Rabbi Lapin: Here’s a question that should keep you up at night

It’s always a fascinating conversation whenever Glenn has Rabbi Lapin onto the show, and today’s interview was no different. For anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of God and the power of a movement, the Rabbi presented a very important question that will keep everyone up at night.

"How did human beings end up on this tiny speck of dust on the edge of a remote galaxy far, far away, from anywhere?" the Rabbi asked.

There's only two possible answers, and depending on what you believe it dramatically shapes your worldview.

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it may contain errors:

GLENN: Rabbi, I'm glad to have you here. You'll play a role in what we announced on Monday. You were one of the first members of the Black Robe Regiment.

DANIEL: That's right.

GLENN: I can't wait to announce additional things. I don't think I can announce it today. But I'll give you hints of things that is happening in Birmingham. I'm telling you right now, get a hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama, on 8/28. Because you'll want to be there. This thing is turning into something divine and something of historic nature, I think. But you were on the show last night. And we were talking about the lack of faith that people have in God movements. It's amazing to me when I see -- I read Facebook and I read comment sections. People who claim to be people of faith that have no faith in the power of God and a movement. They say, we don't -- oh, yeah, like that's going to happen. What we really need is our guns.

DANIEL: Right.

GLENN: So tell me a little about God and guns and God and people. Because there is a time for guns, but there also is a time for God and people. How do we know the difference? How do we know what time it is?

DANIEL: Well, you know, let me start answering the question with perhaps one of the most fundamental questions that we all need to ask each other in one times or another, in terms of identifying where each one of us stands in terms of our own faith, this is a really useful question. It's something to mull over in the quiet hours of the night when you can't get to sleep. Because when you think about this question, you absolutely guaranteed will not get to sleep for the rest of the night. And that is, how did human beings end up on this tiny speck of dust on the edge of a remote galaxy far, far away, from anywhere?

Now, the way it seems to me is that there really are only two answers to that question. And if I'm wrong, I hope listeners will tell us because I'd hate to make a fool of myself unnecessarily again.

I know of no answers other than these two. The one is that by a lengthy process of unaided materialistic evolution, primitive protoplasm told into Bach and Beethoven.

And if you don't mind me saying so, Glenn, you shouldn't laugh because it's really rude to laugh at other people's belief system.

GLENN: You're right. I apologize. Yes.

DANIEL: I think we should treat them respectfully.

GLENN: Right. You're right.

DANIEL: The other way is that the Good Lord put us here in his own image. Now, I realize that those are both difficult challenges, but there aren't any others. Unless you want to admit the von Däniken school of theology which says little green men in spaceships came and put us here. But all that does is spawn the question of where they came from.

GLENN: Correct.

DANIEL: So I guess we can dismiss that. Well, you got to answer this question at some point or another. Because how you live your life depends on whether you think we're simply an extension of primitive protoplasms and primitive primates that evolved into people. So really, we're absolutely no different -- we're just sophisticated animals. Some of us has more hair. Some of us have less and less. You didn't have to laugh at that.

GLENN: But doesn't that one also delay the question? Because then I just say, well, where did the protoplasm come from?

DANIEL: Well, because it was a lengthy process. We must postulate billions of years. Because we have to wait for that one amino acid that splits because of some lightning bolt.

STU: But how did the amino acid get there? And how did the lightning bolt get there?

DANIEL: Okay. Nobody told me that this was going to be a grueling interrogation. I mean, I'm doing my best to put out the argument for secular fundamentalism.

GLENN: Got it. Okay. All right.

DANIEL: I mean, obviously there is an answer to that question because too many smart, intelligent people have this belief system. So I don't necessarily know where the amino acid came from. But I guess smart people who are -- who subscribe to this view have an answer.

And what this means is that we are animals and, therefore, that it has certain ramifications. One is infinitization (phonetic) because no cow comes to the farmer and says, you know, I think you're taking too much of our milk. The farmer says, look, you know, I got your mother impregnated. I'll cut your carcass away when you die, and from here to there, you give me all your milk. That's the deal. Which is exactly the promise of the ultimate socialist government: You belong to us. We'll provide you with security from the cradle to the grave or we'll promise you security at any rate. We'll educate your kids. We'll take care of your medicine. We'll pay you when you can't work anymore.

GLENN: Pretty much, honestly like cows.

DANIEL: The ultimate socialist government views us as its property. Which is one of the reasons that the Nazi government opposed smoking. I mean, you read some of the Draconian regulations about cigarettes and cigars in America, but it echoes more than anything else Nazi regulations about that. And the reason is because if you belong to us, we don't allow you to damage yourselves. We don't allow valuable cows to rub up against barbed wire fences because we don't want them to do that. We don't want to lower their value. It's exactly the same over here as well. So another ramification of that takes us back to your question, which is --

GLENN: I don't even remember my question. It's been so fascinating. But...

DANIEL: If we are nothing but animalistic creatures that have evolved to some level of sophistication, then when you buy a cow, the color of its skin becomes very important. Because if I want a black and white Hereford cow, do not give me a brown Jersey cow. And that is why the emphasis on race and skin color is most intense not in the evangelical churches of America. As you know, I speak in 40, 50 churches a year. And these are beautiful, welcoming places of true colorblindness. This is the modern Luther king quote you mention. I speak in these churches. The pastor might be a black congregant. White. A mixture. Nobody cares because we're talking about the content of our character. We're speaking about the bleast (phonetic) in our souls.

But the more you move toward the temples of secular fundamentalism, the universities of America, the campuses, that is where consciousness and focus on race reaches intense and almost intolerably, unimaginable levels. And so the more you believe that we're here because of an accident of evolution, the more you're going to be obsessively preoccupied with skin color. And the more you're focused on the other alternative, the only other alternative -- God you put us here. Well, if he put us here, then we're all in his image. And it doesn't matter whether our teeth are green or our skins are yellow. It just doesn't matter. That's not the issue.

GLENN: Wow. This is why -- this is why NASCAR has him as their rabbi.

DANIEL: No. But now you do too.

GLENN: That's right. That's right. You started talking to me last night because we were talking about evil. And you start talking about somebody I never heard of. The guy who Hitler dedicated Mein Kampf to.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: Tell me about this.

DANIEL: This is fascinating stuff. And by way of brief introduction. I would just say that among the statesmen of the western democracies in the 1930s, as far as I've been able to ascertain, only one bothered to read the book that Hitler wrote, and that was Winston Churchill. Nobody else bothered to read it. Hitler, if nothing else, was honest and forthright.

GLENN: Oh, he was completely clear.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: I read that in my '30s because I wanted to know -- I'm of German background. Did my relatives know? If they read that book, absolutely.

DANIEL: How could you not. Right? Although it was bantry (phonetic) to own a copy. I'm not sure that ordinary Germans actually read it. It's turgid impenetrable prose. But if you actually work your way through it, you really do get a sense of exactly what the plan is. It's extraordinary. This was written nearly 20 years before the war. It's really remarkable. So he dedicates the book to a guy called Dietrich Eckart. And Dietrich Eckart is an occultist, and he's a guy who understands the forces of evil. He's a man who is in possession of ancient Germanic and Norse legends and mythologies that find their way later on -- or, at least I should say earlier than Hitler in the mid- to late 1800s in the music of Richard Wagner, which as you know is music that the Israeli Philharmonic will never play. And most particularly, in a 17-hour stretch of music called The Ring Cycle, made up of Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung.

The reason this is so important is because the first one, the Rheingold is all about dark hunchbacked black-cloaked little men who live underground and all they want is gold, suggesting obviously Jews. The rest of the 17 hours -- by the way, Hitler sat through at least 20 performances of The Ring Cycle.

GLENN: The whole thing?

DANIEL: Yes, the whole 17 hours of it. Because he was taught -- you'll remember, he was nothing at the time of World War I. And it was only after that that he was seen to be such a useful tool by people who understood some of his forces. And these are the forces that infused the entire belief system of the Nazi hierarchy. And no doubt, because belief is such a powerful fuel, even belief in something false, still imparts an energy -- this unquestionably is something of what drove the whole Nazi movement to, you know, close -- to ultimate victory. They came horribly close to winning.

[BREAK]

GLENN: So we're talking to rabbi Daniel Lapin, and he's talking to us. And there's a point to this. And it goes back to ISIS and what's happening in the world. But this guy that Hitler dedicated Mein Kampf to, he was an occultist.

DANIEL: Yes, Dietrich Eckart.

GLENN: So he studied the dark arts, if you will.

DANIEL: Yes, which are the mirror image of the Bible and God.

GLENN: You mean the opposite? Yeah, mirror image.

DANIEL: Yes. Yes.

GLENN: And what did he teach him, and what was it -- where was this Hitler fascination with this, and what did he teach him?

DANIEL: Well, whether you -- whether you believe and are exposed to a worldview that is comprehensive and that essentially explains and makes sense of the world in which we live in. Basically revealing how the world really works. This is incredibly seductive.

And you have such a worldview and I have such a worldview, and we largely share our worldviews. And there's not a lot of mysteries. There are things we don't understand. There are things that are a little bit outside of our range of comprehension that reside in that gray dark area just beyond the stage we can see. But by and large we know we have a road map to reality.

Well, the dark side, the forces on the other side are just as effective, a road map to reality. Accepting that one leads to an ultimate bright light to hope and redemption. The other leads to an abyss of eternal darkness.

That's why the Wagnerian musical drama, The Ring Cycle ends with Götterdämmerung, which is, in fact, the twilight of the gods, where everything comes tumbling down and everything burns up. And the stage darkens. And the curtain comes down, and there's absolutely nothing left, which is essentially, again, the difference between a secular worldview of life and a religious world of life, where we understand life to be in much the same way like a child in utero.

The child says, you know, I'm really not looking forward to the end of this nine-month period when all this ends. This will be like dying. It will be terrible. With no comprehension that that's the real beginning.

So we look at life the same way. That it's a preparation. It's a growing period. It's an opportunity to develop our spiritual connection with our Father in heaven. And this leads to a wonderful, bright optimistic sunlit future. The secular viewpoint is that, at the end of the day, there's absolutely nothing. The curtain comes down onto an eternal darkness. Your soul doesn't exist. You are nothing but a cunningly arranged set of molecules of carbon and hydrogen and oxygen. And when they stop pumping, that's the end of it all.

These are the two opposing visions. One is driven by the Bible. One is driven by occult forces of the darkness. And you're absolutely right. It has now spread to the Middle East.

GLENN: In what way?

DANIEL: Well, one of the most important principles of Judeo Torah teaching is the separation of life and death. Meaning, that as long as we are in the world of the living, God doesn't want us to tamper with the dead. So he doesn't say, oh, you cannot raise the dead. He says, don't do it. So when King Saul tried to raise Samuel and bring back the dead, that was a real problem. He was able to do it. But it wasn't good. And so we are -- are asked to keep things separate. Now, Jews even more than anybody else, as the people who have been given an additional set of rules, like 613 of them, if you really want to know. Are also given, for instance, when we eat, we don't eat milk and meat together. No dairy products belong with meat.

GLENN: Because one represents life. One represents death.

DANIEL: Exactly. Milk is the initial food of every mammal baby. Nothing dies to provide it. It's obviously associated with life. And meat, although admirable when grilled, nonetheless is -- if you know what I mean.

[BREAK]

GLENN: We're having a fascinating conversation with Rabbi Daniel Lapin. And Daniel Lapin's web address is youneedarabbinow.com.

DANIEL: No. Sorry, Glenn. Youneedarabbi.com.

GLENN: Oh. Okay. I guess the emergency version is now. I need him now. You need a rabbi, stat. But youneedarabbi.com.

And he's a good friend of the show. And fascinating. Just a great historian and just a great teacher. But we've been talking about Hitler. The occult. And it has led us now to the mixing of life and death which brought us to the separation of milk and meat.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: If you keep kosher.

DANIEL: Yes, correct.

GLENN: And if I'm not mistaken, at one point, you and I were having a conversation off-air, and I had brought up something that was going on, but basically it was like a snuff film.

DANIEL: That's right. Or you're so good.

GLENN: Remember? And we were talking about something that was in the news. And I was like, this is so disturbing.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: And I said to you, the worst thing that -- that just makes my skin crawl is when you cross sex with extreme deadly violence.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: And it just -- it doesn't feel like there's anything more wrong than that.

DANIEL: Okay.

GLENN: And you explained that to me.

DANIEL: Okay. So you put your finger on it. And I'll just paint in some of the spots you left out. But you're exactly right.

Again, something that's required in -- in the Torah -- and, I mean, this is something that I recommend literally for absolutely every married couple. It's a commandment only for Jews. But that is that marital intimacy is suspended once a month for a period of time. And, I mean, obviously it's difficult, particularly for guys obviously. But to be forced to interact with your wife nonphysically for a week is really very valuable. To be in a situation where not every situation can be resolved with an arm around the shoulder and a kiss, but that it needs to be resolved with words and communication is enormously valuable. And why?

Well, because anybody with any sensitivity recognizes that the Good Lord created men with an infinite capacity to produce seed at almost any age, whereas he chose to create women with an absolute finite limited number of eggs. So the loss of an egg every month for any sensitive woman is sad because it's one less opportunity for life. And so foolish and insensitive people say, oh, you know, it's just hormonal imbalance. It isn't. It's a genuine, authentic sadness which suffuses any sensitive woman at the loss of an egg. You know, it's not the end of the world. But it's sad

GLENN: Wow. I've never thought of it that way. That it's actually a God-given sadness because there's death. Well, not death.

DANIEL: That's right. But loss of a potential of life.

GLENN: Exactly.

DANIEL: But it wouldn't make sense then. In the same way you would want to keep milk and meat separately, similarly you would want to keep the most life-affirming act that a man and woman are capable of doing, we would want to keep that separate from the moment when there's a subtle subconscious, but sometimes overwhelming sad awareness of death. Keep them apart again.

So this is why sex and death are kept so apart. So, for instance, if a husband is in mourning for the loss of a father. Although many would say, what a great way for his wife to comfort him in the best way she knows how. No. It's bringing two things that don't belong together. Our sanity and our grasp on reality is preserved by keeping life and death separate and far apart from one another.

Now, back to Wagner and the whole Germanic system of viewing reality. That ring cycle is absolutely filled with sex and death. In fact, about the only time that anybody seems to get aroused is when they're just about to die. And the whole story is bizarre in this way. Many of the biographers of Hitler and of the Nazi period insist that Hitler remained a virgin until just before he and Eva Braun took their lives. In other words, it was at that moment that all of the studden the guy had a libido.

Now, what were the 9/11 -- what was Muhammad Archer doing on the night of September the 10th, 2001? I think everybody knows. He was indulging physically with a woman. That's what he was doing. What is that all about? The night before you're about to become a martyr for your holy religious cause? It's bizarre. No, it's not if you remember that's part of the Germanic occult that was embedded in all of Nazi philosophy. And so for this reason, something which was taken for granted, we've heard so much of it -- think for a moment, isn't this weird, when you martyr yourself in Islam, where you get to is kind of like a Spanish bordella (phonetic). Seventy virgins. Yeah, right. What's that all about? Well, as long as you see that Judeo-Christian view is that life and death apart, therefore the Satanic occult mirror image of it must mean that sex and death go together. We were speaking about a particular horrible form of underground entertainment that does bring together sex and violence and death. And two people who have become sufficiently imbued with dark forces that that becomes very appealing and very seductive.

GLENN: So is this why -- because I always thought, you know, ISIS is kidnapping women and children and then enslaving them. And then giving them to the soldiers. And I just thought that that was -- like the Germans used to bring hookers in. Because guys have a libido, whatever. Is there more to that than just the libido?

DANIEL: Yes. There's much more to that, yet. There's more. It is the domination of women and a dark derivation of satisfaction of imposing power over women.

GLENN: Rabbi, where are the -- where are the Christians, the activists, the -- the women activists? Why is everyone so silent on this? Let's start with the left, then we'll get to the right.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: Why?

DANIEL: Well, I think primarily because the -- the principle guiding philosophy of leftism is the abolition of Christian faith. There is nothing more important than that. And this is why it is that the forces on the left, you will remember, years ago, including the NAACP dramatically and vindictively opposed the nomination of Clarence Thomas, who when I last checked, was indeed a colored person.

GLENN: Right.

DANIEL: And his nomination was opposed by organizations who exist to advance --

GLENN: The color.

DANIEL: Right. Or how about when women like Sarah Palin were being treated unfairly and cruelly, where was the National Organization of Women? And so we realize then that -- that there's almost a Marxist cynicism to all of this. We don't really care about people with dark skins. We don't really care about women. We must exploit.

GLENN: But that goes -- that's one thing. That would say, okay, I understand why you would stay silent or whatever. But in this particular case, when you have gay people being thrown off the roofs of buildings, when you have women being sold into slavery and raped, and just horrible stuff. Not like Clarence Thomas. Well, chancer Thomas that will pass some things that will be bad for the -- these people are evil. And they stand with them. Sometimes actively really kind of throw -- provide cover for them.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: So that's different. Why do you suppose that active running cover for them is?

DANIEL: Well, we began to just touch on this on last night's TV show, which I found fascinating. And really, what we have to ask ourselves is, what sense -- to answer your question, what sense is there in those on the left hurling vitriol at Christianity, which responds with love, whereas they love and embrace Islam, which if it had the chance would take their heads off.

GLENN: Correct.

DANIEL: So there is a bizarre love affair between the liberal left and the forces of Islam. Astonishingly. Many, many people on the left, regardless of their nominal religious affiliation will tell you that they consider Christianity in America to be a more serious peril than Islam.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah. We've heard that.

DANIEL: Right. So what are they getting at here? What's going on here? And I do believe that cowards are attracted to force and power. And I do think that to the same extent that Christianity is -- look, I'm Jewish. But my understanding of Christianity is about love and compassion. To that same extent to which Christianity preaches compassion and benevolence, Islam preaches cruelty and brutality. They are two opposite ends. They're two extremes of that spectrum line. So I think as a result of that, when people find themselves -- let's put it this way, Stockholm syndrome. What is that? That's somebody who is a captive. And after a period of time, he starts building an emotional connection with his captor. What's that about?

Well, when you're a captive. When you're a hostage, you're totally dependent. Life and death depends on your captor. And so he is the manifestation of strength. You are the ultimate expression of weakness. And I think weakness is attracted. I'm not a psychiatrist, but in an almost psychosexual way, they're attracted to strength. And so Christianity is a lot more difficult to feel an appeal for by these people because, well, you know, Christianity is too nice. And you'll find people in entertainment who will tell you, we will mock -- I don't want to mention their names. But there are comedians with foul mouths who mock Islam -- excuse me, mock Christianity, mock Judaism. The Book of Mormon on Broadway. And the LDS Church was very, very mild about it. They didn't do anything. Why didn't they do a show on Broadway called the Crazy Book of Islam? The Koran?

GLENN: Because everybody would be dead.

DANIEL: They'll tell you! They said, we don't want to get killed. That's all. There is something appealing about strength. You know, it's the same way that the new recruit in the military really can get attached to a very powerful commanding officer who fills him with a sense of confidence and he's in charge. Well, people say, I'll follow him into the gates of hell. I think that the left feels a very similar -- the left is essentially spiritually and morally weak. They feel an enormous attraction to a world force for all its brutality and cruelty. For all its distortion and strangeness, no one can argue that these guys exhibit real strength. I mean, you insult us, we'll just take your head off. Now, there's something delightfully straightforward about that in a mutilated and bizarre kind of a way. And I think the left feels that attraction very strongly.

GLENN: Our guest is Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Youneedarabbi.com. Youneedarabbi.com is his website. And if you've never heard him speak in public, he is fascinating. Really fascinating.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


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There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

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Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


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But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


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John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


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Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


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A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


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Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


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And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

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When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


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"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


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-AND-

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Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


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At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


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Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


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This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


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It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.