Could this man could be more dangerous than Woodrow Wilson?

It's hard to think there could be a man more dangerous than Woodrow Wilson. After all, Wilson is attached to the root of the progressivism infecting modern American politics. But after doing some digging, Glenn found a figure whose influence could have an equally greater - and imminently more destructive - effect on the Western way of life. Glenn wants views to learn this information and share it with friends, which is why we are making the transcripts of Tuesday's monologues available on GlennBeck.com

Below is a transcript of tonight's show

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The series is called The Root, and it is designed to go beyond the reactionary surface information that you’re going to get from mainstream media and actually go to the root of the problem, and this is episode two of three episodes. Tomorrow night we close it off, and it focuses on the coming red storm and the implications of Russia’s dangerous international escalations that no one is addressing. What are the real reasons behind what’s happening in the world? More importantly, what does it mean for the future, not just of Russia or Europe, but America as well?

Last night, in episode number one, in episode number one, we showed you Russia’s deep historical roots and how Putin is following in the footsteps of Ivan the Great and others who have successfully used nationalism to unite Russians and in turn increase power and control in their region. Vladimir Putin understands Russia’s past and is tapping into something deeply ingrained in the Russian people’s DNA, and that is the Russian Orthodox Church.

This episode will provide an up-close-and-personal look at what Putin has planned for Russia and more importantly, the people he is using to get it done. In episode one you saw the history. Now, we will show you the roadmap, and it all begins with the architect whose plan is already unfolding before your very eyes. His influential voice is the foundation of Russia’s policies and actions. His views are beyond radical, beyond understanding, some of them, beyond dangerous, and openly fascistic. They are closely patterned after another certain notorious fascist leader that we have seen in the 20th century.

You may have wondered, why is Russia suddenly overtly anti-gay? What’s happening? Just recently, they deemed transgendered people and others with sexual disorders as unfit to drive. You can’t get a driver’s license. They also declared gay propaganda illegal. Teachers are now being systematically outed and then fired as anti-gay activist groups claim it is a crime to allow gays to teach children, because it won’t give kids the ability to respect the family and the Russian tradition.

I want you to know, I’m a conservative, and I find it deeply perplexing and disturbing that we are the source on this. Everyone should be very well aware of what is going on in the former Soviet Union. This is not about a gay agenda. This is about human beings, and it always starts with the Jews and the gays, and it has begun.

You may have wondered if you pay attention to the news, why is Russia, the former communist state, standing with the neo-Nazis in Greece and in Germany and in French, the extreme European right, these groups in France, just after the shooting in France, that are pushing xenophobic, outright anti-Islamic hatred…not hey, we’ve got to all live together, but hatred for anyone or anything that is Islamic?

Seeing the history and then seeing the motive, suddenly things are going to start to become clear to you and disturbing. The fundamental transformation of Russia is on, from a relatively nonideological, corrupt, soft authoritarian nation into a regressive, ideological, outright dictatorship, that fast. This episode reveals the political platform to accomplish that transformation, but for perspective, let’s go back now to 1991.

The Soviet Union, their economy had come to a screeching halt. Everything was about to change. The people were psychologically demoralized. Their country had fallen apart. It looked increasingly like the Soviet Union was going to collapse. Could you imagine what it would feel like with our country collapsing? How would you feel?

Mikhail Gorbachev, their leader, proposed reforms, but the 16 republics in the Soviet Union didn’t want reforms. They wanted independence from the Soviet Union. It’s unlike the United States of America. They were separate countries with their separate identities. They were forced into that pact. They wanted freedom.

Well, Gorbachev came up with an agreement and set a deadline to sign it. It was clear what would happen if it was adopted. The old Soviet Union would be finished. The old guard, hardline Communists desperately wanted to keep the Soviet Union together. The Communists decided maybe it’s time to change our uniforms. It’s time to go from a Communist to a Social Democrat. Maybe it’s time to act.

Meeting in secret KGB safe houses, they hatched a plan. It was August 1991. Hardliners attempted to overthrow Gorbachev in a coup. It lasted two days. Then it completely fell apart.

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Dan Rather: The Kremlin coup is over, the failed coup makers in disgrace and apparently on the run. Mikhail Gorbachev is back in charge, back as president, but not yet back in Moscow. His troubles and those of the Soviet Union are far from over.

Okay, the failed coup had done severe damage. It caused enough disruption that just four months after the coup attempt, Gorbachev was on television. He was addressing the nation. It was Christmas Day 1991.

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Gorbachev: Due to the situation with the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent Governments, I must end my duty as President of the USSR.

The Soviet flag was taken down from the Kremlin and replaced with the new flag of the Russian Federation. The Soviet Union had officially dissolved. We all cheered, but put yourself in the place of the Russian people. Russians, all of a sudden their national pride was gone.

At the height of its power, the Soviet Union had reestablished the Russian empire. It had influence all across Eurasia. It was huge, 12 different time zones, all the way to East Berlin, and then overnight it was over. They lost it, a crushing defeat for the soul of the country. The old Byzantine era line was still the de facto border, but the Warsaw Pact of 1955 which had provided the Russians with a long reach into Western Europe had also come to an end that year.

Under the Warsaw Pact, if any of the countries in the red were attacked by an outside force, those countries were obligated—Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia—they had to defend that state militarily. The unified military would be commanded by the Soviet Union. Russian influence was fading really fast because those countries were lost.

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In 1991, the once glorious empire had been fractured into seemingly a million pieces. Now, here’s what people really don’t understand that you need to understand. If you look at the old Soviet empire, it was something along the lines of this. All of these states didn’t want to be a part of it. None of these states wanted—here’s Russia, the old Russia line. All of these states were forced into the Soviet Union.

Again, it’s not like the United States. They were forced to be a part of this. So when the Soviet Union fell apart, all these people cheered, but there was a problem, because when Russia forced them…you remember, they were starving people to death. They took over these countries by force. They executed. They shipped people out into Siberia, but they also did something else, they took Russians and reassigned them and said you’re now living here, you’re living here, you’re living here, and so they planted Russians all the way through all of these countries.

So, now what happened? These foreign nationalists that were part of Russia originally, they loved the mother country, Russia. They then moved here and planted, and their families grew up here, but they were Mother Russia people. They now found themselves behind foreign borders. They were no longer in Russia. The language changed. The schools changed. The military changed. Everything changes.

We will show you later in this episode how these ethnic Russians became pawns, but their spiritual and cultural heart of the nation was Kiev, Kiev in the Ukraine and Crimea, and it was now separated by this line on the map—the Ukraine, all of this, really important. This, we told you in episode one, this is the spiritual center. Those people longed for the glory of restoring the Russian empire and claiming the mantle of the third Rome.

It was crushing to lose all of this, especially to a KGB colonel called Vladimir Putin. In his 2005 annual state of the union address, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, and I quote, “The collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory.” This will play a huge role. These people that the Soviets planted in here are outside. He views this as a major catastrophe that the USSR dissolved, so he wants to be the one to restore it or at least a modern version of it.

When Putin came to power in 2000, he inherited a crippled economy and a nation that lacked direction. In the first eight years of his reign, the Russian GDP grew by over 70%. Can you imagine a president comes in, and everything 70% growth? Individual Russian wages tripled. This made him mighty popular, but there was something missing, influence. They were no longer the Soviet Union.

Putin was so laser focused on the economy for so many years, attention to politics and posturing on the international stage had been an afterthought. He realizes because of Gorbachev, Gorbachev himself now admits if he would’ve spent more time and more money addressing the bread lines instead of weapons, things probably would have turned out differently for him.

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We look at Gorbachev as a hero…not so much over there, because that was the end of the Empire.

Putin didn’t want to make the same mistake, so as a result, Russia faded into the background and eventually off the international stage. NATO influence advanced further eastward. We started saying yes, you know what, Georgia, Poland, we’ll put missiles in here. Ukraine, yes, we’ll protect you. The United States and Western Europe practically ignored Russia on the world stage, and we know this to be true, because when presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the biggest geopolitical foe to the world is Russia, the world laughed.

Enter phase two. Putin needed a geopolitical and a foreign policy, one that would return Russia and the Russian empire to its previous glory. Well, they had a policy under development. It’s been there for a long time, and it was put into effect in 2008, and Putin has been following it like a playbook ever since.

I believe the architect of Russia’s geopolitical strategy is this man, the most frightening man we have come across in all of the years that I have been doing this show. His name is Aleksandr Dugin. Most Americans have never heard of this man, but he is an advisor for the Kremlin. He is the thinking man behind the kill-large-animals-with-my-bare-hands dictator of a guy.

If he were a lone crazy man talking to himself between naps under bridges, he’d be harmless, but his policy ideas had the fast track to the Kremlin and all of the universities in the former Soviet Union, and because of that, his ideas are truly terrifying, because they are now in play, not just for the people of Russia, but for all of civilization. You will see him. You will meet him, and I will show you the roadmap he has laid out for Putin to restore the Soviet Union or something worse to its rightful, and he would say divine glory, next.

[break]

All right, the world is in real danger. Behind me is a piano that was sitting in the main square of Kiev. This was a piano that the Ukrainians came, long live the Ukraine, and they played this at night. What were they fighting? They were fighting their president selling out to Putin and selling out and making it Russia.

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That is coming, and I want you to know that the canary in the coal mine is always the Jew. Whenever there’s persecution, rise in Marxism, rise in anti-Semitism, you will see the inhumanity to man and collective spirit take hold, and it becomes truly dangerous. As you will see in the next few minutes, it’s not just the Jews. Homosexuals are in dire trouble, real trouble because of who I’m going to introduce you to.

To get an idea of the Russian pride and their traditional belief that Russia is the divine heir to the throne of Rome, all you really have to do is take a guided tour to the Kremlin. It is a massive fortress. They describe it as the Russian version of Times Square, Pennsylvania Avenue, and the Washington Mall all rolled up into one—so many things to see.

It’s the official residence of the Russian Federation President, the Kremlin Palace. The Armory Museum is there. All of the Cold War happened here, but they rush you through all of those government buildings in just a few minutes, and then you’ll spend hours on the second part of the tour, and it takes you here, and then it takes you here, and then it takes you here, Orthodox Church, one right after another, church after church after church after church. During the Olympic Games, NBC took a tour of the churches of the Kremlin.

Really, really important, Ivan the Terrible did this. The Russian Orthodox revival in full swing now…this is not Billy Graham tent revival. This is revival that more resembles the Nazi church propaganda. Nazi imagery was glorified in the German church. In fact, within just a few months, Hitler had taken off any picture of Christ and put his picture on the altars of the churches. The same kind of focus is happening in Russia.

It’s slightly different. Russia itself is at the center. Let me give you a quote, “The meaning of Russia is that through the Russian people will be realized the last thought of God, the thought of the End of the World. Death is the way to immortality. Love will begin when the world ends. We must long for it, like true Christians.” Does any of this sound familiar?

“We are uprooting the accursed Tree of Knowledge. With it will perish the Universe.” This sounds very much like jihadists. These are the words of a guy I need to introduce you to called Aleksandr Dugin, somebody who’s known to have great influence on Russian politics. He has been referred to as the brain behind many of Putin’s policies, and I want to introduce him now to you. Watch.

Dugin believes that Russia is a supreme society, and America is standing in the way. He also believes chaos is in fact divine. In fact, Dugin’s political symbol, when we looked at it originally, my first question was what the heck is that? What does that even mean? We did our homework. It is the eight-pointed star. It is an ancient pagan magic symbol for chaos.

This type of philosophy might sound familiar. I just wrote these down in the break—purify the world with fire, die to be able to live, the world starts once it’s all torn down and burned down, chaos, a superior race. That could either be the Nazis or Iran and the 12ers from Islam. In Iran, the 12ers believe it is their job to create chaos to hasten the return of their savior.

If you look at the End Times philosophy of the 12ers, you will see that it is the reverse of our Book of Revelation. Putin’s Russia supports regimes, the Iranian regime, Syria, Hamas, and Dugin’s views and policy ideals are closely aligned. As they are closely examined, the more clear Russia’s actions become and why they are standing with far-right European xenophobes, neo-Nazis, and the 12ers in Iran.

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Why are they standing with anti-gay organizations? Well, let’s listen to Dugin. When asked about gay rights groups fighting alongside neo-Nazis, he said, “We find…very often that the Homosexual-Lobby and the ultranationalist and neo-Nazi groups are allies. Also, the Homosexual lobby has very extremist ideas about how to deform, re-educate and influence the society. We shouldn’t forget this. The gay and lesbian lobby is not less dangerous for any society than neo-Nazis.”

Gays are equally as dangerous as the Nazis, says the Fascist. Welcome to the new Russia, and it won’t stay contained in Russia. They are using these far right groups in Germany, in Greece, and now in France in a proxy cultural battle against neighbors it seeks to diminish. Do you remember when Putin moved into Georgia, Ukraine, and Crimea? When he moved in there, what happened?

[break]

Just after one year after Putin became president of the Russian Federation in 2000, Aleksandr Dugin founded the Eurasia party. Basically what they believe is that America is the prime enemy. Dugin preaches, and I quote, listen to this, “What man is, is derived not from himself as an individual, but from politics. It is politics that defines the man. It is the political system that gives us our shape.”

A popular German historian once said similar things in the late 1800s and pioneered decades of German racism. The end result would be Nazi Germany, so when the color revolutions started to spring up all over the former Soviet Union, all of these countries, when it started to spring up in the early 2000s, it’s no surprise that Dugin blamed who? Us, America.

Putin echoed Dugin’s views. “We see tragic consequences of the wave of so-called ‘color revolutions,’ the turmoil in the countries that have undergone the irresponsible experiments of covert and sometimes blatant interference in their lives. We take this as a lesson and a warning, and we must do everything necessary to ensure this never happens in Russia.”

Do you remember in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia? They invaded Georgia, and what happened? They said that they were protecting all of these Russian people, the ethnic Russians. Remember, I told you earlier they had moved them in from the former Soviet Union to Russianize all of these? And so Putin goes in, and he says hey, I’m just trying to do it—he just did it with Ukraine—I’m just trying to help those ethnic Russians.

When he did this in Georgia, who did Putin blame? The West. Watch.

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Vladimir Putin: I’ve told you that if the facts are confirmed that U.S. citizens were present in the combat zone that it means only one thing, that they could be there only on the direct instruction of their leadership, and if this is so, then it means that American citizens are in the combat zone performing their duties, and they can only do that following a direct order from their leaders and not on their own initiative.

Of course, it’s very clear that it was Russia who was responsible. Later, Dugin would go and visit Georgia and say, “Our troops will occupy the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, the entire country, and perhaps even Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which is historically part of Russia anyway.” Flash forward now to 2014.

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I want to warn you, right now there are hotspots in France and in Germany. He has just annexed this area. He is pushing this direction. I am warning you, Dugin’s playbook has been unleashed. The neo-Nazis here, the far-right Fascists here, and what do they all have in common? What are they all looking to do? This goes all over everything that we ever told you about the coming insurrection. They are all looking for chaos, which is strange, because his friend down here is looking for chaos as well.

We would expect to see more from Dugin in the future. I would urge you to pay attention to him. The problem Putin faces now is he has awakened extremists, and he has made them promises. They feel that Putin hasn’t gone far enough. How far will they go if they feel they’ve been betrayed?

Dugin is already starting to talk about betrayal. Who wins in that? Would an assassination in Russia add to chaos, and would that be a bad thing for someone like Dugin?

He may not be a super hero like he plays in the movies, but Chris Pratt is proving once again why he's a hero to so many. The silver screen protector of the universe announced on his Instagram page a contest that will benefit the Brain Treatment Foundation, who is a partner of Mercury One that does amazing work with veterans. The Brain Treatment Foundation specializes in helping combat veterans who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The contest asks fans to donate $10 to the foundation for a chance to win a trip to drop in on the Guardians of the Galaxy star on the set of his new film Tomorrow War.

Watch his video below to hear all the details.


Ryan: The Ascent of Kanye West

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Apollo, god of poetry, light, prophecy, dance. Star of Greek mythology, rivaled only by Zeus, his father. God of justice. God of purification, knowledge, healing. God of the Sun. But most of all, god of music. So they called him the Leader of the Muses.

And on a bright Sunday morning midway through November, at the tail end of a decade, Kanye West looked out at the congregation of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, a 16,000-seater originally built for the Houston Rockets, and said, "Jesus has won the victory: Now the greatest artist God ever created is now working for him."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye's newest album, Jesus Is King, had been out for three weeks, and like every Kanye album, it was controversial, as adored as it was unaccepted.

Critics had shown a mostly tepid response, but nobody could tell if their disinterest was genuine, or if it was politically motivated.

After all, for the past year, Kanye had once again managed to penetrate the epicenter of American society. The last two Presidents had literally shamed and cursed Kanye, but, still, who could've guessed he would befriend this one?

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The week after Kanye's Olsteen appearance, at the House impeachment hearings, as the entire country watched and listened, Congressmen and diplomats would mention longtime Kanye collaborator A$AP Rocky no less than five times, in casual reference to the Kardashians and the deal between Trump and Sweden, struck at the urging of Kanye West.

Meanwhile, Jesus is King became the ninth consecutive Kanye album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 — a feat he shares with Eminem and The Beatles — and the sixth time in the 2010s alone. And, to be fair, his only studio album not to debut at number one was The College Dropout, his first, which went triple platinum and earned the third-most Grammy nominations in one night, winning Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song with "Jesus Walks."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Jesus is King was also the first record ever to top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums, Christian Albums, and Gospel Albums simultaneously. All eleven tracks charted on the US Billboard 100, joining the other 96 Kanye songs to have landed on the Top 100.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

This album was different, and not just because of Kenny G. For the first time, Kanye was not a god or a self-destructive fallen angel. He was a father, a husband, a son, and, most important, a man full of belief, with his hands outstretched, surrounded by a choir.

"I remember sitting in the hospital at UCLA after having a breakdown," he told the congregation, "and there's documentations of me drawing a church and writing about starting a church in the middle of Calabasas."

That night, following an afternoon of ice-skating at the Galleria, Kanye returned to Lakewood Church and performed a concert. Imagine hearing a his electro-gospel opera in an arena designed, acoustically, for professional basketball games. Only better, because everything had been padded. With LSD graphics on the swirly blue carpet.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When we experience art, it changes us.

So there I was, four rows from the stage, crying in front of FoxNews. Because Kanye had brought his Sunday Service choir with him, and they were singing "Ultralight Beam," one of the few perfect songs ever made, a song that played during my wedding ceremony, the song my daughter, God willing, will be born to, a song I have never once listened to without at least tearing up.

“Jesus Is King" A Sunday Service Experience at Lakewood Church with Kanye West youtu.be

"This is a God dream, this is a God dream. This is everything."

Kanye was the only person onstage dressed in his own clothing, a neatened blazer. The choir were draped in grey, like holy silhouettes.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

So who cares about FoxNews and their snotty reporters in their shoulder-padded blazers. The rest of us had drifted into the immediacy of it all. And I wasn't about to play stoic journalist here. I wasn't a reporter first and a human or an American later.

The choir zigzagged on the loft flanking the stage. Each of them had a headset microphone, like Garth Brooks.

God only knew how they sang so perfectly. How did they project their voices like that? More beautiful than anything we had ever heard, more beautiful than water.

After "Ultralight Beam," it was "Every Hour," the mesmeric opening track of Jesus Is King.

Sing every hour, Every minute, Every second, Sing each and every millisecond, We need you

Every Hour youtu.be

The performance felt all the more sacred because this was church, where people gathered to lose themselves, to sing as a chorus, to confront who they really are.

Across the street, one protestor stood hollering.

Meanwhile thousands of people waited at the entrance, giddy to get in. They would join us in no time. Soon, they would fill every seat in this church.

*

That morning, Kanye told Olsteen,

"It's like the devil stole all the good producers, all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people and said, 'you gotta come over and work for me.' And now the trend, the shift, is going to change."

Jesus Is King was the result of a new cultural and artistic movement that more or less started with 2016's Life of Pablo, Kanye's closeted gospel album. Which was a surprising departure from 2013's Yeezus, with its tangled social commentary and fashionable solipsism. And that drum sound, the one every half-decent producer has spent the last six years failing to emulate.

The 2010's saw him grow more cerebral. He even teased a book of philosophy titled Break the Simulation.

Then, in 2018, he released Ye, the second of five albums in a Kanye-produced series, all recorded at his Wyoming studio. In keeping with the criticisms of hip-hop he voiced on "Ye vs. The People"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye eschewed many of the themes he'd embraced for so long, replacing them with meditations on mental illness, fatherhood, suicide, love, and addiction. The album's working title had been "LOVE EVERYONE."

On "I Thought About Killing You," he raps,

The most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest.

The title "Ye" is not just the diminutive of "Kanye."

As he said in an interview

I believe 'ye' is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and, in the Bible, it means 'you,' so it's [saying] "I'm you, I'm us, it's us." It went from being Kanye, which means the only one, to just ye – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything, that I'm just more of a reflection of who we are, just as beings.

Philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer wrote that

All individuality is a manifestation of universal life, and hence everyone carries a tiny bit of everyone else with him, so that divination is simulated by comparison with oneself.

In the months following the release of Ye, Kanye would live out this idea, and build his own movement, a reflection of who we are, then begin his church in Calabasas.

*

At 10:30 that morning, the three of us — Samantha Sullivan, my wife Caroline, and me —- strolled into the arena and claimed seats in the media section.

That place resembled the inside of an ant colony. We were three ants.

The service began with errorless music, then shifted into a quick, stirring message by Osteen, who always seemed to appear onstage from nowhere, privvy to the kind of big-money stage tricks you find at a Shania Twain concert.

The entire place and all the Jumbo-Trons and all the people, it all had a cinematic presence.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

A preliminary giddiness spread through the room. Then, Kanye emerged, there on the stage, and the place erupted.

A man in a "Jesus is King" shirt danced around his seat.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Everyone took their seats, but one man standing in the crowd shouted affirmations. "Speak truth my brother," he shouted.

The man shouted several more times, then Kanye politely told the guy to hold off on the support because it wasn't helping, because Kanye needed relative quiet to capture and release his flow.

The ceiling glowed in skittish purple.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye described the corrupting force of the media. A chill came over the room. Behind him, the unapologetic blue of Jesus Is King.

It was my first encounter with Joel Osteen, and I was surprised and somewhat baffled to find him likeable, based on everything I'd ever heard about the man.

Kanye said as much, that Osteen is nothing like the version of Osteen many people have broadcast.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Osteen laughed, "When you've got Kanye defending you, you've made it, man."

Rays of light danced through the arena. I'm talking Pink Floyd light show levels.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

With 21 Grammys, Kanye is tied with Jay-Z as the most decorated hip-hop artist of all time.

Osteen asked Kanye what he would say to his younger self, if he could go back in time.

"You know, it's nothing I can say to the younger Kanye through words," he said. "I could speak to the younger Kanye through music."

*

Osteen played the middle section of "God Is," arguably the focal point of the album.

And Kanye danced and rapped along with it. And the surreality of the situation was daunting. Was that really Kanye West up there? with Joel Osteen? dancing to his gospel song?

Six or seven years ago, I saw Kanye a mile away at the Toyota Center — coincidentally, the current home of the Houston Rockets — for his and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne tour. It was a much different experience than this.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When Kanye finished, the media flooded out. As did a quarter of the people in the congregation. This bothered many of the regulars.

Security and ushers yanked big grey mop buckets from cabinets, and dispersed them down aisles, and money music played.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then the time for prayer. Prayer leaders lined the walls and pews. And anyone could walk over to them and pray. Men and women clung to strangers, crying sometimes, hugging. Holding hands, whispering phrases.

*

One of the media coordinators pulled us out of the sermon, led us through passageways and elevators, past classrooms and security guards, through a black sheet, then behind a barricade.

This is where all the media had rushed off to like old folks trying to get the best seat for bingo.

Each news outlet was allowed one question.

After 15 minutes, the energy changed and you could tell they were near.

Then, Kim Kardashian-West was walking our way, holding her daughter's hand, followed by Kanye, who was followed by Osteen.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

"Nice tags," Kanye said, referring to my "GOOD" necklace.

Then:

Brief interview with Kanye West and Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Nov. 17 in Houston, TX www.youtube.com

Some of the outlets asked more than one question, but that was on them. They were the ones sinning in church.

*

As Kanye and Olsteen shuffled away, down the line of journalists, I said hello to a small crew from FoxNews as they packed their equipment.

"We're from TheBlaze," I said, smiling. To which they sneered and glanced at one another then got back to their conversation.
Samantha rolled her eyes and the three of us wandered around for an exit.

"Did we just get stiff-armed by Fox News?" Said one of us. "I didn't think they were allowed to look down on anybody."
"I've had that with people from Fox on several occasions," one of us replied.

"I mean, I thought I was doing them a favor a favor by acknowledging them. Nobody else does."

Then it happened again, a few minutes later, this time with someone we had worked with, someone who knew us.
You bet we were salty.

Bad as it felt to be judged like that, it was good to be underestimated. A relief. It meant we could perform without anyone caring or watching.

They had no idea who we were or what we were really doing. Good.

*

In November 2007, Kanye's mother died during a routine surgery. He and his mom, Dr. Donda West, had always been incredibly close. She raised him alone, after Kanye's father left, when Kanye was three.

A few months later, his engagement with Alexis Phifer abruptly ended.

He was 30 at the time.

Oddly, this tragic sequence of events would cause the birth of auto-tune in rap. Broken-hearted, Kanye wanted to sing. So he ran his voice through a vocoder.

Kanye's album 808s & Heartbreak, which like Jesus is King has no curse words, shoved music ahead at least two decades, into a world of synth-driven robotic R&B/Rap love songs belted out in janky auto-tune. That description doesn't sound ridiculous today. But that's only because Kanye eschewed the stale hip-hop of the early 2000s and reinvented the genre, something he has accomplished with every album.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then, he went on tour. But he never took off any time following his mother's death. And, by the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he'd fallen to what he calls his sunken place.

He and then-girlfriend Amber Rose brought a bottle of Hennessy with them to the award show. They took slugs in the limo. Then on the red carpet.

When Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, Kanye stormed the podium, sunglasses on, and grabbed the microphone, said "Imma let you finish," then let everyone know the award should've gone to Beyoncé, for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."

He was kicked out immediately. He tweeted, "Everybody wanna booooo me but I'm a fan of real pop culture... I'm not crazy y'all, I'm just real."

Followed by an apology. Then a few days later, during an appearance on debut episode of "The Jay Leno Show"

Leno asked Kanye, "What do you think [your mom] would have said about this?"

That hit Kanyelike a punch to the jaw. He teared up, froze.

He publicly apologized to Swift. Several times.

But it did little to quell the blowback. Once again, it felt like the entire nation hated Kanye. Compounded by a hot-mic recording of Barack Obama — the country's first black President — calling Kanye a jackass.

So the embattled Kanye retreated to Hawaii to record a masterpiece, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

*

"We are a Christian country," Kanye said at one point, to uproarious applause.

The vast majority of Americans, 90 percent, believe in a higher power.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

And America has the largest number of Christians in the world, with roughly 167,000,000, comprising 65-to-70 percent of the population. But that's down from 80 percent, as part of a downward trend over the last two decades.

The percent of Americans who attend a religious service of any kind — church, synagogue, or mosque — is even lower, less than half.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

One political scientist blamed the public's growing distrust in institutions. Another blamed conservatives. A writer from New York Magazine took it a step further.

Meanwhile, David French.

As always, the issue is far more nuanced than either side will admit.

Somehow, in the last twenty years, church and religion had become not just uncool, but slightly villainous.

All day, every time I looked around — at people singing, at people dancing, at people crying in joy or in the relief and recognition of their pain — I thought, "How could this ever be a bad thing?"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

I had spent my life going to concerts, had seen Kanye West numerous times, and this was something other than a concert, and unlike anything I'd seen from Kanye. It was also more than just religious or spiritual.

A family of strangers in a city of 6 million, in a world of 7-and-a-half billion, broadcast live, led by a man who fought off the devil in front of us for years. Who struggled with life just like we do, only we could nitpick through the one-way mirrors of our phones and our TVs.

But, now, he had been baptized in public.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Some people were still negative about Kanye's recent faith, especially Christians. As Kanye raps on "Hands On"

What have you been hearin' from the Christians?
They'll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me

Consensus was, they couldn't believe him. As a Kanye fan since I was 13, I can tell you that he is genuine. It's really his only setting. Plus, his spiritual transformation has been building for quite some time.

*

By the time we returned to Lakewood that evening, the sky had turned dark blue, and frantic with airplanes.

The sidewalks around the arena overflowed with people. Police cars jutted out in crooked lines to block entrances or exits, the strobe of red-white-blue whirling onto pedestrians' faces.

Across the street, facing the giant arena, a man with a bullhorn ranted about the evils of sinful music.

Earlier that day, sheepish protestors had occupied the spot, holding red poster-sized letters that spelled out "I M P E A C H." There were only four of them, though, so they had to double up and share, and sometimes the "H" slanted down or the "I" slipped loose.

"Impeach Kanye?" one of us said, laughing.

"Kanye 2020," shouted someone.

The air was electric. People bounced when they stepped, or walked faster than normal, or turned oddly as they spoke like a third-year professor.

They sang along as they passed traffic-jam cars, most of which were blasting Kanye.

A chorus of police whistles and the usual rumble of semi-trucks passing on US-59. Just down the street, porn shops and strip clubs and a Ferrari dealership. Immediately Southwest, the Mahatma Ghandi District. West, the Galleria, home of the opulent Galleria mall, where Kanye and Kim and family gone ice-skating earlier.

Inside the arena, a different world, low-lit and glowing. A dreamscape of lambent crimsons and violets, a deeper, warmer, slower take on the lights atop the police cars outside. Globular squares of blue were arrayed along the ceiling.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When the musicians emerged to their instruments, the arena was still half-empty. The show had already been delayed 40 minutes. The demand to get in was so ferocious that the security gate was jammed up like a glass Ketchup jar.

Then, like spirits, men and women drifted onstage in all-grey uniforms and matching hats that looked like they should say "VIETNAM VETERAN" but actually said "Sunday Service."

Every single member wore brand-new grey YEEZY Boosts.

From the start, the performance was cinematic, a sort of new-world opera sung by a chorus of young American muses with nose rings or gold chains or dreadlocks or pink hair.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

From the huddle, a young man rose, and began reciting a poem. It was the invocation of the muse.

Gadamer wrote that poetry "becomes a test of what is true, in that the poem awakens a secret life in words that had seemed to be used up and worn out, and tells us of ourselves"

*

After a whirling rendition of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna," the choir began "Ultralight Beam."

They let the song spread. It grew enormous.

The air swirled as the song widened.

Kanye waited out of view, then appeared without ceremony.

A collective gasp when people recognized the melody of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." Which sounds like a dream already, with all that wilderness.

So it was even stranger when the song morphed into SWV's "Weak," a skating rink anthem written by Charlie Wilson of the GAP Band. A classic.

The choir were their own countervailing force. Yet they also connected us to the drama of the performance.
Looking back, I wish I could live in those moments forever.

*

Then came their cover of "Father Stretch My Hands" by Pastor T.L. Barrett And the Youth for Christ Choir.

Father Stretch My Hands www.youtube.com

Kanye has paid homage to Barrett's track on two different songs, from two different albums.

It was his prayer.

Pastor T.L. Barrett, a man who's lived an exciting and at times difficult life, only to become a Pentecostal preacher on Chicago's south side, and form a choir of 40 teenagers from his weekly choir practice.

If you dive into Barrett, you'll better understand what Kanye is doing.

*

Ten seats from Kim Kardashian-West, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) stared ahead in a neat grey suit, occasionally poking at his phone and blasting people on Twitter.

Which means there were at least two people in the building who have appeared on Saturday Night Live.

There were other politicians, including Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. And even more at the earlier service. You could tell they were politicians the same you can tell a vegan burger from a real Whopper. Several times, Kanye held up his phone up and read the words from his newer songs.

Like "Selah," which built into "Hallelujah"s at the end, intoxicating and perfect, like being sucked into an undertow. Which led into "Follow God," a continuation of "Father I Stretch My Hands."

Kanye uses the image of stretched hands to express his own submission and the process that leads to his healing. As a reference to John 21:18

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

But the song is also about Kanye's literal father, and an argument they had. Then, under it all, he adds a sample of "Can You Lose By Following God" by Whole Truth. He ended the song with his Kanye shriek, somewhat confusing and abrasive with a choir present.

Then — something I did not expect. The thumping bass of Cajmere's "Brighter Days (Underground Goodie Mix)."

And now this was cosmic gospel.

It felt like a rave. Have you been to a rave? It's people dancing, taking MDMA. That is what it felt like.

Flourishes like that were part of Kanye's genius. No other gospel performance would dare. You won't find that kind of diversity at any other hip-hop show, either. The acoustic instruments, the choir. Maybe during a set by electronic musicians like Moodyman or DJ Koze. But, no choir. Yet here Kanye was, at Joel Osteen's church, blasting classic techno.

Oddly enough, though, the most popular song of the night was "Closed on Sunday," Kanye's ode to Chic-Fil-A.

Everyone in the arena knew the words. So then there were two choirs, in a dialogue. I didn't think it was possible, but the collective harmony got even more intense and engulfing than it had all night. So much so that the house speakers started to peak in one corner of the arena.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The Ancient Greeks were the first to use a chorus. In the 5th Century B.C., 50 actors would gather in the orchestra pit and sing in unison, commenting on the action of the play, describing scenes to the audience. They were a collective force. They represented one character, who was able to connect the audience to the characters and events onstage.

Kim Kardashian was front and center filming with her phone, as two of the West kids jumped around on the trippy blue carpet.

The performance was nearing its end, and suddenly Kanye was dressed like everybody else in the choir. Grey Yeezy kit and the Sunday Service hat. His transformation. From Kanye West to Pastor Ye, stretching hands.

Then, he was gone.
One by one, the choir began fluttering off the stage, to the Clark Sisters' "You Brought the Sunshine."

Half were gone, when I noticed the singer with braided hair crying. With every exhale, she collapsed her hands into the floor. Let them fall like tired flowers. Arrayed in fitful blue. She gasped. She heaved her shoulders like a wingspan. For a moment it was like she would actually take flight.

A security guard peered over the railing from above the stage. He looked like God.Symbolically, he was.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

Don't believe in time travel? Think it's just a wild conspiracy theory reserved for late night alien radio programs? Well, we have unearthed bombshell evidence that will blow you away and have you questioning everything!

A 120-year-old photo PROVES climate change activist teen Greta Thunberg is actually a time traveler warning all generations of the dangers of global warming.

Glenn did some exhaustive research and found several other photos and subjects in historical paintings. Check them out here and see if you are now a believer:

Warning Elvis fans

Ryan: Suction energy, pt. 1

Photo by Sean Ryan

After his speech at the Boone County fairgrounds, Joe Biden nodded and people engulfed him like he was their oxygen. Journalists shouted questions, photographers shoved people aside. Biden's bodyguards even drew closer. I found a good oak tree and hid out in the shade, 100 yards from the chaotic huddle.

Photo by Sean Ryan

They shoved closer and closer and closer, with a vacant urgency to their eyes. They had to get as close as possible. It was like some force of nature had taken control of everyone, and now their only goal was to merge their lifeforce with Biden's.

The frenzy of writhing arms and contorted bodies reminded me of Shark Week, when the hulking Great White breaks through the protective cage and how's the diver gonna make it out alive this time?

*

A need for convergence, often leading to upheaval.

Most of the Democratic candidates caused this effect. As did their opponent, to a far greater degree. Because he was the president, and he was Donald Trump, so, for the time being, he embodied this magnetism more fully than anyone else in the entire world.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Every time Trump entered a room or a building or a space of any kind, every person within a reasonable distance felt it. And they couldn't help but bob their head around, and arch up on their tiptoes, scouring till they saw him, and then all they could do was lean forward and wonder if it was actually him.

Some of the Democratic candidates had a stronger magnetism than others. Which meant the gravitational pull had laws that guided it. The term I started using for it was "suction energy."

It was something you could physically feel.

At the Iowa State Fair, Bernie Sanders' suction energy was so intense, so visceral that it reminded me of a hurricane.

Photo by Sean Ryan

People wanted to be as close to the man as possible. They wanted a picture. Proof that it happened—that they had actually seen someone that famous.

And they were perfectly right. And their reactions were understandable and lovely even, and altogether innocent. Encouraging. Because they were genuine.

Even journalists were susceptible to suction energy. In fact, they could spazz even harder. Unlike the public, they were there as workers.

*

Suction energy is an art, something you cultivate. But it's also a result of luck and reality. Some people will just never have an ounce of it.

Take, for instance, Jay Insleey, who was apparently a Democratic presidential candidate in the 2020 election. At some point in my travels, I wound up in the same place as him.

Maybe it was a couple times. A couple, two, three. I can't remember.

All I know is that I went to Clear Lake, Iowa for the Democratic Wing Ding, to see Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren and the 20 other candidates, and this guy Jay Insless ... sorry, I mean Inslee took the stage at some point. It's hard to say when exactly because, as I mentioned, he was impressively forgettable, like a human thumbtack.

Wing Ding featured Jay Insee?Photo by Sean Ryan

He was yammering about something, and, man, he looked and sounded like P.C. Principal, from South Park, and that was pretty funny.

I told my dad, and then we were both laughing. Then my dad did an imitation of P.C. Principal, and we were really hooting.
Then all I could think about was P.C. Principal. So I ducked out into the hall to watch a P.C. Principal clip compilation, and I laughed and laughed and nobody went "Shush!," because there were plenty of others like me.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And, boy, I laughed. I was actually a bit sad when the clip was over. I'd forgotten where I was, and when I caught a glimpse of the guy onstage, my sadness deepened into pity. The feeling you get when you realize that the amateur thinks he can beat the professional. When the replacements think they will know valor. When your dog thinks they're going to the park, but really it's the vet, and they wake up without balls.

Do we have an obligation, a moral imperative, to tell a Square when she's trying to shove into a Triangle hole? How much teeth-lettuce does a person lodge into their incisors before you are inclined to alert them?

Like, after this speech, that guy John Insley, would wander around the walkways of the Surf Ballroom, same as Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang, only he'd lack their glow.

Crowds flocking to Kamala HarrisPhoto by Sean Ryan

At one point, he'd clench his jaw into what must have been a smile, ready for any nearby journalists to sneak a candid photo or rush forward for a quote.

Photo by Sean Ryan

If any of the others noticed, they didn't let on. So here was this chubby kid in a costume knocking on the front door, and I know full well Halloween was weeks ago, but who's gonna feed the harmless lie if I don't?

Photo by Sean Ryan

Nobody, that's who.

So I groaned and shrugged and told my dad, "Let's give the tubby kid some Starburst."

"Wha?" he asked.

Then I asked would he get a picture of that candidate over there.

"Who," he replied. As in, "I can't see an important person over there, which one is running for president?"

In other words, Insleep had absolutely zero suction energy. To a near-magical extent.

Within a few weeks, he would announce the end of his campaign on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Yet there he was, somehow center stage, looking out at the packed Surf Ballroom, where, on February 2, 1959, Buddy Holly played his last show.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Buddy Holly, now there's a man with suction energy. So much suction energy that, when he died, music went with him.

*

When I saw Kamala during the week of the Iowa State Fair, she was at the height of her campaign, having climbed to second place, within nine points of Biden.

Everywhere I went, there was Harris, with her personalized KAMALA bus, and her chartered press pool, and her entourage of staff and fans and media.

Photo by Sean Ryan

On the first Saturday of the Fair, my dad and I wound up seeing Harris five times. Five times! In part because she could hustle. She wanted that job. But also because she understood power and optics.

Before her speech at Jasper Winery, (when she played savage 4D chess with Andrew Yang, she spoke to several hundred people packed into the atrium of Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, her fourth rally of that day.

Photo by Sean Ryan

When she finished her speech, a horde surged straight for her, eighty or so.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Just a month earlier, The New Yorker had run a glowing profile on Harris. That was huge. As of the release of this story, Harris was the only 2020 presidential candidate that The New Yorker had featured.

Photo by Sean Ryan

At that point of the election, excitement for Harris was so intense that it seemed obvious she would get the nomination, or close to it. So I wrote five pieces about her.

But by the time I finished all five stories and added them to the publishing schedule, Harris had sunk 11 points to 4 percent, which put her in 8th place. In New Hampshire, the first state to hold primaries, she was polling at 1 percent. By comparison, Biden, Warren, and Sanders were locked at 19.

Now, the only headlines were about her foundering campaign and her dwindling cash and her downsized staff. In each case, the sentiment was the same, "Whatever happened to Kamala Harris?"

Which answer a question I posed in my first story. Would Harris "I got this one in the bag" attitude help her or ruin her? Turns out the ostentatious bus and the unnecessary press accommodations had been a premature move, and now she just seemed cocky.
Because suction energy can, and often does, vanish in an instant.

A Bernie can always become a Jay InslepInslee. Nobody is immune, no matter how powerful they appear. Look at Bill Cosby. Harvey Weistein. Both were godlike in their power. Both had a gravitational pull so intense that they raped women for decades and nobody did a thing. Cosby's suction energy was so intense that he collected honorary degrees like a vacuum collects dog hair. 70 of them. Then, off to prison to eat pudding in the dark.

By the time I saw Harris at the Democratic Debate in Houston, a month after she stormed Iowa, she'd begun transforming into Joe Biden, focused on all the wrong things, laughing at her own jokes, without realizing that nobody else was laughing.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com