Weekly Wilson - Blog of Author Connie C. Wilson

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries." (Julius Caesar; Act 4, Scene 3).

Category: Politics (Page 2 of 14)

Trump Is Elected & World Shudders

I’ll begin this analysis of the election that is unfolding tonight, November 8th, at 2 a.m. CDT with a quote from my own book, “Obama’s Odyssey” (Vol. I,” which is all about the 2008 election:

FROM 2008:

“If you’ve read my analysis of why and how Hillary might lose (in Iowa), predictions I made before she DID lose in Iowa, you know that I referenced her “lackluster” speeches, her failure to take many questions, her aloof demeanor at times, her screechy voice, her lack of charisma and her plasticity on the stump. As James Stockdale (VP candidate with Ross Perot in 1992) once was put down by his opponent when he referenced JFK (and I paraphrase roughly to fit this candidate): ‘I knew Bill Clinton, Madam, and you’re no Bill Clinton.’…Let’s not forget how inaccurate the polls were in Iowa (in ’08) reporting Hillary Clinton leading at almost all junctures, only to see her finish third.
During the live debate with Charles Gibson moderating and Facebook users weighing in, the issue of likeability was raised with Hilary, as Gibson came right out and said, “They seem to like Barack Obama more.” It was Hillary’s best—and possibly only—good moment in that debate, as she said, ‘Well, that hurts my feelings, but I’m going to go on.’ Hillary has modified her appearances in New Hampshire to take questions from the audience more. I’d like to think my blog articles influenced that, but I’m too rational to take credit for what a lot of people pointed out: her plasticity, her prepared stump speech, the stiffing of the fourth-grade reporter by daughter Chelsea. To this viewer, Hillary looked, to use a colloquialism of my mother’s, ‘Mad enough to spit’ at several junctures. She took shots at Edwards. She took shots at Obama. She seemed irritable, out-of-sorts and semi-desperate in trying to make her points.”

Other blog entries from my book about the 2008 election included blog entries with titles like: “Can Hillary Cry Her Way to the White House?” and “Hillary Clinton (aka Miss Frigidaire) Losing Popularity Contest (What Are You Gonna’ Do When the Most Popular Kid in the Class Takes You On?”)

When I wrote those words back in 2008, that most popular kid was Barack Obama. Perhaps that “most popular kid” in 2016 is reality TV star Donald J. Trump.

Mike Pence has said “this is a historic night” in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s conceding the election to Donald Trump tonight—(too early, as far as I’m concerned with the election so close)— and he is right about that.

We have learned that the following events will bring down a political dynasty:
1) The FBI Director releasing statement mere days before a presidential election and then half-heartedly taking it back 2 days before the election. (You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, Folks, and this just proves it.)

2) Third party candidates who have no chance of winning siphoning off votes (Johnson/Stein), much like in 1992 with Ross Perot. Every vote that might have put HRC over the finish line that was given, instead, to Johnson or Stein or withheld because the nominee was not Bernie is responsible for this razor-thin loss.

3) Uninformed voters who are constantly barraged with negatives about one of the candidates (Hillary) for a period of literally decades. True charges? Not usually, but nevermind about that. Certainly neither candidate was a great one, but we have selected the one that knew nothing about governing anything and declared bankruptcy about 5 times and never paid any federal taxes, so good luck with him, then.

4) Blacks and millennials failing to rise to the occasion and support Hillary Rodham Clinton with the same enthusiasm they had demonstrated for Barack Obama in ’08 and ‘12.

5) Bernie’s loyal supporters who wouldn’t make the switch, no matter what.

6) The inherent difficulties of any party winning 3 consecutive terms.

7) Gender. Not only do women not receive equal treatment, other women don’t support them, either, so, sadly, our first woman nominee was beaten by THIS guy.

8) The inherent unlikeability of Hillary Rodham Clinton, which I wrote about extensively in 2008. It was recently reinforced by my visit to the rural Heartland, but I chose to ignore those tremors.

9) The Hispanic vote being taken for granted. The Hispanic vote did turn out, but it turned out selectively, trying to get rid of Sheriff Joe in Arizona, etc.

10) The media not doing a good job of coverage, but, instead, supporting a candidate who was a reality TV star. They knew him from his TV show, so he must be good, right?

11) The Rust Belt dissatisfaction with their jobs being sent overseas, which Donald Trump must now deliver on. Good luck with that, when some of the jobs have not been sent overseas but have given way to computerization. (Soon, no more truck drivers with driverless trucks).

12) Charisma, even if it is of the most obnoxious kind, was more a Trump characteristic than a Clinton characteristic. It may not be the kind of charisma that I admire, but it was apparently the kind of charisma that the electoral college voted for tonight.
Good luck to all of us as our economic indices fall faster than a speeding bullet.

I should have listened to my people in Independence, Iowa, where I recently visited, who were bound and determined that Hillary Clinton NOT be allowed to become our first woman president and that her philandering husband not be allowed near the Oval Office again.

Sad day for competent leadership.

If you know where I can purchase another keyring that counts down the years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds of the orange person’s term until he is through with this hopefully one-time term, please drop me a line, as that key-ring kept me sane through “W’s” years at the helm of the United States, ruining our economy and getting us into war.

Election Predictions for Presidential Race of 2016 on Nov. 8th, 3 a.m.

Donald Trump, Republican Presidential candidate..

Donald Trump, Republican Presidential candidate..

Hillary is ahead roughly 44% to 40% on the eve of the 2016 election (Nov. 7, 2016). It also looks like Democrats have a very good chance of taking back the Senate, with only 2 votes in dispute and 50 that look like they’ll go Democratic (48 were in the Republican column with 2 in dispute as of this writing).
Congress is not as good a bet.
It seems now would be a good time to make a prediction about the presidential race. I’m not alone in thinking that Hillary Rodham Clinton will win. It was unfortunate in the extreme that FBI director James Comey, 9 days before the election, made some vague allusions to additional e-mails.
Then, just 2 days before the election, Comey tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Pulling a stunt like that is tantamount to your pregnant girlfriend announcing at the wedding reception, “Turns out I’m not pregnant after all.” Comey was also involved in the Whitewater Investigation, parts of Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings and has a long history of “investigating HRC.
So, we won’t know how much worse Trump’s defeat could and would have been without the assistance of Comey and Putin and the WikiLeaks hackers, but I still think she has a good shot at beating him silly, with over 300 electoral college votes, for sure.
Counties to watch, early on are:
1) Duval County in Florida, where Jacksonville is located. This county had 74,000 votes in ’08 and ’12.
2) Hillsborough County in Florida, where Tampa is located. There were 543,000 votes there in 2012 but there are more Hispanics registered this year than ever before.
3) Miami-Dade County. I got an urgent e-mail asking for money from Little Marco saying that the early voting by Hispanics was outpacing the Republicans. 541,000 Democratic votes were cast in 2012. Nevertheless, most analysts think Marco Rubio will hang on, which is unfortunate, since he doesn’t believe in global warming.
4) North Carolina: New Hanover County was lost by 92,000 votes in 2012. There are more Independent voters in Wilmington and New Henry Counties than there are registered Democrats or Republicans and this county will signal how Independents are breaking. Obama lost by 1.5% in 2008 and 4.5% in 2012.
Wade County is the state’s most populous county and Independents are up by 50,000 (24$) since 2012. Obama won by 56,000 (11 points) and, in Watauga, Obama won by 4% in 2008 and in 2012 he slipped 13% and lost by 3 percentage points.
5) Ohio: Belmont County is a county that Obama won in 2008, but lost in 2012. 90% of Belmont County is white, but NOT college educated, but working class whites. Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located, has many black voters. Obama won by 225,000 and 220,000 in his 2 runs, a 6% win.
6) Pennsylvania: Chester County (Philadelphia) has white, college-educated voters that gave Obama a 6 to 1 victory. Pennsylvania (Scranton) is also current Vice President Joe Biden’s hometown.

Last time there was a national election it was all wrapped up by 11 p.m. when Ohio went for Obama. Will it be as decisive (and early) this time?

My favorite predicting group (Moody’s Analytics) did not use polls to predict at all, but used different statistical indexes including:
1) The standing of the incumbent President, which should be favorable to Hillary since Obama’s are the highest since Reagan.

2) Gas prices. In my area, a gallon of gas goes for $2.05 right now and when we were in Texas you could purchase a gallon of gas for $1.44. In Des Moines at Sam’s Club yesterday it was $1.89. This bodes well for HRC, just as high gas prices were bad news for Carter in his re-election run.

3) Housing starts: How is the housing market doing? It seems to be on the upswing in Chicago and Austin with cranes everywhere, something that has been missing from the Chicago skyline since 2007/2008. Advantage Clinton.

4) Household income: it’s up slightly. In Illinois, federal employees are going to be paid $13 an hour, minimum. My friend in Des Moines said it was $10 per hour for ordinary jobs like Starbucks barrista. In Illinois the plan is to raise the minimum wage for everyone to $13 soon.

5) Unemployment measures: unemployment is under 5% whereas it had been above 7% back in the day.

All of the above support my contention (and nearly everyone else’s) that Hillary Rodham Clinton will become the first female President of the United States, God willing and the river don’t rise.

2016 Presidential Race Predictions on Nov. 8th, 2016

Donald Trump, Republican Presidential candidate..

Donald Trump, Republican Presidential candidate..

Hillary is ahead roughly 44% to 40% on the eve of the 2016 election (Nov. 7, 2016). It also looks like Democrats have a very good chance of taking back the Senate, with only 2 votes in dispute and 50 that look like they’ll go Democratic (48 were in the Republican column with 2 in dispute as of this writing).
Congress is not as good a bet.
It seems now would be a good time to make a prediction about the presidential race. I’m not alone in thinking that Hillary Rodham Clinton will win. It was unfortunate in the extreme that FBI director James Comey, 9 days before the election, made some vague allusions to additional e-mails.
Then, just 2 days before the election, Comey tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Pulling a stunt like that is tantamount to your pregnant girlfriend announcing at the wedding reception, “Turns out I’m not pregnant after all.” Comey was also involved in the Whitewater Investigation, parts of Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings and has a long history of “investigating HRC.
So, we won’t know how much worse Trump’s defeat could and would have been without the assistance of Comey and Putin and the WikiLeaks hackers, but I still think she has a good shot at beating him silly, with over 300 electoral college votes, for sure.
Counties to watch, early on are:
1) Duval County in Florida, where Jacksonville is located. This county had 74,000 votes in ’08 and ’12.
2) Hillsborough County in Florida, where Tampa is located. There were 543,000 votes there in 2012 but there are more Hispanics registered this year than ever before.
3) Miami-Dade County. I got an urgent e-mail asking for money from Little Marco saying that the early voting by Hispanics was outpacing the Republicans. 541,000 Democratic votes were cast in 2012. Nevertheless, most analysts think Marco Rubio will hang on, which is unfortunate, since he doesn’t believe in global warming.
4) North Carolina: New Hanover County was lost by 92,000 votes in 2012. There are more Independent voters in Wilmington and New Henry Counties than there are registered Democrats or Republicans and this county will signal how Independents are breaking. Obama lost by 1.5% in 2008 and 4.5% in 2012.
Wade County is the state’s most populous county and Independents are up by 50,000 (24$) since 2012. Obama won by 56,000 (11 points) and, in Watauga, Obama won by 4% in 2008 and in 2012 he slipped 13% and lost by 3 percentage points.
5) Ohio: Belmont County is a county that Obama won in 2008, but lost in 2012. 90% of Belmont County is white, but NOT college educated, but working class whites. Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located, has many black voters. Obama won by 225,000 and 220,000 in his 2 runs, a 6% win.
6) Pennsylvania: Chester County (Philadelphia) has white, college-educated voters that gave Obama a 6 to 1 victory. Pennsylvania (Scranton) is also current Vice President Joe Biden’s hometown.

Last time there was a national election it was all wrapped up by 11 p.m. when Ohio went for Obama. Will it be as decisive (and early) this time?

My favorite predicting group (Moody’s Analytics) did not use polls to predict at all, but used different statistical indexes including:
1) The standing of the incumbent President, which should be favorable to Hillary since Obama’s are the highest since Reagan.

2) Gas prices. In my area, a gallon of gas goes for $2.05 right now and when we were in Texas you could purchase a gallon of gas for $1.44. In Des Moines at Sam’s Club yesterday it was $1.89. This bodes well for HRC, just as high gas prices were bad news for Carter in his re-election run.

3) Housing starts: How is the housing market doing? It seems to be on the upswing in Chicago and Austin with cranes everywhere, something that has been missing from the Chicago skyline since 2007/2008. Advantage Clinton.

4) Household income: it’s up slightly. In Illinois, federal employees are going to be paid $13 an hour, minimum. My friend in Des Moines said it was $10 per hour for ordinary jobs like Starbucks barrista. In Illinois the plan is to raise the minimum wage for everyone to $13 soon.

5) Unemployment measures: unemployment is under 5% whereas it had been above 7% back in the day.

All of the above support my contention (and nearly everyone else’s) that Hillary Rodham Clinton will become the first female President of the United States, God willing and the river don’t rise.

“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” Screens at Chicago Film Festival

This film from Director Deborah Riley Draper examined the 28 athletes who traveled to Berlin in 1936 for the Olympic games held when Hitler was in power. Everyone remembers the name Jesse Owens from those games. But there were 17 other African American or Jewish athletes who participated as part of the U.S. team of 400 who remain largely forgotten, and this film tells their story.

THE GOOD

Over four years of time, newsreel footage was assembled of all the participants, including spending much time in Berlin and Cologne. German families who had attended the Olympics contributed family photos. Director Draper told the crowd at the Chicago screening, “It came to life for me here. It was very special. It was a confirmation of stories we had been told. They were powerful and extraordinary and beautiful.”

Even more interesting was Draper’s acknowledgement that she was originally working on a story of a woman from the South who had been imprisoned in a Nazi prison. But, as she said, “These athletes competed 30 years before Wilma Randolph. The irony and paradox of that was intriguing. It was astonishing to know that these women had been part of the 400-member Olympic team.” Draper hinted that the story of that female prisoner in Germany might still get her day on film in the future.

Asked if there were other black athletes participating, Draper mentioned those from Haiti, Brazil and Egypt, but reinforced that Hitler wanted to use the Olympics as a propaganda machine to sell his theory of white racial superiority. Hitler was sorely set back in this goal when Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals and the black athletes, as a group, won half of the total U.S. medal count, including 8 gold medals. The African American contingent won all but 2 events in which they competed. In fact, Hitler stormed from the stadium after one such African American win and the Olympic committee had to tell him to either greet all winners or none. He chose the latter, but met with German winners privately in his box to congratulate them on their victories.

Draper’s film not only documents the lead-up to the games (some felt the U.S. should boycott the Olympics entirely, as the U.S. did in Russia under President Jimmy Carter), but there is a post that tells what happened to the athletes after the games, and it is nearly as heartbreaking as the stories of racial prejudice and religious injustice that are documented by the film.

The injustices were not just perpetrated on blacks. Two Jewish athletes who were supposed to run track and field (Glickman of Syracuse and Stoller of Michigan) were pulled from competition in order to use Caucasian runners at the last minute, prompting Jewish contestant Marty Glickman to confront the coach and ask, “Is it because I’m Jewish that I wasn’t allowed to run?”

The same pulling at the last minute technique occurred with Louise Stokes, who was replaced at the last moment and never got to run another race because of racial politics, while the women’s 80-meter-hurdles contestant, Tydee Pickett of Chicago, broke her foot when the hurdle in German didn’t “give’ as they had in the U.S.

One of the worst cases of the unfairness of Hitler’s regime was the story of Greta Bergmann, a German national who fled to England and was slated to compete for the British team when Hitler sent word that she needed to return to Germany and compete for the Motherland. Bergmann returned, but was refused the right to participate and, to add insult to injury, had all her records expunged. Bergmann, who was still alive, described the ordeal as “a terrible time.”

Two boxers who traveled the 10 days across the ocean on the S.S. Manhattan to compete, Joe Church and Howell King, were sent home with weak excuses that they were “homesick.” Howell King was even told he would have to box against the man he had already beaten once (Rutecke), which he did, beating him again on board the boat.

The black athletes were frequently chased from the movies shown aboard ship, were not able to train, in some cases (notably, Tydee Picket) were seasick and the ship had to stop in England to take on more food during the 10-day voyage. The Olympic Black Gang, as they were known, or the Black Eagles as the boxers were called, were, however, treated extremely well by the Germans, who wanted to dispel rumors of Nazi persecution of minorities. The Nazis orchestrated every aspect of the games, staged them, choreographed them, for propaganda purposes, with Lennie Riefenstahl (“Triumph of the Will”) documenting it all on film for the Third Reich after convincing Hitler that the films would prove the Aryan race was superior.

There were 100,000 spectators in the stadium with the (doomed) Hindenberg shown hovering overhead, and 49 nations competing. As the U.S. athletes entered the stadium to the strains of “The Star-Spangled Banner” German authorities orchestrated it in such a manner that the German team then entered and 5,000 German voices sang the Hallelujah chorus and “Deutschland Uber Alles” while hordes of pigeons were released, drowning out the United States national anthem, which ceased being played. Werner Viehs, a spectator who was aged 10 at the time. remembered the spectacle. All agreed that some of the pigeons left their mark on the U.S. team before they departed the stadium.


Mack Robinson, older brother of Jackie Robinson, was one of the competitors, winning a silver medal.
He could only get a job sweeping streets after his return and wore his Olympic jacket at night to stay warm. Jesse Owens was penalized for not touring other European countries to help raise money for the Olympic Committee. He was banned, stripped of his amateur status and ended up having to race against racehorses to make money upon his return to the U.S. As Draper put it, “The country turned its back on him.” It was a far cry from the German frauleins who stood at the dock in Germany waiting for the World Record Holder to disembark, many holding scissors so they could snip parts of his clothing off as a souvenir.

Athletes who competed were Dave Albritton (high jump), John Brooks, James Clark (boxing). “Cornelius Johnson (high jump), Willis Johnson (heavyweight boxer), Howell King (boxing), Dr. James LuValle, Ralph Metcalfe (track), Art Oliver, Jesse Owens (track), Fritz Pollard Jr., Mack Robinson (track and field), John Terry, Archie Williams, Jack Wilson (bantamweight), John Woodruff, and the 2 African American women, Tydee Pickett and Louise Stokes, both track standouts with Tydee a hurdler. Nearly all are dead, although we heard the voice of competitor Dr. James LuVelle, who went on to earn a Phd from UCLA and went on to become one of the Tuskegee airmen. Narrating the film was Blair Underwood, who executive produced with Deborah and Michael Draper.

Throughout the film we hear commentary from famous folk like Isaiah Thomas, Carl Lewis and Andrew Young who confirm the message that filmmaker Draper conveyed to the crowd: “These 18 are the ones who paved the way for those of us who are here today.” The jump from 1936 to the black salute of 1968 to Jackie Robinson playing major league baseball 10 years later would not have happened at all or as quickly without these trailblazers who proved their mettle at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Draper’s film not only documents the lead-up to the games (some felt the U.S. should boycott the Olympics entirely, as the U.S. did in Russia under President Jimmy Carter), but there is a post that tells what happened to the athletes after the games, and it is nearly as heartbreaking as the stories of racial prejudice and religious injustice that are documented by the film.

As the film underscored, “This was an incredibly important moment in human history,” not just in sports history, but also because of the principle of racial justice and equality that started the slow climb upwards at this much-heralded event. As an Iowa graduate, I noticed one athlete wearing an “Iowa” shirt in the still photographs that are part of a collage effect, and I’m going to have to do some research to determine which one of the 18 names above was given a chance at my Midwestern alma mater.

The film will air on HBO in December.

“In the Last Days of the City” is Docu-Drama About Arab Spring in Cairo

pierre-menahem-ldc_1_khalid-abdalla_hauptstill

“In the Last Days of the City” Depicts Cairo, Pre Arab Spring

Genre: Docu-Drama
118 minutes
Director: Tamer El Said
Writers: Tamer El Said, Rash Sulti
Actors: Khalid Abdalla, Laila Samy, Hanan Youssof
From Egypt: In Arabic with subtitles
Review by Connie Wilson, WeeklyWilson.com

This requiem for a lost Cairo follows Khalid, a filmmaker, in December, 2009, as he attempts to complete a film that is pieced together from footage of his hospitalized mother, his neighborhood, his girlfriend Laila and 2 friends, and street events, all caught on the eve of an approaching revolution. For Khalid and his compatriots, life will never be the same, nor will Cairo.

THE GOOD

I was eager to see this glimpse of Cairo, Egypt, before the Arab Spring toppled Mubarek. I felt this was as close to the Middle East as I would ever get. All the countries mentioned—Egypt, Turkey, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia—-are dangerous for westerners now.

Therefore, I was anxious to see this film about a filmmaker trying to capture the city of Cairo before it changed forever and also trying to make sense of the changes going on around him.
When he rides up in an elevator to look at a new flat, each floor has a bumper sticker plastered on the wall that reads “Thou shalt not look at women.” We see a worker in a department store taking western-style clothing off female mannequins, putting newspaper in the windows to obscure the view of the mannequins, and when the newspaper is taken down, all the mannequins are dressed in extremely concealing burkhas. Another sign on a building reads “The Quaran must rule” and “Praying is light.” A street preacher stresses that all must “obey God’s commandments. It’s God’s command. We can’t question it.” When Khalid and his real estate agent show up at one building for a pre-arranged viewing of a possible rental apartment, the veiled woman inside cannot allow him entry because no man is present. Khalid begins witnessing actual beatings (one of a woman by a man near his apartment building; one of a protester who is taken away in the bed of a truck by armed men); he seems shocked.

THE BAD

It is impossible to keep the characters straight and/or figure out what is going on.
Explanations, when they come, are never situated in the story near the appearance of the character. There are just way too many different characters and situations shoe-horned into this overlong docu-drama. One friend has already fled Baghdad for Berlin and urges Khalid to join him, saying, “Leave the downtown. It will kill you.” The friend adds, “He knows his city is full of death, corpses, and funeral banners, but he’s still there.” This friend says, “I want to live now and in the future. You insist on living in the past.”

A second friend is also resistant to leaving the city, insisting that the omnipresent danger deepens one’s enjoyment of life. (“Life deepens. You’ll find real meaning…You stop seeing because the images become like noise.”) But one day, that friend, too, finally leaves, saying, “All we do is hide.” Khalid told the first expatriate friend, “You’ll die missing Baghdad” to which his friend replied, “It’s better than dying in Baghdad. In Baghdad, you don’t choose. A stray bullet, you die.”

Khalid acknowledges that he is trapped in a state of stasis, saying, “There’s just too much.”
His western-style girlfriend is reluctant to take his calls. His mother may be dying (it took at least half the film before it was explained that the elderly woman in the hospital was his mother and we never do find out if she is seriously ill or simply old). He can’t find a new apartment and must vacate his old one by February. Rabble rousers in the streets are holding rallies and crying “Down with the tyrant. Down with military rule,” while a taxi driver says, disgustedly “They should get a job instead of protesting. The country is fine.”

VERDICT:
Don’t bother. I really wanted to like this film, which had even won three awards. Buy a book with pictures of Cairo, before and after 2009 and read up on the rebellion. That was over 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back. Khalid’s film editor said it best: “We just go around in circles. I feel I’m wasting my time.”

Hitler Just Found Out Trump Has Caved on Immigration

I have to admit I laughed throughout this put-down of The Donald’s new position on building “the wall” and deporting 11 million illegal Mexicans.

The fact that it happened the very same day that Anne Coulter (the thin, blonde, ultra-Conservative mouthpiece most often seen guesting on Bill Maehr’s show, where she is always off her rocker) was just too much.

“War Dogs” Mentions Rock Island Arsenal

The preview (above) shows the gun runners in “War Dogs” meeting with officials (ostensibly) at the Rock Island, Illinois Arsenal. Does the Arsenal employ twins who meet with gun providers about purchasing artillery and ammunition? No idea. Is that really the interior of the offices of the Rock Island Arsenal? Based on actually having been inside some of them, I seriously doubt the resemblance, since the “real” Arsenal is all brick and old and pretty much ancient-looking.

For years, The Quarters on Arsenal Island was the second-largest government residence, after the White House, but its antiquated kitchens and bathrooms (the place still had a recessed roof with a lever so, in the days before running water, you could heat water and then lower it for use in the 1800s) made it unsuitable for constant habitation, despite its Abraham Lincoln-era splendor. I don’t believe that it is the Commander’s official residence any more.

But what about the film “War Dogs?” I was particularly interested in seeing the film adaptation of the “Rolling Stone” article by Guy Lawson entitled “Arms and the Dude” because, reading it, I became fixated on the Rock Island (IL) connection.

So did people like Bradley Cooper, apparently, become fixated with the nearly unbelievable true piece. He plays a bit part as a shadowy arms dealer to terrorists (a part I don’t remember from the source material) and is listed as executive producer. The film is directed by Todd Phillips.

The movie outlines the more-or-less true adventures of 2 young guys who got a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to provide arms to Afghanistan. The opening date onscreen for these shenanigans is January 1, 2008. We quickly learn that it costs the U.S. government $17,500 to outfit just one American soldier. With 2 million sold and an annual bill of $4.5 billion just to provide AC for those stationed in the very, very hot Afghanistan, one savvy small-time con saw an opportunity to make money after new regulations were passed in the wake of no-bid contracts for Cheney’s boys. That led to bidding on everything and AEY (don’t ask what it stands for; it doesn’t stand for anything, and asking could get you fired) was there to provide the materials of war.

Initially, Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), the brains behind the outfit, was bankrolled by a Jewish dry cleaning magnate, Ralph Slitsky (Kevin Pollak), who thought Efraim was sending arms to defend Israel. It will be Ralph who will fold like a cheap accordion when the questions begin flying thick and fast. Efraim involves his childhood friend David Packouz (Miles Teller).

But, before all hell breaks loose, we get lines like, “I dropped out of high school before they covered international diplomacy” from Hill’s character, who plays the part with an insouciance and aplomb that would challenge many. An unusually insightful script theme appears from the “good guy” arms dealer, David Packouz (Miles Teller of “Whiplash”), who says of Efraim: “He would figure out who someone wanted him to be and he would become that person.”

Punctuated by little messages onscreen like, “When does telling the truth ever help anybody?”, the film explains how the duo gets a major contract to supply Italian barettas to U.S. troops and, ultimately, to provide 100 million rounds of AX47 ammo, The Afghan Deal.

Problems arise when the chutzpah that has carried Efraim and David this far wears thin while facing hurdles like 68,520 crates of ammunition stuck in Albania that turn out to be filled with Chinese goods, when the U.S. has an embargo on buying from China. The solution, albeit an illegal one, is to re-pack the embargoed bullets in cardboard boxes that don’t scream “China” and send them off to the front,anyway. But Efraim doesn’t pay “the box guy” in Albania and that leads to charges of 70 federal crimes and a 4-year sentence for the guiltier of the two and the mastermind, Efraim Diveroli (who could be back in business by 2020, because the government still hasn’t closed a few loopholes in their online outsourcing M.O., says the script at movie’s end.)

The friendship unravels as the deal does. “We were never best friends. You were just playing the role of my best friend,” says David to Efraim (Teller to Hill) and this, above all, struck me as a very insightful statement. It’s happened to me. Has it happened to you?

While “The New Yorker” gave the film a very sniffy review, most critics liked the film (giving Jonah Hill’s laugh high marks) and it has a high rating on IMDB from those who have actually seen it.

We liked it. How often do you get to see identical twins from the Arsenal negotiating an arms deal with a couple of doofuses from Miami who admit they are stoned at the time? (one of whom, David Packouz, is a massage therapist).

Try it. You’ll like it.

Why Won’t Donald Trump Release His Tax Returns?

Why Won’t Trump Release His Tax Returns?

For the first time in modern history, a candidate running for President on a major party ticket is not releasing his tax returns.

Why not?

The 6 best guesses are courtesy of Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, one of 3 news outlets (the New York Times and the Des Moines Register being the other two) that Donald Trump has recently banned from covering his campaign for various slights or offenses he doesn’t like (it doesn’t take much when you’re as thin-skinned as Donald Trump):

1) The Donald may have Russian business ties.

2) Donald Trump did not pay any taxes at all for 2 years in the seventies. Speculation is rampant that he has not paid his fair share of taxes since then. A 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators showed that Trump did not pay any taxes for 2 years in the seventies because he reported negative income—which brings us to number 3.

3) Trump may not be as rich as he claims. He once said he was worth $10 biliion. Others have said he is worth $3 billion. Still others insist he is worth far less than either of those numbers. Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City, is not impressed with Trump’s wealth, saying he is a con man at the DNC.

4) Trump may donate very little to charity, despite claims to the contrary. I’m sure we all remember when he skipped a debate in Iowa to raise money for veterans, but then didn’t donate the money until newspapers tracked down whether he had actually raised and donated as much ($6 million) as he claimed. The tracking down forced Trump to make good on a campaign promise to chip in a large amount of his own and made us aware that the $6 million was actually only $5.6 until the research outed the entire process and showed that he had not put in his contribution until the day after the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold printed the true story. Farenthold also found that his charitable giving to that point was less than $10,000.

5) He is being audited. This is pure bunk. Richard Nixon released his taxes while being audited in 1973. My husband ran 2 H&R Block locations and says there is no reason that an audit should prevent him from releasing his tax returns, which many others have confirmed.

6) Trump may have Mob ties. This idea has circulated for years. Ted Cruz on “Meet the Press” said, “There have been multiple media reports about Donald’s business dealings with the job, with the mafia. Maybe his taxes show those business dealings are a lot more extensive than has been reported.” (Of course, Trump claimed that Cruz’ father was somehow complicit in the assassinaton of JFK, so…..

In other breaking non-tax-return news, Melania Trump’s website that claimed she earned an architecture degree before becoming a model (she didn’t) has been taken down.

Buzzfeed Buzzes Trump Campaign by Rejecting $1.3 Mill Buy

Buzzfeed Axes $1.3 Million Ad Deal With RNC Over Trump
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Buzzfeed Axes $1.3 Million Ad Deal With RNC Over Trump
[By Cathy Burke | Monday, 06 Jun 2016 01:45 PM]

So read the headline that outlined how Buzzfeed has refused a deal to run ads designed to elect Donald Trump President in the upcoming presidential campaign, for the same reason that they don’t run cigarette ads, “which can also be hazardous to your health.”

It is becoming clearer and clearer in the lead-up to the actual presidential campaign that Donald Trump is someone who can dish it out, but can’t take it, when it comes to criticism. Perhaps this is because he was born a child of privilege and has lived, literally, in a gilded tower.

But whatever the source of his brash, obnoxious, misogynistic, narcissistic, blowhard personality, the thrice-married Donald is not getting an “A” in “works and plays well with others” nor is he winning any Mr. Congeniality contests, nor is he likely to pick up the votes of Latinos as he continues to go after the Hispanic Federal Judge who is overseeing his Trump University case.

The appearances on television (one with Jake Tapper this past Sunday was particularly revealing) show a man who continually interrupted his questioner to pivot to the topic of how wronged he had been because the judge handling his case was Mexican, (even though he was born in Indiana to immigrant parents). Trump is like a small grade-schooler who, not having gotten his way, says he is going to “take my ball and go home.” The level of maturity from a man approaching 70 is disturbing and terribly offputting for the average voter.

There are few people who like a braggart. Humble is the goal if you’re running for office. There are fewer still who like a con man, a liar and a huckster whose chief response to being called out is to whine, like the child with his hand caught in the cookie jar. Even Newt Gingrich, Trump’s staunch ally and a name bandied about as a vice presidential running mate, knows enough to flee a burning building, and has denounced Trump’s recent racist remarks. Right now, Donald Trump is a burning building.

Former opponents whom Trump bested in the primaries (Marco Rubio, for one) are coming out of the woodwork to proclaim that they saw this melt-down coming. Others, like Paul Ryan, are trying as hard as they can to tap dance away from the onus of anti-Hispanic sentiment that their presumptive nominee is spreading like grass seed on arid soil.(So much for the “autopsy” report the GOP commissioned after their last big loss that said they should try to be more inclusive and court the Hispanic vote.)

But can the old white male vote carry The Donald to victory, anyway? Well, when George W. Bush won, he carried 58% of the old, white male vote. When McCain lost, he had 55% of this segment of the electorate. Romney got 59% of the white male vote. Right now, in exit polls, Donald Trump is polling 52% of the white male vote. And let’s not forget that Romney’s loss in ’12 was a BIG loss. Onlookers can only hope that Trump’s loss will be even bigger, thereby giving Mitt Romney his “I told you so” moment.(Romney openly denounced Trump in no uncertain terms months ago in winter.)

As far as the GOP is concerned, it is just too bad that Mitt Romney, a decent (rich) human being without the common man touch, didn’t wait until this year to run against Hillary Clinton. She is eking out a win over a 74-year-old opponent not on charismatic leadership and likability, but because the Grand Old Party nominated an orange millionaire who won’t release his taxes (Did he PAY his taxes? Clinton has released her tax returns for the past 33 years.), makes no sense, has offered no real solutions for the problems he points out, and has vilified the press, this is likely to be a drubbing of historic proportions.

The State of Texas is seeking $5.4 million from Trump University to pay back the defrauded students. “And you know this case was turned down by almost every attorney general, from Texas to….” said Trump to Jake Tapper on television on June 5th.

Five different Texas codes were violated, according to the state of Texas. Texas state investigators went undercover inside Trump University to make these claims. Huckster. Fraud. Liar. Bait-and-switch. Infomercials for the 3-day $1,495 course used more high-pressure tactics to get customers to pay $35,000 for more classes. The only business tip? Prey on foreclosure victims. And yet Trump’s attorney says that Donald Trump had his finger involved in every aspect of Trump University. The Texas Attorney General then is the Texas Governor (Greg Abbott) now, so the case was dropped when Trump said he’d leave the state never to return. “No one else,” according to Texas officials, “was going to be scammed.”

Yeah…this is the kind of guy you want leading the Free World—-NOT!

Radio Interviews on June 1st & June 2nd

“Obama’s Odyssey” continues its national radio tour with 3 stops tomorrow and some special pricing.

The stops will be: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., CT in Centralia, Illinois on WILY-AM with Tootie Cooksey’s “Hotline.”

11 to 11:30 a.m. on WAMV-AM with Bob Langstaff’s “We the People” in Amherst, Virginia.

Noon to 12:16 on KPCL-FM in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Annette Ayoub’s “Day Brightener.”

In conjunction with the radio tour, Volume II of “Obama’s Odyssey” is FREE for June 1 and June 2. Volume I is only 99 cents in e-book format from Amazon. The easiest way to “click through” and get to the special offers (which will expire on June 2nd) is to go to ConnieCWilson.com and click through, although you can also opt to go directly to Amazon and type in the book’s titles (Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House) and/or my author name, Connie Corcoran Wilson).

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