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

Category: Politics Page 2 of 27

Presidential caucuses have been Connie’s specialty in Iowa as she followed the elections of 2004, 2008, 2012 and wrote the 2 books “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House.” She also continues to follow politics by avidly reading everything she can get her hands on, including “Rolling Stone,” “Mother Jones,” “Newsmax,” “Time,” etc.

“Weekly Wilson” Podcast of Feb. 18th: Ryan Bliss, Writer/Director of “Alice Fades Away”

Some of you may have noticed the movement from politics to film on the blog, of late.

It has always been my goal to go among three topics: books, film and politics.

In addition, I sometimes convey information about my travels, whether that means Texas or Mexico or Alaska.

While it is tempting to bring up for discussion the feud that is currently playing out between Mitch McConnell and Donald J. Trump, I shall bypass this low-hanging political fruit, for the moment. Or the death today of Rush Limbaugh might send me off on another political thread, but I’m sticking to movies for the rest of February, and then I’ll be taking a break from the Weekly Wilson podcast.

If you are curious about which of the 45 or so podcasts I’ve done are interesting, I’ll be happy to list them for you, but I’m not sure if they remain “up” after my show goes into a hiatus, which may be permanent.

While I’m proud of the shows I’ve managed to put “in the can,” I’m also more than ready to return to writing—possibly a fourth book in The Color of Evil series.

But, this week, I’ll be interviewing the first-time director of “Alice Fades Away,” a film I reviewed here previously, and the week of February 25th I will speak with the Chicago director of “100 Days to Live,” Ravin Gandhi.

So, remember to tune in to listen to the conversation with Ryan Bliss, director of “Alice Fades Away,” on Thursday, February 18th.

James Corden, on January 19th, Salutes the Inauguration with “One More Day” from Les Mis

When Your Fellow Republicans Try a (Failed) Coup D’Etat, What Next…?

The Capitol, Washington, D.C.

The most recent sign of trouble ahead for the GOP is a serious discussion among dozens of former Republican officials to form a “center-right breakaway party” to go head-to-head with the Republican Party for conservative voters. “More than 120 of them held a Zoom call last Friday to discuss the breakaway group, which would run on a platform of ‘principled conservatism,’ including adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law—ideas those involved say have been trashed by Trump,” writes Reuters.

This is just one of a handful of recent events that suggest the Republican Party is headed for calamity, at least in the short term.

Here’s a few other notable factors:

  • Voters are fleeing the GOP: Voter registration data from states across the country show an unusually high exodus of people changing their party affiliation away from Republicans following the Jan. 6 insurrection.  The New York Times has some updated numbers this week, including the loss of more than 10,000 voters in Arizona, nearly 8,000 in North Carolina, and more than 12,000 in Pennsylvania—all states that will figure prominently in control for the Senate in 2022. “Nearly every state surveyed showed a noticeable increase” in GOP defections, writes the Times.

The Republican Party’s image is plummeting: Americans’ views of the GOP have slid seven points since early November to being seen favorably by just 37% of the public, according to Gallup. It’s not the historic low of 28% the party reached when its leaders forced a government shutdown over their doomed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but the trend line also hasn’t evened out yet—so who knows. Nonetheless, it’s a damning data point when paired up with the voter registration fallout since the Capitol siege. It also does not bode well for the GOP ahead of a vote on whether to acquit Donald

If You Are A Hammer, Everything Looks Like Meat

In the ongoing effort to provide some “lighter side” thoughts, here are a few, courtesy of the Borowitz Report:

  1.  Queen Elizabeth offers to re-annex the United States.
  2. Ivanka Trump applies to become Joe Biden’s daughter.
  3. Obama proposes canceling cable at the White House to get Trump to leave.
  4. Dr. Fauci says alcohol may be an aid during coronavirus briefings.
  5. Scientists say that Earth is endangered by a new strain of fact-resistant humans.
  6. Putin warns that the United States could wind up controlled by Americans.
  7. Kim Kardashian wonders if big-bottomed girls (with 4 kids and 3 marriages) will be in demand in 2022.
  8. Lou Dobbs applies for job at Four Seasons Landscaping.
  9. Canada declares Proud Boys to be domestic terrorists, just as Trump was preparing to give Medal of Freedom to former General Michael Flynn for his service to the group.
  10. Army Hammer announces he and latest girlfriend have become vegans.

Some Humor for these Troubled Times

And now, for some much-needed humor….

“Looks like someone started listening to the reasonable voices in her head,” Trevor Noah said after Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said she regretted endorsing QAnon conspiracy theories.Credit…Comedy Central

From Trish Bendix

Greene House Effect

House Democrats voted on Thursday to strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments, while House Republicans chose to stick by her after she expressed remorse for past comments about 9/11 and school shootings. She blamed her past support for QAnon on misinformation that she found on the internet.

“Wow, I’ve never seen someone try to delete their browser history in real life,” Trevor Noah remarked.

“Yes, people: Marjorie Taylor Greene has been kicked off her committees. But if you think about it, this is a pretty sweet deal for Greene. Basically, her punishment for acting insane was to do less work for the same amount of money.” — TREVOR NOAH

“But if she’s not in charge of education, who’s going to tell all those students that there never really was a shooting?” — STEPHEN COLBERT

“And, honestly, I think kicking her off these committees could actually backfire. The last thing you want to do with a crazy person is give them time to be crazy. That’s why they should put her on all the committees — then you’ll never hear from her again.” — TREVOR NOAH

“Online, Greene also has endorsed the idea of executing Democratic leaders. Kind of a bad look when you’re OK with your new co-workers getting murdered: ‘Hey guys, I cannot wait to join the team. Tell you what, I’m going to cut your hamstring and give you a 30-minute head start before I hunt you with a crossbow.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

The worst part of this, she has still not been reprimanded in any official way by fellow Republicans in the House. In fact, they gave her a standing ovation yesterday. Some of them, not all of them. Some of them didn’t want to stand up for fear they could be targeted by Jewish space lasers.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“Now, look, man, Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t the first person to believe things that she read on the internet. But her defense isn’t really reassuring because, basically, what she’s saying is, ‘Yes, up until now, I believed that school shootings were fake, 9/11 didn’t happen and that Jewish space lasers blew up California. But that’s only because I am incapable of separating fantasy from reality. So let’s do the right thing and let me go back to making laws.” — TREVOR NOAH

“That’s right, the woman who started impeachment proceedings against Joe Biden the day he took office is calling for unity now. The congresswoman who wants to execute Nancy Pelosi is right. We need to come together, and the media is just as guilty as QAnon! That’s like saying Jell-O is just as guilty as Bill Cosby.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“Looks like someone started listening to the reasonable voices in her head. Although, this woman is so crazy that her saying that 9/11 happened makes me go, ‘Wait, did it?’” — TREVOR NOAH

“You know what? This may come as a surprise to you, but those of us who watched those buildings burn with our bare eyes here in the New York City area are not that impressed with your willingness to admit that it happened. I believe we as a nation promised to ‘always remember’ it happened. What’s her bumper sticker say, ‘9/11 — oops, I forgot’”?— STEPHEN COLBERT

“All right, well, at least now we know 9/11 happened. Can you imagine having to go in front of the House of Representatives to say 9/11 happened? Yeah, we know. We know it happened. You’re the crazy one, not us.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“Oh, my God, thank you, it is so big of you to admit that. What else would you like to clarify? ‘[Imitating Greene] I would also like to make clear that “Inception” is just a movie, “RoboCop” is not real, and the giant glowing orb in the sky is, in fact, the moon and not a secret sky bank where Bill Gates keeps all his gold bars.’” — SETH MEYERS

“But, hey, I’m glad that she’s come around to the standard Republican belief that school shootings are real and that nothing should be done to stop them.” — TREVOR NOAH

“But, yes, you see, it’s all Facebook’s fault for ‘allowing’ her to believe in those things. So don’t blame her — blame Mark Zuckerberg, with his social media lies and his space lasers.” — TREVOR NOAH

“That’s right, the woman who started impeachment proceedings against Joe Biden the day he took office is calling for unity now. The congresswoman who wants to execute Nancy Pelosi is right. We need to come together, and the media is just as guilty as QAnon! That’s like saying Jell-O is just as guilty as Bill Cosby.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“The worst part of this, she has still not been reprimanded in any official way by fellow Republicans in the House. In fact, they gave her a standing ovation yesterday. Some of them, not all of them. Some of them didn’t want to stand up for fear they could be targeted by Jewish space lasers.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“Now, look, man, Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t the first person to believe things that she read on the internet. But her defense isn’t really reassuring because, basically, what she’s saying is, ‘Yes, up until now, I believed that school shootings were fake, 9/11 didn’t happen and that Jewish space lasers blew up California. But that’s only because I am incapable of separating fantasy from reality. So let’s do the right thing and let me go back to making laws.” — TREVOR NOAH

The Punchiest Punchlines (You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit Edition)

“After the Screen Actors Guild criticized Trump last month, today he sent a letter saying that he’s quitting the union. Trump’s out of work and just quit his union — even worse, now if he wants medical coverage, he’s got to sign up for Obamacare.” — JIMMY FALLON

“He sent them a scathingly stupid letter that begins, ‘I write to you regarding the so-called disciplinary committee hearing aimed at revoking my union membership. Who cares?’ Oh, I know! The guy who took the time to write a letter, who also has skin so thin it makes phyllo dough like Kevlar?” — STEPHEN COLBERT

“So he’s now out of the actors’ union. That’s too bad — I was positive he was going to be the next James Bond.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“Meanwhile, Melania heard and was like, ‘Um, Donald, while we’re on the subject of leaving unions.’” — JIMMY FALLON

“One day you’re the most powerful man on earth, the next you’re bragging about your one line in ‘Home Alone 2.’” — JIMMY FALLON

 

George Will’s Remarks on Inauguration Day Address

Remarks from George Will, abridged, Washington Post of 1/22/2021

Re Joe Biden’s presidency:

Joe Biden in Independence, Iowa, on the Fourth of July, 2019.

“There’s some things that I’m going to be able to do by executive order,” Biden said, “and I’m not going to hesitate to do it…but I am not going to violate the Constitution.  Executive authority that my progressive fans talk about (e.g., banning assault weapons) is way beyond the bounds.”

Fifteen days later, resisting pressure to unilaterally erase billions of dollars of student debt, he said, “I’ve spent most of my life arguing against the imperial presidency.”

Progressives yearning for New Deal 2.0 will notice that Biden did not speak, as Franklin D. Roosevelt did in his first inaugural address, of perhaps seeking “broad Executive powers” as great as he would need “if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”

Biden is an adult. 74 million voters voted for 4 more years of infantilism…

Why are strange people proliferating in government?

 President of the United States

One reason, Ben Sasse (R, Neb.) said, is “America’s junk food media diet,” the underlying economics of which involve “dialing up the rhetoric” to increase “clicks, eyeballs and revenue.” (*Note: See the documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix).

Another reason is “the digital collapse” as “the digital revolution erodes geographic communities in favor of place-less ones. Many people who yell at strangers on Twitter don’t know their own local officials or even their own neighbors across the street.”

Biden’s Inaugural address, the essence of which was to stop the shouting and lower the temperature and end the “exhausting outrage” had the unadorned rhetoric of a teacher telling disorderly students to sit down and shut up. In tone, it was pitch perfect for intimating to his dissatisfied fellow countrymen that they should not be self-satisfied.

 

 

Who Is Scott Perry, and What Are They Saying About Him?

The Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Who is Scott Perry, and why are people calling for him to resign?

Scott Perry (R, PA),s a retired Pennsylvania Army National Guard brigadier General. He served for nearly 40 years and had multiple deployments, including combat in Iraq.

Perry was elected to the Pennsylvania legislature in 2012, a Republican from York County in Pennsylvania.

Perry made Donald Trump aware that Jeffrey Clark (“a relatively obscure Justice Department official”), acting chief of the civil division, supported Trump’s “the election was stolen” propaganda. The president would have been unaware of Clark, if not for Perry.

Says the New York Times in a new article:  “As the date for Congress to affirm Mr. Biden’s victory neared, Mr. Perry and Mr. Clark discussed a plan to have the Justice Department send a letter to Georgia state lawmakers, informing them of an investigation into voter fraud that could invalidate the state’s Electoral College results. Former officials who were briefed on the plan said that the department’s dozens of voter fraud investigations nationwide had not turned up enough instances of fraud to alter the outcome of the election.”

It is interesting that, in the same issue of the Austin American-Statesman, there is a story about Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s bounty, offered for any proof of voter fraud, which was a cash award of $25,000. Patrick—who is a bit of a loon—said the incentive was necessary to ferret out potential illegal voting and to “restore faith in future elections.”

Interestingly enough, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, is demanding that Patrick pay up after 3 Republicans in Pennsylvania were arrested on charges that they voted illegally. One of these tipsters, a Pennsylvania poll worker, told police he witnessed a Republican vote 2 times in one day.

Eric Frank told the Morning News, “I don’t know what avenue to take in order to request the reward.” He is not optimistic that Patrick will pay up.

Hereford cattle on LBJ Ranch.

Patrick famously told the press that older citizens should be willing to die during this pandemic. He later reversed this cavalier attitude for all legislators in the Texas Congress, requiring that they wear masks and have testing to join that august body.

Patrick, in a press release, announced the rewards and said the money would be available to “anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and final conviction of voter fraud.” He set aside $1 million for the rewards, in total, but it does not appear that he is paying up. Is this all bull s***? Ask Dan Patrick.

Relief Mingled with Rage, from Black Writer Charles M. Blow

[Thoughts for today from New York Times writer Charles M. Blow,  1/22/2021, Abridged]

“I had many feelings as I observed the Inauguration, a pageant of customs.  The first was the feeling of having—remarkably and improbably—survived a calamity, like stumbling out of a wrecked car and frantically checking my body for injuries.

Trump taught us, the hard way, that what we took for granted as inviolable, was, in fact, largely tradition. And traditions are not laws…

There is a feeling of deep patriotism and awe for the country itself.  Trump did everything he could to break this country, but, in the end, America remains.  Biden was sworn in at the Capitol that Trump’s insurrectionist supporters had stormed two weeks before.

But then there are also the lingering feelings of disappointment, betrayal and loss of faith.

How is it possible that enough Americans voted for Trump in the first place, sending him to the White House? Donald Trump is a racist and a white supremacist.  And yet millions of Americans either agreed with his views or were willing to abide them.  I know that there will be those who warn that I should just let this go, that holding onto it is “divisive.

To them, I say, “Hell no!”

There must be acknowledgement and accountability.  There must be contrition and repentance. It is not enough to simply let the co-conspirators and abettors of a white supremacist president quiet down and cool off, biding their time, waiting for the next opportunity for their riotousness and wrath to be unfurled and unleashed.

There are many transgressions of the Trump presidency.   Some, like the mishandling of the pandemic, have even been far more deadly than the handling of migrant families at the border.  But there is something particularly cruel and inhumane about what Trump did to those children in the name of the United States government.

I will never forget that.  And I will never forget that tens of millions of Americans were willing to accept that and give Trump a pass on it.

I am happy that the Trump administration is now behind us and a new, more normal one is before us, but my relief still mingles with my rage.”

Today’s Thought of the Day from the Letters to the Editor in Austin, TX

From Renee Potenza (of Austin, TX)

“Get Off the Trump Train and Admit Your Mistake”

To those friends and family members who voted for Donald J. Trump:

Perhaps you are a life-long Republican.  Maybe you have deeply held beliefs about those values for which the Republican Party used to stand. Maybe you got on the Trump train early on, and your enthusiasm in being part of a popular group carried you along.

I ask you now:  Please get off the Trump train. He’s not worthy of your trust.

Disengage your identity as a follower of the Donald, and think critically, questioning everything.  Utter those three little words, which are the hallmarks of honest, healthy communication:  “I was wrong.”

(A Letter to the Editor from the Austin American-Statesman of Wednesday, January 20th, 2021.)

January 13th is Historic Second Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

“Never trust politicians.

They are craven.

It’s an occupational attribute.”

So began Charles M Blow of the New York Times in his essay today.

I could relate to Mr. Blow, an African American essayist.

I wrote this poem, entitled “Words” when I was 16 years old, in Independence, Iowa:

If fewer words were spoken,

If fewer words were said,

If deeds alone were the mark of a man,

Not the ‘catch’ of an eloquent pledge.

If fewer words were spoken,

If fewer words were said,

If, for all the fake forensics, there were simple words instead,

And a man stated just what he started to state,

Without false fuss or further ado.

If you weren’t a politician,

I’d probably listen to you.

So, I’m in agreement with Charles M. Blow as he continued:

“Sure, there are some politicians who are good people, who tell the truth most of the time and choose careers in politics for the right reasons—public service rather than political aggrandizement.

“We have it totally under control.” (Jan. 2020)

But power, as a genre, is about power. And power corrupts. (*And absolute power corrupts absolutely).

Generally speaking, the higher up the political ladder a politician climbs, the more vicious they have had to be, and the more viciousness they have had to endure.”

As a young girl, going around with my Democratic father to help put up yard signs, I remember him saying to me, a then elementary-school-aged child, “Stay away from politics, Con. It’s a dirty business.”

Charles Blow continued:  “Politicians have had to shake more and more hands to raise the obscene amounts of money now needed to run campaigns, and they have likely had to make unsavory compromises in order to protect their own advancement.

I do not seek to draw a false equivalence between the political parties in America. While I find all politicians suspect, the utter moral collapse of Republican conscience and character under Donald Trump still stands out as an outrageous aberration.

Republican politicians, by and large, knew how lacking in every aspect Donald Trump was, not just in experience, but also character, morality and intellect.  Many said as much before he was elected.

Ted Cruz called Trump ‘utterly amoral,’ a ‘serial philanderer,’ and ‘a narcissist at a level that I don’t think this country has ever seen.’ He also said of Trump:
‘This man is a pathological liar.  He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies.  He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth.’

Lindsey Graham said:  ‘He’s a race-baiting xenophobic, religious bigot. He doesn’t represent my party.  He doesn’t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for.’

Marco Rubio said: ‘We’re on the verge of having someone take over the conservative movement who is a con artist,’ and called Trump, ‘the most vulgar person to ever aspire to the presidency.’

All of this was true  When these people were Trump’s opponents in the quest for the nomination, none of them shied away from telling the truth about him.  Now they have been cowed into obsequiousness.

Trump didn’t change, but his relationship to power did: when he won he had it, and the Republicans swarmed to him like moths to a flame, [or more like vultures to a corpse].

Power, in politics, changes everything.  Politicians are desperate for power the way a drowning person is desperate for air.  But in politics, there are levels of proximity:  The closer you are, the stronger you are  You can possess or be in proximity to it.

Republicans in Washington turned their backs on everything they believed.  Trump created a mob.  He recruited traditional conservatives into it.  He was in full control of it.

To a politician, a mob can look like a movement.   It can look like power. So, they caved to that which they could consort with: they feigned ignorance of the ways they had accurately derided Trump so that, one day, they might harness the white nationalist throngs he unleashed.”

 

I attended a rally for Jeb Bush back in Davenport, Iowa at St. Ambrose University, accompanied by a Republican friend, and we listened to Jeb Bush (in 2016) say, “You can’t insult your way to the White House.” As it turns out, Jeb was wrong, and you actually CAN insult your way to the White House and remain there for 4 long years insulting friends and foe alike! And some of those insults were aimed at our long-time allies, which is even more damaging.

Republicans put their personal ambitions over the preservation of America.  Maybe they thought that whatever damage Trump did would be easily repaired, so they would simply trudge through it until his time in office was at its end.

Well, it is now at its end, and he seems to be doing more damage than ever—or as much damage as ever.

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a shocking thing to behold.  But so much of what has occurred during  the Trump presidency has been shocking.

There is no telling what Trump might attempt to do in his final days in office.”

 

“The Christmas Cats Flee the Bee,” sixth book in the Christmas Cats series (www.TheXmasCats.com).

For those of us who have read his niece, Mary Trump’s, book “Too Much and Never Enough” or have viewed “Unfit,” Dan Partland’s fine Amazon documentary, we realize that there is nothing this man, this criminal, will stop at. Nothing.

“Even if Trump leaves office without further damage, the damage he has done is lasting and many of the people who blindly support him will persist. (The militias, the Proud Boys, QAnon, the white nationalists, are not going away).

We may be getting rid of Trump. But we are not getting rid of “Trumpism.” The aftertaste of this toxic presidency will linger.

Now we have to ask a very serious question:  What do we do now as a society and as a body politic?  Do we simply turn the page and hope for a better day, “let bygones be bygones”? (It seems, to me that most Republicans speaking on the floor today want to simply sweep aside what has occurred, punish the common street flunkies who are being rounded up, but ignore the head of the serpent, DJT.) Or do we seek some form of justice, to hold people accountable for taking this country to the brink? (And let it be known that this extends to those at the very top.)

I say that we must prosecute all people who have committed crimes and punish all those who have broken rules.  The rule of law can’t simply be for the common man. It must also be for the exalted man.  Because only then will the ideas of fairness and justice for all have meaning.

 

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