Words matter. It’s a simple concept, but Republicans never seem to understand it…and conservative writers refuse to change the way they phrase things. Democrats understand it fully: which is why Democrats win the Culture Wars. Words are powerful. Every writer knows this. The way a writer chooses to express a thought impacts how a reader receives, processes, and accepts that thought. The words chosen by a writer resonate a certain branding and marketing value for whatever’s being talked about.
I say this over and over again, and have been saying it for years, to the point where I feel like I’m trapped in a particularly devilish plane of Hell, where my eternal punishment is not having to roll a boulder up a hill forever (only to watch it roll back down just as I thought it would reach the top)…but to watch conservative writers use the word “liberal” over and over again or hear Republican pundits call Democrats “liberals” (even though doing this helps the Left, because Leftists love more than anything that Republicans are so stupid to keep calling them “liberals”).
Even my very good friends still do this, and it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Why won’t people learn? The word “liberal,” as you should all know by now, is a word that Democrats like…because people who do not follow politics closely have a positive affiliation with the word. Mentally, the word has the word “liberty” at its root and it’s impossible for most people to think of anything “liberal” as being a bad thing. Think: a liberal helping of sprinkles on a cupcake or suntan lotion applied liberally on a sunny day to the back of Insert-Supermodel-of-Your-Choice-Here. Whenever you say “those liberals are at it again!” you are actually helping spread a positive vibe about Democrats, since anyone listening to you thinks, “if those people are called liberal and liberal has a positive meaning to me, like slathering Zac Efron and/or Channing Tatum liberally with Coppertone until both they and I squeal with delight, then they must be the good guys and my friend who hates the liberals must be wrong.”
If you oppose Democrats and the things they do to the country, but you still insist on calling them “liberals,” then I’m sorry to have to tell you that you are an idiot. You are part of the problem and a big reason why the Left wins the Culture War. You are stupid. You should know better by now. I wish you would stop. I don’t know why you won’t stop. You are like someone who reads the Surgeon General’s warnings about cancer and lung disease on a pack of cigarettes before lighting up anyway, taking a big puff, and then blowing the smoke right into the face of a baby or someone trying to breathe with an oxygen mask. I don’t know why any sane person would do this.
I’m also baffled by people who call the Muslim colonists invading Europe words like “refugee” or “migrant” because these people are colonists. They should be called colonists. The act they are engaged in is Islamic colonization of the West. Read every article written about this and see how writers refer to this as “a migration,” as if we are talking about butterflies moving from one gorgeous field to another or geese flying south for the winter. A migration of large numbers of animals from one place to another is a natural event, where the animals stay somewhere for a while and then return to wherever they migrated from.
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Recently, I took a drive up to Janesville, Wisconsin from Chicago to check out the walls that Paul Ryan has built around his mansion (which is an entire city block long). Just as his primary challenger Paul Nehlen reported, Ryan has built a massive wall around his estate (which includes a tennis court and a stunning amount of forested land). The compound is protected by multiple walls, actually…in addition to both iron and chain-link fences. The mansion also is dotted with observable white, round security cameras on the multi-story brick walls and is apparently guarded at all times by at least two black government vehicles with what appeared to be armed Secret Service agents inside. It is accurate for Nehlen to say that Ryan’s manse is heavily fortified, well-protected, and secure. Clearly no one would gain admittance onto his land without his permission, authorization, and by following all rules and laws for admission. In short, Paul Ryan’s mansion is the complete opposite of the way that the United States southern border is handled.
Ann Coulter will be appearing with Paul Nehlen in both Janesville and Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday August 6th to mock Paul Ryan mercilessly for living in a fortified palace with every security measure in place imaginable…while vociferously opposing building a border wall to give American citizens a small fraction of the protection that he and his family enjoy every day (at great taxpayer expense).
Throughout Paul Ryan’s neighborhood, signs supporting his challenger Paul Nehlen decorate the area. (Most Americans can only dream of living in a place this nice: almost all of the buildings are ornate, opulent, Victorian painted ladies with stunning gardens and streets lined with mature shade trees…it is like a neighborhood in a John Hughes movie.) Ryan’s immediate next door neighbor had a green and white “Ryan for Congress” sign on the tree lawn, but other than that most of the signs I spotted in the Courthouse Hill District were for Nehlen. The few locals I was able to speak with didn’t reveal who they were voting for, but said that Paul Ryan certainly looked like he was in trouble and that they had never seen him sweat an election like he is sweating this one. “It sure looks like Nehlen could pull this off. That sure would be embarrassing for Paul Ryan.”
One interesting thing about seeing his mansion in person is remembering a story that was told back in 2012, after Ryan was selected to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. The news media had camped out back then on St. Lawrence street in front of Ryan’s home on August 10th or so, waiting to see if he came home from something…because Mitt Romney was set to reveal his Vice President pick the next day in Virginia (and the media was also camped out at Newt Gingrich’s house and several other homes, waiting to see if they came home that night too…or if they were spotted at any airports getting into private planes instead). To fake out the reporters, Ryan came home and made a point to wave to everyone before walking though his front door. Then, he supposedly changed clothes, put on a baseball hat or wig or something, went through his backdoor, and then walked through the woods and over the ravine behind his house before crossing through a neighbor’s yard to where someone from the Romney campaign was waiting for him on S. Garfield Avenue. Ryan then got into the car and was spirited away to a waiting plane somewhere in Waukegan, Illinois, which he boarded for a flight to join Romney for the big surprise VP announcement.
According to ABC, Ryan grew up as a boy in one of the houses on S. Garfield street and had a treehouse in the same woods that he snuck through on his way to meeting up with Romney in Elizabeth City, North Carolina back in August 2012. Ryan’s sister-in-law stayed inside the Janesville mansion making noise, turning lights on and off, and basically re-enacting scenes from Home Alone to fool reporters into believing that Ryan and his family were still in Wisconsin. (I remember this working at the time, with reporters insisting that Paul Ryan had not left his house since coming home Friday evening.) In reality, Ryan and his family were hiding in a North Carolina Fairfield Inn and eating riblets from Applebee’s, waiting to drive to Norfolk, Virginia the next day…where Ryan emerged on a ship and was announced as the man Romney wanted to lose the 2012 election with to Barack Obama and Joe Biden. It’s weird remembering this now, but (in addition to Gingrich) at the time the media speculated that Condoleezza Rice, John Thune (remember him?), Tim Pawlenty (the guy who looked like Droopy Dog), and a handful of others were being considered to be Romney’s VP. Way back in 2012, Paul Ryan was actually well-liked because he would obsessively go on and on about the budget and wasteful spending and he was a Tea Party darling. So much has changed in four years, with Ryan becoming Speaker and being the poster child for caving in to the Left and giving Democrats whatever they want, especially in anything remotely “Globalist.”
I remember Ryan telling that story about his sneaking out the back door on some late night talk show, where he beamed like a little kid relating all the cloak and dagger efforts the Romney campaign employed to keep his pick as VP a secret until the big reveal. It would turn out that this was the very last of the Romney campaign’s efforts at ingenuity. They used up all their magic sneaking Ryan out the back door while idiot reporters camped in front of his front door waiting to speak to him back in August four years ago.
What did I think of Janesville?
Its a very lovely town, with a lot of quirky shops and restaurants downtown by the river. (As required by Midwestern tradition, I stopped at the border on the way back into Illinois after my day in Janesville for various flavors of cheese curd and souvenirs shaped like cheddar wedges and/or badgers.)
Ryan lives in the historic Courthouse Hill District, which is named for a massive Art Deco-looking courthouse building. The surrounding area has stunning old homes, which have either been restored to glory or converted into legal offices. From what I could tell, Paul Ryan’s estate is one of the largest, if not the largest, in all of Janesville. The area reminded me of Shadyside in Pittsburgh and also of the Mt. Hope area of Rochester, in that it felt like a place that had been very wealthy back in the Victorian days…then fell on hard times…but has been gentrifying in recent years and returning to past glories with a new crop of professionals and celebrities moving in. I would say that 90% of Americans cannot afford to live in as nice a place as the Courthouse Hill District in Janesville. It’s not Beverly Hills, but it’s a very Norman Rockwell-feeling kind of place to call home.
This is a far cry from the horror show that the Establishment and Globalists (but I repeat myself) have caused on the US southern border, where families living in border states have no protections like those found at Paul Ryan’s fortified mansion. Criminal invaders surge across our borders because there is no wall like the one that Paul Ryan built around his tennis court. Third World colonists by the thousands ignore our laws and tramp across the property of Americans living in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. Property owners do not have armed Secret Service agents in armored black vehicles deterring invaders the way that Paul Ryan enjoys such protection in Janesville.
Should a high-ranking government official like the Speaker of the House engage in hypocrisy as blatant as this? Clearly, the people expect government leaders to be protected…so the walls, fences, security cameras, and armed guards provided by taxpayers to keep Paul Ryan and his family safe are all needed and that is indeed money well-spent.
But Paul Nehlen has raised some valid questions about why taxpayer money has never been spent to secure our southern border and protect the American people from criminals invading from Mexico and Central America (and beyond, since ISIS has admitted to using our unprotected southern border to infiltrate the country).
Check out Paul Nehlen’s website for more information on how you can help him defeat Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s August 9th primary. With a palace this nice and walls this high, Paul Ryan should be retired from Congress so he can go back to Janesville permanently and think about his hypocrisy in not allowing other American families to ever be as secure and protected as his own.
As of today (Sunday 7/31/16), there are 99 days left until the November 8th, 2016 presidential election. (You can read other Election 2016 coverage here.) Today was a lovely sunny day in Chicago and I spent most of it in a favorite park enjoying some sun, thinking about assumptions we can make about this race. Here are some of my thoughts (please add yours as well) on what we can assume to be true:
Assumption #1: This election is a choice between Globalism (Hillary) and Americanism (Trump). Whether people realize this or not (and I think Trump would be smart to make people realize it), the 2016 race has evolved into a real choice for the future of our country. We are at a fork in a road…where if we take the wrong path it’s pretty much also stick a fork in us, we’re done. Will Americans choose to continue to exist (by voting Trump) or will Americans choose to be erased culturally, numerically, demographically, and logistically by the Globalism that both the Democrats and the Republican Cocktail Party Establishment have been pushing for years? Trump is the only politician who has ever raised the issue of Americanism vs. Globalism. Can he articulate this well enough so that native born Americans can see that the election is the choice between the continued existence of the United States or the replacement of the American people and American way of life by Globalist forces? Democrats had plenty of people shouting in Spanish at their convention in Philadelphia that Democrats are the party most concerned about foreigners, bringing more foreigners into this country, and giving foreigners whatever they want (while making native born Americans pay for it all). Are we at the point where Americans’ hospitality is exhausted and people are ready to say: enough with the foreigners already!
Assumption #2: Hillary Clinton wants to be president because she wants to be president, and wants to be the first female president. The Media has been telling us that Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton would be our first female president since at least 1995. She will say and do whatever it takes to win because she believes this is her destiny and the Establishment has promised that this is her destiny (and that this election is just a formality). She will tell lies, she will sign off on dirty tricks, and the entire Establishment (including the Republican Establishment) is behind her because she has guaranteed that she will maintain the status quo as it exists now and continue the lurch of Globalism. Trump has said he will shake up the status quo and burn the Establishment to the ground in the name of Americanism. Can we assume he is telling the truth and, if elected, will he really do that? I believe that he will. I do not think he is lying or playing games. The hostility that the Establishment shows Trump every day confirms to me that the Establishment hates him…and by way of logic anyone who opposes the Establishment and wants to see it collapse should support Trump. He’s the only hope to bring the Establishment down. Who else in our lifetime has gone up against the Establishment like this? Trump would literally fire every Cocktail Party Republican AND every far-Left Democrat in Washington once he’s sworn in. I really believe he will do that.
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[Click to embiggen: Chet Siniawski’s latest GoFundMe update about his beloved dad, Chester.]
I am so very happy to announce that prayers have been answered and Chester Siniawski has now officially been accepted into a rehabilitation facility. For those who do not know, a chain of bizarre events led Chester to be held against his will in the Joliet Area Community Hospice, where he was deprived of food and water as the staff and his wife Marian slowly starved him and withheld other life-sustaining materials. According to Chester’s family, Chester had a stroke in April and instead of wanting her husband to get better and regain his strength and physical abilities, Marian appears to have wanted him to just be dead instead. Because apparently in Illinois, people think they can do this. Being a widow appears to have been preferable to being the wife of someone in a wheelchair who needed physical therapy.
Marian had Chester placed into what I believe is the most disreputable and horrific private facility in all of Illinois, the Joliet Area Community Hospice. It was like checking Chester into the Bates Motel.
Chester was coded as a resident of the facility (NOT a terminal patient)…and through chaos and ineptitude Chester was able to slip through the cracks, so that no state agency and no one in law enforcement cared that Chester was begging for food and wanted to live…but food was being kept from him. Because the building was called “Joliet Area Community Hospice” (and not, say, The Murdering Place), police in Joliet heard the word “hospice” and then said “Oh, we can’t go in there…because people are supposed to die in there, so we can’t go in.” The police really said that. They said “no one can be murdered in a hospice because hospices are where people’s lives are ended, not murdered.”
But, what do you call it when someone DOES NOT WANT TO DIE…but food and water are kept from the person so he slowly starts to die in one of the most horrible ways imaginable? I call that MURDER. Since they didn’t succeed in murdering Chester, it would be premeditated attempted murder. There is just no other word for this. What they tried to do to this man was MURDER. Euthanasia in Illinois, even if someone wants to die, is also MURDER. They apparently don’t teach this at the police academy anymore.
Apparently, this kind of thing has been going on for years and it’s widely known that if you want to kill someone, all you have to do is check that person into this hospice in Joliet as a “resident” (not a “patient,” because if someone is coded as a patient then they are required to have medical care…but if someone is just a “resident” then that someone can be locked in a room and denied food and water and the police won’t care) and then you can do whatever you want to the person…since the police see the world “hospice” on the side of the building and think, “Well, folks die in there all the time. Nothing to see here. That’s what a hospice is for…a place to kill people.”
It’s one of the most bizarre stories ever. Since April, Cheater’s son Chet has been trying to save his father’s life and force the dim-witted and obstinate bureaucracy of Illinois to listen. A crooked judge in Will County, who appears to be friendly with people at the hospice, got involved and slapped what I believe is an unconstitutional gag order on Chet and other relatives to silence them. Apparently, powerful people in Joliet want to keep the murder-by-starvation forced euthanasia program going at this hospice. It looks like very powerful and connected people want to have a place where elderly relatives can be taken, where they can be deprived of food and water, and have their lives snuffed out…and no one will question what happened to them (because their deaths happened in a hospice).
The problem here was that Chester not only didn’t want to die…but he told his son and other people that he did not want to die…and through GoFundMe and other social media word spread about what was being done to Chester. #FeedChester became a big hashtag on Twitter and people were tweeting it and twittering it all over the Interwebs.
The ghouls who have been keeping food and water from people and snuffing out their lives this way don’t seem to have ever encountered scrutiny like this before. They didn’t know what to do…and eventually they were forced to stop interfering and to allow Chet and other visitors to feed Chester, give him protein shakes, work up his strength so that he could eat soup, and eventually get him to be so strong that no one could deny that he belonged in a rehabilitation center and not a hospice. No family member had ever interfered in the starvation-murder-scheme before, it seems. Chet looks like he was the first person to ever love a relative enough to prevent a life from being taken in that hospice of horrors.
These ghouls would have succeeded in murdering Chester back in April or May if Chet hadn’t fought so hard for his dad and rang the alarm on social media about what was happening. This ordeal dragged on for so long because Chet could not find any competent attorneys to help him. You would think that Pro-Life charities and organizations would have helped this family fight against forced euthanasia, but no one came to the family’s aid. The Siniawski family members were forced to hire bumbling and inept attorneys that were the only ones they could find…who then charged them a FORTUNE in legal fees but never accomplished very much. It was like having the Keystone Cops for legal representation. They made mistake after mistake, filed papers late, fumbled and bumbled, and over and over again proved their ineptitude. These attorneys reminded me of Henry Winkler on Arrested Development, giving bad advice to the Bluth family and always making things worse, not better. It was like they were secretly working for the hospice or something.
It is a miracle from God that Chester is still alive. I mean that with complete sincerity. It is truly a miracle that, with everything stacked against him, poor Chester survived and is now accepted officially into a rehab facility where he will get better and is no longer in any danger of being murdered. This man was truly blessed to have a son like Chet fighting for him and so many strangers out there praying for him. Just look at the daunting odds he faced:
* He had a stroke, ended up in a coma in April, and then woke up when one doctor said he would never wake up
* His wife decided when he was in the coma that she didn’t want him to live or ever wake up, so she had him taken to the Joliet Area Community Hospice
* There are questions about how long Chester was on the floor after having the stroke before his wife called 911, because no one can ever prove how long she waited to make that call
* After he woke up, his wife and the hospice staff decided his waking up didn’t matter and they would just go ahead and continue not feeding him or giving him water because “death is better” and his wife didn’t want to have to deal with him being in a wheelchair and not being able to go outside and play with dogs
* At no time did anyone in the hospice have sense enough to see that Chester’s wife is out of her damn mind and should not be listened to…because a man being in a wheelchair and not being able to play with dogs outside is better than him being in a coffin
* Instead of being in a hospital being nourished and prepped for rehab, Chester was kept confined to a bed, with food and water kept out of his reach, coded as a “resident” and not a “patient” so that medical care was denied to him
* When Chester’s son Chet and others would come to visit him and bring him food, his wife and hospice staff would interfere to keep the nourishment from him
* His wife would eat the food meant for Chester so that Chester could not have it
* Chester begged in a video message to be allowed to live and to be fed and told the world he didn’t want to die and that he wanted to go to rehab
* The hospice had a a connection to a crooked Will County judge who slapped the family with a gag order to prevent Chester from being able to make any more videos to beg for his life
* The family had some of the worst lawyers on the planet, who bungled filings and let this all drag out for so long, during which time Chester continued to be mistreated and remained weak instead of being allowed to get better
* FINALLY, public pressure forced the hospice to allow visitors to feed Chester and he slowly started to get stronger
* Chester moved up from only being able to drink protein shakes to being able to eat soups and stews and finally solid food
* In the meantime, Chester’s son Chet lost his job in Texas because he exhausted all his leave and vacation time being here in Illinois fighting to save his dad from being murdered by starvation; if Chet did not stay here and fight every day, the hospice staff and Chester’s wife would have surely killed him
* The hospice used the local police as a weapon against Chet to try to scare him away so that Chester could be starved, but eventually the police were chased away by the state police who apparently told them not to interfere with Chester being fed (since depriving someone of nutrition is indeed murder…and the state police were smart enough to see that)
It felt like Satan kept trying to snuff out Chester’s life and every ghoul in Illinois wanted to see this poor man dead…but prayers kept Chet going and fighting. He did not give up on his dad. Chet Siniawski saved his dad’s life.
The road ahead is still monstrous though. In addition to Chester having to go through rehabilitation to regain his strength and rebuild all the muscles that atrophied, there is severe emotional trauma to deal with after all of this. How does a man move forward when his own wife tried to have him starved to death? How does Chet address all of this emotionally, since he had to fight his own mother to keep his dad alive. Chet’s an only child. He had to spend every cent he had battling his own mother to save his dad…and at some point will also probably have to deal with the fact that his mom clearly is not in her right mind. What a living hell this man was put through. No one should ever have to deal with this.
I hope that Chester makes as full a recovery as possible and that when he is strong enough and has returned to more of his old self that he finds good lawyers (firing the idiots the family has been dealing with now) and that the Joliet Area Community Hospice is held accountable for what it did to him. It’s my opinion that facility should be shut down. What excuse do they have for keeping food and water away from a man who has now just been accepted into a rehabilitation center? CLEARLY this man was not terminal. There was no medical reason to keep life-sustaining nourishment from him. He did not ask them to euthanize him, so it’s not a case where bleeding hearts would say these ghouls were just “being compassionate.”
No, these people tried to murder this man. And just because the police and buffoons in state government don’t want to believe that murders can indeed happen in buildings called “hospices,” forced euthanasia of a man who wants to live is not something that should be going on…even in Illinois, the most corrupt and most messed-up state in the union.
I am relieved that Chester’s story has this happy ending. Once he’s in the rehab facility, I think he will be safe and more or less out of the woods so I don’t know how many updates will come. I hope we get to see more video once the family can find a way to get that judge’s outrageous gag order lifted…so Chester can once again talk to the world and thank everyone who prayed for him and cared so much about him. I’ve never met Chester but over the last few months I’ve come to love him and he has been in my prayers every day. All of my friends ask every day “How’s Chester?” and they’ve been praying for him too. It’s amazing the power of social media and the Internet…even considering all the negative things all of this is typically used for.
But without social media Chester would have been murdered in that awful place, instead of getting a second chance at life and recovery. So, I’m very grateful for all the Tweets and Twitters and Facebook and GoFundMe posts that all contributed to word spreading that Chester needed help…because all of that is the only thing that kept those ghouls from murdering him.
[Click above to embiggen: Carla Burkhart and her Thundercats-loving attorney Joshua Feagans have lost their SLAPP in DuPage County.]
Something that all conservatives need to start paying more attention to are SLAPPs: strategic litigation against public participation. These are lawsuits that Democrats file against people and groups who expose corruption in public bodies. There has been a resurgence in SLAPPs in recent years, as the Left increasingly uses this type of “lawfare” as a way of silencing the public and taking away people’s First Amendment Rights to Petition government for change and redress of grievances. The goal of a SLAPP is to make people afraid of writing about (or otherwise speaking out about) bad things that public bodies do and to intimidate watchdog groups so that people are too afraid of being sued to engage in the political process or use the Freedom of Information Act to uncover wrongdoing by public bodies.
Essentially, Democrats have figured out that to get away with doing more terrible things, they need to go after and silence people who figure out they are doing terrible things. SLAPPs are a weapon they use to pervert the legal system and bully people into shutting up and allowing Democrats to do whatever they want with taxpayer money in public bodies.
Megan Fox and I were hit with a SLAPP lawsuit in 2014 — which we prevailed in — by a woman named Bridget Bittman, who just happens to be heiress to the Comiskey family, which used to own the White Sox sportsball team up until the 1950s. Comiskey Park was named after her family. Bittman’s maternal grandmother Dorothy Comiskey Rigney was the last female owner of the White Sox; she married one of the baseball players that she owned, John Rigney. Megan and I encountered Bittman, the Comiskey granddaughter, in the fall of 2013 when she worked as the public spokesman for the Orland Park Public Library. This was the library that Megan and I discovered was covering-up sex crimes for years, including men openly masturbating at computers, sexually harassing women, stalking female employees in the stacks, accosting children sexually, and even accessing child pornography (with library staff knowing it kept happening, but choosing not to call the police as they were required by law to do). Bittman lied to the media about what was going on, claiming that no sex crimes were happening. We also discovered that library employees had been spending thousands of dollars at a local jewelry store buying gold for board members and even taking trustees out for $500 steak dinners to ensure that the board always did what library staff wanted and the sex crimes were kept covered up.
Megan and I used FOIA requests to find the library’s internal documents that revealed that library staff had for years deliberately covered up incidents like this. We had to take the library and the Village of Orland Park to chancery court to force them to give us some documents that they tried to keep hidden. The American Library Association (ALA), a group funded by George Soros, in fact instructed libraries to cover up incidents of sexual activity happening in libraries and to evade FOIA production by never writing anything down about anything bad that happens in a public library.
After we broke the story, former female library employees came forward to tell the public about how — when they complained about sexual activity and harassment happening in their work area — they were told by library management to either look the other way and ignore it or quit their jobs. The Orland Park Chief of Police, Timothy J. McCarthy, then engaged in roughly two years of abuse and harassment aimed at intimidating, harassing, and threatening us to try to scare us away so we would stop reporting on the sex crimes that had been allowed to fester in the library on his watch. For some reason, the government of Orland Park wanted to keep allowing child pornography to be accessed in that library and for men to continue to be allowed to use the library for sex. SOMEONE powerful in Orland Park WANTED this to keep happening and Police Chief McCarthy appears to have been tasked with threatening/frightening/harassing whistleblowers to keep Orland Park’s secrets hidden.
We document everything we uncovered in our investigation and everything that McCarthy and the Orland Park Police did to us in our book, SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment. One of the worst things that Orland Park did was to put library employee Bridget Bittman up to suing us in federal court with a SLAPP lawsuit. That was supposed to shut us up and scare us away. Her intent was to restrict our future speech and to make us never write about the library and its terrible employees again…so that Orland Park could continue to hide what had been allowed to keep happening there. That plan backfired because we not only prevailed when the SLAPP was dismissed but there’s now a 666-page book all about Timothy J. McCarthy, the Orland Park Police, the Orland Park Public Library, and Bridget Bittman’s SLAPP.
I hope that John Kraft and Kirk Allen, who run the Edgar County Watchdogs and their site Illinois Leaks, write their own book about the SLAPP that Carla Burkhart and Joshua Feagans (from the slimeball law firm Griffin Williams, LLP) filed against them…in what was very similar to the attempt by Bridget Bittman and Orland Park to silence Megan and me. At their heart, SLAPPs are shakedown efforts that should be viewed as a kind of extortion racket. Only disreputable attorneys file SLAPP suits because these attorneys know from the beginning that they will not prevail in the suit. The point of the litigation is not to win…but instead just to scare a reporter or community activist into ending whatever First Amendment protected activity that reporter/activist is engaged in. In our case, Megan and I uncovered years and years of wrongdoing at a public library that the Village of Orland Park wanted to keep hidden from the public; so, a public employee was encouraged to file a SLAPP against us in federal court to scare us away and make us agree to never write about those crimes again (if the lawsuit was dropped, of course). With the Edgar County Watchdogs, Burkhart and her sniveling attorney Feagans wanted Kraft and Allen to stop writing about the College of DuPage scandal, where the Watchdogs were instrumental in busting that public body for years and years of wasteful spending. The Watchdogs uncovered documents showing that Burkhart was awarded an architect’s contract for a large sum of money when Burkhart is not in fact an architect (and should have never signed an architect’s contract). Other questions were raised about the awarding of no-bid contracts that Burkhart appeared to benefit from, as well as Burkhart’s chummy relationship with disgraced College of DuPage officials who now appear to be under FBI investigation.
Burkhart went to the Griffin Williams firm the same way that someone would go to an ambulance chasing attorney with meritless medical claims against someone or another. SLAPPS are shakedowns. Feagans is one of the worst attorneys I have ever seen in my life. This is a grown man who maintained a Facebook page where he advertised his love of Thundercats (a line of hunky toys similar to He-Man in the 1980s, with muscular cat/human hybrids that fought evil in their underpants). If you review the filings in Burkhart’s SLAPP, you will see that Feagans’ work is poorly written, emotional, sarcastic, and unprofessional. In other words, exactly what you would expect from a grown man in his 30s who is still obsessed with Thundercats.
Yesterday (7/29/16), a three hour hearing was held in DuPage County court where Feagans’ nonsense was picked apart verbally by a judge who was none-too-pleased with his time being wasted by Thundercats-loving Feagans and SLAPP-happy Burkhart. The judge completely dismissed the SLAPP. He ripped this bogus lawsuit to shreds. From what I understand, Feagans cried like a small child after that happened. No doubt, he went home to his Thundercats collection in his room, told his wife he needed “Alone Time,” stripped down to his Underoos, and confided in Lion-O or Panthro or maybe even Mumm-Ra that life is just not fair and that he can’t ever win. Sword of Omens and Eye of Thundera, why is being a lawyer so tough and beyond the scope of my abilities?
Burkhart is pretty typical for a SLAPPer. She appears to have the money to burn on a lawsuit she knew she wouldn’t win, thinking that she could spend a few thousand to hire Feagans to essentially extort the Watchdogs. She just had to find a law firm dumb enough to sign her as a client on an un-winnable case. Perhaps she came across Feagans’ Facebook page, saw that he was a grown male attorney still really into children’s toys from the 1980s, and figured: BINGO! I’ve found my BOZO!
Feagans and the Griffin Williams firm then filed this bogus lawsuit for her…with the expectation that the Watchdogs would not be able to afford an attorney to fight it for them. The scary thing about SLAPPs is that they are wickedly effective when the target of the SLAPP does not have the means to hire attorneys for a defense and is too afraid to fight the suit him or herself pro se in court. What usually seems to happen is that someone is SLAPPed and then the shady attorney for the SLAPPer makes an offer that the SLAPP will go away and be withdrawn if only the target would agree to never talk about or write about the SLAPPer again. The SLAPPer’s slimeball attorney engages in extortion/shakedown here: if you don’t want to go to the trouble of defending yourself in court, then you must tear down everything you wrote about the SLAPPer and agree to restrict your future speech and never write about the SLAPPer or the bad things she did again. Otherwise, you will have to spend years and thousands of dollars fighting in court to make this bogus lawsuit go away.
See what they do here? If you catch something horrible happening with a public entity like the College of DuPage or Village of Orland Park and you expose it, to punish you someone connected in some way to that public entity will file a SLAPP against you. That SLAPP is never intended to survive a motion to dismiss or ever enter into discovery. These lawsuits never make it to summary judgment, let alone a jury. The purpose of the SLAPP is just to scare you, make you wish you never wrote about the public body or spoke out against it, and then you are supposed to beg the SLAPPer to make the lawsuit go away…with the promise that you will never get involved in local politics or participate in government activism in any way again. The SLAPP is designed to teach you a lesson, and that lesson is: do not mess with Democrats and what they are doing with taxpayer money because you will be sued if you get in the way of that gravy train.
The SLAPPers are usually people with money to burn or people who are in some way being funded by either the public entities themselves or a lobbying group that benefits from the public entities continuing to engage in wrongdoing. In our case with Bridget Bittman, she was not only the Comiskey heiress (with the resources of someone whose grandmother owned a major league sportsball team) but she also received funding from members of the American Library Association to pay for her SLAPP against us, since the ALA had a vested interest in seeing us silenced (as they never wanted anyone to ever hear about things that the ALA does to cover up sex crimes in public libraries). With the Edgar County Watchdogs, Carla Burkhart wanted to silence John Kraft and Kirk Allen because she (and likely others connected to the College of DuPage scandal) didn’t want the public asking questions about all of the no-bid contracts and other shady dealings that the Watchdogs were exposing.
The thinking seems to be that if a SLAPP is targeted at a reporter/activist that the SLAPP will be so scary that the investigations stop, people become too afraid to write about the wrongdoing, and the people who engaged in whatever terrible things were being written about get away with whatever they did wrong. I wish that SLAPPers would come forward and at some point be honest with the public about what goes through their minds. Do they run a cost/benefit analysis and come to the conclusion that investing a few thousand dollars to hire a clown like Joshua Feagans (Thundercats, HO!) on the chance that the SLAPP could work is worth that roll of the dice?
Did Carla Burkhart, like Bridget Bittman before her, really believe that filing a SLAPP would make reporters give up on a story of great public interest? It amazes me that an attorney like Feagans is allowed to keep practicing law. In a just world, a lawyer like him should lose his license for not advising Burkhart that her lawsuit was meritless and that filing it would only be wasting the court’s time because the First Amendment precludes silencing reporters who are reporting on wrongdoing that involved a public body. I do not understand why the State of Illinois allows Joshua Feagans to continue being an attorney when he and his firm Griffin Williams file SLAPP lawsuits that they know have no hope of succeeding. He and everyone at his firm who signed off on this should be disbarred.
In my opinion, there should be a One Strike and You Are Out rule when it comes to SLAPPs. Feagans should not be given a second chance. If you read any of his filings, you will see within the first paragraph that he is too immature to be practicing law alongside real grown-ups. And that’s even without looking into his Facebook love of Thundercats and other children’s toys.
As for Burkhart, she has 35 days to refile and start this whole process again. Efforts are underway at the federal level to create a national Anti-SLAPP law that would severely punish SLAPPers for abusing the court system and using it as a weapon in the way that Burkhart and Bittman did. I hope those efforts succeed. We cover Bittman’s SLAPP in exhausting detail in our book SHUT UP!, which I hope legislators read as yet another firsthand account of a SLAPP and its intended purpose of silencing criticism of public bodies and discouraging participation in government.
100 days from today, we will know if the Establishment prevails and Hillary Clinton is coronated as the 45th President of the United States, as the Establishment and all its minions want…or if Donald Trump yanks the rug from under the Cocktail Party class and upends the apple cart. Globalists want Hillary Clinton to win so that America’s sovereignty can be further erased through open borders and American national identity further watered-down through continued colonization of America by the Third World. What I believe the globalists are doing is flooding Western countries with as many Third Worlders as possible to overwhelm the national identities of Western countries…so that Americans are replaced in their own nation by poor, uneducated, malleable foreigners who don’t have any affinity for (or even knowledge of) American traditions and values. The United States is a country that could never be conquered from the outside by a foreign enemy…so the globalists seem intent on destroying America from within, chiefly by replacing the American people with something else. Something that shouts angrily into microphones in Spanish, as evidenced by the spectacle Democrats put on in Philly for a week.
The globalists have promised to fulfill Hillary Clinton’s lifelong dream and make her president and in return Hillary will do whatever the globalists want. Maybe she believes that whatever comes after America (what I believe Obama called “The New America,” comprised of “New Americans”) will be better than what exists now…but I don’t see how that is possible. The Third Worlders being aggressively imported into this country are poor, they can’t read or write, they have no skills, and can’t do anything but simple manual jobs. We’re a county without factories to work in since those all fled overseas or to Mexico after NAFTA and decades of unions making it impossible for companies to manufacture anything in this country. The Third Worlders flooding here are not skilled in anything: they aren’t stonemasons or sculptors or carpenters or bricklayers needed for a building boom, like we had in another period where large numbers if immigrants were actually needed. In 2016, we have no jobs for the people who continue to flood into the country…but Democrats want their votes, so a permanent, impoverished serf class is being created. To keep these people poor forever, Democrats do everything possible to keep them speaking Spanish — the language of poverty — so that they never assimilate into American culture. Globalists want these colonists to instead build parallel societies within America, to balkanize the country with colonies that continue to expand and never dissolve into the melting pot (that America is supposed to be). This is all a divide and conquer technique, meant to fracture the United States and weaken us. This is all setting the stage for Whatever Comes Next, which is a future the globalists want where the US is no longer a superpower and some other entity takes over and rules the whole world.
This is the kind of future in books like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, where everything is like India and there’s a caste system: the powerful elite rule from on high and most people are poor serfs toiling away at the bottom. It’s impossible to ever move upwards and leave the most downtrodden castes. The elite live in unimaginable luxury at the top of the pyramid and the system is rigged to keep everyone else poor and powerless far below. This is the future the globalists want…and flooding the West with Third World colonists is part of a Cloward-Piven effort to collapse the world we know and replace it with their “Utopia.”
Hillary Clinton is clearly a pawn in all this. She’s not smart or competent enough to be engineering any of it. She is along for the ride. Look how the Democrat primaries were rigged for her to win. You saw how Bernie Sanders deceived all of his followers; he was always Hillary’s stooge and he was never intended to win the nomination. She needed a challenger to run against and he agreed to be that stooge. The Establishment decided long ago that Hillary would be the nominee and that she would also win this election. For the first time ever, the Establishment is so confident in itself that it’s no longer pretending that there are two parties anymore: John McCain and Mitt Romney were the stooges from 2008 and 2012; they were the men who ran against the Democrat, but didn’t really try to win because they were not supposed to win. They just were paid handsomely to be stooges, to be someone for Democrats to run against so there would be an “election”…but the Establishment and the globalists determined ahead of time that Obama would win because Obama would advance their agenda. In the last eight years America under Obama has been flooded with a massive stream of Third World colonists. All in keeping with the Globalists’ plan to eradicate America’s national identity, erase its borders, and eliminate its sovereignty.
In 2016, McCain and Romney are supporting Hillary. The entire Republican Cocktail Party elite is supporting Hillary. Stooges in Right Media (the term used for conservative writers) are all supporting Hillary. Look at what Erick Erickson from Red State and Ben Shapiro are doing. They are practically on Democrats’ payroll. All of this seems very coordinated. It feels to me that all of these people have been promised that their very comfortable lives will continue just as they are if Hillary Clinton becomes the 45th President…but that their lives would be upended if Trump would win. Erick Erickson loves to eat thick steaks and drink fine wine. Ben Shapiro loves whatever he loves, maybe gourmet chocolates and expensive collectible toys from Japan (I don’t really know much about him, so he could be really into Marie Osmond dolls for all I know). Hillary Clinton becoming president means that Red State would have guaranteed web traffic for four years…and easy to write articles about how terrible Hillary Clinton is. Ben Shapiro would get another book (or two) and would have scores of material to work from, seeing as how Hillary is such a known entity. Right Media’s business model is hating on Hillary and railing against her…and if your business is war then you never want to see peace. Defeating Hillary and removing her from the national scene means that Erick and Ben and the others would have to find something new to write about…and that’s a scary thought for them. Less web hits means fewer steaks and less wine. No wonder they want Hillary to win. They like the status quo. Trump winning upends the apple cart.
That’s really what this election is about and what the next 100 days should focus on: do people want the globalist trend to continue and for America to continue to be erased and eroded…or will people take a chance on Trump and the opportunity he creates to cause the Establishment to come crashing down?
It almost feels like the hostage mindset of people living under a dictator like Saddam Hussein…where they were used to their lives under his yoke and a world without him seemed scary, since they couldn’t imagine what would come next. Here, in our world, the Establishment has been doing its things and rigging elections and the Cocktail Party elite have been in place as a caste for so long that we’re all just used to them. Thinking about it all crashing to the ground is scary because WHAT COMES NEXT? Trump unending everything means that in January 2017 we’d be living in a whole new world. We would be off script. We’d be in uncharted territory. This would no longer be part of the globalists’ plans.
There would be a lot of hard work to do, because the Establishment that had been running things would be gone. In the wake, many secrets would be revealed and a lot of corruption exposed…and there would be anger and disgust as institutions like the IRS and the FBI get dragged before Congress and forced to reveal everything they’ve been doing to Americans. I believe that Trump would expose all of these people. It really would be like the collapsing of Saddam Hussein’s regime and all the trials that followed.
Anyone who has a comfortable life in politics does not want to see any of this happen, so they are siding with Hillary. That’s why McCain and Romney have been so into the #NeverTrump stuff. That’s why Erick Erickson and Ben Shapiro have been so into it as well. Anyone who’s made a comfortable living off politics does not want the system to be upended because their gravy train ends. It is hard finding a new career in your 30s or 40s and starting over. When you reach a certain point of success, you don’t want the rules to change because you’ve mastered the system and you don’t want to learn new rules. You like things the way that they are and you will fight to preserve what you have. Right Erick? Right Ben?
Trump is the worst nightmare of the Establishment status quo. This election appears to be shaping up as an choice between the status quo and something else. The question that must be answered is if Americans are tired enough of the status quo to roll the dice on something else and if the American people do indeed come to understand that the Establishment is embodied in Hillary (and that the Establishment has really been controlling both parties for years). Trump is a break from the Republican Party and is some new force of nature of his own. Will enough people see this as an opportunity to get rid of the Establishment for those Cocktail Partiers to fall once and for all?
In 100 days we’ll know the answer to that. We are in for the wildest ride of our lives, since the Establishment will not go down without a fight. If we assume that Trump does not just give up and lose interest in winning like McCain and Romney did, then this election will be one for the history and record books.
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[Click above to embiggen: some of the creepy skulls that were displayed at the end during the balloon drop at the finale of the Democrats’ convention.]
NOTE: I wrote live recaps of the convention as it was happening each day, all 8 hours of it per day. You’re welcome. All of those are here for you as a historical (if not hysterical) reference, day by day. The Republican convention notes are there too.
Back in the year 2000 (how weird is it that The Year 2000 is now ancient history?), DC Comics ran a series where Lex Luthor ran for President (and won!). He was a Ross Perot businessman who stuck it out and didn’t leave the race, the way that Perot did in 1992…and Luthor defeated Al Gore and George Bush and moved into a kryptonite-decorated Oval Office. Superman was pissed. I thought the whole thing was so absurd and hilarious. At the time.
This morning, I slept in late and rested up, after having covered every night of both parties’ campaigns for the last two weeks. I don’t remember much of the dream I was having, but near the end of it, I realized that Lex Luthor and the Joker were running for president. But, I didn’t feel any need or urge to stop them. It’s not that I didn’t care anymore, so it wasn’t me saying (or dreaming) “F*** it.” It was more like what happens if I’m walking home from the store and suddenly the clouds open up and it pours rain. There’s nothing to do but endure it, get drenched, and try to keep the groceries dry as much as possible. I can’t travel through time and remember to carry an umbrella. I can’t stop the storm from forming. I just have to get wet and deal with it. This too shall pass.
I am not working for either Lex Luthor or the Joker here in 2016 and I doubt I will ever agree to work for another national political campaign. National politics have gotten to a point so far removed from reality where they feel like something happening in a movie and not in real life. I believe that all of us are now just observers and that the results of national elections may even be predetermined. My focus the last few years has been working on the ground with local issues as a citizen sleuth. I don’t even bother with candidates in races, but instead have been using Freedom of Information Act requests to audit spending and piece together wrongdoing in various local and state public offices. And then I systematically confront the various boards with their wrongdoing, forcing change at that local level. It is slow, methodical, and (my boyfriend Justin says) boring work but I like that in a few months I can see results: the lavish trips that elected officials used to take stop; trustees write checks to reimburse the public for things they stole; bad public employees quit to spend more time with their families and bad board members decide to retire all of a sudden. I get more joy out of this than I ever did covering the national political scene, because I feel that being a local government watchdog actually matters…whereas filing another column about the latest scandal in Washington is just more shouting into a thunderstorm. No matter how good of a shouter I am or how witty my shouting, does it ever matter?
Making greedy pigs who stole taxpayer money from a library give it back matters. Getting crooked cops to admit they were wrong and fork over a settlement matters. Freeing a man who was being starved to death in a medical facility matters. The spectacles that happened in Philadelphia and Cleveland might as well have happened on Mars for all they matter.
My attitude towards this 2016 race is largely to be an observer of history, for this race is historic in so many (dare I say) fabulous ways. It’s the first presidential contest in my lifetime that feels like it is about more than just Democrats and Republicans jockeying for a crown. I feel that the real fight is between the Establishment (which has solidified around Hillary Clinton) and What Comes Next (which is the power behind Trump). I also feel that the Establishment is fighting under a banner of Globalism, where the end game is to destroy American sovereignty and erase our borders as prelude to that Utopia that lunatics truly and deeply believe will follow once the United Nations effectively controls the planet. The Establishment wants to end America as a place and a concept and a unique nation and replace it with some new entity that is the United Nations, but turned into a country (and not just an ugly building in Manhattan). Trump, to me, is the awakening of an Americanist giant and an opportunity for people who love America as a place/concept/nation to stand up and push back against the globalists. If Hillary wins, I think America ends with a whimper…but if Trump wins there’s at least the chance of upending the Establishment’s globalist schemes.
I feel that Hillary Clinton sold her soul to Globalism because she wants to be president so badly…and to be the first female president, in particular. For decades, we’ve been conditioned by the Establishment that a Hillary Clinton presidency is just destiny. It was always “the future” in SciFi shows, and now the future has arrived. Last night, she appeared on stage dressed up all in white to accept the nomination. Rebecca Mansour observed today that wearing white is traditional for a royal coronation. Depending on your generation and its pop culture references, Hillary was either Queen Elizabeth/Queen Victoria, Boss Hogg (from Dukes of Hazard), or President Snow from Hunger Games in her bright white pantsuit (which completed the patriotic tricolor she started by wearing all red one night and then all blue the next night, before appearing in all white during the convention’s finale).
The other day, Breitbart ran an interesting article charting all the times in recent years that some movie or tee-vee show pushed the idea of Hillary being president…and the three that I always remembered were:
* The tee-vee show Sliders in 1994 or 1995, making Hillary president instead of Bill in an episode set in an alternate dimension where women, not men, were in charge.
* Hillary’s face appearing on money in the Eddie Murphy movie The Adventures of Pluto Nash, as she was president at some time in the future before the events of that movie began.
* The aircraft carrier USS Hillary Clinton appearing in the Axis of Time series of SciFi novels, which was a ship named after the 44th President of the United States (Hillary) in that timeline.
In 2008 when the nomination was taken away from her, it felt like a new timeline had been created where Hillary would instead be kept from becoming president. The way that the DNC outsmarted and outplayed the Clintons was masterful in that they found the only kryptonite to keep her from the White House: a charismatic black man who struck the perfect balance between being someone that white people enjoyed listening to and black people enthusiastically supporting because his skin was their same color. He looked black, did what white people in the DNC wanted him to do, and could orate like a black preacher when needed. Obama made blacks cheer and whites swoon. Hillary was outfoxed. It was like someone traveled back from the future with a recipe for the one thing that could have prevented Hillary Clinton from ever being president…and then the DNC followed that recipe.
Everything that has happened since, in these strange and Idiocracy-prone eight years, has felt like a surreal, bad dream. In the Hulu show 11/22/63, based on the Stephen King book of the same name, when a man who traveled from the future came back to stop Oswald from shooting Kennedy, the past didn’t want to be changed and would fight back at him in interesting ways. In our world, our tee-vees, books, and movies told us for years that it was decided by The Powers That Be that Hillary Clinton would be president one day (she’s even president at one point in the Stephen King book!). Every time that Hillary’s been let off the hook for something awful she admitted that she did or the Media runs cover and outright lies for her, it feels like the universe is altering itself in such a way to force the destiny of that Hillary Clinton presidency to come true. History is rewritten and reality is altered in front of our eyes to create a more positive narrative for Hillary.
The reporting on the Democrat Convention this week reads to me like something from an alternate universe. The reporters who write about the Democrat Convention being a success were watching some other convention. It was not the same procession of grievances, victim stories, and shouting angrily in Spanish that I sat through day after day (for 8 hours a day!). Similarly, the reporting done by the Media on the Republican Convention in Cleveland was all wrong as well…because I felt out of the two conventions the only positive and America-focused convention was Trump’s. Hillary’s convention was all about carving people into their identity blocs, then telling them they were victims and that Hillary Clinton would “fight for them” because she is a woman. None of it really made sense to me. Trump’s convention was about stating that Hillary Clinton is repeatedly caught lying (which is true) and that she should never be trusted (since she lies and admits that she lies).
Here are 10 other observations I’m struck with today about the Democrats’ convention in Philadelphia:
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WHAT: Day Four conclusion of Democrat Convention in Philadelphia, 7/28/16
WHEN: Starts at 330pm CST 7/28/16
WHERE: Watching live stream at CSPAN and/or YouTube
WHY: Because we are friends like this, I will watch all of this coverage for you and give you my thoughts here in real time. For hours and hours! Please note that I’m not going back to fix spelling mistakes or anything. This is my impressions in the moment, as it goes, while it’s all airing live. It’s a moment in time as I saw it in that time. Doing this takes a lot of me, and I will be at it for 8 hours again tonight with no breaks. So if there’s a typo, please overlook it!
1. If you missed the other days of coverage and the notes from the Republican convention, I have them all here for you.
2. I wrote some candid thoughts on how weird this is all is for me, which you can read here. I’ll touch on these things more throughout the evening too.
3. If you like the writing here on this site and find the recaps amusing, please check out the book I wrote with Megan Fox: SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment. It’s not just about some library. It’s a lot of funny political stories…as well as reading like a mystery/thriller telling the story of how Megan and I beat corrupt local officials like a rented mule. We beat them over and over and over again. We beat them in court, we beat them in the press, we beat them in public meetings. They threw everything they had us and even used the damn police against us and we beat them over and over and over again and force them to settle with us and admit they were wrong. It took three years of my life to achieve this. No one had ever beaten local government like this before. I’m very proud of the book and would appreciate it if you would read it and let us know what you think. Honest reviews of what you think posted to Amazon would be a blessing. If you would like to catch up on what I have been working on (as well as the biggest adventure of my life), please read the book!
4. Marsha Fudge is in the house, yo! She did a really good job this week organizing things from what I could see. This woman took the place of my beloved Stephanie Tubbs Jones in Cleveland, after Congresswoman Tubbs Jones passed away in July 2008 (mysteriously, from a brain aneurysm, after she had been threatened for months by Obama supporters for being a Hillary supporter when the Obama campaign was pressuring black people not to support Hillary). I really believe that her death was just a freak, tragic thing…but the timing was so strange. Perhaps all the grief that the Obama people put on Tubbs Jones contributed to whatever caused that aneurysm, however. They were horrid and evil and ruthless towards Hillary people back in 2008. No one wants to talk about that now, but I’ll talk about it for the rest of my.
We have an hour or so before things kick off again, for the last time, in Philadelphia. Tonight Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton will become the first female to accept the nomination of a major political party for the office of President of the United States. Here are some unfiltered thoughts on this moment in history and the Democrats’ convention so far.
All of this is more bizarre for me to process and deal with than I could ever relate. Back in 1991, my adventure with the Clintons began when my Grandma Emma, who was born in Arkansas, told me about a woman named Hillary who was the first lady of that southern state and who did a lot of great things for children. I was interviewing Emma for a speech class project. The assignment was to find someone I admired and ask that person about someone he or she admired. In my little world in Cleveland, Emma was a force of nature; everybody knew her. She and her fellow Ladies Guild members were the heart and soul of the local church; Emma was always organizing some bake sale or raffle or roast beef dinner or bazaar. She’d walk down the street to church and it would take her an hour because so many people would stop her to talk. She knew everybody’s business and solved all kinds of problems people brought to her, just by piecing together bits of information, remembering things, and then making the connections. Someone would tell her that their good-for-nothing lazy nephew was getting into trouble with too much time on his hands in the summer. Another person would bemoan the state of her yard and leaky gutters. It wasn’t rocket science, but Emma was a natural at putting two and two together and hooking the lazy nephew up with the old lady needing the yard work and a happiness and order would flow over the neighborhood, all because of her. Emma was sarcastic and loud and if she didn’t like you, she would tell you to your face. She never had much money, so for Christmas you’d get hand-knitted afghan blankets or other homemade things (and you’d love them more than anything store-bought). At weddings, if the priest asked people (rhetorically) to speak now or forever hold their peace…you had best hold onto your hats because Emma would tell it like it is, pretending she didn’t know what “rhetorical” was. There were always black, melting, over-ripe bananas filling up her fridge (to be used to endlessly make banana nut bread) and something church related that she would suck all of into every week, because Emma never stopped trying to do good, right wrongs, and make things better on her block. She was one in a million…and she was a big fan of Hillary’s, back before anyone knew who Hillary was.
In 1992, I remember watching the election results coming in. It’s weird thinking about this, but there was a time when George Bush seemed unstoppable. No one in Cleveland liked him, though Clevelanders had liked Reagan. Bush was a sissy, though, according to Emma. There was something “off” about him, something snobby. Reagan had been a movie star and had a lot of money and all that, but Reagan seemed like one of the people. He wasn’t patrician. He was no snob. But Bush being president felt wrong. It felt like America was being ruled and not governed. In our high school’s mock election, Perot actually one. People loved how for a brief while Perot seemed to kick the patrician establishment in the face. But Perot ended up being bipolar or something and dropped out of the race before coming back into the race and doing lots of other weird things. No one figured out at the time that Perot was just in the race to be a spoiler so that Bill Clinton would win. There was no excitement for Bill Clinton, whom people thought was womanizing trash. From Day One, that’s what I remember people saying about Bill. But, Hillary was someone that people back in Cleveland liked in 1992…she was a different kind of first lady. She had a brain and had moxie and, according to Emma, she got good things done for kids and people who asked for her help back in Arkansas. When it was announced that the Clintons had one the race and Bush was defeated, Emma cheered because Hillary would be going to Washington. Bill was just coming along even though his name was on the ballot.
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WHAT: Day 3 coverage of the Democrat Convention in Philadelphia, 7/27/16
WHERE: Live streamed on CSPAN and also on YouTube via official channel
WHEN: Coverage begins at 330pmCST on 7/27/16
WHY: Because someone has to watch 7+ hours of this garbage so that you don’t have to and can just read the notes and be all caught up. This is my gift to you, because we are friends like this. I must really like you.
1. Before we get started today, I would like to ask you to please watch Donald Trump’s press conference from this morning. It’s one of the best pressers I’ve ever seen. It is truly devastating for Democrats that he does this. No presidential candidate has ever been this blunt and frank. The Media is refusing to cover any of this, of course, but I know through social media all of this is going to get out. Please watch it and then share the video with others. Trump starts speaking at about the 33:20-mark.
2. The next video that you need to watch is of Susan Sarandon being interviewed by some Bernie Sanders guy. I swear to you, for the first time in your lives it is worth listening to Susan Sarandon. Some fascinating things happen in this interview. Trust me.