Pennsylvania will play the role of fulcrum for American politics in 2022, as it has done in the past. A perfectly divided Senate means that each national Senate race that is in play will be swept under the carpet like a speedbag in a Philly gym. After the retirement announcement of two term Republican Sen. Pat Toomey this year, Pennsylvania will be on the list.
Both parties will hold their primary on May 17. In both parties, there is a sense that this vote will be a place for definitions. The race for Democrats is down to ideological differences that the House majority knows all too well.
Conor Lamb, a conservative House Democrat joined forces with fellow conservative Democrats like his staunch ally, Sen. Joe Manchin, to pull President Biden’s domestic legislative agenda apart. Now a candidate for Toomey’s seat, Lamb is trying to pass himself off as some sort of “moderate progressive” amalgam, going so far as to distance himself from Manchin on the trail. Few are fooled. He is head-and shoulders the establishment Democrat in this race, whether he wants it or not.
Currently, the actual progressive Lt. Governor. According to the latest survey, John Fetterman leads Lamb by a remarkable 44 to 23 per cent. “It’s a huge Senate race,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party senior advisor Jack Doyle told NBC 10 Philadelphia. “Depending on what happens, it could dictate who controls the Senate. It’s probably the best chance of a pickup for the Democrats.”
Old salts like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are becoming increasingly noisy about the real possibility that the GOP could blow a huge opportunity here by nominating easily-beaten mayhem candidates like TV medical celebrity Mehmet Oz just because they excel at pumping Trump’s tires. “McConnell is well aware of the GOP’s good fortunes this year,” reports The Atlantic, “and how easily the party could blow it. ‘How could you screw this up?’ the once and perhaps future majority leader mused recentlyKentucky. ‘It’s actually possible. And we’ve had some experience with that in the past.’”
The state of the national GOP is microcosmic in Pennsylvania’s Republican side. Both the general and primaries are being voted on as a matter of urgency. bellwether on Trump’s hold over the party. Trump has endorsed Mehmet Oz over a narrow field of mostly Trump devotees. McConnell’s old guard is kept awake at night by such decisions.
The governor’s office is also up for grabs, and the fight for that nomination has further illuminated the odd place the GOP finds itself. “No matter who wins Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial primary, the candidate will probably be someone who supports essentially outlawing abortion, getting rid of mail voting, dramatically expanding fracking, and slashing regulations on drillers and other industries,” reports PBS. “Former Congressman Lou Barletta, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, and businessman Dave White are all essentially battling to prove who can be most conservative and, perhaps more importantly, most like former President Donald Trump.”
Where, oh where is all this pressure to “be like Trump” coming from?
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Roger Stone, the unreconstructed Trump loyalist fashion sense could be marketed under “Guilty as Hell,” is seeing some weird shit in the skies above the Biden White House.
“Stone asserted that a friend had sent him photos showing a ‘satanic portal’ appearing over the White House after President Joe Biden took office,” reports Kyle Mantyla for Right Wing Watch, “and so he reached out to conspiracy theorist and ‘prophet’ Robin BullockTo arrange an appearance [far-right pro-Trump podcast] ‘Elijah Streams’ so he could share the startling news and photos.”
“It’s very, very clear,” Stone said of the pumpkin-colored image of nothing (coincidence?). “It doesn’t move, day or night. It’s harder to see during the day, but you see it at night. And I’m absolutely convinced about the inherent evil of what’s going on in the White House, what’s going on in the country.… This is not some practical joke. This isn’t some conspiracy theory. I’m absolutely convinced that this is demonic. It is a portal to the satanic realm. It is access to this Earth by those who are evil, and only by closing it will we be successful in saving this nation under God.”
Most people don’t know it, but they’ve been dealing with Roger Stone in one form or another for the last fifty years. A self-described “dirty trickster,” this latter-day Batman villain has poured his poison into the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump. Stone, a long-time Trump ally was convicted of seven felony charges stemming out of the Mueller investigation. Trump commuted the sentence just before incarceration began and eventually pardoned Stone completely five months later.
Now there’s this sudden veer into the realm of Armageddon, and it makes perfect sense.
Roger Stone is two things you need to know: He is a ruthless, savage man who knows no shame. He is a creature of the night. Real Republican Party … not the stodgy suits in the Senate or the Fox News TV stars they cater to, but the black bag in the back of the trunk filled with “tools.” Men like Roger Stone are prima facieEvidence that the John Birch Society’s bare-knuckle tactics are still relevant in the mainstream of Republican ideology.
Generally speaking, when you know their names, it means they’re doing it wrong. They’re like the weird fish who swim the deep and only see the light of day when dragged to the surface by an anchor. Stone is an exception to the rule. He was the face of one of the largest lobbying firms in Washington D.C. He has “panache,” God help us, and loves the camera … yet he is a blooded member of the GOP “Deep State,” right alongside people like Matt Schlapp.
Who? Exactly. Question: Do the 2000 elections have a direct effect on your life? If so, tip your cap to Mr. Schlapp, who broke into big-time GOP politics by organizing and acting as the on-site leader of the so-called “Brooks Brothers Riot” in Miami. That brazen act of election disruption brought the Florida recount to a halt, ultimately resulting in the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision, which I’d say, yeah, has had an impact over the last 22 years on virtually every living thing on the planet. Dig it, Matt: At this moment, I’m writing about you becauseYou. That’s why you need a stick.
Schlapp was anchored into the light of last week’s news when his name was mentioned in a giant. CNNDocument dump on the Capitol Insurrection of January 6, 2001. The network obtained and then published more that 2,000 text messages from and to former Trump Chief Of Staff Mark Meadows. These messages span from the weeks prior to the attack to the actual attack and for days afterwards.
A text from Schlapp to Meadows on Election Day 2021 jumped out of the tranche: “Pls get 4 or 5 killers in remaining counts. Need outsiders who will torch the place.” The language is the kind of hypermasculine tough-guy posturing Roger Stone revels in, and why not? Stone takes great pride in the Brooks Brothers Riot. It changed the course of history.
Stone was also eyebrows-deepHere are his old Miami friends Schlapp calling the chief staff on Election Day. They have instant reaction instructions. Calls like this are like mice: if one is seen, there are many more. Did I mention that Schlapp is also a high-powered lobbyist just like Stone? I see a pattern and a very long association in the shadows their shared midnight sea.
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State Sen. Doug Mastriano is currently the frontrunner for the Pennsylvania GOP’s gubernatorial nomination, and he is playing with fire. “When candidates for public office indulge in conspiracy theories like QAnon, it’s often with a wink and a nod,” reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. “But just weeks before Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary election, such ideas are being promoted in plain sight. And high-profile Republican candidates for statewide office are treating talk of a global satanic blood cult’ like regular campaigning.”
Mastriano, on the other hand, looked at the political landscape and got in the action. Last week, he attended a far-right Christian conference called “Patriots Arise for God and Country” in Gettysburg. The program was over soon, and as if to clearly define its purpose for all present, this happened:
About 25 minutes into the two-day conference, organizers played a video claiming the world is experiencing a “great awakening” that will expose “ritual child sacrifice” and a “global satanic blood cult.”
Followers of QAnon believe a global cabal of Democrats and elites are trafficking children for sex and engaged in other demonic activity — but that all of this will soon be exposed. Images associated with the conspiracy theory were displayed at the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol Attack.
Friday’s video featured one of the most popular conspiracy theories that has circulated for decades. It showed images of the Twin Towers collapsing on 9/11 — with the label “false flags.” It claimed John F. Kennedy was assassinated because he “knew too much” and posed a “high risk of cabal exposure,” that vaccines amount to “genocide therapy,” and that Hitler faked his death. It offered other conspiracy theories about the atomic bomb, the Spanish flu, 5G, the 2008 financial crisis — and, of course, the 2020 election.
But, the video said, it is “game over” for the darkness, and thousands will be jailed and executed. It displayed images of a guillotine.
This sounds familiar. You don’t have to believe, but when you hear it, you know you’re listening to an ally. Doug Mastriano, a major GOP candidate, is listening and coming to the show. Other high-profile Pennsylvania candidates who made the scene at the “Patriots Arise for God and Country” hootenanny included lieutenant governor candidate Teddy Daniels; Maryland gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox; Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington; and former Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis.
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What happened a year after the 1/6 rebellion? “I’m absolutely convinced that this is demonic,” Stone railed on the ‘Elijah Streams’ broadcast. “It is a satanic portal. It is access to this Earth by those who are evil, and only by closing it will we be successful in saving this nation under God.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Mr. Stone does not believe one word of that. Doug Mastriano might, but Stone? Never.
Remember: He is free from shame and a creature that loves the Real GOP… and nowadays, thanks to Trump’s ongoing revolution, strange noises like the ones he’s making have basically occupied the party’s rhetorical driver’s seat. In most Republican regions of this country, in core fortresses like central Pennsylvania and Ohio, such talk is the coin of the realm — again, you may not believe it, but when you hear it, you know you’re listening to an ally. These are the people Mitch McConnell, the old-line Republicans, fear most.
Stone thinks this is how it’s going to be for the party from now on and is getting in on the ground floor, as he did in 1972 by seeding the campaigns of various Democratic presidential candidates with Nixon spies.
Stone is possessed of the kind of cunning that has kept him from turning up in the trunk of a car with a dozen bullets in his head; his instincts, though venomous, have served him well … and now this Bible-blaring pivot. It seems absurd until you stop to look at Pennsylvania and the races being held there.
It’s getting really weird out there, and the races in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have been sucked into this bizarre wake. While Democrats debate whether to nominate another Manchin clone or not, Republicans wonder who will bring Hillary Clinton to justice for selling children out of Benghazi and Hollywood pizza shops.
Roger Stone may be ahead of the curve on the party he has served for the term of his life, but he’s right where the action is. As the primaries approach, this action promises to get wilder. Playing the God Card hard is the next “logical” step, and Stone is no fool. For him and his allies, it’s time to pluck another pigeon.