Democracy Has Prevailed.

February 28, 2023

Rupert Murdoch In The News

The New York Times:

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the conservative media empire that owns Fox News, acknowledged in a deposition that several hosts for his networks promoted the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald J. Trump, and that he could have stopped them but didn’t, court documents released on Monday showed.

“They endorsed,” Mr. Murdoch said under oath in response to direct questions about the Fox hosts Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, according to a legal filing by Dominion Voting Systems. “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight,” he added, while also disclosing that he was always dubious of Mr. Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud.


In the heat of the moment, right after Election Day 2020, media magnate Rupert Murdoch knew that the hosts on his prized Fox News Channel were endorsing lies from then-President Donald Trump about election fraud.

And he did nothing to intervene to stop it.

The Washington Post:

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News’s parent company, acknowledged in a deposition that “some of our commentators were endorsing” the baseless narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen — and that he wishes the network did more to challenge those conspiracy theories.

And while it's not exactly about Rupert Murdoch per se, there's this from MSNBC:

Let’s call it “Silence of the Sham.” 

Howard Kurtz, who covers the news media for Fox News, said Sunday that his company is preventing him from discussing the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems, a company baselessly linked to election fraud by former President Donald Trump and in Fox News coverage. 

Fox is apparently getting tight-lipped after a Dominion court filing revealed that several of the conservative network’s hosts, including Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, privately admitted in text messages that Trump’s election fraud claims were false while simultaneously fanning the conspiracy theories on their shows. 

No election fraud. Fox News endorsed the lies about the non-existent election fraud. Fox News won't let Howard Kurtz report on it.


February 27, 2023

I Thought Doug Mastriano Had A PhD IN HISTORY

If he did, then why did he post this on his FB page this weekend?

Notice anything wrong? Not with the text - the image. Specifically the flag in the image.

It's this flag:

Still don't see the problem?

Count the number of stars. It's 6 rows of 8 stars each row. That's 48 stars.

In the US Flag, the number of stars in the blue field represents the number of states in the union.

And since Hawaii was admitted to the Union in 1959, there have been 50 states, not 48.

The Gulf War was fought in 1991.

It's the wrong flag.

This is the correct flag:

How could a PhD in History not know this?

Perhaps the image (looks like a painting to me) is a metaphor of some kind. An American serviceman from the pre-1960 past (as indicated by the 48-star flag) is acknowledging the serviceman from 1991.

But then that changes the meaning of the image from what Doug was looking to present, doesn't it?

I am sure there are thousands of other images Doug could have used but he went with this one - one with an anachronistic flag. It's still a big mistake for a PhD in history to make.

And if you think this isn't a big deal, just imagine if a Democrat were to use the wrong flag to commemorate the Gulf War.

February 24, 2023

Meanwhile, Outside

Some climate science from the climate scientists at NOAA:

January 2023 was the seventh-warmest January for the globe in NOAA's 174-year record. The January global surface temperature was 1.57°F (0.87°C) above the 20th-century average of 53.6°F (12.0°C). January 2023 marked the 47th consecutive January and the 527th consecutive month with global temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.

And of course, the chart:

And that's made things weird.

From CBS News:

Scientists are reluctant to blame any single weather event on climate change but Heidi Roop, Ph.D, a climatologist at the University of Minnesota, says the larger patterns are what she looks at and all of them tell us winter weather is getting warmer and less reliable in the era of climate change. 

"What we are experiencing, as whole, in aggregate, is what we expect from climate change," she says. "That volatility, that unpredictability, that weirdness, if you will, is climate change," adds Roop.

But this idea is not new. Take a look at this report from the WWF (the World Wildlife Fund - NOT the pro-wrestling organization, as if you needed a reminder) report from September, 2000:

We conclude that the effects of emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases on the global climate are becoming increasingly visible. This includes changes in temperature, precipitation, sea level rise, atmospheric circulation patterns, and ecosystems. For many areas on Earth these changes are becoming manifest through changes in the frequency and the intensity of extreme weather events. We conclude with reasonable but no absolute confidence that human induced climate change is now affecting the geographic pattern, the frequency, and the intensity of extreme weather events. (pg 1)

Or this paper from 2008

Climate change will increase the recurrence of extreme weather events such as drought and heavy rainfall. 

And so on. 

As things get more extreme, just remember that climate scientists have been saying for decades that the weather will be getting more extreme.

February 22, 2023

It's 2023 And Doug Mastriano Is STILL Pushing Vaccine Misinformation

Take a look:

See that line across the top of the image? It reads:

Senator Doug Mastriano Retweeted

That means he saw it and wanted others to see it as well. And with that he's pushing more vaccine disinformation.

But let me just first offer sincere kudos to Charlie Kirk for misspelling Peter McCullough's name. Shows a deep deep respect for the facts over there. Bravo.

Next, do we have to say again that Peter McCullough is not an epidemiologist? He's not an expert in Covid or the Covid vaccines. In fact he's been debunked by such experts.

And then there's the science about myocarditis and the vaccines.

For instance, take a look the abstract from this paper. There's this:

Background: Myocarditis is more common after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection than after COVID-19 vaccination, but the risks in younger people and after sequential vaccine doses are less certain. [Emphasis added.]

And this:

Conclusions: Overall, the risk of myocarditis is greater after SARS-CoV-2 infection than after COVID-19 vaccination and remains modest after sequential doses including a booster dose of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. However, the risk of myocarditis after vaccination is higher in younger men, particularly after a second dose of the mRNA-1273 vaccine.


Or the abstract from this paper:

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are safe and effective. Systemic side effects of the vaccines are usually mild and transient. The incidence of acute myocarditis/pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination is extremely low and ranges 2-20 per 100,000. The absolute number of myocarditis events is 1-10 per million after COVID-19 vaccination as compared to 40 per million after a COVID-19 infection. Higher rates are reported for pericarditis and myocarditis in COVID-19 infection as compared to COVID-19 vaccines. [Emphasis added.]

Whah?? The chances of getting myocarditis is greater after getting Covid than after taking the vaccine? Does Peter McCullough know this? Does Doug Mastriano?

The only reason to fearmonger with this myocarditis story is to steer people away from taking the vaccine.

How many more people got sick/will get sick because they believed this?

February 21, 2023

St Sen Doug Mastriano STANDS UP For Free Speech (Well, Not Really)

Well, yesterday was Presidents' Day and MAGA patriot St Sen Doug Mastriano did his MAGA patriot duty and posted this on his Senatorial FB Page:

It's taken from the Newburgh Address, a speech given by Washington in 1783 to the officers in the Continental Army, counseling patients in the face of not being paid.

The address also contains this part:

And let me conjure you, in the name of our common country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the military and national character of America, to express your utmost horror and detestation of the man, who wishes, under any specious pretences, to overturn the liberties of our country; and who wickedly attempts to open the flood-gates of civil discord, and deluge our rising empire in blood. 

You can see why MAGA Doug, who participated in Trump's attempted coup on January 6, might not want to go with that quotation of George Washington. 

In any event, Doug is amplifying Washington's defense of free speech.

Good for Doug.

But I wonder where Doug is when this is going on in Pennsylvania:

More than 60 books have been challenged or are under review in the Central Bucks School District, according to district employees, spurring fears of censorship and questions about how the district will handle the volume of complaints.

Advocates for Inclusive Education, a group that has accused the district of wanting to chill classroom speech and bowing to conservative parents, posted a list of 60 books it said have been challenged now that the district has outlined rules governing its policy prohibiting “sexualized content.”

The list matched one provided to The Inquirer by a district employee. A second employee told The Inquirer they were aware of 59 challenges as of Tuesday.

Or this

More than 400 books are either challenged or banned at 11 different school districts in Pennsylvania as controversy over sociopolitical ideologies finds a new battleground in literary censorship.

The statistics come from the literary advocacy group PEN America, which says in its Banned Books Week 2022 report that texts are being restricted in an “unprecedented fashion," often through a coordinated effort by special interest groups.

A majority of the targeted books focus on sexual identity, race, and racism. In Pennsylvania, one school district, Central York, is responsible for 441 of the 459 bans (see full list of banned books in the Keystone State below). Pennsylvania has more banned books than every other state except for Florida or Texas.

Or this:

Pennsylvania is poised to become another battleground in the growing fight over teaching race and racism in public schools.

Two Republican state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would constrain how schools teach the concept of race — and the conflict over critical race theory, or CRT, will likely become a key part of the upcoming Pennsylvania governor’s race.

Constrain how something is taught? Doug, of course, is on the record with:

In apparent response to that wave of parent sentiment, Mastriano is proposing a slate of broad changes that would dramatically increase oversight of teachers. He wants “thorough review of district ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ plans” and the implementation of a “universal ‘Parental Rights’ statute in law.”

He also called for an “immediate ban on Critical Race Theory and Gender Theory studies.”

How is that not an assault on free speech?

Finally, there's this:

In the ongoing battle over school book bans in Pennsylvania and nationwide, one group is speaking with an outsized voice.

Founded in early 2021 in Florida, Moms for Liberty (M4L) has expanded since then and now has over 200 county chapters nationwide in 35 states. The organization currently claims over 200,000 members.

Originally focused on opposing mask mandates in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, Moms for Liberty quickly expanded its agenda to oppose LGBT-positive policies in schools, LGBT-themed materials in school libraries, what they believe is critical race theory in curricula, and many other diversity-positive issues related to schools and students.

The organization has seen success in Pennsylvania, with chapters in at least 27 counties across the commonwealth.


Among the districts in Pennsylvania that have banned books or are facing continuing efforts to initiate bans are Central York School District, Downingtown Area School District, East Stroudsburg Area School District, Eastern Lancaster County School District, Elizabethtown Area School District, Fairview School District, Franklin Regional School District, Kutztown Area School District, North Penn School District, Pennridge School District, and Wissahickon School District.
If Doug Mastriano were truly defending free speech, he'd be speaking out against the banning of books.

But he's not.

He's a free speech hypocrite.



February 20, 2023

So Fox News KNEW Trump's Dominion Story Was BS - Now What?

Took me a while but I read through this.

It's the recent filing by Dominion Voting against Fox News for defamation.

There's a lot in there but let's start here:

Fox broadcast false information. These lies fall into four categories , each provably false at the time . Fox falsely claimed : (1) Dominion committed election fraud by rigging the 2020 Presidential Election.(2) Dominion's software and algorithms manipulated vote counts in the 2020 Presidential Election (3) Dominion is owned by a company founded in Venezuela to rig elections for the dictator Hugo Chavez . (4) Dominion paid kickbacks to government officials who used its machines in the 2020 Presidential Election. (pg 6)

And it has a lot of evidence of Fox News false Dominion stories:

Fox has zero evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact on falsity. In discovery responses and binding corporate representative testimony, Fox has conceded falsity on Smartmatic ownership and Venezuela connections. On all other statements, Fox says it does not plan to contest falsity, except to say it plans to introduce evidence at trial that some votes were flipped, without further explanation. (pg 48-49)

So if I am reading this right, and I'd like to think I am, what's presented as evidence that Fox News knew it's own reporting of Dominion was, in fact, BS

Also, Fox will not be challenging, in court, the falsity of their reporting.

So Fox was wrong about Dominion. Dominion did not commit election fraud by rigging or shifting the votes.

Which leads me to this:

So Trump is wrong here and St Senator Doug Mastriano is wrong here.

And then there's this:

 Um, Doug? A lot of that is, in fact, "made up" - and it's been presented in a court of law as such.

Then there's this:

Again, completely not true.

And that's just the stuff about Dominion voting.

What about all the other false stuff Fox was spewing in 2020 (and beyond) regarding Trump's loss.

Will Doug Mastriano ever correct the record and tell the truth?

February 12, 2023

Facts Are, Indeed, Stubborn Things - More Facts About Trump's Very Real Loss In 2020

Here's a few tasty treats from yestiddy's Washington Post:

Former president Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign commissioned an outside research firm in a bid to prove electoral-fraud claims but never released the findings because the firm disputed many of his theories and could not offer any proof that he was the rightful winner of the election, according to four people familiar with the matter.

The campaign paid researchers from Berkeley Research Group, the people said, to study 2020 election results in six states, looking for fraud and irregularities to highlight in public and in the courts. Among the areas examined were voter machine malfunctions, instances of dead people voting and any evidence that could help Trump show he won, the people said. None of the findings were presented to the public or in court.

Of course, Pennsylvania was one of those states. And The Post goes on to say that the work was carried out "in the final weeks of 2020" before the January 6th insurrection.

And this was the scope of the research:

“They looked at everything: change of addresses, illegal immigrants, ballot harvesting, people voting twice, machines being tampered with, ballots that were sent to vacant addresses that were returned and voted,” said a person familiar with the work who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private research and meetings. “Literally anything you could think of. Voter turnout anomalies, date of birth anomalies, whether dead people voted. If there was anything under the sun that could be thought of, they looked at it.”

And then finally:

Senior officials from Berkeley Research Group briefed Trump, then-chief of staff Mark Meadows and others on the findings in a December 2020 conference call, people familiar with the matter said. 

So one more instance (as if we needed any more) when Trump was told he'd lost the election - and this was by a conference call that took place sometime in December, 2020. 

A date and time of which is, presumably, already known by DOJ in its investigation:

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

Prosecutors who are questioning witnesses before a grand jury — including two top aides to Vice President Mike Pence — have asked in recent days about conversations with Trump, his lawyers, and others in his inner circle who sought to substitute Trump allies for certified electors from some states Joe Biden won, according to two people familiar with the matter. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The prosecutors have asked hours of detailed questions about meetings Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign on Pence to overturn the election; and what instructions Trump gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states, the people said. Some of the questions focused directly on the extent of Trump’s involvement in the fake-elector effort led by his outside lawyers, including John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, these people said.

Hmm, let's see if there was an impact to that non-released report.

On November 27, 2020 PA State Senator Doug Mastriano introduced this legislation to the Committee on State Government.

The attached memo includes this reason for the legislation:

WHEREAS, postal employees in Pennsylvania have reported anomalies relating to mail-in ballots, including multiple ballots delivered to a single address with unfamiliar addressees, ballots mailed to vacant homes, empty lots, and addresses that did not exist.

Then there's this from Doug's FB page

And a search of the headline brings you here.
A forensic audit of Dominion Voting Systems machines and software in Michigan showed that they were designed to create fraud and influence election results, a data firm said Monday.

Neither one true, of course. Admittedly, this was before the December 2020 conference call in which Trump's own research team briefed him on how that wasn't true.

Good thing we have lotsa times Doug questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election after December 2020.

Like this one from July 7, 2021:

Governor Wolf and the Secretary of State refused to conduct any type of thorough investigation despite the concerns of millions of our citizens in the aftermath of the election and hundreds of affidavits alleging firsthand fraud, irregularities, and illegal behavior witnessed at polling places. 

Except that the firm hired by Trump himself could not find evidence of any such behavior - certainly not enough to overturn Trump's overwhelming loss. 

Any chance Doug Mastriano will be correcting the public record?

February 10, 2023

Trump's VP (Mike Pence) SUBPOENAED!

From The Washington Post:

Former vice president Mike Pence received a subpoena from the special counsel investigating key aspects of the sprawling probe into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and former president Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Jack Smith — the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the day-to-day operations of the investigation — is also heading a separate criminal probe into Trump’s possible mishandling of classified documents at his Florida home.

The Pence subpoena is related to Jan. 6, according to the person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. The subpoena comes after months of negotiations between the Justice Department and Pence.

 And then there's this a few paragraphs down:

The court-issued inquiry to Pence comes as Smith’s probe has been intensifying. In December, a grand jury issued a wide-ranging subpoena to Trump campaign officials, asking questions about Jan. 6 and who was footing their legal bills, The Washington Post previously reported.

The Post also reported that subpoenas were received in late November and December by local and state election officials in states that President Biden narrowly won and where Trump and his allies claimed there was fraud.

And yes, in case you were wondering, CNN has some more info on which states

Special counsel Jack Smith has issued a subpoena to local officials in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, for information related to the 2020 election, a spokesperson for the county told CNN.

“Yes, we received a subpoena from the Department of Justice’s special counsel regarding the 2020 election. We have nothing further to share or provide,” said Amie Downs, the county’s communications director.

The subpoena sent to Allegheny County is the latest in a string of requests for information sent by Smith, who is now overseeing the Justice Department’s sprawling criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Smith’s team has now sent subpoenas to local and state officials in all seven of the key states – Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – targeted by former President Donald Trump Trump and his allies as part of their bid to upend Joe Biden’s legitimate victory.

Those efforts included putting forward slates of pro-Trump electors and filing baseless lawsuits. CNN reported this summer that the DOJ issued numerous subpoenas and was seeking information in all seven states where Trump’s campaign convened the false electors as part of the effort to subvert the Electoral College. 


Doug Mastriano, the far-right Pennsylvania state senator who lost the governor’s race in November, has tapped another failed gubernatorial candidate to be his chief of staff.

Dan Cox, who was defeated in the race for Maryland governor, will commute to Pennsylvania to work for Mastriano. “I’m very honored to have the opportunity to continue on with a lot of the work we’ve been doing,” Cox told The Baltimore Banner on Thursday, confirming his appointment.

Mastriano and Cox are friends who counted each other as close allies during their respective bids for governor. Their legislative districts — when Cox still served in the Maryland House of Delegates — shared a border along the Mason-Dixon Line. Both organized buses on Jan. 6, 2021, to send supporters to the “Stop the Steal” rally that exploded into a violent attack on the Capitol. Both men attended an April 2022 gathering in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, hosted by followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory. And both men are ardent election deniers who earned endorsements from former President Donald Trump last year.

Mastriano lost to Democrat Josh Shapiro by 15 points in his governor’s race, and Cox lost to Democrat Wes Moore by 32 points.

Was my BFF Doug Mastriano among the Pennsylvania subpoenaed? Was he (or will he) be a topic of discussion for those who were?

Only time will tell.

February 5, 2023

"Historian" St Sen Doug Mastriano Uses A Mis-attributed Quotation

This morning St. Senator Doug Mastriano, who has PhD in History (though it was being investigated for academic fraud back in November) posted this on his official Facebook Page this morning:

 With the caption:

And now a word from our founder

I find it troubling that Sen Mastriano - again, a politician armed with a PhD in History - didn't actually research the quotation to see if it was, you know, real.

It is not.

And this is how I know: In his book "Respectfully Quoted" James Billington, the Librarian of Congress wrote:

Numerous sources cite this remark but it has not been found in Penn's writings.

An actual historian would have tracked down the quotation to make sure it had been verified.

Doug did not do his homework.

But let's move past this particular scholarly sin to what the statement itself.

As stated above, Sen Mastriano posted this on his official Facebook Page. It's not his personal FB page or one of the many campaign pages that popped up during his failed campaign for PA Governor. It's the FB page most closely associated with Doug Mastriano as a Pennsylvania State Senator.

And it's a profound statement against Freedom of Religion.

First it's a false dichotomy - that the only two choices are being "governed by God" or being "ruled by tyrants." Isn't it possible to be both?

Just ask any member of the LGBTQ+ community living in an area dominated by communities of faith. Or any women in those areas impacted by the Dobbs decision.

Ask them how free they feel being governed by someone else's definition of God.

Then there's this from the Supreme Court in 1943:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

The government simply has no authority to dictate or otherwise impose any religious tenet onto its citizens.

St Sen Mastriano, evidently, believes otherwise. And if he gets his way, that's tyranny.

February 1, 2023

Stormy Daniels Back In The News! (Revisiting The Trump/Daniels Pittsburgh Connection)

From NPR:

The Manhattan district attorney is presenting evidence to a grand jury that former President Donald Trump may have committed crimes in connection with hush money payments to an adult film actress in 2016, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

The move lays the groundwork for possible criminal charges against Trump, who has said he did nothing wrong.

The investigation stems from the revelation early in Trump's presidency that his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had made a deal in October 2016 with adult film star Stormy Daniels, who said she had an extramarital affair with Trump. Daniels received $130,000, and in exchange, she agreed not to discuss her story with reporters.

Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating campaign finance law in 2018 and went to prison.

As Cohen put it during a plea hearing, the payments were made "in coordination with, and at the direction of, a candidate for federal office." He said paid the money and arranged to be reimbursed $420,000 by Trump's company to cover his taxes. The company recorded the payments to Cohen as legal fees, which could constitute a crime in New York.

And, for the record, Ms Daniels is on record with this:

Do you remember the Pittsburgh connection to this story?

The alleged one night-ter occured, according to USAToday:

According to The Journal, Clifford has privately alleged the encounter took place after the two met at a July 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. That's a year after Trump married his third wife, Melania. The Journal previously reported that Clifford had been in talks with Good Morning America in the fall of 2016 about an appearance to discuss Trump, also citing people familiar with the matter. 

This is the important phrase in that paragraph: "July 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe."

This is where my blog post kicks in. Trump was teamed up with former Pittsburgh Steeler Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during that tournament.

In my follow-up post, I wondered:

All that aside, NONE of the above news sources caught the fact that Ben played at least one round of golf with Trump at that tournament. Was it before or after the sex? Did they partake in any "locker room talk" on the links? Has Trump at any point then or since said to Roethlisberger, "Hey, you know that blonde porn star I got you to walk home that night? Yea, I banged her. Me, 60 years old and I'm banging a porn star."

Because you can totally see him bragging that.

Can someone please put a camera in Ben Roethlisberger's face and ask him what he knows about this?

Did anyone ever ask Ben Roethlisberger what he remembers from that weekend?