Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Category: Humor and Weird Wilson-isms Page 1 of 23

In the spirit of her full-length book “Laughing through Life” that featured humorous stories of child-rearing and general life, Connie has written humor columns for a variety of newspapers, which Erma Bombeck’s widower described as being very much like her columns when presented with a book at an Ohio writing festival.

“Raymond and Ray” (Ewan McGregor & Ethan Hawke) at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival.

“Raymond and Ray” premieres on Apple TV+ on October 21st.  Ethan Hawke (Ray) and Ewan McGregor (Raymond) play half-brothers in the film, offspring of a feckless father who traveled the world apparently impregnating a variety of women. Check it out and see if you agree with one of its stars (Ethan Hawke), who once said, “It’s fun to see a movie that’s made for someone over the age of 15.” This is such a film.

These two sons by different mothers whom Dad (Benjamin Reed Harris III, portrayed only after death by Tom Bowers) gave the same name, grew up together. One guesses that the duo probably survived their father because they had each other. A line from the script is “We come from chaos.”

 

“Raymond and Ray,” Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke, at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival.

Raymond—the more conventional of the two and an employee of the Cincinnati Water & Power Department—convinces Ray (Ethan Hawke) to accompany him to their mutual father’s funeral over Ray’s initial objections. The pair have very bad memories of dear old Dad. Raymond (Ewan McGregor) warns his half-brother regarding their father’s passing, “It’s gonna’ take a whole lot more than a hole in the ground to get him out of your head.”

Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke can spin gold out of dross; their excellence in these roles was expected. Ethan Hawke, in particular, plays a character who has been a jazz musician for his entire life and is a reformed drug addict. Hawke delivers some scene-stealing moments playing the trumpet, both at the funeral and in a jazz club after the service is over, accompanied by co-star Sophie Okenodo as Keira. Hawke portrayed 50’s jazz trumpeter Chet Stevens in the 2015 film “Born to be Blue” and  spent about 8 months learning to play the trumpet prior to that outing. It shows—although Hawke claims no expertise as a trumpeter.

Ray’s (Ethan Hawke) reputation in life has been that he attracts women “like shit attracts flies,” so Sophie Okenodo is written well in an interesting departure from expectations. Kudos to the writer/director Rodrigo Garcia. I loved lines like this one when the sons hear what a charming fellow their dead father was to others. Says Ray (Ethan Hawke): “Does whipping our asses with a belt count? ‘Cause, if it does he was a hoot.”

Rodrigo Garcia previously wrote 5 episodes of one of my All Time Favorite television series, “Six Feet Under” between 2001 and 2005. Only two other writers ( the show’s creator, Alan Ball, and one other writer wrote more ). “Six Feet Under” was a great training ground for this film, as it examined the family that ran a funeral parlor, and there are many scenes shot in a funeral parlor in this movie. The quirky funeral director is well-played  by Todd Louiso and Vondie Curtis Hall plays the Reverend West.

Others have criticized the writing: too middle-of-the-road, too predictable, not far enough into either comedy or drama. I disagree. As someone who has been reviewing film for 52 uninterrupted years, “Raymond and Ray” showed the audience insights that few other films have even attempted, and did so with humor.

I agree that the many “reveals” became a bit much by film’s end, but the script delivers on some nuggets that have not often been examined at all. One Eternal Truth that Rodrigo Garcia illuminated for the audience is that we all belong to something greater than ourselves.

But the one that resonated, with me, came at film’s end, when the two brothers have lived up to their father’s odd wish that they actually physically dig his grave.Raymond (Ewan McGregor) says to Ray (Ethan Hawke), “We never really knew him, did we?” This truth is driven home again and again as the duo converse with others in their father’s life, including some of the women he loved and left.

I learned this lesson IRL, as someone who has buried both parents. I was constantly being brought up short by remarks made to me about what a lovely, sweet woman my schoolteacher mother was. It’s not that I didn’t love my mother or that I didn’t agree that she was “lovely,” It’s that the self a parent reveals to his or her offspring is often a completely different human being than the one the son or daughter experiences. It is jarring to hear from others about what a great conversationalist one’s parent has been—with and to others. That was the Eternal Truth that this screenplay illustrated so beautifully.

Spanish actress Maribel Verdu, as Lucia, enlivens the entire film. A veteran of “Y tu Mama Tambien” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” the Spanish actress was a stand-out.

Certain aspects of the film deserve special praise. The music (Jeff Beal) is great and the cinematography by Igor Jadu-Lillo is, as well. Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity,” “Roma,” “Children of Men”) is one of the executive producers.

“Raymond and Ray,” Running time: 106 MIN.
• Production: An Apple TV+ presentation of an Esperanto Filmoj Limited, Mockingbird Pictures production. Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn. Executive producers: Shea Kammer, Gabriela Rodriguez.
• Crew: Director, screenplay: Rodrigo García. Camera: Igor Jadue-Lillo. Editor: Michael Ruscio. Music: Jeff Beal.
• With: Ethan Hawke, Ewan McGregor, Maribel Verdú, Tom Bower, Vondie Curtis Hall, Sophie Okonedo.

“Program 1: Obsession, Compulsion and Disorder” at the 53rd Nashville Film Festival

Program 1: Obsession, Compulsion and Disorder.

I watched the films in the streamed package twice. There were 6. At the end, there was a discussion group with 9 films discussed. Not sure what happened to 3 of the films, but they didn’t reach me in Illinois.

Here are capsule summaries of the 6 I saw:

“Inevitable”

“The Inevitable”

Iranian Director Milad Faraholahi has created a very dark short that is synopsized this way:  “A disturbed girl has a horrible nightmare in which two muddy figures ask her to open a mysterious box.  To get rid of that, she decides to kill herself in her nightmare just to wake up.” I felt I needed to know more about what, exactly,  unhinged the lead. Suicide is a pretty dire solution to a problem. As far as the scary quality of the house in which the young girl finds herself, thanks to excellent sound effects and music from Milad Movahedi and cinematography from Hashem Moradi, all of the tried-and-true things that are guaranteed to scare us are used super effectively. Creepy sounds. Lights that turn on and off. Dripping water. Mysterious footprints. A door handle that turns menacingly. Knives in water. Blood on pages of a book.  I think some subtitles during the phone conversation would have helped, as my four years of French did not prepare me to know what was said. I could barely hear it; I did not understand it, as a result, although, at one point, my computer coughed up the directive “Une erreur imprevue d’est produite” so my complete comprehension of the plot was definitely compromised. Apologies. I did think the creepy sets and the unhinged performance of the lead served the piece well and that the director has  a real future in making more shorts or longer films. There are many talented Iranian filmmakers and one, in particular, who caught my eye at SXSW and directed “Everything Will Be All Right” came to mind immediately. I hope this young director (and his crew) pursue more creepy, scary films, because this one was one of the most frightening that I saw…and I mean that in a good way!

“Bowlhead”

Would someone’s skull really make a good bowling ball? (Food for thought; it’s hard to say.)

The Winnetka Bowl has a dedicated bowler in Joe Harsley as Henry. I was immediately reminded of the 1986 film “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” starring Michael Rooker. This Henry is just as diabolical as that Henry, and his ruse of attempting to return a wallet lost at the bowling alley to a hapless victim leads to a scene that shows Henry overpowering the female victim and then making his victims’ heads into bowling balls (hence the title). Henry definitely comes off as someone who is “not right” and the rest of the plot proves it. (*Note to self: do not go bowling in Winnetka.)

 

 

“A Home Invasion”

A Home Invasion”

Maddie Downes and Evan Marshall collaborated to make this serio-comic “AHome Invasion” short, which, they said, was inspired by the couple in Missouri who were seen brandishing firearms and threatening Black Lives Matter protesters in their front yard. The couple is seen fighting at the beginning of the piece, removing their wedding rings, and arguing about who will get custody of the dog, Cooper ( played by Scoober). Then, a friend (Nathan) finds the runaway dog outside the couple’s home and, while attempting to return the pooch, ends up uniting the bickering mates, who pull out guns and plan to face the assailant, (who is only trying to do them a favor.) Nathan is shot, for his troubles.  Travis Prow handles the cinematography (nice shot at the opening, coming into the house through the window from outside) and the music is courtesy of Joshua Rutkowski.  The cast of players, in addition to Evan Marshall (who was promoted to lead actor after an older actor dropped out) includes Jessica Bishop, Henry Koly and, of course, Scoober the dog (as Cooper). A sarcastic commentary on America’s fixation on guns (which seems to override all other preoccupations).

 

“Black Dragon”

Black Dragon”

“Black Dragon,” filmed on location in Alamanee County, North Carolina, is one of the most polished of the shorts. It was inspired by the 1968 My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, which wiped out a Vietnamese village but resulted in only a 3 and ½ year prison sentence for those involved in the Ukrainian style war crime of wiping out an entire village. Matthew Del Negro  from “City on a Hill” plays Colonel Palmer who has a small son (Eddy, played by Chris Day) about the age of the Vietnamese girl in the short, Chau, who is played by Celia Au. Chau has the power to bring the dead back to life. Eddy, the Colonel’s son, has suggested that his dad “has an angel watching over ” him. The angel is going to make some demands of the Colonel that will result in many deaths.  Alex Thompson directed and co wrote the piece with Nathaniel Hendricks and Harper Alexander handled the cinematography while Jeffery Alan Jones was in charge of sound design. It is a very professional and polished short piece. If you click on Matthew DelNegro (see link above) you’ll recognize him from “City on a Hill” and it was a nice touch that his surname (DelNegro) fit the title of this short (“Black Dragon”).

 

“Lemons”

Lemons

Parker Gayan wrote and directed this short film about what would happen if you cut into a lemon and found a USB drive. He has a conversation with a Black friend (Stephen Guma) about his discovery, and there is an appearance from The Lemon Man. I was particularly taken with the idea that Parker is wearing a neck brace throughout the piece. When asked if the neck brace had anything to do with the lemon theme, he said, “No. It was an unrelated accident.” Parker’s attempts to look up something_something.lemon, which results in nothing, was also amusing. I couldn’t help but think of the simpler days before computers, which someone like me remembers. Not only would we never have imagined cutting into a lemon to find a USB drive, we didn’t have USB drives back in the dim dark ages of my youth. It also reminded me of a skit one of my 7th grade English classes once put on for our Ad Campaigns in the Classroom unit, where the young boys who created a Mole-busters van also came into the classroom to the strains of the famous Ray Parker, Jr., “Ghostbusters” theme song (“Who you gonna’ call? Mole-busters!”)  I enjoyed this loopy short way too much considering its lack of gravity and  excess of levity. (The director, in an interview that followed the film, said you can get a really inexpensive Lemon Guy costume on Etsy, in case you were wondering.) I apologize for the random mention of the “Mole-buster” unrelated class unit, but it did win a Scholastic Books contest, at the time, naming me “one of the 10 Most Creative teachers in America” (it came with a cash prize). Somehow, this clip summoned such unrelated memories of random merriment, and random happy thoughts are always welcome.

Lemons” by Parker Gayans.

 

 

 

 

“The Unlocking”

This one and “Inevitable” were probably the 2 creepiest shorts, although “Black Dragon” is close. Certainly a giant lemon is not creepy and the bickering couple with the guns, while concerning from the standpoint of safety to the community at large, is not “scary” or “creepy.” Both “Inevitable” and “The Unlocking” were. This is a Thomas Brush film and he certainly demonstrates an over-active imagination, as the character even says, “Please fix my brain!” It was interesting to me that the house where this was filmed  was actually a childhood haunt, a home where a friend of the director’s lived . The director had always considered the house “creepy.” He got permission to use the house as the setting for the film  (cinematography by Joshua Murray).  This story of a completely bonkers guy in a tutu who will ultimately attack our hero and do substantial damage to him was frightening in the same way that a strange noise in your own kitchen late at night can be terrifying if you are home alone. First, we see the protagonist walking around in the house in the dark trying to investigate who might have come in when he left the door unlocked ( he was advised by others to leave the door unlocked; chaos ensues) but the OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) from which the main character suffers is not misplaced over-anxious worrying, but honest-to-God real-life danger,realized at the film’s climax.

“The Unlocking,” by Thomas Brush.

The filmmakers spoke about their films afterwards, often giving contact information and extra details (such as that regarding the house that is the setting for “The Unlocking.”) There were 2 additional shorts discussed at length, but I was not sent either short.

Printers’ Row Rained Out For Me on September 11, 2022

Well, if any of you were Chicago residents, you know that it rained A LOT today, Sunday, September 11th.

I have to confess that I did not make it to the IWPA booth at Printers’ Row for precisely that reason.

I got up about 9 a.m. (early, for me) and it was raining.

I had a cup of coffee and sat around for over an hour, thinking it would let up.

It did not.

I went back to bed and got up closer to 11 a.m., and I consulted the hour by hour weather forecast, which said that there was a 100% chance of rain for the next several hours.

About 1:20 p.m. the rain actually ceased…briefly. It was right back at it within half an hour.

BEE GONE: A POLITICAL PARABLE

Not to be too big a wuss, but dragging a box on wheels through the wet streets of Chicago is not great for paperbacks, and paperbacks were what I had with me. I was going to go with the political books of the hour, because, as we used to say about Nixon, “We won’t have DJT to kick around any more.” (Or so I fervently hope).

If you had your TV sets tuned to the Bears game at Soldier Field, right across the street from me, you will know that it was really pouring down during the game. Enough said.

My apologies to any of you who did make it out, but I could not imagine that there would be more than one or two folks brave enough to saunter down to Polk Street during the downpour.

The books I had with me are all available on Amazon, and I hope you check them out.

Printers’ Row in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 11th

BEE GONE: A POLITICAL PARABLE

I will be manning the IWPA (Illinois Women’s Press Association) booth from approximately noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11th.

My computer assistant and I attempted to send out a MadMimi newsletter, only to learn that the person who compromised my last credit card screwed me out of that account. I have been trying to fix this for a week. No luck.

I decided to take only my political books to this year’s fair.

Why?

For one thing, “BEE GONE” came out just before the pandemic shut things down and is my most recent book.

Preceding that was “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House”, Vols. I & II. These two books have a wealth of photographs taken as I followed the political candidates of 2008 across the land and into the halls of the DNC and the RNC.

"The Christmas Cats Flee the Bee," sixth book in the Christmas Cats series (www.TheXmasCats.com).The Powers-That–Be conspired to keep me from ever being able to advertise “BEE GONE,” which is a shame, as the illustrator is brilliant and the book is a hoot and a half (unless you are a MAGA fan.)

Since my hope is that there will be a future soon without DJT, bringing “BEE GONE” in multiple copies seems right. The book is about $10 and the children’s version—in full color with puzzles and mazes—has the same great illustrations of Donald Trump as a gigantic bumble bee determined to take over the hive from the Queen Bee.

Enjoy! See you on Sunday at the IWPA booth if you’re in Chicago.

Hundreds of Top Secret and Classified Documents Found in Mar-a-Lago Raid

The search at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 found twice as many classified documents as Trump’s lawyers had turned over voluntarily, despite promising they had returned everything. This was also despite two attorneys (one named Evan Corcoran—hope he’s no relative) signing off and telling the FBI that those they had initially taken were the extent of it, when they were not.

The documents had been seen by members of the club, some of whom ratted The Donald out about his lax handling of the sensitive documents, marked Top Secret, Secret and Confidential. Regardless of how “sensitive” the documents were, they should not have been removed from the White House. It is not true that “they all do it” and that “Obama took some, too.” All previous presidents followed elaborate protocols for when and where they could even look at the documents, but Trump apparently kept some of his “mementos” in his desk drawer and would show it to casual Mar-A-Lago visitors. Among those items were the “love notes” from the North Korean dictator to Mr. Trump. Another he had removed was the letter left him by former President Barack Obama.

The blacking out (redacting) of much of the search warrant language was necessary to protect both the witnesses who have testified to seeing the documents in Mar-A-Lago and to the identity of other secret sources, whose very lives might be endangered.

Apparently, Trump considered anything he touched during his time in office “his.” He considered himself to be much like a king and everything was “his.”

Even if the documents were as ordinary as the menu for breakfast (and they weren’t) removing them from the White House was wrong and an obstruction of justice, and, since the many polite government requests to give them back ended with only a partial return of the papers, the FBI conducted its raid on Aug. 8th. And, to make matters worse, the ex-president and his cronies attempted to move the documents around to prevent the government from seeking their rightful return.

As the “New York Times” put it:

“The investigation into Mr. Trump’s retention of government documents began as a relatively straightforward attempt to recover materials that officials with the National Archives had spent much of 2021 trying to retrieve. The filing on Tuesday (Aug. 30)  made clear that prosecutors are now unmistakably focused on the possibility that Mr. Trump and those around him took criminal steps to obstruct their investigation.

Investigators developed evidence that “government records were likely concealed and removed” from the storage room at Mar-a-Lago after the Justice Department sent Mr. Trump’s office a subpoena for any remaining documents with classified markings. That led prosecutors to conclude that “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” the government filing said.

The filing included one striking visual aid: a photograph of at least five yellow folders recovered from Mr. Trump’s resort and residence marked “Top Secret” and another red one labeled “Secret.”

It is time. LOCK HIM UP!

The legal filing included a photo of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.Department of Justice

List of Sitting Lawmakers in IL, TX, TN, Who Betrayed Our Democracy

As the January 6th Commission convenes in Prime Time on Thursday evening (7/21), it is good to remember those representatives and Senators who betrayed our democratic values on January 6th. I have listed the states where I live and where my son and daughter live, as the names on the lists below do not deserve our future votes for office.

Here is an opinion reprint from “Daily Kos” that names the traitors in office.

by Brandi Buchmann

Now that the January 6th committee has spent more than a year investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, they have unearthed evidence, in physical records and eyewitness testimony, that overwhelmingly suggests former President Donald Trump desperately schemed to retain power after losing the 2020 election and saw this plot aided or advanced by an increasingly craven series of lawmakers, lackeys, lawyers,  aides, and right-wing extremists.

Many of those lawmakers who parroted Trump’s meritless claims of voter fraud did so at relatively the same clip he did, using their sizeable platforms, power, and influence to promote conspiracy theories about the results of the election that were disproven by the nation’s Justice Department and intelligence apparatuses and dismissed by court after court and judge after judge—including those judges Trump appointed.

When Congress finally met for the joint session on Jan. 6 to count certified elector slates and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gaveled in, throngs of protesters would breach Capitol police barriers just minutes later. Trump, live from the Ellipse, was finishing a speech where he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol. One line encouraging this in his draft speech, according to White House records provided to the committee by the National Archives, shows Trump ad-libbed this call to action four times on Jan. 6.

Testimony and other evidence collected by the committee indicate too that Trump initially tried to conceal a plan to march on the Capitol even as he, members of his campaign staff, and rally organizers moved full steam ahead. This detail drastically undercuts claims by Trump and his allies currently in Congress that say January 6 was a peaceful protest that spontaneously went awry.

The committee has also shown evidence of at least six Republican lawmakers seeking preemptive pardons from Trump in the wake of the insurrection. In a request spearheaded by Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, he went so far as to ask for a preemptive pardon for all 147 members of Congress who lodged an objection to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Brooks also requested pardons for 126 Republicans who joined an amicus brief filed in Texas that sought to challenge election results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Brooks has since defended his ask while simultaneously trying to distance himself from his own inflammatory remarks delivered at the Ellipse on Jan. 6.

It was Trump who told Brooks to make the pardon request, he wrote, in a Jan. 11, 2021 email.

Notably, Brooks said he was making his inquiry “pursuant to a request” from Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. More than six weeks after Trump finally left office, it was reported for the first time by The New York Times that Gaetz was under investigation for alleged sex trafficking and sex with a minor.

In addition to Brooks and Gaetz, Hutchinson specifically named House Republicans Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. All have issued various denials about the pardons but remain vocal, staunch supporters of Trump and have continued, until now, to cast doubts or aspersions on the Jan. 6 committee’s work and standing.

Trump never issued the pardons and Brooks fell out of favor with him after he urged prospective voters during his failed campaign for a Senate seat to put the 2020 election “behind them.” Trump said Brooks went “woke” and endorsed his opponent.

The Senators who voted to overturn the 2020 election after the insurrection are:

House members in Texas, Illinois and Tennessee who voted to overturn the 2020 election results after the insurrection:

One additional Texas legislator on the list has subsequently died.

 

 

Did Chuck Grassley Collude with the January 6th Trump Insurrection?

Since we are on the border with Iowa, it is important to present this Mark Karlin article that ran on “Daily Kos.” Karlin’s point that the Secret Service should know enough not to delete phone text messages sent on one of the most momentous days in our country’s history, January 6, 2021 is common sense. The possible involvement of 88-year-old Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley in Trump’s plot is something to consider if you are an Iowa voter going to the polls at mid-terms. This year, Admiral Franken (Grassley’s probable opponent) is a charismatic alternative to the 88-year-old Chuck Grassley and—if Grassley’s slip of the tongue is legitimately a sign of Grassley’s allegiance to DJT, do you want to support a candidate willing to overthrow democratic elections who may not support the democratic principle of  the peaceful transition of power?

***

By Mark Karlin

The bombshell that the pro-Trump Secret Service deleted crucial text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021, may be a “connect the dots” moment. It’s not just that this excised communication could have corroborated Cassidy Hutchinson’s second-hand account of Trump lunging for the steering wheel and grabbing a Secret Service member to try and compel them to drive him to the Capitol after the January 6 rally.

There might be something much more profoundly concerning: there might be Secret Service collaborators in Trump’s coup plot.

Let’s begin with a July 16, 2021, article from the Independent that is entitled, “Mike Pence refused to get in car in the midst of the January 6th riots, fearing Secret Service ‘conspiracy’, reports claim”:
Former Vice President Mike Pence purportedly refused to get into a vehicle with Secret Service agents amid the 6 January riots out of fear there was a “conspiracy” to “vindicate the insurrection”….
Mr Pence refused to evacuate the Capitol a number of additional times on January 6th as pro-Trump rioters stormed the building in a bid to prevent the certification of the 2020 election results.
In the midst of the riots, Mr. Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber to his ceremonial office, where he remained protected by Secret Service agents alongside members of his family present that day. He was also the only elected executive branch member calling for help for the besieged Capitol, as President Trump did nothing for hours. (This will be the subject of the next January 6th Commission hearing in prime time this week.)

Then, let’s move to an eye-raising detail involving the oldest member of the Senate, Charles Grassley (R-IA), about a January 5, 2021, comment he quickly backtracked on. Heather Cox Richardson recalled the short-lived claim in her July 13 column:
On January 5, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who was the president pro tempore of the Senate, the second highest-ranking person in the Senate after the vice president, talking to reporters about the next day, said: “Well, first of all, I will be—if the Vice President isn’t there and we don’t expect him to be there— I will be presiding over the Senate.”

Grassley’s office immediately clarified that Grassley meant only that he would preside over counting of the Electoral Votes only if Vice President Mike Pence “had to step away during Wednesday’s proceedings,” and that “‘[e]very indication we have is that the vice president will be there.”

Richardson writes that the largely forgotten “we don’t expect him [Pence] to be there” statement combined with Grassley’s claim that he would then preside over the electoral count “continues to bother” her, as it should. Grassley’s statement appears, given that democracy was at stake, as something more than casual. It seems to reflect the possibility of someone who knew of Trump-world plans, but was quickly told to retract his “prediction.”

Official portrait, 2017

Charles “Chuck” Grassley (age 88)

Who knows if Grassley would have accepted the Biden electors in the swing states, given the strenuous pressure from team Trump, if he had been presiding over the electoral count? His eye-popping statement of January 5 certainly raises that question. Why would Pence need “to step away”? Why would Grassley even consider such a possibility the day before the count and insurrection unless he knew more than he was saying? Why was Pence fearful of the Secret Service driving him from the Capitol, with the result being, amidst the mob activity still in full swing at the time, that the electoral count would be delayed indefinitely or Grassley would preside over it when it resumed if Pence had complied?

This leads to the erasure of Secret Service texts from January 5 and 6 in 2021. According to a July 15 article in The Washington Post:
A government watchdog accused the U.S. Secret Service of erasing texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, after his office requested them as part of an inquiry into the U.S. Capitol attack, according to a letter sent to lawmakers this week.

Joseph V. Cuffari, head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate Homeland Security committees indicating that the text messages have vanished and that efforts to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack were being hindered….
Cuffari emphasized that the erasures came “after” the Office of Inspector General requested copies of the text messages for its own investigation..

Weird Wilsonisms for Today

Two-year-old Barrett Golden grabbed his mom’s phone and—-hungry for a cheeseburger—used DoorDash to order 31 McDonald’s cheeseburgers. DoorDash delivered and Barrett ate only half of one, so, for $91.70, Barrett’s mother, Kelsey Golden, offered the neighbors free lunch on social media.

In Texarkana, Texas, fish fell from the sky. A meteorologist at NWS in Shreveport said, “We’re kind of confused as to how it happened as well, to be honest.” First, the theory was that a waterspout had picked up the fish from a nearby water source, but the National Weather Service reported no such weather activity near Texarkana, according to the “Dallas Morning News” at the time of the January event. Flooding was mentioned, but the fish were on rooftops and truck beds.  Evidence ultimately pointed to birds, specifically cormorants, which must have regurgitated the fish or dropped them while flying over the town with the shad in their beaks. The entire episode made me think of Tom Cruise’s film “Magnolia.”

 

A California court has ruled that bees are fish. Bumblebees are “invertebrates,” that lack spines and Endangered Species Act environmental lawyers argued that, because the law defines “fish” as “invertebrate,” bees should be included. A state appeals court agreed, allowing the bumblebees to be protected by the Environmental Species Act.

10 Presidential Quotes That Changed History: Do You Recognize Them?

These 10 presidential quotes were gathered and explained by folklorist and free lance writer Ben Gazur. He went into some detail about the background of each quote, which I am not going to do. Let it simply be a test of your knowledge of each of these presidents that you recognize the quotes. Mr. Gazur gave the background of each quotation, and its significance in history. Since I tend to write about politics a lot, they seem apropos. I’d need some time and some access to political books read to compile my own Top Ten Presidential quotes, but these are all good.

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant… I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.
George Washington

A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
Abraham Lincoln

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln

It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us.
Woodrow Wilson

Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

The United States pledges before you — and therefore before the world, its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma — to devote its entire heart and mind to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.
Dwight Eisenhower

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
John F. Kennedy

We cannot, we must not, refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in… It is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.
Lyndon Johnson

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
— Ronald Reagan

For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we’ve been told we’re not ready or that we shouldn’t try or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.
Barack Obama

 

July 12th Commission Hearing for the January 6th Coup D’Etat


I’m watching the taped committee hearings and am astounded at the description of the December 18th “Crazies” versus “White House Counsel” that apparently took place within the White House Oval Office (and, later, within what is known as the Yellow Oval Office in the presidential quarters.)

Herschmann, Cipollone and other members of the White House Counsel used the term “unhinged” and it is quite apparent that everything Hillary Clinton warned us about regarding Donald J. Trump’ temperament and how it made him unfit to hold high office was correct. The man didn’t want to admit defeat, so he was prepared to listen only to the crazies in the room and unwilling to listen to lawyers who had been loyal to him throughout his time in office and were—to put it mildly—sane by comparison with Rudy Giuilianni and the female lawyer Sidney Powell.

The meeting took place on December 18th and was so loud that people outside could hear the disturbance. Female attorney Sidney Powell—a major loon—-quoted Trump as saying something like, “You see what I’ve been dealing with” in reference to the sane lawyers advising DJT that none of the schemes to seize voting machines and declare martial law were going to fly.

Pat Cipollone, Chief White House Counsel, repeatedly told the crazies that they had no evidence for their claims of widespread voter fraud and even used the phrase, “put up or shut up.” The crazies couldn’t put up any evidence of voter fraud, because it did not occur in instances large enough to affect the outcome of Biden beating Trump in 2020. More evidence was presented that everyone in Trump’s “inner circle” had been telling him for some time that it was time to move on and admit that he had been defeated. Even his favorite child, daughter Ivanka, tried to get The Donald to think about conceding, but DJT’s narcissism knows no bounds and he was unwilling to admit defeat. (I couldn’t help but think how graciously Al Gore conceded in 2000 after the hanging chad controversy.)

Instead, on the heels of the unhinged December 18th meeting in the Oval Office, Trump released a tweet on Twitter on December 19th calling for all of the militant militia groups to come to the Capitol on January 6th. A woman’s group that had already applied for a permit to hold a rally asked to move its date up by two weeks in order to be present on January 6th, and two former militant Trump fanatical supporters testified about the influence of DJT on bringing them and their groups to the Capitol that day.

Testimony was heard from Dr. Donell Harvin, former Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence, who said, “All the red flags went up at that point” referencing DJT’s December 19th tweet about coming to D.C. because it’s “gonna’ be wild.” He pointed to the coordinating of the random groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys and cited operational intelligence that was gleaned from watching the Internet and was “clearly alarming.”

The Proud Boys represent White Supremacy and promote violence. Many of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers have been charged with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States on January 6th. Dec 19, 10:22 am. Kelly Meggs: “I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Forida 3% and Proud Boys” to “shut this shit down” (meaning the Big Lie of Stop the Steal.)

Ministry of Self Defense encrypted communications were shared that showed maps, plans and other work coordinating with Trump allies, including Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn had connections with Roberto Minuto, Stewart Rhodes, and Roger Stone. (He is actually pictured giving the Proud Boys salute during an initiation of some sort in a photo.)

The tweet sent on Dec. 19th served as a rallying cry for these differing groups to join together. FOS: Friends of Stone focused on various pro-Trump events and followed Roger Stone. Nov. 14th encrypted e-mail was shown telling followers to go to their state capitols and cause problems with the voter count(s), which caused the Georgia Capitol to be invaded.

“If he doesn’t do it now, as Commander in Chief, we are going to have to do it alone, on our own, in a much bloodier way.” (Stewart Rhodes) Alex Jones is shown issuing threats: “We will be back in January!”

Encrypted chats showed that Kelly Meggs spoke directly with Roger Stone to make plans for January 6th. Stone used Oath Keepers as his security force. Stone admitted that the Oath Keepers were willing and ready to use violent force against anyone, including the National Guard, who might try to remove Donald J. Trump from the presidency. Lawyer for the Oath Keepers Kelley SoRelle, explained Roger Stone’s connection to the Oath Keepers.

Ali Alexander, Roger Stone and Alex Jones: an unholy trio represented the worst of the worst. Katrina Pierson testified that Trump liked the “crazies” who defended him violently in person. “Things have gotten crazy and I definitely need some guidance” she wrote to Mark Meadows, asking him for advice about allowing the radical speakers scheduled for Trump’s January 6th rally to appear; Mark Meadows returned her call 8 minutes later. She was raising the red flag because of the very suspect nature of some of the speakers.

“I will be making a Big Speech at 10 a.m. on January 6th at the Ellipse. Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the steal!!” (A tweet not sent, but seen by the POTUS.) “Potus is going to call for it (the march) unexpectedly,” said Ali Alexander.  Ali Alexander’ twitter clearly shows that DJT was expected to urge his followers to march on the Capitol and that it was a deliberate strategy settled upon by the President. Many lines pointing out Mike Pence’s failure to do Trump’s bidding were taken from his January 6th speech and then re-inserted after Pence refused to do DJT’s bidding.

Dec. 21st White House meeting:

Mo Brooks (R, Alabama) was involved, as were Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuiliani, Andy Biggs, Louis Gohmer, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Brian Babbitt, Matt Gaetz, Paul Goser, Andy Harris, and Jody Heiss. All were involved in discussing the role of the VP in certifying the electoral votes (“the Eastman Theory”).

There was a January 4th meeting between the President, the VP and John Eastman; Pat Cipollone (Chief White House Counsel and sane legal mind) was not allowed to attend. He subsequently scoffed at the idea of the VP being able to simply announce that he was not going to do his official job of determining the winner of the presidential election.

Sarah Matthews expressed that she was part of a group of aides in the Oval Office hearing “Ideas of how we can make the RINOs do the right thing.” Trump asked that the windows of the Oval Office be left open so that the Freedom Plaza rally (of crazies) could be heard. Ali Alexander: “1776 is always an option. These degenerates in the Deep State are going to give us what we want or we are going to shut this country down.”

A former Twitter employer who wanted Trump’s messaging to his followers shut down testified:
‘When people are shooting at each other tomorrow I will try to rest in the knowledge that we tried.’ (former Twitter employee who warned of Trump’s use of Twitter to stir up insurrection.)

Debbie Lesko (R, AZ) – “We have Antifa, we also have, quite honestly, Trump supporters who actually believe that we are going to be able to overturn the election and when we don’t, they are going to go nuts!”

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