Democracy Has Prevailed.

September 30, 2022

Doug Mastriano Made It Onto The Late Show With Stephen Colbert!

(The fun starts at about 3:15)

It's so good to see that St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano has hit the big time!


Moving over to politics, the midterms are right around the corner, and one candidate not doing so well is:

Pennsylvania republican nominee and egg with dentures, Doug Mastriano. Mastriano is struggling in the polls in part because, according to political scientists, he sucks.

Among other things, among the ways that he sucks, he attended the January 6th riot, has a long-standing association with Christian Nationalist ideas, proposed charging women who violate an abortion ban with murder, is connected to a social media site run by a notorious antisemite, and was photographed wearing a Confederate uniform.

Because, historically, nothing projects "winner" like a Confederate soldier in Pennsylvania.

"Fourscore, seven years ago..."

Mastriano's popularity was never great.

Case in point: this weekend now it's tanking. He held what he promised would be a "big rally," but ended up looking like this:


Not a great sign when your rally has more stairs than people.

He's also been wildly out raised by millions of dollars, and he seems to be getting desperate, because yesterday on Facebook, his campaign shared this picture, declaring "Days of Fasting and Prayer." 

Now, it might be because he's looking for a miracle. Might be because he can't afford food.

"Until I am elected governor, I will not eat or pay my rent." 

Of course, by fasting for days, Mastriano is following in the footsteps of Jesus, which makes sense. Because Jesus was also never Governor of Pennsylvania. 

Very true. Jesus never was the Governor of Pennsylvania.


September 29, 2022

Yes, Things ARE That Bad In The Mastriano Fasting Campaign

From Newsweek:

Pennsylvania Republican Doug Mastriano may be down in polls in his bid to become governor, but intends to fast and pray for the 40 days leading up to the midterm elections.

Mastriano's campaign posted Monday on Facebook that the candidate intended to start fasting Thursday, "interceding for our elections, our state and our nation."

The notice includes a Bible quote from Isaiah 58:12 reading, "Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes."

Actually, Newsweek has it wrong.  According to this Facebook page, it's obvious that St Sen (and now GOP cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano is inviting his followers to fast. Take a look:

See? The plan isn't for just Doug to fast, but for his followers (those who can, of course) to fast as well.

Can we call this a cult, yet?

The next image lays out the reasons why Doug wants his followers to follow him into the fast:

And about that reference from Ephesians 6:12 (the "spiritual wickedness in high places") just who do you think Doug's followers think he's referring to?

 BTW, did you know what's in Ephesians 6 immediately preceding the above scripture? This:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

I find it so interesting that the same book that condemns so many not-bad things (homosexuality, masturbation, etc) yet utterly fails to condemn the enslavement of one person by another.

Anyway, The Inteligencer has the low down on the Mastriano campaign:

This year, several are contending for the title of “worst candidate in a competitive state,” but none has a political death wish quite like Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, whose underwhelming campaign and background of almost comically numerous extremist connections have made Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro a strong favorite in the governor’s race despite the Keystone State’s evenly divided electorate.

Wow. And that's just one sentence.

September 28, 2022

Because Of Course. Doug Mastriano on Abortion and Murder

Take a look:

There's some context for that quote from NBC:

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, said in 2019 that women should be charged with murder if they violated his proposed abortion ban.

In an interview with Pennsylvania radio station WITF, Mastriano was pressed about a bill he sponsored that would generally bar abortions when a fetal heartbeat could first be detected, usually around six weeks. Mastriano’s remarks in that interview were previously unreported.

And The NYTimes has a little more context:

As a state senator in October 2019, he co-sponsored a bill to ban abortion after the detection of electrical cardiac activity in the fetus, usually around six weeks.

 Except it's not a heartbeat because there isn't a heart yet at 6 weeks. From AP:

Dr. Michael Cackovic has treated his share of pregnant women. So when Republican lawmakers across the U.S. began passing bans on abortion at what they term “the first detectable fetal heartbeat,” he was exasperated.

That’s because at the point where advanced technology can detect that first flutter, as early as six weeks, the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and it doesn’t have a heart. An embryo is termed a fetus beginning in the 11th week of pregnancy, medical experts say.

“You cannot hear this ‘flutter,’ it is only seen on ultrasound,” said Cackovic, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where some 5,300 babies are born each year.

But why let science get in the way of some good demagogic discourse?

Back to St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano. Here's more from Rollingstone:

Later in the interview, Mastriano added that abortion “absolutely is” murder, and doctors who performed the procedure as deemed illegal under his bill would also risk murder charges. 

So no exceptions for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother and both mother and doctor risk murder charges of an abortion is performed.

Let's look at but one hypothetical. A woman and her doctor discover that she is having an ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy the fetus always dies. If she is lucky, the woman survives.

The treatment is an abortion, either chemical or surgical. Without it, the woman's life is at serious risk.

Wouldn't matter in Doug Mastriano's Pennsylvania. Abortion is murder. No exceptions.

It's not pro-life. It's forced-birth. And it is chillingly cruel.

September 26, 2022

Uh-oh. Doug's In A Tough Spot. Maybe The Sword Of David Could Spur Things Along!!

Did you know that St Sen (and now GOP Cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano has a big rally this weekend in Harrisuburg?

They were expecting 2,000 people.

However, Huffington Post reports:

But only 50 or so people turned up to hear Mastriano speak. An embarrassing showing. (“This was in my neighborhood and I didn’t notice,” one nearby resident tweeted. “Tremendously low energy.”) 


Pennlive, on the other hand reported:

Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor Doug Mastriano is ever-encouraging his supporters to “walk as free people.”

Saturday, it appears most of them exercised their personal freedoms to watch a football game, attend a community festival, enjoy a beautiful early fall day in central Pennsylvania, and otherwise do anything besides standing through three hours of political speeches on the state Capitol steps.

Oops. My bad. That's kinda sorta on the same hand, innit? 

Meanwhile, Uber-conservative George Will columned a column at the Washington Post that describes our Doug thusly:

A plucky disregard for public opinion has its charms, but Mastriano perhaps too wholeheartedly embraces John Quincy Adams’s 1825 injunction that politicians should not be “palsied by the will of our constituents.” In this nation, Mastriano’s indifference to the parameters of the possible is apparent regarding abortion, which he wants to outlaw, with no exceptions for rape, incest or the mother’s life, a policy pleasing to (per a Pew Research Center poll) 8 percent of Americans. He opposes same-sex marriage, which (per Gallup) 71 percent support.


His motives are frightening because they are pure: He has the scary sincerity of the unhinged whose delusions armor them against evidence.
While I rarely agreed with Will's politics, I always liked his writing.

And now me:

Doug Mastriano betrayed his solemn oath "to support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States" when he joined Trump's plan to overturn the 2020 election. And in doing so he does not deserve to hold public office (any public office) ever.

September 22, 2022

Doug Mastriano Is Trying To Hide His Extreme History. Again.

Hey, remember when this happened?

Yea, we all do.

Interesting as he's pushing legislation touting "transparency and accountability are a must in our constitutional republic."

Remember that. 

I stumbled across this tiny tidbit from the Center Daily Times this morning:

Mastriano’s changing stripes 

Since winning Pennsylvania’s Republican primary, Doug Mastriano has changed his stripes. His video, “The Right to Life: Doug Mastriano for Governor,” disappeared from his campaign website. [Bolding in original]

This is absolutely true.

This is what the "Right to Life" section of Doug's "Plan" page looks like as of this writing (9-22-22):

And this is what that exact same section looked like on Aug 27:

Here's the thing: If you were to go to that webpage and move your cursor over the WATCH VIDEO HERE link you'll find, embedded in the URL this link - it's the video where Doug says:

"'My body my choice.' is ridiculous nonsense."

It's the Mastriano video that the Shapiro campaign used for this:

No wonder St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano is looking to hide his pro-life forced birth position.

September 20, 2022

Hey, Remember This? (Doug Mastriano Dressed As A Traitor)

Remember this?

The blog post contained this image:

Well, there's some pushback on St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's choice to dress like a 19th Century traitor.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

A group of nearly 60 veterans from Pennsylvania signed a letter deriding Republican candidate for governor Doug Mastriano for being photographed wearing a Confederate Army uniform, calling it “shameful” and saying it’s “an insult to those of us who served and those who continue to serve.”

The letter, released by the campaign of Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro, comes three weeks after a photo surfaced of Mastriano, a state senator and combat veteran, wearing the Civil War-era garb in a faculty photo from when he was a professor at the U.S. Army War College. The photo was from the 2013-14 academic year.

The prominent signatories of the letter are Democrats. They include Patrick J. Murphy, the former under secretary of the Army who served two terms in Congress representing Bucks County; U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, a western Pennsylvania congressman who unsuccessfully ran in the Pennsylvania Senate primary this year; and state Rep. Jared Solomon (D., Philadelphia).


Mastriano has said that criticism of the photo is proof that Democrats “have nothing else to run on.”

Oh, but they do, Doug. They really do have lots of stuff to run on.

Like this:

That's you, right? In that yellow box? This was January 6 and at that point you've already walked past the police barricades.

You participated in Trump's attempted coup.

Then there's this:

Women will die because of your "pro-life" fetish.

Then there's your support of the Big Lie, your participation in the fake elector con.

Do I need to continue?

You took an oath to "support, obey and defend the Constitution" and you betrayed your oath by participating in Trump's coup. 

So dressing like a traitor isn't that odd for you.

September 17, 2022

St Sen Doug Mastriano Dog-Whistles. Again. And Gets Caught By Jake Tapper.

We'll start with the dog whistle:


This is is something Josh Shapiro can't relate to. He grew up in a privileged neighborhood, attended one of the most privileged schools in a nation as a young man, not college, I'm talking about as a kid. Sending his four kids to the same privileged exclusive elite school. $30,000 to $40,000 per pupil. 

So yea, we talk about him having disdain for people like us. We saw that. And I'll lay this out here. I'll give you facts. As John Adams said, our second president, "Facts are stubborn things." We live in a world of facts.

Yes, facts. Facts about Josh Shapiro's primary education at a private Jewish parochial school in Philadelphia.

I'll let CNN's Jake Tapper explain:

A transcript can be found here.

Specifically, this:

Mastriano has close ties with openly, proudly, anti-Semitic Gab founder Andrew Torba, who was paid for consulting services by the Mastriano campaign. Torba regularly attacks Jews. He calls Josh Shapiro the antichrist. We should note that after some Jewish Republicans a few months ago criticize Mastriano for this relationship, Mastriano issued a rather wrote paper statement criticizing anti-Semitism in all its forms. And then yesterday he attacked Josh Shapiro's Jewish school and his kids' Jewish school.

I should also note that contrary to what Mr. Mastriano suggested, the Jewish values taught there did not teach disdain. In my experience, they taught community and charity and respect for all faiths and nationalities, races, creeds and colors, love of the United States, love for our fellow Americans. So I'm not sure what Mr. Mastriano means when he refers to people like Josh Shapiro having disdain for people like us. The only disdain I ever felt there was for anti- Semites.

Any comment for the blog, Doug?

September 16, 2022

Doug Mastriano And The Company He Keeps

Just two examples today.

First there's this from Rollingstone:

A self-declared prophet who has campaigned with, and prayed over, Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano purports to have received wild messages from the almighty.

Consider the case of the royal formerly known as Prince Charles, recently crowned king of England. The preacher Julie Green shared video “prophesies” earlier this year foretelling of a “major scandal” involving “Charles and the Queen’s sudden death.” Green’s claim was horrific: “From what the Lord was showing me, [Charles] will actually have his mother murdered.” 


Like any skilled fortune teller, Green kept the outlandish prediction vague and difficult to disprove. But the “prophet,” overplayed her hand. She also insisted that there would be a move of God to foil the power-hungry Charles: “He will never get that Crown he killed for.”


Media Matters has more on Julie the prophet

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano has promoted and campaigned with Julie Green, a “prophet” who has claimed that God will execute political figures “for their planned pandemic, shortages, inflation, mandates and for stealing an election.” The Mastriano ally and fringe religious commentator has also alleged a variety of conspiracy theories, including that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “loves to drink the little children’s blood”; the government is conducting “human sacrifices” to stay in power; and President Joe Biden is secretly dead and an “actor” is playing him.
Wow. Almost makes Doug look like Carl Sagan.


Then there's this from PennLive:

It’s one thing for Republican governor candidate Doug Mastriano to appear at a rally with Donald Trump Jr., which will happen Friday in Chambersburg. Trump is, after all, the namesake of the man who has remade the Republican Party in his image over the past seven years, and who shows every sign of trying to extend his grip for at least a couple more.

But to some, it’s the other guest sharing the stage with Mastriano Friday, conservative commentator Lance Wallnau, that’s raised eyebrows given Mastriano’s campaign-long flirtation with thinkers known as Christian nationalists.

Guess what? climate-denier Doug's Christian Nationalist friend Lance is (now wait for it) a climate science denier.

From The Independent

Right-wing MAGA Pastor Lance Wallnau went on a rant against climate activists, claiming that they are controlled by “demons”.

“The environmentalists are crazy. They are more fanatical than al Qaeda. In Europe, they're the reason why Germany is dependent on Russia for its energy because they shut down energy,” he said on his show Flash Point this week, without providing evidence for his outlandish claims. 

Yea, and he's an anti-vaccine paranoid guy as well:

Proverbs 13:20:
 Walk with the wise and become wise,
    for a companion of fools suffers harm.
St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano - companion of fools.

September 15, 2022

Meanwhile, Outside

Here's some real science from real scientists over at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

The August 2022 global surface temperature departure was the sixth highest for August in the 143-year record at 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F). The ten warmest Augusts on record have all occurred since 2009. August 2022 also marked the 46th consecutive August and the 452nd consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

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

The real scientists proffered some more real science:

The June–August 2022 global surface temperature was 0.89°C (1.60°F) above the 20th-century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F). This ranks as the fifth-warmest June-August period in the 143-year record, tied with the June–August periods of 2015 and 2017. This is 0.05°C (0.09°F) cooler than the warmest June–August period (2016). The five warmest June–August periods have occurred from 2015 to present.


The January–August global surface temperature was 0.86°C (1.55°F) above the 1901-2000 average of 14.0°C (57.3°F) — the sixth-highest January–August temperature in the 143-year record. The ten warmest January–August periods on record have occurred since 2010. According to NCEI's statistical analysis, the year 2022 is very likely to rank among the ten warmest years on record but only has a 10.4% chance to rank among the five warmest years on record.
And so on.

On the other hand, we have this from State Sen. (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano in a recent radio interview. When he was asked "Is global warming real?" he answered:

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

No evidence, no critique of scientific method. Nothing. Just a simple statement of fact that is, in fact, incorrect.

I'll let the real scientists at NASA explain the real science to the scientifically illiterate Doug Mastriano:

The current warming trend is different because it is clearly the result of human activities since the mid-1800s, and is proceeding at a rate not seen over many recent millennia. It is undeniable that human activities have produced the atmospheric gases that have trapped more of the Sun’s energy in the Earth system. This extra energy has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, and widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred.

Earth-orbiting satellites and new technologies have helped scientists see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate all over the world. These data, collected over many years, reveal the signs and patterns of a changing climate.

Scientists demonstrated the heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases in the mid-19th century. Many of the science instruments NASA uses to study our climate focus on how these gases affect the movement of infrared radiation through the atmosphere. From the measured impacts of increases in these gases, there is no question that increased greenhouse gas levels warm Earth in response.

 Lotsa real science over there, Doug. you should check it out.


September 14, 2022

Subpoenas, Subpoenas, and More Subpoenas! (Is Doug Mastriano Getting More Nervous?)

In a review of some recent DOJ subpoena news, Talkingpointsmemo includes this:

The overall scope of the probe isn’t really clear at this point, though it seems to have two tracks: Trump’s PAC, Save America, and the fake electors scheme.

Other reports say that the subpoenas are seeking information about speakers at the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse, where Trump and others addresses supporters before they broke into the Capitol. Women for America First, the group that organized the rally, received a subpoena.

Hey you remember that Trump/Oz/Mastriano rally of a few days ago in Wilkes-Barre, right? 

Guess what?

Former President Donald Trump will appear at a Sept. 3 rally in Wilkes-Barre to boost Republican candidates Mehmet Oz and state Sen. Doug Mastriano in their key midterm election campaigns.

The rally at Mohegan Sun Arena comes a little more than two months before Election Day in a race where both Oz, the GOP’s Senate nominee, and Mastriano, the party’s gubernatorial nominee, trail their Democratic rivals in polling and fund-raising.

Trump’s Save America PAC announced the rally for “the entire Pennsylvania Trump Ticket,” on Friday.

Greg Sargent at the The Washington Post had this to say about the DOJ subpoenas:

The upstanding folks around Donald Trump have been hit with a wave of new subpoenas in connection with the Justice Department investigation into efforts to overturn the election, the New York Times reports. Some appear aimed at probing his Save America PAC, which raised an enormous pile of cash ostensibly to fight the “stolen” election, then channeled the loot elsewhere.

Save America PAC was part of the Trump/Oz/Mastriano rally on Labor Day.

On the "fake electors" front, we have 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.

CNN has a little more

The subpoenas seek communications with some of the same players previously identified in subpoenas served to fake electors in various states earlier this year, including former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Victoria Toensing and Boris Epshteyn, an adviser to Trump's 2020 campaign, among others.

Regarding Women For America First, we have this

The Uprising has obtained internal documents from the planning of the January 6 “March To Save America” rally at the White House Ellipse that immediately preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol building. 

These documents, which you can read below, include a four page list of 109 “important guests” from at least 18 states. The guests were invited to the rally by the pro-Trump organization Women For America First, which “largely organized” the event. The list also identifies 12 members of the “DC Team” who helped stage the rally. That team included conservative consultants and lobbyists as well as employees for a security firm that worked the rally.

And guess who was among those 109 that WFAF invited as an "important guest"?


See it? See the name of the St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano?

The news is reporting that the DOJ is looking into Trump's Save America PAC, the "fake electors" scheme, and Women for America First.

And Doug Mastriano's connected to each of them.

Any comments for the blog, Doug?

September 13, 2022

St Sen Mastriano's Prayer

A day or so ago, RollingStone published an exclusive. This is the headline:

According to the Tim Dickinson, the reporter for Rollingstone, the online meeting took place on Dec 30, 2020.

There are a number of biblical references in the prayer and an exploration of some might be fruitful and multiply our understanding of Doug's mindset.

Dickinson starts the piece with such an exploration:

A week before Jan. 6, on a Zoom call organized by far-right Christian Nationalists seeking to reinstall Donald Trump in the White House, a man with a booming baritone voice bowed his bald head and began to pray. “We remember the promises of old,” he said, before invoking the book of Revelations and its account of the End Times: “We know we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony and not loving our lives unto death.”

It's Revelation 12:11, by the way: 

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

So how far has this mix of politics and Christian Nationalism gone?

There's local coverage at WTAE:

Rolling Stone obtained the video from a researcher and describes it as "A Zoom call organized by far-right Christian Nationalists seeking to reinstall Donald Trump in the White House."

A pledge to "seize the power" was part of Mastriano's prayer.

"We'll seize the power that we have given to us by the Constitution and as well by You," Mastriano says as he is seen and heard praying in the video.

Mastriano was in Washington on Jan. 6 but said he "respected all police lines as he came upon them."

He chartered buses to take supporters of then-President Donald Trump to Washington on Jan. 6. His Zoom prayer was for leaders to "rise up" on that day.

"I pray for the leaders also in the federal government, God, on the sixth of January, that they will rise up with boldness," Mastriano says in the video.


In the Zoom video, Mastriano also prays over letters urging Congress to "disregard" Pennsylvania election results and promoting debunked claims of election fraud. The Zoom call was billed as a "Global Prayer for Election Integrity."

In the video, Mastriano prays to God: "You'll bless these letters that President Trump asked me this morning to send to Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy outlining the fraud in Pennsylvania. And this will embold them to stand firm and disregard what has happened in Pennsylvania until we have an investigation."


National coverage from Salon:

A clip of a prayer led by Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano is now circulating online.

According to Rolling Stone, the prayer meeting is said to have been organized by Jim Garlow, who is described as "a prominent figure in the far-right New Apostolic Restoration (NAR) movement." The prayer meeting reportedly aligned with Garlow's beliefs which center around the ideology of the government operating around biblical principles.


Other religious leaders also expressed similar sentiments. Abby Abildness, a well-known, Pennsylvania-based NAR pastor, weighed in with her sentiments during a prayer of her own. "We look for the victory that you have proclaimed Lord that there would be another term for Pence and for Trump to continue the righteous values that they have opened the door for in this nation," Abildness said.

James Goll, one of the movement's prophets also weighed in. "We say that the Spirit of God is at move," Goll intones. "And we release the word over senators."

 International coverage from The Guardian:

A week before the Capitol attack, on a video call organised by a member of a Christian nationalist group, a Pennsylvania state senator who is the Republican candidate for governor in the battleground state prayed that supporters of Donald Trump would “seize the power” on 6 January 2021.


On the Zoom call, Mastriano displayed what he said were “letters that President Trump asked me this morning to send to [Senate Republican leader] Mitch McConnell and [House leader] Kevin McCarthy, outlining the fraud in Pennsylvania, and this will embolden them to stand firm and disregard what has happened in Pennsylvania until they have an investigation”.

And so on.

You'll note that the reporting mentions that St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano was involved in Trump's "fake elector" plan. He was subpoenaed by the January 6 Committee for information about it and everything.

I wonder if Doug responded to today's news with some nervousness:

Justice Department officials have seized the phones of two top advisers to former President Donald J. Trump and blanketed his aides with about 40 subpoenas in a substantial escalation of the investigation into his efforts to subvert the 2020 election, people familiar with the inquiry said on Monday.

The seizure of the phones, coupled with a widening effort to obtain information from those around Mr. Trump after the 2020 election, represent some of the most aggressive steps the department has taken thus far in its criminal investigation into the actions that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Specifically, this part:

Federal agents with court-authorized search warrants took phones last week from at least two people: Boris Epshteyn, an in-house counsel who helps coordinate Mr. Trump’s legal efforts, and Mike Roman, a campaign strategist who was the director of Election Day operations for the Trump campaign in 2020, people familiar with the investigation said.

Mr. Epshteyn and Mr. Roman have been linked to a critical element of Mr. Trump’s bid to hold onto power: the effort to name slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump from swing states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020 as part of a plan to block or delay congressional certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Uh-oh. How much you wanna bet that Doug's name came up in conversation at some point?

 Any comments for the blog, Doug?

September 9, 2022

Doug Mastriano's Military Dog Whistle.

A few weeks ago, this happened:

Gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano has been in violation of a U.S. Army policy that governs how political candidates can use photographs of themselves in uniform — a situation he took steps to rectify last week and again Monday, as the Army reached out following a 90.5 WESA inquiry about the images.


And until last week, both the Twitter and social media accounts were headed up with profile pictures of Mastriano in military gear. The Facebook page showed him in dress uniform and beret, while the Twitter account showed him in fatigues.

Those images were replaced last week with images of Mastriano in civilian gear, after WESA queried military authorities about whether Mastriano was in violation of military regulations.

“The Army contacted Mr. Mastriano’s campaign staff and advised them of the rules for imagery use contained within the DoD Directive and Army Regulation” after the WESA query, confirmed Army spokesman Matthew Leonard.

Kudos to WESA!

But then what are we to make of the photo that accompanies this P-G article

Here's the photo:

Yes, he's not in uniform, but what's up with that logo on his shirt?

Here's a closeup:

That's the dog whistle, folks.

"ROTM" stands for "Rock of the Marne" and it's the nickname the 3rd Infantry Division:

After being activated for World War I the 3rd Infantry Division, which was known as the “3rd Division” at the time, found itself on the Marne River in France, fighting the Germans. The battle was anything but easy, but they persevered. The division’s soldiers set up a defensive position along the Marne River, which helped them beat German offensives. The nickname is an allusion to their resiliency.
And the pattern of blue and white diagonal stripes is the division's shoulder patch.

The 3rd Infantry Division is also where Doug served for a few years:

Key Military Assignments 

1986 Commissioned as an officer in the United States Army 

1988-1990 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (2ACR) on the Iron Curtain 

1990-1991 2ACR for Operations Desert Shield/Storm in Iraq 

1992-1995 Assignments in Washington, DC 

1995-1998 229th Military Intelligence Battalion 

1998-2000 3rd Infantry Division (Rock of the Marne) 

2002-2005 US Army Europe 

2005-2009 NATO (Deployments to Afghanistan 2006, 2007, 2008) 

2009-2010 U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 

2012-2017 Professor Army War College (PAWC), Carlisle, Pennsylvania 

Retired as Colonel in the United States Army

Yes, he's not wearing a uniform but he is dog-whistling his service to those who can hear it just the same.

September 8, 2022

Legal Happenings That Might (MIGHT) Worry Sen Doug Mastriano

From NPR:

A county official in New Mexico who was convicted of entering a restricted area during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol must be immediately removed from office for his involvement in an insurrection, a judge decided Tuesday.

District Court Judge Francis Mathew ruled that Couy Griffin, an Otero County commissioner, is now disqualified from holding public office because he violated Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment by participating in the Jan. 6 siege.

"He took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States ... [and then] engaged in that insurrection after taking his oath," Judge Mathew wrote.

Lots, as they say, to unpack (and apply locally) here. 

But let's start with the 14th Amendment. NPR's link above gets us the text:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. [Emphases added.]

And now this is the oath that St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano took when joining the Pennsylvania State Senate:

I do solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.

And here is evidence of Doug (and his wife, BTW) walking very close to The Capitol on January 6. He's in the yellow box:

This is after Doug (and his wife, BTW) crossed the barricades.

Now let's take a look at some of the passages of the ruling against Couy Griffin, that "Cowboys for Trump" guy:

The Court concludes that Mr. Griffin's crossing of barricades to approach the Capitol were overt acts in support of the insurrection, as Griffin's presence closer to the Capitol building increased the insurrectionists' intimidation by numbers. Mr. Griffin's marching with the mob all the way to the inaugural stage, knowing the mob’s insurrectionary purpose, likewise constitutes an overt act. (p.36)

Uh-oh, Doug.  Didn't you cross the barricades? 

Next paragraph from the ruling:

Mr. Griffin aided the insurrection even though he did not personally engage in violence. By joining the mob and trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds, Mr. Griffin contributed to delaying Congress's election-certification proceedings. The constitutionally- mandated proceedings could not resume until all members of the mob, including Mr. Griffin, were removed from the restricted area. (p. 36)

Double uh-oh, Doug.

I realize that there's no evidence of Doug Mastriano (or his wife, BTW) actually entering The Capitol building. Nor has there been (to my knowledge, at least) any legal action taken against either for trespassing on the Capitol grounds.

But just knowing that someone somewhere was barred from office (by way of the 14th Amendment) for participating in Trump's attempted coup warms my heart because I know it could (might not, probably not but it could) happen here.

Bottom line: State Senator Doug Mastriano violated his oath of office by participating in Donald Trump's extra-legal plan to remain in office after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.

And as such, he does not deserve to hold any public office anywhere ever again.

September 7, 2022

How About NOW, Doug? (Question For PA St Sen Doug Mastriano)

Yes, we all know that this happened this past week:

From the article:

While the rally was organized to bolster [Dr. Mehmet] Oz and Doug Mastriano, the GOP’s hard-line nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, it was Trump’s first rally since the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago club, and Trump spent part of the evening railing against it.

He called it “one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history” and “a travesty of justice.”

“They’re trying to silence me and more importantly they’re trying to silence you. But we will not be silenced, right?” Trump said.

And this was St Sen (and now GOP cand. for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's statement about the raid:

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.

Certainly parallel messages.

And on numerous times I've asked whether, in light of new allegations (and there are always new allegations), Doug would like to, you know, put some distance between himself and the twice-impeached coup-plotter.

Now is another time. From The Washington Post:

A document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about classified material stashed in the Florida property.

Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special-access programs, according to people familiar with the search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation.

Documents about such highly classified operations require special clearances on a need-to-know basis, not just top-secret clearance. Some special-access programs can have as few as a couple dozen government personnel authorized to know of an operation’s existence. Records that deal with such programs are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure compartmented information facility, with a designated control officer to keep careful tabs on their location.

But such documents were stored at Mar-a-Lago, with uncertain security, more than 18 months after Trump left the White House.

Now we all know Doug spent years in military intelligence. He has to know the importance of document security. We've also reminded him about the sensitivity of those SCIF rooms.

Will this be enough for Doug to say bye-bye to his best buddy Trump? I doubt it.

Those dozens of empty folders weren't enough:

We received yet more details Friday on the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago. One immediately stood out: According to the newly released inventory list, agents seized 48 folders bearing classified banners but which were nonetheless empty.

One box contained 43 such empty folders, while two other boxes contained two, and another contained one.

The new detail is tantalizing for a host of reasons, including that the separation of classified documents from their folders is something the National Archives has previously described as being “of most significant concern.”

So there's absolutely positively no reason to think that any evidence of any Mar-a-Lago based NATSEC breach will tear Doug away from his guy. They're stuck together like a stamp on a letter. Like birds of a feather, they stick together.

Doug and Don:

Don and Doug.

September 6, 2022

PA State Sen Doug Mastriano Gaslights About Trump

On no less sacred a day as 9/11.

Take a look:

Pearlman tweets that there's no record of:

And The Washington Post has a fact-check on the many many stories Trump told about seeing 9/11 "with his own eyes."

No, Donald Trump was not "a champion" on 9/11, Senator.

And for you to tell that crowd he was is simply a lie.

September 5, 2022

Well, Well, Look Who Showed Up!! Judge Patricia McCullough! Details Inside!

I've been doing some deep dives recently into some of the religious/social/political contexts framing St Sen (and now GOP Cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano and this morning I happened upon this from WHYY:

Typical Mastriano Christian Nationalist BS, right?

But look a few paragraphs down when you get to this:

A growing number of Republican lawmakers across the country are calling for Christianity to be explicitly intertwined with government affairs. One went so far as saying the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state shouldn’t exist. 

In Pennsylvania, the idea that religion should be part of governing has caught on with people beyond Republican lawmakers. Mastriano, Dush and the others were joined at last month’s rally by a sitting Commonwealth Court Judge, Patricia McCullough.

You do see where I'm heading? Don't you?

I'll let WHYY continue:

She talked with the crowd about Sir William Blackstone, an 18th-century English jurist who’s still cited by U.S. Supreme Court justices like Clarence Thomas in cases. 

Blackstone was a controversial figure in his time. As a member of the British Parliament, he supported things like the Stamp Act, which drew condemnation from people like Thomas Jefferson. 

McCullough, formerly the head of Catholic Charities in the Pittsburgh diocese, summarized Blackstone’s legal theory:

“Blackstone taught that all law is based on the natural law, and the natural law is based on the divine law of God, and that any law that doesn’t comport with those laws is not a valid law,” McCullough said before leading the crowd in prayer.

Here's a snippet of what the good Judge had to say:

And here's a partial transcript:

And what did this Justice Blackstone teach about the law? 

He's still cited by the United States Supreme Court in their opinions. 

Blackstone taught that all law is based on the natural law and the natural law is based on the divine law of God and that any law that doesn't comport with those laws is not a valid law.

Very fitting if you're looking to impose the religious dogma of but one sliver of the population on everyone else.

Who defines what "natural law" is? How about "divine law" then? A Christian gatekeeping "divine law" will make very different choices from a Buddhist (or an Atheist) attempting the same thing.

Frighteningly, I think that's the whole point for Mastriano's Christian Nationalist crowd. 

Have you remembered where you've seen the name "Patricia McCullough" yet?

I'll give you a hint.

Got it now? Judge Patricia McCullough, who says that the only valid laws are those that "comport" with divine law, is married to a man who is currently doing time for multiple charges of theft and misapplication of funds:

Former Allegheny County Councilman Charles P. McCullough has been ordered to comply with his prison sentence next month following his recent loss at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

McCullough, who was convicted of multiple charges of theft and misapplication of funds, has a hearing in front of Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman set for April 6 to comply with his 2½- to 5-year prison sentence.

What part of "divine law" did McCullough's husband break?

Did you know that the story of Chuck's crimes gets even closer to Patricia?

From the Post-Gazette:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report revealed that Ms. Jordan was upset by a number of political contributions that had been made in her name to Republican candidates — county council members Vince Gastgeb, Jan Rea and Susan Caldwell, and Cheryl Allen, then a candidate for Superior Court. In the story, she said the donations were orchestrated by Mr. McCullough.

“The donor was saying it was against her will to give such a donation,” Mr. Goetz testified.

At the time, Mr. McCullough’s wife, Patricia, was serving as the executive director of Catholic Charities, and just before the annual Bishop’s Dinner in May 2006, she announced that their fundraising goal of $600,000 had been met after a $10,000 donation was made by one of her husband’s clients.

How convenient for her to achieve the fundraising goal! And just before the annual Bishop's Dinner, no less? Must've been divine intervention, right?

Or a felony, which is what it was.

Oh, and one more thing:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed a Republican lawsuit seeking to invalidate the state’s mail-in ballots on Saturday evening, the latest legal defeat for Donald Trump in his unprecedented effort to overturn the result of the 2020 election. 

The latest Pennsylvania lawsuit, led by Republican congressman Mike Kelly, was unanimously rejected by the state’s Supreme Court judges, who described it as an “extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the general election”. 

 Five of the seven judges argued the case should be dismissed because the challenge had come too late, considering that the absentee voting procedures in the state had been established a year ago. 

The court’s decision overturns an earlier hold on the state’s certification process made by Commonwealth Court judge Patricia McCullough.  [Emphasis added.]

Yep, that was her, too.

September 2, 2022

Stop The Assault On American Democracy (Local Mastriano Edition)

From President Biden's speech last night:

And here, in my view, is what is true: MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution.  They do not believe in the rule of law.  They do not recognize the will of the people. 

They refuse to accept the results of a free election.  And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

And in Pennsylvania's:

I’m Doug Mastriano, and I get to appoint the secretary of state who’s delegated from me the power to make the corrections to elections, the voting logs and everything. I could decertify every machine in the state with the stroke of a pen via the secretary of state.

And from The Hill:

Mastriano emerged from obscurity to become the “GOP legislator most loyal to Trump.” Between November 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021, he posted election disinformation on his Facebook page more than 100 times. Biden’s win, Mastriano claimed, was “statistically impossible.” He advocated decertifying Dominion voting machines and requiring all citizens in the state to re-register to vote. Mastriano introduced a bill in the state senate rejecting the certification of Pennsylvania’s presidential election results. He asserted that Vice President Mike Pence should not accept Electoral College tallies. Mastriano used campaign funds to charter buses to take Trump supporters to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and attended the rally himself. He continues to view Joe Biden as an illegitimate president.

President Biden:

MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.

And in Pennsylvania:


The hosts asked Mastrianio if gay marriage should be legal. “Absolutely not,” he answered, citing the Old Testament. “I’m for traditional marriage. And I am not a hater for saying that. It’s been like that for 6,000 years,” he said, invoking the Bible: “It was the first institution founded by God in Genesis, and it needs to stay that way.”

The hosts also asked Mastriano if same-sex couples should be able to adopt children. “No,” he replied. And Mastriano was even more adamant when asked whether gender identity should be added to the nation’s anti-discrimination laws. “Absolutely not,” he insisted. “That’s madness.” 

President Biden:

They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.

And in Pennsylvania:

In one of his regular Facebook livestreams, Doug Mastriano in 2020 approached armed men next to a Confederate flag and thanked them for “being vigilant” in supposedly protecting Robert E. Lee’s statue at Gettysburg. He also praised someone for wearing a half-American, half-Confederate flag, saying he “can't think of a better cape.”
President Biden:

They look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th — brutally attacking law enforcement — not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger to the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots.

And in Pennsylvania:

 State Senator Doug Mastriano took this oath:

I do solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.

When he first became State Senator. It's an oath he betrayed the minute he joined Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Through his actions and words, he is a clear threat to American Democracy. He is certainly a clear threat to all of our rights and liberties.

September 1, 2022

More On Mastriano's Security Detail!

Carter Walker has an update on St Sen (and now GOP cand for PA Gov) Doug Mastriano's security detail!

If you'll recall, Walker posted this piece about the detail about 2 weeks ago.

Last night an astute reader sent me the latest from Carter:

Almost big enough for three Barber Shop Quartets!

Let's see if we can find more images of Doug's Dougettes.

Like this one:

Or this one:

Or this one:

Or this one:

Or this one:

So the guy with the white chin-beard is named Mark Driver?

Like this guy?

Or this guy?

Hey, here's Mastriano security guy Mark Driver with disgraced treasoner Mike Flynn!

And another with insurrectionist oath breaker Doug:

You get the picture.