Democracy Has Prevailed.

December 29, 2023

And Now There Are TWO.

From The Washington Post:

Maine barred Donald Trump from the primary ballot Thursday, becoming the second state to block the former president from running again because of his actions before and during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

And from the decision's conclusion:

I do not reach this conclusion lightly. Democracy is sacred, and the highest court of this State has repeatedly recognized that “no right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live.” I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection. The oath I swore to uphold the Constitution comes first above all, and my duty under Maine’s election laws, when presented with a Section 336 challenge, is to ensure that candidates who appear on the primary ballot are qualified for the office they seek.

The events of January 6, 2021 were unprecedented and tragic. They were an attack not only upon the Capitol and government officials, but also an attack on the rule of law. The evidence here demonstrates that they occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing President. The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government, and Section 336 requires me to act in response. I conclude that the Rosen and Royal Challengers have met their burden under 21-A M.R.S. § 337(2)(B). They have provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate the falsity of Mr. Trump’s declaration that he meets the qualifications of the office of the presidency. Therefore, as required by 21-A M.R.S. § 336(3), I find that the primary petition of Mr. Trump is invalid.

First Colorado and now Maine.

How many other states will recognize that since Donald Trump did, in fact, engage in insurrection, it is the Constitution itself that bars him from ever being president ever again.

December 28, 2023

And This Is The GOP'S 2ND CHOICE??

From The AP:

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was asked Wednesday by a New Hampshire voter about the reason for the Civil War, and she didn’t mention slavery in her response — leading the voter to say he was “astonished” by her omission.

Asked during a town hall in Berlin, New Hampshire, what she believed had caused the war — the first shots of which were fired in her home state of South Carolina — Haley talked about the role of government, replying that it involved “the freedoms of what people could and couldn’t do.” 

And from Politico

Nikki Haley declined to say that slavery was a cause of the Civil War on Wednesday evening, placing the blame, instead, on the role of government.

The former UN Ambassador and South Carolina governor, who has seen her star rise in the first-in-the-nation primary state, was appearing at a town hall event in Berlin, New Hampshire, when a voter asked her to identify the cause of the war.

“I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run,” she responded. “The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do. 

Here's the thing.  The AP states that the first shots of the Civil War were fired in South Carolina. That would be April 12, 1861 - The Battle of Fort Sumter. The issue had been boiling for sometime and we only need to look at South Carolina's own Declaration of Secession to see why:

The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

They were upset about this:

The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.  

Here fugitives=enslaved humans who escaped slavery and were seeking shelter in another state.

South Carolina said that those states had a constitutional obligation to return those "fugitives" and since they did not, " the constituted compact has been deliberately broken" and South Carolina could secede.

It was about protecting a state's right to enslave human beings. 

And this is supposed to be the GOP's "acceptable" alternative to Orange Jesus?

December 25, 2023

Christmas, 2023 (Looking Back at Christmas, 1940 and 1945)

It's December 24, 1940 and in the bottom left hand corner of the front page of the Pittsburgh Press, there was this: 

The President and Mrs Roosevelt, mindful of the Yuletide blackout in many countries abroad, devote this day before Christmas to traditional rites based on the creed “good will toward mankind.”Mr Roosevelt lights the community Christmas tree and delivers his annual Christmas greetings to the nation at 5:11 p.m. 

The Press reported that the greetings would be broadcast on WJAS – tucked between an afternoon drama and music by local bandleader Benny Burton.

This is how Roosevelt started the greetings: 

At this Christmastide of 1940 it is well for all humanity to remind itself that while this is in its name a Christian celebration, it is participated in reverently and happily by hundreds of millions of people who are members of other religions, or belong actively to no church at all. 


Sometimes we who have lived through the strifes and the hates of a quarter century wonder if this old world of ours has abandoned the ideals of the Brotherhood of Man. Sometimes we ask if contention and anger in our own midst in America are a portent of disunion and disaster. Sometimes we fear that the selfishness of the individual is more and more controlling in our lives.

When we are in those moods it is hard for us to keep from putting our tongues in our cheeks when we say "Merry Christmas"—for we think in thoughts of futility and not of hope. A few people are cynics all of the time; some people are cynics part of the time; but most people keep their faith most of the time.
That is why we must keep on striving for a better and a more happy world.

And then finally:

Let us make this Christmas a merry one for the little children in our midst. For us of maturer years it cannot be merry.But for most of us it can be a Happy Christmas if by happiness we mean that we have done with doubts, that we have set our hearts against fear, that we still believe in the Golden Rule for all mankind, and that by our works, as well as our words, we will strive forward in Faith and in Hope and in Love.

In that spirit I wish a Happy Christmas to all.

And five short/long years after President Roosevelt's last pre-war Christmas greetings, a different President addressed a very different nation in a very very different world.

The Pittsburgh Press published, in that same lowerleft hand corner of the paper this:

The sweeping, snow-covered south lawn of the White House will serve as a setting today as President Truman leads the nation in the first National community Christmas observance since 1941. Mr. Truman will light the national Christmas tree at 5 p. m. then in a nationally broadcast address, he will voice the nation's hopes and prayers at this first peacetime Christmas season in four years.

This time the speech was broadcast on all of Pittsburgh's radio stations. What followed on KQV was Captain Midnight and Tom Mix. By that point, on WJAS, Benny Burton had evidently been replaced by a juvenile serial named Cimarron Tavern.

Anyway, on that day, after all the death and destruction of the previous half decade, Truman said:

This is the Christmas that a war-weary world has prayed for through long and awful years. With peace come joy and gladness. The gloom of the war years fades as once more we light the National Community Christmas Tree. We meet in the spirit of the first Christmas, when the midnight choir sang the hymn of joy: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

It is, therefore, fitting for us to remember that the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of peace, of love, of charity to all men. From the manger of Bethlehem came a new appeal to the minds and hearts of men: "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another."

In love, which is the very essence of the message of the Prince of Peace, the world would find a solution for all its ills. I do not believe there is one problem in this country or in the world today which could not be settled if approached through the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.


With our enemies vanquished we must gird ourselves for the work that lies ahead. Peace has its victories no less hard won than success at arms. We must not fail or falter. We must strive without ceasing to make real the prophecy of Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."


With that message I wish my countrymen a Merry Christmas and joyous days in the New Year.

 And yet today in 2023:

At least 68 people were killed by an Israeli strike in central Gaza, health officials said Sunday, while the number of Israeli soldiers killed in combat over the weekend rose to 15.

Associated Press journalists at a nearby hospital watched frantic Palestinians carry the dead, including a baby, and wounded following the strike on the Maghazi refugee camp east of Deir al-Balah. One bloodied young girl looked stunned while her body was checked for broken bones.

The 68 fatalities include at least 12 women and seven children, according to early hospital figures.

December 20, 2023

From The Colorado Supreme Court

Read the ruling

Some highlights:

President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three; because he is disqualified, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the Secretary to list him as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot. (p. 8)

The Court held:

  • The district court did not err in concluding that the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, constituted an “insurrection.”
  • The district court did not err in concluding that President Trump “engaged in” that insurrection through his personal actions.
  • President Trump’s speech inciting the crowd that breached the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was not protected by the First Amendment. (p. 8)

And then there's this:

The question thus becomes whether the evidence before the district court sufficiently established that the events of January 6 constituted a concerted and public use of force or threat of force by a group of people to hinder or prevent the U.S. government from taking the actions necessary to accomplish the peaceful transfer of power in this country. We have little difficulty concluding that substantial evidence in the record supported each of these elements and that, as the district court found, the events of January 6 constituted an insurrection. (p. 100)

And this:

Finally, substantial evidence in the record showed that the mob’s unified purpose was to hinder or prevent Congress from counting the electoral votes as required by the Twelfth Amendment and from certifying the 2020 presidential election; that is, to preclude Congress from taking the actions necessary to accomplish a peaceful transfer of power. (p. 102)

Under any viable definition, the Court wrote, this constitutes an insurrection.

As an aside, there's this:

And President Trump continued to fan the flames of his supporters’ ire, which he had ignited, with ongoing false assertions of election fraud, propelling the “Stop the Steal” movement and cross-country rallies leading up to January 6. Specifically, between Election Day 2020 and January 6, Stop the Steal organizers held dozens of rallies around the country, proliferating President Trump’s election disinformation and recruiting attendees, including members of violent extremist groups like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and the Three Percenters, QAnon conspiracy theorists, and white nationalists, to travel to Washington, D.C. on January 6. (p. 107-108)
And one of those rallies was on December 12.

Guess who spoke there:


Back to the ruling:

We conclude that the foregoing evidence, the great bulk of which was undisputed at trial, established that President Trump engaged in insurrection.

Yep. He did.

In case you missed it. This is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment:

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

Good Morning.

December 19, 2023

More Mastriano Connections in The News...

By now we all know about the $148 million Rudy Giuliani now owes the two election workers in Georgia he defamed.

And how he was "featured speaker" at Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano's election misinformation hearing in Gettysburg in November, 2020.

Doug's connected to Rudy.

Any comment Doug?

Did you see this in The New York Times?

A pro-Trump group that organized the “Save America” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, lied to federal officials about President Donald J. Trump’s plans to call on the crowd to march to the Capitol, where the protest over his election loss turned into a violent riot, according to a new inspector general investigation.

Nearly three years after the mob laid siege to Congress, halting the certification of Mr. Trump’s electoral defeat and injuring more than 150 police officers, the Interior Department’s inspector general on Monday released a 47-page report examining the permitting process that allowed tens of thousands of Trump supporters to gather in Washington before the violence.

The report found that Women for America First, which organized a rally at the Ellipse about two miles from the Capitol on Jan. 6, “intentionally failed to disclose information” to the National Park Service “during the permitting process regarding a march to the U.S. Capitol.”

According to the investigation, Women for America First, which is run by Amy and Kylie Jane Kremer, a conservative mother-and-daughter team, repeatedly told Park Service officials there would be no march to the Capitol while privately planning for one.

And so what was Doug's connection? 

I am so glad you asked.

I wrote about it a little more than 2 years ago.

PA State Senator Doug Mastriano was listed as among the "Important Guests" for the Women for American First rally:

As I wrote back then:

So not only was he listed as among the "Invited Speaker & Featured Guests" at the rally, he was a completely different list of event "Important Guests."

Did Doug Mastriano know that the Women for America First lied to the Interior Department?  Does he have an explanation as to why he was, apparently, important enough to be featured in both rallies on January 6?

Any comment for the blog, Doug?

December 16, 2023

That's $148 MILLION!

Let's start here, at The NYTimes:

A jury on Friday ordered Rudolph W. Giuliani to pay $148 million to two former Georgia election workers who said he had destroyed their reputations with lies that they tried to steal the 2020 election from Donald J. Trump.

Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court in Washington had already ruled that Mr. Giuliani had defamed the two workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. The jury had been asked to decide only on the amount of the damages.

The jury awarded Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss a combined $75 million in punitive damages. It also ordered Mr. Giuliani to pay compensatory damages of $16.2 million to Ms. Freeman and $16.9 million to Ms. Moss, as well as $20 million to each of them for emotional suffering.

That's $148 million for spreading defamatory misinformation.

You can read the complaint here.

And regarding all those statements, Rudy did this:

Rudy Giuliani concedes he made defamatory statements about Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss in an effort to resolve their lawsuit against him and to satisfy a judge who has considered sanctioning him.

The late-night Tuesday filing from Giuliani says he doesn’t contest Moss and Freeman’s accusations that he smeared them after the 2020 election. Yet the filing says he still wants to be able to argue that his statements about voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 election were protected speech. Notably, he also refuses to concede that his statements caused damages to Moss or Freeman. 

But they did and now because he said them (continually) Rudy owes Moss and Freeman some serious $$$.

So Rudy's a big old liar when it comes to election denial.

Do I need to remind everyone that Rudy was a "featured" speaker at this hearing in November, 2020? 

At the request of Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York), the Senate Majority Policy Committee is holding a public hearing Wednesday to discuss 2020 election issues and irregularities. The hearing will feature former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 

Does PA State Senator Doug Mastriano have any comment regarding the fact that his November 2020 hearing's featured speaker owes more than a hundred million dollars for spreading election lies?

December 14, 2023

Hey, Look Who Was On Colbert Last Night!!

Take a look:

Yep. That's western Pennsylvania's very own Guy Reschenthaler.

The Washington Post has the story:

The House Rules Committee was considering whether to advance a vote on a formal impeachment inquiry to the House floor, which it did along party lines. In the course of the debate, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) had a pretty basic question for his Republican colleagues.

“What is the specific constitutional crime that you’re investigating?” Neguse asked Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.).

“Well, we’re having an inquiry so we can do an investigation to compel the production of witnesses and documents,” Reschenthaler said.

Neguse, who served as a House prosecutor during President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, pressed again: “And what is the crime you’re investigating?”

Reschenthaler responded merely, “High crimes, misdemeanors and bribery.” It was a reference to the constitutional threshold for impeachment, not a specific offense.

“What high crime and misdemeanor are you investigating?” Neguse asked.

“Look,” Reschenthaler said, “once I get time, I will explain what we’re looking at.”

Basically, they're saying that while they have the evidence of impeachable offenses, they have to impeach in order to have the inquiry to find the evidence of impeachable offenses.


The Post has some more:

Yet even when Reschenthaler did get time to expound shortly after the exchange, it still wasn’t so clear what the inquiry was about: Was there any reason to believe anything implicated Biden?

Reschenthaler began by pointing to Biden’s effort to get Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, fired.

“We have him on tape, dead to rights, bragging about shutting off aid to Ukraine in order to get a prosecutor — who’s actually probably the one guy in that government that wasn’t corrupt — that guy going after [Ukrainian energy firm] Burisma, which his son sat on the board of Burisma,” Reschenthaler said. “Quite amazing.”


How long has this been debunked?

At least this long. This was published October 3, 2019:

whistleblower complaint centering on President Donald Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president has spurred a number of allegations and counterallegations as Republicans and Democrats jockey for position amid an impeachment inquiry.

At the heart of Congress' probe into the president's actions is his claim that former Vice President and 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden strong-armed the Ukrainian government to fire its top prosecutor in order to thwart an investigation into a company tied to his son, Hunter Biden. 

But sources ranging from former Obama administration officials to an anti-corruption advocate in Ukraine say the official, Viktor Shokin, was ousted for the opposite reason Trump and his allies claim.

It wasn't because Shokin was investigating a natural gas company tied to Biden's son; it was because Shokin wasn't pursuing corruption among the country's politicians, according to a Ukrainian official and four former American officials who specialized in Ukraine and Europe.

And so on. 

And yet there was our Guy in DC, spreading the misinformation all over again.

December 7, 2023

Um...Sen Mastriano? Anti-Semitism? Really?

Let's just start here

With a 400% increase in antisemitic incidents following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas against Israel and recent reports of antisemitism on college campuses in Pennsylvania, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) is introducing legislation to end state taxpayer support for colleges or universities that enable antisemitism.

“State tax dollars should not be in effect subsidizing colleges and universities that enable antisemitic behavior,” Mastriano said. “My bill would end state taxpayer support for any Pennsylvania college or university that authorizes, facilitates or supports an event promoting antisemitism on campus.”

Mastriano’s bill would cut state funding for one year for any higher education institutions that participate in or otherwise support antisemitism.

While antisemitism in any form is morally reprehensible seeing something like this from PA State Senator Doug Mastriano is more than a little cringe-worthy.

First, he links to the ADL - the Anti-Defamation League - with seemingly little or no interest in some of the other things the ADL has reported.

Like this:

December 15, 2021

Gab CEO Andrew Torba claims he’s not an antisemite, but he tells a very different story via Gab’s Twitter feed and his personal Gab account. In October 2021, Torba engaged in multiple antisemitic tirades on Twitter and Gab, posting and sharing a wide array of bigoted content. These posts – which had the potential to reach millions of people via Gab’s 390,000 Twitter followers and Torba’s 3.3 million Gab followers – promoted a range of antisemitic tropes, such as Jews having dual loyalty to the U.S. and Israel, that Jews are to blame for the crucifixion of Jesus and that Jews control the U.S. government.

Gab, a self-described “free speech” platform, has a long history as a haven for antisemites, extremists and conspiracy theorists. Robert Bowers, the white supremacist who murdered 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, made numerous antisemitic posts on his Gab account in the weeks prior to the shooting. Three years later, antisemitic content persists on the platform, easily accessible within just a few clicks. Well-known antisemites like David DukeRick Wiles and Nicholas Fuentes maintain an active presence on the site.

And why should I bring up Andrew Torba and Gab? 

Well, there's this:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, is facing bipartisan criticism for his ties to Gab, a far-right social media platform, and its founder Andrew Torba, over the rife antisemitic commentary that exists on the site. 


Mastriano has had a formal relationship with Torba and Gab since at least April, when Mastriano’s campaign paid Gab $5,000 for “consulting” services, according to state records first published by Media Matters for America, a left-leaning watchdog organization that has documented the relationship between Mastriano and Torba.  

This was more than 3 years after Robert Bowers slaughtered 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Bowers did so after posting some anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on, you guessed it, Andrew Torba's Gab.

But wait. There's more from the ADL:

According to Torba, the Gab founder’s public affiliation with Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano began in May 2022, when Torba officially announced that Gab would be endorsing Mastriano and PA Senate candidate Kathy Barnette. Torba claimed that this announcement was a culmination of the work he has done over the past year in order to build “a coalition of Christian nationalists at the local and state levels.”

And what did Doug get for his five large?

Well, Rolling Stone has some info

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, appears to have paid the far-right platform Gab for followers. An investigation by Huffpost found that new accounts on the website automatically follow Doug Mastriano, exponentially increasing his follower count since he paid $5,000 in “consulting” fees to the platform in April. 

What sort of “consulting” Mastriano’s campaign received is unclear, but he is gaining an audience on the Nazi-loving platform. According to Huffpost, there are only seven accounts automatically followed by new users: Mastriano, Gab founder Andrew Torba, and a selection of right-wing media outlets. Since the payment was made in April, Mastriano’s follower base has grown from less than 3,000 to upwards of 37,000. 

After Doug's ties to Gab came to light, this happened:

On July 28, Mastriano responded to that criticism, attempting to distance himself from the site and its Christian nationalist founder, who said recently in a video that Christians are “done being controlled and being told what we’re allowed to do in our own country by a 2% minority.”

In a statement, Mastriano said Torba doesn’t speak for his campaign and he rejects antisemitism in any form. He said the recent criticism of his association with Gab was an attempt by Democrats to smear him and he attacked his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. 


In case you missed it, that "2% minority" controlling Christians "in our own country" is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory from Andrew Torba. Just in case you didn't know.

But let's step away from Gab and just look at Mastriano's relationship with Andrew Torba.

With this:

In July, following fierce criticism from Democrats and Jewish leaders, Republicans among them, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano issued a statement declaring that Andrew Torba, the self-styled Christian nationalist founder of the far-right social network Gab, "doesn't speak for me or my campaign."

Days earlier, however, Mastriano — who won the GOP nomination for governor with the backing of former President Donald Trump — accepted a $500 contribution from Torba, who has frequently posted antisemitic rants and declared Jews unwelcome in his far-right movement, per a campaign finance report released Tuesday and first reported by Politico's Holly Otterbein.

Did he ever return that five hundred bucks? Why did he accept it in the first place?

After learning all that, take another look at Doug's legislation.  

Laughable. Hypocritical. Typically Mastriano.