personal attorney and a lead architect of his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, on Friday met with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, two sources told CNN.  

As is to be expected, there's very little about the substance of this interview being reported. We;ll probably learn much much more when the Committee starts it's public hearings in June.

That being said, we can probably gather something about the testimony based on the subpoena the committee sent to Rudy Giuliani in January.

In it, after a few paragraphs of bureaucratic throat clearing, we get this:

The Select Committee’s investigation has revealed credible evidence that you publicly promoted claims that the 2020 election was stolen and participated in attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the election results based on your allegations. Between mid-November 2020 and January 6, 2021 (and thereafter) you actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of former president Trump and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results.

And then later: 

Accordingly, the Select Committee seeks documents and a deposition regarding these and other matters that are within the scope of the Select Committee’s inquiry.

Why would I be bringing this up?


At the request of Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York), the Senate Majority Policy Committee is holding a public hearing Wednesday [November 24, 2020] to discuss 2020 election issues and irregularities. The hearing will feature former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

And where could we go to see some of Giuliani's claims he made at that hearing?

Mike Wereschagin over at Lancaster online had a good fact-check take down. A few examples:

Claim: Pennsylvania approved 1.8 million mail ballots and received 1.4 million back, but 2.5 million mail votes were recorded in the presidential election.

Our finding: False. Public records show more than 3 million people requested a mail-in ballot and more than 2.6 million returned them.

Wereschagin even points out that Giuliani himself tried to say that this was false - but in the disciplinary hearing regarding his law license (which he eventually lost).

Claim: About 682,770 mail-in ballots were entered into voting systems in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties without any Republican witnesses.

Our finding: False. Several of the witnesses Giuliani called at this same hearing testified that they witnessed canvassing in those counties, putting the lie to Giuliani’s claim. Trump’s legal team had tried to make a similar claim in federal court, but dropped that portion of its lawsuit 10 days before this hearing — a fact which Giuliani almost certainly knew before repeating the falsehood at this hearing, the New York Supreme Court noted.

Then there's this:

Claim: The U.S. Constitution allows the Pennsylvania General Assembly to throw out election results and select their own electors after an election is over.

Our finding: False. The Constitution says state legislatures “shall appoint in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct a number of electors.” The General Assembly did set the manner in which electors would be selected when it passed Act 77 and, before that, other components of the state Election Code. Legal experts say this theory, advanced by both Giuliani’s and co-counsel Jenna Ellis, does not stand up to scrutiny.

And so on.

It's a good guess that the committee wanted to talk to Rudy about things like that.

Curiously, did you know that two days after Rudy spread the lie about 1.8 million ballots, PA State Senator (and GOP candidate for governor) Doug Mastriano tweeted it?

It was Doug's hearing, doncha know. He kinda hadta spread the bullshit.

Another curious thing is when we turn to Doug's own subpoena we find this:

We understand you participated in these activities based on assertions of voter fraud and other asserted irregularities and based on a stated belief that under the U.S. Constitution the “state legislature has the sole authority to direct the manner of selecting delegates to the Electoral College.”

Doug even tweeted that a few days after Rudy asserted it at Doug's hearing in Gettysburg:

Which was also of the untrue things Rudy said at Doug's hearing.

If the January 6 Committee subpoenaed Rudy to talk to him about what he said publicly in the months between Trump's loss to Biden in November 2020 and Trump's mob storming The Capitol in January 6, what's the chance they'll be talking about PA State Senator (and GOP candidate for governor) Doug Mastriano's misinformation hearing in Gettysburg in late November 2020?

Doug, do you have any thoughts on this?  Were your ears burning at any point during the hours that Rudy Giuliani was testifying (under oath - something he wasn't under at your little hearing) to the January 6 Committee?

Does this concern you at all?

Maybe it should.

May 20, 2022

PA State Senator Doug Mastriano - The Company He Keeps (Ivan Raiklin)

In a warning about the fascism represented by PA State Senator (and now GOP candidate for Pennsylvania Governor), I found this tantalizing tidbit in The Washington Post recently:

Mastriano’s backers appear well aware of the stakes. A video posted to Telegram by election denial activist Ivan Raiklin from Mastriano’s victory party on Tuesday showed the candidate smiling as Raiklin congratulated him on his win and added, with a thumb’s up, “20 electoral votes as well,” a reference to the state’s clout in the electoral college. [Emphasis added.]

You can see the video here:

Oh, but there's so much more to Ivan Raiklin, isn't there? 

Haven't we seen the name  before? 

Yes, we have.

He was there when Doug announced his candidacy. And from that post we snagged this:

Ivan Raiklin and the Patriot Caucus. Acts of political violence.

Oh, and discredited  QAnon supporter (isn't that a redundancy?) Mike Flynn was there at that announcement, too.

We've also blogged about Raiklin and Flynn here.

So who's this Ivan Raiklin? Take a look at this from Reuters:

[Ivan] Raiklin, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve who has known Flynn since 2014, when he said they both worked on military intelligence matters. Raiklin is an attorney and a leading promoter of the “Pence card” theory – in which Vice President Mike Pence purportedly could have blocked the January 6 certification by Congress of Biden’s victory.

Going further back, there's this from my blogpost about Everett Stern. Stern describes meeting Raiklin the night he was introduced to the Patriot Caucus, when they asked him to dig up dirt to blackmail  prominent PA GOPers.

Will Bunch, over at the Philadelphia Inquirer has a bit more on Ivan Raiklin:

In December 2020, the Virginia-based Raiklin penned a memo, widely circulated on the far right, titled “Operation Pence Card,” urging then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject Biden’s electoral votes from key states on Jan. 6. He warned, according to Reuters, “of conspiracies involving Pence, intelligence agencies, big tech, China, and the postal service,” and urged Trump to activate the emergency broadcast system. And Raiklin hasn’t let up since the failed coup attempt.

And Raw Story has even more on Ivan:

Before former President Donald Trump enlisted lawyer John Eastman to help him persuade Vice President Mike Pence to subvert the electoral outcome, an Army Reserves lieutenant colonel associated with retired Lt. General Michael Flynn promoted a fanciful legal theory that the vice president held the power to set aside Biden electors from states narrowly won by the Democratic nominee.

Lt. Col. Ivan Raiklin tweeted out a memo with the subject line “Operation ‘PENCE’ CARD – Dec 23rd-” on Dec. 22, 2020. The memo claimed that Pence was prohibited “from ‘receiving’ electoral votes from six fraudulently certified States” — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and that the vice president “is also the sole plenary power that has the authority to make this determination.”


The New York Times has reported that an aide to Trump reached out to Eastman “about writing a memo about the Jan. 6 certification on Dec. 24, and that Eastman wrote the memo while on vacation with his family in Texas. The Dec. 24 date cited for Eastman’s enlistment in the influence campaign came two days after Raiklin tweeted out his memo, and one day after President Trump retweeted Raiklin. The memo produced by Raiklin included the header “White House,” making it appear that it was on White House letterhead, although Raiklin did not hold an official position in the Trump administration.

A Dec. 22 story on the conservative website National File also promoted the idea that the memo originated in the White House, citing unnamed sources.

Ivan Raiklin: that's who GOP Candidate for Governor Doug Mastriano has in his orbit.

May 18, 2022

Ok, Now We Go To Work (PA State Senator Doug Mastriano, Now The GOP Candiate for Governor of PA)

From The NY Times

Doug Mastriano, a central figure in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania, won the state’s Republican primary for governor on Tuesday, making the general election a referendum on democracy in the place where American representative government was born.

A "central figure" in Trump's attempted coup.

The Washington Post:

In Pennsylvania, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Trump-endorsed candidate who led an effort to overturn the election in his state and attended the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6, 2021, the day a pro-Trump mob attacked U.S. Capitol, won the Republican nomination for governor. He will face state Attorney General Josh Shapiro in November — a showdown Democrats were eager to embrace.

 He "led an effort to overturn the election" in Pennsylvania.

The Hill:

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano was projected to win the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday despite a flagging effort from some Republicans to block him from the nomination. 

The Associated Press called the race at 9:51 p.m. ET.

Mastriano defeated a crowded field of other gubernatorial candidates, including former Rep. Lou Barletta, his main primary rival, and had a healthy polling lead during the weeks leading into the primary. 

Mastriano is a staunch hard-liner in the GOP and has centered much of his campaign around the unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020. He’s also supported outlawing abortion without any exceptions and rolling back privacy protections for people who contract COVID-19.

And let's remember that "outlawing abortion without without any exceptions" means he'd put in place a government bureaucracy that'll force a raped 14-yr old girl to give birth to her rapist's child.

Let's all take a moment to ponder, for a moment, PA State Senator and now GOP candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania's baggage.

  • He's been subpoenaed by the January 6 Committee:
    Based on publicly available information and information produced to the Select Committee, we believe that you have documents and information that are relevant to the Select Committee’s investigation. For example, we understand that you have knowledge of and participated in a plan to arrange for an alternate slate of electors to be presented to the President of the Senate on January 6, 2021, and we understand that you spoke with former President Trump about your post-election activities. We understand you participated in these activities based on assertions of voter fraud and other asserted irregularities and based on a stated belief that under the U.S. Constitution the “state legislature has the sole authority to direct the manner of selecting delegates to the Electoral College.” We have an interest in understanding these activities and the theories that motivated them.

    Based on your public statements, we understand that you were present during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and that you witnessed “agitators...getting in the face of the police” and “agitators...start pushing the police up the [Capitol] steps.”
  • He was personally named in that now-famous phone call to the DOJ from Donald Trump, who was hatching plans to overturn the results of the 2020 election. From the transcript of  US Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue :
    Q. On the very first page of your notes, there's a notation toward the top about Scott Perry, and then in parenthesis, I think it says "PA." And then it says, "Senator from PA - Doug Mastriano." What was the President's point in raising these two individuals, if you recall?

    A. I don't remember exactly, but I generally remember that the President said something to the effect of "there are officials all over the country who are raising issues about the elections."

    This one obviously was Pennsylvania.

    And he said, for instance, you know, you've got Scott Perry in Pennsylvania and the State Senator Mastriano. I think the State had had some hearings, or something to that effect, both Pennsylvania and I think Georgia did something similar.
  • And that hearing Donoghue mentioned was, of course, Mastriano's hearing in Gettysburg. The one where Steve Bannon said that the movement to overturn the 2020 election started at those hearings:

    Before the event, Bannon spoke with Adams County GOP Chair Charlotte Shaffer for his "War Room" news show.

    The pair spoke about the 3 November movement, a Trump-centered Republican movement seeking to prove election fraud.

    “One of the reasons I accepted the gracious invitation of Charlotte Shaffer, the chairman, was that this was the railhead of where 3 November started, the counter reaction, the great conference,” Bannon said on War Room.

    Bannon was referring to an event in Gettysburg at which former Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani publicly protested the election results. Mastriano organized that event as a member of the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee.

  • Then there's his attendance at that QAnon conference:
    Last week in Gettysburg, a far-right Christian conference called “Patriots Arise for God and Country” drew State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a GOP front-runner for Pennsylvania governor; Teddy Daniels, a candidate for lieutenant governor; Maryland gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox; Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for former President Donald Trump; and former Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis.

    About 25 minutes into the two-day conference, organizers played a video claiming the world is experiencing a “great awakening” that will expose “ritual child sacrifice” and a “global satanic blood cult.”

    Followers of QAnon believe a global cabal of Democrats and elites are trafficking children for sex and engaged in other demonic activity — but that all of this will soon be exposed. Images associated with the conspiracy theory were on display during the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

    The video showed Friday featured a kind of greatest hits of conspiracy theories that have circulated for decades. It showed images of the Twin Towers collapsing on 9/11 — with the label “false flags.” It claimed John F. Kennedy was assassinated because he “knew too much” and posed a “high risk of cabal exposure,” that vaccines amount to “genocide therapy,” and that Hitler faked his death. It offered other conspiracy theories about the atomic bomb, the Spanish flu, 5G, the 2008 financial crisis — and, of course, the 2020 election.

So now we go to work. 

This man can not be elected Governor of Pennsylvania. This man is part of the plot to overturn the 2020 election. He should be investigated, tried and if found guilty, be thrown in jail.

May 17, 2022

Some Questions About PA State Senator Doug Mastriano's Aide Grant Clarkson

I'm not sure you saw it but something interesting bubbled up on NBC News yesterday.

Chronologically, the story starts here:

This is about the  guy with the collar length hair. Keep him in mind as you read the story from Ryan Reilly:

A staffer with Doug Mastriano's Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign who helped block media access to an event over the weekend was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when he appeared to smile and laugh as rioters smashed media equipment on Capitol grounds.

Grant Clarkson is one of the Mastriano campaign associates who prevented reporters from covering an event over the weekend hosted by Mastriano and Kathy Barnette, a Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, according to an NBC News analysis of photos and video from the event matched with his online social media presence. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Mastriano, a far-right state senator who supported Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and was himself on the grounds of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Grant Clarkson.

Reilly posted this picture of Clarkson further down that twitter feed:

There he is, striking a pose, on the far far left of the picture.

Grant! You're a superstar. Yes that's what you are! You know it!

Ha. I made a joke with a 32 year-old song reference. I don't think Grant himself is that old.

Anyway, what else can we learn about good ole Grant?

Rawstory has some info:

A site that tracks congressional salaries shows Clarkson as a Congressional intern for Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA) and Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) until May 13, 2020. At the time of the attack, Clarkson was no longer an intern nor was he a staffer in Congress. 

He was once an intern for Representative Guy Reschenthaler?? 

Good to know.

So now that it's been established that an aide to PA State Senator Doug Mastriano was at the January 6 insurrection, there's so many questions:

  • How did he get there?
  • Did he ride on one of the buses Mastriano chartered?
  • Was he working for/with/in conjunction with Mastriano on January 6?
  • If not, when did he start working for Mastriano?
  • Does he, Clarkson, expect to be questioned by the FBI anytime soon for his involvement in both Mastriano's campaign and in Trump's coup attempt?


May 16, 2022

Happy Birthday, Tucker Carlson!!

It was a day early but Tucker Carlson got a wonderful birthday gift yesterday, didn't he?

Let me explain.

Tucker Carlson was born on this date in San Francisco in 1969.

Yesterday, in Buffalo NY a young man killed nearly a dozen people (injured a few others) in what police described as a "racially motivated hate crime."

The shooter, of course, reportedly left a manifesto explaining his actions.

Sections of that manifesto seemed to, well take a look:

The suspect in Saturday’s killing of 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket allegedly wrote a document endorsing “great replacement theory,” a once-fringe racist idea that became a popular refrain among media figures such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham of Fox News and conservative writer Ann Coulter.

Before the shooting rampage that also left three wounded, the suspect, Payton S. Gendron, 18, allegedly posted a lengthy document invoking the idea that White Americans were at risk of being “replaced” by people of color because of immigration and higher birthrates.

Keep that phrase in mind. The "great replacement theory."

Shows up here:

But the most prominent espouser of the theory has arguably been Tucker Carlson. In a damning three-part series examining Carlson’s outsized role in stoking white supremacist fears, the New York Times recently found that Carlson has long pushed the false conspiracy theory that Democrats were carrying out an elaborate mission to bring “more obedient voters from the third world” in order to replace the current electorate and win elections. Carlson has even defended the theory’s role in motivating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol building.
And here:

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has repeatedly pushed “replacement” rhetoric on his show. “I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson said in April 2021.
Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of moving parts in this story and only a few have Tucker Carlson's name on them.

But let's look a little deeper at that Times piece on Tucker:

Alchemizing media power into political influence, Mr. Carlson stands in a nativist American tradition that runs from Father Coughlin to Patrick J. Buchanan. Now Mr. Carlson’s on-air technique — gleefully courting blowback, then fashioning himself as his aggrieved viewers’ partner in victimhood — has helped position him, as much as anyone, to inherit the populist movement that grew up around Mr. Trump. At a moment when white backlash is the jet fuel of a Republican Party striving to return to power in Washington, he has become the pre-eminent champion of Americans who feel most threatened by the rising power of Black and brown citizens. To channel their fear into ratings, Mr. Carlson has adopted the rhetorical tropes and exotic fixations of white nationalists, who have watched gleefully from the fringes of public life as he popularizes their ideas. Mr. Carlson sometimes refers to “legacy Americans,” a dog-whistle term that, before he began using it on his show last fall, appeared almost exclusively in white nationalist outlets like The Daily Stormer, The New York Times found. He takes up story lines otherwise relegated to far-right or nativist websites like VDare: “Tucker Carlson Tonight” has featured a string of segments about the gruesome murders of white farmers in South Africa, which Mr. Carlson suggested were part of a concerted campaign by that country’s Black-led government. Last April, Mr. Carlson set off yet another uproar, borrowing from a racist conspiracy theory known as “the great replacement” to argue that Democrats were deliberately importing “more obedient voters from the third world” to “replace” the current electorate and keep themselves in power. But a Times analysis of 1,150 episodes of his show found that it was far from the first time Mr. Carlson had done so.

“Tucker is ultimately on our side,” Scott Greer, a former deputy editor at the Carlson-founded Daily Caller, who cut ties with the publication in 2018 after his past writings for a white nationalist site were unearthed, said on his podcast last spring. “He can get millions and millions of boomers to nod along with talking points that would have only been seen on VDare or American Renaissance a few years ago.”

Tucker, Happy birthday to you, you motherfucker.

You must be so proud of yourself.

May 15, 2022

Pennsylvania Republicans In Disarray Over Doug Mastriano

But they're still elbow-deep in the Trumpist muck.

Take a look at this from The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Lou Barletta, darling of the Republican establishment?

That might sound odd. The former congressman was among Donald Trump’s earliest supporters in 2016 — at a time when most national Republicans either didn’t take him seriously or desperately sought to elect anyone else.

But now Barletta is being anointed by some Pennsylvania Republican Party leaders as their last best chance to stop gubernatorial front-runner Doug Mastriano, the state senator from Franklin County who is perhaps even more popular among the ”Make America Great Again” faithful.

Then there's this from Sam DeMarco writing for himself (and not as Chair of the Allegheny Republican Committee) in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It's a warning about PA State Senator becoming the GOP candidate for Governor. DeMarco writes:

Last week, I joined other leaders from across the commonwealth in seeking to prevent this disaster. The meetings were precipitated by Democrat Josh Shapiro’s cynical attempt to intervene in the Republican primary with television and direct mail advertising declaring State Sen. Doug Mastriano “one of Donald Trump’s strongest supporters.”

Anyone without a tin ear can see what’s going on: Shapiro is boosting Mastriano’s standing as a Trump conservative because he thinks Mastriano would be the easiest candidate to defeat in November. And he’s right.

Surveys have shown that Mastriano is extraordinarily weak among swing voters in the November election. The group of swing voters consisted of 42% Democrats, 35% Republicans, and 20% independents. They preferred a Republican Governor by 3 points, 42% to 39%. Considering the Democratic leaning of the swing voter universe, it is a historic high for Republicans to have any generic ballot lead in this group. It’s clear that a strong Republican candidate would be a front-runner.

However, an initial ballot test between Doug Mastriano and Josh Shapiro showed Shapiro at 49% already and Mastriano at 41%. This includes Mastriano losing an astounding 23% of the swing Republicans to Shapiro. This is an unsustainable number for a party’s general election nominee. A candidate can’t lose that many and win.


After voters are informed about Mastriano’s and Shapiro’s key messages, Shapiro jumps out to a 12 point lead. He pushes over 50% of the vote.

But let's not think (even for one New York minute) that these guys, DeMarco and Barletta, are somehow squeaky clean rational Republicans. They're still Trump-guys.

How do I know?

They were to be among the Pennsylvania fake electors lined up to vote for Donald Trump once all the noise about non-existent voter fraud was used to invalidate Trump's election day loss in 2020.

As absolute proof, here are their signatures on the fake-elector certificate (pg 33 of 47 of this document):

If you'll recall, the Pennsylvania "fake electors" certificate's text was slightly different from those from, say Nevada or Wisconsin.

The fake electors on those states signed a document that contained:

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, being the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Wisconsin, do hereby certify the following... 

However the document the Pennsylvania fake electors (DeMarco and Barletta, included) signed had a slightly tweaked text:

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, on the understanding that if, as a result of a final non-appealable Court Order or other proceeding prescribed by law, we are ultimately recognized as being the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Pennsylvania, hereby certify the following...[Emphasis added.]

As I wrote back then, even though it gave them some political cover, it still aligned with the coup-plan outlined by John Eastman.

They were still ready to fake elector vote for Trump.

These are the Pennsylvania GOP guys who are hoping you'll see them as among the Pennyslvania's Mastriano-alternative.

When it truth, they're just Mastriano-lite.

They were among Donald Trump's fake electors - don't forget that.