Democracy Has Prevailed.

January 28, 2024

Has The FBI See This? (Wendy Bell Threatens Sitting US Senators)

From our good friends at Wegner's Groceries:

And a Wendy-transcript:

Y'all better be afraid out there on the left. All you Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Mitt Romney wannabe Republicans who are empty suits blowhards! Who've gotten real comfy screwing over the people of their districts and this country!

We are coming for you.

And for clarity, Wegner's adds this from Wendy's X feed:

Note: I am unable to view this image directly on X (formerly known as Twitter) because Wendy Bell, that champion of free speech and that enemy of cancel culture, has blocked me from her feed. She's also blocked me from seeing her Facebook page.

I guess I made momma mad.

What is she afraid of? Lil ole me?

Anyway, when I saw Wegner's tweet (are they even called "tweets" these days??) I wondered if it was illegal to threaten the life of a US Senator, as Wendy does above. 

But before I continue let me point out to Wendy (who once offered me a weekly spot on her little show) that John McCain died in August of 2018.  So she can't actually threaten his life, as he's already dead.

How does she not know this?

Anyway, I googled whether it's illegal to threaten the life of a sitting US Senator, as Wendy does above, and Findlaw states that US Code 18 section 879 has been used by law enforcement officials against those who "threaten those in the judiciary, members of the House or Senate, and other elected officials."

Uh-oh, Wendy.  The FBI might be knocking on your door soon.

Does Wendy Bell know she might be committing a felony by threatening the lives of Senators McConnell and Romney?

Does her lil' buddy Brock?

January 18, 2024

Non-Political Post

I don't do this often but this one's necessary.

From The NYTimes:

Peter Schickele, an American composer whose career as a writer of serious concert music was often eclipsed by that of his antic alter ego, the thoroughly debauched, terrifyingly prolific and mercifully fictional P.D.Q. Bach, died on Tuesday at his home in Bearsville, a hamlet outside Woodstock, N.Y. He was 88.

Damn. He was one of my heroes.

This was how, in 1982, my first music history teacher started discussing Sonata-Allegro form:

For my senior recital, in '85, I scraped together a brass quintet to play his Fanfare for the Common Cold. (S. 98.7).

I even got to interview him for The Post-Gazette in 2001, back when I was freelancing for the P-G. Back when the P-G had freelancers. Back before the staff went on strike.

But I digress.

Brilliant composer, brilliant parodist. Very funny guy.

And composer of perhaps the greatest quodlibet of all time:

But perhaps my favorite is this:

Essentially a parody of Copland's Lincoln Portrait. But listen to subtle shift in tone about 13:30 in.

Damn. He was a hero of mine.

January 12, 2024

Meanwhile, Outside

Some climate science from the climate scientists at NOAA:

The November global surface temperature was 1.44°C (2.59°F) above the 20th-century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F), making it the warmest November on record. This was 0.38°C (0.68°F) above the previous record from November 2015. November 2023 marked the 47th-consecutive November and the 537th-consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average.

And of course the scientists have charted the science:

Warmest November on record.

And then there's this:

The January–November global surface temperature ranked highest in the 174-year record at 1.15°C (2.07°F) above the 1901–2000 average of 14.0°C (57.2°F). This surpassed the previous record from January–November 2016 by 0.11°C (0.20°F). According to NCEI's statistical analysis and data through November, there is a greater than 99% chance that 2023 will rank as the warmest year on record.

99% chance this will be the warmest year on record. 

It's getting warmer out there. The science says so.

January 11, 2024

From The Philadelphia Inquirer - Editorial Page


There was a time when disgraced elected officials would at least resign for the sake of the institution and the public they served. But instead, taxpayers are stuck for now with the likes of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., York), and State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin).

Menendez was charged with taking bribes in return for using his power to benefit foreign governments. Perry and Mastriano violated their sworn oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, when they aided and abetted former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Hear, hear!

This is the oath Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano took:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity. 

And this is the oath Representative Scott Perry took: solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Each violated his respective oath.

January 7, 2024

The Past Has Never Died. It's Not Even Past. - Faulkner

We'll start here:

The Washington Post has some other reactions:

“Across much of the southern portion of the United States people were owned, bought, and sold by other humans. They were subject to whippings and other forms of inhumane discipline at the whims of those ‘owners,’” James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, wrote in an email. “The declarations of secession explicitly state that the seceding states were leaving the Union to maintain that system, and because many northern states were refusing to return escapees from that regime. This could not be ‘negotiated.’”

I'd like to ask some local Republicans that question.

For instance, this guy:

From Reuters:

Three years before retiring from the U.S. Army in 2017, Donald Trump-backed Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano posed in Confederate uniform for a faculty photo at the Army War College, according to a copy of the photo obtained by Reuters.

The previously unreported photo, released by the War College to Reuters after a request under the Freedom of Information Act, showed Mastriano in a 2013-14 portrait for the Department of Military Strategy, Plans, and Operations, where he worked.

Faculty at the time had been given the option of dressing as a historical figure, people familiar with the photo said. At least 15 of the 21 faculty in the photo opted to appear in regular attire. Although one man wears a trench coat and sunglasses and another carries an aviator's helmet, Mastriano is the only one wearing a Confederate uniform.

So what say you, Senator? Is Donald Trump right? Could the Civil War have been negotiated?

And BTW, how did you memorialize yesterday's anniversary? It was the 3rd anniversary of Trump's mob storming the Capitol. You saw it live as an eyewitness - both breaches of the building.

January 5, 2024


From the White House switchboard records of January 5, 2021:

This was the evening before Trump's mob stormed the Capitol and it was while Trump was still trying to convince Vice President Pence to stop the electoral vote count.

As I wrote 2 years ago, CNN had some context:

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

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

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

And then there's this from CNN:

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

This letter.

Curious thing about the "research" presented to the VP attached to this letter signed by (among many others) PA State Senator Doug Mastriano: It came from something called "The Amistad Project."

Take a look at this from The Washington Post:

A conservative legal organization that has filed lawsuits challenging the election results in five states has a tie to President Trump’s legal team, raising questions about the independence of what has appeared to be an endeavor separate from the president’s last-gasp legal maneuvering.

Senior Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis serves as special counsel to the Thomas More Society, which has filed lawsuits through the newly formed Amistad Project alleging problems with the vote in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Thomas More Society confirmed her relationship to the group but said she is playing no role in its election-related activities.

Some more info on Jenna:
Jenna Ellis, an attorney who served as an adviser on former President Donald Trump's 2020 campaign, pleaded guilty to a single count in the case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over alleged efforts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election.

Court filings showed Ellis agreed Monday to plead guilty to one felony charge of aiding and abetting false statements and writing. She appeared before Fulton County Superior Court Scott McAfee for her plea hearing Tuesday, and she agreed to serve five years probation, pay $5,000 in restitution, and complete 100 hours of community service.

And just a little more:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, has appointed Jenna Ellis, a former lawyer for the Trump campaign who worked to overturn the 2020 election, as a senior legal adviser, his campaign announced on Monday.

Amazing the connections Doug has to Trump's attempted coup, isn't it?

But back to the late night call between State Senator Doug Mastriano and then-occupant (now under multiple indictments) Donald Trump.

Senator, I'll ask again:

What did you two talk about?

Won't anyone else ask Doug this question?

UPDATE: I counted the years wrong. Oops. 

January 4, 2024

Sen Mastriano Taking Credit For Funds The GOP Rejected in DC

On his Facebook page, Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano linked to this article from a news source in central PA.

It starts like this:

Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) announced nearly $1.7 million in state grants have been awarded for water and sewer infrastructure projects in Franklin and Adams counties.

And a couple of paragraphs later there's this:

Two grants are being funded with money from the federal COVID-19 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that is disbursed through the H20 PA Program:

Ah...there it is. Did you see it?  Do you know why I am pointing it out?

Here's why. According to the Ballotopedia

No Republican House or Senate member supported the bill. 

Now do you get it? It wasn't in the article that Doug linked to, by the way.

Here's the bottom line: If Doug's GOP colleagues in DC had their way, none of the funds that Doug is touting would be available for anything.

He's taking credit for something the GOP fought hard to kill.


January 3, 2024

Senator Mastriano To Face An Ethics Inquiry!

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Sen. Art Haywood, a Democrat representing parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties and an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump’s, announced Tuesday that he will file an ethics complaint this week asking the state Senate’s ethics committee to investigate Mastriano’s role in trying to overturn Pennsylvania’s 2020 election.

And from PennLive:

[Sen. Haywood] said Mastriano needs to be held accountable for organizing and speaking at rallies to promote the idea that votes cast in that election were illegitimate, organizing a hearing at which unsworn testimony proven to be false was offered by Trump advisors, and among other allegations, being present on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol.

“All three branches of the federal government have referred to the events of January 6 as an insurrection and the participants in such events as insurrectionists,” Haywood said. “These are serious actions and conduct and statements, so serious that they require an investigation by the Senate of Pennsylvania to whether these actions violate Senate ethics rules and whether the consequences of such action warrant the highest consequence of expulsion or reprimand or censure.”

The Inquirer goes on to state that the complaint is based largely on this report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

In response, State Senator Doug Mastriano issued this statement in which he attacked Senator Haywood and CREW and while ignoring any of the facts.

Also, he included this:

What is truly unethical is a Senator using his bully pulpit to attack the freedom of speech of those he disagrees with.

But Senator, this is not about your freedom of speech, is it?

Take a look at some of the facts in that CREW report:

In the lead-up to January 6th, Senator Mastriano was one of former President Trump’s most
important state allies in his failed effort to overturn Pennsylvania’s presidential election results. The day after the Pennsylvania Department of State certified the general election results declaring Joe Biden the winner of the Commonwealth’s electoral votes, Mastriano and other GOP lawmakers hosted Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani at a “hearing” in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The hearing—which in reality was a town hall-type meeting—gave Giuliani, Mastriano, and former President Trump (who appeared by phone) the opportunity to perpetuate false claims that the general election had been rigged due to so-called voting irregularities in Pennsylvania and other swing states. These claims became part of the larger movement known as “Stop the Steal,” which was based on the false premise that the 2020 election was stolen and that the certification of the 2020 election and the transfer of presidential power needed to be stopped. This movement successfully mobilized and incited thousands of people from across the country to form a violent mob in Washington, D.C. to attempt to intimidate Vice President Pence and Congress to “stop the steal” on January 6, 2021.

Senator, this is "Act 8" from the Georgia Indictment:

On or about the 25th day of November 2020, RUDOLPH WILLIAM LOUIS GIULIANI and JENNA LYNN ELLIS appeared, spoke, and presented witnesses at a meeting of Pennsylvania legislators in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During the meeting, RUDOLPH WILLIAM LOUIS GIULIANI made false statements concerning fraud in the November 3, 2020, presidential election in Pennsylvania and solicited, requested, and importuned the Pennsylvania legislators present at the meeting to unlawfully appoint presidential electors from Pennsylvania. During the meeting, JENNA LYNN ELLIS solicited, requested, and importuned the Pennsylvania legislators present at the meeting to unlawfully appoint presidential electors from Pennsylvania. DONALD JOHN TRUMP joined the meeting by telephone, made false statements concerning fraud in the November 3, 2020, presidential election in Pennsylvania, and solicited, requested, and importuned the Pennsylvania legislators present at the meeting to unlawfully appoint presidential electors from Pennsylvania. These were overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy. [Bolding and CAPS in original.]

And by the way, "acts in furtherance of the conspiracy" are not protected by the First Amendment. And then there's this:

Mastriano also served as the Trump campaign’s “point person” in the Pennsylvania fake electors scheme, meaning he was the person the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee were in touch with about selecting a “fake” slate of electors. The fake electors scheme was vital to Donald Trump’s extra-legal January 6th strategy to pressure Vice President Pence to reject the legitimate Electoral College results. The idea was that by receiving multiple slates of electors from so-called disputed states, Pence would be able to falsely claim the results were in dispute and therefore either accept the fake Republican slates or send the issue back to the state legislatures for resolution. 

As the Select Committee found in its final report, the “fake elector effort was an unlawful, unprecedented, and destructive break from the electoral college process” and it “led directly to the violence that occurred on January 6th.”

Again, not protected by the First Amendment.

Senator Mastriano tucked this bit of demagoguery into his statement:

I do not need a lecture on the U.S.  Constitution. I volunteered to defend it while serving our nation for over 30 years as an officer in the U.S. Army.

Apparently you do, Senator. 

You took an oath to support, obey and defend the US Constitution when you were sworn into the PA Legislature and you betrayed that oath by participating in Trump's attempted coup.