Democracy Has Prevailed.

June 28, 2023

Meanwhile, Outside...

Yes, we all know about Trump's legal difficulties and how the Supreme Court rejected the so-called "Independent State Legislature" theory.

But it's still getting warmer outside.

Take a look. This is some science from the scientists at NOAA:

May 2023 was the third-warmest May for the globe in NOAA's 174-year record. The May global surface temperature was 0.97°C (1.75°F) above the 20th-century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F). The past nine Mays have ranked among the 10 warmest on record. May 2023 marked the 47th consecutive May and the 531st consecutive month with global temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.

And, like always, the chart:

Then there's this for the three months March-April-May:

The March–May 2023 global surface temperature was 1.06°C (1.91°F) above the 20th-century average. This ranks as the third-warmest March–May period in the 174-year record and 0.10°C (0.18°F) cooler than the warmest March–May period (2016). The ten warmest March-May periods have all occurred from 2010 to present.

And finally, the year-to-date:

The January–May global surface temperature ranked fourth warmest in the 174-year record at 1.01°C (1.82°F) above the 1901–2000 average of 13.1°C (55.5°F). According to NCEI's statistical analysis, the year 2023 is very likely to rank among the 10 warmest years on record.
Yep. It's still getting warmer out there.

June 26, 2023

Michael Roman, Jack Smith, and...Doug Mastriano?

From The New York Times, this weekend:

Michael Roman, a top official in former President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 campaign, is in discussions with the office of the special counsel Jack Smith that could soon lead to Mr. Roman voluntarily answering questions about a plan to create slates of pro-Trump electors in key swing states that were won by Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a person familiar with the matter.


In the past few weeks, several witnesses with connections to the fake elector plan have appeared in front of a grand jury in Federal District Court in Washington that is investigating the ways in which Mr. Trump and his allies sought to reverse his defeat to Mr. Biden. Among them was Gary Michael Brown, Mr. Roman’s onetime deputy, who was questioned in front of the grand jury on Thursday.

Guess what? Take a look at  this from the AP in February of 2022 (by way of WITF):

A Pennsylvania state senator who was in regular communication with Donald Trump as the then-president sought to reverse his 2020 election loss, and was outside the U.S. Capitol the afternoon of the Jan. 6 rioting, was subpoenaed Tuesday by the congressional committee looking into the insurrection.

Sen. Doug Mastriano, a former Army officer currently seeking the Republican nomination for governor, was asked by the Jan. 6 select committee to hand over documents and information about efforts to name a slate of alternate Electoral College electors for Trump.

You can see the subpoena here

The AP includes this:

The Select Committee is seeking information about efforts to send false slates of electors to Washington and change the outcome of the 2020 election,” Thompson, the committee’s Democratic chairman, said in a statement. “We’re seeking records and testimony from former campaign officials and other individuals in various states who we believe have relevant information about the planning and implementation of those plans.

And then, in the very next paragraph, there's this:

The individuals subpoenaed on Tuesday include Michael Roman and Gary Michael Brown, who served as directors for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. The committee believes the two men reportedly promoted allegations of election fraud as well as encouraged state legislators to appoint false slates of electors. [Emphasis added.]

Obviously I have no knowledge of any of the discussions that are taking place/have taken place but with all these connections, what do you think the chances are that Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano's name will come up in one or more of them? 

What do you think, Senator? Any comments for the blog?

June 25, 2023

Mastriano Misunderstands Lincoln.

At his Facebook page (the "official" one that tags him as a "Government Official"), Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano posted this today:

Adding this comment:

While these words are typically attributed to President Lincoln, that is not a verifiable fact. Regardless of the author, this is a profound statement that we are seeing the reality of in our nation today. In the words of Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Well, it's good that Doug has at least made some sort attempt to be historically accurate. I'd like to think he posted the caveat because he knew I'd call him on it if he didn't.

I'd like to think that - but while I am pretty sure someone from his office reads this blog, I can't be sure it's Doug himself.

In any event, Doug's Lincoln quote issue pops up when you do search the history of the attribution.

Luckily Politifact has already done that:

[Lincoln] never said that. But it’s not too far afield of a real Lincoln quote. 

So where does it come from? And in what context?

That's where Doug's troubles start.

It's one of Lincoln's first major speeches, Politifact says:

On Jan. 27, 1838, Lincoln spoke before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, about "the perpetuation of our political institutions." During that address, he said: "At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

You can read the entire speech here. Probably something Doug should have done himself. You'll see in a minute.

Lincoln opens by saying that the topic of the speech is "the perpetuation of our political institutions."

Is Doug Mastriano so politically tone deaf that he doesn't hear the warning sirens? 

Lincoln sets the frame:

In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People, find our account running, under date of the nineteenth century of the Christian era. We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. 

And goes on to say that the founders (though he doesn't use that term) established this form of government and took it upon themselves to perform the task of protecting and passing it along to succeeding generations.

That's where Lincoln's quote comes in:

How, then, shall we perform it? At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

And it's the very next sentence of Lincoln's speech that exposes the danger of Doug Mastriano's politics. See if you can see it:

I hope I am over wary; but if I am not, there is, even now, something of ill-omen amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgement of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice. 

If you missed it, it's the part about substituting "wild and furious passions" for justice.

If you want to see more, Lincoln says this a bit later:

There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.

Lincoln's solution here is a deep respect for the rule of law:

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap---let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges;---let it be written in Primmers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;---let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars. [Emphasis added.]

Do you see why Doug should have avoided anything to do with this speech?  Even the misattributed quotations possibly paraphrased from it?

This is the man who was Trump's "point person" on the fake elector scheme set up to keep the loser of the 2020 election in power.

The architect of that scheme is currently facing disbarment in California.

He was there as Trump's mob stormed the Capitol.

And one of Mastriano's political aides was photographed a few feet away from Trump's mob pushing against a Capitol door.

I am thinking that "historian" Doug Mastriano utterly failed to understand Lincoln's point - either the real words or the misattributed ones.

June 21, 2023

Trump Confessed

It's right here:

From Intelligencer at New York Magazine:

Okay, so the government wants the boxes back, and Trump hasn’t gone through them all yet. So then he orders his aide to move the boxes to fool the Feds, exposing himself to even more serious criminal liability. Trump does not deny this to Baier!

From Rolling Stone

A week after his second post-presidential arrest, this one for his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House, Donald Trump turned to Fox News host Bret Baier on Monday to make the case for why he should lead the country again. But he ended up essentially confessing to the crime of which he’s accused: stealing and sharing top-secret government information. 

From Politico:

The comments from Trump are an admission that he did not move to satisfy the federal government’s demands that he comply with their requests to hand over the documents.

He confessed.

Lock him up!

Lock him up!

Lock him up!

June 19, 2023


From The Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862:

That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on XX at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

And then:

After President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, many enslaved people would remain in bondage for two and a half years. Even two months after the Confederacy surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse, slavery persisted in Texas. That is, until Union forces arrived to enforce the Proclamation.

In Galveston on June 19, 1865, U.S. Army General Gordon Granger issued General Order Number Three statings: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive in the United States, all slaves are free.” Later in December, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified to abolish slavery throughout the United States.

 You can read the original document here.

The US Army had to, in effect, invade Texas to enforce Lincoln's proclamation.

 Then this - The Thirteenth Amendment:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. 

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Ratified by the Congress on December 6, 1865.

June 14, 2023

Trump, In Miami With His Arms Folded.

From The NYTimes:

Donald J. Trump, twice impeached as president and now twice indicted since leaving the White House, surrendered to federal authorities in Miami on Tuesday and was arraigned on charges that he had put national security secrets at risk and obstructed investigators.

Mr. Trump was booked, fingerprinted and led to a courtroom on the 13th floor of the Federal District Court, where his lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

Lock him up! 

The Washington Post:

Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges that he broke the law dozens of times by keeping and hiding top-secret documents in his Florida home — the first hearing in a historic court case that could alter the country’s political and legal landscape.

“We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty,” Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche said at the arraignment in a small but packed courtroom, where Trump sat at the defense table scowling and with his arms folded for much of the hearing.

Flanked by two of his lawyers, Blanche and Christopher Kise, the former president listened impassively as U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman said he planned to order the former president not to have any contact with witnesses in the case — or his co-defendant, Waltine “Walt” Nauta — as the case proceeds.

Lock him up! 

The Guardian

Ex-president sat quietly during the 45-minute hearing, folding his arms and clenching his fingers, and occasionally grimacing...


Koltar, when he drowned in the swamp.

June 13, 2023

Trump's Appearance In Miami Today

Today's the day - in Miami:

Former president Donald Trump is expected to make his first appearance in a Miami federal courthouse Tuesday, after being charged with willfully retaining documents containing some of the country’s most closely guarded secrets — and lying and obstructing when federal officials tried to retrieve them.

The historic appearance marks the first time a former president has been indicted on federal charges. It is the second time Trump, who is again running for president, has been criminally charged since March, when he was indicted in state court in New York on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments from 2016. Trump has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Lock him up! 

Lock him up!

Lock him up!

June 12, 2023

Tuesday. Trump. Surrender. Tuesday

From The NYTimes:

The political world’s eyes will turn to the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday when former President Donald J. Trump is expected to surrender for his first appearance on charges that he illegally retained national security documents after leaving office, obstructed efforts to retrieve them and made false statements.

Read the indictment

Especially this part on page 3:

On March 30, 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) opened a criminal investigation into the unlawful retention of classified documents at The Mar-a-Lago Club. A federal grand jury investigation began the next month. The grand jury issued a subpoena requiring TRUMP to turn over all documents with classification markings. TRUMP endeavored to obstruct the FBI and grand jury investigations and conceal his continued retention of classified documents by, among other things:
a. suggesting that his attorney falsely represent to the FBI and grand jury that TRUMP did not have documents called for by the grand jury subpoena;

b. directing defendant WALTINE NAUTA to move boxes of documents to conceal them from TRUMP’s attorney, the FBI, and the grand jury;

c. suggesting that his attorney hide or destroy documents called for by the grand jury subpoena;

d. providing to the FBI and grand jury just some of the documents called for by the grand jury subpoena, while claiming that he was cooperating fully; and

e. causing a certification to be submitted to the FBI and grand jury falsely representing that all documents called for by the grand jury subpoena had been produced—while knowing that, in fact, not all such documents had been produced.

Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!

June 8, 2023

Now That STEVE BANNON's Been Subpoenaed By Jack Smith...

From NBC:

Former Trump White House official Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., in connection with special counsel Jack Smith's investigation into Jan. 6 and former President Donald Trump's efforts to stay in office, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The subpoena, for documents and testimony, was sent out late last month, the sources said. The grand jury investigating Trump's actions surrounding the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, and in connection with efforts to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power is separate from the grand jury in Miami that heard testimony Wednesday about his handling of classified documents.


Steve Bannon, an ally of former President Donald Trump and one-time chief White House strategist, has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury convened in special counsel Jack Smith's investigation into conduct surrounding the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, two sources familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News. 

Although he had left the White House before the 2020 presidential election and the Capitol attack, Bannon encouraged the former president's efforts to overturn the presidential election, and pushed  him publicly and privately to resist Joe Biden's presidency. 

There's no indication in the reporting when Bannon's testimony took/will take place. 

But we here at 2PJ have to wonder if this MAGA moment was discussed:

Former Trump political strategist and conservative host of "War Room" podcast Steve Bannon came to Gettysburg Thursday night to speak at the Adams County GOP Eisenhower Dinner.  

This was his first public appearance after the U.S. House voted to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of court when he declined to comply with a subpoena to testify about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Wait for it... 

Before the event, Bannon spoke with Adams County GOP Chair Charlotte Shaffer for his "War Room" news show.

The pair spoke about the 3 November movement, a Trump-centered Republican movement seeking to prove election fraud.

“One of the reasons I accepted the gracious invitation of Charlotte Shaffer, the chairman, was that this was the railhead of where 3 November started, the counter reaction, the great conference,” Bannon said on War Room.

Bannon was referring to an event in Gettysburg at which former Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani publicly protested the election results. Mastriano organized that event as a member of the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee.

Did you see it? It's the last sentence.

As I wrote in October, 2021:

According to Bannon, the movement started at Mastriano's conference in Gettysburg. And that's the movement that stormed the Capitol on January 6.  

And Bannon's been subpoenaed to discuss the January 6 attack on the Capitol - a movement Bannon himself said started at Mastriano's Gettysburg meeting in November of 2020.

State Senator Mastriano, I have a question for you:

Do you think your name will come up in the discussion?

June 6, 2023

Doug Mastriano's Latest Mis-Information Meeting

Take a look:

We've done this before, haven't we?

Yes, we have.

But let's take a look at the "experts" PA State Senator is having in this discussion.

Dr Peter McCullough

The AFP wrote this about McCullough in November 2021:

A video has been shared repeatedly on social media that shows American cardiologist Dr Peter McCullough urging Malaysia to dismantle its Covid-19 vaccination program because vaccines are purportedly unsafe and create virus mutations. The claims — many of which have previously been debunked by AFP — are misleading, according to experts.

The nine-minute and seven-second video was posted here on Facebook on September 25, 2021.

The video shows Dr Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist who has previously been exposed for promoting virus misinformation, speaking to the camera about the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines.

And the link in that piece leads here:

Video of a cardiologist claiming that there is no reason for healthy people under the age of 50 or those who have recovered from Covid-19 to be vaccinated against the virus has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media. But medical experts say younger people should be inoculated because they can still be affected by the virus, and that the shots also benefit those who have already had the disease.

And some facts from the AFP:

Healthy people younger than 50 do not need a Covid-19 vaccine: FALSE

The CDC says on its website that risk of severe disease from the novel coronavirus increases with age, but National Center for Health Statistics data shows that people under age 50 account for four percent of deaths involving Covid-19.

And a March 26, 2021 article in Science also found that by mid-August 2020 “the resurgence in the United States was largely driven by adults 20 to 49 years of age.”

Olivier Schwartz, head of the Virus and Immunity Unit at the Pasteur Institute, told AFP by phone: “It is obvious that people under 50 who are in good health should be vaccinated” because they can still be affected by the disease.

That was back in April of 2021.

So Dr McCullough has been spreading Covid misinformation for some time now.

Attorney Thomas Renz

This is what The Washington Post (by way of The Seattle Times) had to say about attorney Renz:

In one of dozens of recent media appearances, Ohio attorney Thomas Renz was claiming that coronavirus vaccines were more harmful than the virus itself. “The people that are dying are vaccinated,” he said on a conservative online talk show in July.

As Renz spoke, a message flashed across the screen with his website address. “Donate to his cause,” it urged.


Renz’s quick public ascent illustrates how promoting misinformation about the pandemic can be an effective fundraising tool and lead to renown within the portion of the country that remains suspicious of coronavirus vaccines, despite their general acceptance by the medical and scientific communities. The legal challenges are similar to the courtroom wrangling that followed the presidential election, when groups supporting former President Donald Trump raised money and made headlines by filing lawsuits — or promising to file them — based on dubious claims of widespread election fraud.

Oh, and there's this:

Anti-vaccine groups, conspiracy theory enthusiasts and far-right media have embraced him, and his best-known client, the group America’s Frontline Doctors, calls him part of a “Legal Eagle Dream Team.”

So he's been spreading Covid misinformation for some time.

Steve Kirsch

This is what Politifact had to say about Steve Kirsh: 

Kirsch’s presentation said: "Pfizer vaccine kills more people than it saves." 

There is no evidence that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has caused death. Available data indicate just the opposite: Vaccines are overwhelmingly effective at preventing death and serious illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.

We rate the post Pants on Fire!

That was back in September 2021.

Steve Kirsch has been spreading Covid misinformation for some time now.

Graham Hetrick

This is what ABC27 wrote about Graham Hetrick:

The Dauphin County Coroner is an outspoken critic of mask mandates and believes the COVID vaccines aren’t safe. Public health officials say arguments like these are dangerous.

And Lancaster Online

Hetrick also told ABC27 that he doesn’t wear a mask, saying “this is uncomfortable, and it’s not a good thing to do.” He added that he’s not getting a vaccine since he already had COVID-19, and that “God vaccinated me … As a matter of fact, it might be more harmful for me to have the vaccine.

He's also not a doctor.

That was back in August of 2021.

Graham Hetrick has been spreading Covid misinformation for some time.

Yea, that's PA State Senator Doug Mastriano "expert panel" set to discuss "Medical Freedom."