War on Poverty: The Four-Part Series

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson announced his War on Poverty initiative, a sweeping vision of government intervention to provide all manner of welfare to those in need. Today, America has over 70 welfare programs to aid the poor and has spent $22 trillion on the so-called War On Poverty. One would think such massive resources and efforts would have eradicated --- or greatly lessened --- poverty in America. Instead, the poverty rate, which was 14 percent in 1965, has increased to 14.3 percent. In this four-part series, we explore the failed War on Poverty and how more government is never the answer.

Listen to the Full Series on the War on Poverty:

War on Poverty Part I: The Founders' Thoughts

While living in Europe during the 1760s, Benjamin Franklin observed that the more public provisions made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves and the poorer they became. On the contrary, the less done for them and the more they did for themselves, the richer they became.

Many have completely lost sight of that simple truth. Instead, when it comes to helping the poverty stricken, the common refrain for government intervention is to do what the Bible says or what Jesus would do. But here's what Jesus actually said while addressing the rich man claiming to obey every commandment since his youth:

And Jesus said unto him, if thou will be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give unto the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven, and then come and follow me. (Matthew 19:21)

It's vital to note that Jesus told the man to sell what he had and give it directly to the poor. He didn't say, go and pay your taxes and hope that Caesars will redistribute your wealth properly to those who need it. Jesus never mentioned the government had any role in taking care of the poor. It was for individuals to do. Our Founding Fathers held the same belief.

The Founders made no mention of the federal government caring for the poor. That responsibility was left to the individual, families, churches, and if need be, local governments. Assistance was to be temporary, minimal and only on the condition of work. In other words, the poor would have to work for the welfare they received, if they were able-bodied. Franklin also said the government should assist the poor in overcoming poverty as expediently as possible. He famously said, "I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."

The Founders were concerned about taxpayers' money being spent properly, something that no longer concerns members of our government. The Founding Fathers had not been supportive of an income tax. In fact, Thomas Jefferson denounced the idea of income taxation in his first inaugural address saying, "A wise and frugal government shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned."

In 1779, Thomas Jefferson proposed a bill that outlined his approach to welfare. He suggested group homes with work requirements for the able-bodied and raising local funds to support poor children and the lame, impotent, blind and other inhabitants who couldn't take care of themselves.

The left often portrays our Founders as uncaring, hateful and callous because of the principles they held on government welfare. However, the results of their philosophies cannot be denied. The poverty rate at the nation's founding in 1776 was 90 percent. The rate before massive government intervention had plummeted to 14 percent. It's one of the greatest success stories in the history of mankind.

There's no denying the Founding Principles of personal responsibility, coupled with freedom, opportunity and capitalism, brought great prosperity to this nation and lifted millions of out of poverty.

War on Poverty Part II: The Great Depression

The United States of America changed the world. The American experiment, launched by its Founders, revolutionized how the world viewed personal freedom, government, business, culture, commerce --- everything. It set an example for liberty that captured the world's envy and imagination. In short, the American experiment worked.

It worked so well that the poverty rate went from 90 percent in colonial America to 14.3 percent today. Some would argue the War On Poverty lowered that rate and not American exceptionalism. They would be wrong. The poverty rate before Lyndon Johnson and the Welfare Act was actually lower than today --- 14 percent.

Naturally, there were bumps along the way, including a few major ones like 1929 and The Great Depression, when the financial house of cards collapsed and an overinflated stock market plunged. For the majority of America, it meant interminable lines outside factory gates, hunger and a march of the unemployed on the nation's capitol. Practically overnight, an economic blizzard swept the world.

During the crash of 1920, the hands-off policies of President Harding's administration allowed the free market to correct itself and send America into the Roaring Twenties. In 1929, there was a completely different approach.

Government intrusion and welfare programs increased exponentially after Franklin Roosevelt's election in 1932. Rather than help end the depression, his actions actually deepened it. Americans who had seen tough times before had never seen anything like this.

In 1932, the situation became so dire that 3,000 unemployed workers marched on the Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan. It was the same Ford plant that a decade before had doubled workers' pay. Working at the Ford plant was so prestigious throughout the decades prior that a job there was a status symbol. In 1932, 3,000 unemployed and struggling workers were attacked by Dearborn police and Ford's company guards, who killed four and injured many more.

In March of that same year, FDR signed the Emergency Baking Act into law and the FDIC was born. He also ordered the nation off the gold standard. Then came the Civilian Conservation Corp, the Federal Emergency Relief Action, the National Industrial Recovery Act, the National Labor Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Glass-Steagall Act, the Soil Erosion Service, the Civil Works Administration, Works Progress Administration, the Wagner National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security Act --- all by 1935.

Much more government intervention was to come, but no relief. In fact, things actually got worse.

By 1937, five years after FDR took office, the percentage of Americans living in poverty had hit 45 percent. That same year, frustrated and beaten down workers at Republic Steel's south Chicago plant and their families tried to combine a picnic with a rally and demonstration. Chicago Police moved in and opened fire on the crowd. Ten people were killed and a dozen more wounded in what is now called the Memorial Day Massacre.

The Great Depression stretched on throughout the 1930s and into the '40s, with rationing and shortages until America's war machine geared up enough to finally overcome the joblessness and stagnation. By most estimates, the Depression lasted 13 years. Yet, millions of Americans continue to revere FDR, including former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw who called FDR a "demigod" in his household.

War on Poverty Part III: The Great Society

In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty in America," launching The Great Society that altered social programs of The New Deal. According to Johnson, The Great Society asked "not how much, but how good."

Perhaps "how much" was the greater question because the answer was $22 trillion --- and counting. The Cato Institute estimates an additional $48 trillion in unfunded liabilities from Medicare alone.

Today, Medicare, Medicaid and FDR's Social Security program account for 47 percent of all federal spending. That's almost $1.8 trillion annually. And the total amount of America's unfunded liabilities are said to be in excess of $125 trillion --- more than twice the amount of all money in the world today.

Was it worth it? LBJ said "not how much, but how good." So how good was it? Sadly, the poverty rate is higher today than in 1965.

LBJ proposed many initiatives to launch his War on Poverty:

• An educational program to ensure every American child had the fullest development

• A massive attack on crippling and killing diseases

• A national effort to make the American city a better and a more stimulating place to live

• Increase the beauty of America and end the poisoning of rivers and air

• A new program to develop regions of the country suffering from distress and depression

• New efforts to control and prevent crime and delinquency

• Elimination of every remaining obstacle to the right and the opportunity to vote

• Honor and support the achievements of thought and the creations of art

• An all-out campaign against waste and inefficiency

According to one source, his vision was to help the disadvantaged help themselves, hoping that an education equaled opportunity, and the chance to come into the mainstream of American middle class economic life.

However, even in his own party, some were not convinced that his efforts were effective, including Senator Robert F. Kennedy who said, "If we learned anything in the last summer and over -- in the last 30 years, what we've been doing hasn't been the answer. It's been helpful. But what we've been doing has not been the answer. And we can't just be doing the same thing that we've been doing for the last three decades and hope that eventually all these problems are going to disappear."

Regardless, LBJ kept pumping out the programs, preparing bill after bill, funds for education --- elementary, secondary, college and Head Start for preschool children --- funds for conservation, clean air, clean rivers, highway beautification, national parks, consumer protection, truth in labeling and packaging, automobile safety, urban renewal and housing, public television, creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts --- the list goes on and on.

Part of the LBJ War on Poverty initiative included bringing about social and racial justice --- equal rights for blacks. His efforts helped create the impression that Democrats were the ones fighting for minorities and Republicans were the racist corporation cronies. This, despite the fact that Republicans had freed slaves and fought along with black Americans for civil rights. LBJ, on the other hand, had fought against civil rights the first 20 years of his political career, including opposing President Harry S. Truman's proposals against lynching and segregation and interstate transportation. Johnson called the proposed civil rights program a farce and a sham.

No one knows what was in Lyndon Johnson's heart at the time, but being as he was incredibly opportunistic and ambitious as the nation began to demand civil rights for blacks, his position changed. Democrats have reaped the benefit of that change ever since.

By the early '90s, studies were showing that rather than eradicating poverty, The Great Society was eradicating families --- and that trend has worsened ever since.

War on Poverty Part IV: Abusing the System

The War On Poverty is an unmitigated failure. The United States has gone from 26 million people on food stamps in 2007 to more than 47 million today. The cost of the program has gone from $33 billion to $77 billion. It has become so flawed that the Wall Street Journal reported millions are now legally entitled to collect food stamps as long as they have little or no monthly income. Thirty-five states have abolished asset tests for most food stamp recipients. These and similar paperwork reduction reforms advocated by the USDA are turning the food stamp program into a magnet for abuses and absurdities. Furthermore, according to the Journal, the Obama administration is far more enthusiastic about boosting food stamp enrollment than about preventing fraud. And there is fraud --- a lot of it.

When looking at American poverty, one might expect poor people to be on food stamps --- the homeless, the drug addicted, the perpetual scammer --- not people with jobs, living in suburbia. One woman interviewed in a documentary received $750 each month from the food stamp program while making $70,000 annually, allowing her to purchase filet mignon and steaks. As she noted, it was easy to apply, so she took advantage. She also had a $9,000 breast augmentation while on food stamps.

So how good has the war on poverty been for American families? In 1960, just 9 percent of children lived in a single parent home. By 1980, there were more than 6.2 million families headed by a single woman, making up 19.4 percent of all families with children. By 1990, that number had risen to 84 million families, or 24.2 percent of the total. Today, that number sadly is at 34 percent.

Blacks have been hit especially hard. At the beginning of World War II, the illegitimate birthrate among black Americans was slightly less than 19 percent. In 1965, near the start of the Great Society, the rate of unwed births for blacks was 25 percent. Beginning in the late 1960s, the trend rapidly accelerated, reaching 49 percent in 1975 and 65 percent in 1989. Today, it is 72 percent. Nearly three-quarters of all black families are now single parent.

Fewer than half, just 46 percent of US children younger than 18, of all races, are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. This is a marked change from 1960, when 73 percent of children fit this description.

Back in the early '90s, the University of Washington showed that an increase of roughly $200 a month in welfare benefits per family correlated with a 150 percent increase in the illegitimate birthrate among teens.

There is one important caveat: Poverty in America is generally very different from poverty elsewhere in the world. According to the government's own surveys, 80 percent of poor households have air-conditioning. Nearly, two-thirds have cable or satellite television. Half have a personal computer. Forty percent of America's poor have a wide screen HD television. Three-quarters own a car or a truck. And nearly a third have two or more vehicles. Ninety-six percent of poor parents state that their children have never been hungry at any time during the last year because they could not afford food. And 82 percent of all poor adults reported that they too were never hungry at any time in the prior year.

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.

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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."

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