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!

Tag: Bernie Sanders

EF1 Tornado Overshadows RNC Convention for Me (7/19/2024)


tree that fell in storm

The offending tree.

An EF1 tornado swept through our East Moline court on Monday night at 7:37 p.m. It took out a large tree, which, in turn, took out all of the power. A picture of the 6 trucks that showed up to try to restore power would have been nice, but when I went outside to get one I stayed outside in the 105 heat index too long and ended up passing out on the neighbor’s driveway, (much like my story about the Gold Coast Art Fair.)

This will teach me to start talking while standing around in the blazing sun on any concrete surface! My slump down the side of a red truck with a flat tire that is parked in their driveway (not really a “fall”) was brief and surprising, especially for neighbor Norma, with whom I had obviously spent too long chatting in the sun.

All’s well that ends well, since my “fall” was  me feeling dizzy for a few seconds and slumping to the driveway without incident. I can accurately report that the most damage was to my bony arthritic knees when I regained my feet.  I had to put pressure on my bum left knee AND my “good” right knee to get to my feet quickly so I would not die of embarrassment. (*Note: I regained my feet without any assistance in each case, but I definitely needed to cool down. Our house was a hot box, which means that we ended up in a local motel where I spent the evening in the hot tub soaking my now very sore arthritic knees while surrounded by very young girls on some kind of party.)

The young girls  were sharing stories about how ill-behaved the students in some local high schools have become. One girl—who looked about 14—turned out to be a teacher in Perry, Iowa. She said she would never go above teaching students in 5th grade after being told by her companion that 2 high school students were tasered in the hallways of a local school, their alma mater. Guess I’ll quit telling people who are unemployed but have degrees to re-train as teachers, since it sounds considerably more confrontational in today’s schools than in years of yore. (And I’ve seen some pretty dramatic cat-fights between Silvis Junior High School girls, which easily would give you a black eye if you got in too close while trying to break it up! )

Electricians working on the power for our court on 7/18/2024.

One truck broke and another had to be sent. Soon, six were there. Then the tree people managed to pull all of the wires out of the house 2 doors down while cutting up the large tree.

So, we came back to our house after checking out of Stony Creek Hotel and I have been catching up on the lengthy RNC convention on television. The only part of the RNC I was able to take in before the power failed involved a lot of unknown Black legislators who were also veterans. None were people any of us had heard of, but the message was very definitely an attempt to appeal to young Black males. I know, from chatting with the young Black jocks who run L.A. Fitness in Austin that they were keen on Trump, because he has inaccurately  portrayed himself as “strong” and “macho,” even though, to me, he looks like I could take him one-on-one (and I am ridiculously weak and frail.)

Having missed most of the lead-up to Donald J. Trump’s big appearance on this last night of the convention I ended up listening to Stephen Colbert dissect some of the weirder aspects of the night. Aside from Tucker Carlson’s remarks, apparently Congressman Matt Gaetz had some work done on his face. Colbert’s remarks regarding Gaetz’s new look were:

  • Gaetz looks like a flame-broiled Donnie Osmond .
  • Gaetz looks like a wax drag queen from Whoville.
  • Gaetz looks like he is appearing in a business school production of “Cats.”
  • This is what it would look like if the Joker worked at Sephora.
  • This is what it would look like if Pennywise went to law school.
  • Gaetz looks like his plastic surgeon went to med school on a riverboa t.


So, what did I notice about small amount of the RNC that I saw, other than a deranged, red-faced guy chanting and sweating in the crowd? Well, I noticed that Barron Trump was nowhere to be seen (and you’d see this tall lad easily) and Melanie Trump appeared but did not speak, which apparently broke a tradition that had gone on for something like 32 years.

First, I noticed that, just like he tried to engineer a photo op on the steps of the White House when he returned from being treated for Covid. This time, Trump had a mock-up of a firefighter’s outfit set up to represent the firefighter who died at his rally. At 9:45 p.m. in Milwaukee, DJT strolled over and kissed the helmet of firefighter Cory Compertore, referring to the poor guy as “our friend Cory.”  He also mentioned the two others who were wounded, David Cutch and James Copenhaver. This is known as milking the moment.

Trump inciting Jan. 6 riot.

Trumpth on Jan. 6

Trump also made several remarks about the crowd’s behavior after the shooting attempt, saying this at 9:45 p.m. in Milwaukee. Trump claimed that the crowd (which he vastly over-estimated at “tens of thousands”) automatically stood up looking for the sniper and pointing at him. “Most thought I was dead. They thought it was a shot to the head. This beautiful crowd didn’t want to leave me. You could see that love written all over their faces. Bullets were flying all over us, and yet I felt serene. Bullets were flying right over them.” I wasn’t there; I think all of us have seen the video of the crowd, who were obviously shocked and frozen and ducking in most instances (as well they should have been.)

Trump went on in his historically longest acceptance speech in history (93 minutes) and recounted how, “The sniper with one bullet took the assassin’s life. “I’m not supposed to be here tonight.” Also part of Trump’s normal meandering remarks: “The crowd roared with pride for our country like no crowd I have ever heard before.” (Also unable to be determined from the replay.) Trump referenced the crowd as “A giant audience of patriots” and referred to the Butler (PA)  rally as “a fateful evening.”


January 6th.

To quote one thing that DJT said on the last night of the RNC with which I actually agree: “This election should be about the issues facing our country and how to make America safe and free again.”

This is true. So, where was the discussion of the issues that really matter? I mainly heard “the border” (over and over again), a lot of anti-immigrant rhetoric alleging that immigrants are taking the jobs of Black people, and  remarks that don’t bode well for anyone who is not a straight heterosexual American.

Following on the heels of Trump’s own remark about how the election should be about issues, Stephen Colbert had Senator Bernie Sanders as a guest on his Thursday night show. Here are some of Bernie’s comments regarding what we had all just seen, prefaced by his off-the-cuff remark, “Two o’clock in the morning. Who’s listening?” Hopefully thoughtful voters who recognize that the speeches up to that point had been all style and no substance. (The Screaming Mimi fiancee of Don, Jr., was at it again, screaming at the crowd. Hard to believe she was once married to Governor Newsom of California.)

Bernie was alarmed at how little the real problems of the world were addressed. One that he stressed, which certainly concerns me after hearing chants of “Drill, baby, drill” and realizing that nothing will be done to alleviate climate change if Republicans take control of government: Climate change has cost more than $25 billion dollars so far this year, with the most expensive season yet to come. There is worry that FEMA may run out of money before the end of the summer. Said Bernie: “If we don’t get our act together, the planet we are going to be leaving our kids and our grandfathers is going to be increasingly unhabitable… Think about the future of this planet if we don’t get our act together. Just on the basis of that fact alone nobody should be voting for Trump.” Do you enjoy going almost a week without power? I did not. Insurance has soared 20% from 2021 to 2023 because of the natural disasters everywhere and insurance companies are abandoning some states, if the risk is growing quickly in certain areas.  Do you worry about attending any event where, thanks to Trump’s flouting of the normal rules of polite society, we are no longer safe? Are you a gun enthusiast who wants everyone to have automatic weapons? Then don’t attend concerts, parades, rallies, or any other gathering where someone with one a weapon could shoot at you, as they did at Donald J. Trump. The rest of us who are not gun enthusiasts would like some reasonable restraint on things like bump stocks and AR15s.

Insurrection of Jan. 6th.

Insurrection of Jan. 6th.

Bernie went on to say, “Anyone who has any illusion that the GOP will do anything to benefit the working man is sorely mistaken.” Concerning Elon Musk giving money to Trump,  “Thank Musk for making this issue so obvious. What we have in America now is a corrupt political system. We live in a semi-democracy. We have the right to vote, but a billionaire has the right to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to further their aims because the billionaires know that they’ll get tax breaks. ..To Biden’s credit, he knows that we have to overturn this disastrous  Supreme Court decision Citizens’ United that allowed large corporations to give big amounts of money to control the political process.

In continuing his remarks after a commercial break, Bernie Sanders told Democrats to “stop the bickering.” Of Biden he said, “I am aware that he has been the strongest, most progressive president in my lifetime.” Bernie mentioned the picket line, prescription drugs, rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure, debt relief for students, and recently his  100-day agenda. “You’ve got half of the people on Social Security trying to make it on $30,000 a year or less and you’ve got Republicans talking about cutting Social Security,” said Bernie Sanders. He then praised Biden’s attempts to initiate a rent hike revision. He commented that banks are buying up housing all over the place and that Biden is in favor of building millions of affordable houses. Bernie specifically mentioned housing in Las Vegas, but houses are bought up in Austin, as well.

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump

In regards to the proposal to institute a code of conduct and ethics for the Supreme Court, he agrees. “If you’re an elderly person today you can’t afford medical care, dental or vision care.” Bernie pointed out that Biden has managed to get the cost of insulin down and that he proposes that Social Security pick up dental and vision care, while the Republicans want to cut Social Security in some way.

Bernie  said, “Our medical system is broken. A quarter of the people who get cancer end up going broken and losing their homes because of the expense. Biden is in favor of eliminating all medical debt. “That’s the right thing to do.” I’m not sure how, exactly, this could be instituted, but it is worth noting that NONE of the things that Trump has proposed and said would happen nearly immediately were promised in a logical way that makes one think there is any real concrete plan to achieve same. I would say the same critical thing about Bernie’s off-the-cuff remark. Many of us remember how hard it was to get the Affordable Care Act passed and how relentlessly the GOP has worked to try to eliminate it ever since. I don’t think that the idea is a bad idea, when expressed by either party, but talk is cheap and this plan would not be.

Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders

Bernie spoke of the elderly in this richest country on Earth and decried 60% of people living paycheck to paycheck. “People are hurting and they are looking to Washington and they are not getting much of a response. We need a nonviolent political revolution in getting billionaires out of politics. Our job right now is to defeat Trump. We need to transform the Democratic party so that ordinary people can come in and drive a new agenda so that we get income equality. We’re not going to have housing and college unaffordable. Our job is to make government work for everybody and not just the billionaire class.”  On another positive front, Sanders mentioned the successful fights against homophobia, sexism and racism that have come a long way. He did not mention how many steps backwards we will take if Trump and company, with Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon as advisors, regain power, but any DJT administration will almost certainly be kinder to the rich and do little for the poor. Plus, a woman’s right to control her own reproductive system will be seriously compromised as, indeed, it already has been by the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

I would add that the GOP programs sound like a giant step backward in being a welcoming country with promise for all that has always defined us.  Project 2025 from the Heritage Foundation, widely considered to be the platform that Trump will be adopting if elected, does many things; most of them are horrible for veterans (cutting benefits, etc,) and very anti-immigrant. It moves in the direction of forcing Christianity into the public schools, which has always been one of our Constitutional foundations, separation of church and state. Louisiana has already gone so far as to insist that the Ten Commandments be displayed in schools, which the founding fathers would probably not approve of at all.

Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders

We all saw the big chart about border crossings that Trump says saved his life when he did not turn completely to view it. It was about border crossings being lower back in the Trump era when the Trump administration was separating small children from their parents and not keeping good records of where the youngsters ended up. It was totally inhumane in so many ways. Where was the chart about the climate crisis, which experts say we can only avert by cutting down on carbon emissions? (And this must be a world-wide effort.) As the experts have said, if we all hit the guidelines that were adopted long ago the best we could do would be to stop the weather anomalies where they are now. Our weather cannot return to “the way it was.” It can, however, get much much worse. We had 10 tornadoes in our area just 4 days ago. In August of 2020 we had the first “derecho” of my entire nearly 80 years on the planet. I am seriously lobbying for the purchase of a generator after the week we just spent without lights or air conditioning.

Tucker Carlson showed up at the RNC and said, “I do think the entire point of the escalator ride has been to remind us of one fact.” That fact should be that Donald J. Trump was the worst president in history, inherited a good Obama economy (which he rode to relative prosperity), and totally bungled the Covid crisis.  He is going to make all of the valid charges against himself disappear and probably pardon everyone he incited to storm the Capitol and threaten his vice president and other elected lawmakers. His flouting of decorum (refused to attend a ceremony at Normandy) and rude remarks (military personnel are “losers” and “suckers,” a remark he made within earshot of Four-Star General Kelly) are the absolute worst example of someone we want representing our nation abroad.

Donald J. Trump

Donald J. Trump

Biden & Trump

Presidents Biden & Trump

Please, people. Substance over style. Let’s get it together and avoid this con-man like the plague that he presided over. Our nation will not be the same if we don’t and—unlike the crowd that wants to leave Ukraine in the lurch, abandon NATO, and let the planet burn without attempting to solve the very real problem of climate change that DJT has decried for years–. we must think rationally about what DJT really represents and what kind of man he has demonstrated himself to be.

Instead of doing a sexist smear job on our current Vice President, (which was about as fair as insisting that Hilary Clinton was running a sex ring out of a pizza parlor), let’s really think about the “platforms” that currently face us under the two main political powers. A Screaming Mimi telling us to “fight” and shouting slogans is not a platform. Last time out, Trump had NO platform. This time he is expected to follow the Project 2025 manifesto, especially since 31 of the 38 people who put this 900 page document together worked under him in the Trump administration. Get a copy and think long and hard about what Project 2025 says before you vote.

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Obama, Bernie Talk “Obama’s Odyssey”

25 Things You Might Not Know About Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

On the eve of the Iowa caucuses (4 days away), here are 20 little-known facts about Bernie Sanders, courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek, which ran Bernie’s picture on its latest cover with the logo: “Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Want Your Vote” (going on to explain that many of its readers are hedge-fund managers).

  1. Sanders  became a national political figure by giving a speech on Dec. 20, 2010 that lasted 8 and 1/2 hours. The speech railed against extending Bush tax cuts and seemed like a filibuster, but it wasn’t. It was so popular that it was later made into a book.

2) Sanders does not enjoy selfies.”If I had my options, I’d prefer to shake hands,” says Bernie.

3)  Bernie grew up with an immigrant father in a tenement with 3 and 1/2 rooms.

4)  Bernie has attracted crowds larger than Trump’s: 28,000 in Portland, Oregon; 27,500 in Los Angeles; 20,000 in Boston; 15,000 in Seattle.

5)  Sanders has a son named Levi, who is a paralegal at Greater Boston Legal Services.

6)  When asked to describe the U.S. to a Martian he used the phrase “wealth and income inequality.”

7)  Sanders’ former Chief of Staff says he had 2 interests when Mayor of Burlington: basketball and wealth inequality.

8)  Sanders has the highest constituent approval rating and lowest disapproval rating among U.S. Senators.

9)  Sanders is a graduate of the University of Chicago and once was arrested during a civil rights demonstration (he was a member of SNCC, the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, among others.)

10)  Sanders spent most of 1972-1976 running in Vermont as a third-party candidate for governor (2x), for senator (2x) and once got 4% of the vote.

11) Sanders won a weird race for Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (four-way race) by 10 votes, becoming their mayor for 8 years, a period during which the city boomed.

12)  Bernie ran for Congress twice becoming the first Independent elected to the House in 40 years.

13)  Bernie spent 16 years in the House before running for the Senate in 2006, with the backing of the Democratic Party, which he officially would not join.

14)  Bernie has 3 labor unions backing him, representing about a million workers. (*Clinton has about 18 unions representing 11 million workers supporting her.)

15)  In the 1960’s, he lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a few years before moving to Vermont. When he arrived in Vermont, he first lived in a maple sugar shack and cooked food over a coffee can filled with a roll of toilet paper soaked in lighter fluid, a poor man’s Sterno which his friends called a “Berno.”

16)  His brother, Larry, who first got him interested in liberal issues, is a Green Party politician in England. (*Donald Trump’s father-in-law and mother-in-law are both members of the Communist Party in their native land.)

17)  Until 2015, Bernie had 5 digits’ worth of credit card debt.

18)  When he ran for President of James Madison High School in Brooklyn in a 3-way race, he came in last. (*His elementary school basketball team won a city-wide championship, however.)

19)  There is a Bernie Sanders Drinking Game where, every time he mentions a free government program, you take a drink of someone else’s beer.

20)  Invited to speak to a United Way fundraiser once, he attacked the group in a short speech, telling them that they shouldn’t exist; that taking workers’ pay to do the government’s job was shameful.

21)  At Bernie’s rallies, Steve Earle’s “The Revolution Starts Now” and Bob Marley’s “Revolution” play, but not the Beatles’ famous song because it ends with the line: “Don’t you know it’s going to be all right.”

22)  Bernie ascribes to this FDR quote:  “We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.  Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today.  They are unanimous in their hatred of me—and I welcome their hatred.”

23)  Robert Reich (economist and Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton) says, “Essentially, America faces a choice between authoritarian populism, represented by Donald Trump, and reform populism, represented by Bernie Sanders.”

24)  In college, Bernie also belonged to the Young People’s Socialist League, CORE (the Congress for Racial Equality), SNCC and the Student Peace Union.

25)  Bernie’s message is that of Martin Luther King, which King termed “the urgency of now”: “If you see stuff that’s bad and you don’t respond with the urgency of the moment, you’re not alive.”

Bernie Sanders Speaks at Democratic Picnic

Democratic candidate for president Bernie Sanders, an acknowledged Socialist, visited Scott County Park for the Democratic Party’s picnic in the park on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

BernieSanders 013

A 47-year resident of the Quad Cities, I had trouble finding the Whispering Pines Shelter at 18850 270th Street in Eldridge, and Lord only knows what Bernie must have thought as he was being escorted to the venue in a black van (Bernie was at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines yesterday). It is quite literally out in the middle of nowhere. BernieSanders 005

I was told by the state trooper directing traffic into the park that there would be nowhere to park my car, so I parked 3 miles away (see photo below), the very first empty spot I saw, which turned out to be a very bad idea. There were parking spots right next to the Whispering Pines shelter. (Isn’t Whispering Pines the name of the town in that spooky TV series? No?) Therefore, I hiked 3 miles to the lodge (or whatever you call it) in 94-degree heat, and, along the way, was chastised by some young girl sitting on a chair in an orange vest under an umbrella, who told me to walk in the grass (easily 4 feet high) next to the blacktopped road “for safety”. [I cannot print here on a wholesome blog what I told her in response.] I did put my thumb out to try to snag a ride with a stranger and a guy with a dog stopped. (The dog was seated on the front seat, where I would have had to sit). I wish I could tell a fun and warm and fuzzy story about how he gave me a ride to the front, 3 miles away, but that didn’t happen. All the other cars that went by were full. (And so it goes.) On the “good news” front, I did get a ride BACK to my small Prius on a yellow school bus, and I was probably the last person to get such a ride as the last bus for Eldridge was leaving at 3:30 p.m. and I was on it. [Just me, one guy who was parked in the opposite direction, and the driver].BernieSanders 001

My main goal was to score a good picture of Bernie and to take the temperature of the crowd. I visited a Bush (Jeb) rally on Thursday (temperature: tepid), so now it was Bernie’s turn. Rumors from places out East (Bernie is a Senator for Vermont) are that 28,000 people have shown up for his rallies. I can quote Thom Harte, who was in charge of the arrangements for the picnic,  (and is often in charge of Democratic politics in the area), that Bernie had nearly 1,000 confirmed attendees. We both feel there were more people inside the shelter in the 94 degree heat who perhaps did not venture out of it to hear Bernie’s speech, which received many roars of approval that could be heard 3 miles away. (Poor Bernie: it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk; trust me on the 3 miles away comment. I know what I’m talking about there.)BernieSanders 008

As for me, I’ll read about Bernie’s talking points later. I was there to see if he was really drawing big crowds of enthusiastic supporters. I could hear the crowd roaring its approval from the 3 mile hike I was taking to get my picture of Bernie and considered (briefly) cutting through a very overgrown field that would have taken at least 2 miles off my trek, but also would have given me poison ivy.  I also met a candidate who wants to run against Republican Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley, (hopefully to unseat the old poop.) I’ll write about him later.BernieSanders 002

I talked to Judith Schwartzbacker from Minnesota (South Powderhorn neighborhood) who held an event for Bernie on July 29th (one of 3,300) and so many people showed up that it had to be moved to a nearby church. (Walker Community Church)

BernieSanders 016I talked to Clari Lagerstam of Beloit, Wisconsin, who had come in on a bus with others and said, “We have to do something. We CANNOT have Scott Walker get in. He has ruined our state.”I spoke with Arlys Mills of Machesney Park, Illinois (near Rockford) who had also come a long way on a bus to hear Bernie.BernieSanders 009

Verdict for today: Bernie has some die-hard supporters who are more enthused about his candidacy than they are about Hillary Clinton’s. Temperature: hot. Very hot. Too damn hot for a 3-mile hike through overgrown weeds.

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