How much of a threat does Russia pose to the U.S. in 2015?

Buck: Thanks for staying with us. We’ve talked a bit about national security threats that we’re expecting in 2015 coming out of the Middle East. We’ve talked about the philosophy of jihad and the Islamic State, Iran and its nukes or its quest for nukes, the war that continues in Afghanistan. So we’re going to move our focus now from the Middle East to what we could call Eurasia. We might even throw in some other dictators into the mix.

Let’s talk Russia-Ukraine for a second. It seems to me that if you had, and Jim, we’ll start with you, if you had told someone at the beginning of the year that Vladimir Putin would annex Crimea and run an insurgency in Eastern Ukraine and by the end of 2014 going into 2015 would have 80% support among his own people despite economic sanctions that have actually caused an imminent recession as well as all sorts of capital flight, people would say no way. That’s the reality we face, so what does that tell us about where we are right now going into a new year?

Jim: Well, we kind of actually came close to that. We did predict that Ukraine was going to be a flashpoint in 2014, so check the box there.

Buck: You mean you.

Jim: Well, me and Putin.

Buck: Jim is allowed to do a national security victory dance apparently, but I mean for the rest of the world that didn’t think Putin was going to go this…to the wall.

Jim: See, here’s the problem, right, so you keep saying the word Ukraine, and it’s not the Ukraine. It basically is unending from the Nordic down through the Adriatic. Putin is pushing everywhere, and so this is the big question in D.C., and this is the parlor game, right, is the economy has totally tanked. I don’t talk about how much the ruble has fallen anymore because it keeps falling, and I’m wrong when I say that, right? The economy is actually contracting. It’s in terrible, terrible shape, and the question is well, what’s going to happen? Is Putin going to get more or less dangerous?

So, the Council on Foreign Relations and the President of the United States would like you to believe well, Putin is going to be constrained now. Don’t pay attention to the rhetoric. He’s going to have to pull his horns in because he can’t afford this. First of all, there’s no evidence of that, but there’s lots of evidence for the opposite. He’s actually gotten more aggressive. You can find confrontations in the Nordic countries, in the Baltic countries, in Lithuania. He just gave Bulgaria a death sentence. He pulled the South Stream Pipeline. It was going to be their big economic boom. He just pulled that out from underneath them.

Buck: So he’s throwing punches all over the place, in different ways. Stephen, do you see that changing at all in 2015 or just getting worse?

Stephen: No, I think it’s going get worse, because the history teaches us that dictators don’t rise just when there are strong economies and don’t just start invading their neighbors when there are strong economies. It’s the sense of desperation. It’s the vacuum that’s occurring in their culture, so I think Putin’s going to be more dangerous because he’s going to start trying to use foreign endeavors to heal and outstrip the economic problems at home. So I think we’re going to be far more destabilized.

Sara: I don’t even think he really cares about the economic problems at home. I think he is very self-centered. He’s a narcissist, and I think he believes in what he has to do to expand what was for him the former Soviet empire. You know, this is where we misjudge. We always try to analyze people the way we see ourselves. I think that Putin does not see the world in that light.

And I remember at the very beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, I had spoken to the major archbishop who had come from Ukraine here. He had spoken with the vice president. I said what did you tell Vice President Biden? And he said to me I told Vice President Biden that Vladimir Putin was going to invade Ukraine. I told him that he will invade Ukraine this year, and he didn’t really believe him. And I think that the sense of like oh well, this is just not going to happen is still in the mind of this administration.

Buck: Putin has said that he refuses to be the bear that is chained down and given berries and honey; that in fact he must go out. This is actually what he says, so the bear is loose in 2015.

Sara: Without a shirt on.

Jim: There’s another part of this story that people really aren’t talking about, and it’s really the most insidious part, which is the disinformation and the propaganda that Moscow is shooting out everywhere. They fund environmental groups in Western Europe to protest against energy projects that compete with Russian energy projects. They complain about the rise of fascism in Western Europe, and then they fund the fascists, so they have fascists to complain about.

Buck: This is straight out of the KGB playbook, actually.

Jim: Absolutely. They are all over the place. Look, I would love for Putin to kind of, you know, call a timeout, but there’s just no evidence that that’s going to happen.

Buck: But Cuba is going to get much better in 2015, right, Jim? Cuba is going to be your…this is going…am I taking…? No, I am not taking him to his happy place. Tell me Cuba 2015, what does it look like? We’ve had the loosening of things. He’s tapping out on Cuba.

Jim: I mean, this is a really simple one. This notion is oh, we’re going to open up Cuba, and everything is going to be fine. Look, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, these countries know how to steal money. Any money that goes to their country, the government is going to take a piece of it, and it’s going to make them better and more powerful. And look at who their friends are—Russia, all the people that were on the map that we’re talking about.

Buck: Any country that’s in red there pretty much, with the exception of Israel, is a friend of…

Jim: The little funny shorthaired guy in North Korea with the haircut that just said he’s going to blow up the White House, that’s the guy that the Cubans tried to send arms to last year.

Buck: Right. Stephen, anything on Cuba?

Stephen: Yeah, you know, it’s intriguing to me that everything that we’ve been talking about is exactly what you would expect when U.S. foreign policy implodes, when we don’t know how to use our strength, and the one thing we tend to point at as any kind of victory is simply Barack Obama legacy hunting. Cuba is a Barack Obama legacy hunting. The rest of it though is what you would expect to happen when the U.S. simply does not show up, does not take strong steps, and does not use its defense apparatus the way it can. And so as a result, there’s a vacuum, and Putin is just stepping into it. He’s just feeding off of American weakness and playing that throughout the entire of Europe.

Sara: And Obama’s legacy hunting with every one of our enemies. He doesn’t try to legacy hunt with one of our allies, like try to build stronger relationships, try to reinforce certain areas of the world, try to lead. No, he leads from behind, and I think this is the problem that we’ve been seeing. This is why, just like Jim said, Cuba is going to take advantage of this. Why wouldn’t they? The Russians took advantage of us, and it wasn’t just in those areas of the world. I mean, how much has Russia been involved in Syria and Iraq and playing games with Iran?

Buck: And that’s an important part about Cuba too is that we said Cuba is friends with all these different countries, but there are relationships, for example, between Venezuela and Cuba that now that Cuba is in better shape, it will mean that the regime in Venezuela will be in better shape and vice versa, so by pushing in one place, you actually create a reaction elsewhere, and I think with the Maduro regime, we see people, there’s lines for people getting toilet paper and water in a country that has the largest oil reserves in the world.

It’s a shame that the administration threw a lifeline to Cuba because it’s not just for Cuba. It’s for all of Cuba’s buddies that they send doctors to and they send intelligence to. They have intelligence officers serving all over the world.

Jim: Yeah, well, it’s leading of a kind. You know, the first lemming off the cliff, he thought he was leading.

Buck: Well, there’s leading, and there’s leading. So, we’re going to talk a bit about threats coming from the east, from Asia, in 2015. Don’t go anywhere. We’ll be right back.

Front page image courtesy of the AP.

Glenn Beck: Adam Schiff is a LIAR — and we have the proof

Image source: Glenn Beck Program on BlazeTV

On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck didn't hold back when discussing the latest in a long list of lies issued by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) during the Democrats' ongoing endeavor to remove President Donald Trump from office.

"I'm going to just come out and say, Adam Schiff is a liar. And he intentionally lied. And we have the proof. The media being his little lapdog, but I'll explain what's really going on, and call the man a liar to his face," Glenn asserted. "No, I'm not suggesting he's a liar. No, I'm telling you, he's a liar. ... Adam Schiff is a lying dirtbag."

A recent report in Politico claimed Schiff "mischaracterized" the content of a document sent to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) as evidence against President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. Read more on this here.

"Let me translate [for Politico]," Glenn said. "House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff lied about a text message exchange between two players in the Ukrainian saga. And we know it, because of the documents that were obtained by Politico."

A few of the other lies on Schiff's list include his repeated false claims that there was "significant evidence of collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election, his phony version of President Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine, and his retracted claim that neither he nor his committee ever had contact with the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower. And the list just keeps getting longer.

Watch the video below for more details:

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On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere discussed recent reports that former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, wasn't the only family member to capitalize on his connections to land an unbelievably lucrative job even though he lacked qualifications or experience.

According to Peter Schweizer's new book, "Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America's Progressive Elite," Joe Biden's younger brother, Frank, enjoyed the benefit of $54 million in taxpayer loans during the Obama administration to try his hand at an international development venture.

A lawyer by training, Frank Biden teamed up with a developer named Craig Williamson to build a sprawling luxury resort in Costa Rica, which claimed to be on a mission to preserve the country's forests but actually resulted in the decimation of thousands of acres of wilderness.

The then-vice president's brother also reportedly earned hundreds of thousands of dollars as the front man of a for-profit charter school company called Mavericks in Education.

The charter schools, which focused on helping at-risk teens, eventually failed after allegations of mismanagement and a series of lawsuits derailed the dubious business venture.

Watch the video below to get Glenn's take on these latest revelations in the Biden family corruption saga:

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Ryan: Bernie at the disco

Photo by Sean Ryan

Saturday at El Malecón, we waited for the Democratic socialist. He had the wild white hair like a monk and the thick glasses and the booming voice full of hacks and no niceties.

Photo by Sean Ryan

The venue had been redecorated since we visited a few nights before when we chatted with Castro. It didn't even feel like the same place. No bouncy castle this time.

Photo by Sean Ryan

A black curtain blocked the stage, giving the room a much-needed depth.

Behind the podium, two rows of mostly young people, all holding Bernie signs, all so diverse and picturesque and strategic.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Lots of empty seats. Poor showing of Bernie fans for a Saturday afternoon. At one point, someone from Bernie's staff offered us seats in the audience, as if eager to fill up those seats however possible.

There were about 75 people in the dancehall, a place built for reunions and weddings and all those other festivities. But for a few hours on Saturday, August 10, 2019, it turned serious and wild for "Unidos Con Bernie."

Photo by Sean Ryan

People had been murmuring about Sanders' speech from the night before at Wing Ding. By all appearances, he had developed a raving lust to overthrow Trump. He had even promised, with his wife just out of view, that, were he elected, he'd end white nationalism in America. For good.

El Malecón lacked its previous air of celebration. It had undertaken a brooding yet defiant spirit. Media were sparse. Four cameras faced the podium. Three photographers, one of whom had been at nearly all the same events as us. A few of the staffers frowned at an empty row of chairs, because there weren't that many chairs to begin with.

At the entrance, Bernie staff handed out headsets that translated English to Spanish or Spanish to English, depending on who the speaker was. The translators stood behind the bar, 20 feet from the podium, and spoke into a lip-ribbon microphone.

Bernie's staff was probably the coolest, by far. As in, they looked cool and acted stylishly. Jeans. Sandals. Careworn blazers. Tattoos. One lad had a black Levi's shirt with lush crimson roses even though he wasn't a cowboy or a ranch-hand. Mustaches. Quirky hats. A plain green sundress. Some of them wore glasses, big clunking frames.

Photo by Sean Ryan

The outfits were distinctly Bernie. As Bernie as the tie-dyed "BERNIE" shirts for sale outside the club. Or later, at the Hilton, like a Grateful Dead cassette stand.

Immigration was the theme, and everyone in the audience bore some proof of a journey. Because America offers life, freedom, and hope.

Sanders' own father emigrated from Poland to America at 17, a high school dropout who could barely speak English. As a Jew, he'd faced religious persecution.

Within one generation, Bernie Sanders' father contributed to the highest stratum of American society. In one generation, near hopelessness had transformed into Democracy, his son a congressman with a serious chance at the presidency.

Photo by Sean Ryan

That's the beauty of America. Come here broken and empty and gutted and voiceless. And, within your lifetime, you can mend yourself then become a pillar of society. Then, your son can become the President of the United States of America!

Four people gave speeches before Sanders. They took their time, excited and nervous. They putzed. Because how often do you get to introduce a presidential frontrunner?

All the native English speakers jammed their earpieces when the woman with the kind and dark energy took the stage.

Photo by Sean Ryan

She mumbled in Spanish and did not look up and said that, when her parents died, she couldn't go home for the funeral. She fought back tears. She swallowed hard to shock herself calm. And the room engulfed each silence between every word.

It felt more like a therapy session than a political rally. A grueling therapy session at that. Was that what drew people to Bernie Sanders, that deep anguish? That brisk hope? Or, rather, the cessation of it, through Sanders? And, of course, the resultant freedom? Was it what gave Sanders a saintlike ability to lead people into the realm of the confessional? Did he have enough strength to lead a revolution?

Photo by Sean Ryan

While other frontrunners hocked out money for appearances, like the studio lights, Sanders spent money on translators and ear-pieces. The impression I got was that he would gladly speak anywhere. To anyone. He had the transitory energy you can capture in the writings of Gandhi.

Photo by Sean Ryan

I'm not saying he's right or wrong — I will never make that claim, about any of the candidates, because that's not the point of this, not the point of journalism, amen — what I'm saying is he has the brutal energy of someone who can take the subway after a soiree or rant about life by a tractor or chuck it up with Sarah Silverman, surrounded wherever he goes.

Without the slightest fanfare, Sanders emerged from behind the black curtain. The woman at the podium gasped a little. The room suctioned forward when he entered. In part because he was so nonchalant. And, again. That magnetism to a room when a famous or powerful or charming person enters. Not many people have it. Not many can keep it. Even fewer know how to brace it, to cull it on demand. But several of the candidates did. One or two even had something greater.

Photo by Sean Ryan

I'll only say that Bernie had it with a bohemian fervor, like he was a monk stranded in a big city that he slowly brings to God.

"We have a President who, for the first time in my lifetime, who is a President who is a racist," he shouted. "Who is a xenophobe and anti-immigrant. Who is a sexist. Who is a religious bigot. And who, is a homophobe. And, what is very disappointing is that, when we have a President, we do not necessarily expect to agree with him, or her, on every issue. But we do believe that one of the obligations is to bring people to-geth-ah. As Americans."

Photo by Sean Ryan

After listening silently for several minutes, the audience clapped. Their sweet response felt cultish. But, then again, what doesn't feel cultish these days? So this was cultish like memes are cultish, in a striving-to-understand kind of way.

"The essence of our campaign is in fact to bring people together," he said. "Whether they're black, or white, or latino, or Native American, or Asian-American. We understand that we are Americans."

At times, this meant sharing a common humanity. Others, it had a slightly more disruptive feel. Which worked. Sometimes all we want is revolution. To be wild without recourse. To overthrow. To pass through the constraints of each day. To survive. The kind of rowdy stuff that makes for good poetry but destroys credit lines. Sanders radiated with this intensity, like a reclusive philosopher returning to society, from his cave to homes and beds and fences and maybe electricity.

Photo by Sean Ryan

But, as he says, his revolution would involve healthcare and wages and tuition, not beheadings and purges and starvation.

Seeing the Presidential candidates improvise was amazing. They did it constantly. They would turn any of their beliefs into a universal statement. And Sanders did this without trying. So he avoided doing the unbearably arrogant thing of pretending to speak like a native Guatemalan, and he looked at the group of people, and he mumbled in his cloudy accent:

"My Spanish — is not so good."

Photo by Sean Ryan

This is the same and the opposite of President Trump's Everyman way of speaking English like an American. Of speaking American.

Often, you know what Sanders will say next. You can feel it. And, anytime this happened, it brought comfort to the room.

Like, it surprised no one when he said that he would reinstate DACA on his first day in office. It still drew applause.

But other times, he expressed wild ideas with poetic clarity. And his conclusions arrived at unusual junctures. Not just in comparison to Republicans. To all of them. Bernie was the Tupac of the 2020 election. And, to him, President Trump was Suge Knight, the evil force behind it all.

"Donald Trump is an idiot," he shouted.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Everybody loved that. Everybody clapped and whooped and some even whistled like they were outside and not in a linoleum-floor dancehall.

"Go get 'em, Bernie," someone in the back shouted.

This was the only Sanders appearance with no protestors.

"Let me say this about the border," he shouted. And everybody listened to every thunking syllable. He probably could have spoken without a mic. Booming voice. Loud and clear. Huddling into that heavy Vermont slug accent.

They'll say many many things about Bernie. One being, you never had to lean forward to hear him. In person, even more so. He's less frail. More dynamic.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Despite the shoddiness of the venue, there was a sign language interpreter. Most of the rallies had a designated interpreter.

"If you work 40 hours a week you shouldn't be living in poverty," he shouted, provoking chants and applause from the audience, as if he were talking about them. Maybe he was.

An anecdote about the people at an emergency food shelf blended into the livable wage of $15 an hour. He shifted into his spiel about tuition-free college and pointed at the audience, "You're not doing well," then at the kids behind him, "they are." He craned his head sideways and back. "Do your homework," he told said.

Laughter.

Half of the kids looked like they hadn't eaten in days. Maybe it was their unusual situation, a few feet from Bernie Sanders at a stucco community center.

Before the room could settle, Sanders wove through a plan for how to cancel debt.

Did he have a solution?

Tax Wall Street, he shouted.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And he made it sound easy. "Uno dos trey," he said. "That's my Spanish for today."

A serious man, he shoved through his speech like a tank hurtling into dense jungle. He avoided many of the typical politician gimmicks. Proof that he did not practice every expression in front of a mirror. That he did not hide his accent. That he did not preen his hair. That he did not smile for a precise amount of time, depending on the audience. That he did not pretend to laugh.

Photo by Sean Ryan

He laughed when humor overtook him. But it was genuine. With none of the throaty recoil you hear in forced laughter.

"I want everyone to take a deep breath," he said. And a palpable lightness spread through the room, because a deep breath can solve a lot of problems.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Then he roused some more. "Healthcare is a human right," he shouted. "A human privilege," he shouted. He told them that he lives 50 miles from the Canadian border in Burlington, Vermont, and healthcare works better up north.

Each candidate had a bad word, and Sanders' was "corporate."

Photo by Sean Ryan

At every speech, he mentioned "corporate media" with the same distrust and unpleasantness that conservatives derive from the term "mainstream media." Another would be "fake news," as popularized by Sanders' sworn enemy. Either way it's the same media. Just different motivations that irk different people.

But the discrepancies varied. Meaning two opposing political movements disliked the same thing, but for opposite reasons.
It sounded odd, Sanders' accusation that the media were against him. The media love Bernie. I can confirm this both anecdotally and judiciously. Yes, okay, in 2016, the media appeared to have sided with Hillary Clinton. As a result, Sanders was publicly humiliated. Because Clinton took a mafioso approach to dealing with opponents, and Sanders was her only roadblock.

Imagine if a major political organization devoted part of each day to agitating your downfall. And then you fail. And who's fault is it?

Sanders wanted to know: those negative ads targeting him, who paid for them?

Photo by Sean Ryan

Corporations, of course. Corporations that hated radicals like him. And really was he so radical? He listed off the possibilities: Big pharma, insurance companies, oil companies.

Because he had become a revolutionary, to them. To many.

He said it with certainty, although he often didn't have to say it at all. This spirit of rebellion had become his brand. He would lead the wild Americans into a utopia.

But just as quickly, he would attack. Trump, as always, was the target.

He called Trump the worst president in American history.

"The fates are Yuge," he shouted.

The speech ended as informally as it had begun. And Sanders' trance over the audience evaporated, replaced by that suction energy. Everyone rushed closer and closer to the man as Neil Young's "Keep on Rockin in the Free World" blared. Sanders leaned into the podium and said, "If anyone wants to form a line, we can do some selfies."

Photo by Sean Ryan

It was like meeting Jesus for some of the people.

There he was, at El Malecón. No stage lights, no makeup, no stylist behind the curtain. Just him and his ideas and his erratic hand commotion.

Then a man holding a baby leaned in for a photo. He and Sanders chatted. And, I kid you not, the whole time the baby is staring at Bernie Sanders like he's the image of God, looking right up at him, with this glow, this understanding.

Bernie, if you're reading this, I'd like to suggest that — if this election doesn't work for you — you could be the next Pope.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Monday, Harvard Law professor and lawyer on President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team Alan Dershowitz explains the history of impeachment and its process, why the framers did not include abuse of power as criteria for a Constitutional impeachment, why the Democrats are framing their case the way they are, and what to look for in the upcoming Senate trial.

Dershowitz argued that "abuse of power" -- one of two articles of impeachment against Trump approved by House Democrats last month -- is not an impeachable act.

"There are two articles of impeachment. The second is 'obstruction of Congress.' That's just a false accusation," said Dershowitz. "But they also charge him, in the Ukraine matter, with abuse of power. But abuse of power was discussed by the framers (of the U.S. Constitution) ... the framers refused to include abuse of power because it was too broad, too open-ended.

"In the words of James Madison, the father of our Constitution, it would lead presidents to serve at the will of Congress. And that's exactly what the framers didn't want, which is why they were very specific and said a president can be impeached only for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," he added.

"What's alleged against President Trump is not criminal," added Dershowitz. "If they had criminal issues to allege, you can be sure they would have done it. If they could establish bribery or treason, they would have done it already. But they didn't do it. They instead used this concept of abuse of power, which is so broad and general ... any president could be charged with it."

Watch the video below to hear more details:



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