Democracy Has Prevailed.

August 31, 2022

How About NOW, Sen Mastriano? Do You STILL Support Donald Trump?

Dear State Senator (and now GOP Candidate for Pennsylvania Governor) Doug Mastriano;

Have you seen this from the NYTimes:

The Justice Department sought a search warrant for former President Donald J. Trump’s residence in Florida after obtaining evidence that highly classified documents were likely concealed and that Mr. Trump’s representatives had falsely claimed all sensitive material had been returned, according to a court filing by the department on Tuesday.

Or this from the Washington Post

Former president Donald Trump and his advisers repeatedly failed to turn over highly classified government documents even after receiving a subpoena and pledging a “diligent search” had been conducted, leading to an FBI raid of his Florida home that found more than 100 additional classified items, according to a blistering court filing by federal prosecutors late Tuesday.

The filing traces the extraordinary saga of government officials’ repeated efforts to recover sensitive national security papers from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club, centered on a storage room where prosecutors came to suspect that “government records were likely concealed and removed … and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”

You don't still think that, "we are seeing the justice system being used as a hammer to batter political opponents" do you ? 

Maybe you should read the DOJ filing.

In it you'll find this:

Between May 16-18, 2022, after finally obtaining access to the Fifteen Boxes, FBI agents conducted a preliminary review of the documents and identified documents with classification markings in fourteen of the Fifteen Boxes. A preliminary review revealed the following: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET. Id. Further, the FBI agents observed markings reflecting that the documents were subject to sensitive compartments and dissemination controls used to restrict access to material in the interest of national security. 

And then describing the items seized during an event you described as "the weaponization of America’s tools of justice against political opponents of the current regime in Washington, DC," the DOJ writes:

Pursuant to the above-described search protocols, the government seized thirty-three items of evidence, mostly boxes (hereinafter, the “Seized Evidence”), falling within the scope of Attachment B to the search warrant because they contained documents with classification markings or what otherwise appeared to be government records. Three classified documents that were not located in boxes, but rather were located in the desks in the “45 Office,” were also seized. Per the search warrant protocols discussed above, the seized documents included documents that were collectively stored or found together with documents with classification markings.

Do you still think this is the Democrats weaponizing DOJ? 

Then there's this from the Times:

Investigators developed evidence that “government records were likely concealed and removed” from the storage room at Mar-a-Lago after the Justice Department sent Mr. Trump’s office a subpoena for any remaining documents with classified markings. That led prosecutors to conclude that “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” the government filing said.

And then in Appendix F there's this image:

Do you see this part:

See where it says "SECRET//SCI"?

Surely you, a retired Colonel who had a career in Military Intelligence know what that means.

For the rest of us, there's this:

Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) is information about certain intelligence sources and methods and can include information pertaining to sensitive collection systems, analytical processing, and targeting, or which is derived from it. Access to SCI is only granted to individuals who have a need-to-know, have been granted a Top Secret clearance by Personnel Security (PerSec), and are approved by the Department of Commerce’s Intelligence Community granting agency, and only upon completion of a separate Nondisclosure Agreement, the IC Form 4414.

Information that has been determined to be SCI may only be stored and used in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). SCIFs have specific construction requirements, and their subsequent accreditation is separate from those for Controlled Areas and is coordinated by the Department’s Special Security Officer (SSO).

And the guy who endorsed you for PA Governor took some of these docuements and tried to keep him for himself. 

Are you rethinking your support of Donald Trump? Shouldn't you be?

Because, as your predecessor in the PA Gov race, Sean Parnell, once but it, "If you don't denounce something, you endorse it."

Unless you denounce Trump as the national security threat he is, you're attached at the hip.

August 29, 2022

Maybe NOW? Would Doug Mastriano Amend His Support of Donald Trump NOW?!?!?!

I am wondering of the retired Col with a career in military intelligence has read the affidavit yet.

And if he has, whether he's seen this page yet:

For some background, let's take a look at 18 U.S. Code § 793(e):

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; [Emphasis added.]

This part of the USC has each section (a, b, c, and so on) starting with the same phrase ("Whosoever having...") and ending with a linking "or."

The ending of this complicate set of phrases is this:

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
We already know there were classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

They were held in a place that wasn't deemed secure.

When will there be enough evidence for St. Sen. (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) to amend his support for Donald Trump?

August 27, 2022

Uh-oh. These Graphics Are Embarrassing

Reuters is reporting:

Three years before retiring from the U.S. Army in 2017, Donald Trump-backed Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano posed in Confederate uniform for a faculty photo at the Army War College, according to a copy of the photo obtained by Reuters. 

Here's the photo:

CNN is reporting:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, posed in a Confederate military uniform in a 2013-14 faculty photo at the Army War College, a picture obtained by obtained by Reuters shows.

Faculty at the school, where Mastriano worked at the time, were given the choice to dress as historical figures, people familiar with the photo told Reuters. While a few others appear dressed up, Mastriano is the only one in the photo dressed in a Confederate uniform, which many associate with hate and the legacy of slavery in the South.

And this is CNN's photo:

CNN adds:

The flag of the Confederacy, its symbols and the statues commemorating Confederate leaders have long divided the country. Critics say the symbols represent the war to uphold slavery, while supporters call them signs of Southern pride and heritage. The symbols have been used by White supremacists, and in recent years the Department of Defense has taken steps to ban Confederate symbols.
Signs of Southern pride and heritage?

Confederate heritage-fetishist Doug Mastriano was born and raised in New Jersey. He was educated in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the US Army. He topped that off with a PhD from a university in Canada.

Southern pride and heritage, Senator? 

Jenna Ellis, Doug's senior legal advisor tweeted in defense:

Jenna, about that PhD. It's a WWI topic - on Sgt Alvin C. York. He earned the PhD in 2013. The picture of Doug in a Confederate uniform (see above) was taken in 2014. Why didn't Doug dress as Sgt York?

Anyway, Jenna  you do know he's in some hot water for that, right?

Take a look:

For more than a decade, other researchers have questioned Mastriano’s claim to have conclusively proved exactly where York was when his lethal marksmanship played out in October 1918. They argue his research is plagued with errors and that a walking trail to the battle location he helped build actually takes visitors to the wrong spot.

In the past two months, University of Oklahoma history graduate student James Gregory has filed complaints with Mastriano’s publisher and with the Canadian university.

“Many of his citations are completely false and do not support his claims whatsoever,” Gregory said in a Jan. 25 email to the University Press of Kentucky, identifying footnotes with no apparent relation to their corresponding book passages.

“Any work done using Mastriano is built upon poor, false research,” Gregory wrote.

So much so that this happened:

The academic press that published a Pennsylvania state senator’s book about World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York has asked him to review a list of factual errors and sourcing issues in the book and the press’ director said Tuesday it plans to publish a corrected version early next year.
But let's remember what the Confederacy was fighting for - as found in The Confederate Constitution.

Article I, Section 9 clause 4:

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

Article IV section 2, clause 1: 

The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

Yea, these optics are bad, Doug. Real real bad.

August 26, 2022

Well, THIS is Embarrassing (Mastriano and that Carelton Poll)

Over the last few days did you see something that looks like this on your twitter feed?

Yea, about that.

Chris Brennan over at the Philadelphia Inquirer has something to say about it

Clout understands why State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, touted on social media the results of a new “poll” that for the first time showed him with a narrow lead over the Democratic nominee, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

What we don’t get: Why did Mastriano and campaign advisor Jenna Ellis leave up those social media posts for five days — as it soon became clear it was a hoax and the “pollster” had pranked him?

That's right. The poll's a fake

The “pollster” — who would only identify himself as “a high school student from southwestern Connecticut who likes politics” — told Clout in a Twitter message exchange that he created the Twitter account Carleton Polling this month to test a theory about a “double standard” for polling and political parties.

His hypothesis: Republicans attack the credibility of established polling firms that release surveys with results they don’t like but take seriously and push polls even if they “don’t seem legitimate.”

Mastriano was his first test.

And Mastriano, retired from a career in US Army military intelligence, failed it. 

Let's see how badly. The fake poll news was posted on Saturday and:

Mastriano, whose Twitter account was tagged in that tweet, quickly retweeted it and retweeted supporters who also retweeted it.

“The Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania literally retweeted a joke poll from some high schooler without questioning anything,” the student said in a follow-up email to Clout. “I’ll admit, I expected some random Twitter accounts to share it, but not Doug Mastriano himself.”

Mastriano also retweeted a Carleton Polling post Sunday that said, “It has become abundantly clear” that he “is going to win the Pennsylvania governor’s race. All the data we are analyzing right now shows him ahead.”

Again, fake poll. The campaign didn't bother to check on its validity.

This is so embarrassing for State Sen (and now GOP cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano.

So, so embarrassing.

August 24, 2022

Doug Mastriano Is Still Lying About The Nursing Homes

Just yesterday St. Sen. (and now GOP Cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano tweeted this:

And it's a lie.

It's been a lie since the AP published this on July 5 - seven full weeks ago:

Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor, has made a campaign staple out of the allegation that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s policy of readmitting COVID-19 patients from hospitals to nursing homes caused thousands of deaths — a baseless claim for which no investigator or researcher has provided any evidence.

In fact, layers of inspections by researchers have pointed to entirely something different — nursing home employees ushering in the virus every day — while investigators found administrators flouting staffing requirements or infection-control procedures.

Further, no Pennsylvania nursing home has leveled any such claim like Mastriano’s, and a national nursing home trade association has agreed with the findings of researchers who say the spread of the virus in nursing homes directly correlated to community spread.

49 days doesn't magically change a falsehood into a truth, Doug.

49 days ago the AP story spread across the land:

Morning Call posted the AP story.

Delco Times posted the AP story.

York Dispatch posted the AP story.

Harrisburg TV station ABC 27 posted the AP story.

Bedford Gazette posted the AP story.

Military News posted the AP story.

I posted the AP story.

Does Doug Mastriano not think we have memories?

August 23, 2022

Perhaps State Sen Mastriano Would Like To Amend His Comments NOW??

In the last week and a half (or so) I pondered publicly whether St Sen (and now GOP Cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano would like to amend his comments about the recent raid on Mar-a-Lago by the Department of Justice.

This was Mastriano's statement:

The raid on Mar-a-Lago was an unprecedented assault on the fundamental norms of the American legal system and represents an outrageous weaponization of America’s tools of justice against political opponents of the current regime in Washington, DC.

And a few days later, he said this to WTAE:

 "It's really heartbreaking what's happened to our country. What happened in Mar-a-Lago this week here is unprecedented. Even CNN expressed concern about it — it is that bad though. Delivering subpoenas to some of my colleagues in Harrisburg this week as well, I mean it's very oppressive," Mastriano said regarding the seize of documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

"It's very chilling and it's not anything to take lightly. We have to stand firm though, I think it's all about really intimidating us — well, first trying to keep Donald Trump from running again in 2024, he's running. I look forward to that. But they need the rest of us to shut up and be compliant and not to ask questions," Mastriano continued.

 And this is, perhaps, why Doug should amend his support of the twice-impeached former president:

The initial batch of documents retrieved by the National Archives from former President Donald J. Trump in January included more than 150 marked as classified, a number that ignited intense concern at the Justice Department and helped trigger the criminal investigation that led F.B.I. agents to swoop into Mar-a-Lago this month seeking to recover more, multiple people briefed on the matter said.

In total, the government has recovered more than 300 documents with classified markings from Mr. Trump since he left office, the people said: that first batch of documents returned in January, another set provided by Mr. Trump’s aides to the Justice Department in June and the material seized by the F.B.I. in the search this month.


Mr. Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021, according to multiple people briefed on his efforts, before turning them over.

300 documents with classified markings in multiple boxes that he went through himself.

Lock him up.

But wait, there's more:

Aides to Mr. Trump turned over a few dozen additional sensitive documents during a visit to Mar-a-Lago by Justice Department officials in early June. At the conclusion of the search this month, officials left with 26 boxes, including 11 sets of material marked as classified, comprising scores of additional documents. One set had the highest level of classification, top secret/sensitive compartmented information.

As I wrote earlier, that "sensitive compartmented information" material is treated one way and one way only:

Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) is information about certain intelligence sources and methods and can include information pertaining to sensitive collection systems, analytical processing, and targeting, or which is derived from it. Access to SCI is only granted to individuals who have a need-to-know, have been granted a Top Secret clearance by Personnel Security (PerSec), and are approved by the Department of Commerce’s Intelligence Community granting agency, and only upon completion of a separate Nondisclosure Agreement, the IC Form 4414.

Information that has been determined to be SCI may only be stored and used in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). SCIFs have specific construction requirements, and their subsequent accreditation is separate from those for Controlled Areas and is coordinated by the Department’s Special Security Officer (SSO). [Emphasis added.]

And yet there were documents marked SCI (or its equivalent) stored in a non-SCIF in Mar-a-Lago.

Lock him up. Lock him up.

And finally:

On June 22, the Justice Department subpoenaed the Trump Organization for Mar-a-Lago’s security footage, which included a well-trafficked hallway outside the storage area, the people said.

The club had surveillance footage going back 60 days for some areas of the property, stretching back to late April of this year.

While much of the footage showed hours of club employees walking through the busy corridor, some of it raised concerns for investigators, according to people familiar with the matter. It revealed people moving boxes in and out, and in some cases, appearing to change the containers some documents were held in. 

Does Doug Mastriano still think that this is all part of a plan to make him (and his fellow-travelers) compliant?  And not a serious national security investigation into Trump's mishandling of some of the nation's most sensitive documents?

Lock him up. Lock him up. Lock him up.

August 22, 2022

A Mastriano Badge of Honor - I'VE BEEN BLOCKED!!

Take a look at this:

And this is the last thing I tweeted on State Sen. (and now GOP cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's twitter feed:

I'm not sure if the braintrust over at the Mastriano campaign made the connection so I'll make it for them.

I also amplified Carter Walker's Lancaster Online piece about Doug's "security" detail.

But think of this for a minute. We live in a democracy (or a "representative democracy" to be slightly, if unnecessarily, more precise), a political process that values the free flow of ideas. 

Doug Mastriano is running for governor of Pennsylvania.

I am a voter in Pennsylvania.

He blocked me from his twitter feed. This not only blocks me from commenting it also blocks me from accessing anything he posts there.

Will this be how he treats his constituents if the worst happens and he's elected Governor? 

Doug Mastriano, political snowflake.

August 21, 2022

PA State Senator Doug Mastriano's "Security Detail"

Lancaster Online has a great piece about State Sen (and now GOP Cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's security detail.

Here's how Carter Walker opens the piece:

Doug Mastriano is running an unconventional campaign for governor. He’s not raising a lot of money. He prefers to attend closed-door events with his base or campaign at public events where reporters are often kept at arm's length.

But the Republican nominee’s campaign is also notable for another reason: Mastriano has surrounded himself with a non-professional, armed security team whose members include at least one person with direct ties to a militia group.

Mastriano’s detail includes several members of a relatively new evangelical church near Elizabethtown, LifeGate, whose leaders have spoken openly about electing Christians to office to advance biblical principles in government.

So how many fascist, Christian National red flags do you see in those three paragraphs?

Walker goes on:

Perhaps the most visible member of the security team is James Emery, an Elizabethtown Area School Board member who has been photographed providing security to Mastriano at numerous events over the past year, sometimes armed. Earlier this month, Emery blocked members of the news media from entering a room in Erie where Mastriano was scheduled to speak to local business leaders.

Emery is an active and visible member of the congregation at LifeGate Church. A November 2021 post to the church’s Facebook page refers to him as a licensed minister and congratulates him for completing the LifeGate Leadership Development School.

At a LifeGate meeting in May, Emery described himself as one of Mastraino’s “lead” security members. During an Easter Sunday testimonial, he revealed the names of four other congregants who work on Mastriano’s security team.

“I just want to ask for prayers while there’s a few in this congregation that have joined the (Mastriano) team: Scott and Skip and Dan, myself, and Carl,” Emery said. “We’re doing security for Mastriano and it comes with a lot of weight these days.”

If you're so inclined, you can hear Emery pastorize some of the good folks in Elizabethtown here.

If you wanted to see what he looks like as he's guarding the "Walk as Free People" guy, here's a screen capture from the Lancaster Online video:

 And here's Scott Nagle from that same video:

This is what Lancaster Online reported about Scott in May of this year:

The leader of the local chapter of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, won a seat on the Republican Committee of Lancaster County in Tuesday's election.

Scott Nagle, of Marietta, narrowly won the Republican committeeman race in Marietta Borough's first district.

Nagle was the Lancaster County chapter leader for the Pennsylvania Oath Keepers as recently as January of this year. LNP|LancasterOnline reached out to him at that time for a story on a pre-January 6, 2021, Oath Keeper meeting in Quarryville, after which Nagle's name was removed from the website.

They even included another picture:

SLPC On the Oath Keepers:

The Oath Keepers, which claims tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members, is one of the largest far-right antigovernment groups in the U.S. today.


The Oath Keepers organization claims to be defending the U.S. Constitution and fighting tyranny, but as former Oath Keepers spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove describes, the group is actually “selling the revolution.” The threats to American liberties that Oath Keepers say the federal government is responsible for are in reality a set of baseless conspiracy theories.
Sounds about right. He's also a Lifegate member.

The "Dan" mentioned by would be one Dan Slade, identified here in that Lancaster video:


And this was among the things we find when we look into what the believers at the LifeGate Church believe:

We understand the family to be the keystone in God's plan for spiritual growth and emotional stability. We affirm the biblical ideal of monogamous, heterosexual marriage – one man for one woman – until death does the parting. We reject any notion of “same-sex marriage.” We understand the Bible as teaching that premarital, extramarital and homosexual activity, as well as lusting of any kind, is sin and is not the will of God for the believer. We also believe that God deals graciously with the truly repentant heart.

Of course they do.

Lucky for anyone that Lancaster Online who may be upset at this reporting, member of the church also believe:

We affirm the importance of Biblical love in all human relationships. We believe that this calls for the rejection of all forms of selfishness and violence – including abortion and child and spousal abuse. We oppose any kind of personal retaliation between individuals. [Emphasis added.]

Good to know.

There's another part of this story. Remember this

It was a blog post of mine from May when I was amplifying a piece from NBC that had this:

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.

Let's jettison the January 6 part and just focus on the "block media access" part. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about  Doug's "security" folks doing just that.

Here's an image form Von Osdol's "interview" with one of the guys:

Is that one of Doug's LifeGate security guys?

Scott Nagle, perhaps?

To be honest, I am not sure. But it's close, isn't it?

One last thing. Let's look back at that NBC piece about Grant Clarkson.

Above the text there's this rather imposing picture of Doug and the Doug-ettes:

According to NBC, that's Grant over Doug's right shoulder. But do you see who's also in the picture? Way over on the left (our left, Doug's right)?

That's James Emery wearing, I think, the same maroon shirt (and jacket?) as in the Lancaster video:

Small world, huh.

Meanwhile, they're still stopping the people they don't like from asking Doug a question:

Did anyone else notice how closely this guy:

Resembles the guy giving Paul von Osdol a hard time? It's gotta be the same guy, right?

But here I'll say something that I've never heard Doug Mastriano say: I could be wrong about that.

August 19, 2022

Happy Birthday OGDEN NASH!

Haven't done a "who was born today" posting in a long long time.

And when I did, it was usually about a musician (composer, pianist what have you).

This time it's a poet - Ogden Nash.

He's the guy who wrote:

Reflections on Ice-Breaking

Is Dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.
The beautiful thing about this one is how the message of the poem is reflected in the words chosen to deliver them. "Candy/Dandy" as actual sounds stretch longer than "liquor/quicker."

The Germ

A mighty creature is the germ, 
Though smaller than the pachyderm. 
His customary dwelling place 
Is deep within the human race. 
His childish pride he often pleases 
By giving people strange diseases. 
Do you, my popet, feel infirm? 
You probably contain a germ.

And so on.

Been a fan for decades.

August 18, 2022

PA State Sen Doug Mastriano ON THE ISSUES!! (UPDATE: Rolling Stone Got Here First)

Well, some of them at least.

Mega-hat tip to Derek Bodner:

I transcribed the entire "rapid fire" section and I was able to snag some parts Bodner edited out.

Radio guy: Let's do some rapid fire here in our last couple of seconds. If you could give me a yes or a no on some of these topics, Colonel.

Are you pro-life?

Mastriano: I am pro-life.

No surprise there. No surprise here, either:

R: Is Global Warming real?

M: It is not. It's fake science and it's a racket at the academic level.

But now I know where the quote came from.

What is kinda sorta surprise is Doug's answer to the next question:

R: Should gay marriage be legal?

M: Absolutely not. I'm for traditional marriage. And I am not a hater for saying that. It's been like that for 6,000 years. It was the first institution founded by God in Genesis and it needs to stay that way.

It's very subtle, what Doug's giving away here. Not sure if you caught it. Here's a hint: 6,000 years is a very specific number especially since the first recorded marriage is only about 4,300 years ago.

"6,000" and the part about how it's an institution founded by God in Genesis are actually rhetorical dog-whistles. Leading to the realization that given Doug's very public affirmations of his religious belief, it's not too far afield to say that Doug's cosmogony can be described this way:

Creationism in this more restricted sense entails a number of beliefs. These include, first, that a short time has elapsed since the beginning of everything. ‘Young Earth Creationists’ think that Archbishop Ussher’s sixteenth-century calculation of about 6000 years is a good estimate.

That's the near silent dog-whistle Doug communicated to his listeners.

State Sen (and now GOP Cand for Gov) Doug Mastriano, Young Earth Creationist.

It even fits his belief that "first institution founded by God in Genesis."

Then there's this from Doug:

R: Is Islam compatibile with the Constitution?

M: It is not. The Constitution was found on Christian-Judeo ideas and it's only compatible with that worldview. Guess what? Not all religions are created equal and the all have different worldviews.

As an atheist, I have to wonder how Doug is using the term "compatible." I mean if we look at some recent polling data we find:

According to an average of all 2021 Gallup polling, about three in four Americans said they identify with a specific religious faith. By far the largest proportion, 69%, identify with a Christian religion, including 35% who are Protestant, 22% Catholic and 12% who identify with another Christian religion or simply as a "Christian."

Seven percent identify with a non-Christian religion, including 2% who are Jewish, 1% Muslim and 1% Buddhist, among others.

Twenty-one percent of Americans said they have no religious preference, and 3% did not answer the question.

So about a quarter of the country (21% with "no religious preference and 2% Muslim and Buddhist) is living in a way that isn't "compatible" with the Constitution?

That can't be right. Especially since this isn't a Christian nation.

Where is that from, Dayvoe?

Treaty of Tripoli, 1796.

Article 11, specifically:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion...

Had there been any disagreement with that statement back then, you'd think that there would have been a few Founders wandering around the former colonies in the 1790s who would've spoken up about it.

Then there's this from Doug:

R: Should gender identity be added to anti-discrimination laws?

M: Absolutely not. That's madness.

R: Should LGBTQ couples (i.e. two dads or two moms) be allowed to adopt?

M: No.

This is Doug Mastriano. Science denier, probably Young Earth Creationist, religious bigot and all around anti-ally to the LGBTQ communities.

Yay, Pennsylvania. 

UPDATE: Rolling Stone had the story on the 16th.

August 17, 2022

And Now, Jenna Ellis To Testify In Georgia?

Yestiddy, we noted that State Sen (and now GOP cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's misinformation buddy, Rudy Giuliani, has been notified that he is the target of a criminal investigation.

I say "buddy" because of this

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

CNN reports:

Rudy Giuliani, who was told by Atlanta prosecutors that he is a target in their probe of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election subversion schemes, is scheduled to appear for grand jury testimony in the investigation on Wednesday.


Of interest to the Atlanta investigators are hearings before Georgia lawmakers where Giuliani and other Trump allies promoted conspiracy theories about supposed 2020 election-rigging. At a December, 3, 2020, Georgia Senate subcommittee hearing, Giuliani played heavily edited video of Fulton County election workers, and he urged the legislators to appoint a slate of pro-Trump electors in disregard of the statewide results showing that Joe Biden had won. He also appeared virtually before a Georgia House committee to discuss alleged election irregularities on December 10, 2020. 
Doug's hearing (as you can see above) was only a few days before - November 25, 2020.

Also yestiddy, we posted Lancasteronline's rundown of Rudy's misstatements

This is where things get important for today.

Sitting next to Rudy at that November, 2020 hearing was Jenna Ellis, now "senior legal advisor" to Doug Mastriano.

Small world huh.

But wait, that's not all.

The AP (by way of NBC News) is reporting:

A judge in Colorado on Tuesday ordered a legal adviser for former President Donald Trump’s campaign to travel to Georgia to testify before a special grand jury that’s looking into whether Trump and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia.

Rudy and Jenna are ordered to Georgia to testify about their involvement in Trump's plan to overturn the 2020 election - specifically in Georgia.

Rudy and Jenna played a similar (though obviously not identical) role in Trump's plan here in Pennsylvania - all with Doug Mastriano's help.

Doug, Doug! This does not look good for you, my friend. With so much Trump taint on them, how much of it must be on you?

As Liz Cheney once said:

There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.

August 16, 2022

Doug's Election Mis-Info Source, Rudy Giuliani, A Target For Spreading Election Misinformation


Let's start at The New York Times:

The legal pressures on Donald J. Trump and his closest allies intensified further on Monday, as prosecutors informed his former personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, that Mr. Giuliani was a target in a wide-ranging criminal investigation into election interference in Georgia.

By the time the story reached PBS, this had been added:

It has also become clear that the district attorney is interested in Georgia legislative committee hearings that were held in December 2020 where Giuliani appeared and spread false claims of election fraud in Atlanta’s Fulton County.


In a petition seeking Giuliani’s testimony, [Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis] identified him as both a personal attorney for Trump and a lead attorney for his campaign. She wrote that he and others appeared at a state Senate committee meeting and presented a video that Giuliani said showed election workers producing “suitcases” of unlawful ballots from unknown sources, outside the view of election poll watchers.

Within 24 hours of that Dec. 3, 2020, hearing, Raffensperger’s office had debunked the video. But Giuliani continued to make statements to the public and in subsequent legislative hearings claiming widespread voter fraud using the debunked video, Willis wrote.

Evidence shows that Giuliani’s hearing appearance and testimony “was part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” the petition says.

And we all know that plan included Pennsylvania.

Specifically, State Senator (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's "hearing" on November 25, 2020.

Lancasteronline has a detailed rundown of the misinformation Rudy spread at that hearing.

I wonder if Senator Mastriano has a comment on Rudy's legal travails. 

Maybe I should ask him.

August 15, 2022

Meanwhile, Outside

From the scientists over at NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) there's this:

The July 2022 global surface temperature departure was the sixth highest for July in the 143-year record at 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F). The five warmest Julys on record have all occurred since 2016. July 2022 also marked the 46th consecutive July and the 451st consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

And, as is tradition, there's a chart:

Meanwhile here in Pennsylvania (see what I did there?) there's a campaign for governor.

On the GOP/QAnon/Trumper side, there's State Sen Doug Mastriano. If you were to go looking for, say, videos of Doug addressing climate change you'll probably end up stumbling over this reporting from The NYTimes:

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.”

But now that Mr. Mastriano is the G.O.P. nominee for governor, having been helped by the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump in the primary, he is shifting to the general election — and those videos have vanished.


In the Facebook Live broadcast on April 6, Mr. Mastriano criticized Gov. Tom Wolf, a term-limited Democrat, for entering Pennsylvania into a regional, multistate compact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector that Mr. Mastriano said could cost the state billions.

“For what?” Mr. Mastriano asked rhetorically in the video, assailing Democrats. “For pop science. Let’s talk about climate change. So they’re hellbent on this theory. It’s a theory. It’s not a fact. Heck, the weatherman can’t get the weather right, you know, 24 hours out.”

Doug Mastriano, GOP Candidate for PA Governor and climate science denier.

Meanwhile the planet is warming up.


August 14, 2022

STILL Looking For State Sen Mastriano To Amend His Trump/Mar-a-Lago Defense

On the 12th of April, I asked:

Would State Sen. Doug Mastriano Like To AMEND His Statement?

The "statement" being this:

The raid on Mar-a-Lago was an unprecedented assault on the fundamental norms of the American legal system and represents an outrageous weaponization of America’s tools of justice against political opponents of the current regime in Washington, DC.

In light of the reporting showing that the raid had been done legally.

Now there's even more reporting that further distances St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano from reality.

For example, this from The New York Times:

At least one lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club had been returned to the government, four people with knowledge of the document said.

The written declaration was made after a visit on June 3 to Mar-a-Lago by Jay I. Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in the Justice Department’s national security division.

The existence of the signed declaration, which has not previously been reported, is a possible indication that Mr. Trump or his team were not fully forthcoming with federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why a potential violation of a criminal statute related to obstruction was cited by the department as one basis for seeking the warrant used to carry out the daylong search of the former president’s home on Monday, an extraordinary step that generated political shock waves.

Which is serious, to be sure. But then there's this:

An inventory of the material taken from Mr. Trump’s home that was released on Friday showed that F.B.I. agents seized 11 sets of documents during the search with some type of confidential or secret marking on them, including some marked as “classified/TS/SCI” — shorthand for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information.” Information categorized in that fashion is meant to be viewed only in a secure government facility.

I am sure I do not have to explain "classified/TS/SCI" to someone who had a career in military intelligence. However for the rest of us, the "SCI" means:

Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) is information about certain intelligence sources and methods and can include information pertaining to sensitive collection systems, analytical processing, and targeting, or which is derived from it. Access to SCI is only granted to individuals who have a need-to-know, have been granted a Top Secret clearance by Personnel Security (PerSec), and are approved by the Department of Commerce’s Intelligence Community granting agency, and only upon completion of a separate Nondisclosure Agreement, the IC Form 4414.

Information that has been determined to be SCI may only be stored and used in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). SCIFs have specific construction requirements, and their subsequent accreditation is separate from those for Controlled Areas and is coordinated by the Department’s Special Security Officer (SSO). [Emphasis added.]

A SCIF is, as I understand it, a secure room. NBC has a little more:

A SCIF, or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, is a secure place where sensitive information can be viewed and discussed to prevent outside surveillance or spying.

The IC designation "classified/TS/SCI" for those documents held at Mar-a-Lago mean that those documents can only be viewed in a SCIF. They're that sensitive.

And they were in "storage" (whatever that means) in Mar-a-Lago.

Then there's the part about the video.

The Justice Department also subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago recorded over a 60-day period, including views from outside the storage room. According to a person briefed on the matter, the footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room. [Emphasis added.]

Does the Senator still believe that the raid "was an unprecedented assault on the fundamental norms of the American legal system and represents an outrageous weaponization of America’s tools of justice against political opponents" or would he agree that the raid reflects a serious concern of the FBI and the IC about how Donald Trump mishandled sensitive documents?




August 12, 2022

Would State Sen. Doug Mastriano Like To AMEND His Statement?

This statement, specifically:

The raid on Mar-a-Lago was an unprecedented assault on the fundamental norms of the American legal system and represents an outrageous weaponization of America’s tools of justice against political opponents of the current regime in Washington, DC.

Amend it in light of some new information.

We already know that it was a warrant that was signed by a federal judge as well as being approved by the highest levels of DOJ.

But did you know that Trump actually had two attorneys on scene

Lindsey Halligan, a Florida-based attorney for former President Donald Trump, was at Mar-a-Lago and spoke with CBS News about the FBI search. Here's her description of what transpired:

Halligan received a call at around 10 a.m. Monday that FBI agents were at Trump's Palm Beach home, Mar-a-Lago, and they had a search warrant.

She was the second Trump attorney to arrive on scene, at about 11 a.m, after the search had begun. Christina Bobb, who used to be a TV host on the far right OAN Network, was already there. [Italics in original.]


Halligan says she and Bobb were barred from going inside the complex, forced to remain outside, between the ballroom and residence, on the grounds of Mar-a-Lago. 

And this was not a  spur of the moment decision by DOJ nor was it for political purposes. The NYTimes reported:

The search carried out on Monday by the F.B.I. at former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home, a law enforcement action with explosive legal and political implications, was the culmination of a lengthy conflict between a president proud of his disdain for rules and officials charged with protecting the nation’s records and secrets.

On one side were officials from the National Archives, which is responsible for making sure all presidential records are preserved according to the law, and the Justice Department, which some people familiar with the inquiry said had grown concerned about the whereabouts of possible classified information and whether Mr. Trump’s team was being fully forthcoming.

On the other was Mr. Trump, who, in apparent contravention of the Presidential Records Act, had taken a trove of material with him to his home at Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House that included sensitive documents — and then, in the Justice Department’s view, had failed to fully comply with requests that he return the disputed material.

And what was the FBI looking for?

The Washington Post has an answer:

Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands.

Then there's this:

In early June, a handful of investigators made a rare visit to the property seeking more information about potentially classified material from Trump's time in the White House that had been taken to Florida. The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department, sat down with two of Trump's attorneys, Bobb and Evan Corcoran, according to a source present for the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, Trump stopped by and greeted the investigators near a dining room. After he left, without answering any questions, the investigators asked the attorneys if they could see where Trump was storing the documents. The attorneys took the investigators to the basement room where the boxes of materials were being stored, and the investigators looked around the room before eventually leaving, according to the source.

A second source said that Trump came in to say hi and made small talk but left while the attorneys spoke with investigators. The source said some of the documents shown to investigators had top secret markings.

Sen Mastriano, was in military intelligence. Does he know what the "counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department" oversees?

Let me help him in case he does not:

The Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES) supervises the investigation and prosecution of cases affecting national security, foreign relations, and the export of military and strategic commodities and technology. The Section has executive responsibility for authorizing the prosecution of cases under criminal statutes relating to espionage, sabotage, neutrality, and atomic energy. It provides legal advice to U.S. Attorney's Offices and investigative agencies on all matters within its area of responsibility, which includes 88 federal statutes affecting national security. It also coordinates criminal cases involving the application of the Classified Information Procedures Act. In addition, the Section administers and enforces the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 and related disclosure statutes.

The chief of that section was at Mar-a-Lago in June looking at the documents Trump took from The White House. CNN goes on:

Five days later, on June 8, Trump's attorneys received a letter from investigators asking them to further secure the room where the documents were stored. Aides subsequently added a padlock to the room.

This is not a matter of the "weaponization of America’s tools of justice against political opponents" as State Sen (and now GOP cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano so mistakenly put it. The IC was concerned that some very sensitive documents were removed from The White House and were sitting in an insecure storage room in Mar-a-Lago.

I think it would behoove the good Senator update his outrage because he's way way off.


August 11, 2022

PA Senate Republicans, You Say? (FBI Subpoenaes Republicans In Harrusburg)

Check this aht from PennLive:

Federal investigators delivered subpoenas or paid visits to several House and Senate Republican offices in the Pennsylvania Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to multiple sources.

At least some of the individuals receiving subpoenas were told they were not targets of an investigation, according to at least six sources reached by PennLive, but that they may have information of interest to the FBI. All of the sources had been briefed on the investigative moves in some way, but demanded anonymity in order to discuss them.

The information being requested centered around U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and the effort to seek alternate electors as part of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to remain in office after the 2020 election, several sources said.

You know what that means, right? 

The FBI has to be looking into 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.

Note that I am not saying anything other than "looking into" here. I'm not saying that Doug is an FBI target in anyway. To clarify: all I am going on is what I read in the news - I have no deeper knowledge than that.

But if they say they're looking into the fake elector story and it's been established that Doug was Trump's "point person" in Pennsylvania for that story, how can they not be looking at Doug?

We already know that the 1/6 Committee wanted subpoenaed Doug for that same reason:

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.


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.

Of course I know that the FBI is running a completely separate investigation from the 1/6 Committee and that these are two separate investigations.

Oh, did I mention that State Senator (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano walked out of his meeting with the 1/6 Committee this week?

Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor, Doug Mastriano, abruptly ended a scheduled deposition today with the House Select Committee investigating the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Again, nothing to do with the FBI's subpoenas, of course, I just wanted to keep that little tidbit morsel of trivia in the discussion.

Reading in the P-G, however, led me to this interestingness:

[Mr. Mastriano’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore] has represented at least two other witnesses interviewed by the Jan. 6th Committee, including former New York City Police Commissioner and longtime associate of Mr. Trump’s attorney, Rudolph Giuliani. His representation of Mr. Mastriano, according to state campaign finance reports, is being covered at least in part by Mr. Mastriano’s gubernatorial campaign. [Emphasis added.]

Because of course it is. Huffpost has a little more:

Doug Mastriano, the far-right state senator who is a key figure in the 2020 election-denial conspiracy movement, paid “Parlatore” $10,000 for “legal consulting” on March 3, according to recent campaign finance filings reviewed by HuffPost. The listed address for Parlatore matches that of a law firm founded by Timothy Parlatore, who has represented Mastriano in his dealings with the Jan. 6 committee.

Huffpost goes on to say that the payment probably doesn't violate state or federal law but it does raise some ethical questions.

Since when does Doug Mastriano, who betrayed his State Senate Oath to "support, obey and defend the Constitution" worry about ethical issues?

Doug's such a great guy, isn't he?

August 10, 2022

State Sen. Doug Mastriano Is In TRUMP'S Corner

Take a look:

He released a longer statement:

The main paragraph:

The raid on Mar-a-Lago was an unprecedented assault on the fundamental norms of the American legal system and represents an outrageous weaponization of America’s tools of justice against political opponents of the current regime in Washington, DC.

"Unprecedented" perhaps. an "assault on the fundamental norms of the American legal system" let's see.

The FBI was serving a search warrant on Mar-A-Lago, that's a fact. And, as NPR reports

In short, a search warrant indicates that federal authorities have evidence of ongoing criminal activity at the location where they intend to carry out the search. Warrants are often used in situations where authorities believe a subpoena won't be effective. It is not itself a criminal charge.

Generally speaking, federal agents seeking a warrant must provide an affidavit that contains details about exactly what material they expect to seize during the search and why they believe it is at the location subject to the warrant. A judge reviews the affidavit and signs off on the warrant if they believe the details provided by the agents pass legal muster for probable cause.

I dunno. Sounds kinda "norm" to me. NPR goes on to say that FBI head Christopher Wray (appointed by Trump, doncha know) and AG Merrick Garland would probably have had to sign off on it along with the federal judge who approved the warrant.

More from NPR:

We don't know yet what exactly the FBI recovered in the raid. But the search is likely related to the 15 boxes of presidential documents that were removed from Mar-a-Lago earlier this year by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Some of the material recovered then was classified, Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed in February. The records reportedly included correspondence between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, along with a letter addressed to Trump written by outgoing President Barack Obama.

At the time, the NARA said that representatives for Trump were continuing to "search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives."

Remember that? Remember when it was reported that he took classified documents out of the White House?  

Trump does have the search warrant. Why doesn't he just release it to the public?

Lucky for Doug Mastriano, GOP candidate for PA Gov, it doesn't appear to be related to Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

But that does lead to something that, perhaps, he should be worried about.


The F.B.I. on Tuesday seized the cellphone of Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania and the chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, according to the congressman’s office.

Mr. Perry, who has been issued a subpoena by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, said three F.B.I. agents seized his phone Tuesday morning while he was traveling with family.

He even tweeted about it, forever friending Rep Perry:

We already know that Rep Perry is deeply embedded in Trump's plan to overturn the election he lost.

So was Doug, by the way. 

Is Doug worried that they might seize his cell phone next? Or is he worried about what the FBI will find on Rep Perry's phone?

Those two are already connected via those now infamous DOJ notes.

Yea, I'm thinking State Sen. (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano should be a little worried at this point.