Radio and news veteran Mike Opelka, host of Pure Opelka on TheBlaze and editor of FireWire, TheBlaze daily newsletter, filled in for Glenn on The Glenn Beck Program today, Friday, December 30.
Read below or listen to the full segment from Hour 2 for answers to these questions:
• How many years was Ernesto Rodriguez in the US Army?
• How can you follow @NerdNesto as he walks across America?
• How did Ernesto help a homeless veteran in Dallas?
• How many states have completely eradicated veteran homelessness?
• Since Ernesto does not accept donations, what would he like people to do?
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
MIKE: It is the Glenn Beck Program. However, Mr. Beck having a holiday. Mike Opelka from Pure Opelka on TheBlaze Radio Network, filling in for my friend, my boss, my old buddy, Glenn Beck. And I appreciate his trust with his franchise. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Dom Theodore, for the love and support this year.
So much good has come my way in 2016. And yet, so much troubling stuff in 2016.
So many things I will be happy to wave goodbye to, 2016. And welcome 2017.
I’m excited about the future. I am very happy to put 2016 to bed, the year I lost both my parents. Just not a good year for me. Not a good memory. And I hope if you had bad memories, you too can put them away, and let’s all go forward.
As a matter of fact, there’s a good memory I want to share with all of you from 2016. Let me see if I can find it. This was — this was from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, just about a year ago.
OBAMA: Next year at this time, someone else will be standing here in this very spot. And it’s anyone guess who she will be. But…
MIKE: How about a little bit of schadenfreude there? How about a little bit of oops? Oops. “It’s anyone’s guess who she will be.” Wrong-o, sir. You missed on that one. Yes, that’s a little bit of schadenfreude.
I can take pleasure at the unfortunate happenstance that President Obama and the Democrats had. You know what’s really weird was the way the people thought this was going to be such a massive landslide. And we’ll get into that.
I talked briefly last hour about the subpoena for — for the voice that was recorded and some of the requests made by people who have one of those Alexas or those devices you put in your house and you tell them to search things for you or turn down the lights or play a music number. And we’re going to get into that in an hour with a lawyer friend of ours. Dr. Wendy Patrick will join us.
But I also wanted to do a little hero saluting today.
We still don’t have Donald Trump’s pick for the VA cabinet post. We still do not have someone who Mr. Trump would like to see handling the VA. And I know yesterday, Mr. Trump was — was floating the idea as he has in the past, as others have in the past, about privatizing the VA or giving every — every veteran a card for their medical treatment that they could take to any facility in the country and get paid back.
Now, obviously there are some issues with that and some things that need to be worked out in terms of logistics. But the fact that this president-elect is looking to help our veterans gets me on his side, gets me in his corner, cheering.
And the problem is so huge that anybody who brings attention to the lack of care that is — that our vets are not getting, anyone who brings attention to the problems of the VA, I will give room on whatever show I’m dealing with. And I — I happen to be introduced to one such person, who also happens to be a veteran of the United States military.
And I wanted to introduce him to you today because he is doing something that he wanted to do, to call attention to it. He’s not out there on the streets asking for money. He’s not — he’s not — he doesn’t have a GoFundMe program. He’s just doing what he’s doing to draw attention to the problems of the veterans.
And while I’m — I’m going to let him tell the story. His name is Ernesto Rodriguez. He served this country quite bravely. And just recently retired.
Ernesto, welcome to the Glenn Beck Program, my friend.
ERNESTO: Sir. How are you?
MIKE: I’m good. Now, where the heck are you today?
ERNESTO: I am in the heart of downtown Dallas.
MIKE: You’re in the heart of downtown Dallas.
Ernesto, for this audience that doesn’t know you, that didn’t hear the interview we did on Pure Opelka earlier, how long did you serve this country, and in what branch, sir?
ERNESTO: I was in the U.S. Army. I was an infantryman, and I served 15 years.
MIKE: Wow. First of all, thank you for your service. Were you deployed overseas?
ERNESTO: I was. I deployed twice to Iraq, twice to Afghanistan. The first deployment being the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
MIKE: Wow. Wow. That’s — you were involved in the real serious stuff, sir.
MIKE: And I’m glad you’re here. You’re all in one piece, I take it.
ERNESTO: I am. I am.
MIKE: Good. Good. Well, Ernesto, you decided that you were going to try to bring attention to the plight of the veterans, not just health care, but the fact that we lose between 20 and 22 vets every day to suicide and the mental health issues that we obviously aren’t addressing quickly enough.
And you wanted to do something that would — that would draw attention to the issue. And what is that, sir?
ERNESTO: Well, sir, I started walking from Clarksville, Tennessee, on November 11th, Veterans Day, and decided to start a journey towards Los Angeles, California. It will be a total of 2200 miles. And just — just to bring awareness the 22 that we lose every day to suicide. And also, the need for reform in mental health care for active duty soldiers and veterans.
That’s what I’m doing.
MIKE: Okay. And you started in Tennessee, but why Clarksville, Tennessee? Why that starting point?
ERNESTO: So when I — when I medically retired from the military, I happened to be at Fort Campbell. And Clarksville, Tennessee, is the neighboring city of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
MIKE: Okay. So basically you checked out of your base and stood — and headed towards the west coast hoping to draw attention. You’re walking. You’re walking the whole way. And from Veterans Day to today, you’ve made it to Dallas.
Now, I noticed something, Ernesto. And if you want to follow Ernesto and his exploits, he is @NerdNesto, which I think is a very funny name. I should talk, with Stunt Brain. You can follow him on Twitter @NerdNesto.
You are posting little videos and little bits and bites of information along the way, one of which really tugged on my heartstrings when you met a homeless vet living under a highway overpass.
When did that meet-up happen?
ERNESTO: That occurred on December 22nd, as I was walking into Dallas. It was on Interstate 30. I was walked down Interstate 30. And I came to this overpass. I looked to my side, and I see a big old green Army duffle bag.
Now, I didn’t know if it was going to be a veteran or not, but there was somebody moving up there, and I felt really bad because Christmas was coming up.
So I dug into my bag. I grabbed some beef jerky, a protein bar, and five dollars, and I went up and said, “Happy Holidays.” And as I spoke with him, I found out he was a veteran. So what happened was, I was doing a Facebook Live at the time to show people how unfair it is that this gentleman, if he was a veteran, is laying on the streets after serving this country.
So not even ten minutes later, I got three messages from different nonprofit organizations within the Dallas area, asking me the location of the gentleman, to come pick him up, put him in a hotel room for the night, bring him a meal, and try to get him back on his feet.
MIKE: Wow. If you want to see this video — you posted that on Facebook as well?
ERNESTO: Yeah. So I do Facebook Live. I try to do a little bit on every social media network. But I do tag links. But that one was so important to me because I want to make sure that this man got helped, that I posted it on every single outlet I could find.
MIKE: Well, that’s a wonderful story. Ernesto, I can’t even begin to thank you. This is such an important — an important mission of yours. And I salute you for having the courage and the stamina to do this. Obviously, you have a long road ahead of you.
How long will it take you, do you think, to get all the way to Los Angeles?
ERNESTO: I’m looking at around March, beginning to mid-March at this point. I’ve been doing a little research on walking through Death Valley. So it may take me a little bit longer because I’m going to have to conserve my energy and my food and my water, through that trek.
MIKE: So are you going across I-10? Is that the way you’re going to get all the way across the southwest?
ERNESTO: So I’ll go from 20 to 10. To El Paso, to Tucson, Phoenix, and then into Los Angeles.
MIKE: Got it. Got it. I’ve traveled that via Greyhound. Never on foot. So I had the benefit of having a Greyhound bus ticket that would get me across the southwest.
His name is Ernesto. He is a 15-year veteran of the United States military. He is a guy I call a hero. Ernesto Rodriguez is trying to bring attention to the plight of our vets, the 22 we lose virtually every day to suicide. Guys — men and women who served this country who don’t have to die. The one story, Ernesto, that always sticks in my mind is one that you and I talked about before, and that is the vet who actually took his own life in the parking lot of the VA.
MIKE: And I don’t think you can highlight something as more of a cry for help and more of a need for the government to get involved and straighten out the mess they have than a soldier who was so desperate, that they actually took their life on the property in the parking lot of the VA.
What do we do, Ernesto? What can we do to either help you get the word out or help you get across the country? Because I know you’re not taking donations.
ERNESTO: Right. What I love, you know, saying to other people is, “If you do feel like donating money, please donate it to a local nonprofit local charity in your area.” Do your research. Because some nonprofits don’t work as well as others. But on my behalf, donate to them. I just don’t want money.
I have been lucky enough to surround myself with enough people that my hotel rooms, when I get a chance to stay in a hotel, are taken care of. Food is taken care of. All I have to focus is on walking.
But check your local organizations. Spend time with your veterans. Make sure that they have someone to lean on. And make sure that they understand that they are still wrong people, even if they’re asking for help.
MIKE: You know what I always tell folks, if you can’t ask for help, you can’t be strong enough to give help. And that perception that asking for help is weakness is so misguided, and it’s one we need to break now.
Ernesto, I know we can find you on Twitter @NerdNesto. Where — how do we find you on Facebook and Instagram?
ERNESTO: Well, I’ve — Dallas has been very good to me. And I’ve been on a lot of local media. I was able to meet some very well recognized celebrities last night. So now they’re starting to follow me. So I’m actually starting to hit top hit on Google. So if you look up @NerdNesto on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, you can see all the news reports. I’m definitely — I’m getting there.
MIKE: Well, that’s good. That’s good. I love the fact that people are starting to pay attention. And the story that you — you shared with us, that Facebook Live post of that veteran living under an overpass is just heartbreaking. And I’m so pleased that at least three agencies raised their hands and came to help this man. Maybe we can do this.
I’m happy to say, Ernesto, that the state where I’m coming from you today, Delaware —
MIKE: — is one of three states in the country that does not have homeless veterans. We were officially certified, on Veterans Day, as one of the states that’s solved the homelessness problem and has gotten housing and care and counseling for those homeless vets. But we still have 47 other states we need to get moving on.
ERNESTO: I agree.
MIKE: And your work is so much appreciated, sir. I want to say, God bless you, and have a great New Year. You know there’s an open door any time you want to get news out.
When are you leaving Dallas now? If we can rally support to wish you well on your next leg of your journey, when are you checking out?
ERNESTO: I am checking out on the 2nd at 9 o’clock. An organization here called 22 Kill has actually started organizing a walk with me. If you’re from the Dallas area, there is a huge eyeball sculpture in the middle of downtown. We’re leaving from there at 9 o’clock, and everybody will be walking 2.2 miles with me. And then I’ll continue on my journey that day.
MIKE: Beautiful, beautiful.
Well, I will post that up and encourage people to follow you on Twitter as well. My buddy, Nerd Nesto.
Ernesto, God bless you again, friend. And have a great rest of your year.
ERNESTO: Thank you. You too.
MIKE: When we get back, there’s more news. Plus, I have to give you the latest on the mic drop moment from Vladimir Putin to Barack Obama. And, oh, my gosh, there’s this story you’re not going to believe. An arrest was made in California that if I’m ever in California, there’s a good chance I would be arrested too. I’ll share the story with you next on the Glenn Beck Program.
MIKE: It is the Glenn Beck Program. Mike Opelka from Pure Opelka on TheBlaze Radio network, sitting in for my pal Glenn Beck, wrapping up 2016 and tying a cinder block to it and throwing it in the river. That’s basically how I feel about this year. There are a couple of things this year that I will hang onto. One of which is the opportunity to be here. Another is my nighttime radio show on TheBlaze Radio network. If you want to know more, go to TheBlaze.com, click on the button that says Channels, and click on my mug and follow me. Would you?
I would appreciate it. And you will — you’ll see what I’m up to. Before we went away, I mentioned the fact that I don’t know if I can ever go back to California.
And I have so many great — great friends who are friends of this show and friends who live in California. I just don’t know if I can go. I don’t want to be arrested.
It makes me very nervous. My buddy at TheBlaze.com, Brandon Morris wrote this story a day ago. And he said: California police arrest a man for driving under the influence of caffeine. Not kidding.
This actually happened. A guy named Joseph Schwab, driving home from work in Solano County, reportedly he cut off a car. Driving that car that he reportedly cut off was an agent from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Now, I didn’t know this, but those people have arrest privileges. The agent claimed that Schwab was driving erratically, which in California, is about 90 percent of the people I’ve been around on the highway.
The officer pulled Schwab over and said, “You need to take a breathalyzer test.” The guy blew a double zero. 0000.0000. Nevertheless, she arrested him, took him to jail, said, “You’ve got to be on something, the way you were driving.” They did a blood test. Everything came back negative. No drugs. Nothing illegal in his system. They did find he had caffeine in his system. So they have now charged him with a substance, being driving under the influence of a substance, which is perfectly legal, sold to drivers to keep awake. How many cops do you see at a doughnut shop with a cup of coffee? It’s craziness.
California, I can’t come back, until you fix this. Free Mr. Schwab or arrest everybody with a Starbucks card. Come back after the break. There’s more.
MIKE: Mike Opelka with you on the Glenn Beck Program. Filling out the rest of 2016. And I will be back Monday to kick off 2017. Thank you, Mr. Beck.
Jeff is on the phone from Georgia, I believe. Jeff, we were just talking with my friend Ernesto a little bit earlier about the plight of the veterans in this country and the 20 to 22 we lose every single day to suicide. And you wanted to bring up something that is highlighting that as well. Hello, sir.
Did we lose him? Sounded like we lost his call. Well, put him on hold if he comes back. Let me know, please. Dallas, we will take care of that.
Earlier today, we talked about the fact that President Obama dropped the hammer, as he believed, on the Russians, kicking 35 Russian diplomats out of the country, giving them 72 hours to get out of town, the equivalent of the old west. You got to be out of town by sundown, son. Seventy-two hours to get out of town, to get out of America and go back to mother Russia.
And we also apparently told them we were going to take two of their compounds, one in New York and one in Maryland.
Well, Vladimir Putin — Vladimir Putin dropped a bigger hammer, basically. He called Obama’s tactics irresponsible kitchen diplomacy and said that it would — it would hurt our relations, but they will take steps to further restore Russia/US relations based on the policies of the Trump administration. Which, you know, really?
The gracious thing to do would have been to do just that. The situation here — what — what President Obama has done in the past week, with both Israel and Russia, to me, is — is akin to digging a bunch of holes in the White House lawn and putting explosives out there and then covering it over with new turf. You have landmined the future for an incoming administration, just because you lost. Just because the coronation of Hillary Clinton did not occur. And your legacy is at stake.
And what this president has done or is doing makes the shenanigans of the Clinton administration in the transition to the Bush administration look like a kindergarten prank.
Remember, they messed up all the White House keyboards. They took all the W’s off. That will fix them. Yeah.
What a bunch of whiners. What a bunch of babies they were. But now this — this to me borders on massive government meddling. And to say publicly that we’re going to be supportive and we are going to help with the transition, and then to do the things that he is doing, are just disgusting to me.
They don’t make any stinking sense, until you think about President Obama and what his intentions are and what his intentions have always been.
Here’s a guy who — well, let me go back to Putin and what Putin did. After Putin heard that — that Obama was kicking out 35 diplomats and taking over these two compounds, Putin’s right hand, his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said he had sent a recommendation to Putin to basically expel 35 American diplomats and take over a couple of American compounds. And everybody in the mainstream media said, “Yeah, yeah, that’s what we’ll do. That’s what Russia is going to do. They’re going to kick out the Americans.” Well, after almost two hours of reporting that non-stop on CNN and MSNBC and just about everywhere, Putin put out a statement calling this — as I mentioned earlier, the irresponsible kitchen diplomacy.
But he also — this is when he dropped it right on Obama’s toes, a big ol’ hammer.
He said the diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for the American diplomats here. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their travel and leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties at the Kremlin.
Notice the wording. Notice the wording. And as I say, “Notice the wording,” I’m staring at the Christmas card I received from Vice President Joe Biden just a week ago.
I’m sorry. It’s not a Christmas card. It’s a holiday card. It has a — what looks like a Christmas tree on the cover, but on the back, it says, “The vice president’s holiday tree, 2016.”
And inside, the message from the Obama administration’s vice president says, “Happy Holidays.”
Vladimir Putin, in his message: I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.
Gee. You think you just got the hammer dropped on your feet, President Obama? Then he added, my seasons greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is the perfect example of alpha maling somebody.
Putin just took the high ground. Just took all the air out of the Obama balloon. So there it is.
Oh, boy, this is going to be a fun one to watch. Now, on the subject of Israel. I want to talk about Israel as well and what’s going on with the United Nations and Israel. We had hoped to have Louie Gohmert on the show today. Louie is introducing a — a bill. And several in the House have said, “We need to defund the United Nations.” Because in essence, we, one country out of the — what is it? 260 countries that are part of the UN. We pay 22 percent of all the cost of the United Nations. And for those of us who live in New York, we incur 100 percent of the hassle every time the UN meets. Every single time those bobos come into town for their general assembly, which is also known as party weekends, every time those bobos come to town, New York is a mess. New York traffic is absolutely fishmeckled forever.
So I would not be opposed to defunding the United Nations or putting them on a barge and floating them out to sea. If you’re so in love with the European Union, if you’re so in love with — or put them in San Francisco. Put them in a sanctuary city like San Francisco. But get them out of here.
But we were supposed to have Louie on to talk about that bill. And I guess he wants to be with his family on New Year’s. So Louie is on the plane. So Louie, I appreciate you. I wish you could have been here to talk about this. But in the case of Israel and Barack Obama, we should talk about the duplicitous nature of this president. The duplicitous nature, especially when — when you look at what John Kerry did and said recently and what Barack Obama said when he was trying to get elected in 2008 and he was speaking at AIPAC.
OBAMA: But any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized, defensible borders.
MIKE: Wait. What? Any agreement? Any agreement? Let’s go back and listen to the first part of that.
OBAMA: But any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized, defensible borders.
MIKE: Hmm. Interesting. He seems to have changed his position on that. Or am I wrong? He also said something else.
OBAMA: Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.
MIKE: Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided. Guess who got the votes. Guess who got elected in 2008. And then guess who has turned his back on Israel since that time. Barack Obama.
One of the more disgusting flip-flops ever. And now that he has 21 days left, he’s going out the door, and he’s sawing the bridge behind him. And is that word enough?
I wouldn’t doubt he poured a little gasoline on it and dropped a match, as he wandered off into the woods, if only.
This president dropping — dropping friends like Israel and treating them the way they are. Now — now, you will hear from your friends that — but wait a minute, what about — what about the MUS? Do you know what the MUS — the memorandum of understanding. MOU. The memorandum of understanding between Israel and America.
Everyone who you will talk to about Israel and what we’ve done with this UN deal — and believe me, this — this resolution is just the first part. In the next break, I’m going to tell you something that will shock you. But they all say, “But wait a minute. What about the MUS? What about the fact that we are — MOU?” Why do I keep saying MUS?
The MOU with Israel. Where we give Israel $3.8 billion a year for the next ten years. We hand them that money. And it’s — it’s money for foreign military financing as we call it.
But it also is a jobs program for the United States of America. The money we give to Israel, then they turn around and then buy stuff to protect themselves. And they don’t buy it from Russia. They don’t buy it from France. They buy it from the United States of America. In practical terms, this is a jobs program for America that also keeps our friends in Israel safe.
So if anybody pulls the MOU argument on you, just tell them, “Yeah, well, guess what, they buy those — they buy those planes from the United States. They buy the fighter jets from the United States. They buy the parts they need for that fleet. Those F-35s from us, which keeps people employed here in America. Good jobs. Union jobs. Huge paying jobs. So don’t play that game with me.
There’s more on Israel though and what Obama’s actions did, what the UN actions did, that I’ll tell you about after the break. Mike Opelka in for Glenn Beck on the Glenn Beck Program.
MIKE: Mike Opelka in for Glenn Beck, wrapping up the new — the old year and looking forward into the New Year. We’ll kick that off Monday. You can join me here.
Before I jump to my guest, I wanted to tell you what I was talking about with Israel and the UN. Not only did they pass that resolution, they just approved $138,000 to build a database blacklisting any business doing ties with Israel. Anybody that’s got a business doing business with Israel, prepare to be blacklisted by the UN. I’m telling you, the resolution was just the start. It is a big problem.
Now, I was talking earlier about this story — this crazy story about Amazon’s Echo, that speaker that you can talk to and it will talk back to you, and the subpoena from the prosecutors who think that it may have been a witness to a murder. And I wonder the legality of it. So I’ve asked our friend, Dr. Wendy Patrick. WendyPatrickPhD.com. To join us. Wendy has so much experience in the law. Well, she’s a lawyer. She also understands the trial situations and how to watch candidate — or, people testifying and see what their body language says.
But, Wendy, how are you going to know the body language of this device if it’s feeding back all the data that it has? This scares me.
WENDY: Yeah. You know, we live in a brave new world, a world of drones and Siri and camera phones and all kinds of new technology, much of which has been untested when it comes to their admissibility in court. That is going to be the problem when you have devices that are witnesses. They’re not live witnesses. You can’t read their body language. They don’t have any. They’re not alive.
And it really sort of — on the one hand, people could argue it’s a greater sense of credibility because there’s no inherent bias in a machine. On the other hand, if we are unsure as to the mechanics of how something works, that’s going to be subject to judicial scrutiny.
So these are issues that have to be briefed on both sides. There’s no precedent as of yet. And it’s almost impossible to determine on a case-by-case basis, how these kinds of devices are going to be admissible in court.
Although, we’re all going to be sitting back and watching because we’re going to learn from each and every court decision as it comes down the line.
MIKE: Yeah, I sense this is going to go all the way to the top. I’ve got less than a half minute here. I hope you can hang up because I want to talk more about this, how it relates to our privacy, can you indict yourself, can you — can you incriminate yourself because your voice was record by a technology company? So many questions, Wendy. Please hang out and join us around the corner. Will you?
WENDY: Will do.
MIKE: All right. Wendy Patrick will join us in the next hour as we try and unravel the legal problems from our brave new world of technology.
Can a drone deliver my drone? Hmm. Big questions. Mike Opelka on the Glenn Beck Program. We’ll be back after the news.
Featured Image: Selfie by Ernesto Rodriguez