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!
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.
Armie Hammer and wife (2018 SXSW Festival, photo by Connie Wilson)
I never thought I’d type the words “Armie Hammer is now working as a time-share salesman.” I’m guessing that Armie Hammer never thought he’d become one, either.
I met the actor at SXSW (with his then-wife) hyping a film directed by Stanley Tucci. The film, released in 2017, was “Final Portrait.” It was “the story of Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti.” The movie starred Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer and Tony Shalhoub. It was written and directed by Stanley Tucci. Tucci—who is, also, coincidentally, the brother-in-law of “A Quiet Place” star Emily Blunt (married to her sister)—was not there in person, but he sent Armie Hammer and it was shown in the theater right next door to the Paramount, the Stateside (formerly the State Theater) on Opening Night, a theater where I had previously seen a troupe of trained cats entertain my granddaughters. [Some of the cats escaped during the show and we were cautioned about opening the door to the lobby.]
“Final Portrait” Red Carpet at SXSW.
This theater was built in 1935 and, after renovations through the years, what remains looks every one of those 86 years of age. It comfortably seats 305 today. In 1950 it was announced that it seated 997; I cannot imagine how that was possible, unless the patrons were stacked like cordwood. The theater itself fell on hard times in the 70s and suffered a water main break in June of 2006 that delayed its 70-year anniversary celebration.
“A Quiet Place” was going to be opening the festival next door at the Paramount. I had secured a ticket to “A Quiet Place” because the writers of that film were Bettendorf (IA) natives Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. I decided to see if I could hit both at once, leaving “Final Portrait” early because, honestly, I had little interest in this obscure Italian painter and sculptor, but was intensely interested in how “A Quiet Place” would do as Paramount’s Opening Night Film at SXSW. It was a wise decision.
Armie Hammer at the Red Carpet at the Stateside Theater in Austin (Tx) for Final Portrait, Stanley Tucci’s directorial debut. (Photo by Connie Wilson).
Troubles began immediately. We were all crowded into a tiny lobby of the Stateside Theater, but the projector wasn’t operative or the film was flawed or some other technical problem was causing those in charge to attempt to carry a laptop computer to the control booth. The plan, as I overheard it, was to show us the film from the computer stream. That didn’t sound like the Opening Night experience I had in mind, so, after meeting and greeting the extremely handsome Armie Hammer, I split for “A Quiet Place” next door at the Paramount—but not before taking the pictures you see here.
Then came news of Armie’s infidelities and his texts about cannibalism and other such revelations. Still, he was the “star” of “Death on the Nile” and was in too many scenes to remove him, so Armie had another day in the sun. And Armie’s family is extremely wealthy, as profiled in a “Vanity Fair” article.
Now, according to the “Daily Globe,” Armie’s days in the sun are spent in the Cayman Islands selling time shares for $2,000 a week or $21,000 for 10 years at Morritt’s Resort. At least, he was spotted there in June pricing a unit with potential buyers, although his agent denied this when asked.
In another weird story, Elon Musk is not going to spend $44 billion buying Twitter and will probably be sued for backing out of the deal.
I was tempted to entitle this story “Death in the Caymans” (but you’d have to be aware that Armie Hammer was in that 2022 movie).
After all, Armie’s family is still filthy rich and he’s still extremely handsome, so it’s hard to feel too sorry for him, even now. His downfall was caused by inappropriate texting, a fascination with cannibalism, and infidelity; hard to blame anyone but Armie for his demise.
The Texas heat is still here (it will feel like 105 tomorrow), but at least we don’t have the storms that seem to be hitting the Midwest.
The last of the Family Fest revelers will be leaving tomorrow at 9 a.m.
We are here through July 11th and I have a desire to dine at the Roaring Fork at least once before we go back to the Midwest.
Beyond that, our euchre club meets on Wednesdays and that might beckon tomorrow.
The last 5 days have been very hot, but very event-filled. Kudos to the son and daughter-in-law, who put it all together.
I began doing some research on the driver’s license renewal laws for Illinois versus Iowa versus Texas. There is no real reason for this, other than I will have to renew mine in 2024 (I renewed it last year) and I was curious. Perhaps you will find this as interesting as I did.
Illinois: In Illinois, if you are past 75, you have to drive with the driver’s license examiner in the car and you only get a license for 2 years. Naturally, vision tests and insurance proof are required. I also would mention that the minimum wage in Illinois is $12.00.
Iowa: In Iowa—where the minimum wage is $7.25, just what it was when I owned 2 busineses back in the 80s, 90s and through 2003—you get a 2-year license, but you have to show up in person and take a vision screening (and, sometimes, a written test). You do not have to drive with the examiner every time.
Texas: In Texas, between the ages of 79 and 85 you get a 6-year license. You can renew it online. There may be a vision screening/written test, but there is no driving with the examiner requirement. The minimum wage is $7.25. So now you know.
Connie, Stacey, Craig and (nephew) Michael Wilson at the outdoor Armadillo Bar in Austin, Texas, on July 3, 2022.
Front row: Stacey Wilson, Ava Wilson, Elise Wilson ad Aaron Eddy (in glasses). Rachel (girlfriend) and Michael Wilson (full beard). Jessica Wilson in center, wearing hat. Owen Castelein (9 years old) next to his father Chris Castelein (my nephew on the Corcoran side). Scott Wilson with hand up (the host); Hannah Wilson Poffenbarger (glasses on head in center). Megan Wilson Eddy with baby Winnie; Matt Wilson and Mark Wilson; Regina Wilson Nelson; Samantha Liss Wilson (back right, mouth open, hat on head). Sophia Castelein, daughter of Chris (above Jess’s hat). Standing on steps to pool: Craig and Connie Wilson. Standing, clothed, by pool’s edge: Steve Nelson.
Celebrants traveled from Denver, St. Louis, Nashville, the IA/IL Quad Cities, and from the local neighborhood of Austin, Texas, to add up to, at times, a total of close to 30 Wilsons and friends, celebrating the Fourth of July with delicious home-cooked brisket, ribs, sausage and side dishes with an active slate of competitions, including bags tournaments, a new Skip-and-Toss in-pool game, pool volleyball, foosball, and (at a nearby Armadillo Garden bar night), a game involving hooking a metal loop onto a hook.
The temperatures were near 100 degrees and that sounds as though it stretched across the U.S., as friends I spoke with in Des Moines and Minneapolis were complaining about the excessive heat, as well.
Big debts of gratitude are owed the host and hostess of the event, Scott and Jessica Wilson, who had 13 people sleeping at their house at one point. My small ranch hosted two of the guests, and a For-Rent-By-Owner house with 3 bedrooms housed most of the 8 people from St. Louis who flew in.
Along with the back yard festivities a water park and a go-kart track have been scheduled into the mix and, in other years, we rented a traveling bar and peddled it around town, took the Austin bat cruise at night, and rented a pontoon boat for floating on a nearby lake. All-in-all, it sounds like a massive undertaking to bring all the elements to fruition at the right time and in the right sequence, and when you add in at least 6 school-age children of various ages and an 11-month old baby about to turn one on August 23rd, satisfying everyone’s expectations for the holiday is quite a chore.
In a previous pre-pandemic year the fireworks, visible from the house driveway, were spectacular, but the dry conditions existing in this area now brought many words of caution regarding the locals setting off fireworks. While we could hear fireworks, we really couldn’t see that many and ended up watching fireworks mostly on television.
Daughter Stacey; Granddaughters Elise (with baby Winnie) and Ava Wilson.
The news of the Highland Park Massacre of spectators at a Fourth of July parade in their downtown area was a constant background noise. We held this event—mostly outdoors—during the pandemic and barely left the house that year. With the violence in this country extending to malls, houses of worship, concerts, parades and other gatherings, one wonders if staying away from crowds at all times is going to become de rigeur The first thing I said to my husband after the Highland Park massacre was that my literary agent lives in nearby Deerfield and that the towns, like Skokie, Illinois, have a sizable Jewish population. I wondered if this kind of hate crime was a factor?
Just a moment ago, on CNN, a local rabbi appeared, supposedly to share an encounter he had had with the shooter in the months before the cowardly attack, but the rabbi, Rabbi Yosef Schanowitz had been told not to talk about his April encounter with the accused shooter. It’s a sad commentary that this rabbi sketched how his religious group has to have armed guards (off duty policemen) and other synagogue members who are legally armed to protect worshipers in America from violence.
Those who know the history of the Holocaust know that Hitler made the Jews and gypsies the whipping boys and girls for his subsequent crimes and it is tragic to think that people who merely want to pray have to be protected against acts of random violence.
Cousins Chris Castelein (Hiawatha, IA), and host Scott Wilson (Brodie Springs, Austin, Tx). Chris and Scott were college roomnates and Chris was Best Man in Scott’s wedding 20 years ago.
Although this event injected a note of extreme sadness into the otherwise joyous weekend, this event in the very community where the films “Risky Business,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and “Home Alone” were filmed will remain linked with this year’s Family Fest.
This one is in the books and hats off to the Chief Organizers (Scott & Jessica) who put up with the presence of 21 family members, plus others, for periods of up to a week. Most began drifting out on the actual Fourth of July and the remnants of the party group, with the exception of Yours Truly, who will be here until July 11th have now properly celebrated our nation’s birthday. Since we’re in Texas and one never knows what the Texans will want to do about remaining in the United States (of America), this is one for the books and here is an Emily Dickinson quote that seems appropriate.
These are the Democratic candidates running tomorrow to represent Illinois’ 17th Congressional district. This district was formerly represented by Cheri Bustos, who is not running for re-election and faced a tough battle against Esther Joy King last time out. This district is considered a Battleground District, with no incumbents running. You may find the $ spent by each, listed near the end, interesting. (I did). Or the redistricting information about the district, itself. to know which candidate to vote for, you may find the information below, from Ballotpedia helpful.
There are 6 Democratic candidates to select amongst in tomorrow’s primary. One of them seems to be running on a very pro-marijuana cannabis platform, [which is somewhat novel.] (McGowan). One of them was the weatherman and is running a lot of TV ads; he also said he was afraid of storms in his candidate statement. [Interesting job choice.] (Sorensen). One of them, from Rockford, was on the Moline School Board (Normoyle). One of them was a member of the Rockford City Council (Logemann), One of them (Williams) keeps talking about running for the 16th District. Confused me plenty, because I’m not Ballotpedia. The Black candidate from Chicago, Litesa Wallace, is on the right side of Roe v. Wade and many other issues and was a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2020. There was a lot of information about how redistricting changed the lines of the districts, so perhaps that is an explanation as to why Williams says she is running in District #16, when I thought it was #17. Williams statement has a heavy trade school emphasis.
One thing is clear: keeping the district in Democratic hands is paramount in a year that has seen a packed Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and the January 6th Commission hearings are uncovering more ties to the top levels of the GOP and attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Esther Joy King (GOP candidate) is a threat. Whomever you select from the list of 6 Democratic candidates, make sure they can go the distance to stand up for our democracy in the face of the corrupt GOP attempts to take over the levers of power at the local level(s) by turning poll watchers into poll workers.
Litesa E. Wallace (born 1978) is an American politician who served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 67th district from August 2014 to January 2019.
Early life and education
Wallace was born in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois University, followed by a Master of Arts in marriage and family counseling and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Northern Illinois University. She was appointed to the Illinois House of Representatives in August, 2014, by the Winnebago County Democratic Party, succeeding Charles E. Jefferson, whose Chief of Staff she had been. Litesa’s mother was a postal worker. Her father was a policeman who helped integrate the San Diego Police Department.
2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Campaign and Aftermath
Wallace ran for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in the 2018 Democratic primary alongside State Senator Daniel Biss, replacing Biss’s initial pick, Chicago alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. In a video announcing the joint ticket, Wallace commented that she and Biss had both “fought for childcare assistance, a $15 minimum wage, to expand healthcare, and to make millionaires pay their fair share.” Biss and Wallace lost the Democratic primary to J. B. Pritzker (coincidentally, a millionaire) and his running mate Julianna Stratton.
From Twitter: My thoughts are with @RepKinzinger. The Big Lie is a terrible cancer on this nation. It makes the work of the @January6thCmte even more urgent. We must reject political violence, restore sanity to the public sphere and raise our voices against extremism. twitter.com/thehill/status…
Adam Kinzinger was gerrymandered out of existence in Ottawa; his district will probably be ceded to GOP candidate Darren LaHood (who used to be my next-door neighbor and is the son of Ray LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation under Barack Obama).
Latesa is a big supporter of a woman’s right to choose and features a Ruth Bader-Ginsburg quote on her official site as a candidate for the 17th Congressional District.
The lines of the 17th district changed after re-districting. According to FiveThirtyEight, the old district had a partisan lean of R+5, while the new district has a partisan lean of D+4. One election forecaster rates the general election Tilt Democratic, while two rate it a Toss-up, suggesting it will be competitive.
This section includes candidate profiles created in one of two ways: either the candidate completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, or Ballotpedia staff compiled a profile based on campaign websites, advertisements, and public statements after identifying the candidate as noteworthy. For more on how we select candidates to include, click here.
Biography: Logemann earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009, an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a master of public policy & administration from Northwestern University. Logemann joined the Army National Guard in 2012 and led advising missions in Afghanistan. He worked as an educator in the Rockford public schools system and was elected Rockford’s 2nd Ward alderman in 2017.
The following key messages were curated by Ballotpedia staff. For more on how we identify key messages, click here.
Logemann said he decided to run because he felt a call to serve. “My country is very important to me, and my community is very important to me,” Logemann said in October. “As a teacher, and with my service in the Illinois National Guard and as an alderman … none of these are glamorous jobs at all, but service to community is something that’s very important to me,” he wrote.
On the economy, Logemann’s website said, “What working families need most right now is more money in their pockets. That’s why I support a middle-class tax cut, while making the wealthy pay their fair share. We also need to extend the child tax credit and make child care more accessible and affordable.”
Logemann wrote, “Our country has a lot of work to do to get back on its feet from the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of my service with the Illinois Army National Guard, I’m proud to have played a role in my unit’s mission to support vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing sites in Illinois. In Congress, I’ll be a champion for pandemic preparedness and planning for any future crises Illinoisans may face –– including preparation for the next threat, the next pandemic.”
Submitted Biography: “I was born and raised in California and moved to Chicago after high school. This is when I began an 18 year career as a stock broker; 9 of those years in Illinois and another 9 in New York. After a very successful career in a fast paced and male dominated industry where I negotiated high stakes deals, I left to become a cannabis policy advisor. The proudest project I worked on was where my two career worlds collided, I helped facilitate the sale of an abandoned prison for a cannabis company due to both my negotiating skills, and my cannabis policy expertise, I helped ensure that this process was fully compliant with local, state, and federal laws. This facility is now growing cannabis where it used to grow food for inmates. I aspire to become the first openly proud cannabis consuming Congressperson in D.C. and feel that more of us need to be open about our use of this plant in order to help destigmatize this type of medical consumption. Congress is an exceptionally brutal field and I feel I am the most dominating and most qualified Democrat to represent this wonderful district of hard working people. ”
To read this candidate’s full survey responses, click here.
I am certain that I am the most qualified candidate to beat a Trump Republican in this District. I offer the greatest probability of retaining this a blue seat. I have a proven record of differentiating myself and thriving in challenging , competitive, and demanding situations.
Like the majority of my constituents, I know what it takes to be self made, and self driven. I understand how important and valuable the access to opportunity is and how Congress must continue to invest in our District to create opportunities.
We have several great candidates but I don’t believe they are as tough as I am. I am goal oriented and outcome driven. My goal is singularly focused and that is to keep this seat blue. I will not rest until I have exhausted every possible path to ensuring that Kevin McCarthy does not become the next Speaker of the House. There is no more ruthless environment than Wall Street, and there is no more convoluted political environment than in the cannabis policy space and I have exceptional experience and success in both of these arenas. It is my experience that makes me the most qualified to go into this political shark tank and succeed in fighting for the hard working people in District 17.
Submitted Biography: “This district is my home; I was born in Rockford and grew up just north of the city. I’ve lived in the Quad Cities for 25 years, where I raised my family. I have family in the Peoria and Galesburg areas, and I pledge to reach every county multiple times throughout my bid for Congress. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and my M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. I have served on both the Rock Island County Board and the Moline School Board and currently teach at Augustana College. We need more representatives in Washington who lead with a local approach – who meet with community leaders, hold open meetings, and listen to residents of the district, not special interests. Throughout my time serving my community here, I have done just that. I am running for Congress to keep the promise of the American dream—if you are willing to work hard, you should be able to get a great education, buy a home, raise a family, and retire with dignity in your own community.”
This district has been my home for the majority of my life, and I’m deeply committed to investing in a healthy community. We need more representatives who lead with a local approach – who meet with community leaders, hold open meetings, and listen to community members, not special interests.
I will be a representative for everyone, so we can work on strengthening our economy, investing in our schools, and improving our infrastructure. I want my kids and your kids to see a future here at home.
I will fight for economic policies that protect workers and small businesses. I will promote universal preschool and increased funding for public schools. I will help update our infrastructure by supporting clean water, local bridges, and broadband access for all.
Submitted Biography: “Growing up, I was terrified of storms. But my local weatherman, “TV Eric,” explained what was happening, and helped me feel safe during them. From a young age I knew that I wanted to be “TV Eric,” and at age 27 that dream came true when I became the Chief Meteorologist at WREX in Rockford. For two decades, I was your weatherman. I spent 22 years keeping you safe by telling the truth, informing, and educating our communities daily. Because telling you how the weather impacted your jobs, schools, weekends, and yes, sometimes your lives, I earned your trust through thousands of broadcasts bringing you the daily weather and important updates about “once in a century” storms. To me, being a meteorologist has always been about protecting our neighbors and our communities, values I learned from my family at an early age. Today I live in Moline with my partner Shawn and our two dogs Oliver and Petey. We enjoy bike riding, kayaking, and exploring good food in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas.”
I was a TV news meteorologist for 22 years, earning community trust and keeping people safe by telling the truth. We need more trust between Congress and the people, and I’ll work to rebuild trust by looking out for people just like when I was the local weatherman.
I dedicated my career to discovering the truth and keeping people accurately informed. The pandemic, vaccine disinformation, and ongoing climate crises show that it’s more important than ever to elect scientists to Congress. We need more science leadership to keep people informed, not political partisanship.
In Congress, I will continue to stand up for vulnerable communities, and I will fight to protect the rights of all people against discriminatio
Submitted Biography: “Marsha is a mother of three, philanthropist and community advocate running for Congress in Illinois’ 16th congressional district. Through her work at a local trade school, Marsha has helped hundreds of people obtain job training to lift themselves out of poverty through good-paying, stable careers. Marsha’s compassion, candor, and love of people makes her THE candidate to represent Illinois District 16. And with her refusal to accept a dime of corporate PAC or lobbyist money, it’s going to take a lot of small-dollar contributions from folks like you to get her over the finish line.”
Income Based Repayment Programs for Trade Schools
Medicare for All
Reducing Maternal, fetal and infant mortality rates.
Ballotpedia asks all federal, state, and local candidates to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Our survey allows voters to really access their candidates and get the information they need to feel confident they’re picking the best candidate for the role. The section below shows responses from candidates in this race who completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey.
Survey responses from candidates in this race
Click on a candidate’s name to visit their Ballotpedia page.
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Ballotpedia did not come across any campaign ads for Williams while conducting research on this election. If you are aware of any ads that should be included, please email us.
Click the links below to see official endorsement lists published on candidate campaign websites for any candidates that make that information available. If you are aware of a website that should be included, please email us.
Ballotpedia provides race ratings from three outlets: The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Each race rating indicates if one party is perceived to have an advantage in the race and, if so, the degree of advantage:
Safe and Solid ratings indicate that one party has a clear edge and the race is not competitive.
Likely ratings indicate that one party has a clear edge, but an upset is possible.
Lean ratings indicate that one party has a small edge, but the race is competitive.
Toss-up ratings indicate that neither party has an advantage.
Race ratings are informed by a number of factors, including polling, candidate quality, and election result history in the race’s district or state.
Race ratings: Illinois’ 17th Congressional District election, 2022Note: Ballotpedia updates external race ratings every week throughout the election season.
This section contains campaign finance figures from the Federal Election Commission covering all candidate fundraising and spending in this election. It does not include information on fundraising before the current campaign cycle or on spending by satellite groups. The numbers in this section are updated as candidates file new campaign finance reports. Candidates for Congress are required to file financial reports on a quarterly basis, as well as two weeks before any primary, runoff, or general election in which they will be on the ballot and upon the termination of any campaign committees. Click here to view the reporting schedule for candidates for U.S. Congress in 2022. The next campaign finance filing deadline is July 15, 2022.
U.S. Congress campaign reporting schedule, 2022ReportClose of booksFiling deadline
* According to the FEC, “Receipts are anything of value (money, goods, services or property) received by a political committee.” ** According to the FEC, a disbursement “is a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money or anything of value to influence a federal election,” plus other kinds of payments not made to influence a federal election.
BEE GONE: A POLITICAL PARABLE
Republican primary for U.S. House Illinois District 17
Tomorrow, June 28, Tuesday, is the Primary Election in Illinois. Poll hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here in East Moline, the polling place for us (South Moline Township #1) is 637 17th Avenue, the Senior Citizens’ Center.
Running tomorrow are a couple of candidates about whom I’ve done some preliminary research. Alexi Giannoulias is running for the position of SECRETARY OF STATE as a Democrat.
Subsequently, Giannoulias stepped back from public life, currently serving as Senior Director of BNY Mellon Wealth Management. On June 26, 2018, he was confirmed to the Chicago Public Library Board, marking his first return to public service since leaving the Treasurer’s office.
HE’S BACK, BABY! THE PRIMARY IS TUESDAY, JUNE 28th.
Taken during a McCain rally at the Cedar Rapids Municipal Airport during the 2008 presidential campaign. Cover of Volume II of “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House.” (Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book).
If elected, Alexi promises to· fight against Republican led voter suppression measures
Increase voter registration opportunities – also wants to do pre-registration for voting when 16 and 17 year-olds go to get their license.
Make government more efficient by reducing lines and waits at driver’s license facilities
Crack down on corruption with tighter rules and more transparency governing public officials and lobbyists.
[*I would appreciate Alexi making it less difficult for me, personally, to renew my driver’s license. The last time I drove for the examiner (in Aledo, Illinois) the examiner complimented me on being “a very good driver.” This was well deserved, as I AM a very good driver. But, because I am an older driver, I am now going to have to show up and drive quite frequently, which does not sound fun. This last renewal was a real trial. It was during the pandemic and my license expires on July 23rd. I showed up at the East Moline driver’s license renewal office and a huge line was outside in 100 degree heat. They couldn’t be inside because of the pandemic and the line was at least 30 people long. We drove to the small town of Aledo, but there was also a line outside there (because of the pandemic.) My husband and I took turns standing in line in the rain, because we only had one umbrella. When I completed my compliment-winning drive and we went inside,—although I had asked my spouse if he had the insurance papers in the glove box before we left home— I learned that he had forgotten to bring any copy of our insurance papers. We were there until closing waiting for our insurance agent to fax us copies of our insurance. I spent at least an hour playing euchre on my phone. The entire process took all day. I include this story only to see if you’re still reading this.]
Alexi Giannoulias: More Information
With Vice President Joseph Biden (then Senator Biden) at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Davenport, Iowa, caucus season, 2008.
Giannoulias was born in Chicago, to Greek immigrants. His mother, Anna, is from Chania, and his late father, Alexis (previously President of the Broadway Bank), was from Kalavryta.] He has two older brothers, Demetris and George. Giannoulias attended The Latin School of Chicago and then the University of Chicago before transferring to Boston University. Giannoulias graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He then moved to Greece to play basketball with Panionios B.C. for a year (1998–99).
After returning from Greece, Giannoulias attended Tulane University Law School. Upon earning his J.D. degree, Alexi returned to Chicago to help manage Broadway Bank, a community bank in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood that was founded by his father in 1979.
Giannoulias served on the board of directors of the Community Bankers’ Association of Illinois Legislative Committee, the South Side/Wabash YMCA, and the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. Giannoulias also founded and chaired the AG Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that donated money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations.
2006 Campaign for Illinois State Treasurer
Barack Obama in Davenport, Iowa (River Center) during the 2008 caucus season.
Although the state Democratic Party led by House Speaker Mike Madigan backed his opponent, Paul Mangieri, in the primary, Giannoulias was endorsed by U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Jesse Jackson, Jr. and by then-Senator Barack Obama.
The Chicago Sun-Times news group also endorsed Giannoulias in the general election, arguing that he would “bring valuable private enterprise experience from banking to the job” and praising his “creative” policy proposals like a securities lending program, improving Bright Start, and promoting green energy. Running on a campaign platform that emphasized comprehensive ethics reform for the Treasurer’s office, Giannoulias won the March 2006 primary and went on to defeat Republican candidate Christine Radogno in the general election.
The Wikipedia.org entry from which much of the above is taken has 2 bits of information on the collapse of the Broadway Bank and on the Core Plus/Bright Start college savings program, information that is not as positive in nature as most of the other information above. [Once you mention Tony Rezko’s name, you know what happens.] But explanations were given. Moving right along….
Alexi’s father was president of Broadway Bank. My father was founder and president of Security State Bank in Independence, Iowa, established in 1941. It is still going strong and has expanded into several other Midwestern communities while remaining independent and turning down offers from several other big chains. I think the Broadway Bank collapsed under the weight of the crisis that greeted Obama and Biden when they were sworn into office.
My dad was also (Democratic) Country Treasurer of Buchanan County, Iowa, and laid the cornerstone for the county courthouse. He actually lost the election, but his Republican opponent died before he could be sworn in and they offered it to my father, John Corcoran, Jr. He served four terms before founding the Security State Bank.
Giannoulias launched the “Green Rewards” program, which gave a $1,000 rebate to Illinois residents who purchase a new hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle. I became very excited about the possibility of getting a $1,000 rebate for purchasing (to date) SIX different Toyota Priuses. I started in 2002 with one of the first hybrid vehicles (cost: $20,050, 0% interest, plus rebates from the government). I clicked on the link to this “green reward” but found it went back to 2007, which is about when I went to a party that Alexi Giannoulias hosted in Denver at the DNC in 2008, when Alexi Giannoulias was Secretary of State.
MY ATTENDANCE AT the 2008 ALEXI GIANNOULIAS PARTY IN DENVER*
I was covering the DNC Convention in Denver for Associated Content/Yahoo. This led to me being named the Yahoo Content Producer of the Year for Politics and to two books, “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House,” Vols, I & II.
Entering the party without knowing anyone, I drifted over to a table that had several cute young girls present. I asked if I could sit with their group; they couldn’t have been nicer. They were aides for Alexi Giannoulias and had been in charge of putting on the party. One girl at the table was the daughter of the Fire Chief in Denver. Her father couldn’t wait for the DNC to leave town, as he was kept busy with things like soldering down manhole covers over security concerns.
My own state representative, who shall remain nameless for purposes of this story, had barely given me the time of day when I greeted him and told him I was from his district. He was underwhelmed at meeting one of his middle-aged constituents. The picture to the left is of Carol and Victory Bell of Rockford, guests at the Giannoulias party, who had OBAMA written on one side of their top hats and CLINTON on the other. No matter who carried the day, they were ready!
I talked one of the cutest and youngest of the girls, wearing a low-cut short black dress, into going over with me to his table and watching the difference we would encounter if I had her with me. The rest of the table was told to watch how quickly My Representative (later seen dancing, solo, to the theme from “Thriller,”— I’m not making that up) got to his feet.
So, this extremely cute young Giannoulias aide and I made our way across the dance floor to where my representative was seated. He could not have gotten to his feet any faster if he had been sitting on a spring. I glanced over at the table. The other girls, watching to see what happened, were convulsed in laughter.
I never actually met Alexi Giannoulias, but it was a good party and I want to thank him, belatedly, for throwing it for the Illinois delegation.
Viewing “Elvis” and recognizing that very little was said about Elvis’ many girlfriends or what happened to Lisa Marie Presley in the wake of their 1966 divorce made me take a look at some of the history since his death in 1972.
For those too young to have seen Elvis in his prime, this movie is an education. However, the film does veer dramatically from the truth along the way. Gone is any mention of Elvis’ many loves including his affair with Ann Margret while filming “Viva, Las Vegas.” Wikipedia tells us that Elvis and Priscilla Presley became increasingly distant after the 7 and ½ year courtship, including her relocation to Graceland after Elvis met her in Germany in 1959. She was 14 when they met; he was 24. They married in 1966, although she lived at Graceland with him for nearly 8 years before they tied the knot. They divorced in 1972. Priscilla gave birth to Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’ only child, in 1968. Priscilla’s parents apparently went along with the idea of the then 14-year-old girl being “raised” in Memphis by Vernon Presley. Weird.
It is noteworthy that both Priscilla and Lisa Marie and granddaughter Riley Keough appeared with Austin Butler in a special about Baz Lurhmann’s film that I watched. Speaking in the Jungle Room in Memphis, Elvis’ wife and daughter were extremely enthusiastic about this film and Austin Butler’s portrayal of Elvis. Lisa Marie said, “I loved this film and I hope you do, too.” Lisa Marie and Priscilla and granddaughter Riley Keough, an actress, participated.
It made me wonder about any other children of Elvis’ only daughter, who was nine when he died. Didn’t Lisa Marie—who also put out three albums—have other children?
Lisa Marie has been married 4 times. She actually has (or had) four children, but Riley’s brother, Benjamin Keough, died on July 12, 2020, at the age of 27 in Calabasas, California, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. On October 7, 2008, Presley gave birth to fraternal twin girls, Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood, via Caesarian section at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California.
In February 2017, Presley said that her daughters were taken into protective custody. She opposed her husband Michael Lockwood’s request for spousal support, claiming that she had found hundreds of images and videos of child pornography on his personal computer. The divorce was finalized sometime in 2021. Sources say that Lisa Marie—who married both Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage—remains on good terms with Danny Keough, her first husband, the father of Riley. One source suggested that Keough continues to live on the property, but the couple are not an item. Regardless, Riley, has appeared in 38 films, including 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” as Capable, and she will have a recurring role in the new streaming series “The Terminal” as Lauren Reese in 8 episodes, opposite Chris Pratt. (The series premieres on July 1st),
In 1971 an affair Elvis had with Joyce Bova resulted—[unbeknownst to Elvis]—in her pregnancy and an abortion. Elvis often raised the possibility of Bova moving into Graceland, saying that he was likely to leave Priscilla. Elvis and Priscilla separated on February 23, 1972, after Priscilla disclosed her relationship with Mike Stone, a karate instructor Presley had recommended to her. (No mention of this in the screenplay). At the time of his death, Elvis was supposedly engaged to Ginger Alden. Prior to Ginger, Presley and Linda Thompson split in November 1976. (Linda Thompson was also once married to Bruce/Caitlin Jenner and, after him, David Foster, who is now married to “American Idol’s” Katharine McPhee. Foster has been married 5 times and was, for a while, step-father to Brandon and Brody Jenner, when married to Linda Thompson.)
“Priscilla related that when she told him, Presley “grabbed … and forcefully made love to” her, declaring, “This is how a real man makes love to his woman.” She later stated in an interview that she regretted her choice of words in describing the incident, and said it had been an overstatement. Five months later, Presley’s new girlfriend, Linda Thompson, a songwriter and one-time Memphis beauty queen, moved in with him.”
As Wikipedia recounts: “On July 6, 1972, Thompson attended a private movie screening hosted by Elvis Presley at the Memphian Theater in Memphis. Thompson was 22 at the time.] Linda Thompson and Presley hit it off and subsequently dated for four years before breaking up around Christmas 1976. They broke up because, like Priscilla before her, Thompson wanted a “normal” life, which was not possible with Presley’s lifestyle. However, they broke up on good terms and remained good friends until Presley’s death.” Presley met Ms. Thompson, a songwriter, 5 months after Priscilla and he separated. The Presleys were not officially divorced until August of 1972, one month after he met Linda Thompson.
Perhaps the next bio-pic could be a cross between Linda Thompson and David Foster, both of whom seem to have interesting lives? Foster married his fourth wife, Dutch model Yolanda Hadid in Beverly Hills, California, on November 11, 2011. She is the mother of Gigi, Bella and Anwar Hadid, who are constantly in the tabloids. That gave way on 2011 and Foster proposed marriage to Katharine McPhee in 2019. He is 72; she is 38 and just had their child on Feb. 22, 2021. Ms. McPhee/Foster donates to Republican causes.
So, so much for depicting Elvis as a one-woman man who was crushed by his wife’s departure. It does seem logical that Priscilla’s departure would severely wound him, since he was known to be unusually close to his mother, Gladys, and deeply affected by her death at age 46. The movie version shows Elvis feeling increasingly trapped in a career that did not reflect what he most wanted to be doing. Baz Luhrmann, in the special, even talks about the somewhat heavy-handed way in which he shows Elvis, onstage, singing “caught in a trap” while Colonel Tom is signing a deal for him to work at the Las Vegas International Hotel for the next five years, in exchange for expunging the considerable gambling debt he had run up (among other compensation).
Another possible untruth involves Colonel Tom Parker telling Elvis he needed to go to Germany in 1958 and serve in the Army the normal way. Actually, one source said that the Colonel objected to Elvis performing for free for the government, or Elvis could have served far less than the two years he spent in Germany. Another source said that he tried to avoid serving altogether, but finally went along with Parker’s plan to rejuvenate his image. However, supposedly special arrangements were made for Presley to live while serving and the concept of him being a regular “G.I. Joe” is questioned.
“Thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege.”
These were the words of Pence Chief Legal Counsel Greg Jacob to John Eastman on January 6th, 2021. It was Eastman who wrote the 38-page plan to seize control of our government. (It was supposed to be Day Three, although CNN had omitted Day Two, supposedly so that they could prepare more film clips.) There were meetings at the Willard Hotel to refine this plan and attempt to make it a reality on January 6th.
The June 16th (2022) presentation at 1 p.m. (CDT) focused on the pressure that Trump and his cronies had put on Vice President Mike Pence, urging him to do a number of illegal things that Constitutional scholars agree were not allowed under the powers of the vice presidency. As one mentioned, if the VP could simply declare himself the winner, then Al Gore could have done that in 2000 in Florida. But Al Gore, unlike Donald J. Trump, was a good man who had a conscience. Al Gore’s statement back then was: “In all of human history, the choice between one’s own disappointment and upholding the noble traditions of America’s democracy, it’s a pretty easy choice when it comes down to it.” (What a difference between Al Gore and Donald J. Trump).
I am faithfully watching the hearings, because I care whether my country remains a democracy or not. If you are not watching, because you are not at liberty to do so, tune in here and I will do my best to replay the important things we learned.
J. Michael Litteg, SELF-IDENTIFIED WINDBAG
One of the chief GOP voices this day was a Constitutional scholar and Pence advisor named J. Michael Litteg. By his own admission, J. Michael was a huge windbag, although his closing comments this day were right to the point of the great danger we all face from Trump fanatics, come 2024 (and earlier, in the midterms). Mr. Litteg, when asked a question that only required a “yes” or “no” answer took over 30 seconds to even begin responding and then spoke for 5 minutes (I timed this). Here is some of what he said about the infamous Eastman plan to overthrow the counting process, via Mike Pence, and, therefore, retain power for DJT.:
Litteg: “There was no basis in the Constitution or the laws of the U.S. at all with the theory espoused by Mr. Eastman. At all. None. With all respect to my co-panelists I believe in partial response to one of the committee’s questions, that a single sentence in the 12th amendment was inartfully written. That single sentence is not inartfully written. It was pristine clear that the President of the Senate on January 6th (Pence) had little substantive Constitutional authority. Any. At all. The 12th amendment sentence says, in substance, that following the transmission of the certificates to the Congress and the electoral count of 1887 that the presiding officer (Pence) shall open the certificates in the presence of the Congress of the United States in joint session. It then says, unmistakeably, not only that the VP himself shall count the electoral votes, but clearly says that the electoral count votes shall then be counted. It was the electoral count act of 1887 that filled in, if you will, the simple words of the 12th amendment in order to construct for the country a process for the counting of the electoral votes from the states that neither our original Constitituion nor even the 12th amendment had done. The irony, if you will, is that from its founding until 1887 when the electoral count act was passed, the nation had been in considerable turmoil during at least 5 of its presidential elections, beginning as soon thereafter from the founding as 1800, so it wasn’t until almost 100 years later that the Electoral Count Act was passed. In my view, that piece of legislation is not only a work in progress for the country, but, in this moment in history, …”that was long-winded, I understand.” [Mr. Litteg was “a slow talker” and not the most riveting witness we heard on this second day of testimony.]
They asked Old Windbag what he would have said had he been advising Pence….”If I had been advising the VP on 1/6 and even if then VP Jefferson and even then VP John Adams and even then VP Richard Nixon had done exactly what the President of the U.S. wanted his VP to do, I would have laid my body across the road before I would have let the VP overturn the 2020 election on the basis of that historic precedent. What this body needs to know and America needs to know is that that was the centerpiece of the plan to overturn the 2020election. It was the historical precedent and in the years and with the VP I named the effort by Mr. Eastman and others was to drive that historic precedent up to and under that single pristine sentence in the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, taking advantage of what many have said is the inartful wording of that sentence in the 12th Amendment. Scholars before 2020 would have used that historical precedent could overturn the 2020 election by accepting non-certified state electoral votes, but they would have made arguments as to some substantive (not merely procedural) authority possessed by the VP of the US on the day proscribed for counting the electoral votes. This is Constitutional mischief.”
[Listening to Mr. Litteg required a great deal of patience and it was truly a good idea when one of the questioners simply read a synopsis of the man’s previous writing on the subject. I wrote down “Praise the Lord!”]
TRUMP AS LOSER
Over and over, this day and the first day, we learned that Trump knew, all along, that he had lost the election. He didn’t like losing, and has a fear of being dubbed “a loser” so he denied it then; he denies it now. His usual lies continued to the point that when on the podium for the infamous rally that preceded the riot, he and his cronies lied about their justification for “taking back” the government. Remember the “Fight like hell or you won’t have a country any more” admonitions?—that one from Trump, himself, but others from his buddies, including the John Eastman mentioned above, who was one of the few attorneys willing to “trump up” a plan to overthrow the government. Almost everything they presented to the crowd was a lie.
One of the least windbag-y speakers this day was Eric Herschmann, a former White House counsel, who, after the 62 court cases had been adjudicated and found wanting, took a phone call from John Eastman.
Eric Herschmann’s call from John Eastman: He started to ask me something about Georgia. And I just said, “Are you out of your fucking mind? I only want to hear 2 words coming out of your mouth from now on: ORDERLY TRANSITION. Repeat those words to me. Good John, and now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever going to get in your life. Get yourself a good criminal lawyer.”
Later, we learn that Eastman did, indeed, ask to be put on the list of those seeking presidential pardons from Trump before he left office. His request was phrased this way:
“I’ve decided I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.” (to Trump, from Eastman)
That didn’t happen and, instead, Eastman took the 5th 146 times when asked about his actions by the January 6th Commission.
The courts have called Eastman’s plan “a coup in search of a legal theory.”
Simply put, Eastman wanted Mike Pence to step far beyond his true authority, which was purely ceremonial, and announce that the states were going to “look into” some mysterious “alternate slates of electors from 7 states,” slates which did not exist. As the testimony told us, here is the lie that Eastman spread:
“7 states have transmitted dual states of electors to the President of the Senate. “(bogus)” VP Pence could simply declare Trump the winner.” During testimony, the question was asked: Were there really 7 states of alternative electors? A: “No, there were not.”
“There is very solid legal authority and historical precedent for the view that the President of the Senate (i.e., Mike Pence as VP) does the counting, including the resolution of disputed electoral votes.” (from Eastman). False. That statement was a bold-faced lie.
On Dec. 19, 4 days before the memo, Eastman admitted in an e-mail that the fake electors had no legal weight and that the argument would be“Dead on arrival” in Congress.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE VP’s POWER ON JANUARY 6th
Critically, no VP in history had ever claimed to have that kind of authority, nor had claimed authority to return electoral votes to the states. At no time had electoral votes ever been returned to the states to be recounted. Justice Bradley had specifically looked at that question and had said that clearly the VP does not have the authority to decide anything nor to send things back for a public look. The history was absolutely decisive. “If you were right, don’t you think that Al Gore would have simply declared that he could declare himself President.” (from Gregory Jacob, Pence’s Chief Legal Counsel.) Al Gore did not and should not have this authority, agreed John Eastman. There is almost no idea more un-American. The VP did not have such power. (Statement from Litteg and others).
Marc Short, former Pence Chief of Staff: “So, despite the fact that he may have said otherthings to the President or others, he understood that the VP did not have such authority.” (A: Yes)
“Yeah, they thought he was crazy.” (about John Eastman, as articulated by Jason Miller, former Trump campaign senior adviser, who was wearing a doofy-looking mask).
TRUMP ISSUES A TWEET SAYING HE & THE VP ARE IN TOTAL AGREEMENT; THEY ARE NOT
“The VP and I are in total agreement that the VP has the power to act.” (That was categorically untrue, said Greg Jacobs).
Marc Short: The statement did not represent the VP’s viewpoint. “I think the record shows that it was incorrect.” So, essentially, the President is sending out a bald statement that the President and VP were in total agreement, which was untrue. “He clearly was not pleased.” Jason Miller inquired, “What’s the process for putting out a statement for a meeting where only 2 people were in the room.”
Jason Miller: “The tone was very clearly ..he strongly inferred that the VP did not agree with this statement. Trump dictated most of it. Typically on these, I might have a couple of wording suggestions or maybe I have a sense or a rough framework, but I know with specificity on this one, it was me and him on the phone talking about it and ultimately the way it came out was the way he wanted it to.” (About their “agreement” on how the Pres and the VP were “in agreement on this.)
Jason Miller wore a face mask throughout his testimony, and it appeared to be one of the truly unattractive ones that the government has distributed, free of charge. Was he hoping people would not recognize him later? No one else was wearing a face mask on the panel(s).
TRUMP 2:24 TWEET PUTS VP PENCE IN DANGER
The most dangerous part of what DJT did he, himself did, in targeting Mike Pence for retribution. In early drafts of the Ellipse speech, there was no mention of the VP, but the President revised it to add mentions of the VP and he ad libbed more about Trump’s need to act on January 6th at the Ellipse speech. (“Send it back to the states to re-certify”) Example: “And Mike Pence is just gonna’ have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country. The only way re-certification can happen is if Mike Pence sends it back to the states.” Once Trump’s tweet went out, at 2:24 p.m., the mob went wild, chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” An FBI informant embedded with the Proud Boys said that, had they gotten their hands on Pence or Pelosi, they would have killed them.
2:24 p.m. tweet about Mike Pence was instrumental in riling up the crowd. Trump never called to see if his VP was in danger, before, during or after the riot. Not only that, but he has apparently said that he agreed with the crowd regarding the violence to be perpetrated against Mike Pence. Of the “Hang Mike Pence” chants, former Trump Press Secretary Sarah Matthews said. “It felt like he (DJT) was pouring gasoline on the fire.” Pence’s Cheif of Staff, Marc Short was alarmed enough about the possibility that Trump would seek vengeance against Pence for not doing his bidding that he warned Pence’s security detail one day in advance.
There is testimony that Pence refused to leave the Capitol because he did not want to give the insurrectionists the satisfaction of seeing the Vice President of the United States fleeing the Capitol in weakness. Pence refused to get in the car with the Secret Service. Some have said that, although he trusted those he knew in his detail, his suspicion(s) and distrust of DJT were high enough that he did not want to be driven away by agents he did not know. [Think about that one for a moment.]
John Eastman’s constant insistence that Pence had powers he did NOT have, when conveyed to Pence himself, caused Pence to say, “That is rubber room stuff,” meaning that he thought Eastman was certifiably crazy.
The GOP’s strategy for 2024 is now clear, and this is laid out in the June 17th issue of “The Week” magazine.
Challenge all election losses and “cause chaos” in heavily Democratic districts. A top Michigan Republican operative was recently recorded discussing plans to recruit “an army” of party-trained poll workers, who, unlike poll watchers, have direct influence over vote-counting procedures.
Thousands of MAGA followers have volunteered for this task, most of whom believe Donald Trump’s Big Lie of rampant voter fraud in 2020. (Trump had 50,000 poll watchers in the 2020 election).
If installed as poll workers (not watchers, but workers), they would be connected with GOP lawyers and “party friendly district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts” in Democratic-leaning districts across the country.
Then, Republican state legislatures would have an excuse to ignore election results and choose a slate of Republican electors. This sophisticated “precinct strategy” is being led by Steve Bannon, the Machiavellian former Trump strategist, said Eric Lutz in “Vanity Fair.” Bannon took part in the failed effort overturn 2020’s results, but, this time, he plans to “hijack the infrastructure of the election system.” (Let us not forget that Bannon was convicted of scamming contributors and sought and received a presidential pardon, so he has been proven to be crooked in more ways than one.)
Trump/Cheney/McCarthy: Three on a Match
The GOP’s anti-democratic efforts are based on a simple premise, said Greg Argent in “The Washington Post.” “Much of the voting in Democratic areas should be presumed to be illegitimate.”
Most Republicans now insist that “voting is pure and unsullied” in rural areas dominated by the GOP, but “marred by widespread fraud” in cities with lots of non-white Democrats, even though most of the fraud that WAS found during the various investigations in 2020 was by Republicans, but in very small numbers not sufficient to change the election outcome.
To insure a GOP victory in 2024, Trumpists have even created an “America First” slate of 2020 election deniers running for various state offices, according to Alexandra Berzon in “The New York Times.” America First candidates have a good shot at winning powerful offices in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan—four swing states “where a relatively small number of ballots have decided presidential victories.”
The 2020 insurrection has become an “institutionalized” movement, said Jonathan Chait in “New York” magazine. Tellingly, the Bannon operation “has met virtually no intraparty resistance,” with GOP officials widely agreeing that all “Democratic election victories are inherently illegitimate.” This is the antithesis of what should be happening in our democracy.
The Capitol, Washington, D.C.
In 2020, Trump’s efforts to overturn the election “Spectacularly failed,” and culminated in the January 6th violent assault on Congress. The next time, in 2024, the goal will be to “successfully and legally contest and overturn an unfavorable election outcome”—even though that is overturning the will of the voters.
Pay attention. This is the blue print and it is being proven every day the January 6th Commission meets.
I’m watching the second day of 1/6 Committee Hearings and Chris Stirewalt, former digital politics editor of Fox News, is bragging about the University of Chicago colleague who had built a truly advanced predicting method for predicting elections. It was this creation that allowed Stirewalt to call Arizona for Biden early—and got him fired. (“Good work! You correctly called Arizona well before any other network! You’re fired!”)
Trump/Cheney/McCarthy: Three on a Match
Stirewalt approved calling Arizona for Biden during the 2020 election. For his expertise in accurately calling Arizona for Biden, he was fired. Stirewalt just said that Trump’s chances of winning the election after that night were “none.”
“In a recount, you’re talking about hundreds of votes…In modern history we’re talking about hundreds of votes. The idea that through any normal process he was going to win, were zero. You’re better off to play the Power Ball then to try to do this three times,” said Stirewalt, who noted that DJT needed to swing 3 states to his column (not just one) to change the 2020 presidential election results.
Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, has also said that Trump’s lead grew more narrow as the night went on, and in some places Biden surpassed Trump in the vote totals. “Every single— multiple times — we paid attention to those numbers, I was feeling less confident.” He described himself as feeling, “very, very, very bleak.” His belief was that chances for success for Trump in the presidential election were 5 to 10 %, if not lower. He saw no realistic legal challenges changing the outcome. (Stepien avoided having to show up in person because his wife went into labor.)
“I described some of my frustration with some of the claims that people would throw at President Trump, telling him to look at what happened in various states. This is an example of that. In Arizona, someone had thrown out the claim that there were thousands of illegal citizens, people not eligible to vote, who had voted in Arizona. With the margins being as close as they were, that could potentially matter. So, this wild claim was thrown out, which, on its face, did not seem realistic or possible. I recall the response to that. The reality of that was overseas voters, not illegal voters.” (Campaign manager Bill Stepien).
Stepien was termed “Team Normal” after Rudy Giuiliani (et. al.) came on the scene. “During the 2nd week, Trump was growing increasingly unhappy with Justin Clarke and that paved the way for Justin to be moved out and Mayor Giuiliani to be moved in. For all intents and purposes he (Rudy) became the campaign manager. I inherited the campaign about 150 days in at a time when the campaign was at a low point in the polls. There was a great deal wrong with the campaign. Most of my day was spent fixing the things that could be fixed with 150 days left in the campaign.”
Trump threw out the normal people (Stepien, etc.) and brought in Rudy Giuiliani and attorney Sidney Powell. Sidney Powell got up onstage and recited pure gibberish. Eric Herschmann, former White House Advisor said, “What they were proposing I thought was nuts.” Herschmann went on to recite some of the crazier theories that Trump’s campaign threw out (China, Philippines, Hugo Chavez, etc.). “Not the approach I would take if I was you,” said Jared Kushner to his father-in-law when the crazies came out of the woodwork and began throwing out complete and utter fabrications of how the vote was “stolen.”
“I made it clear that I did not agree in putting out this stuff about the election being stolen and I thought it was bull shit and that’ why I left when I did.” (Bill Barr, former Attorney General under Trump and a Republican).
So ended the first panel of Day #2. Barr said that Trump began making claims of election fraud immediately after his loss.
Bill Barr: “”When we received specific and credible reports of fraud, we looked into them. There was an avalanche of all these accusations of fraud. It was like playing Whack-A-Mole. I knew that many of these claims were silly and totally bogus. They did not give me the feeling that there was any substance there.” Hence, the term “There’s no there there.
On November 23rd, Barr spoke with Trump: “On Nov. 23, I had not spoken to Trump since the election; it was getting awkward, because obviously he had lost the election. I came over to meet with the President in the Oval Office. This is leading up to Kushner. The President said there had been major fraud and as soon as the facts were out the outcome of the election would be reversed. Then he got to the Dept. of Justice not thinking that they had any business looking into these claims. (“The department Is not an extension of your legal team.’) We’re looking into claims and they’re just not meritorious and they’re not panning out.” Barr said, “How long is he gonna’ carry on with this stolen election stuff? How long is it gonna’ go on?”
Mark Meadows said, “I think he is becoming more realistic and knows there are limits to how far we can take this. Between Nov. 23 and Nov. 29th things began to deteriorate. DJT said, on a Fox News show (Maria Bertolini) that there had been “vote dumps on election night.” This was completely bogus and fraudulent. ”
Barr told the Associated Press on Nov. 1st that there was no proof of fraud. Barr kept insisting that there was no evidence to support fraud.
The Capitol, Washington, D.C.
“I set up a lunch with the AP reporter Mike Balsamo and made the statement, ‘Today we have not seen fraud on a scale that could predict a different outcome in the election.'” He had a previously scheduled Mark Meadows meeting. Barr assumed he might be fired and alerted his secretary that she might have to pack up his stuff, so don’t go home. Meadows told Barr that the President was angry. He went to Pat Cippolini’s office and Trump called both of them to the Oval Office. Barr: “Trump was “as mad as I’ve ever seen him.” He raised the “big vote dump” in Detroit and Barr explained to him that there were 630 precincts in Detroit and they centralize the voting process in Detroit, so the normal process involved boxes coming in at all different hours (something that Fox repeatedly tried to show as proof of fraud.)”
Barr: “I told him the claims of fraud were bull shit and he was indignant about that. The Dominion Voting Machine claims were among the most disturbing allegations. There was exactly zero basis for these claims. I told him that the fact that these machines had negated the people’s votes was “crazy stuff” and that they were “wasting their time on it” and it was doing “a grave disservice to the country.”
Trump is shown in a clip dated Dec. 2, 2020, talking about a vote dump in Michigan. This was complete B.S. “We have a company that’s very suspect.” He went on to condemn Dominion’s voting system. Barr again told the President that there was nothing to these claims, on Dec. 14th. Barr: “When I went in and sat down, he went off on a monologue that there was now definitive evidence that there was fraud with these Dominion machines. “The report means that I’m going to have a second term.” To be frank, it looked very amateurish, to me. It did not have the credentials of the people involved, etc. It didn’t have any supporting information for it. I thought, “Boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has become detached from reality— if he really believes this stuff,” said Barr. “There never was an indication of any interest in the actual facts. My opinion then and now is that the election was not stolen by fraud, including the 2,000 mules movie.”
In a nutshell, the movie was unimpressive. He was waiting to see if there was photographic evidence, but it did not exist. “The cell phone data is singularly unimpressive.” The premise was indefensible. (Cell phones in the presence of ballot boxes were, somehow, going to beevidence/proof of fraud.) Barr: “When the movie came out, the photographic evidence was lacking. It didn’t establish widespread illegal harvesting. It’s not clear that, even if you can show harvesting, this is going to change the outcome of the election. It is still the duty of the party to show that there was evidence to validate throwing out votes.”
Barr: “Before the election, it was possible to talk sense to the President, but after the election, he didn’t seem to be listening. I was inclined not to stay around if he wasn’t listening.” (Bill Barr quit on Dec. 14, 2020).
Jeffrey Rosen, former acting Attorney General: “People are telling me this, or I’ve heard this, this impropriety in Atlanta or wherever, but we were in a position to say, you’re getting bad information That’s not correct. That has been debunked.”
Derek Lyons (former counsel to Trump): “Various allegations of fraud were discussed and we were told that none of those allegations had been substantiated to the point that they could be used to challenge the election.”
(Alex Cannon, former campaign lawyer for Trump, discussing a phone call from Peter Navarro): “I recall him asking me questions about Dominion and some other categories. I remember telling him that I didn’t believe the Dominion allegations because the hand recount in Georgia would resolve any questions with that vote. Chris Krebbs had recently released a report saying the election was honest. Peter Navarro phoned me and called me ‘an agent of the Deep State trying to conspire against President Trump.’ I never took another call from Mr. Navarro.”
Alex Cannon went on to say that he, personally, was not finding anything that would support overturning the election.
Richard Donoghue, Former Acting Attorney General: “We’ve looked at Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan. The report of 68% error rate in Michigan was actually 1 in 15,000, a very low error rate. If you gave him (Trump) a very direct answer on one allegation he would move to another allegation. One claim was by a truck driver who believed that he had transported a truck full of ballots from NY to Pennsylvania. I essentially said, We have looked at that allegation from both sides. That allegation was not supported by the evidence. Again, Trump said, “Okay. What about the others?” He asked about Georgia. The president kept fixating on suitcases rolled out from under tables in Georgia. There is just how they move ballots around that facility. There is nothing suspicious about the movement of those ballots at all. I told him that the video did not support any evidence of multiple counting for Biden. Then, he went off on dead people voting and American Indians voting. I told him flat out that much of the information he was getting was false or was simply not supported by the evidence.”
BEE GONE: A POLITICAL PARABLE
59 of the nation’s leading election security experts testified that there was NO evidence of significant voting fraud in the nation’s election.
SECOND PANEL OF WITNESSES
Mr. Schmidt, city of Philadelphia,Pennsylvania. Mr. Pak.(Georgia) Mr. Ginsberg (leading GOP lawyer for litigation. Represented “W” in Bush v. Gore.
Ms. Lofgren asked the questions.
Mr. Pak, U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Georgia, appointed by Trump.
Q: Were you asked to investigate claims of voter fraud? (from Ms. Lofgren)
A: Dec. 4th of 2020 Barr asked me if I had seen a certain video tape of Rudy Giuliani in a Senate Subcommittee hearing about the tape in Atlanta of votes being moved. (This was the tape that my daughter-in-law was impressed by.)
The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office investigated. Mr. Pak found that the alleged black suitcase was actually an official lock box where ballots were kept safe. The lock box was kept under the table. There was a misunderstanding that they were done counting ballots for the night and the vote counters were sent home. Then they realized they weren’t done for the night and needed to bring back the official ballot box and they brought back the lock box from under the counter and began counting again. Mr. Giuiliani only played a clip that showed them pulling the lock box from under the table, when the entire tape shows that it was an official ballot box that was kept under the table. Once they discovered that they needed to keep counting, they brought the ballot box out from under the table, where it was kept, and continued counting. The allegations made by Mr. Giuiliani were false.
Mr. Donoghue (former Attorney General): Re the interviews in Fulton County:
“Bee Gone: A Political Parable”
“I don’t know how they were initially communicated. They came out in subsequent conversation. I told the President myself that several times that these allegations of ballots being smuggled in in a suitcase were not true.”
Mr. Pak (left Jan., 2021): Bobby Christine came in after Pak – “Mr. Christine continued investigation but was unable to find any fraud that affected the election. There was none.”
BILL BARR: “The president has repeatedly suggested that there was some kind of outpouring of votes in Philadelphia, as recently as when he walked off the NPR set. He made a comment about how there were more votes in Philadelphia than there were voters. That is absolute rubbish. There was nothing strange about the Philadelphia turnout. There was nothing strange once you actually look at the votes. In Philadelphia Trump ran weaker than 2 of the state’s candidates, he ran weaker than the other elements on the Republican ticket.”
Q: How about Pennsylvania and absentee ballots? (Question from Ms. Lofgren)
A: (from Barr) Giuliani raised this in Gettysburg. “The problem is that he threw out this number. He threw out the # of applications for the GOP primary and compared it to the votes cast in the actual GOP primary: apples to oranges. Once you compared apples to apples there was no discrepancy.”
Mr. Schmidt, Republican member of the 3-member commission tasked with overseeing elections in Philadelphia.
Q: Giuiliani said 8,000 dead people voted in Philadelphia. (Question about this from Ms. Lofgren)
A: Not only was there no evidence of 8,000 dead voters, there wasn’t even evidence of 8 dead voters.
Q: Even Mr. Trump’s campaign lawyers knew this was bogus. (Eric Herschmann) “They never proved the allegations that they were alleging.”
Q: “A guy named Al Schmidt is being used Big Time by the fake news media to explain how honest things were in the election in Philadelphia.” This was a tweet from President Trump that resulted in death threats for you and your family.
A: The threats prior to that tweet were pretty general, but, after that tweet, the threats became much more specific, much more graphic, and included not just me by name but included members of my family, their ages, our home address, etc. That was what changed with that tweet.”
Nov. 12, 2020: “Your husband should tell the truth or your kids will suffer.” (Example of a threatening letter sent to Al Schmidt because he would not collude with Trump on charges of election fraud in Philadelphia and Trump called him out by name on Twitter.)
Mr. Ginsberg’s credentials: National Council on Republican Campaigns in 2004, 2012. Key role in Florida recount. Served as Co-chair of Presidential Campaign on Republican Election(s).
Q: How was the Trump campaign post-campaign different from others? (from Ms. Lofgren)
A: In the normal course of things, we do a couple of things. 1) Analyze precincts with abnormalities and send people to investigate (2) Poll watchers will be used and they will be talked to about irregularities. The Trump campaign talked about having 50,000 poll watchers. In the normal course, their reports would be analyzed. The 2020 campaign was not close. The most narrow margin was 20,000 (Az): “You just don’t make up those kinds of margins in recounts.” That put the Trump campaign on a sort of process of bringing cases without the evidence you need to have.
Q: Did any court find any credible evidence?
A: No. I’ve looked at 60 cases with more than 180 counts. Sixty-two post-election cases filed up to Jan., 2021. Sixty losses and only one victory that did not affect the election outcome for either man.
Q: What do you say about the claims about their day in court? (from Ms. Lofgren)
A: About half of those cases were dismissed at the procedural level, for lack of evidence. In the other, there was discussion of the merits within the complaint. In no instance did the court find that the charges of fraud were real. There had been post-election reviews in each of the 6 states that could have changed the election outcome, including the farcical Cyber Ninjas in Arizona, Michigan, etc. No credible evidence of fraud found in any of those cases. (from Mr. Ginsberg)
Thursday Night, June 9th, Commission Hearings About the January 6th Coup D’Etat:
Liz Cheney and backlash over her anti-Trump stance. She will pay the ultimate price for being loyal to the U.S. Constitution and calling out Trump’s treason.
Liz Cheney opened the impressive Opening of the January 6th Commission with these words: “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
• Trump believed the rioters were “doing what they should be doing,” Cheney said, and yelled at advisers who said that he should call them off. He said that rioters who chanted about hanging Pence “maybe” had “the right idea.”
• The committee played video of Bill Barr, the former attorney general, saying that he had called Trump’s fraud claims “bullshit” and “crazy stuff.” Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, testified that she “accepted” what Barr said.
• Footage shot by a documentary filmmaker embedded with the Proud Boys showed members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, two far-right groups who stormed the Capitol, meeting on the evening before the attack. This footage had not been aired previously and included the violent assault on a female Capitol officer, who testified in person and suffered a brain injury during the assault on the Capitol.
• In video testimonies, several rioters said that they had stormed the Capitol in response to Trump’s summons. “He asked me for my vote and he asked me to come on Jan. 6,” one said. It seems logical that the individual who planned it all (i.e., Donald J. Trump) should also be charged and should suffer the consequences of selling out his country to attempt to hang onto power, no matter what.
• Cheney said that Pence, not Trump, ordered the National Guard to the Capitol during the attack, and that “multiple” House Republicans sought pardons over their efforts to overturn the election.
• My thoughts on the request by several Trump loyalists for pardons for their actions during January 6th, before he left office, begs this question: “If there was nothing illegal going on, why would any of these Trump loyalists need to be pardoned?” The obvious conclusion is that they knew damn well that they were playing with fire, and when the effort to overthrow the duly elected president did not succeed, some of them began scrambling for cover.
The second day/date of the hearings will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 13th.