The Cities | Scott County Democratic and Republican Party | “The Ghost Army”

(solemn music) – [Announcer] A proud
supporter of this program, River Bend Foodbank’s
vision is a hunger-free Iowa and Illinois. – [Narrator] Wheelan-Pressly
Funeral Home and Crematory has been serving Quad
City families since 1889. Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Homes are located in Rock Island, Milan, and Reynolds, and are proud supporters of WQPT. – It’s a year away. What’s the political
picture look like right now? And an army that really wasn’t. Have you ever heard of the
Ghost Army, of World War II? A chance to learn more,
right now, in “The Cities”. (uplifting music) It’s now November 2019. The Iowa caucuses are less
than three months away. The general election,
nine months after that. We’re certainly getting a full taste of what we might expect in the campaigns. Issues will be important,
but 2020 will certainly be a referendum on the Trump
presidency, as well. And joining is Elesha Gayman, the head of the Scott County Democratic Party. Dave Millage, who’s the head of the Scott County Republican Party. Thank you both for joining us. – Thank you.
– Nice to be here. – A year out, your main game
plan hasn’t even started. You’ve got two candidates that are running against President Trump, but
what is President Trump doing to gear up for the Iowa caucuses? – President Trump has
begun his campaign in Iowa. He has not been sitting back,
waiting for things to happen. He’s got four paid staff members in the second congressional district, that are out door-knocking,
they’re out having neighborhood parties. His reelection has begun
here in eastern Iowa. – You can certainly tell by
the television ads, as well. – Yes, he’s begun those, and
it’s very good reception. – Is that the key thing for democrats? Is it going to be just
a referendum on Trump? – I think that’s a key way for democrats to lose the election, actually. And obviously, they’re talking about, and obviously as more and
more information comes out on the impeachment
hearings, it’s obviously gonna take up a large portion of the news. But I think it’s gonna really come down to who’s showing the best vision. And it’s not just about
electing Trump out, but we have to be able to show the voters what we can do. And I think if democrats
fail to, you know, make that vision,
articulate it to the voters, that’s when we’re gonna
not have a good outcome come November 2020. So that’s what I’m urging
party leaders to do. – One of the big issues that democrats are talking about now, because
of Elizabeth Warren’s latest proposal has to do
with healthcare in America, is that going to be one of the linch pins of the Democratic Party for 2020? – I think it will be
definitely one of them. I think if you ask the
average voter right now, healthcare is a huge concern for people, as people are still going bankrupt. You know, I think the consensus is our healthcare system
needs to be reformed. What’s gonna come down to
is the will of the people, as far as what that, you know,
reform is gonna look like and how slowly or how quickly
that it goes into place. – Well, the republicans
have been very active in trying to dismantle
the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. There had been the argument
that the republicans really don’t have a
plan to replace it yet. Is that something that you don’t buy? – No, I don’t buy that, and I don’t buy that healthcare is that big of an issue. To the electorate. 186 million people have private insurance, and for the most part, they’re very happy with their insurance. So it’s not as a big of problem
as we might think it is. We talk about it, but do
the people really want their health insurance,
or their healthcare delivery system changed? I don’t think they do. – [Jim] What the president– – I think we have a good
system in place now. It can be reformed, it can
be reformed to the better, by opening up competition,
by some cost-saving measures, like malpractice reform. Taking the lawyers out
of the operating room. I think some of the efficiencies
we’ll be working towards. And no republican plan would ever do away with taking away, requiring preexisting. Eliminate insurance for
preexisting conditions. No plan supports that. – That’s been a big target of democrats, that have said repeatedly,
that that is one of the linch pins to some
of the republican plans. – Yeah, absolutely. I mean that’s a huge piece of it. I think the other piece you see
is the Mental Health Parity, which we go back over
again, and over again. (chuckling)
And over again. As well as a lot of other
preventative measures that are covered under Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act,
however you decide to term it. You know, those are
very important, I think, to the average voter,
and they need to be able to know that if they get sick, that doesn’t mean that they’re gonna also be in bankruptcy court. And they need to have the support system with the healthcare. Healthcare should
absolutely be a human right, and we should be able
to, regardless of your socioeconomic background, or education, you should be able to go to the doctor, and not have to worry about, you know, filing bankruptcy in a few
months when those bills start rolling in. – Well the president has
really tried to tackle that, he hasn’t gotten that much headway yet. Has been prescription drug prices. That’s been a huge issue as well. – I think they’re at an impasse
between Trump and Pelosi. They both have plans to
begin lowering the cost of prescription drugs. But they can’t come together on a plan that they both agree with. – So, don’t you have the
feeling that that’s not gonna happen in 2020? You know– – No, it’s not gonna happen,
because the democrats don’t want Trump to get
credit for anything. That’s why a bipartisan agreement on the North American
Trade, that’s going nowhere in the House, because
they won’t bring it up. Even though they support
it, they won’t bring it up. Because it’d be a victory for Trump. – I was gonna point that
out, is because it’s been a huge issue, and it sounds
like it’s going to be DOA by the end of the year. – I think it is gonna be DOA,
’cause they won’t bring it up. It’ll pass if they bring it up, but they won’t bring it
up, ’cause they don’t want a Trump victory. – Does that hurt
democrats in the long run? – Well, and I would
counter that a little bit, because I think, you know,
there’s over 200 bills right now, sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk of bills that the democrats passed in the House. And that’s, you know, I’ve
been in the legislature, as has my colleague here. Those bounce back and
forth, and they should bounce back and forth, as
either side gets to work on it. But if you don’t even get
green lit in the Senate, and you know, you have
a leader who’s saying that he’s the Grim Reaper, and
gonna sit on all these bills that they send over, there’s
not a lot of willingness to work there. It’s not just about the
House passing something. The House and Senate both
have to come together. Get that legislation
through, and work through with the President, as well, to make sure that he will be willing to sign it. – We saw some key
elections this past week. Kentucky in particular,
the governor’s race, where there were some
democratic victories. Is this a harbinger? Is this gonna be a tough
road in 2020 for republicans? Or is this all politics is local? – No, well I think all politics is local, but in the case of Kentucky, he was a very unpopular governor. And for him to come from 20 points down, and almost squeak out a victory, was a remarkable comeback. And the republicans did sweep all the rest of the statewide offices. So Kentucky can be perceived
as being a republican win. Now Virginia, that’s another story. – [Jim] Absolutely, absolutely. – Virginia was a democrat sweep, partly because the
Republican party didn’t work. They had 60 or more uncontested seats. That they didn’t even try to win. And from what I understand,
they just weren’t turning out. They weren’t door-knocking, they weren’t getting their message out. And when you sit back like
that, you’re gonna suffer an electoral defeat. – Well, what do you say to that? I mean, was that, it was a
good night for democrats, of course, in Virginia. – Well, I can just talk locally. You know, I’ve seen
unprecedented amount of people wanting to run for office. And just the recent
mayoral race in Davenport, we had four democrats out of the six original candidates
that ran, were democrats. And so for our perspective,
the democratic perspective, we’re not seeing a hard
time trying to raise money, or get these candidates out. And I think that speaks to
the overall voter feedback they’re getting, the
frustration people have, and the willingness for
them to just step up and say, “Hey, listen. “You know, I’m willing to
be part of the solution “instead of part of the problem.” And people are really
taking that responsibility quite seriously. – Well we’ve been looking
at polling, of course, for the Democratic Party and
for the democratic candidates that are running. And it seems like in Iowa, it’s two tiers. Where you have four top candidates. Do you think that’s the
way it’s gonna hold off with Warren, Buttigieg, with
Sanders, and with Biden. – Well I had the fortunate pleasure of going to the Liberty Jackson, or Liberty and Justice, I can’t even remember the name of it. Liberty and Justice
Dinner up in Des Moines this past weekend, with
all the candidates. And I will tell you, it
was astounding to see the Warren and Mayor
Pete, people out in force. They had amazing
organization, amazing energy, amazing numbers of people
that came out to see them. I think some of the other
folks that you’re gonna wanna look for are Kamala
Harris had a amazing closing argument. I think she still could potentially do some movement in Iowa. Bernie Sanders gave the
best speech I’d ever heard him give. It was hard to judge
his supporters, though, ’cause he held an event
separate from the dinner. So you didn’t really get a good sense of where his organization was at. And then the other person who I think gave the best speech, I’ve
heard this caucus season was Cory Booker that night. He’s got a phenomenal team here, and if he keeps true to that message, I think had he had a
better speaking position, he woulda had a much
better breakout moment, similarly to Obama in 2008. – But as you know, it’s
money, money, money, money, money, money. And if you don’t have the support, as we’re learning from Beto O’Rourke, is that your campaign is
gonna dry up kinda quick. – Yeah, well absolutely. And it does, and you’re seeing folks shift their organization, I think. Kamala Harris has been
reported to be closing quite a few offices in South Carolina and New Hampshire. To focus resources in
Iowa, and so we’ll see some more of those very strategic shifts. But the truth is, is if you
don’t have a good showing in Iowa, when you come
out of Iowa, you know, it’s only gonna get worse for ya. And so, there’s very few
people that, you know, can go on and then
accelerate a couple states in to the primary cycle. And I, off even the top of my head, I know, you know, republican
side is still pretty similar. You still see the candidates
that come out of Iowa come pretty far in the process. So it’s really hard to stop that momentum once those candidates can
finish in the top tier of the Iowa caucuses. – When you look at the top four candidates that we were mentioning
in the Democratic party, are they the dream candidates
for the republicans and President Trump? – Yeah, I think so. I mean, if you’re gonna
espouse the policies they’re espousing, and they’re gonna want the American people to pay for that, I don’t think it’s gonna run. I just don’t think it’s gonna grab votes. These are very socialist,
very expensive policies that they’re pursuing, and I
think Trump would wanna run against those types of programs,
those types of policies. – Interesting articles
that are coming out. I think it was “The New
York Times” this week, when it was talking about
the election in 2020, and that President Trump
may be faring not as well, and let’s be honest, polls are polls. But that he’s got a real clear victory in the Electoral College. He might not win the popular vote again, but he could win the
Electoral College again. Does that disturb you, that
that’s becoming a trend? Dating back to 2000. – No. (chuckling) We don’t have a popular
vote in the United States, and I don’t think we want a popular vote in the United States. Do you realize that Hillary Clinton, most of her popular vote
was from the huge majorities from New York City, and from California? Take those two out, and
Trump has a decisive popular vote victory over
the rest of the country. And we have an electoral
college to prevent a tyranny of the majority,
for that very reason. If you had a popular vote,
the candidates would spend all their time in New York and California, and some of the other populated areas. And they would fly over Iowa. We would truly be fly-over
territory at that point. So I think the Electoral College. – Does that change the strategy for democrats, do you think? I mean, it’s now legendary
Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and Michigan. Legendary from 2016. – Yeah, well and Iowa’s always
been up in that mix as well. We’re very much back and forth if you look at the presidential outcomes. You know, we could go really red one year, and then really blue the next. So it really depends. I think I’m probably
one of the few democrats that isn’t ready to throw
the Electoral College out. It’s not a popular opinion in my party, but I do look at the Electoral College and somewhat slightly agree. Although you won’t go with this
next step I’m about to say. I look at it as the affirmative action for rural communities
throughout our country. And it’s really given us a culture, and folks that don’t really have a voice, that are very marginalized in our country, that opportunity to
really have their voice magnified on a national front. And so, I definitely am supportive of it. I’m not saying my views
wouldn’t evolve on that. And I think it’s a national conversation we need to continue to keep having. – One last thing, and of course,
that’s the Iowa caucuses. And they come around every four years, and for three and a half years, the Washington press corps hates Iowa. And a lot of people who live
in other states hate Iowa. First off, tell me what the democrats are gonna be doing for the caucus. You had made some changes
that you were hoping that would be more inclusive. That was rejected,
basically, from the DNC. – Correct. So, our biggest change
we were hoping to have that virtual caucus option for folks to do kind of an absentee caucus, if you were. That was voted down, just
for security reasons. And I don’t fault the
party at all for that. I do think security is
our number one concern. – But the idea is to have
it a little more high tech and thereby a little more inclusive, for especially younger people. – Yes, absolutely. And what we are, we’re looking at ways to speed the process. We’re still working on tweaking sign in, there may be some pre-registration
options that come out. Nothing has been finalized on that front. One of the biggest changes
I can kind of announce is that caucus goers will receive a card. So similarly to what the republicans do with the straw poll. We actually will be tracking
the ballots, if you will for the caucus. So you’ll have a first choice on one side, and on the back, if
your group’s not viable, you’ll have the opportunity
for that second alignment. And it’s all gonna be tracked. So a lot of that back and forth that happened after the
2016, with the Clinton and Sanders campaigns of,
well we don’t really know who is who, and how many were there, ’cause we just have numbers,
and they’re not attached to a name. That’s gonna change. And so we’re gonna see a
little bit more accountability, and it’ll be good for, you know, if we do have tight
races and have to go back and do recounts, it’ll be helpful. – Well, and let’s be honest. This is a very bipartisan
issue when it comes to Iowa. Republicans want the democratic caucus to go very well in 2020, because– – We want both parties
to want to come to Iowa. – Absolutely. – First in the nation, yes. – But I mean, it’s been
under fire for so long, Iowa, and the caucuses. I mean, do you think
that we’re getting closer to its days being numbered? – Not in the republican side. We talked to the RNC, and the
Republican National Committee about keeping us first in the nation, what did we need to do to
keep us first in the nation? And we have made some reforms
that they’ve asked for in order to remain number one. – Dave Millage, the
chairman of the Rock Island, the Scott County Republican Party. Elesha Gayman, from the
Scott County Democrats. Thank you so much for joining us. We do appreciate it.
– Thank you for having us. – Still to come, a military
unit meant to fool Hitler, the Ghost Army you may
never have heard about. But first, trick-or-treating may be over, but Laura Adams has some great ideas if you go out and about. – [Laura] This is “Out and About” from November fourth through 10th. Head down to Moline for Holiday Hop, and meet Mr. Scott at
the Black Box Theater. Or check out these fundraisers. There’s Gangsters and Molls
at Decadence on Division. A gala fundraiser for the
Putnam Museum, November ninth. World Relief holds their
Annual Dinner and Auction November sixth at the Rogalski Center. A trivia night at the
Rogalski Center on the ninth supports the St. Ambrose
Alumni Association and Children’s Campus. While the Humane Society of Scott County hold a trivia night at
the Knights of Columbus November eighth. Come run or walk at the
Black Hawk College 5K Hustle, November ninth, at eight a.m. Or take in these activities
to honor our veterans. A free program in Bishop Hill, titled, “Civil War Fathers:
Sons of the Civil War “in World War II” on November ninth. The premiere of “A Bridge
Too Far From Hero Street” on November 10th at the
Putnam Giant Screen. Remembering Our Fallen, an exhibit at the Rhythm City Casino Resort, November eighth through 24th. The 14th Annual Welcome
Home Veterans’ Day Dance, at Jumer’s Casino, on November eighth. And a screening and discussion of “The Ghost Army” at Black Hawk College, November eighth at 12:30. Onstage, the 2019 Fall Concert by Quad City Flutes Unlimited
at the Butterworth Center on the fifth. Back by popular demand, “Elf
the Musical” at Circa ’21. While Richmond Hill Players present the southern-fried, slapstick comedy, “A Double Wide Texas Christmas”. For more information, visit – Thank you, Laura. We’re also looking to
feature original music from local musicians, and one of them, who crossed our stage is a
drummer and a one-man-band. He goes by the name Dead Ginger. Here’s his song, “Worms”. He performed at the Black Box
Theater in downtown Moline. (mournful guitar playing) (upbeat, eerie-sounding music) (music becomes more subdued) (music rising in intensity) That’s Dead Ginger and
the song’s called “Worms”. You know the story of the Trojan Horse, the Greek army’s wooden tribute that got them into the city of Troy, to massacre the enemy. There has been some subterfuge
in warfare ever since, and that includes World War II and the US Army’s use of the Ghost Army. The story of this army
was captured in a book by historian and author, Rick Beyer, who also turned it into a documentary film that’s been featured on PBS. And Rick Beyer joins us,
in the midst of his visit to the cities, all part
of the Quad City Arts’ visiting artist series. Thank you so much for joining us. – So, it’s my pleasure. You know the thing about the Trojan Horse, is it worked great that first time. You never hear about the
second time that they used it. ‘Cause it wouldn’t have
worked so well, right? – [Jim] No, exactly. – They would’ve been onto it. And one of the things about the Ghost Army is it was designed to be
able to deceive the enemy time after time, without
ever being found out. – We’re talking about
like, inflatable tanks. We’re talking about
various, and I don’t know how to say this, like public
address announcements. We’re talking about a
whole buncha different ways that they were trying
to fool Hitler’s army. – So this is a multimedia
deception unit, yeah. So they have inflatable
tanks and trucks and guns. They have sound effects. They are using radio deception. They are doing impersonation. They literally are
impersonating American generals, sometimes, on the battlefield, you know, near the front lines, in
case enemy spies are around to say, “Oh look, I guess the
Commander of the Sixth Armored “has got a headquarters
here, so the Sixth Armored “must be in this area.” They use all of these
deceptions to fool the Germans. – Well, ’cause we always heard about that in the Civil War, in particular. Is that the Union armies
were always thinking that the Confederate armies were so much bigger than they were. In a way, this is what
the Allies were doing against the Nazis, effectively? – Very effectively. These guys, this particular
unit did 22 deceptions, starting a couple of weeks after D-Day. This is very different
from the D-Day deception. And going ’til the end of the war, and a couple of those deceptions were extremely effective. In their last deception,
they fooled the Germans about where two divisions
would be crossing the Rhine River, and so
those divisions crossed with almost no casualties, because the Germans had
been drawn elsewhere. And then, the reason
you’ve never heard of it, or other people have never heard of it, is because it was kept
secret for 50 years. – Well, the whole idea is that you don’t wanna let a secret out, even though some people might know it. You don’t want everyone to know about it. – Exactly right. And there were little bits of information that got out from time to time, but the US Army wanted to preserve their deception capability,
in case we got into a war with the Russians, or somebody else. And they wanna be able to use that. So many of these guys went home, and literally never talked
about this for 50 years. There was a Ghost Army veteran
from Moline, Larry Fulton. And I spoke to his daughter today, she said he never, ever talked about it while he was alive. – [Jim] That’s pretty amazing. – Yeah. – What’s also amazing is who was recruited into this army. Not necessarily blood and
guts, army infantry men. There were some actors,
there were a lot of people that were probably
pretty good at deception. – Well, and there were many artists because the Army recruited artists to do the visual deception. And so the artists
included Ellsworth Kelly, the famous minimalist
painter and sculptor. The fashion designer, Bill Blass, who he was in this unit. He was a 21 year old kid from Indiana. And if you’ve ever seen that picture of all the jazz musicians
on the stoop in Harlem, the 58 jazz musicians, Art
Kane, who took that photo, he was in this unit. So it really had a lot of amazing talent. And one of the things we did in the book, and did in the documentary
film is use a lot of the art that they created to help tell the story. – Now not only that, but
you’ve got quite a collection that you are able to show, as a curator, of some of the artifacts, the
relics from the Ghost Army. – Well, we have a big
archive that we’ve assembled of material from different soldiers that families have donated to us. And in fact, that archive
is, we are donating it in a couple of weeks to the
National World War II Museum in New Orleans, and they are launching a big Ghost Army exhibit
starting next March. But one thing we brought with us, that we’re gonna show,
I’m gonna show in DeWitt on Saturday night in the final performance of, you know, I’m here for
the Quad City Arts Council. Is we have a replica inflatable tank. And so, if you wanna see
what an inflatable tank looks like, and I’ll
let you come up on stage and lift it up if you want. You know, you have to
come out on Saturday night in DeWitt at the Central
DeWitt Arts Center, I think it is. – So this tank is very portable? And was that kind of a key as well? – It’s in my car out front, if you’re. (Jim laughing) We could do it if we have a little time, we could set it up now.
– That is fantastic. – I’m not sure we have the room, but. – What, I mean, ’cause when
you look at these deceptions from World War II, they
seem almost parochial compared to what’s
probably being done today. I mean, what’s being
done today, I’m sure is very cyber attacks, very internet-based, but still it’s the same thing, dating all the way back
to the Trojan Horse. – You know, the idea is the same, and the idea is that you try to determine how your enemy gets information. What means of information comes to them. And then you try to sort
of flood all those channels with the misinformation that
you’re trying to send out so that it all adds up
when they put it together. And you know, people
are talking these days about deepfakes and
weaponized misinformation, that’s what these guys were all about. And yeah, the Army does stuff today. They, for some reason don’t wanna tell me all the things that they do.
(Jim chuckling) But I have gone down to Fort Bragg and talked to the PSYOP soldiers there. And they consider this unit an inspiration for stuff that they do today. – I wanna talk about
something that you had planned for next year, next September in the fall, you are very interested in
so many different aspects of American history. We’re talking about World War II. You’re gonna be doing a
Revolutionary War tour along the East Coast, for the most part. That’s pretty exciting. – It is. I’m actually doing two tours next fall. So we’re doing the Rev War
tour, from Boston to Quebec, starting in August and
going ’til September. And going to, I think,
38 historical sites, including battlefields you’ve heard of, like Saratoga and battlefields
you’ve never heard of, like Oriskany, or Valcour Island. But then a couple of days later, I’m headed over to
Europe, and we’re gonna do the fourth Ghost Army
tour that we’ve done, following in the footsteps
of this unit in Europe. And those are both done by
Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours. – And so tell me a little
bit about how somebody who’s interested in
doing this to join you, how would they get involved? – Well, there is a website, the Stephen Ambrose Historical
Tours has their website. You can find it online. Or honestly, if you
search Ghost Army tour, bingo, you go right there. ‘Cause there’s only one. But that’s the easiest way to do it. – You also are talking about,
you’ve got a new book out, I should say, that talks about two of our founding fathers, so to speak. Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr,
who of course met fatefully. They knew each other for a very long time, despised each other for quite some time, and then one kills the other. – Yes, I believe it was
Burr who killed Hamilton. – [Jim] I believe so too. – If I’m recalling the book that I wrote. And you know, Aaron Burr’s
a part of the Rev War tour, because he is an aid to Benedict Arnold when we invade Quebec. Did you know we invaded Quebec? – [Jim] I did do that. – In 1776, and so he’s
part of that, or 1775. And he’s part of that story as well. So Aaron Burr, he has a way of, he gets into all these different things over the course of his lifetime. – Aaron Burr was very
strongly an expansionist, was he not? I mean, he did want the United States to take over Canada, and of course, he wanted the Western Expansion. – Well he wanted different things. He wanted,
(Jim laughing) at one point, he may have
advocated that New England and New York secede and
form their own country. And then he seems to have wanted to have folks out in the Ohio Valley form something separate from the United States. So he wanted to expand,
but I think he wanted to be the head of whatever was expanding. – Yeah, exactly. The book is called “Rivals
Unto Death”, of course. This book is “The Ghost Army”. Thank you so much for
your Quad City visit. Quad City Arts being, you’re
the artist and resident for this week, so we
appreciate you being here. Rick Beyer, thank you
so much for joining us. WQPT has a commitment to
military families in the cities. We call it embracing the military. And military dads can take their kids on quite an adventure this Thursday. The Military Fatherhood
Program is offering fun times at Elevate Trampoline Park, coming up on Thursday November 14th. It’s a night of
wall-to-wall trampoline fun, plus there’s a ninja course. I don’t even know what that is. Dodge ball, zip line
activities, I know about that. It’s for military dads and their kids. Also some pizza is available, too. Make your reservation by calling
the Army Community Service. They’re in Building 110. On the air, on the radio, on the web, and on your mobile device,
thanks for taking some time to join as we talk about
the issues, on “The Cities”. (peaceful music) (sorrowful music) – [Announcer] A proud
supporter of this program, River Bend Foodbank’s
vision is a hunger-free Iowa and Illinois. – [Narrator] Wheelan-Pressly
Funeral Home and Crematory has been serving Quad
City families since 1889. Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Homes are located in Rock Island, Milan, and Reynolds, and are proud supporters of WQPT.

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