Democracy Has Prevailed.

January 31, 2023

ICYMI: This Is What's Happening

From the NYTimes:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday began presenting evidence to a grand jury about Donald J. Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The grand jury was recently impaneled, and the beginning of witness testimony represents a clear signal that the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, is nearing a decision about whether to charge Mr. Trump.

And for some context:

For prosecutors, the core of any possible case is the way in which Mr. Trump reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the $130,000 he paid Ms. Daniels and how the company recorded that payment. According to court papers in Mr. Cohen’s federal case, Mr. Trump’s company falsely identified the reimbursements as legal expenses.

The district attorney’s office now appears to be focusing on whether erroneously classifying the payments to Mr. Cohen as a legal expense ran afoul of a New York law that prohibits the falsifying of business records.

Violations of that law can be charged as a misdemeanor. To make it a felony, prosecutors would need to show that Mr. Trump falsified the records to help commit or conceal a second crime — in this case, violating a New York State election law, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. That second aspect has largely gone untested, and would therefore make for a risky legal case against any defendant, let alone the former president.


And then there's this from the AP:

Former President Donald Trump and his allies have been put on notice by a prosecutor, but the warning didn’t come from anyone at the Justice Department.

It was from a Georgia prosecutor who indicated she was likely to seek criminal charges soon in a two-year election subversion probe. In trying to block the release of a special grand jury’s report, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis argued in court last week that decisions in the case were “imminent” and that the report’s publication could jeopardize the rights of “future defendants.”

Though Willis, a Democrat, didn’t mention Trump by name, her comments marked the first time a prosecutor in any of several current investigations tied to the Republican former president has hinted that charges could be forthcoming. The remarks ratcheted anticipation that an investigation focused, in part, on Trump’s call with Georgia’s secretary of state could conclude before ongoing federal probes.

In case you missed it.

January 26, 2023

Some Clues As To WHY Bucks County Might NEED An LGBTQ+ Safe Space

Well, there's this:

Pride symbols and “safe space” stickers once decorated many classrooms and doors in Pennridge High School. Now, they’re gone.

“It’s like being queer was erased from Pennridge,” said Silas Nathan, a transgender and pansexual junior at the school in Upper Bucks County, in a recent interview.

At the start of the school year, the district adopted a new policy that prohibits staff from engaging in “advocacy activities” on school grounds. It bans teachers from displaying materials and “advocating” to students about “religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, social, political and geo-political matters” when not “applicable to the curriculum.”

“Everything feels way less safe,” Nathan said. “They’re trying to hide us in a way… they don’t want any LGBTQ representation anywhere.” 

Yea, read the whole thing.

And then there's this

A new Pennridge School District policy limiting student access to books and educational resources related to gender identity has ignited a battle over civil rights and safety in the Bucks County community.

The conflict came into public view this week when District leaders removed at least one book about LGBTQ identities, “Heather Has Two Mommies,” from all district elementary school libraries and sent an email notifying school officials that all books about gender identity should be removed from the shelves. 

 A few paragraphs later there's this:

Dr. Cheri Derr, director of pupil services for Pennridge, also sent new guidelines for school guidance counselors, social workers, and nurses on Dec. 15.

The new instructions discuss policies relating to LGBTQ issues, student pregnancies, and mental health, including directions for elementary school faculty to not  “discuss or use terms related to LGBTQ.”

And then finally there's this. After noting that the book bans were tied to recent updates in school board policy, WHYY points out:

Recent updates to the policy were reviewed by a conservative Christian law firm, Independence Law Center, as first reported by the Bucks County Courier Times. The Independence Law Center is the legal arm of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which is a statewide branch of the national organization Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist group designated as an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

And a few paragraphs later there's this:

Rich Ting, an attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania said that, based on the policy, Superintendent Abe Lucabaugh “has unilateral power to just remove a book,” and the regulations were designed to allow the board majority “to control whatever content they want to get out.”  

Followed a few paragraphs later by this:

The ACLU’s Ting said the list of challenged books “just confirms that the purpose of the policy was to target LGBTQ content.” 

So there may well be some very good reasons why Bucks County needs a "safe space" for it's LGBTQ+ youth. 

Ya think?




January 25, 2023

St Sen. Steve Santarsiero Responds To St Sen Mastriano!

Yea, this is continuing the story from yesterday's blog post.

While my "NO SHAKESPEARE FOR YOU" (with its Seinfeldian echoes) was a humorous take on a very serious issue, St Sen Steve Santarsiero responded to Sen Mastriano's anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry with great humanity.

His response can be found here in the Bucks County Herald.

He starts:

After receiving the gentleman from Franklin County’s memo late yesterday regarding “drag events,” I felt compelled to respond.

While I disagree with the gentleman’s proposal as a matter of policy, I take particular exception to his distorted characterization of the Rainbow Room’s Queer Prom, a dance specifically arranged for LGBTQ+ youth in Bucks County.

And explains what The Rainbow Room means:

The Rainbow Room, which Planned Parenthood established over 20 years ago to be a safe place for LGBTQ+ youth to come together and build self-esteem, first held the prom in February 2020.  


Many of these students do not feel accepted by their peers. Indeed, the Central Bucks School District, where many of these students attend school, is presently led by a board majority that has created an educational environment that is openly hostile to LBGTQ+ youth. So, having an organization like the Rainbow Room and an event like the Queer Prom can very literally save the lives of kids who otherwise experience feelings of depression and isolation.

 And so:

With this background, I hope you can appreciate why I was saddened and indeed angered when I read the gentleman’s co-sponsorship memo, which described the 2022 prom as “a sexually charged [sic] drag show.” I can only assume that this distortion, written by someone who was not present, is based on the fact that one student and one recent alum of the Rainbow Room dressed in drag and danced at the request of the prom committee. That can hardly be grounds for describing the hours-long prom as a “drag show.”

Not that the facts matter to Doug's slice of the MAGA crowd.

Will Sen Mastriano be correcting his factual error anytime soon?

Yea, silly question.

I'll let Sen Santarsiero have the last word. After pointing out that he'd received hate mail as a response to Doug's memo, he writes:

While no one likes ad hominem attacks, I have long ago learned that they are a sad part of public life in this era. But no LGBTQ+ child in this country should have to live with the hate that has been unleashed here. I only hope that as members of our State Senate, we can rise above ignorance and remember that we have a special obligation to stand up for the most vulnerable members of our society. [Emphasis added.]

January 24, 2023

St Sen Doug Mastriano on LGBT+ Youth: NO SHAKESPEARE FOR YOU!!!

When I wore a younger man's clothes, I remember hearing this:

When you ban something, you also ban the thing right next to it.

With that in mind, take a look at this:

This is how Doug defines "drag performance"

A drag performance is one where a performer "exhibits" gender identity that is not of the performer's birth origin and includes the use of clothing, makeup, or accessories to further embellish the gender identity of the performer's opposite sex.

In his next tweet, Caruso points out: 

Such a law would ban minors from drag shows; require they only be held on premises with specific lighting and layout requirements; and that the AG, DA, or a municipal solicitor could ask for a court to shutdown a show if in violation of any provision.

Huh. So I guess Shakespeare is out. Twelfth Night, specifically:

On the seventeenth century stage, with female roles taken by boys, the play was even more giddily fluid in its gender dynamics: Viola is in fact a boy playing a girl playing a boy for most of the play, indistinguishable from a boy playing a boy (Sebastian) and surrounded by boys playing women (Olivia and Maria) as well as men playing men. In Twelfth Night gender really is what a person makes of it, no matter the story beneath the petticoat or hose.

No Shakespeare for kids. Especially not since William Shakespeare wrote this for a man:

A woman's face with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;

Oh, the horror! The HORROR!

But I also wanted to take a closer look at Doug's memo. This part, in fact:

In October 2022, a sexually charged drag show for audience members as young as 13 was performed at the Rainbow Room in Bucks County and sponsored by local and state officials.
So what is this "Rainbow Room" in Bucks County?

This is:

The Rainbow Room is an LGBTQIA youth program that provides a supportive and empowering environment for youth ages 14-21. Weekly meetings are a free and confidential place where you can learn, build support networks, and have fun. 
And where is this room?

A program of Planned Parenthood Keystone, located at Salem United Church of Christ.

It's a program that provides a safe space for LGBT+ youth and its run out of a church.

Does Doug Mastriano really want to give the guv'ment the authority to restrict meetings (for whatever reason) at churches simply because the guv'ment doesn't like what's going on in there? 


January 23, 2023

Meanwhile, Outside

Some climate science from the climate scientists at NOAA:

December 2022 ranked as the eighth-warmest December in NOAA's 143-year record. The December global surface temperature was 1.44°F (0.80°C) above the 20th-century average of 54.0°F (12.2°C). December 2022 marked the 46th consecutive December and the 456th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.

And of course, the visuals:

That was for the month of December, 2022.

NOAA also has a report out for the the entire 2022:

The year 2022 was the sixth warmest year since global records began in 1880 at 0.86°C (1.55°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This value is 0.13°C (0.23°F) less than the record set in 2016 and it is only 0.02°C (0.04°F) higher than the last year's (2021) value, which now ranks as the seventh highest. The 10 warmest years in the 143-year record have all occurred since 2010, with the last nine years (2014–2022) ranking as the nine warmest years on record. Of note, the year 2005, which was the first year to set a new global temperature record in the 21st century, currently ties with 2013 as the 11th-warmest year on record. The year 2010, which had surpassed 2005 at the time, now ranks as the 10th-warmest year on record.

And now the chart for 2022:

Hey, you remember when local Pennsylvania right-wing nutjob Wendy Bell tried to use a snippet of the data (like the last decade or so) to show it's all a hoax?

That was only last week.

Meanwhile, it's getting warmer out there - no matter what Wendy Bell says.

January 20, 2023

Doug Mastriano Is Lying About Gov. Wolf And Covid. Again.

We're going wa-a-a-ay back to July of 2022.

This was well before St Sen Doug Mastriano lost the Pennsylvania Governor race by nearly 800,000 votes to the just inaugurated Josh Shapiro

On July 5 of 2022, Mark Levy, of the AP, published this:

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.

And this is what the researchers showed:

In the past two years, new research has piled up on how COVID-19 penetrated nursing homes.

The virus was largely introduced by asymptomatic workers in areas where the virus was heavily transmitted, researchers say. [Emphasis added.]

 And yet, this is what Doug published only yesterday:

On March 18, 2020, the Wolf administration issued the now famous directive to long-term care facilities to accept COVID-positive residents after release from hospitals. The ensuing fallout from the March 18 directive was predictable and tragic. This exposed our commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents to severe illness and death. By May, cases of the virus in nursing homes spread like wildfire. Roughly two-thirds of COVID deaths then were residents of long-term care facilities. In several counties, 100% of all COVID deaths at the time were in these very facilities.

So since the spread in nursing homes was traced back to the "asymptomatic workers" bringing the virus into the facilities - and not the returning patients - all of Doug's argument about Wolf's directive is, um, irrelevant, right?

And since it's been months since the AP article it's exceedingly fair to say that Doug is lying about COVID.



January 19, 2023

St Sen Doug Mastriano - Skipped Town To Avoid Winner's Inauguration Speech

From WESA:

Josh Shapiro was sworn in as governor on Tuesday before a crowd that included both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Notably absent was the man he defeated for the job: State Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Mastriano, who lost the 2022 election for governor by about 800,000 votes, took a personal day.

Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman announced Mastriano’s absence on the Senate floor. Mastriano was the only Senator who did not show up Tuesday.

While there's no legal expectation for a 790,000 vote loser to attend the inauguration of the candidate who won (by 790,000 votes), WESA quotes a GOP strategist who said:

“The difference here is that he is still a sitting member of the legislature. We haven’t had a situation like this,” Chen said. “And without further information, the seeming gist is that he may have missed votes because he didn’t want to be in Harrisburg the day that Josh Shapiro’s inaugurated. And that would just come off a little bit petty.”

So while there's nothing binding that says that Doug had to have been in Harrisburg that day (a patriot and someone who respects the process would've showed) Doug missed votes because he was a sore loser?  

Aw, Doug. How petty.

OTOH, perhaps it was a good thing (for Doug's fragile ego, at least) for him to skip Gov. Shapiro's inauguration speech.

Had be been there he would have heard Gov Shapiro speeching this:

Governor Wolf has led our Commonwealth and our residents through some of the most challenging times in our history — and he has done so with integrity, acumen, and an unwavering commitment to service.

Governor Wolf expanded health care to nearly 1 million Pennsylvanians, invested record amounts in our public schools, and modernized state government.

Thanks to his leadership we now find ourselves in the strongest financial shape in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, allowing us to make critical investments for tomorrow.

And this:

Because ultimately, in a functioning democracy, it’s your voices that should be heard in the halls of government.

The voices of people like Danielle, who has bravely told us her own story about her decision to have an abortion to save her life and who I’m honored to have on this stage with me today.

The voice of the grandma in Lawrence County who I met over 15 months ago in the first week of our campaign. She came up to me, grabbed me by my lapels, pulled me close, and in that stern voice that only comes from a grandma, looked me in the eye and said do not let us go back to what it was like before Roe.

And thanks to so many of you, we won’t.

And then finally this:

This work is more important now than ever, because over the last several years, we have been reminded of the fragility of our democracy. How we have to keep working at it, keep fighting to protect it.

Here in Pennsylvania, we didn’t allow the extremists who peddle lies drown out the truth. We showed that our system works and that our elections are free and fair, safe and secure.

Yea, I'm sure Snowflake Doug would not have been comfortable to hear any of that. Those had to sting.

But that wasn't the shadiest of the shade Shapiro threw. No, no, no.

This is:

From God’s Country to Gettysburg, I heard you when you said you want good schools for our kids, safe communities, and an economy that gives people a shot and lifts them up.

You also sent a clear message — Democrats, Republicans and Independents – when you came together to resoundingly reject extremism.

Together, hope defeated fear.

Um,  Gov Shapiro had to know that über-Christian Doug Mastriano's legislative district includes (now wait for it) Gettysburg, right?


January 17, 2023

Wendy Bell, Science Denier


Yesterday, St Sen Mastriano was peddling anti-vaccine BS (usually Wendy Bell's milieu) and now Wendy Bell is spreading climate science denial. What's the world coming to when you can't count on your favorite wingnuts to stay in their own wingnutty lanes?

Take a look:

Wendy is quoting from Steven Milloy, a well known Climate Science denier. So yea let's drop a few good facts into this discussion.

This is the image that Milloy is using as proof:

If you look up in the upper right hand corner, you'll see this:

So he's limiting his analysis to the last 7-8 years or so. Red flag right there. So easy to spot, too!

My guess is that he generated this image here - where you can load in the starting and ending points for the data.

For example, if I were to, say, go all the way back a century, this is what the graph would look like:


By limiting the data to the last few years, Milloy is committing what's known as a "lie by omission." He's not giving the full range of facts and so his audience will come away with an inaccurate picture of the truth. And by retweeting it, Wendy's participating in the lie.

Um, Wendy? Do you really want to retweet something so obviously inaccurate in an attempt to convince your audience that something that's not true is actually true?

Ha. I made a funny.

Of course she would. She's Wendy frickin' Bell, Angel of Death.

January 16, 2023

More Medical Misinformation From St Sen Doug Mastriano

Take a look here and then here.

As part of this push for this legislation, Doug posts:


And one of the reasons he gives is this:

Ah, yes. Those VAERS (not "VEARS") numbers. As we've seen numerous times with the misinformation coming from Wendy ("My husband's a doctor!" Bell, this is dishonest.

And here's why.

If you were to go to the CDC's VAERS (not "VEARS") page and were to actually go looking for the data, you'll find the CDC's disclaimer.

It starts with this:

VAERS accepts reports of adverse events that occur following vaccination. Anyone, including healthcare providers, vaccine manufacturers, and the public, can submit reports to the system. While very important in monitoring vaccine safety, VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. Vaccine providers are encouraged to report any clinically significant health problem following vaccination to VAERS even if they are not sure if the vaccine was the cause. In some situations, reporting to VAERS is required of healthcare providers and vaccine manufacturers.

VAERS reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. Reports to VAERS can also be biased. As a result, there are limitations on how the data can be used scientifically. Data from VAERS reports should always be interpreted with these limitations in mind. [Bolding in original.]

 Here's the part to keep in mind:

VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness.

And yet, that's exactly what St Sen Doug Mastriano did.

And then there's the myth of myocarditis/pericarditis danger from the vaccine. The CDC had this to say about it:

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis is inflammation of the lining outside the heart. In both cases, the body’s immune system is causing inflammation in response to an infection or some other trigger. CDC has published case definitions for myocarditis and pericarditis.

The severity of cases of myocarditis and pericarditis can vary. For most cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, patients who presented for medical care have responded well to medications and rest and had prompt improvement of symptoms. CDC is assessing long term outcomes of myocarditis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. Preliminary data from surveys conducted at least 90 days after the myocarditis diagnosis showed most patients were fully recovered from their myocarditis. [Emphasis added.]

Then there's this factcheck:

Cardiologists interviewed for this story told us based on their experiences with patients, vaccine-associated myocarditis appears to be less frequent and severe than myocarditis following SARS-CoV-2 infection in adults, young adults and children. They said patients arriving to the hospital with heart inflammation after an infection often get admitted in the intensive care unit and need advanced therapies to rescue them, including an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, a life support machine that takes over for a person’s heart and lungs.

“Post COVID-vaccination myocarditis, which has been shown to be less severe … typically does not require treatment and it runs its course. And does not require any other therapies other than just supportive care,” Dr. Joyce W. Wald, a cardiologist, medical director of the shock team and director of heart failure, transplant and mechanical circulatory support program at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, told us in an interview.

Dr. Matthew Elias, an attending cardiologist in the cardiac center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told us patients with heart issues triggered by COVID-19 go through a “very scary” and “life-threatening experience,” while those with myocarditis following vaccination are observed for a few days and their symptoms typically resolve with ibuprofen “or no medication at all, honestly.” “So very different experience room to room,” he said in a phone interview. Heart “issues are much more common, and they’re much more severe, with the infection compared to the vaccine.”

So myocarditis on its own can be quite severe but "vaccine-associated myocarditis appears to be less frequent and severe than myocarditis following SARS-CoV-2 infection in adults, young adults and children."

So, you have to ask yourself just how dishonest was Doug being here? 


January 14, 2023

Mastriano Does It Again!

Hey, you remember when Doug Mastriano did this, right?

He was boasting about some planned legislation that used, as funding, monies from the American Rescue Plan - a bit of federal legislation signed by President Biden and supported by absolutely no GOP members of the Congress.

Well, he's continuing that lil bit 'o' hypocrisy.

Take a look at this. It's dated January 12 and it starts thusly:

Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) today announced more than $10 million in state funding has been awarded to improve the water systems in Bear Valley and Biglerville Borough.

“One of the limited roles of government is to ensure residents have access to clean drinking water,” Mastriano said. “This investment will help deliver clean drinking water to residents in Bear Valley and Biglerville Borough for years to come.”

The first project was awarded $8.5 million to pay for three drinking water wells and 15,000 feet of water main at the Fort Loudoun Water Treatment Facility in Peters Township.


The second project was awarded $2 million to help the Biglerville Borough Authority replace 3,350 feet of water main and 1,250 feet of pipe along East York Street. The project also calls for the replacement of five fire hydrants.

Sounds good, right? 

Especially this part:

Funding for the projects is being provided through loans made available by PENNVEST, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. The $8.5 million low-interest loan awarded to the Bear Valley Franklin County Pennsylvania Joint Authority will cover the entire cost of the project in Peters Township. The Biglerville Borough Authority will benefit from a $2 million low-interest loan from PENNVEST. The loan together with a more than $110,000 grant provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will cover the total $2.1 million cost of the project.

But when you start digging into the details, you'll find this

Governor Tom Wolf announced the investment of $236 million for 25 drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater projects across 17 counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

And if you were to read down the page a bit, you'll find this:

Adams County

  1. Biglerville Borough Authority – received a $2,000,000 loan to replace 3,350 feet of water main with 8-inch ductile iron pipe and 1,250 feet of water service lateral.  The project will reduce system leakage and increase overall water flow


Franklin County

  1. Bear Valley Franklin County Pennsylvania Joint Authority – received an $8,500,000 loan to install three drinking water wells in Peters Township and establish an interconnection with the Fort Loudoun Water Treatment Facility.  The project will result in increased availability of water and improved reliability of service to the community.

You knew that Adams and Franklin counties are Doug Mastriano's legislative district, right? 

Whah? Is Doug Mastriano really trying to take credit for something that's coming out of Gov. Wolf's office?

January 13, 2023

Doug Mastriano's Attorney Responds! To ME!!

Hey, remember yesterday's blog post?

It was only yesterday so you probably should remember.

Anyway, it touched on some subpoenas sent out in early December. They were mostly about Trump's post-election loss fundraising but they also mentioned Trump's "fake elector" scheme.

And, as we all know, St Sen Doug Mastriano was named as the Trump White House "point person" for Pennsylvania (what an alliteration!!) for that scheme.

The headline of the blog post was ""Can Someone  PLEASE Ask Doug Mastriano About This?" and so I emailed the link to his attorney, Timothy Parlatore, Esq.

I asked: 

Any comment for the blog?

And he answered:

The Pennsylvania alternate slate of electors is clear on its face that it is an alternate slate, to be used in the event that the primary slate is invalidated. Any inquiry into “fake” electors in Pennsylvania is a waste of time.  

We've touched on this before, haven't we?

This is what was written at the head of the "fake elector" certificate from the good GOP folks in Harrisburg:

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

Other states also participating in the scheme started their certificates this way: 

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

So the PA GOP certificate added this:

..., on the understanding that if, as a result of a final non-appealable Court Order or other proceeding prescribed by law, we are ultimately recognized as...

Which is what Attorney Parlatore was referring to, as far as I can tell.

But given all that, you have to ask yourself, why did they feel the need to add that text?

Could this have been the reason?

In Pennsylvania, which Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, the Trump legal team's "point person" for this effort was Mastriano, according to The Times. Although a Trump loyalist who spread false claims of voter fraud, Mastriano had to be reassured that the scheme was not "illegal," per emails sent between the former president's campaign staff.

"Mastriano needs a call from the mayor. This needs to be done. Talk to him about legalities of what they are doing," Christina Bobb, a former on-air personality with the far-right One America News Network who assisted the Trump effort, said in a Dec. 12 email, referring to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. "Electors want to be reassured that the process is * legal * essential for greater strategy."

And given that Giuliani has already been subpoenaed to discuss this, the ground really hasn't shifted much at all, has it? 

But I'm not a lawyer but Dan Abrams is and this is what Jerry Lambe wrote at Dan Abram's "Law & Crime" website about Doug's involvement with Trump's "fake elector" scheme:

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican whose district surrounds Gettysburg, on Saturday announced that he and his colleagues in the GOP-led state legislature have planned to introduce a resolution to appoint a new slate of electors to cast the state’s Electoral College votes next month — in essence an attempt to undo the certified results of the 2020 election in his state.  Mastriano cited what he believes to be “mounting evidence” that the 2020 election was “compromised.”  Legal experts, who for weeks have noted that such an approach would violate the U.S. Constitution, immediately castigated Mastriano for continuing to back President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that he won Pennsylvania and somehow has a miraculous, viable path to electoral victory.

And then there was this:

Mastriano’s efforts would also be a violation of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that Congress set the date on which electors are to be chosen.

“That day this year was Nov. 3,” wrote Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig in a USA Today op-ed outright rejecting the theory. “And if any state selected its slate of electors on a day other than Nov. 3, it would violate federal law, and that slate could therefore not be counted.”

University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck, a constitutional law expert, said Mastriano’s “insane” comments were simply lies.

“Never in my life did I think that I’d see elected officials in the United States acting in such nakedly, indefensibly anti-democratic ways — and blatantly lying about why. It’s not going to matter, but this is insane — and anyone not condemning this nonsense is complicit in it,” he wrote.

Any comment, St. Sen Mastriano? Attorney Parlatore?






January 12, 2023

Can Someone PLEASE Ask Doug Mastriano About This?

From The Washington Post

A wide-ranging subpoena sent to Trump campaign officials last month shows new areas of investigative interest as part of the Justice Department’s extensive Jan. 6 criminal probe, according to a copy reviewed by The Washington Post, and lawyers say a grand jury focused on the day’s events and related fundraising has increased its activities in recent months.

The subpoena was received in early December, according to a former Trump campaign official who provided the document to The Post on the condition of anonymity because a criminal investigation is ongoing. The document seeks more than two dozen categories of information, and includes some questions that were not part of a series of similar subpoenas reviewed by The Post that were sent to several dozen people in September.

And then, a few paragraphs down there's this:

Much of what is in the subpoena received Dec. 9 is already known to be under federal investigation — and its wide-ranging request is potentially a sign the probe is far from complete. It asks for detailed information about the fake electors scheme orchestrated by Trump’s team, naming more than 100 of them in seven states that include Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico and Michigan. [Emphasis added.]

Fake electors scheme, you say? 

You mean this fake electors scheme described by the NY Times?

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

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

In emails reviewed by The New York Times and authenticated by people who had worked with the Trump campaign at the time, one lawyer involved in the detailed discussions repeatedly used the word “fake” to refer to the so-called electors, who were intended to provide Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Trump’s allies in Congress a rationale for derailing the congressional process of certifying the outcome. And lawyers working on the proposal made clear they knew that the pro-Trump electors they were putting forward might not hold up to legal scrutiny.


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

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

“Mastriano needs a call from the mayor. This needs to be done. Talk to him about legalities of what they are doing,” she wrote, adding: “Electors want to be reassured that the process is * legal * essential for greater strategy.” [Emphasis added.]

And we already know Rudy's been subpoenaed for this. In a piece from CNN on the Special Prosecutor's subpoena of Giuliani regarding post-election fundraising, there's this:

In addition to the financial inquiry, Smith’s office is also pursuing possible criminal cases around the Trump campaign’s use of fake electors in battleground states and the pressure on Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election’s result. In all of those schemes, Giuliani was a central player.

Gotta wonder if Doug's been subpoenaed. It would be absurd to assume that, even if he wasn't, he's going to be the topic of some line of questioning somewhere among those who were. 

Can someone please ask Doug Mastriano if he'd been subpoenaed?


January 11, 2023

Doug Tries To Deflect Blame For His Loss.

This morning, failed GOP candidate for PA Gov Doug Mastriano tweeted bit of childishness:

Good ole Tucker's referring to this piece in Red State which begins thusly:

Back in 2010, RNC Chair Michael Steele was heavily criticized and eventually lost his position because donors were angry about what they believed was luxurious spending on private jets, floral arrangements, chauffeur services, and member meetings in expensive tropical locales. Donors were used to frugality from the RNC under the George W. Bush administration, when “Karl Rove would bitch if there were flowers on the tables” and staff holiday parties were catered by Chick-fil-A.

Despite Joe Biden’s economy and three straight cycles of election losses, the RNC’s big-spending days are back with a vengeance.

Perhaps because of these losses both RNC donors and committee members are intensely interested in the committee’s finances, particularly the spending. Late last week, RedState was provided a report dated October 7, 2022 that examined RNC’s 2021-22 spending. It calculated more than $500,000 in private jet expenses, $64,000 at clothing retailers, and $321,000 in floral arrangements. 

Doug is, apparently, trying to get his many many acolytes to think that if only the RNC had spent some of that sweet sweet donor cash on him, he wouldn't have lost to Governor-elect Shapiro.

Yea, like any amount of cash would've made up for 790,000 Doug rejecting votes.


Apparently, Doug is trying to pin the blame of his humiliating loss on the RNC. Isn't the GOP the party of personal responsibility? Sure. Just like they're the party of law and order.

[Remonder: Members of Doug's political party stormed the US Capitol building a little over 2 years ago in order to stop the certification of the winner of the 2020 election.]

Back to our narrative. There's this from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Doug Mastriano and his allies often complained fellow Republicans were not doing enough to support his campaign for governor of Pennsylvania.

Mastriano’s fund-raising struggles were so dire that in late September, a top campaign adviser, Jenna Ellis, urged her Twitter followers to call the Republican Governors Association to demand more money for his campaign against Democrat Josh Shapiro.

Mastriano never did catch Shapiro in fund-raising and ended up losing the race by double digits. But in a final twist to Mastriano’s highly unconventional campaign, it turns out the Republican didn’t even spend all the money he did manage to raise. In fact, weeks after the election, Mastriano still had more than $1 million in his campaign account left unspent, according to a fund-raising report he filed last week. That’s about 15% of the money he had available for the general election.

But the state GOP has a little Doug-gripe of it's own, as shown in the Inky's next paragraph:

While it is unlikely that cash would have made a difference in his long-shot bid against Shapiro — who spent a whopping $66 million compared with Mastriano’s $7 million — some Republicans are now griping that the money could have helped the party’s candidates down ballot. Pennsylvania Democrats won a majority of seats in the state House for the first time in more than a decade.

“It’s one of the most irresponsible and selfish actions I’ve seen a candidate for office at any level take,” said Mark Harris, a Pittsburgh-based Republican strategist. “The potential loss of the House rests heavily on Doug Mastriano’s decision.”

Wait. So some in the state GOP blame Doug for losing all those seats in the state House?

And yet, even with all that back and forth, all that damage inflicted by Doug's "irresponsible and selfish actions" on the PA House GOP,  this happened:

State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) today announced he has been appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) to serve as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee for the 2023-24 legislative session.

The state of affairs in today's GOP.

January 9, 2023

This Is What Happened When The PA Republicans Pushed For More Voter Security

From the AP:

New data from Pennsylvania’s elections agency shows an early November state court decision that barred mail-in ballots without accurate handwritten dates on their exterior envelopes resulted in otherwise valid votes being thrown out.

The Department of State said this week more than 16,000 mail-in ballots were disqualified by county officials because they lacked secrecy envelopes or proper signatures or dates. Democratic voters, who are much more likely to vote by mail, made up more than two-thirds of the total canceled ballots.

Huh. That couldn't possibly be a coincidence, could it?? 

Not only that, but the AP has this:

But the Democrats’ much greater use of mail-in voting also meant they saw far more of their votes disqualified than did Republicans, independents and third party voters combined. Democrats had 10,920 votes thrown out, about half for lacking secrecy envelopes. Republicans saw 3,503 ballots forfeited. Independents and third parties amounted to 1,731 votes that did not count in the fall election.

So is it possible that Dr Oz and St Sen Mastriano actually lost by even larger margins than the official count?

And what would've happened if the count was much much closer? If Oz and Doug were ahead by a few thousand votes and those 16,000 mail-in ballots might actually have made a difference?

That scenario couldn't possibly be what the PA GOP has in mind, could it?

January 5, 2023

Happy Second Anniversary, Sen Mastriano!

According to this record from the White House switchboard from January 5, 2021 this happened:

10:10 to 10:13 pm: 

Operator infmmed (sic) POTUS that Senator Douglas Mastriano called; POTUS instructed operator to call back with Senator Douglas Mastriano; Talked Ok 10:10 PM (RES)

10:18 to 10:19 pm:

POTUS informed operator that Senator Douglas Mastriano will be calling in for the Vice Office: POTUS instructed operator to call back with Senator David Perdue 10: 18 PM (RES)

10:34 pm:

Operator relayed message from Senator Douglas Mastriano;

CNN has some context:

The committee also released call logs from the days leading up to January 6, 2021 painting a fuller picture of who the former president was speaking to as he and his allies were plotting for him to stay in office, the first time the panel is releasing White House call logs in their entirety.

The logs have been crucial to the panel’s investigation in piecing together a timeline of events. While the log for January 6 has a seven-hour gap, the committee has gone to great lengths to fill in that part of the timeline through witness interviews and other records.

The day before the US Capitol attack, Trump spoke to then-Vice President Mike Pence. After that conversation, Trump spoke with Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who helped fuel Trump’s election lies in the state, and then the switchboard operator left a note “that Senator Douglas Mastriano will be calling in for the Vice President.”

 Then there's this also from CNN:

Mastriano...signed a letter to former Vice President Mike Pence on January 5, 2021, asking him to delay certification of the electoral results on January 6.


What did Mastriano and Trump talk about the day before this happened?

Can someone please ask that champion of transparency that is Doug Mastriano?

January 4, 2023

Meanwhile, Outside

Haven't done one of these in a while.

From the scientists at NOAA:

The November 2022 global surface temperature departure was the ninth highest for November in the 143-year record at 0.76°C (1.37°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F). Despite ranking among the ten warmest Novembers on record, this November was the coolest November since 2014. November 2022 marked the 46th consecutive November and the 455th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.


The September–November 2022 global surface temperature was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th-century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F). This ranks as the fifth-warmest September–November period in the 143-year record, tied with the September–November periods of 2016 and 2018. The past ten September–November periods have been the ten warmest such periods on record.

It's still warming up out there.

January 3, 2023

January 6 Committee Transcripts. Some More Places To Find Doug Mastriano

We'll start from here, at WESA. In a piece titled:

How Doug Mastriano and Scott Perry were central to the Jan. 6 Committee’s investigation we find this:

Two Pennsylvania Republicans are key figures in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to the United States House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.

And this:

Mastriano, the committee claims, helped Trump’s cause by spending thousands of campaign dollars to bus people to the “Save America Rally” in Washington, D.C., and was on Capitol grounds as the insurrection unfolded.

They noted that Mastriano helped arrange Rudy Giuliani’s so-called election fraud “hearing” in Pennsylvania, during which he claimed – without proof – that Democrat Governor Tom Wolf helped rig the election.

And then this is how (now-suspended lawyer) Rudy Giuliani describes it in his own deposition..

Giuliani is asked this question:

After the Pennsylvania hearing, I understand that you went to the White House with a number of State legislators. Do you remember doing that? (p 64-65)

That would be Doug's November 25, 2020 hearing in Gettysburg. We've already talked about it. Many times.

And this is how Rudy answered:

Oh, yeah. That I think I can -- I don't think this is privileged. During the course of the hearing, the President spoke to them by Zoom or one of those things, like we're using. And he thanked them for having the hearing because at that point, that was quite a courageous thing to do, because we -- we had lawyers who were being threatened, were being thrown out of their law firms; we had people who were threatened with death, one of the lawyers in another case was threatened the death; we had legislators that to me told me they were frightened to hold the hearing because their career would be ruined and the local newspaper would destroy them. They wanted to hold the hearing but they were afraid.

And the leadership largely, in some of these legislatures, opposed it. Well, Doug Mastriano was the first to grant us a hearing, which was quite a breakthrough because when he did that, we got calls from the other legislators. So he had the courage to be the one to go first, which I appreciated a lot. I consider courage maybe the greatest virtue that a person can have.

And the President did too. So the President asked if he could be a witness at the hearing, and I said, it would be better if you called in, which he did.

Q He did call in. And then afterwards you guys went to the White House, correct, with a number of legislators?

A He invited them to the White House. He said, when you're finished, you're only in Williamsburg, why don't you come to the White House, which turned out to be quite a logistical nightmare because there were 200 people. I don't think he realized that.

Q Very briefly about the meeting at the White House, did anybody discuss the role of legislatures and potentially choosing their own electors during that meeting at the White House after the hearing in Pennsylvania?

A Well, the meeting at the White House was kind of helter-skelter. It took a long time for everybody to get there. It turned out that -- everybody was being tested for COVID at the time. It turned out that several or more than several of the people there had tested positive for COVID, including --

Q Understood. And, Mr. Giuliani, I don't mean to cut you off, but I'm not so much interested in the COVID technicalities of what was happening. Just my question was, do you remember the President or anybody else discussing the role of legislatures and the fact that they could choose their own electors in that meeting at the White House?

A I'm sorry, you really have to let me answer the question the way I want to, because when people just say I can't remember, other people say, Oh, they're just trying to hide something. I'm trying to point out to you, this was a very confusing meeting with a lot of things going on, and the mere fact that I can't remember if that was discussed is explainable by the fact that I was dealing with a COVID problem because it affected the Mastriano family. They had COVID, and I was with them for quite some time. And, in fact, I think that's when I actually might have contracted it.

But in any event, I was in and out of that meeting because there were a lot of logistical problems going on. I remember the meeting, if you -- I remember the meeting -- and I would not say this is attorney-client privilege. It was with a large group of people. I remember the meeting being more a thank you by the President for, you know, for doing what they did.

Q Holding the hearing?

A Yeah.

So, on the day Doug Mastriano (and some members of his family, apparently) met with Donald Trump in the White House, two things happened; Trump thanked him for that hearing and Doug tested positive for COVID-19.

Depending on how you read Giuliani's answer, the "Mastriano family" might have been the source of Rudy's own COVID-19 infection.

Wherever you look in the planning (or execution) of Trump's attempted coup in Pennsylvania, you find Doug Mastriano.

More to come.