Notes From The Day After (Updates)

November 7, 2018

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To begin, I think we should congratulate Danielle Friel Otten, a Chester County, PA Democrat who won a seat in the PA state house for the 155th district, as noted here. She campaigned on the utterly ruinous effects of the so-called Mariner East pipeline where she lives. The fact that she was a Democrat who actually won in Chester County is a testament to the perseverance she showed, along with her campaign manager Virginia Kerslake, by knocking on the doors of over 31,000 voters. I wish her the very best in trying to stem the ruinous tide of natural gas exploration not just in her district, but everywhere in this country (hopefully blocking the rabidly anti-environmental actions of Repug State House Speaker Mike Turzai).

Also, closer to these parts, Tina Davis won another term in the PA state house, as did our local rep Perry Warren. In addition, Susan Wild won a U.S. House seat for PA-07, as did Air Force vet Chrissy Houlahan for PA-06.

Here’s another triumph…Steve Santarsiero was victorious in his PA Senate District 10 contest over Marguerite Quinn. Do you want to know what the main issue was that he ran on? Common-sense gun laws to keep our kids safe in school. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Quinn had an A+ rating from the NRA, but all the same…watch and learn, Democrats. This is a winnable issue!

And as we know by now, Bob Casey won another term in the U.S. Senate from PA, and Tom Wolf was re-elected to another term as governor (as a consolation prize, I think we should send Scott Wagner a set of shoes with golf spikes). Also, Bob Menendez won in New Jersey, which really had me concerned for awhile. I sincerely hope he doesn’t try to run for another term, because this was way closer than it should have been (it helped that Bob Hugin was an absolutely awful candidate – we can’t count on the Repugs to make that mistake again, though).

In addition, Jacky Rosen unseated Dean Heller in Nevada (I also think she should send a thank-you card to Rick Perry over his remarks about Yucca Mountain). And how cool is it that the the thoroughly wretched Kris Kobach lost in Kansas to a Dem woman? Laura Kelly will be the next governor of that state! And Hosni Mobarak Walker of WI and Rick Snyder of MI are BOTH GONE with Dems now in charge – as someone noted, the three states that decided it for Trump all now have Dem governors!

Update 11/8/18: I forgot that the equally awful Repug Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois is done also.

And the best news of all? The U.S. House is ours (including the power to subpoena a certain Delusional, Tiny-Handed Orange Dictator Wannabe and his henchmen – hench-people?).

Now for the bad news…

I thought Scott Wallace ended up doing not too bad of a job rebutting Bri-Fi’s garbage (and boy, was there a slew of it from this supposedly upstanding, Bucks County mama’s boy who acted like he was above the political fray!), but I’m tired of Dems running candidates in congressional elections who seem to beat on a couple of issues (“my opponent isn’t doing this or that!”) without presenting viable policy alternatives. Yes, he went after Bri-Fi over voting for those terrible tax cuts, but he also could have done that on gun reciprocity, gutting consumer financial protections, not doing much of anything while our infrastructure crumbles, internet privacy, renewable energy, etc. (one of these days, a Dem will run against a Repug in this district and actually tailor a campaign to the issues that matter AND MAKE THE CASE THAT THEY WOULD DO A SUBSTANTIALLY BETTER JOB!!! I thought Kevin Strouse might do that a few years ago, but he fell short at the end).

Well, I’m sure all of those McMansion owners in Middletown, Wrightstown, Lahaska, Buckingham and elsewhere in PA-01 are happy that Bri-Fi won again. Maybe one of these days, we’ll have congressional representation from someone who apparently doesn’t believe he or she merits the position as a family inheritance. Also, I don’t think anybody except the most rabid Bri-Fi partisans gave a damn about all the “Silver Spoon Scott Wallace” and “Crazy Billionaire” BS, along with Bri-Fi throwing all kinds of unsubstantiated garbage at Wallace over and over again as alluded to previously, even when it was disproven, including the Mumia Abu-Jamal stuff.

Also, when he started his campaign, Wallace had that supposedly cutesy ad with Diane Marseglia about being recruited to oppose Bri-Fi (“You should run!” “No, YOU should run!”). What the hell was that all about? Was that supposed to motivate the base? Also, Philadelphia’s conservative newspaper of record was apparently able to extract a quote from Wallace last week along the lines of “Well, if we lose, it will be my fault.” Wow, THAT sure was a further impetus to knock on doors and try to persuade people (which I did along with many other happy souls last weekend)! Also, on Wallace’s web site, he had that picture of him standing on the porch talking to Marseglia forever with his back to the camera – um, you have to find a way to grab voters with short attention spans, primarily independents…who gave you the bright idea to feature THAT??!!

Wallace stuck me as a decent man, but overall, a low-energy guy who acted like he was late to the party. Even so, I’m not sure if would have mattered, though the demographics are moving in the right direction for us. Also, as Kyle Bagenstose of the Courier Times pointed out, the new PA-01 district was redrawn to include Montco, which definitely helped the Dems and will continue to do so.

On the national stage, yeah, it sucks that Beto lost in Texas (I don’t want to imagine how messed up of a life form you have to be to support somebody like Ted Cruz instead), but again, the margin of victory in this one was a lot closer than anyone expected. Personally, I’d like to see Beto run for something like Mayor of Austin or San Antonio or someplace where he could get more real-world experience in governance and bring that to the table when he runs again (which he should). I always though Patrick Murphy should have done something like that after he lost as U.S. House Rep in 2010 (running Bristol Borough or something) so he could add more diverse experience in governance. At the time, the Courier Times (I’m pretty sure) said he should run for Bucks County Commissioner, which to me is a sucker bet since I can’t remember a time when the Repugs have NOT been in charge. I thought there was a bit of a good idea there, however.

Also, it should be noted that Amy McGrath in KY and Richard Ojeda in WV both lost their U.S. congressional elections (remember that the next time you hear Repugs crowing about how they supposedly “support the troops”). And the last I checked, Kyrsten Sinema might lose by a tiny margin to the utterly wretched Martha McSally in AZ mainly because of a third-party candidate (NEVER support them, people!). I also wasn’t watching Missouri closely enough to find out how Claire McCaskill could actually lose to a particularly scummy liar like Josh Hawley (I guess the fact that he looked good enough on TV was all it took for the “children of the corn”…and speaking of that, Steven Arnold King won in Iowa again for the U.S. House, but once again, the margin of victory was smaller than last time), and I heard that Joe Donnelly ran as a Republican-lite in Indiana and got trounced (David Sirota said that Donnelly should have run like Sherrod Brown – to the extent that Donnelly could have been more populist, I could see that, but as great as Brown is, he actually has been helped by Trump’s steel tariffs, believe it or not, so that definitely isn’t an “apples to apples” comparison).

And oh yeah, we’d been getting warned from Heidi Heitkamp for days about what would happen with her, so even though it’s upsetting, it wasn’t surprising. The Repugs targeted her in particular I think because Trump apparently offered her a job to give up her seat and she refused, to her credit (just like she opposed “Schlitz” Kavanaugh), so of course she had to be destroyed electorally. And that garbage with the Native Americans and the PO boxes (as noted here, sanctioned by a judge nominated by Dubya) apparently put re-election out of reach (again, though, how much of a mental defective do you have to be to actually support someone like Kevin Cramer?).

This to me is cold comfort, but comfort all the same: eleven million more people voted for Senate Democrats than Republicans (here, and I believe I read somewhere that 3 million more voted for Dems in the House). This election, though, Democrats were hobbled by having to play defense in so many states (that’s why, though I was hoping and praying for the House, I never really considered seriously that they’d win the Senate – sorry). However, if we have the same level of participation (or better) in 2020 with Repugs having to defend their Senate seats more than Dems (including Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao), I honestly believe that it will be an altogether different result (and if there was any Russian hacking going on, it certainly didn’t play a role in the U.S. House races).

And another thought – I’ve often wondered why we don’t have something along the lines of an ALEC for our side. I’m basically talking about a progressive/liberal group formulating policy for all 50 states and territories based on data from polling likely voters, so our candidates KNOW what issues they have to hit on before they utter their first words. I always though the Obama campaign, for example, did a good job with that, and I don’t know why we can never seem to leverage that nationwide.

I also wonder if it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start a drive to boycott states where people vote for Republicans, particularly Florida. I’m sorry, but I have to say it – the win (Update 1 11/9/18: So far, though a recount is in progress…) for Ron (“Birth of a Nation”) DeSantis over Andrew Gillum can be straight-up attributed to racism. DeSantis might as well wear a white hood and robe the day he’s sworn in.

Update 2 11/9/18: Also, “Iron ‘Stache” Randy Bryce lost his valiant fight for Paul Ryan’s old district (WI-1), and Ammar Campa-Najjar is currently contesting what is (so far, again) his loss to the execrable Duncan Hunter in CA-50.

I’ll leave you with this, which I’ve mentioned before – in 1964, the Republican Party and movement conservatism was flat on its metaphorical back, having been clobbered by Lyndon Johnson and the Dems vs. Barry Goldwater. And it took them 16 years to ascend to power, but they formulated a strategy, kept at it, and pulled it off (to our great ruin as far as I’m concerned). To me, there’s no reason why we can’t replicate that.

We have the numbers on our side. And the issues. And (I believe) the people to make it happen.

Let’s take some time to decompress, but then when the time comes, let’s get back it again.

We’re going to turn this around. And when we do, it will be for good.

Update 11/10/18: First the bad news – apparently, I congratulated Tina Davis a little too early, since ballots are still being counted and, as of now, Repug Tommy Tomlinson is leading. Now the good news – from what I read, Dem Kyrsten Sinema is leading in Arizona!

Update 11/11/18: And I thought this was a great story too – the lesson is to compete everywhere!

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Candidates of the Trump/Kavanaugh Party, U.S. Senate, 2018 (Updates)

October 9, 2018

This is a sequel of sorts to this post.

The following are U.S. Senate candidates from the Trump/Kavanaugh party and their Democratic opponents:

Arizona

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This is Martha McSally. She is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party, running to replace Jeff Flake, one of the most infamous cowards of all time, who is retiring.

To help her Democratic opponent Kyrsten Sinema, click here.

Update 10/17/18: Another Repug liar of course (here)…

Update 10/22/18: Yep, right out of the Trump playbook all right (here), and I forgot about this.

Update 10/23/18: As I said, Flake is a bleeping coward (here).

Update 10/24/18: Hasn’t he left yet? (here)

Update 10/25/18: Yep, “wishy washy asshat” works for me (here).

Update 10/27/18: And who can forget this McSally golden oldie (here)?

Update 10/30/18: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Update 11/01/18: Yep, when it comes to Flake, “on brand” for sure here.

Connecticut

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This is Matthew Corey. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Chris Murphy, click here.

Delaware

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This is Robert Arlett. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Tom Carper, click here.

Florida

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This is the thoroughly execrable Rick Scott. He most definitely is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Bill Nelson, click here.

Hawaii

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This is Ron Curtis. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, the incredibly brave incumbent Mazie Hirono, click here.

Indiana

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This is Mike Braun. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Joe Donnelly, click here.

Update 10/23/18: Jobs “Made in America” huh? Didn’t know China was a U.S. territory (here).

Maine

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This is Eric Brakey. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party (pictured with Trump, Jr. of course).

To help his Independent opponent (making a worthy exception here) Angus King, click here.

Maryland

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This is Tony Campbell. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Ben Cardin, click here.

Massachusetts

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This is Geoff Diehl. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Elizabeth Warren, click here.

Michigan

John James

This is John James. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party (yeah, leave it to “Cadet Bone Spurs” to try and burnish some imaginary military “cred” by aligning himself with someone who has actually served).

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Debbie Stabenow, click here.

Minnesota

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This is Jim Newberger. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Amy Klobuchar, click here.

Update 10/17/18: Somehow I neglected to mention that the other Minnesota senator, Tina Smith (who replaced Al Franken) is up for re-election – actually, I was reminded by this vile comment from her opponent (to help Smith, click here).

Mississippi

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This is Roger Wicker. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party and the incumbent U.S. Senator.

To help his Democratic opponent, challenger David Baria, click here.

Missouri

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This is Josh Hawley, a particularly repellent life form running for elective office. He is definitely a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Claire McCaskill, click here.

Montana

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This is Matthew Rosendale. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Jon Tester, click here.

Nebraska

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This is Deb Fischer. She is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party and the incumbent U.S. Senator.

To help her Democratic opponent, challenger Jane Raybould, click here.

Nevada

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This is Dean Heller. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party and the incumbent U.S. Senator.

To help his Democratic opponent, challenger Jacky Rosen, click here.

Update 10/21/18: Heller is such a suckup (here).

New Jersey

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(This is another one that hits close to home for yours truly.)

This is Bob Hugin (far right in pic), one of the most utterly worthless individuals that I’ve ever encountered in all of the years that I’ve followed political activity in any way whatsoever (here). His lies have been truly Trumpian, and I can’t think of a lower cut on someone than that.

To support his Democratic opponent, incumbent Robert Menendez (who has his own baggage I’ll admit, but looks pretty damn good when you consider the alternative), click here.

Update 10/18/18: More lying garbage from Hugin here

Update 10/19/18: Bill Orr of Blue Jersey has more here.

Update 10/27/18: Please click here for an important message (here also).

New Mexico

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This is Mick Rich (and please forget about Gary Johnson also). He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Martin Heinrich, click here.

New York

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This is Chele Chiavacci Farley. She is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help her Democratic opponent, incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand, click here.

North Dakota

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(This is a big one.)

This is Kevin Cramer. He without a doubt is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, click here.

Update 10/9/18: This is garbage – why the hell would Breyer and Sotomayor go along with this, which they apparently did?

Update 10/22/18: You want reasons to vote for Heidi Heitkamp? She gives you a bunch of them here.

Update 10/26/18: Another example of Heidi on the job is here.

Update 10/31/18: What Karoli sez here

Ohio

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(This is a big one as well.)

This is Jim Renacci. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, the truly great progressive Sherrod Brown, click here.

Rhode Island

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This is Robert Flanders. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sheldon Whitehouse (who distinguished himself in the recent Brett Kavanaugh circus), click here.

Tennessee

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In case you somehow could NOT know this, I should point out that this is Marsha Blackburn, who may be the scariest of the whole gang of miscreants on this list. She DEFINITELY is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party. She’s running to replace retiring fellow Repug Bob Corker.

To help her Democratic opponent Phil Bredesen, click here (and in a related story, as they say, kudos to Taylor Swift for this).

Update 10/29/18: Sounds like the Democratic “rabble” was acting up again – Heaven forbid anything interfere with Queen Marsha’s photo-op (here).

Texas

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I’ll bet you’ll never guess who this mug is. And yeah, Ted Cruz, as low a lowlife biped as ever walked upright, a charter member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party, is seeking another term.

To help Cruz’s Dem opponent, the truly electric Beto O’Rourke, click here.

Utah

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And well well, it looks like Willard Mitt Romney is back, seeking to replace the fossilized retiring Trump/Kavanaugh party member Orrin Hatch, who I guess can now be sickeningly sanctimonious in his spare time.

To help Romney’s Dem opponent (and yeah, I know the odds are long here) Jenny Wilson, click here.

Update 10/11/18: So, then, the whole fiasco with Bill Clinton way back when was just a figment of our imaginations, Willard Mitt (here)?

Vermont

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This is Lawrence Zupan. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Independent opponent (making another worthy exception here) Bernie Sanders, click here.

Virginia

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This is Corey Stewart (with the red tie). Do you even need to ask if he is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party?

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Tim Kaine, click here.

Washington

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This is Susan Hutchison. She is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help her Democratic opponent, incumbent Maria Cantwell, click here.

West Virginia

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(Excuse me if I hold my nose on this one to try and prevent the stink from getting to me, but we have to support Manchin anyway.)

This is Patrick Morrisey (no relation to the singer, I wish to emphasize). He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party.

To help his Democratic opponent, incumbent Joe Manchin, click here.

Wisconsin

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This is Leah Vukmir. She is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party (and she has a poor choice of friends aside from the Gropenfuhrer, as you can see).

To help her Democratic opponent, the terrific incumbent Tammy Baldwin, click here.

Update 10/24/18: Yep, a Trumpette through and through (here)…

Update 10/26/18: I am SOOOO going to enjoy watching Vukmir go down in flames, as it were, for this.

And finally…

Wyoming

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This is John Barrasso (far left of course – I’m sure you know who the other clowns are). He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh party and the incumbent U.S. Senator.

To help his Democratic opponent, challenger Gary Trauner, click here.

Update 10/18/18: This post is kind of a grab bag of bad U.S. Senate Repug behavior, including Marsha “Baby Parts” Blackburn in all of her horrific insanity.

Update 10/22/18: And in case you somehow didn’t know just how high the stakes are in this election, I give you this, which should leave no doubt whatsoever.

Update 10/26/18: This is further proof…

Update 10/27/18: And do you want another reason why it’s so critical for the Dems to take over the Senate? Take a look at this…


Candidates of the Trump/Kavanaugh Party, 2018 (Updates)

October 7, 2018

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For Bucks County, PA local folk (and statewide also)…

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This is Ryan Gallagher, running for state representative for PA-31. He is the candidate of the Trump/Kavanaugh Party.

To support Democrat Perry Warren, Gallagher’s incumbent opponent, click here.

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This is Marguerite Quinn. She is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh Party running for PA State Senator in District 10.

To support Steve Santarsiero, Quinn’s opponent, click here.

Update 10/26/18: More from Steve appears below..

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This is Brian Fitzpatrick, the U.S. House Representative for PA-01. He is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh Party running as the incumbent in the PA-01 U.S. House contest.

To support Democrat Scott Wallace, Fitzpatrick’s opponent, click here.

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This is Lou Barletta (on the right of course). He most definitely is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh Party running for U.S. Senate from PA.

To support our Dem incumbent Senator Bob Casey, Barletta’s opponent, click here.

And finally…

scott wagner with wife and trump

This is Scott Wagner (again on the right of course). Maybe more than anyone else on this list, he is a member of the Trump/Kavanaugh Party running for PA Governor.

To support our Dem incumbent governor Tom Wolf, Wagner’s opponent, click here.

Update 10/12/18: While our Republican lunatic in PA said this, Governor Wolf did something constructive and commendable (here).

Update 10/15/18: To paraphrase that great quote from Groucho Marx, I’d call Wagner a baboon, but that’s insulting to the other baboons (here).


A Bri-Fi “Sign O’The Times” (UPDATES)

October 6, 2018

Humane

I just noticed this big, obnoxious board by the side of the road next to the Lower Makefield Dog Park (in Bucks County, PA, for the unfamiliar) for Brian Fitzpatrick, running against Scott Wallace for the PA-01 U.S. House seat.

I guess the thinking is that animal lovers would be passing by the area. Of course, if someone was really trying to make a strategic decision of some kind, they would know that the dog park is practically a ghost town anyway, and my guess is that it’s because people couldn’t be bothered with paying the membership fee which I believe is $50 a month (I don’t own a dog, so I don’t know for sure).

And I thought that seeing this sign gave me an opportunity to make a bit of a case for free speech.

It’s really important for us to communicate our political opinion using our First Amendment rights, and I think this is an example. I mean, it would be truly unfortunate if, say, this board were to be splattered with paint, mud, or some other substance that would make it completely illegible.

Likewise, it would be impolite at a minimum if someone were to – oh, I don’t know – accidentally drag a trailer hitch over the sign, uproot it and carry it into the nearby woods. I shudder to think at the impertinence behind such a course of behavior.

And that’s to say nothing of a stray lit match that could engulf it in flames, turning it into cinders to be swept away with the pickup of next week’s trash. I cannot emphasize how (at the very least) disconcerting that would be as well!

There, I said it, and I hope you now feel a bit enlightened also. Thanks for your time.

Update 1 10/12/18: So the endorsement is a fraudtypical for Bri-Fi!

Update 2 10/12/18: It looks like Bri-Fi won the endorsement of the Michael Bloomberg-backed group Everytown for Gun Safety, as noted here.

However…

The Bucks County iteration of Everytown’s grassroots arm, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, disbanded this week to protest the endorsement, said former coleader Jessica Getz.

Getz said Fitzpatrick didn’t show up at the local March for Our Lives or other gun-control events, while his Democratic opponent, Scott Wallace, did attend.

She also disliked that Fitzpatrick said in a letter that he voted against the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, an NRA-backed bill that would make states honor concealed-carry permits from other states, because of “extraneous provisions” in the legislation. He has a “firm belief in the concept of reciprocity,” he wrote.

“The fact that he would have supported that is outrageous,” said Getz.

Fitzpatrick countered that he hasn’t accepted any contributions from pro-gun groups, and he’s right (here).

But if he believes in “reciprocity,” then he’s doing the NRA’s bidding anyway. And as far as I’m concerned, it also proves that Bri-Fi doesn’t give a damn about law enforcement (here).

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Update 10/14/18: Uh, yeah – THIS is more like it!

And by the way, I’ve been driving around Wrightstown, Lahaska, Warminster and Newtown in Bucks County, and I’ve counted about 4 of those signs total. They all need to go!

Update 1 10/17/18: Stop the presses! No end to Bri-Fi’s nonsense, apparently (here – and he only fired the guy because he was caught).

Update 2 10/17/18: The “Not True” signs have been removed, but of course that huge, obnoxious (and completely untrue) billboard remains.


Report Card for “Bri-Fi,” 2018

September 10, 2018

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As we know, the mid-term elections are fast approaching, so I thought now was as good a time as any to take a look at what our Wet Noodle 2.0 U.S. House Rep for PA-01 was up to (I’m referring to Brian Fitzpatrick of course).

To begin, it should be noted that Bri-Fi sought to burnish his “pro-life” bona fides by voting for a 20-week abortion ban (that and other votes are noted here – fortunately, as noted here, the ban was rejected by the U.S. Senate in January).

As noted here, though…

Nearly 99 percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks, but when they are needed later in pregnancy, it’s often in very complex circumstances. For example, severe fetal anomalies and serious risks to the woman’s health — the kind of situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available.

20-week bans are also highly unpopular throughout the country. 61% of all voters say abortion should be legal after 20 weeks. Plus, Democrats (78%), Republicans (62%), and Independents (71%) say this is the wrong issue for lawmakers to be spending time on.

Fitzpatrick also voted for a permanent ban on federal funds for abortions or health coverage that includes abortions (which is pointless because federal funding for abortions is already banned under the Hyde Amendment, named after a serial philanderer in Congress – more here).

When it comes to civil liberties, Fitzpatrick also voted to reauthorize warrantless spying under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA); Republicans managed to make it worse in the process according to some fourth amendment advocates (a group which should include everyone I realize).

As noted here

“Not only does the (reauthorized) bill say you have our blessing to collect communications that contain a target’s email address, it also endorses collecting communications that merely contain a reference to the target,” says Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice. “So literally if you and I sent an email to each other that had the word ISIS in it, if you and I send an email that talks about ISIS, under this bill the government is authorized to collect it.” (Assuming ISIS is a group that the NSA is specifically targeting.)

The bill does impose a warrant requirement upon the FBI, but the way it’s written appears to weaken privacy protections rather than strengthen them, says Goitein. Under the legislation, FBI agents need a warrant to search the Section 702 database when a criminal investigation has already been opened, but not when national security is involved. That means the FBI can query the database on nothing more than a tip. “It incentivizes doing searches earlier and earlier, when it’s less and less justified,” says Goitein.

Fitzpatrick also voted along with Generalissimo Trump (which he has done about 83 percent of the time according to Nate Silver) in the matter of disciplining VA whistleblowers (here).

Also, as noted here

The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s report says VA whistleblowers are far more likely than their colleagues to face discipline or removal after reporting misconduct.

The number of VA workers fired is up under President Trump. But congressional Democrats and the VA’s union cite VA data showing that the vast majority of those fired in the first five months of 2018 were low-level food service, laundry and custodial staff the majority of whom are veterans. In that same period, only 15 out of 1,096 employees fired were supervisors.

This report comes as the VA’s own inspector general has publicly clashed recently with the VA leadership over access to documents and information about whistleblower adjudication.

A recent NPR investigation showed a pattern of often vicious whistleblower retaliation at the VA in central Alabama and sidelining of whistleblowers in Indiana.

There’s also a news report this week that the VA, under Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke, is aggressively reassigning or forcing out VA staff members thought to be disloyal to President Trump and his agenda for the agency.

I realize that we’ve had VA issues with both Democratic and Republican presidents (probably the result of too many damn wars and too many of our heroes getting maimed in our country’s service and putting a strain on available resources), but I don’t know of anyone being forced out for being “disloyal” to President Obama.

And speaking of Number 44, Fitzpatrick repeatedly attacked Obama-era rules, including a rule blocking states from defunding Planned Parenthood (here) as well as another rule requiring employers to keep better record of workplace injuries (here). He also voted to overturn a rule prohibiting labor law violators from eligibility for federal contracts, allowing these companies to underpay their workers once more and evade safety regulations (here).

Fitzpatrick also voted to overturn an Obama rule banning drug testing jobless applying for unemployment. As noted here

As things have long stood, states only had the authority to institute drug tests for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash welfare program. Thus far, 13 states have instituted such regimes. But what their experience has proven year after year is that the tests, while costly to administer, turn up very few positive test results. Out of about 250,000 applicants and recipients among these states in 2016, just 369 tested positive; in four states, exactly zero people tested positive for illegal drug use. In the states with positive results, they ranged from a low of 0.07 percent of all applicants to a high of 2.14 percent, rates far below the nearly 10 percent drug use rate among the general population.

Meanwhile, states collectively spent $1.6 million on drug testing, on top of the nearly $2 million spent during the previous two years, despite the apparent ineffectiveness of these programs. That’s money that could instead be used to expand welfare benefits or even drug treatment programs.

Another vote from Fitzpatrick to overturn Internet privacy rules allowed internet service providers, or ISPs, to sell “financial and medical information. Social Security numbers, web browsing history, mobile app usage (and) even the content of your emails and online chats,” according to Sam Gustin of the web site Motherboard (vote is here).

Fitzpatrick also voted to end federal checks preventing more than 167,000 veterans deemed “mentally incompetent” from keeping or purchasing firearms (H.R. 1181). This is part and parcel of Bri-Fi’s utterly craven voting recording in near-total fealty to the NRA. As noted here:

  • In February 2017, Fitzpatrick voted to block the Social Security Administration from sharing information with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System on people with mental disorders in order to prevent them from purchasing firearms.
  • In November, 2017 Fitzpatrick voted twice to block the establishment of a select committee on gun violence prevention.
  • In December 2017, Fitzpatrick said he supports concealed carry reciprocity which would force states like Pennsylvania to defer to the concealed carry weapon laws of more pro-gun states like Texas.
  • In February 2018, Fitzpatrick voted to kill consideration of legislation on gun regulations.
  • In March 2018, Fitzpatrick voted to block three bills to close gun safety loopholes including the gun show, internet sale, and classified ad background check loopholes to prevent the sale of guns without a completed background check.
  • Fitzpatrick also voted to prohibit Department of Justice (DOJ) settlements requiring parties to donate monies to outside groups. This may seem a bit obscure, but as a result, the following should be noted from here

    The decision (to distribute settlement funds only to those directly harmed by wrongdoing) by the Justice Department throws into question an upcoming $12 million settlement against Harley-Davidson. As part of the settlement, the motorcycle manufacturer agreed to stop selling illegal after-market devices that increase the air pollution emitted by the motorcycles.

    Harley-Davidson had agreed to donate $3 million to a project to reduce air pollution, the Justice Department said in August. With Sessions’s decision Monday, that settlement’s fate is now up in the air.

    Also, Fitzpatrick voted to get rid of financial protection regulations, otherwise known as the Dodd-Frank Act, put in place to increase financial stability and consumer protections in the wake of the 2008 recession. As Gregg Gelzinis of the Center for American Progress notes here

    The CHOICE Act also allows banks of any size to opt out of a suite of crucial regulations—such as stress testing, living wills, risk-based capital requirements, liquidity requirements and more—if they maintain a leverage ratio of 10 percent. And it repeals the Volcker Rule’s ban on risky proprietary trading bets. A 10 percent leverage ratio is not nearly enough capital to justify such drastic deregulation.

    Furthermore, the CHOICE Act shreds the authority and resources of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the council of financial regulators tasked with looking at risks across the financial system. FSOC would no longer have the power to address dangers that emerge outside of the traditional banking sector, putting taxpayers at risk. The bill also eliminates the Office of Financial Research, which provides data-driven research support to FSOC to help identify emerging risks.

    Tax Cuts_Bri-Fi3 (1)

    And speaking of money matters, Fitzpatrick also voted for his party’s so-called tax reform bill last December, which adds about $1 trillion to the deficit (which, of course, Republicans only care about when they’re trying to utterly gut the social safety net). The non-partisan Tax Policy Center found that after the tax plan has taken full effect in 2027, 80 percent of the benefits would go to the top 1 percent of earners in this country. When it comes to tax cuts, the top 1 percent will get an average cut of $1,022,120, while the middle 20 percent will get an average cut of $420, eviscerating any notion that the middle class are the key beneficiaries of the Republicans’ “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.”

    As noted here

    Should Trump-state Senate Democrats who voted against the tax bill, like Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Joe Manchin (West Virginia), Joe Donnelly (Indiana), and Jon Tester (Montana), really fear electoral backlash?

    Absolutely not, according to our analysis. In fact, they should highlight their opposition to Trump’s tax bill even in these red states.

    Most polling about the bill has been national, and it suggests broad unpopularity. Our analysis of exclusive national data to model state support for the tax bill suggests that Democrats have little to fear from the GOP law and should embrace progressive policies to mobilize opposition.

    Update 10/5/18: For the record, here is Fitzpatrick’s vote from December, and here is a recent vote to make the tax cuts for the rich permanent – heckuva job!

    And for anyone out there who may have bought into the “trickle down” lie still after all this time, I give you the following (here)…

    In the first six months after the Trump tax cuts were passed, corporate investment in equipment declined, America’s projected long-term deficit swelled by nearly $2 trillion, and wages for the vast majority of American workers fell on an inflation-adjusted basis.

    And there is no sign that reality will start comporting with the GOP’s predictions any time soon. As the Washington Post’s Heather Long notes, Morgan Stanley reported last month that America’s businesses are planning less future capital spending now than they were a few months ago. And that finding is bolstered by a recent survey of 393 businesses from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the audit firm RSM, which found that only 38 percent of those firms plan to increase investment over the next three years.

    Instead of channeling their profits into productive investment, S&P 500 companies are on pace to plow a record-setting $800 billion into buying back their own stocks. The point of such “stock buybacks” is to increase a firm’s share price (and thus, in many cases, the performance-based pay of its CEO) by reducing the supply of shares on the market.

    Oh, and for good measure, it should be noted that, according to Nate Silver, Fitzpatrick voted no to impeachment resolutions against Trump at least twice (I realize this isn’t shocking given that they’re in the same party, but it should be pointed out for the record).

    By himself, as far as I’m concerned, Brian Fitzpatrick hasn’t done nearly enough to merit another two years in the U.S. Congress. Worse, he’s part of a majority that has done nothing whatsoever to rein in a calamitously unqualified individual currently taking up space in An Oval Office.

    Given that, I see absolutely no alternative than to vote for Scott Wallace for Congress from PA-01 on November 6th.


    Bri-Fi Dishes Weak Wallace “Sauce” in PA-01

    August 23, 2018

    Here is my link to a typically disgusting attack ad by Brian Fitzpatrick against Scott Wallace in the PA-01 U.S. House race:

    I apologize for inflicting that on you, but I had to do so to point out the two pernicious pieces of misinformation that must be noted (purposely conflated in the ad in a way that I’ll point out).

    First, at 11 seconds, the ad shows pictures of crying kids along with a quote from Wallace that there’s “no such thing as a victim’s conduct being off limits.”

    That quote came from a New York Times story about a 1988 trial where Matthew Solomon was accused of murdering his wife Lisa, and the remark about victim’s conduct had to do with Lisa having a temper and allegedly frequenting bars. I realize there’s nothing whatsoever that is illegal about having a temper and going to a bar, but that typically vile ad by Fitzpatrick suggests at about 11 seconds that Wallace was referring to kids, when in fact he was referring to an adult.

    Wallace, by the way, said this when he was the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ acting executive director and legislative director…you know, an advocacy group for defendants (as the story tells us).

    And do you know what else Wallace said in that same New York Times article from 30 years ago?

    As far as the victims’ movement is concerned, Mr. Wallace said, ”We’ve had little skirmishes where the clashes come into the courtroom and actually affect the trial, but so far the movement seems to be confined to showing greater compassion for victims – involving them in the process, giving them notice of when a suspect is caught and providing them with compensation – and we’re all for that.

    Wow, what dastardly pinko propaganda that is (OK, snark mode off…).

    And why are kids included here? Well, at 15 seconds, the ad claims that Wallace has “a history opposing laws that protect victims of sexual abuse.”

    From this Fix Noise article, we learn the following:

    In 1990, (Wallace) slammed a Supreme Court ruling that upheld laws protecting sexually abused children from having to testify face-to-face with the accused in open court and instead be allowed to testify and be cross-examined at another location.

    Wallace said the decision could open the doors to false accusations and allowing other emotionally traumatized witnesses not to face the accused. “This decision increases greatly the chances of a false accusation not being discovered and increases the risk of an innocent person being convicted and sent to prison,” said Wallace, according to a 1990 Newsday article, adding that the ruling “may send a signal to experiment with other kinds of witnesses where there is a likelihood of serious emotional trauma.”

    Again, Wallace said this nearly 30 years ago in his capacity as acting executive and legislative director for a defendants’ advocacy group.

    But of course, this is “proof” that Scott Wallace hates kids, isn’t it?

    From the same Fox article, we learn the following:

    Zoe Wilson-Meyer, communications director for Wallace’s campaign, didn’t deny the funding for the legal advocacy group or address whether Wallace still shares the views he expressed in the past. But she stressed that he is supported by law enforcement.

    “Scott Wallace worked with Republicans and Democrats on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, writing tough new crime laws, including the Missing Children’s Act and laws to help runaway and homeless youth. Wallace is endorsed by law enforcement because he has the experience to fight in Congress to keep our communities safe,” she wrote to Fox News in an email.

    Yeah, this is more chicken nonsense from our Wet Noodle 2.0 Repug U.S. House rep, who has proven that he’s even more lowdown than his brother.

    I guess this is what happens when you’re a member of the Trump Party who has voted in favor of “Dear Leader” 83 percent of the time, as noted here.

    Update 10/18/18: Sure enough, we received another disgusting mailer from Bri-Fi resurrecting, if you will, the charges refuted in this post (another zombie lie).

    Waiting a month or so to repeat the lie about Scott Wallace and kids doesn’t magically change that lie into the truth, Bri-Fi. It’s still a lie!

    And apparently, you don’t know the difference.


    Up, Up and Away, Trumpsters!

    August 10, 2018

    Space Force Again
    Kind of bringing this site back a little bit for this item (more here)…

    I saw an item from our local news station on Twitter that had a poll about which logo design was most popular for the Trumpian “space force” recently announced here (my contribution to that appears above).

    However, I think asking people about a logo only misses the point a bit. I mean, for such a stirring initiative such as a “Space Force,” don’t you think a “fight song” should be included? You know…something rousing to get the blood going? The whole “spirit of adventure” thing, and like that?

    Well, with that in mind, here is my contribution:

    Space Force, fly in the sky
    Far from Mueller’s legal “reach”
    Or the Manafort trial
    While Rod Rosentein’s impeached
    Here’s to changing the narrative from children in jail
    And Butina, FSB, NRA “fail”
    While our country wonders “Why?”
    Fly, space force fly!

    Space Force, fly in the sky
    Far from Wilbur Ross, a thief
    While Trump’s new Twitter feud
    With LeBron beggars belief
    Is this just a new stunt for Congress to save
    From voter disgust and the coming “blue wave”?
    Could this be just one more lie?
    Fly, space force fly!

    (I got a kick out of the way MSNBC reported this with the caption “Guardians of the Galaxy” under Mike Pence while he was giving a speech about it. Yeah, I’d say the whole damn thing is pretty cartoonish also.)


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