Democracy Has Prevailed.

April 30, 2024

PA State Sen Mastriano Does It Again

And by "it" I mean he's bragging about accomplishing something that, had the GOP in Congress had their way, would never have been funded.

Take a look.

We start at Doug's "Government Official" FB page where he posted this:


If you were you to click on the link, you'd make it here. This is the first sentence of the piece:

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano on Friday announced that nearly $735,000 in funding has been awarded for a pedestrian and bicycle route project in the Franklin County borough of Chambersburg.

And this is the last:

Funding for the project is provided through the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside, Mastriano said. 

Ok. So what's the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside? 

Well, let's go to PennDOT and see:

The federal Transpo​rtation Alternatives Set-Aside (TASA) provides funding for projects and activities defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities, and environmental mitigation, trails that serve a transportation purpose, and safe routes to school projects.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), enacted as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), continues to fund the TA Set-Aside through 2026. 
Ok, so now let's take a look at that Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
It was introduced as HR 3684 and sponsored by Oregon Democrat Pete Defazio in June of 2021. It made it out of the house with two GOP votes - otherwise all the Democrats voted for it and all the other Republicans voted against. In the Senate it passed (with an amendment) with only 30 GOP votes.  The House voted on the amended bill with only 13 GOP votes.
Had the GOP gotten its way on this, there'd be no bill. Plain and simple. And with no bill, there'd be no funding to the TASA. And with no funding to the TASA, PA State Sen Doug Mastriano would not have been able to make his announcement regarding the bike and pedestrian route project.

Plain and simple.  If he were an honest man, Doug Mastriano would be thanking US House and Senate Democrats (and President Joe Biden) for making this all possible.

April 29, 2024

GOP On A Woman's Reproductive Choice

The text ends this way:

No matter where you stand on abortion, no one wants women to die. So why do republicans act like that's exactly what they want?

Because the cruelty is the point.

April 26, 2024

Some Notes From X (Formerly Known as Twitter) About Nutmegger Dave McCormmick

Well, there's this:

And this:

This is Dave McCormick.

April 25, 2024

Arizona Indictments! (Read The Pennsylvania Parts)

From The Washington Post:

An Arizona grand jury on Wednesday indicted seven attorneys or aides affiliated with Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign as well as 11 Arizona Republicans on felony charges related to their alleged efforts to subvert Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state, according to an announcement by the state attorney general.

Those indicted include former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, John Eastman and Christina Bobb, top campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn and former campaign aide Mike Roman. They are accused of allegedly aiding an unsuccessful strategy to award the state’s electoral votes to Trump instead of Biden after the 2020 election. Also charged are the Republicans who signed paperwork on Dec. 14, 2020, that falsely purported Trump was the rightful winner, including former state party chair Kelli Ward, state Sens. Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern, and Tyler Bowyer, a GOP national committeeman and chief operating officer of Turning Point Action, the campaign arm of the pro-Trump conservative group Turning Point USA.

Readers of this blog will recall the Pennsylvania connections to some of the above indicted.

We'll be looking at some of the Pennsylvania mentions in this Arizona Indictment.

Digging through it, I found this:

During a conference call on December 12, 2020, a Pennsylvania attorney expressed concern that the certificate of vote falsely claimed that the Republican electors were the "duly elected and certified electors." He requested adding language to the certificates indicating that the Trump-Pence electors' votes were contingent on being certified the duly elected and qualified electors. (p. 41)

Looking forward to finding out who that "Pennsylvania attorney" was. 

After a brief discussion about that contingency, there's this:

Pennsylvania insisted on the language. Unindicted Coconspirator 4 prepared a draft and sent [REDACTED] and Findlay the following email on December 13, 2020:

Mike, here is my suggested language for dealing with the concern raised in the PA conference call about Electors possibly facing legal exposure (at the hands of a partisan AG} if they seem to certify that they are currently the valid Electors. 

Easily fixed ....

It strike [sic] me that if inserting these few words is a good idea for PA, it might be worth suggesting to Electors in other states

Pennsylvania attorneys eventually added the following introduction to their elector vote certificates: 

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, on the understanding that if, as a result of a final non-appealable Court Order or other proceeding prescribed by law, we are ultimately recognized as being the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Pennsylvania, hereby certify the following .... 

By December 12, 2020, Unindicted Coconspirator 4 had prepared documents for each state except New Mexico. [REDACTED] asked Unindicted Coconspirator 4 to prepare New Mexico. He did, and included his drafted contingency language as follows, "WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, on the understanding that it might later be determined that we are the duty elected and qualified Electors .... "

Look familiar? 

Because that's exactly what happened

The new part is learning that the idea of the text added to the Pennsylvania and Nevada fake certificates came out of a discussion in Pennsylvania.

AZ Law blog says this about UC4:

Unindicted co-conspirator #4 is a Trump campaign atty who didn't get indicted (like Eastman, Ellis, Giuliani and Bobb), but wrote memos. That is likely Kenneth Chesebro, who had been extensively interviewed by AZ AG's office.

Ok. But, still, who was that "Pennsylvania attorney" mentioned?

So now I am wondering if someone (anyone??) in the Pennsylvania political reporting class will ask State Senator Doug Mastriano (reportedly the WH's "point person" on the Pennsylvania part of Trump's "fake elector" scheme) and/or Allegheny County Counsel-at-Large and chair of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County Sam DeMarco III (one of the signers of the Pennsylvania "fake elector" certificate) if they had any comment on these indictments out of Arizona - seeing that discussions in Pennsylvania got a solid mention in them.

Anyone?  Anyone?

April 24, 2024

Wait, What?? (Indicted Trump Wins PA, But Still)

At the outer edges, the story of yesterday's GOP primary looks like this:

Donald J. Trump and President Biden scored overwhelming primary victories in the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, facing opponents who had long since dropped out of the race. 

However, take a look at this:


Wait, what?

How long has it been since Nikki Haley dropped out of the race?

Nearly 7 weeks ago:

Nikki Haley suspended her presidential campaign on Wednesday after being soundly defeated across the country on Super Tuesday, leaving Donald Trump as the last remaining major candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination.

And yet, in Pennsylvania, she still got 1/6th of the vote??

Not only is he on trial in Manhattan, not only does he still owe nearly a half billion dollars in fines from two other cases he lost, but he's lost (if the above numbers are any indication) a sixth of Pennsylvania's republican voters.

That can't be good for him. 

Poor guy.


April 22, 2024

Meanwhile, Outside

Yes, the orange vulgarity is in a Manhattan courtroom today. Yes, he's multi-indicted, etc.

However the science from NOAA goes on:

March 2024 was the warmest March on record for the globe in NOAA's 175-year record. The March global surface temperature was 1.35°C (2.43°F) above the 20th-century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F). This is 0.01°C ( °F) warmer than the previous March record set in 2016, and the tenth consecutive month of record-high global temperatures. March 2024 marked the 48th consecutive March with global temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.


The January–March global surface temperature ranked warmest in the 175-year record at 1.35°C (2.43°F) above the 1901-2000 average of 12.3°C (54.1°F). According to NCEI's statistical analysis, there is a 55% chance that 2024 will rank as the warmest year on record and a 99% chance that it will rank in the top five.

 And so on.

April 16, 2024

We'll See

We'll see.

April 15, 2024


From Judge Marchan's case summary from his letter to counsel regarding jury selection:

The allegations are, in substance, that Donald Trump falsified business records to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election. Specifically, it is alleged that Donald Trump made or caused false business records to hide the true nature of payments made to Michael Cohen, by characterizing them as payment for legal services rendered pursuant to a retainer agreement. The People allege that in fact, the payments were intended to reimburse Michael Cohen for money he paid to Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, in the weeks before the presidential election to prevent her from publicly revealing details about a past sexual encounter with Donald Trump.

Whether he cheated in the 2016 election.

April 14, 2024

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

From The NYTimes:

On Monday, Donald J. Trump will go on trial in Manhattan — the first former U.S. president to be criminally prosecuted.

I'll just leave that there.

April 12, 2024

And Now, A Word From President Biden


Because of Donald Trump, millions of women lost the fundamental freedom to control their own bodies and now women's lives are in danger because of that.

The question is, if Donald Trump gets back in power, what freedom will you lose next?

Your body and your decisions belong to you - not the government, not Donald Trump.

I will fight like hell to get your freedom back.


April 10, 2024

Vietnam, Doug Mastriano, and an Urban Legend

A few days or so ago, PA State Senator Doug Mastriano posted this on his Facebook Page:

He's introducing legislation to establish a Vietnam War Veterans day in Pennsylvania.

Before we get any further, let me state unequivocally that I agree with Doug Mastriano when he said, during the above speech, that:

[Vietnam veterans] deserve our country's admiration, respect and appreciation as well as gratitude.

However it's what Sen Mastriano (and PhD in, uh, History??) said just before that that's the problem.

Here it is:

Thank you Mr President. This morning as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, we held a service in honor of our Vietnam Veterans Day in Pennsylvania.

I have a lot to say about our Vietnam veterans and what they have been through. They faced circumstances abroad and at home that few veterans had to face.

My message today can be summed up simply with “I'm sorry and thank you.” That's it.

As to the “I'm sorry” part, it's about how our heroes during the Vietnam era were treated when they came back home, when they came back to the United States from country - especially those landing in airports such as San Francisco when they were greeted by being spat upon and called names.

I can't imagine after serving a year or more in theatre losing friends, slugging it through the Mekong Delta or the mountains with the Hmong warriors around the border area of Laos and Cambodia that they be treated in such a way after such intense combat.

They were yelled at often when they came home, heckled and often spat upon.

Compelling story. It's also an urban legend.

Here's sociologist Jerry Lembcke, writing in 2005:

Stories about spat-upon Vietnam veterans are like mercury: Smash one and six more appear. It's hard to say where they come from. For a book I wrote in 1998, I looked back to the time when the spit was supposedly flying, the late 1960s and early 1970s. I found nothing. No news reports or even claims that someone was being spat on.


Like many stories of the spat-upon veteran genre, Smith's lacks credulity. GIs landed at military airbases, not civilian airports, and protesters could not have gotten onto the bases and anywhere near deplaning troops. There may have been exceptions, of course, but in those cases how would protesters have known in advance that a plane was being diverted to a civilian site? And even then, returnees would have been immediately bused to nearby military installations and processed for reassignment or discharge.

Wouldn't Mastriano, the historian, have known this?  Better yet, shouldn't he have? 

Earlier, in 2004, Lembcke explained his fact-finding methodology for his 1998 book, The Spitting Image:

My strategy on the evidentiary question was two-fold. First, I assumed the position of the prosecution and asked myself what it was that someone trying prove that the alleged acts did happen would have to find as evidence and where would they find it. If these things happened as frequently as is now believed, I reasoned that it would be possible to find a record that someone at the time (the late 1960s and early 1970s) at least claimed that such acts were occurring. In newspapers of a city like San Francisco, where many of the spitting incidents supposedly took place, one would expect to find reports and perhaps even photographs that would constitute proof that the alleged incidents occurred. Other places to look included police reports and written histories about the anti-war movement.

My search for evidence turned up a couple of claims which, if interpreted generously, could have been construed to suggest that veterans or servicemen in uniform may have been spat on. But I also found research done by other scholars that showed quite convincingly that acts of hostility against veterans by protesters were almost nonexistent. No researchers cited reports that veterans were spat on (Beamish, Molotch, and Flacks, 1995).

I also found historical evidence for what I came to call "grist" for the myth. There are newspaper reports, for example, of pro-war demonstrators spitting on anti-war activists. In their retelling over the years, the oral accounts of these incidents could easily get reinterpreted and inverted and made into stories about activists spitting on veterans. There is also a record of military authorities warning GIs that they might experience hostility from opponents of the war. Most interesting in this regard were the warnings issued to Vietnam-bound troops that their families might receive harassment phone calls from communist sympathizers saying the soldier had been wounded or killed. 

Huh. If you listened to the rest of Mastriano's speech, you'll understand why I included that last paragraph.

That second paragraph references this paper, published in 1995.  And the authors did a study of the San Francisco Chronicle (remember, Doug says that veterans were spat upon in San Francisco):

As a further effort to avoid missing portrayals of anti-troop behavior, we carried out a focused search of the San Francisco Chronicle to discover stories the other papers might have missed. We used this paper for three reasons: 1) Although located in a liberal city, it had a conservative pro-war editorial stance; 2) many protest events, including those organized at UC Berkeley were at its "doorstep," sometimes literally; and 3) the newspaper was located close to the Oakland Army terminal, a major GI disembarkation point and thus a likely target for anti-troop sentiment to be expressed and observed. This logistical and ideological combination was unique in the United States; if movements were perceived as engaging in troop blaming, this newspaper could well have played a role in creating such an image. We confined the Chronicle search to coverage associated with large scale troop withdrawals as sequentially outlined in Olson (1988) and Summers (1985) over the 1969-1973 period. We scanned the front six pages of those days' papers immediately following dates of major troop arrivals in the Bay area, looking for protester-troop confrontations of any sort
And this is what they found:

Here is a simple finding from our Chronicle side study: There was no instance in the San Francisco paper of returning soldiers or troops in general meeting negative demonstrations of any kind or even of an individual showing disapproval. Beyond the Chronicle, there were no reports of behavior as crude as spitting on troops or directly taunting them in any of our media.
Huh.  And if that's not enough, in 1971 The Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs issued a report titled:
A Study of the Problems Facing Vietnam Era Veterans on Their Readjustment to Civilian Life.

 And from the opening:

This Committee Print contains the full report of a survey conducted for the Veterans Administration by Louis Harris & Associates, Inc. entitled "A Study of the Problems Facing Vietnam Era Veterans: Their Readjustment to Civilian Life." It is the first professional research survey by the Veterans Administration conducted among veterans of the Vietnam War. The survey also measures attitudes of the general public and employers towards veterans. Conducted between August 15 and August 30 of 1971 the Harris Associates interviewed 2,003 veterans recently separated from the service, 1,498 households representing a cross - section of the American public and 786 employers.

And contrary to what Sen Mastriano said about the reception those veterans received upon their return, the survey found that in 1971 95% of those surveyed agreed (80% "strongly" and 15% "somewhat") with the statement "Veterans deserve respect for having served their country in the armed forces."

Not only that but 84% agreed (81% "strongly and 13% "somewhat") with the statement "Veterans of the armed forces today deserve the same warm reception given to returning servicemen of earlier wars."

Doug is simply wrong on his facts.

But let's keep going.  They asked returning veterans in 1971 about what they thought about returning. And 79% agreed (47% "strongly" and 32% "somewhat) with the statement, "Most people at home respect you in the armed forces."

And finally, 69% agreed (31% "strongly" and 38% "somewhat") with the statement, "People at home made you feel proud to have served your country in the armed forces."

Doug, you're just plain wrong about the spitting and you're just plain wrong about how the American people felt about the returning Vietnam Veterans.

Yes, they deserve all the respect and gratitude in the world for serving in Vietnam but lying about it in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber is not the way to do it.

April 8, 2024

How Trump Lies

The NYTimes had an interesting piece yesterday about the rhetorical devices the former (and currently indicted and twice impeached) president uses to lie to the public.

The bullet points:

  • He grossly distorts his opponents’ records and proposals to make them sound unreasonable.
  • He exaggerates and twists the facts to make his record sound better than it is.
  • He relies on both well-worn and fresh claims of election rigging to suggest he can lose only if his opponents cheat.
  • He has turned his criminal cases into a rallying cry, baselessly asserting that he is being persecuted by his successor.
  • He makes unverifiable claims about what the world would have been like had he secured a second term.
  • He describes the United States as a nation in ruins.

Each is followed by a few examples of Trump's dishonesty.

April 1, 2024

Wendy Bell (And Brock) Moon Over A Traitor

Take a look:

You can listen for yourselves (if you choose to) but Wendy tells the story of receiving a phone call from Federal inmage 81981-509 (a.k.a. Elmer Stewart Rhodes).  

This is was found guilty by a jury of 12 of this:

According to the government’s evidence, the Oath Keepers are a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias. Following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes, (Rhodes' deputy Kelly) Meggs, and others began plotting to oppose, by force, the lawful transfer of presidential power. Beginning in late December 2020, via encrypted and private communications applications, Rhodes, Meggs, and others coordinated and planned to travel to Washington, D.C., on or around Jan. 6, 2021, the date of the certification of the electoral college vote.

The defendants and their co-conspirators also collectively employed a variety of manners and means, including: organizing into teams that were prepared and willing to use force and to transport firearms and ammunition into Washington, D.C.; recruiting members and affiliates; organizing trainings to teach and learn paramilitary combat tactics; bringing and contributing paramilitary gear, weapons, and supplies – including knives, batons, camouflaged combat uniforms, tactical vests with plates, helmets, eye protection, and radio equipment – to the Capitol grounds; breaching and attempting to take control of the Capitol grounds and building on Jan. 6, 2021, in an effort to prevent, hinder and delay the certification of the electoral college vote; using force against law enforcement officers while inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021; continuing to plot, after Jan. 6, 2021, to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power, and using websites, social media, text messaging and encrypted messaging applications to communicate with each other and others.

Yea. Oh and there's this:

While certain Oath Keepers members and affiliates breached the Capitol grounds and building, others remained stationed just outside of the city in quick reaction force (QRF) teams. According to the government’s evidence, the QRF teams were prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C., in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power.

Seditious Conspiracy.

Oh, and let me add this:

Lawyers for the defendants said they were disappointed in the verdict but believed their clients had received a fair trial.

“I do believe that they gave us a fair trial,” James Lee Bright, an attorney for Stewart Rhodes, told reporters outside the courthouse. Bright added, however, that he believed the verdict “could have been substantially different” if the trial had been moved outside of Washington, DC.

So he got a fair trial for seditious conspiracy, Wendy (and Brock). Even his attorneys say so.

He's incarcerated in a medium-security federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland after being found guilty by a jury (in a fair trial) for his many crimes against the nation. His release date is set for sometime in 2037.

This is not a hero, Wendy (and Brock).  This is an ongoing threat and peril to this country.

The fact that you're mooning over him tells us everything we need to know about you. 

PS: Many thanks to the good folks at Wegner's Grocery (Motto: Come for the Crudités, stay for the truth.) for the link to Wendy (and Brock) fawning over a federal inmate.