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!
When I received the July 8/July 15th issue (p. 14) of “The Week” magazine, I was most struck by the article on page 14 that relayed how the recent Roe v. Wade reversal is viewed by the rest of the world. There’s no question that a woman’s decision to have a child–whether intentional or unintentional—is probably the biggest economic decision that female will ever face.
It’s pretty powerful. Here it is:
How They See Us: U.S. Rolls Back Women’s Human Rights
By reversing Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s radical conservative majority has delivered “a profound and ominous setback” for women’s rights”—and for democracy, said The Irish Times in an editorial. Even though more than 60% of Americans believe abortion should be legal “in all or most circumstances,” the court’s life-tenure far-right justices have now cleared the way for abortion bans to take effect in about half of the 50 states.
The U.S. thus joins Catholic El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Poland as the only countries to roll back abortion rights in decades. Some European countries, it’s true, restrict abortion at 12 or 16 weeks, earlier than Roe, but we also have largely free health care, so in practice, European women have easy access to abortion. Here in Ireland, the procedure was legalized by a referendum in 2018, spurred by the 2012 death of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied the abortion that would have saved her life as she miscarried an unviable, wanted pregnancy. Halappanavar died in an Irish hospital as her husband begged doctors to help her. The U.S. has doomed itself to a future of similar tragedies.
For any European who has ever been pregnant, said Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in The Guardian (U.K.), the news from America “felt visceral, as vicious misogyny often does.” Pregnancy is a wholesale takeover of the body. I wanted my child, but having been through it, I know that forced birth would “amount to torture.” American women and girls, henceforth, will suffer, and at the explicit direction of the state. But not all of them, said Marius Oprea in Mediafax (Romania). Most rich women will still get the care they need, even if they have to travel out of state. But poor—especially Black, women—will either have unwanted children or try to self-abort. The U.S. health care system “is utterly unprepared” for the wave of abandoned newborns and mothers in crisis. Expect a health crisis of “apocalyptic proportions.”
The ruling is further evidence of America’s “democratic collapse,” said Le Monde (France). The extremist Catholic majority on the court is the product of “the tyranny of a minority permitted by an electoral system outrageously favorable to the most conservative states.” Donald Trump was defeated in the popular vote, yet became president anyway. He then nominated 3 ultraconservative justices who were confirmed by a Senate whose makeup is permanently skewed to favor rural voters at the expense of the Democratic majority.
President Biden often talks of a world at war “between democracies and autocracies,” said Mariam Martinez-Bascuan in “El Pais” (Spain), “but we can no longer be sure the U.S. is in the former camp.”The repeal of Roe is just the latest example of Republican “obstinacy,” from the Jan. 6th assault on the Capitol to the “dying rage over firearms” and efforts to restrict the Black vote. And like the other examples, the abortion ruling will surely hurt America’s standing in the world. How can the U.S. pose as the beacon of freedom against the authoritarian darkness of Russia or China, when it denies its own female citizens their basic human rights?”
Credit: Kevin Mazur/MG22/Getty; Shivon Zilis/shivonzilis.com
Elon Musk apparently had twins right here in Austin (Tx) where I am now, just 8 months ago—and also had another child with singer Grimes, and do we know whether or not he is the father of Amber Heard’s daughter?
I am…..speechless, and wish to give full credit to “People” magazine for keeping track of this guy, since it must be pretty difficult, since he really gets around! Here’s the “People” report:
The 51-year-old Tesla CEO fathered twins with Shivon Zilis last November, according to court documents published by the Insider Wednesday. The twins were born in Austin, Texas.
The papers reveal that in April, Musk and Zilis –– who is the project director at his Neuralink company –– asked a Texan county court to change their babies’ names so they would “have their father’s last name and contain their mother’s last name as part of their middle name.”
The twins’ sexes were not made public and their names were redacted from the documents.
An Austin judge granted their request in May, per Insider.
A representative for Musk did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Zilis also did not immediately respond.
The twins’ arrival came just weeks before Musk and his former partner Grimes welcomed a baby girl via a surrogate in December, despite the pair splitting up in September. She revealed the birth of Exa Dark Sideræl, who they’ve nicknamed Y, in a cover story for Vanity Fair. They also share 2-year-old son X Æ A-12.”
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.
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.
This section includes a selection of up to three campaign advertisements per candidate released in this race, as well as links to candidates’ YouTube, Vimeo, and/or Facebook video pages. If you are aware of other links that should be included, please email us.
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
This will not be my last Monday of radiation, but it may be the last full week of same.
There was a very interesting article that I ran across about Clinical trials for a new method of dealing with breast cancers, which involves freezing the tumors, which then implode. It sounds ideal, as there is no incision, no radiation, and all the prospective patient has to do thereafter is take one of the aromatase inhibitors. They have found that the “implosion” of the tumors actually seems to stimulate the patient’s own immune system to deal with whatever residue is left after the deep freezing. Wish I could have been in that M.D. Anderson study, but that would have required me to live near Dallas, Texas. I did want to mention this for the benefit of the 1 in 8 women who might be diagnosed with breast cancer and fall into the category I fell into, which means late-in-life presentation and small and no metastasis.
It sounds like this method could revolutionize the treatment of breast cancer (and, possibly, other cancers. The idea of having NO scar and NO operation is tempting, and the fact that one does not have to undergo radiation afterwards is equally tempting.
Yesterday was Father’s Day. The pictures I will post here are of the restaurant I took my husband to for dinner. I have to admit that I was planning on cooking a pork loin roast with a new recipe for the seasoning but I apparently had a senior moment and froze the sucker. It was as hard as a rock when I realized my faux pas.
The Captain’s Table
We dined, instead at the Captain’s Table just below the hill that we live on and roughly 2 miles away. It was beastly hot, but the outdoor veranda was lovely and my husband enjoyed a shrimp tempura dinner while I had the salmon with a brown sugar/mustard sauce.
He also received a Super Box from the children, which will allow us to get viewing on our Texas set, as we have one here. We are currently watching “The Offer” with Miles Teller, a 10-part mini series, that tells about the drama behind the making of “The Godfather” half a century ago. I will be reviewing it here after we watch episodes 9 and 10, which remain.
After that, we’ll move on to Dark Winds, which is recommended, about an investigator on an Indian reservation.
The father in house also got 3 lovely cards, a gigantic bottle of Seagram’s 7, andan Amazon gift card.
“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.
In December of this past year (2021) the “New York Times” offered a digital subscription for $1 a week, and I subscribed.
Therefore, I’ve been reading the “updates” on the situation in Ukraine. I also subscribe to (and read) the “Quad City Times,” the “Chicago Tribune,” and the “Austin American Statesman,” but the reporting from the NYC on Ukraine seems to be head and shoulders above that of any other paper, which, no doubt, owes a large debt to their commitment to aggressively reporting on matters in Russia and Ukraine.
Here are a few things that came to light in today’s paper (6/15/2022) or on CNN, courtesy of Anderson Cooper.
Volodymyr Zelensky has been impatiently waiting for:
300 missile launch rocket systems
2,000 armored vehicles
Museum of Science & Industry
Anna Malya, Deputy Defense Minister for Ukraine, recently released this statement about the need for weapons and assistance from other NATO nations: “No matter how hard Ukraine tries, no matter how professional our army is, without the help of Western partners, we will not be able to win this war.”
So far, we have given Ukraine 108 howitzers, 4 HIMARS truck-mounted multiple-launch rocket systems (with a range of 40 miles) and Ukrainian soldiers are being trained on the use of the HIMARS now, so that they will appear in the battle this or next week.
To date, the U.S. has allocated $5.6 billion to Ukraine to help them defeat Russia. Canada, Poland and the Netherlands have chipped in something like $4.3 billion. The Ukrainians said thy have received “only 10% of what is needed” to win against Russia.
Now that the war is continuing to drag on, Putin seems to have decided that he can use his energy position in Europe to “outlast” NATO. He is also weaponizing food. Frederick Plertgen, in St. Petersburg, Russia, an international correspondent described how Putin is holding up the delivery of 30 million tons of grain that would normally be shipped to Africa, the Middle East, and other European countries, to the tune of at least $1 billion.
For those questioning whether spending this much to help Ukraine defeat Russia is worth it, I would recommend the book “Winter Is Coming” by chess champion Gary Kasparov, which was written years before Russia made clear its intentions to retake independent democracies that neighbor them (including posing a threat to neighbors Finland and Sweden). Russia is truly a threat to the European nations in Russia’s path, world order. NATO must persevere in its attempts to stand firm against the threat that Putin and Russia pose to the free world.
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.