Democracy Has Prevailed.

September 29, 2023

President Joe Biden, Patriot

The President gave a speech yesterday in Arizona.

Give it a listen:

Give it a read.

Some highlights:

Let me begin with the core principles. Democracy means rule of the people, not rule of monarchs, not rule of the monied, not rule of the mighty. Regardless of party, that means respecting free and fair elections; accepting the outcome, win or lose. (Applause.) It means you can’t love your country only when you win. (Applause.)

Democracy means rejecting and repudiating political violence. Regardless of party, such violence is never, never, never acceptable in America. (Applause.) It’s undemocratic, and it must never be normalized to advance political power.

And democracy means respecting the institutions that govern a free society. That means adhering to the timeless words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” A mission statement embodied in our Constitution, our system of separation of powers and checks and balances.


And there is something dangerous happening in America now. There is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs in our democracy: the MAGA Movement.

Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans, adhere to the MAGA extremist ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with Republicans my whole career. But there is no question that today’s Republican Party is driven and intimidated by MAGA Republican extremists. Their extreme agenda, if carried out, would fundamentally alter the institutions of American democracy as we know it.

My friends, they’re not hiding their attacks. They’re openly promoting them — attacking the free press as the enemy of the people, attacking the rule of law as an impediment, fomenting voter suppression and election subversion.

Did you ever think we’d be having debates in the year — stage of your careers where banning books — banning books and burying history?

Extremists in Congress — more determined to shut down the government, to burn the place down than to let the people’s business be done.

And so on.

September 27, 2023

Donald Trump, Fraud.

From The NYTimes:

A New York judge ruled on Tuesday that Donald J. Trump persistently committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets, and stripped the former president of control over some of his signature New York properties.

From The Washington Post:

A judge overseeing a $250 million lawsuit against Donald Trump ruled the former president and his company committed fraud by inflating his net worth in business transactions, narrowing the scope of what the state’s attorney general must prove at an upcoming civil trial.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron also ordered the cancellation of Trump business certificates and imposed sanctions on attorneys representing him, two of his adult children, two other company executives and the business for repeating arguments that failed multiple times previously and were called “borderline frivolous.”

You can read the ruling here.

Then there's this also from The NYTimes:

The ruling came as part of the New York attorney general’s civil case against Mr. Trump. The attorney general, Letitia James, has accused the former president of fraudulently overstating the value of his assets on annual financial statements by as much as $2.2 billion a year in order to receive favorable terms on loans and benefits.

In the ruling, the judge, Arthur F. Engoron, agreed that Mr. Trump committed fraud when he sent those statements to banks and insurance firms. A trial in the case could start as soon as Monday; if Mr. Trump does not successfully have the ruling reversed before then, the proceeding will largely focus on the size of the penalty against him. Ms. James is seeking a fine of $250 million.

For instance, and this is from the ruling:

This Court takes judicial notice that the Trump Tower apartment in which Donald Trump resided for decades (the Triplex ) is 10,996 square feet. Between 2012-2016, Donald Trump submitted SFCs falsely claiming that the Triplex was 30,000 square feet, resulting in an overvaluation of between $114-207 million dollars. The misrepresentation continued even after defendants received written notification from Forbes that Donald Trump had been overestimating the square footage of the Triplex by a factor of three.

In opposition, defendants absurdly suggest that the calculation of square footage is a subjective process that could lead to differing results or opinions based on the method employed to conduct the calculation. Well yes, perhaps, if the area is rounded or oddly shaped, it is possible measurements of square footage could come to slightly differing results due to user error. Good - faith measurements could vary by as much as 10-20%, not 200%. (p. 21) [Italics in original.]

And followed closely by

A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living
space of decades, can only be considered fraud. (p. 22)

And so on. 

He's a fraud. And has been for a long long time.



September 18, 2023

Meanwhile, Outside

Science from the scientists at NOAA

The August global surface temperature was 1.25°C (2.25°F) above the 20th-century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F), making it the warmest August on record. This marked the first time an August temperature exceeded 1.0°C (1.8°F) above the long-term average. August 2023 was 0.29°C (0.52°F) warmer than the previous August record from 2016, but the anomaly was 0.10°C (0.18°F) lower than the all-time highest monthly temperature anomaly on record (March 2016). However, the August 2023 temperature anomaly was the third-highest anomaly of any month on record. August 2023 marked the 45th-consecutive August and the 534th-consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average. 


The January–August global surface temperature ranked second warmest in the 174-year record at 1.06°C (1.91°F) above the 1901–2000 average of 14.0°C (57.3°F). January–August 2016—another year with El NiƱo conditions—holds the record for the warmest such period on record by just 0.03°C (0.05°F) above the current year-to-date anomaly. Global ocean surface temperature during this January–August 2023 period ranked warmest on record. According to NCEI's statistical analysis, there is a 95% probability of 2023 ranking among the two warmest years on record.


And yet, from Scientific American:

Conservative activists and politicians in states across the country are trying to limit or distort the teaching of climate science to schoolchildren, marking a growing front in the culture war against social movements over race, gender identity and the environment.


In Ohio, legislators are expected to pass a bill that could require colleges and universities to teach “both sides” of climate change. A member of a local school board in Pennsylvania sought to block the use of a climate-themed novel in middle school because, he said, it was “propaganda.” Meanwhile, classroom content by a far-right group that produces animated videos that denigrate climate action is being approved for use in schools in numerous states.

You can read about the Pennsylvania part of the story here.

But of course everything's bigger in Texas:

Perhaps nowhere are climate lessons being reshaped by conservative politicians more than in Texas, where members of the education board have tried in recent years to block programs that teach about reducing greenhouse gases, emphasizing instead the benefits of fossil fuels. The state education board is now deciding whether it will block textbooks that accurately portray climate science.

Of course. 

Meanwhile its getting hotter out there. The science says so.


September 12, 2023

Wendy Bell - 9/11 Truther?

So I saw this on the cesspool formerly known as Twitter yesterday:

If I'm reading this right (and I'd like to think I am), I have to assume Wendy Bell, anti-vaxxer, election-denier, climate science denier, is also a 9/11 truther.

Who'd a thunk it??

The 9/11 conspiracy theory that Wendy so obediently spews is this: Since you can't see any evidence of a plane hitting The Pentagon, American Airlines Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon. Therefore it must've been a cruise missile and therefore it must've been an inside job.

Of course, just like the rest of the spew that flows like a river out of Wendy's gob, this is BS.

Some questions for Wendy:

If Flight 77 did not hit The Pentagon, where did it go? What happened to the 50 or so passengers?

Did you know, Wendy, that among the passengers was Barbara Olson, prominent conservative pundit and wife of the then Solicitor General of the US, Ted Olson? Where did she go?

Science (meaning reality, Wendy) has the answer:

The remains of five people killed in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon were damaged beyond identification in the massive explosion and fire after a hijacked airliner crashed into the building's west side, officials said.

Investigators have identified remains of 184 people who were aboard American Airlines Flight 77 or inside the Pentagon, including those of the five hijackers, but they say it is impossible to match what is left with the five missing people.

Has had for decades.

Here's some more reality for you, Wendy:

Footage from two Pentagon security cameras outside the building shows the American Airlines flight crashing into the Pentagon. The footage was released by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2006 after conservative government watchdog Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request two years earlier, the Associated Press reported

And then there's this:

There's the plane, Wendy.

September 11, 2023

In Case You Missed It - Sandra Weyer. Who?

This sentencing memorandum was filed in Federal Court on 9/8/23. It starts:

The United States of America, by and through its attorney, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, respectfully submits this sentencing memorandum in connection with the above-captioned matter. For the reasons set forth herein, the government requests that this Court sentence Sandra S. Weyer to 30 months’ incarceration, the high-end of the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range; three years of supervised release; $2,000 in restitution; and the mandatory $170 special assessment. 


The defendant, Sandra S. Weyer, a 60-year-old mother of two and high school graduate, participated in the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol—a violent attack that forced an interruption of the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count, threatened the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential election, injured more than one hundred police officers, and resulted in more than 2.9 million dollars in losses.

Note: she was found guilty in June.

She also did this:

Another Mastriano supporter, Sandra Weyer, has been charged with unlawfully entering the Capitol on Jan. 6. Federal authorities say she encouraged other rioters to “mace” a New York Times photographer who was being attacked by two rioters. Weyer was also at the eastern doors leading to the rotunda on Jan. 6, not far from Clarkson. She entered a not guilty plea after she was indicted in February.

You can read about the assault on the photographer here.

She's good people, no?


So why am I directing your interest to the soon-to-be sentenced Sandy Weyer?

This is why:

So. Any comment, Senator?

For the record, her sentencing memo contains this information:

     Weyer’s frustrations motivating her to storm the Capitol began in the days leading up to the attack on January 6, 2021, in her home state of Pennsylvania. Upset over the election results, Weyer participated in rallies and protests to decertify the election in favor of her chosen candidate.

     When those lawful efforts failed to achieve her desired result, Weyer and her associates decided to come to Washington, D.C. They drove a van approximately three hours from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. Weyer, who was in the front passenger seat, led her group in chants of “four more years!” during the drive. She recorded and   published her trip to her Facebook Live followers on social media in real-time. See Government’s Trial Exhibit 202.2. [Emphasis added.]

Evidently not in one of Doug's rented buses. 

For the record.

But still, any comment Senator? One of your followers, someone photographed with you, has been found guilty of crimes committed in the Capitol on January 6 and could be facing more than a year in jail.


And please, will someone in the otherwise very capable Pennsylvania press corps stick a microphone in Doug's face and ask him about this? Or about anything else having to do with January 6? 


September 6, 2023

Meanwhile, Outside

From the scientists at NOAA:

The July global surface temperature was 1.12°C (2.02°F) above the 20th-century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F), making it the warmest July on record. This marked the first time a July temperature exceeded 1.0°C (1.8°F) above the long-term average. July 2023 was 0.20°C (0.36°F) warmer than the previous July record from 2021, but the anomaly was 0.23°C (0.41°F) lower than the all-time highest monthly temperature anomaly on record (March 2016). July 2023 marked the 47th-consecutive July and the 533rd-consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average.

Climatologically, July is the warmest month of the year. As the warmest July on record, July 2023 was more likely than not the warmest month on record for the globe since 1850. The past nine Julys have been the warmest Julys on record.


From NASA:

Global climate change is not a future problem. Changes to Earth’s climate driven by increased human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are already having widespread effects on the environment: glaciers and ice sheets are shrinking, river and lake ice is breaking up earlier, plant and animal geographic ranges are shifting, and plants and trees are blooming sooner.

Effects that scientists had long predicted would result from global climate change are now occurring, such as sea ice loss, accelerated sea level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves.

And so on.

September 1, 2023

Wendy Bell - WHAT Is She Thinking?

Let's start here with my good friends at Wegner's Groceries:

WB: Ruby Freeman was complicit via video evidence of counting ballots with no election supervision for hours. And it just so happened that after those hours of tabulated those ballots, no matter how much they want to normalize, "We keep suitcases of completed ballots under this table every election. That wasn't a USB drive. Those were breath mints."

Is Wendy Bell not aware that there were Republican poll watchers there that night?

There were:

Central to claims of fraud is the insinuation that poll watchers, especially Republicans, were not allowed to watch the processing of ballots. This is not true; poll watchers were able to enter and monitor the facility at any hour.
And yet Wendy says that Ruby Freeman was counting ballots "with no election supervision for hours."

Something that Wendy Bell gets completely wrong.

Here's another. It's a big one.

Teams of investigators from the FBI, GBI, and Georgia SOS conducted independent and simultaneous interviews of Fulton County employees who were involved in the processing and scanning of absentee ballots at State Farm Arena on election night in November 2020. All employees interviewed provided a consistent account regarding how absentee ballots were processed and scanned that evening. Additionally, no one had any knowledge of observers, poll watchers, or the media being told they had to leave. Two poll watchers who identified themselves as members of the Georgia Republican Party had submitted affidavits as to what they observed on election night. Much of what they reported was consistent with what was reported by the Fulton County elections employees. Additionally, the Fulton County elections
employees’ accounts were consistent with the actions observed on the video surveillance footage. Both poll watchers confirmed that no one was told or instructed to leave State Farm Arena.

Furthermore, Investigators from three law enforcement agencies reviewed the entire unedited video footage of the events in question surrounding Freeman and Moss at State Farm Arena. There was no evidence of any type of fraud as alleged. Fulton County Board of Elections and Registration put specific processes in place to store ballot boxes underneath tables and to have them in a certain order to monitor and track ballots during the tabulation process so election workers would know where to begin the next day. No evidence was provided to show that Freeman or Moss deviated from that established process. The initial tabulation, the statewide audit involving a manual hand count of every ballot, and the machine recount reveal there was no evidence to suggest fraudulent ballots were scanned and counted in the final tabulated results for the November 2020 General Election in Fulton County.

Lastly, the FBI identified and interviewed the true creator of the Instagram account that reportedly contained a post by Freeman admitting she conspired to adversely affect the November 2020 election. The account creator admitted he created the fake account and confirmed the content that was posted on the account was fake.

All allegations made against Freeman and Moss were unsubstantiated and found to have no merit. [Emphasis added.]

The Georgia Secretary of State's office reported this on March 7, 2023 - almost 6 months ago. There's also the names of the Republican poll watchers in there, Wendy.

Finally, there's this about the USB drives:

The stark warning was entirely appropriate, and prescient. In addition to the examples Sterling identified, President Trump and his team were also fixated on Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss. He and Giuliani mentioned Freeman repeatedly in meetings with State legislators, at public rallies, and in the January 2nd call with Raffensperger. Referring to a video clip, Giuliani even accused Freeman and Moss of trading USB drives to affect votes “as if they [were] vials of heroin or cocaine.” This was completely bogus: it was not a USB drive; it was a ginger mint.

Page 44 of the report issued by The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, December 22, 2022.

2 Questions, Wendy:

  • Aren't you a little late with all this? The facts (and facts are stubborn things, y'know) have been out there for months and you're still getting them wrong.
  • Aren't you now a little afraid that you (and yer lil buddy Brock, of course) are going to be sued for defamation?