Democracy Has Prevailed.

July 29, 2022

More On Mastriano's Gab Connections (And NO, I Can Not Take Any Credit For Any Of This!)

News (via twitter):

In the event you're confused, The NyTimes has some context:

After days avoiding questions about antisemitic remarks by a supporter of his campaign, Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, said on Thursday that he rejected “antisemitism in any form.’’

Mr. Mastriano has faced mounting criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike since it was revealed in early July that he paid $5,000 in campaign funds to the far-right social media site Gab. The payment, for “consulting,’’ apparently was intended to bring Mr. Mastriano a broader following on Gab, which is known as a haven for white nationalists and users banned from other platforms.

In defending Mr. Mastriano’s ties to Gab in recent days, its founder, Andrew Torba, repeatedly made antisemitic remarks and said in one video that neither he nor Mr. Mastriano would give interviews to non-Christian journalists.

Mr. Mastriano on Thursday did not condemn Mr. Torba. He blamed Democrats and “the media” for the controversy.

Of course he didn't condemn Torba. Of course, "the Democrats and the media" are to blame for pointing out Torba's obvious antisemitism, Doug's $5k for Gab-consults and Gab-access. Sure. The Democrats and the media. Sure.

In his tweet, PA State Senator (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano also never explained what exactly that $5000 was for (what sort of "consulting" did he get for that $$$?) or the need for the auto-following on Gab or whether he does, in fact, give interviews to non-Christian reporters.

But denouncing antisemitism is a good first step, I suppose.

I'd love to think I had something to do with all this, but I think I'd have a better shot winning the Mega Millions (and I still haven't bought a ticket). 

It was only yesterday that I posted:

Does Doug Mastriano really want to be in business with [Andrew Torba]? If he doesn't he'd better speak out and soon.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc and all that.

But here's the fun part. It's tucked in the bottom of the Times piece:

Later on Thursday, Mr. Mastriano made his Gab account private and then removed it, according to The Forward.

That link leads here:

July 28, 2022

More On Doug Mastriano's Ties To GAB (The Story's Now NATIONAL!)

I'm not sure exactly what PA State Senator (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's whining about here:

But I would guess that Doug's not happy with this coverage in The NY Times:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, is under increasing scrutiny over his connections to the far-right social media platform Gab and its founder, who has repeatedly made antisemitic remarks defending their ties.

Early this month, news emerged that Mr. Mastriano’s campaign had paid Gab, a haven for white nationalists and users banned from other platforms, $5,000 for “consulting,” according to a state filing that was first uncovered by Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group.

Since then, Mr. Mastriano, a far-right state senator who has falsely argued that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and who rarely speaks to traditional news outlets, has ignored criticism of his association with Gab.

But the platform’s founder and chief executive, Andrew Torba, has hit back — most recently, using an anti-Jewish trope.

“We’re not bending the knee to the 2 percent anymore,” Mr. Torba said in a video this week, an apparent reference to the rough percentage of the country that is Jewish.

And I'm wondering if he's re-thinking the wisdom of spending that five grand on all that lovely Gab-access.

But he did. And now Doug Mastriano has to own it.

BTW, if you were to go to GAB right now, you'll find this:

Ah. Such lovely people. Good people on both sides, you know. That's what Doug paid that 5K for.

The Times piece links to this piece at The Jerusalem Post. It was published 2 days ago. So far Doug Mastriano has been silent on Torba and what Torba is quoted as saying in the piece.

So what did Torba say?

Glad you asked. Take a look:

"This is the most important election of the 2022 midterms because Doug is an outspoken Christian," said Torba in the video, complaining about the reports condemning Gab and Mastriano's decision to buy advertising on the site. "We are going to build a coalition of Christian nationalists, of Christians, of Christian candidates, at the state, local and federal levels and we're going to take this country back for the glory of God."


"My policy is not to conduct interviews with reporters who aren't Christian or with outlets who aren't Christian and Doug has a very similar media strategy where he does not do interviews with these people. He does not talk to these people. He does not give press access to these people," said the Gab founder. "These people are dishonest. They're liars. They're a den of vipers and they want to destroy you. My typical conversation with them when they email me is 'repent and accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.' I take it as an opportunity to try and convert them." 

A den of vipers? Really?

And again:

We don't want people who are atheists. We don't want people who are Jewish. We don't want people who are, you know, nonbelievers, agnostic, whatever. This is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country. We're not saying we're going to deport all these people or whatever. You're free to stay here. You're not going to be forced to convert or anything like this because that's not biblical whatsoever. But you're going to enjoy the fruits of living in a Christian society under Christian laws and under a Christian culture and you can thank us later.

Does Doug Mastriano really want to be in business with this guy? If he doesn't he'd better speak out and soon.

If he does want to be in business with him, then let him keep doing what he's doing: remain silent and soak up all that sweet sweet antisemitic love.

However,  from PA House Rep Dan Frankel:

You cannot do business with these people and claim to represent all Pennsylvanians,” he said. “If you embrace antisemites and racists and homophobes and xenophobes, then you are one of them.


There's no coming back from this.

 Your move, Doug.

July 27, 2022

Yep. Doug Mastriano's In DEEEP

There were two rather large news stories dropped in the last couple of days.

The second, from The Washington Post, starts this way:

The Justice Department is investigating President Donald Trump’s actions as part of its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, according to four people familiar with the matter.


But let's set that aside for a moment and look at the other big story - this from The New York Times. It begins with this:

Previously undisclosed emails provide an inside look at the increasingly desperate and often slapdash efforts by advisers to President Donald J. Trump to reverse his election defeat in the weeks before the Jan. 6 attack, including acknowledgments that a key element of their plan was of dubious legality and lived up to its billing as “fake.”

The dozens of emails among people connected to the Trump campaign, outside advisers and close associates of Mr. Trump show a particular focus on assembling lists of people who would claim — with no basis — to be Electoral College electors on his behalf in battleground states that he had lost.

And contains this:

As they organized the fake elector scheme, lawyers appointed a “point person” in seven states to help organize those electors who were willing to sign their names to false documents. In Pennsylvania, that point person was Douglas V. Mastriano, a proponent of Mr. Trump’s lies of a stolen election who is now the Republican nominee for governor.

But even Mr. Mastriano needed assurances to go along with a plan other Republicans were telling him was “illegal,” according to a Dec. 12 email sent by Ms. Bobb that also referred to Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City.

There we go. PA State Senator (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano was the "point person" in Pennsylvania helping organize the alternative electors.

But we've always had a hint that that was the case, haven't we? There's this from The January 6 Committee subpoena sent to Doug earlier this year:

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...
But "point person" is new, innit?

Do us a favor and take a look at the paragraph above, from The NYTimes. It says that Doug needed some assurances as others GOPers were telling him the plan was illegal.

Perhaps that explains the added text in the PA Alternative Electors certificates. As I wrote about back then, most of the other states' certificates contained this language:

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 Pennsylvania's contained this:

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.]

I emphasized the added text:

...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...

And let's remember that it was Doug who sent out, on November 27, 2020, a memorandum announcing an upcoming resolution. A resolution that, after listing all of the big lie it can muster, ends with:

Urges the United States Congress to recognize and count as the State of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for President and Vice-President only such electoral votes as are certified directly by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Senate by subsequent resolution. [Emphasis added.]
He even tweeted:

Doug = Pennsylvania Point Person.

Once that's set, there's more to learn.

For example googling "Mastriano" and "Boris Epsteyn" and you'll get to this piece from a few days ago at Politico. Starts:

As Donald Trump struggled to remain in power in late 2020, an anchor for a far-right TV network briefed a group of the president’s lawyers in detail on a plot to mobilize so-called alternate pro-Trump electors, according to an email reviewed by POLITICO.

And tucked in the tail end of the piece there's this:

In Pennsylvania, Bobb wrote, Trump’s team was waiting to hear from the office of state Sen. Doug Mastriano — now Republicans’ nominee in the state’s gubernatorial contest — to get a room for the alternate electors.

They asked Doug Mastriano to get them a room. 

That's how deeply Doug was involved.



July 25, 2022

On Christian Nationalism (Any Of This Sound Familiar?)

Perusing the news this morning, I happened upon this piece at CNN.

It contained these paragraphs:

The [January 6] insurrection marked the first time many Americans realized the US is facing a burgeoning White Christian nationalist movement. This movement uses Christian language to cloak sexism and hostility to Black people and non-White immigrants in its quest to create a White Christian America. 
A report from a team of clergy, scholars and advocates — sponsored by two groups that advocate for the separation of church and state — concluded that this ideology was used to "bolster, justify and intensify" the attack on the US Capitol.

A report? 

The link in that second paragraph leads here:

A team of scholars, faith leaders and advocates unveiled an exhaustive new report Wednesday (Feb. 9) that documents in painstaking detail the role Christian nationalism played in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and calling it an unsettling preview of things to come.

Christian nationalism was used to “bolster, justify and intensify the January 6 attack on the Capitol,” said Amanda Tyler, head of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, which sponsored the report along with the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Tyler’s group is behind an initiative called Christians Against Christian Nationalism.

The organizations touted the report as “the most comprehensive account to date of Christian nationalism and its role in the January 6 insurrection,” compiled using “videos, statements, and images from the attack and its precursor events.”

A report

In particular, Section II of that report, titled "What is White Christian Nationalism?"

The author, Anthea Butler, is is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania and she starts with this:

What is white Christian nationalism? Simply put, it is the belief that America’s founding is based on Christian principles, white protestant Christianity is the operational religion of the land, and that Christianity should be the foundation of how the nation develops its laws, principles and policies.
And then a few paragraphs later:

Understanding this phenomenon requires an understanding of the basic ways white Christian nationalism has worked as a unifying theme for a particular type of narrative about America. That narrative can be summed up as follows: 

  1. America is a divinely appointed nation by God that is Christian.
  2. America’s founders, rather than wanting to disestablish religion as a unifier for the nation, were in fact establishing a nation based on Christian principles, with white men as the leaders. 
  3. Others (Native Americans, enslaved Africans, and immigrants) would accept and cede to this narrative of America as a Christian nation, and accept their leadership. 
  4. America has a special place not only in world history, but in biblical Scripture, especially concerning the return of Christ. 
  5. There is no separation between church and state.

Does any of this look familiar to you?

I'll give you a hint. It involves that last one. From The NYTimes

Mr. Mastriano, a state senator, retired Army colonel and prominent figure in former President Donald J. Trump’s futile efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results, was addressing a far-right conference that mixed Christian beliefs with conspiracy theories, called Patriots Arise. Instead of focusing on issues like taxes, gas prices or abortion policy, he wove a story about what he saw as the true Christian identity of the nation, and how it was time, together, for Christians to reclaim political power.

The separation of church and state was a “myth,” he said. “In November we are going to take our state back, my God will make it so.”

 Christian Nationalist (even if he denies that exact term) Doug Mastriano.

July 24, 2022

A Question For PA State Senator (And Now GOP Cand. For PA Gov) Doug Mastriano

This has been percolating in the back of my head for some time now.

Let's start with what's been established by the January 6 Committee recently.

From Rep. Kinzinger's statement on July 21

One week after the attack, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged the simple truth—President Trump should have acted immediately to stop the violence. [Emphasis added.]

And then a few sentences later:

What explains President Trump’s behavior? 

Why did he not take immediate action in a time of crisis?

Because President Trump’s plan for January 6th was to halt or delay Congress’ official proceeding to count the votes.

The mob attacking the Capitol quickly caused the evacuation of both the House and Senate.

The count ground to an absolute halt and was ultimately delayed for hours.

The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose, so of course he did not intervene.

Here is what will be clear by the end of this hearing: President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving the Ellipse and telling the mob to go home.

He chose not to act. [Emphasis added.]

And then even later:

With each step of his plan, he betrayed his oath of office and was derelict in his duty. [Emphasis added.]

 This is the Presidential Oath of Office (from Art. II Sect 1 of the Constitution):

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The rest of that evening's hearing focused on Trump's willful inaction on January 6.

Let's set aside PA State Senator (And Now GOP cand. For PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's later statement about seeing both breaches of the Capitol and look exclusively at his initial statement (dated Jan 06, 2021) condemning the violence in Washington DC on that day:

As a military veteran and retired colonel, I do not – nor would I ever – condone the violence we saw today. I join with all patriotic Americans in condemning what occurred in the Capitol.  There never is justification for this sort of behavior. I not only love but I fought for this country, our constitution and its rule of law. 

My wife and I went to Washington, DC, today to support President Trump which should not surprise anyone familiar with my views on this election and my concerns about its integrity.

My position on lawlessness is equally as clear. When it was apparent that this was no longer a peaceful protest, my wife and I left the area and made our way out of the area. At no point did we enter the Capitol building, walk on the Capitol steps or go beyond police lines.

Today was a sad day for our country. It hit me especially hard because I’ve spent most of my adult life defending our nation’s freedoms and ensuring that our constitutional rights are protected. Those who violated those laws must be prosecuted. [Emphasis added.]

It's been 564 days since Trump's mob stormed the Capitol in order to stop the certification of the electoral votes. 564 days since Doug Mastriano and his wife left the area when it became apparent that it was no longer a peaceful process.

So why hasn't Doug Mastriano denounced Trump's inactivity regarding the events of that day? Or does he condone them instead?

If it was part of Trump's job description (at least according to his oath) to preserve and protect the constitutional process of a peaceful transition of power, then why hasn't Doug Mastriano commented on Trump's inaction in protecting that process from a violent mob?

He (and his wife) knew pretty quickly that the protest had turned violent. Ultimately (as we've seen from the hearings' testimony) that it was Trump's responsibility to stop the mob's violence. 

Trump did nothing and Doug Mastriano has said nothing about Trump's dereliction of duty since.

Shouldn't Doug Mastriano have said something about it by now?


See How Members of PA's "Freedom Party" Respect Your Freedom!

Let's start with this Huffpost piece:

In the past week alone, House Republicans have overwhelmingly voted against a woman’s right to travel for abortion care, to access birth control and to marry someone they love.

Each of these votes was appalling in its own right.

When the House voted last week to ensure that women are able to travel across state lines for an abortion, 205 Republicans voted no. When the House voted Tuesday to codify same-sex marriage, 157 Republicans voted no. On Thursday, when the House voted to protect women’s right to access birth control and other contraception, 195 Republicans voted no.

So let's go see how those votes reflect the freedom loving House members from PA. 

Crossing State Lines 

This is HR 8297. And this is the's summary:

This bill prohibits anyone acting under state law from interfering with a person's ability to access out-of-state abortion services. (Abortion services includes the use of any drugs that are approved to terminate pregnancies and any health care services related to an abortion, whether or not provided at the same time or on the same day.)

Specifically, the bill prohibits any person acting under state law from preventing, restricting, impeding, or retaliating against

  • health care providers who provide legal abortion services to out-of-state residents,
  • any person or entity who helps health care providers to provide such services,
  • any person who travels to another state to obtain such services,
  • any person or entity who helps another person travel to another state to obtain such services, or
  • the movement in interstate commerce of drugs that are approved to terminate pregnancies.

The Department of Justice may enforce this bill through civil actions; the bill also establishes a private right of action for violations.

205 Republicans voted against this. From Pennsylvania, they were:

Marriage Equality 

This is HR 8404.

And this is the's summary:

This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.

Specifically, the bill repeals and replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)

The bill also repeals and replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. (The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.

157 Republicans voted against this. From Pennsylvania, they were:


This is  HR 8373. And this is from the legislation itself:

To protect a person’s ability to access contraceptives and to engage in contraception, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception.

 195 Republicans voted against this. From Pennsylvania, they were:

So tell me again how the Freedom Party is respecting freedom?

July 22, 2022

And This Happened Yesterday, Too! (Mastriano and Gab and The ADL)

Yes, yes, we all know about the 187 minutes.

That's a story that's going to have to play out for a long long time.

However, another (more local) story played out in Pittsburgh yesterday.

This from Jay Roush of the P-G:

State lawmakers who represent the area surrounding Tree of Life synagogue — the site of the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history — criticized Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano on Thursday for paying Gab, the social media platform frequented by the accused synagogue shooter before the 2018 massacre, for “consulting services” for his campaign.

Mr. Mastriano, a state senator facing Democrat Josh Shapiro in the November election, paid $5,000 to Gab in April, a sum that Gab’s founder, CEO Andrew Torba, said was for an advertising campaign, Pittsburgh NPR Radio station WESA reported last week.

Mr. Torba and Gab legal officials have framed the site as a platform for free speech and an antidote to more liberal social media outlets. The Anti-Defamation League has called it a “haven for extremists, conspiracy theorists and misinformation.”

Ryan Deto of the Trib was there too

A group of prominent Jewish and Black Pittsburgh leaders on Thursday condemned Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano for his ties to the right-wing social media platform Gab.

Gab is a site accessed by the accused Tree of Life shooter Robert Bowers, who used the platform to share conspiracy theories targeting Jewish people and wrote “Screw the optics, I’m going in” shortly before the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2018.

WESA revealed recently that the Mastriano campaign paid $5,000 to Gab for consultation services. The Huffington Post then reported that new accounts on Gab automatically follow Mastriano’s account.

I wrote about PA State Senator (and now GOP cand. for Gov) Doug Mastriano's connections with GAB a few days ago

Let me say here that perhaps the Tree of Life angle might not be the the important part of the story here.

For that, I'd ask, "What is Doug getting for his five grand?"

And as I wrote on the 18th, it's comments like this:

Does Doug denounce the antisemitism found in his base?


That's the story.

But let's look at what's upfront at Gab right now (as of this writing):

The interesting thing here is that this "Zuckerbucks" story is about a year old:

Republicans and others are calling Mark Zuckerberg “Zuckerbucks.” The Anti-Defamation League wants that to stop, claiming the term suggests that “rich Jews are controlling levers of power.”


ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the term Zuckerbucks perpetuates an age-old antisemitic stereotype claiming that rich Jews use their money to exercise inordinate control over governments. Zuckerberg is the fifth-richest person in the world, according to Forbes, with a net worth of approximately $97 billion.

And that's what Torba and Mastriano were perpetuating - an age-old antisemitic stereotype.

The possessor of the Sword of David must be so proud of himself right now.

Anyway, among the many other comments for Torba's "Zuckerbucks" post, there were these:

That's what's happening at Gab. 

And Doug Mastriano gave Gab $5,000 in consulting fees for access to that crowd.

When will Doug Mastriano denounce the antisemitism on Gab?

He should take the advice from some fellow Republicans.

Doug Mastriano is facing blistering criticism from Jewish leaders — both Democrats and Republicans — following the disclosure that he’s using Gab, a social-media site favored by extremists and antisemites, to advertise his Republican campaign for governor.

The head of the national Republican Jewish Coalition on Thursday called on Mastriano to leave Gab, where he has 38,000 followers and has been posting frequently. Hours later state and local Democrats spoke out in Pittsburgh against Mastriano’s controversial strategy. A Pennsylvania-based coalition of Jewish Democrats also criticized his affiliation with the site.

“Jewish voters expect candidates to condemn antisemitism, whether it comes from the far left or the far right — and to shun those who espouse it,” said Matt Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s executive director. “We strongly urge Doug Mastriano to end his association with Gab, a social network rightly seen by Jewish Americans as a cesspool of bigotry and antisemitism.”

Denounce the hate, Doug. It's the right thing to do.

July 21, 2022

Meanwhile, Outside

From the Climate scientists at NOAA:

The global surface temperature for June 2022 was the sixth-highest in the 143-year record at 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average. This month was also 0.08°C (0.14°F) cooler than the warmest June on record set in 2019. The ten warmest Junes have all occurred since 2010. June 2022 also marked the 46th consecutive June and the 450th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.

And now (as is tradition) a graph:

This time, however, there are some real world effects, as anyone who is following the news out of Europe can tell you.

From Scientific American:

Hundreds of people have already died, and the heat is expected to linger this week in some areas. For the first time ever, the U.K.’s Meteorological Office issued a “red” heat warning — its highest heat alert level, indicating a national emergency — for London, Manchester and other U.K. regions for today and tomorrow

Temperatures could top 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature ever recorded in the U..K, according to the Met Office. The previous record, observed in Cambridge in 2019, topped out just shy of 102 F.

France has also issued “red” alerts for its western region, which is also likely to see temperatures topping 104 F, according to the country’s national weather service. The country has broken multiple monthly temperature records in the last few days.


“Greenhouse gas emissions, from burning fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, are making heatwaves hotter, longer-lasting and more frequent,” Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London and co-lead of the extreme weather research consortium World Weather Attribution, said in a statement. “Heatwaves that used to be rare are now common; heatwaves that used to be impossible are now happening and killing people.”

And yet Pennsylvania State Senator (and now GOP cand. for PA Governor) Doug Mastriano, this learned as part of the reporting on the current expunging of his extreme record, was on record with this:

In early April, Doug Mastriano was recording a Facebook Live video on his phone after a legislative session in Harrisburg when he segued into his thoughts on global warming.

The state senator from south-central Pennsylvania, who would become the Republican nominee for governor the following month, told his supporters he wanted to pull the state out of a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, calling it “nonsense” that human activity could significantly alter the earth’s climate.

A connection between burning fossil fuels and global warming? Merely a “theory,” Mastriano said, based on “pop science.”

“Heck, the weatherman can’t get the weather right 24 hours out,” he said.

Actually this isn't really true.

Again, from NOAA:

A seven-day forecast can accurately predict the weather about 80 percent of the time and a five-day forecast can accurately predict the weather approximately 90 percent of the time. However, a 10-day—or longer—forecast is only right about half the time.  

And in any event, that's weather - not climate (weather is local - climate is global).

How accurate are the climate change models?

From NASA:

In a study accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a research team led by Zeke Hausfather of the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a systematic evaluation of the performance of past climate models. The team compared 17 increasingly sophisticated model projections of global average temperature developed between 1970 and 2007, including some originally developed by NASA, with actual changes in global temperature observed through the end of 2017. The observational temperature data came from multiple sources, including NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) time series, an estimate of global surface temperature change.

The results: 10 of the model projections closely matched observations. Moreover, after accounting for differences between modeled and actual changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other factors that drive climate, the number increased to 14. The authors found no evidence that the climate models evaluated either systematically overestimated or underestimated warming over the period of their projections.

“The results of this study of past climate models bolster scientists’ confidence that both they as well as today’s more advanced climate models are skillfully projecting global warming,” said study co-author Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York. “This research could help resolve public confusion around the performance of past climate modeling efforts.”

So Senator Mastriano, given your near complete misunderstanding of climate science (and, it seems, locally based meteorology) will you be correcting these errors any time soon?

July 20, 2022

Here He Goes Again: Doug Mastriano Taking Credit For Something HIS PARTY OPPOSED

While we all know that PA State Senator (and now GOP Cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano has been trying to send some of his more extreme videos down the memory hole, he's also been up to some old tricks.

For example, last March Doug was touting a plan to fund a "Law Enforcement Recovery Grant Program" with moneys allocated by the American Rescue Plan.

The only thing that Doug left out of this press release was that the entire GOP in the Congress voted against the American Rescue Plan.

Those funds would not exist if his party got its way in DC.

Political hypocrisy at its best.

Well, Doug is at it again.

On July 15, Mastriano's office released this:

Pennsylvania seniors and individuals living with disabilities will receive a supplemental property tax or rent rebate this year as part of the 2022-23 General Fund Budget, Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) said.

“As record-breaking inflation continues on an upward trajectory with no end in sight, it’s vital we support residents who live on fixed incomes and are most vulnerable to the unsustainable pressure of skyrocketing costs,” Mastriano said. “I’m grateful that my proposal to enhance the annual rebates seniors and adults with disabilities receive was prioritized in this year’s spending plan and I hope it can provide some relief to these communities as we navigate this growing economic crisis.”

The state will use $140 million from the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus to pay households supplemental rebates worth 70% of the amount received in 2021. On average, eligible participants receive a $475 rebate each year, with more than $7.3 billion awarded to senior citizens and disabled adults since 1971. [Emphasis added.]

(Note to Doug: Don't worry, I have a screen capture of the page. That's in case you decide to send this down the memory hole as well.)

And, as I stated above, the entire GOP in Congress voted against the American Rescue Plan

From The NYTimes:

Congress gave final approval on Wednesday to President Biden’s sweeping, nearly $1.9 trillion stimulus package, as Democrats acted over unified Republican opposition to push through an emergency pandemic aid plan that carries out a vast expansion of the country’s social safety net.

But this is also not unique to Doug.

Take a look at this from May:

Every Republican in Congress voted against the sweeping pandemic relief bill that President Joe Biden signed into law three months ago. But since the early spring votes, Republicans from New York and Indiana to Texas and Washington state have promoted elements of the legislation they fought to defeat.

And now State  Senators from Pennsylvania.

July 19, 2022

Uber-Transparent Doug Mastriano Is Expunging His Controversial Record

He's been trying to, at least

We'll start at The NY Times

The videos were a sort-of virtual ride-along with Doug Mastriano as he crisscrossed Pennsylvania in the governor’s race, regaling viewers with his far-right musings about climate change, abortion and critics within his own party.

In one live broadcast on Facebook in April, Mr. Mastriano, a Republican state senator, referred to climate change as “pop science.”

In a separate video on his social media from a radio interview, three days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, he dismissed the issue of abortion rights as a distraction. And when trying to explain in April why some Republicans would not support him, Mr. Mastriano, a retired Army colonel, attributed it to their “disdain for veterans.”

And we know that he did say that the issue of abortion rights is a distraction because it was reported as such at Business Insider:

In an interview with Newsmax on Monday, Mastriano was asked to comment on footage of pro-choice protesters who were dispersed by police with tear gas outside the state capitol in Arizona. Mastriano, who himself was on the front lines between police and protesters at the US Capitol on January 6, per video from the day, praised law enforcement for quelling the civil unrest.

But the state senator also didn't really want to talk about it, he said, insisting that "it's all a distraction."

"The Democrats and their friends in the traditional media want us to focus on this, and now on the Roe v. Wade decision, instead of dealing with life," Mastriano told the right-wing news outlet. "And most people in this country are concerned about inflation, gas prices, food not on the shelves, baby formula, and just on and on. So this is all a distraction."

The Times goes on:

The removal of the videos from his campaign’s Facebook page was reported earlier on Monday by The Philadelphia Inquirer, which listed 14 videos featuring Mr. Mastriano, one of Pennsylvania’s pre-eminent election deniers, that had disappeared since April.
And The Philadelphia Inquirer includes this:

The removed videos include freewheeling discussions in which Mastriano predicts that this November’s election will be marred by Democratic voter fraud; accuses Republicans who don’t support him of looking down on veterans; and calls the fight against abortion “the most important issue of our lifetime.”

But wait, isn't the issue a distraction? 

Anyway, back to The Times:

But the video footage that once resided on Mr. Mastriano’s campaign Facebook page has not vanished entirely. The New York Times obtained the clips on Monday from American Bridge, a liberal group specializing in opposition research that archived them.


Both The Times and the Inquirer report that the transparently trustworthy Mastriano has done this before.

From the Inquirer:

Before this latest batch of deletions, Mastriano removed potentially problematic or controversial posts, including tweets promoting the Qanon conspiracy theory, as well as videos in which he called local faith leaders “cowards”; acknowledged his COVID diagnosis while visiting the White House; and feuded with GOP lawmakers in Harrisburg.

Luckily, Media Matters has an archive of his deleted tweets

Including this one:

See that WWG1WGA tucked in the middle? 

That's QAnon, my friends.

The reporting over at Media Matters also lead to this:

Mastriano has pushed false claims about vaccinations, which are safe and do not cause autism. On April 12, he shared a Facebook video that's accompanied by text that falsely claims that “vaccines kills & causes autism” and refers to vaccines as “the government's poison.” And on March 27, he posted a video featuring disgraced anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield that falsely connects vaccines to autism.
And this is what that April 12 Facebook link shows as of this morning:

Same thing with that March 27 video as well.

PA State Senator (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov.) Doug Mastriano: A QAnon follower and anti-vaxxer who doesn't want the public to know he's a QAnon follower and anti-faxxer.

July 18, 2022

Oh The Company He Keeps (More On PA State Senator Doug Mastriano's GABFEST)

I'm not sure if you missed this from WESA recently:

Pennsylvania Sen. Doug Mastriano’s campaign for governor in Pennsylvania paid $5,000 for “consulting services” to Gab, a social media platform that provides a home for conspiracy theories and antisemitic content.

Or this Rolling Stone article:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, appears to have paid the far-right platform Gab for followers. An investigation by Huffpost found that new accounts on the website automatically follow Doug Mastriano, exponentially increasing his follower count since he paid $5,000 in “consulting” fees to the platform in April. 

Lots to unpack here so let's get going.

You can find the record of that consulting fee payment here (p 142):

And based on this filing with the FEC, we're talking about the same on-line platform.

So that's all solid.

Anyway, back to Rolling Stone:

What sort of “consulting” Mastriano’s campaign received is unclear, but he is gaining an audience on the Nazi-loving platform. According to Huffpost, there are only seven accounts automatically followed by new users: Mastriano, Gab founder Andrew Torba, and a selection of right-wing media outlets. Since the payment was made in April, Mastriano’s follower base has grown from less than 3,000 to upwards of 37,000.

And here's a current (7:18 am on 7/18/2022) screen grab of Doug's Gab page:

 Yep, there it is. 37K.

So let's see part of what PA State Senator (and now GOP candidate for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano got for his five large.

Well, this was posted at Gab a few days ago:

Seems fairly typical, no?

But a day or so later there's this:

At about the same time, this was posted at Doug's Gab page:

And that generated some interesting comments, too!

Take a look:

THAT'S what Doug Mastriano - State Senator from Pennsylvania and now current GOP Candidate for Pennsylvania Governor got for his five thousand dollars.

As former GOP Senate Candidate once famously put it, "Unless you denounce something, you've endorsed it."

Has Doug denounced the anti-Semites following him on Gab?

You shall know him by the company he keeps - Aesop.

July 15, 2022

NEWSFLASH: MORE High Ranking Republicans Finds NO VOTER FRAUD In The 2020 Elections!

From CNN:

A group of conservatives, including prominent lawyers and retired federal judges, issued a 72-page report on Thursday categorically rebutting each of the claims made in court by former President Donald Trump and his supporters over the 2020 election results.

The report, "LOST, NOT STOLEN: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election," looked at more than 60 court cases Trump and his supporters filed and lost in six key battleground states. It reached the "unequivocal" conclusion that the former Republican president's claims were unsupportable -- which Trump's own Department of Homeland Security as well as election officials nationwide debunked days after the 2020 election.

In case you missed it, the link to the report is here

And this is how they define themselves:

We are political conservatives who have spent most of our adult lives working to support the Constitution and the conservative principles upon which it is based: limited government, liberty, equality of opportunity, freedom of religion, a strong national defense, and the rule of law.

We have become deeply troubled by efforts to overturn or discredit the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. There is no principle of our Republic more fundamental than the right of the People to elect our leaders and for their votes to be counted accurately. Efforts to thwart the People’s choice are deeply undemocratic and unpatriotic. Claims that an election was stolen, or that the outcome resulted from fraud, are deadly serious and should be made only on the basis of real and powerful evidence.

And the signatories of the report:

  • Senator John Danforth 
  • Benjamin Ginsberg 
  • The Honorable Thomas B. Griffith 
  • David Hoppe 
  • The Honorable J. Michael Luttig 
  • The Honorable Michael W. McConnell 
  • The Honorable Theodore B. Olson 
  • Senator Gordon H. Smith

Not a left in the bunch.

Anyway, the report.

This is from the report's Introduction:

We therefore have undertaken an examination of every claim of fraud and miscount put forward by former President Trump and his advocates, and now put the results of those investigations before the American people, and especially before fellow conservatives who may be uncertain about what and whom to believe. Our conclusion is unequivocal: Joe Biden was the choice of a majority of the Electors, who themselves were the choice of the majority of voters in their states. Biden’s victory is easily explained by a political landscape that was much different in 2020 than it was when President Trump narrowly won the presidency in 2016. President Trump waged his campaign for re-election during a devastating worldwide pandemic that caused a severe downturn in the global economy. This, coupled with an electorate that included a small but statistically significant number willing to vote for other Republican candidates on the ballot but not for President Trump, are the reasons his campaign fell short, not a fraudulent election. 

Donald Trump and his supporters have failed to present evidence of fraud or inaccurate results significant enough to invalidate the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. We do not claim that election administration is perfect. Election fraud is a real thing; there are prosecutions in almost every election year, and no doubt some election fraud goes undetected. Nor do we disparage attempts to reduce fraud. States should continue to do what they can do to eliminate opportunities for election fraud and to punish it when it occurs. But there is absolutely no evidence of fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election on the magnitude necessary to shift the result in any state, let alone the nation as a whole. In fact, there was no fraud that changed the outcome in even a single precinct. It is wrong, and bad for our country, for people to propagate baseless claims that President Biden’s election was not legitimate. [Emphases added.]

But wait, there's some more subtle charges in the Executive Summary:

This Report takes a hard look at the very serious charges made by Trump and his supporters. The consequences of a president and a major party candidate making such charges are monumental. If true, our electoral system is in desperate need of repair. If not true, that must be said because such false charges corrode our democracy and leave a significant share of the population doubting the legitimacy of our system, seriously weakening the country.
Let me interject here. So the politicians pushing the big lie are seriously weakening the country by spreading doubt in the electoral system integrity and yet they're the same politicians (I'm looking at you PA State Senator - and now GOP Candidate for PA Gov - Doug Mastriano) who are also pushing legislative corrections as a necessary counter to the very doubt that they are pushing.

Anyway, back to the report - the Pennsylvania part (pg 56). Here's the report's opening:

Pennsylvania was one of two states whose Electors were formally challenged during the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, and was also the focus of a number of lawsuits and public claims. Donald Trump and his supporters brought nineteen cases with over 45 counts challenging the results showing that he lost Pennsylvania. Putting aside the claims challenging, wholesale and without evidence, millions of ballots cast, the number of votes challenged was significantly smaller than Joe Biden’s official margin of victory; thus, even if every challenge were meritorious, this would not have been enough to produce a different outcome. No lawsuits brought by the Trump Campaign or its supporters focused directly on voter fraud and, in many instances, as described below, plaintiffs acknowledged their challenges were not the product of or even a signpost for fraud. An Associated Press survey of county elections officials in 2021 found just 26 potential cases of voter fraud in the 2020 election, representing 0.03% of Biden’s margin of victory.

Legal challenges in Pennsylvania largely focused on procedural defects, such as absentee- voting procedures, extended deadlines, or technically deficient ballots, rather than direct allegations of fraud. These challenges fall into three (sic.) categories of claims described below [Extending Election Deadlines, Inadequate Observation of Ballot Processing, Counting Deficient—But Not fraudulent—Absentee Ballots, Pre-Election Challenges to Changed Voting Procedures, and Voter Fraud]. None succeeded and every court to review these claims determined that there was no fraud that would have altered the outcome of the election. [Italics in original - also edited for space]

And from finally the summary:

Contrary to public claims, Trump made no formal allegation of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, and there was no widespread fraud. The Associated Press identified just 26 potential cases of voter fraud, but these represent just 0.03% of Biden’s margin of victory, far, far too few to have any impact on the result. Procedural claims, not based on fraud, met with some success, but none impugned the outcome of the election.

So no voter fraud and those pushing the big lie are the ones who are sowing doubt in the electoral integrity and therefore hurting the country.

I'd say that's spot on.

Wouldn't you agree, Doug?

July 14, 2022

1/6 Committee And The DOJ And Those Pesky "Fake Electors"

I read this in The NY Times today:

The Justice Department has asked the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol for evidence it has accumulated about the scheme by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to put forward false slates of pro-Trump electors in battleground states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020.

Whenever I see phrases like "committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack"  and " false slates of pro-Trump electors" in the same paragraph in a news item, my middle-aged New England born and raised brain immediately turns to this document and to this paragraph in that document:

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...[Emphasis added.]

In case you didn't know it, that's from the subpoena the January 6 Committee sent to PA State Senator (and now GOP candidate for PA Gov.) Doug Mastriano.

So the committee asked Doug for "documents and deposition" regarding (among other things) the slate of fake electors and back in early June, Doug did, in fact, send some documents to the committee.

Not surprisingly, very little had anything to do with the fake elector plan itself.

This is the sort of stuff Doug submitted to the committee:

A point that did not go un-noticed by Politico:

The Jan. 6 select committee received materials this week from Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano — and with them, perhaps, a new dilemma.

Mastriano’s previously unreported cooperation with the Capitol attack probe came in the form of a submission, obtained by POLITICO, that includes documents about his work to arrange buses that carried pro-Trump protesters to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

But when the select committee subpoenaed Mastriano, it specifically said he didn’t need to send any materials related to official actions in his current position as a Pennsylvania state senator. Given that sizable carve-out, the vast majority of the materials Mastriano sent to the committee are public social media posts.

Little or no substance that I could find. If anyone else finds something substantial in the submission about the fake elector plan and not just an announcement about it, let me know. You should be able to get there from the Politico piece above.

But back to The Times piece on DOJ:

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, disclosed the request to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, and a person familiar with the panel’s work said discussions with the Justice Department about the false elector scheme were ongoing. Those talks suggest that the department is sharpening its focus on that aspect of Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, one with a direct line to the former president.

Mr. Thompson said the committee was working with federal prosecutors to allow them to review the transcripts of interviews the panel has done with people who served as so-called alternate electors for Mr. Trump. Mr. Thompson said the Justice Department’s investigation into “fraudulent electors” was the only specific topic the agency had broached with the committee.

In late May, The Times published this:

The Justice Department has stepped up its criminal investigation into the creation of alternate slates of pro-Trump electors seeking to overturn Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the 2020 election, with a particular focus on a team of lawyers that worked on behalf of President Donald J. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

A federal grand jury in Washington has started issuing subpoenas in recent weeks to people linked to the alternate elector plan, requesting information about several lawyers including Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and one of his chief legal advisers, John Eastman, one of the people said.

The subpoenas also seek information on other pro-Trump lawyers like Jenna Ellis, who worked with Mr. Giuliani, and Kenneth Chesebro, who wrote memos supporting the elector scheme in the weeks after the election.

Did you notice that Jenna Ellis is among the subpoenaed? 

Did you recall that Jenna Ellis is now working for PA State Senator (and now GOP candidate for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano? Yeppers, as "senior legal advisor."

Lotsa threads. Lotsa dots to connect.

Could someone, some stalwart member of Pennsylvania's political journalist class please ask Doug Mastriano about what he knows about Trump's plan to install PA's fake electors?