Lower Interest Rates Shored Up Big Banks But Killed People on Fixed Incomes

Chris Martenson from PeakProsperity.com is an expert in gold and the stock market. He's a voice I think you need to hear, and he's going to be joining us more and more on the program to teach basic principles. For example, many are saying the bond market is going to crash. Now most people don't have anything in the bond market --- or so they think. If you're a police officer, a fireman, a teacher, you definitely have something in the bond market. You have your retirement there. So what do you do? Chris is going to help us navigate these financial concerns so we can prepare for the coming storm.

Read below or watch the clip for answers to these questions:

• Why are hedge fund managers confused about the current state of the stock market?

• Should election night volatility in stock market concern us?

• Why does Martenson blame the central banks for the current "weird" financial climate?

• Is the Federal Reserve between a rock and a hard place?

• What can you do to plan for the future?

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

GLENN: Chris Martenson of peakprosperity.com is -- is probably -- he is the guy I have been looking for, for probably 20 years, 15 years at least, who sees the world in a similar way that I do and can actually explain it and explain what is coming, explain why it's coming, how it's coming, and possibly what it looks like on the other side.

He's been on with us a couple of times, but because of contracts, he couldn't. And so we figured out a way to get him into a contract with us. And we're grateful that he is with us. And I have big plans for him to be able to teach -- to teach us exactly how this all works and what possibly is coming and how we should -- and what we should be aware of.

Welcome to the program, Chris. How are you, sir?

CHRIS: Why, Glenn, I'm doing very well. Thank you for that kind introduction.

GLENN: Chris, tell me -- I was watching the stock market on election night. And it cratered, almost 1,000 points. And then it turned around and it took off.

Can you tell me -- this makes me really nervous because nothing has changed. It's all -- just all in speculation, and it's already a giant bubble.

Can you tell me -- is there any good news here happening? Is this all bad? What is this?

CHRIS: Well, you know, Glenn, I get to hobnob with a lot of people who have been in -- say, running hedge funds for 30 years. And the more experience people have in this so-called market we have right now, the more confused they are.

And I think to understand this market, what we have to do is -- is step away from the signals that the prices are trying to send us and back up and note that the world's central banks have put $16 trillion into the punch bowl. And that's going to create a lot of money sloshing around, looking for things to do.

So what we saw on election night is very concerning. Because it saw money running away from the stock market, the US stock market in a big, big way, and then stampeding back in, in a big, big way those are not healthy signs of a healthy market.

And I will lay the blame for such weird conditions at the feet of the central banks. So that's the thing we have to understand.

GLENN: So I didn't realize we're already at $6 trillion. That is -- they don't call it printing. They call it quantitative easing. But in the old days, if they would have done exactly what they did, they would have had to print this money. And it's $16 trillion now?

CHRIS: Yes. That's 16 additional trillion on top of what the central banks already had printed out of thin air, as it were, or electronically created.

GLENN: Holy cow. So there's rumor that the fed is going to -- they're talking about raising interest rates. And the reason why -- and tell me if this is the right explanation.

The reason why the fed increases interest rates is to suck some of that money back in so it can be destroyed. So inflation happens because there's too much money out there, chasing too far goods. And so you raise the interest rates. It sucks that money back into the bank, back to the fed. They destroy that money.

Is there any interest rate that you can think of that wouldn't collapse the economy that could draw this money back in?

CHRIS: No. It's really hard at this point. So here's where we are -- the fed is truly between a rock and a hard place. So here's the rock: The rock in this story is, if they drive interest rates lower like Europe has done, like Japan has done, endowments, pension plans, which are already hemorrhaging -- big story there about what's happening to pension plans, the Dallas police pension, California state pension, you name it -- those are just dying on the vine here.

GLENN: Why?

CHRIS: So any -- the rock is lower interest rates. Those are going to kill savers. It's going to kill people on fixed incomes. It already is. That's a bad place to be. The damage is

already being done, day by day there --

GLENN: Okay. Stop. Stop. Stop.

Why is that happening? Why is that damage being done to savers and to pensions? Why is that happening?

CHRIS: Well, it's happening because the fed has this idea that if it made interest rates down at 1 percent or 0 percent, that they could rescue the credit markets, which is a fancy way of saying make sure the big banks have healthy earnings income. So they did that.

But so far, savers -- because remember you used to get 5 percent on your savings account, like if you had money in the bank.

GLENN: Yes. Yes.

CHRIS: Hey, you got 5 percent just because it was in the bank. Now, you get, what? A half a percent on a six-month CD? Something like that.

GLENN: Uh-huh.

CHRIS: Well, what happened -- where did that 5 percent go? What happened to it?

Well, that was a trillion dollars of interest income that has not gone to savers.

But where did it go? See, the fed is a distributor. It's not -- it doesn't create anything. It distributes. So it drove interest rates down and it crushed your savings account and my savings account's interest income, so we didn't get it.

Well, who got it? Oh, the banks got it because they make the money on having a steeper yield curve, as they say, or our interest rates driven down. That really helped the big banks. Didn't help savers.

So that's also really crushed pension plans because they tend to keep a lot of their money in bonds. They're getting 0 percent on those bonds. They're expecting, requiring, needing, Glenn, to get 7 or 8 percent just to meet their obligations.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

CHRIS: They're not getting it. And every day that they have to live with 0 percent on their bond portfolio is another day closer to death for those plans.

GLENN: So when people hear about the bond market -- because I've heard this for a long time, that the bond market is about to crash. Blah, blah. The bond market. The bond market. What you're really saying is anybody -- especially in a union. Anybody who has had their money in some sort of a mutual fund or bonds and they're getting -- they were getting the -- their retirement from that investment -- teachers unions, even some of our 401(k)s, that's all going away. Because that could collapse. Is that right?

CHRIS: That's absolutely correct. So if we can just take one example -- Chicago, poorly run. Terrible. You know, they gave away way too much. Let's not get into why they got into so much trouble. But they had -- their plans are so underfunded that the statistic I heard is that to just make the firemen's pension in Chicago whole, meaning this could pay out all of the pension promises its made to already retired and soon-to-be retired firemen in Chicago, they would have to put a one-time $50,000 per household tax in order to make that one plan solvent.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

CHRIS: And, of course, they're not doing that. They can't do that. So nobody talks about it. But that -- when we don't talk about these things, they don't go away. So we get to experience them as part of the political upheavals that we're seeing, which are people saying, "Hey, you've sucked all the economic oxygen away from me, and it hurts." And while they were doing that, it went to a very tiny minority, you know, who are well connected in this story.

GLENN: So, Chris, what I'm concerned about -- and I think if people understand what is happening -- and you understand, "Okay. The bond market goes down." Most people hear, "Oh, that's something about Wall Street, and I don't really care because I'm not connected -- yes, you are. On bonds and mutual funds, most of us are directly connected to those, especially in retirement.

When that happens, who is in charge? And what we do and how we hold our nation together is really important. How do we hold a nation together -- first of all, is there a way out to make that work? And, B, if it doesn't work, how do we hold a society together that feels now that they've had their retirement and their life savings stolen from them?

CHRIS: Well, the first part is, until and unless you recognize the problem exists, you can't get started on talking about what you might do about it. This is a giant issue that's in front of everybody's eyes. I talk to people who actually run big pension plans. They're screaming about it. You know, it just doesn't have traction. Politicians don't want to talk about it. It's too uncomfortable. But for people who are thinking, "Oh, well, if that happens, I don't have a public pension," to those people I would say, "Well, you know somebody who does." Right? This affects every community. It's going to affect all of us.

GLENN: Every teacher. Every firefighter. Every police officer. Everybody. Everybody who is in public service -- and half of the nation is now in public service.

CHRIS: It's a very big number. And so you get to part two, which is, what happens when -- not if -- but when we experience those losses? And the issue is, can we hold the nation together? Well, what you're hinting at there, which we all saw in the aftermath of this most recent election, there are real social consequences when you have people who have been economically marginalized or in this case damaged. It's a very real thing.

So to some people I've -- you know, have said, "Chris, this election was really tough. I can't imagine it being any worse." And I say, "Oh, my gosh, if you think this is the high-water mark of our national distress, come look at these charts with me, because these charts say we're just getting started."

GLENN: Oh, yeah. When does this hit, Chris?

CHRIS: Well, I think that -- there's no hit -- you know, no math function. It hits when people finally recognize that it's a real issue. And we know it's a real issue. But critical mass of people are starting to catch on to that.

Notice that in Dallas -- I mentioned it already. But the Dallas Police retirement fund is so underfunded that police there are retiring as soon as they can and taking their lump sum distributions because they know it won't be there.

And every time somebody does that, of course, it hurts that pension a little more. But it's the only sane thing a retiring person could do, would be to do that. It's already circling the drain. And just that one pension alone, if they had to try and make it whole, will break the budget of Dallas.

And so if they try and make -- so then Dallas has to choose: Are we going to fix our bridges? Are we going to keep our schools open, or are we going to pay off retired police officers? And that's just the police officer's pension. We haven't discussed the Dallas teachers --

GLENN: You know how they're -- you know how they're going to choose. And then all those people have worked their whole lives with a promise of something that was never -- no one was ever able -- these unions and the politicians colluded and lied and knew, if they would sit down with an actuary, that none of these things would actually happen, but they all just went along with it because it was politically expedient for them.

CHRIS: That's exactly right, Glenn. And it is a tragedy that's coming. But it's right in our faces. And, of course, the thing that you touched on there I think is the most important, which is, that sense of injustice. When people have been openly lied to, you've broken that social contract on a number of levels. And then why should they stick to the rest of the social contract?

GLENN: That's right.

CHRIS: That's really what's at stake here. It's really important.

GLENN: Well, you're a happy, happy camper.

(laughter)

[break]

GLENN: -- we're back with Chris Martenson from peakprosperity.com. A guy who is -- we're going to be working with a lot here to try to explain what's coming and what's happening so you are prepared. And as you start to see what he lays out, you'll understand why I have been so stressed in the last few years.

And I hope not to pass that stress on to you by giving you some things that you can actually do.

Now, Chris, I want to just -- I want to ask one thing that I don't think I'm alone in. You just -- I just asked you, "When does this hit?" And you said, "Well, when everybody finds out about it, that's when it crashes." And I thought to myself, "Then why the hell are you on radio telling everybody about this. Let's just keep this to ourself."

CHRIS: Oh, I wish we could. But it does have a math function all on its own. It is running. And the pensions are running out. That's just one side of the story.

But, you know, the larger piece, Glenn, when I back up is I say, "Look, here's the larger story that's very difficult to explain. It confronts a lot of belief systems. It makes people very unhappy. But it's this: We can't have infinite growth on a finite planet." You know, you just -- you run into limits sooner or later, and people have figured that out locally with maybe water in California. Or, you know, there's no more soil to plow because it's all in use in Indiana, or whatever the story is.

But we have an economic model that's been growing and growing, and now the world is in competition. And this is the larger tapestry that I think your audience really deserves to know, which is, look, the United States is not alone in the world. There's now China over there. We've got Europe. We've got India coming on board. Everybody is kind of looking for the same resources that exists out there. So that's a grand game of chess that's going to be playing out. And I don't say that to make people anxious. I say that because if you have that information -- and -- here's the important "and" -- and you take actions to make your life more resilient and do something, then that's positive.

If all you know is stuff that makes you upset, then you're just anxious, and that's no good at all.

GLENN: Right. And that's why I've wanted to work with you. Because I'm tired of hearing -- first of all, nobody can explain this stuff. And you do a great job of explaining it. And second of all, nobody has an answer for the average person.

So let's go back to the bonds for a second. If I'm an average guy, I've been a police officer my whole life and I'm going to retire in the next five years, do I take my retirement right now?

CHRIS: Absolutely.

GLENN: And I do it in a lump sum?

CHRIS: Yes.

GLENN: Even though that is -- you have that right to do it, but you're going to collapse it even faster.

CHRIS: Well, your choice includes -- you know, this is just -- this isn't a -- I'm not saying this is an ideal situation, but for you, the individual, the only sane way to play the game is either you can take the money out and receive some money from it or everybody gets nothing from it eventually. So it's just how it plays out.

And, you know, none are so poor as those who only have money. So my story is never just about the money. This resilience story has to go well beyond into something I heard you talk about just before we went to the break, which was your social capital: Who you know and how well you know them is going to be a very important determinant, and there's a lot of steps people can take to make their lives more resilient. But for now, in the way the money system is set up, you absolutely want to do everything you can to protect your wealth as much as possible.

GLENN: How fragile -- you know, I thought that this market and this country was much more fragile than it is. We have -- I've been -- you know, I've been saying this since 2004 or '6, that this -- you know, first the housing bubble. And I thought 2008 would have been the big one. And I think it would have been, had we not bailed it out with TARP and everything else. I think now we've made things much worse by all the bailouts and all the bogus money and everything else.

Is the next burst of the bubble as bad as I think it will be, or is there another TARP that is -- will buy us some more time? I'm going to come back with your answer here in just a second.

[break]

GLENN: Chris Martenson. Chris Martenson from peakprosperity.com, who is now a member of our team. A guy who I have been literally looking for, a guy like this for at least 15 years. A guy that sees the world in the same way that I do, can explain it, and also can give us options of, what do you do about that? And it's taken us a while to be able to work out a deal so he could come on because he had complex contracts. But we're so thrilled that he's a part of our team now. And we're going to hopefully sit down soon, Chris, and work out some things to get you very involved in GlennBeck.com and the Glenn Beck radio show, to be able to teach some of these things. Because I think people will understand why I'm so concerned and stressed out. Because nobody is explaining this stuff to them in a way that they can understand.

And I think people on the business shows on TV -- correct me if I'm wrong -- are living an absolute illusion or delusion.

CHRIS: No correction necessary. It's a self-delusion. It's astonishing.

And here's the funny part about this, Glenn: You know, when I talk with some of these people, their public -- they have the same public and private positions, right? Publicly, they say what they say. I get them behind closed doors, and I say, "Do you really believe that, or how concerned are you?" And some of these people -- some of the wealthiest people I know have jets ready to take them to literally bunkers in Switzerland --

GLENN: Unbelievable. Can I tell you something, Chris? I find it reprehensible. I can't tell you how many people who are on television saying everything is fine have said to me off air, "I can't say this, Glenn, but keep saying it -- the same thing -- I've got a Gulfstream ready to go." Really? Well, thanks a lot. You're telling us something opposite of what you're doing. And they just -- they don't -- they believe that if they say this, then people will panic and it will be over a lot faster. And I think -- they never say this -- but I think they think there's more money to be taken off of the table.

CHRIS: I think that's part of it. There's a lot of self-interest.

Can I tell you one of my most disappointing moments in a person's career, is what I call the retirement speech. Say, a senator, finally on the retirement day, they tell you everything they never said while they were actually in a position to do anything about it.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

CHRIS: And then I don't care anymore I don't care if you tell me how far off the rails the country has gone now that you're retiring. What a weak way to go out. Come on, you know.

GLENN: Yeah. I know.

So, Chris, the bubble that I think was coming in 2008 -- I started talking about it in '04 and '06. And it was the housing bubble. And I said, "It's going to be Great Depression-style." And it turns out it wasn't. I didn't figure in TARP. Now, I think what we've done because of TARP and money printing and everything else, I personally think it is western world depression or even worse, a game-changing kind of scenario.

A, do you agree with that? And, B, what does it look like? And, C, is there a TARP, or is there something that changes that, that I don't see?

CHRIS: Absolutely. I agree with the position.

I was a very vocal critic of all the bailouts, in particular bailing out places like Goldman Sachs at 100 cents on the dollar for their bad bets with AIG, Citigroup.

These were badly run organizations that needed and deserved to go out of business. They didn't. They were rescued. And because of that, Glenn, I think that that was an opportunity to take a painful fall from a ladder that we were four rungs up.

Now, because of the Federal Reserve and TARP and all the bailouts, what we've gotten is we're about 20 rungs up the same ladder now, much more painful fall, and may even be worse than that.

So the next crisis is going to be bad. And they're going to fight it tooth and nail because they believe in their heart of hearts that it could be a lights-out crisis if they don't.

And I understand how they got there. Remember, 2008, we had to wait a year and a half when Hank Paulson's memoirs came out, and Mervyn King, then the Bank of England governor -- they came out and said, "Guys, we were like three or four hours from a systemic banking collapse that could have wiped the world out." That's what they were thinking, right?

So what do you think they're thinking today, when everything that was in place then is still in place, but larger? Do we have fewer derivatives? Is sovereign debt lower? All of this -- no. Is the housing bubble -- where is it? It's right back where it was.

GLENN: Or worse.

CHRIS: So what they do is they pumped the credit markets up, and it was a double-fingers crossed moment. They were saying, "Please, growth. Please, please, will growth come and bail us out." It didn't come. And that's where we are, at this awkward moment, with the fed saying, "We think we need to raise rates." We're like, "Guys, too little, too late. And you're going to do it into a weakening environment, not a strengthening environment? Never been done before. Good luck with that."

GLENN: Does it require a massive shock? Does it require an event, or could this just happen?

CHRIS: Well, it's a very complex system, so it could be either. It could be the German finance minister says something wrong, and some trading algorithm picks it up and starts the ball rolling. Who knows? You know, we've seen the signs, Glenn, where the market has these really unstable moments.

So I watch this market very closely. I remember a year ago in August, when the Chinese currency devalued by 3 percent, that was the day we had the Dow down another thousand percent in response. I was like, "Wait. What? The Chinese currency went down 3 percent, now the US stock market is falling like a stone?"

That level -- that's the kind of market we have now. It's kind of unstable. And I think that's why there's so much fear out there, particularly amongst, Glenn, the people I know who know these markets best. They're the ones who happen to have the Gulfstreams spooled up and ready to go, as it were.

GLENN: What does it mean for the average person, Chris? And how do we prepare?

CHRIS: So the average person really has to have the context. Look, if you don't know what's happening or why, you're going to be shocked. You're going to be confused. You won't know what to do. You need to have a plan before you need the plan. So what I advise people to do is, first, get the context. Get educated. It's not that hard. But you can't -- you're not going to get it off of CNBC. You're not going to get it out of the Wall Street Journal. So you've got to get the context. See what's happening. And then decide for yourself what steps you're going to take. Because in my world, Glenn, the -- we mentioned it once, but if I'm feeling anxiety or I'm feeling fear, it's because my thoughts and my actions aren't aligned. And fear lives in the gap.

So close the gap. You can't change what you know. So change your actions. And there's lots of things people can do to secure their finances and to make themselves more resilient and to just begin to understand that we're going to have to be a little bit more responsible for our futures than maybe we have been up to this point. But I think that's a good thing. And people can find a lot more fulfillment and purpose and higher quality of life -- nothing that would surprise my great-grandfather. He would be like, "Yeah, you're living how people have always lived." A little bit closer --

GLENN: Yeah, I know.

CHRIS: -- and in connection.

GLENN: So then tell me, what do you do?

You know, do I have cash? Do I have gold? Do I get out of the stock market? Do I leave it in and just try to -- you know, if I'm younger, leave it in and weather this storm? Will I be completely wiped out? Do I put it all in gold and, you know, whisky? What are you -- because when I get to this point and I talk to financial people, they all say, "Well, Glenn, if you really believe that there's a massive Great Depression meltdown and there's a possibility that the American dollar goes, you know, then I can't help you. There's no scenario for that."

Well, I hope the American dollar doesn't go, but I think that's kind of the way we're going. We're going towards a one-world currency, one-world kind of -- or at least a western world digit over an actual currency, it seems.

What do I do?

CHRIS: Well, you know, everybody has a slightly different story. So let me tell you what I did. I took almost all of my money out of the stock market, out of the bond markets. I have a pretty good chunk in gold and silver at this point in time.

Two words -- I own them for separate reasons. And I own my home free and clear because I had the capability to do that. I have a lot of cash built up. And I'm waiting. And I have a list of things that I would really like to own at some point because my model -- the thing I believe is going to happen: There will be another crisis. The Federal Reserve will overreact.

They're going to -- you ask, "Do they have another arrow in their quiver?" Sure, they do. It's quantitative easing for Main Street. You'll recognize it as either a complete tax holiday, courtesy of the Treasury Department, which the fed funds with freshly printed money, or maybe it's a check that shows up in your bank account straight from the fed. I don't know. But money comes to us. And that's when I've told my people, that's when you run -- you do not walk -- you run to buy the things that are on your plan, the things that you've identified.

But first, there's a little waiting period here. And we just have to sit it through. This has happened -- what we're about to experience -- dozens of times in history. When they write about it in the Wall Street Journal, they're going to say, "Massive wealth destruction. You know, investors lose trillions." But if you watched what happened carefully, it was actually a wealth transfer.

Real wealth is always the land that we walk on. It's the productive enterprises. It's real estate that has real value. That's the real wealth. Not the paper stuff that is a claim on that wealth. So this has happened over and over again. And it's a long story. And I know we don't have time to fully express it today, but this is the larger context. If people can see what's coming, I'm telling them, "Look, it's a wealth transfer. They've happened dozens of times in history. Get on the right side of the line very quickly." And, simply, it means owning real assets.

GLENN: Okay. Chris, we'll talk again. Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

Featured Image: Christ Martenson of Peak Prosperity, featured on The Glenn Beck Program.

Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history.

The Allied invasion force included 5,000 ships and landing craft, 11,000 planes, and almost three million allied soldiers, airmen and sailors. Despite such numbers, the location and timing of the invasion was still an enormous gamble. The Nazis fully expected such an invasion, they just didn't know precisely when or where it would be.

Despite the enormous logistics involved, the gamble worked and by the end of June 6, 1944, 156,000 Allied troops were ashore in Normandy. The human cost was also enormous – over 4,900 American troops died on D-Day. That number doubled over the next month as they fought to establish a foothold in northern France.

There were five beach landing zones on the coast of northwestern France, divided among the Allies. They gave each landing zone a name. Canada was responsible for "Juno." Britain was responsible for "Gold" and "Sword." And the U.S. had "Utah" and "Omaha."

The Nazis were dug in with bunkers, machine guns, artillery, mines, barbed wire, and other obstacles to tangle any attempt to come ashore. Of the five beaches, Omaha was by far the most heavily defended. Over 2,500 U.S. soldiers were killed at Omaha – the beach so famously depicted in the opening battle sequence of the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan. The real-life assault on Omaha Beach included 34 men in that first wave of attack who came from the same small town of Bedford, Virginia. The first Americans to die on Omaha Beach were the men from Bedford.

amp only placement

America has a national D-Day Memorial, but many people don't know about it.

America has a national D-Day Memorial, but many people don't know about it. Maybe that's because it wasn't a government project and it's not in Washington DC. It was initiated and financed by veterans and private citizens. It's tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the small town of Bedford, Virginia. Why is the memorial for one of the most famous days in modern world history in such a tiny town? Because, as a proportion of its population of just 3,200 at the time, no community in the U.S. sacrificed more men on D-Day than Bedford.

There were 34 men in Company A from Bedford. Of those thirty-four, 23 died in the first wave of attacks. Six weeks after D-Day, the town's young telegraph operator was overwhelmed when news of many of the first deaths clattered across the Western Union line on the same day. Name after name of men and families that she knew well. There were so many at once that she had to enlist the help of customers in the pharmacy's soda shop to help deliver them all.

Among those killed in action were brothers Bedford and Raymond Hoback. Bedford was the rambunctious older brother with a fiancée back home that he couldn't wait to return to. Raymond was the quieter, more disciplined younger brother who could often be found reading his Bible. He fell in love with a British woman during his two years in England training for D-Day. Like in that opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, Bedford and Raymond barely made it down the ramp of their Higgins Boat in the swarm of bullets and hot steel before they were cut down in the wet sand.

Bedford and Raymond Hoback's mother, Macie, learned of both their deaths from two separate telegrams, the first on a Sunday morning, the second the following day. Their younger sister, Lucille, remembered her mother's devastation, and her father walking out to the barn to cry.

The day after D-Day, the killing field of Omaha Beach was already transforming into the massive supply port that would help fuel the American drive all the way to Berlin over the next year. A soldier from West Virginia was walking along the beach when he saw something jutting out of the sand. He reached down and pulled it out. He was surprised to find it was a Bible. The inside cover was inscribed with: "Raymond S. Hoback, from mother, Christmas, 1938." The soldier wrote a letter and mailed it with the Bible to Raymond's mother. That Bible, which likely tumbled from Raymond's pack when he fell on D-Day, became Macie Hoback's most cherished possession – the only personal belonging of her son that was ever returned.

Of the 23 Bedford men who died on Omaha Beach, eleven were laid to rest in the American cemetery in Normandy.

These men, many of them barely out of their teens, didn't sign up to march to the slaughter of course. They had hopes and dreams just like you and I. Many of them signed up for adventure, or because of peer pressure, and yes, a sense of honor and duty. Many of the Bedford Boys first signed up for the National Guard just to make a few extra bucks per month, get to hang out with their buddies, and enjoy target practice. But someone had to be first at Omaha Beach and that responsibility fell to the men from Bedford.

Over the last several years, the D-Day anniversary gets increasingly sad. Because each year, there are fewer and fewer men alive who were actually in Normandy on June 6, 1944. The last of the surviving Bedford Boys died in 2009. Most of the remaining D-Day veterans who are still with us are too frail to make the pilgrimage to France for the anniversary ceremonies like they used to.

It's difficult to think about losing these World War II veterans, because once they're all gone, we'll lose that tether to a time when the nation figured out how to be a better version of itself.

Not that they were saints and did everything right. They were as human as we are, with all the fallibility that entails. But in some respects, they were better. Because they went, and they toughed it out, and they accomplished an incredibly daunting mission, with sickening hardship, heartbreak, and terror along the way.

So, what does the anniversary of D-Day mean in 2019?

In one sense, this anniversary is a reprimand that we've failed to tell our own story well enough.

In one sense, this anniversary is a reprimand that we've failed to tell our own story well enough. You can't learn about the logistics of the operation and above all, the human cost, and not be humbled. But as a society, we have not emphasized well enough the story of D-Day and all that it represents. How can I say that? Because of an example just last weekend, when common sense got booed by Democratic Socialists at the California Democrats' State Convention. When Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper said during his speech that "socialism is not the answer," the crowd booed loudly. When did telling the truth about socialism become controversial?

Sure, socialists, and communists and other anti-American factions have always been around. America certainly had socialists in 1944. But the current socialists trying to take over the Democratic Party like a virus don't believe in the D-Day sacrifices to preserve America, because they don't believe America is worth preserving. They are agitating to reform America using the authoritarian playbook that has only ended in death and destruction everywhere it is followed.

Ask a Venezuelan citizen, or an Iraqi Christian, or a North Korean peasant why D-Day still matters in 2019.

The further we move away from caring about pivotal events like June 6, 1944, the less chance of survival we have as a nation.

At the same time, the D-Day anniversary is a reminder that we're not done yet. It's an opportunity for us to remember and let that inform how we live.

Near the end of Saving Private Ryan, the fictional Captain Miller lays dying, and he gives one last instruction to Private Ryan, the young man that he and his unit have sacrificed their lives to rescue in Normandy. He says, "Earn it."

In other words, don't waste the sacrifices that were made so that your life could be saved. Live it well. The message to "earn it" extends to the viewer and the nation as well – can we say we're earning the sacrifices that were made by Americans on D-Day? I cringe to think how our few remaining World War II veterans might answer that.

Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Gratitude. Personal responsibility. These used to mean a lot more.

Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Gratitude. Personal responsibility. These used to mean a lot more. I don't want to believe it's too late for us to rediscover those traits as a nation. I want to believe we can still earn it.

The challenge to "earn it" is a lot of pressure. Frankly, it's impossible. We can't fully earn the liberty that we inherited. But we can certainly try to earn it. Not trying is arrogant and immoral. And to tout socialism as the catch-all solution is naïve, and insulting to the men like those from Bedford who volunteered to go defend freedom. In truly striving to earn it, we help keep the flame of liberty aglow for future generations. It is necessary, honorable work if freedom is to survive.

The end of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is remarkably relevant for every anniversary of June 6, 1944. This is what D-Day still means in 2019:

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Letter from Corporal H.W. Crayton to Mr. and Mrs. Hoback – parents of Bedford and Raymond Hoback who were both killed in action on June 6, 1944

Álvaro Serrano/Unsplash

July 9, 1944 Somewhere in France

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Hoback:

I really don't know how to start this letter to you folks, but will attempt to do something in words of writing. I will try to explain in the letter what this is all about.

While walking along the Beach D-day Plus One, I came upon this Bible and as most any person would do I picked it up from the sand to keep it from being destroyed. I knew that most all Bibles have names & addresses within the cover so I made it my business to thumb through the pages until I came upon the name above. Knowing that you no doubt would want the Book returned I am sending it knowing that most Bibles are a book to be cherished. I would have sent it sooner but have been quite busy and thought it best if a short period of time elapsed before returning it.

You have by now received a letter from your son saying he is well. I sincerely hope so.

I imagine what has happened is that your son dropped the Book without any notice. Most everybody who landed on the Beach D-Day lost something. I for one as others did lost most of my personal belongings, so you see how easy it was to have dropped the book and not know about it.

Everything was in such a turmoil that we didn't have a chance until a day or so later to try and locate our belongings.

Since I have arrived here in France I have had occasion to see a little of the country and find it quite like parts of the U.S.A. It is a very beautiful country, more so in peace time. War does change everything as it has this country. One would hardly think there was a war going on today. Everything is peaceful & quiet. The birds have begun their daily practice, all the flowers and trees are in bloom, especially the poppies & tulips which are very beautiful at this time of the year.

Time goes by so quickly as it has today. I must close hoping to hear that you receive the Bible in good shape.

Yours very truly,

Cpl. H.W. Crayton

It's not as easy as it used to be for billion-dollar entertainment empires like The Walt Disney Company. It would be more streamlined for Disney to produce its major motion pictures in its own backyard. After all, abortion in California is readily available, as well as a protected, cherished right. And since abortion access is critical for movie production, right up there with lighting equipment and craft services, you would think California would be the common-sense choice for location shooting. Alas, even billion-dollar studios must pinch pennies these days. So, in recent years, Disney, among other major Hollywood studios, has been farming out production to backwater Southern lands like Georgia, and even Louisiana. Those states offer more generous tax breaks than Disney's native California. As a result, Georgia for example, played host to much of the shooting for the recent worldwide box office smash Avengers: Endgame.

But now it looks like it's Georgia's endgame. The state recently passed what is known as a "heartbeat" bill – a vicious, anti-woman law that would try to make pregnant women allow their babies to be born and actually live. It's a bridge too far for a major studio like Disney, which was largely built on creating family entertainment. How can Disney possibly go about making quality movies, often aimed at children, without access to unfettered abortion? It's unconscionable. Lack of abortion access makes it nearly impossible to shoot movies. So, what's a major studio to do? Disney might have considered migrating its business to Louisiana, but that state too has now signed a heartbeat bill into law. It's utter madness.

These monstrous anti-abortion bills, coupled with having to live under President Trump, has led Disney to seek a new home for its legendary movie magic. Last week, Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, announced that all future Disney movies will now be filmed on location in the Sub-Saharan African nation of Wakanda.

"Disney and Wakanda are a match made in heaven," Iger told reporters. "Wakanda was, until recently, a secret kingdom, much like our own Magic Kingdom. With this new partnership, we'll not only get to continue our legacy of making movies that parents and children everywhere enjoy together, but we'll get to do so in a safe space that reveres abortion as much as we do."

Wakanda is one of only four African countries (out of 55) that allow unrestricted abortion.

As home to the most advanced technology in the world – and with the planet's highest per-capita concentration of wokeness – Wakanda offers women painless, hassle-free abortion on demand. As the Wakandan health ministry website explains, the complete absence of any white-patriarchal-Judeo-Christian influence allows women in Wakanda to have complete control of their own bodies (with the exception of females who are still fetuses). As winner of the U.N.'s 2018 Golden Forceps award (the U.N.'s highest abortion honor) Wakanda continues its glowing record on abortion. That makes it an ideal location for Disney's next round of live-action remakes of its own animated movies in which the company plans to remove all male characters.

Iger says he hopes to convince Wakandan leadership to share their top-secret vibranium-based abortion procedure technology so that American women can enjoy the same convenient, spa-like abortion treatment that Wakandan women have enjoyed for years.

Wakanda is one of only four African countries (out of 55) that allow unrestricted abortion. Disney plans to boycott and/or retaliate against the other 51 African nations, as well as any U.S. states, that restrict abortion. Specific plans are being kept under wraps, but sources say Disney's potential retaliation may include beaming Beverly Hills Chihuahua into the offending territories on a continuous, indefinite loop.

When asked how Wakanda's futuristic capital city and distinctly African landscape would be able to double for American movie locations, Iger said, "I guess America will just have to look more like Wakanda from now on."

One potential wrinkle for the Left-leaning studio is the fact that Wakanda has an impenetrable border wall-shield-thing designed to keep out foreign invaders as well as illegal immigrants. Iger said he understands Wakanda's policy of exclusivity, adding, "After all, not everyone gets into Disneyland. You have to have a ticket to get in. Anyone is welcome, but you have to go through the process of getting a ticket." When one reporter pointed out that Iger's answer sounded like the conservative argument for legal immigration under the rule of law, Iger insisted that the reporter was "a moronic fascist."

What if the unthinkable happens and Florida also enacts its own "heartbeat" law? That would be problematic since Walt Disney World is located in Florida. Iger responded that Disney would "cross that bridge if we get to it" but that the most likely scenario would entail "dismantling Disney World piece-by-piece and relocating it to the actual happiest place on earth – Wakanda." As for whether Disney would ever open character-themed abortion clinics inside its theme parks, Iger remained coy, but said, "Well, it is the place where dreams come true."

With the Wakanda solution, Disney may have found a place where Minnie Mouse can finally follow her heart and have true freedom of choice.

When pressed about the cost of ramping up production in a secretive African kingdom that has no existing moviemaking infrastructure (which could easily end up being much more expensive than simply shooting in California) Iger said, "You can't put a price tag on abortion freedom. Wakanda Forever and Abortion Forever!"

With the Wakanda solution, Disney may have found a place where Minnie Mouse can finally follow her heart and have true freedom of choice. And that will be welcome relief to traditional families all over the world who keep the Walt Disney Company in business.

*Disclaimer: The preceding story is a parody. Bob Iger did not actually say any of the quotes in the story. Neither is Wakanda an actual nation on planet Earth.

"Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris," is a podcast featuring conversations about how faith has guided newsmakers and celebrities through their best and worst times. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a much maligned religion so Glenn joined the podcast and took the time to explain what it means to him and how it changed his life.

From his suicidal days and his battle with drugs and alcohol, it was his wife Tania and his faith that saved him. All his ups and downs have given him the gift of empathy and he says he now understands the "cry for mercy" — something he wishes he'd given out more of over the years.

You can catch the whole podcast on any of the platforms listed below.

- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- TuneIn
- Spotify
- Stitcher
- ABC News app

One of these times I'm going to go on vacation, and I'm just not going to come back. I learn so much on a farm.

You want to know how things work, go spend a summer on a farm. You're having problems with your son or daughter, go spend a summer on a farm.

My son changed. Over two weeks.

Getting him out of bed, getting him to do anything, is like insane. He's a 15-year-old kid. Going all through the normal 15-year-old boy stuff. Getting him on the farm, where he was getting up and actually accomplishing stuff, having to build or mend fences, was amazing. And it changed him.

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Our society does not allow our kids to grow up, ever. I am convinced that our 15-year-olds could be fixing all kinds of stuff. Could be actually really making an impact in a positive way in our society. And what's wrong with our society is, we have gotten away from how things actually work. We're living in this theoretical world. When you're out on a farm, there's no theory here. If it rains, the crops will grow. If it rains too much, the crops won't grow.

If there's no sun, they won't grow. If there's too much sun, they'll shrivel up and die. There's no theory. We were out mending fences. Now, when I say the phrase to you, mending fences, what does that mean? When you think of mending fences, you think of, what?

Coming together. Bringing people together. Repairing arguments.

I've never mended a fence before until I started stringing a fence and I was like, "I ain't doing this anymore! Where is it broken? Can't we just tie a piece of barbed wire together?"

Let's stop talking about building a wall. Because that has all kinds of negative imagery. Mending fences is what we need to do.

That's called mending fences.

And why do you mend fences? So your animals don't get out and start to graze on somebody else's land. When your fence goes down, your cow is now on somebody else's land. And your cow is now eating their food.

We look at the phrase, mending fences as saying, hey. You know, we were both wrong. Mending fences has nothing to do with that.

Mending fences means build a wall. My neighbors and I, we're going to get along fine, as long as my cows don't go and steal their food, or their cows don't come over and steal my cow's food.

We're perfectly neighborly with each other, until one of us needs to mend a fence, because, dude, you got to mend that, because your cows keep coming over and eating my food.

You know what we need to do with Mexico? Mend fences.

Now, that's a phrase. You hear build a wall. That's horrible.

No, no, no. We need to mend fences.

In a farming community, that means putting up an electric fence. That means putting up barbed wire.

So the cows — because the cows will — they'll stick their head through barbed wire. And they'll eat the grass close to the road. Or eat the grass close to the other side of the fence. And they'll get their heads in between those fences. And they can't get out sometimes. Because the grass is always greener on the other side. You look at these damn cows and say turn around, cow — there's plenty of stuff over here.

No. They want the grass on the other side of the fence.

So you mend it.

And if it's really bad, you do what we do. We had to put an electric fence up. Now, imagine putting an electric fence up. That seems pretty radical and expensive.

Does it really work? Does it shock them? What does that feel like to a cow?

The cows hit it once, and then they don't hit it again. They can actually hear the buzz of the electric fence. There's a warning. Don't do it. Don't do it. They hear the current and they hit it once and they're like, "I'm not going to do that again."

So you mend fences, which means, keep your stuff on your side. I like you. We're good neighbors. You keep your stuff on your side and I'll keep my stuff on my side and we'll get together at the town hall and we'll see each other at the grocery store. Because we're good neighbors. But what stops us from fighting is knowing that there is a fence there.

This is my stuff. That's your stuff. But we can still trade and we'll help each other. But let's stop talking about building a wall. Because that has all kinds of negative imagery. Mending fences is what we need to do.

You can have a tough fence. It could be a giant wall. It could be an electric fence. But you need one. And that's how you come together.

The side that's having the problem, mends the fence.