How's That Economic Equality Working Out, Obama?

Biker, gun enthusiast, former bull rider and radio talk show host Mike Broomhead filled in for Glenn on The Glenn Beck Program today, Wednesday, December 28.

Read below or listen to the full segment from Hour 2 for answers to these questions:

• What has consumer confidence soaring at a 15-year high?

• Does Mike have a celebrity crush?

• How does the US appear to the world after the UN vote?

• How's that economic equality working out, Obama?

• Does the EPA realize fires destroy wildlife habitat?

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

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

MIKE: This is the Glenn Beck Program. My name is Mike Broomhead. Phoenix, Arizona, in for Glenn today and tomorrow. Happy New Year. Merry Christmas. Thanks for making the Glenn Beck Program a part of your day. So much going on around the world. This hour, focusing a little bit more on economy, a CNN story lamenting the fact that the rich are getting richer, which they always do, and saying the poor are actually getting poorer.

It's going to be a fascinating conversation because -- and this isn't to be critical of the outgoing president, but we do know that Barack Obama's policies -- this is about Americanism. It has nothing to do with Republican/Democrat. This is just about what's best for us as a nation. And the American voters vote largely with their wallets. There are people that are card-carrying Democrats that will vote Republican. They are not party loyalists, and vice-versa. Based on what they believe is going to be best for them in the next four years, when they look at the policies of a president.

Because we're looking at right now consumer confidence at a 15-year high. Now, Donald Trump taking all the credit in the world for that, which maybe to some degree he should because I think it's also about more -- it is more about the fact that the economic policies of this administration are on their way out.

Why confidence is going up. There are many people that were supportive, remain supportive of Barack Obama. But also see that what he wanted to do, whether they believe it was the right thing or not, he has it.

What the Obama administration wanted to accomplish largely economically, has been an abysmal failure, whether it's Obamacare or -- especially Obamacare. With what it's going to cost the American people.

When you take that much discretionary income out of the American economy, you are going to do huge damage to the American economy. Obviously, the two senators in Arizona, John McCain and Jeff Flake.

Senator Flake's office put out a table earlier this year of what Obamacare costs are ballooning into in 2017, just for our state.

And it was in some cases 120, 130 percent increases in premium costs. There is a big county called Pinal County in Arizona, where there was only going to be one health care provider. There were none, until one said they would provide. And there are people on average paying a lot more money for health insurance -- we're not talking deductibles or copays. Just premium costs. More money for their family than they pay on average for their mortgage. Not going to survive that way. Just not going to survive that way.

So the American people vote with their wallet. They don't vote by race or gender or sexual orientation. There are social issues that carry people, especially in a primary process. I am adamantly and proudly pro-life. I'll defend that position on any level with anyone. And when I look at candidates. I want candidates that are pro-life. That to me can be a deal breaker in voting for somebody.

But largely Americans vote with their wallets. So this hour, a little bit more of a focus on that and this disparity. The inequality as they call it in this story between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots in America, and why that might be.

And then also a conversation -- I mentioned my admiration for Mike Rowe and somebody I hope someday to be able to have a conversation with. I'm not -- I don't get starstruck. It's not about meeting a star and getting a picture with them. I'd love to have a conversation with Mike Rowe about his career path and why he has decided and he has made a great career out of speaking for the working man, you know, with the shows like The Deadliest Catch, which is one of my favorite shows on television where you are admiring the hard work and the dangerous things that people do to make a living and how they can make a really good living, but work in ways that many people couldn't even fathom, couldn't even tolerate, and yet there are people that do this every single day of their lives for a living and kind of honoring them and the way they do that and exposing the great work. And it shows and the American people love it. Because it's one of the most popular shows on television and has been for a long time. And the spin-off shows that have come from that. And so I would love to be able to talk with him about that.

But he was asked about the job market in America and what our problems are. He gave a great answer. I think in this hour, it would be a great time to discuss where we should be and where we can be going in this country, with -- there's a class of people. There is a working class of people that could be doing great things and making a great living, given an opportunity.

So that will discuss. Some of the headlines if you're kind of jumping back in the car, getting back in the real world from vacation time. The Israelis say they've got ironclad proof that the US was behind the UN resolution that made the new West Bank settlements illegal in the eyes of the UN. The US abstained from that vote, which is ridiculous on its face. But the Israelis believe they have proof that America was behind the resolution.

If that's true, can you imagine what that does to US/Israeli relations? We talk so much in this country about propaganda. Everything he do -- we can't -- we can't talk about limiting or more scrutiny on refugees because that's being used as a recruiting tool by our enemy. We can't do these things -- we're not going to say, fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, because by using that phrase, it emboldens our enemies. And they use it as propaganda to recruit against us. And everything is about appearance.

Well, how does it appear to the world when Israel's greatest ally, the United States, goes against them behind their back and abstains from this vote? You tell me what the appearances are around the world. You tell me about the Palestinians and what they want to do with Israel. You tell me about the Iranians who have in the Iranian Constitution, that they will destroy the Zionist state. Their Constitution dictates that they destroy Israel. What do you think it does to those nations in emboldening them when the fiercest ally of the Israelis, the Americans, are going behind their back?

So you want to talk about propaganda. You want to talk about recruiting tools. You want to talk about appearances. How does that appear to our allies? How does it appear to the Israelis first, but then to the rest of the world?

John Kerry -- in the last hour we talked about this -- giving his final speech in the Middle East, with a backdrop of what's happening in Israel. I don't know what he could possibly say. What has he accomplished in the Middle East? The only thing he has done is the nuclear deal with the Iranians, that has the rest of our allies in the region terrified and angry. What could he possibly have to say in this speech?

Actress Carrie Fisher dies. Singer George Michael dies. Big stories all over the internet and Twitter. I'm not -- I'm going to get a lot of people angry. I'm not a big Star Wars fan. So I wasn't struck by the death of Carrie Fisher like a lot of people were. You know, I'm a Star Wars generation. But I'm not a big fan of the movie. So it's not that big of a deal to me in the celebrity of things. George Michael passing. You know, again, why do people get so enamored with celebrities? That's just part of life, and that's how it is. When people of -- you know, notable people pass away, these things happen. So it doesn't mean I'm not sad for her family or his family, it's just, it's not as big a deal to me as it has been to a lot of others.

There was a China aircraft carrier that made its way into the Pacific. They were doing some maneuvers. Again, flexing their muscle in that region of the world. President Obama is working on ways, whether it's through economic sanctions or political sanctions, against the Russians for tampering our elections.

Just some of the headlines of what's been going on in the world. This hour, we talk about economic inequality in America, which was supposed to be fixed under this president and his tax plan and his redistribution of wealth ideas and taxing the rich to help the poor, which never has worked before. It certainly isn't working right now. And why, if that was the solution to the problem, is the consumer confidence higher now than it's been in 15 years?

I've got two answers to that question, which we'll get to here in just a few moments. Again, if you want to reach out to me via social media, on Twitter, I'm @BroomheadShow. On Instagram, MikeBroomhead, all one word. And Facebook: The Mike Broomhead Fan Page on Facebook. Would love to interact with you on all those social media platforms. I'll be back here in a few moments to talk about the economy of the United States. My name is Mike Broomhead. And this is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: So they say consumer confidence is at a 15-year high. But the inequality between the haves and the have-nots in America is getting wider. The gap between the two. The rich and the poor. The middle class is shrinking. I believe all of that's true. There's two answers to both of these issues: One on the consumer confidence side of things, I believe the policy changes that are coming -- with any president coming in -- I'm not taking anything away from what Donald Trump is doing about job creation and the comments he's made about jobs coming here and saving jobs and, you know, 15 billion-dollar investment from foreign companies and other companies that are staying here now. I'm not taking away anything.

So for the Trump supporters that are listening, this is not about taking anything away from Donald Trump. But the policies of this current administration have been so restrictive to business. Taxation, yes. But how about regulation?

There's a word for any business owner of any size: It's called compliance. Ask a business owner -- you want to see someone perplexed that owns a business. You ask them which would help your company be more profitable? Lower taxes or less regulation? I guarantee you it's not as easy as you would think. The average person would say, "Lower my taxes. Let me keep more of my profits." Obviously that makes a lot of sense for businesses.

But what they spend on compliance. What they spend on just trying to make sure they can -- in the construction business, MSDS, which is material safety data sheets. You've got to keep a log of the things that you have on a job site that would be dangerous in case there were a fire so the fire department has them. You could have a small job site. You know what it's like for compliance?

The risk management companies in this country that make a ton of money because of these ridiculous, even the risk management companies will tell you, government regulation has gotten to be so oppressive to businesses.

You know, the largest ponderosa pine forest in the country is located in the state of Arizona. People picture us as being a desert. When you realize the forest fires that have decimated our area, from the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, back to the Yarnell Hill Fire, where those firefighters, the Yarnell firefighters were killed, the hotshots.

And you're talking about forests where they can't go in and fight the fires. They can't get equipment in to fight those fires, because EPA regulations say you can't thin the forest. You're going to damage the habitat for the wildlife.

Well, what happens when you have a fire that destroys the habitat for the wildlife? Oh, and destroys the wildlife too.

Compliance. So the inequality keeps getting uglier according to this CNN story. The rich and money-making machines. Today, the mega wealthy, the top one percent, earn an average of $1.3 million a year. More than three times as much in the '80s. They only made 428,000 on average in the 1980s. But they are saying now that the bottom 50 percent of American population, an average of $16,000 in pretax income in 1980 hasn't changed much.

If you want an increase -- and I'm in favor of people making more money in this country. I think that it's the lifeblood. I think wealthy business owners love it when they have wealthy people living around them. If you own a restaurant, you want people with the discretionary income to eat at your restaurant. Come into your store. If you sell furniture, you want to sell high-end furniture. You want people to be able to afford new furniture in their homes. New cars.

It's ridiculous to think that the average American business owner doesn't want to pay their employees. But a business owner has the responsibility -- they are tied to the bottom line. Oh, incidentally, the employees get paid first.

Business owners don't get a check until the employees get a check. You've heard the old clichés: You know, I've signed both sides of the check, front and back. I've been the same thing. I've been a small business owner. It's not easy, and it keeps you up at nights. You want what's best for your employees, but you are a slave to the bottom line.

At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of the month, at the end of the year, you have got to make sure that bottom line is covered, that your employees are paid, you're paying your vendors, you're paying your taxes, you're meeting the compliance issues that the federal and the state and local governments have.

So why is consumer confidence at a 15-year high if the disparity between rich and poor has never been bigger? The answer is this administration and its policies are on the way out.

We could talk about Obamacare and how it's terrifying everybody, even the people that believed in it. Now, the Republicans are talked about something called universal access, which I think will be a great thing. But solving a problem by deregulation, first of all, by inviting more people to the party is a much better way of doing things. Shared risk. It's just like automobile insurance.

And I always -- the detractors always say, it's not a perfect analogy. Nothing is a perfect analogy.

But in this regard, it works. If you own a car that's 15 or 20 years old and it's not worth a whole lot of money, you have basic coverage, which in some places is called PIP and liability. Personal injury protection and liability insurance. So if you damage somebody else's vehicle, it's covered by your insurance. If you injure other people in an accident, their medical bills are covered by your insurance.

Your car is not covered. You don't have theft. You don't have fire. You don't have vandalism. You don't have glass coverage. Because the car is old and not worth anything. So you pay a minimal amount to make sure you're covered, if you damage somebody else's property or you hurt somebody in an accident.

If not, you've gotten to be my age and you've accumulated some stuff and you drive a newer vehicle. You not only have full coverage, but you jack your limits. You jack your liability on those things. You know, I have 100,000, 300,000 coverage on my vehicle, if I hurt somebody. God forbid. Or damage somebody else's vehicle.

Full glass coverage. I have all towing. I have everything else. I pay a lot of money for insurance because I want to be covered. But the full gamut is there. And there's a ton of insurance companies out there, and they share the risk with bad drivers that have tickets or accidents or claims. Shared risk by the insurance companies. Lower premiums because they're fighting for people's businesses. You can do the same thing for health insurance. But aside from the solution of Obamacare is the problem with Obamacare, what it's going to do with the discretionary income of Americans. Consumer confidence is up because that's one of the things that's going to change.

With Donald Trump telling business owners we're going to lower the corporate tax rate, let you keep more of your money, put a moratorium on regulation, and make it easier for American businesses to produce in America. Sound simple, not as easy as it sounds, but moving in that direction right now, with the prospect of that happening is making consumer confidence rise.

If the Congress is able to work with the president and they come up with a good billion that is what they would call budget neutral or fiscally neutral, where it's not going to cost more in taxes, where it's actually going to bring more tax dollars in. If they're able to pull that off, you will see consumer confidence rise. You'll see wages rise.

We won't need a falsely inflated 15-dollar an hour minimum wage. By the way, in the Pacific Northwest, where the $15 an hour minimum wage has been implemented in those cities. Have you seen what they're going to do there? They're going to automate fast food restaurants. You'll now go to a kiosk to place your order. Somebody will cook it and bring it to you. All those front-end jobs where they take your order, gone.

There's your $15 an hour minimum wage fallout. They're going to eliminate the jobs. So we don't need to falsely inflate wages. There will be jobs available.

So I don't know why we don't see that. It's not about rich versus poor. It really should never be. We've turned it into that.

In the next segment, Mike Rowe was talking about American job markets and why it's suffering in some industries and what he believes is the cause of the problem. And I think his answer was a brilliant one. And it's something I have agreed with, but I haven't been able to articulate it as well as Mike Rowe has in this story. And, by the way, I got this from TheBlaze.com. If you want to go over to TheBlaze.com, you can see this story and Mike Rowe's answer to the economy.

We'll talk about this in a few moments. Because there is a segment of our society that I believe -- I've come from it, that is the backbone of the American economy. And it's underserved. And a way we can serve this community where they can really be a part of a thriving economy. And this is the way to bolster the middle class. I believe the answer is there. We'll talk about that here in the next segment of the show. I'm Mike Broomhead. This is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: My name is Mike Broomhead. I'm in for Glenn today and tomorrow. Thanks for joining me. I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. On Twitter, I'm @BroomheadShow. I love the interaction with people so far. Only one negative -- one hater. But I even -- I even like the disagreement. So @BroomheadShow on Twitter. The Mike Broomhead Show Fan Page on Facebook.

Or if you're an Instagram user and you want to see some of my blurry pictures that I'm famous for, MikeBroomhead, all one word on Instagram is where you can find me there as well.

I mentioned earlier -- we were talking economy mostly this hour and what's happening in America with consumer confidence being higher. And what we always are talking about is the disparity, the haves and the have-nots. And it's turned into politics in America. And it never should be that way.

You know, I talked about the Communist Manifesto on the show way too much, about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and the emiseration of the proletariat, where if people don't know how bad they have it, let's go ahead and tell them how bad they have it. And it's almost the platform for the Democrat Party as of late. And it shouldn't be that way, nor was it intended to be that way. And we can lament how the two parties have gone in different directions and left a lot of people behind collectively.

But when you look at America, most people that I know don't want anything handed to them. They want to earn everything they own. And when you look at a government that largely is saying we're going to give free college and we're going to give you this and we're going to give you that, well, nothing is free, someone is paying for it.

And if you think you're going to get free college when you're 18 to 22 and not pay for everybody else's college from when you're 22 to 62, you're crazy. That's what's going to happen.

But Mike Rowe was being asked about the American job market. And it's a story I got from TheBlaze.com.

And his show, Dirty Jobs, where he goes around the country at some of the hardest working jobs that there are and difficult and just backbreaking disgusting -- and sometimes -- work. And he said along the way he would see "help wanted" signs. He wanted to know what was going on. He was talking with Tucker Carlson.

And one of the reasons he gives is he said maybe one of the barriers are the people guiding them in schools at the secondary level. Liberal arts and poetry majors. He said, "Not that there's anything wrong with that, but they don't see the dignity in welding maybe. Is that part of the problem? Because in North Dakota, there's a young man who is a welder who is now making $140,000 a year as a welder."

He said, "We're also spoiled in that wonderful way that any advance in society becomes when they flip the switch and they don't pause for a second and say, "Holy crap, I can't believe the lights came on again." We are not properly gobsmacked by the reality of the civilization we live in. Consequently, the people who are on the front lines of those jobs are by and large transparent. In fact, he said, when you pay attention to big chunks of people who are typically ignored, interesting things happen.

So I've mentioned, I think he's one of the most interesting people because he's tapped into something that I have believed for a long time. And he's done it in a way that I could never do. He's articulated the working man, not as a hero, but as an example.

And it's just how things are. In our society, the underserved population is the category I fit into. Maybe that's why I feel so much -- so passionately about this.

Had it not been for the trades, I would have fallen through the cracks. I was very intelligent, but not a good student. I lacked discipline. I still do. But I lack discipline.

I was fortunate. I took a job as an apprentice electrician for the sole purpose that it paid a little bit more money than the other job I was working. I just saw it as another job.

Within two months, I saw it as my career path at 18 years old. And it served me to the point where I was management, then I was -- I had my own company with a partner. Then I had my own company.

And I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I saw a way to use my hands and my brain and make a living for myself and my family. Trade schools should be a huge focus for the American government. The NEA and secondary education and college, I wish -- my biggest regret, by the way -- I know this is going to be contradictory. My biggest regret in life now is that I don't have a college degree. What I wouldn't do for an American history degree.

And I know I can go back to school. But that's my regret, that I didn't have the discipline to do the coursework. I'll put my knowledge of American history up with a history major in many regards because I'm self-educated. But I didn't have the discipline to do the coursework to get the certificate and the diploma. And I wish I had.

But Mike Rowe is tapping into something in our society that's largely underserved. And that is, we see, you know, the Carrie Fisher's of the world. Nothing wrong with idolizing somebody that was in such an iconic movie series like Star Wars.

But at the same time, the working class of America really is the middle class. There are jobs out there. And there are people that are really driving this economy because of what they're doing.

Small business owners -- not the large business owners that we hear so much about. But the small business owners that are employing ten and 20 people, or even less than that.

And when you look at that, he's right. They're largely transparent. When you think about, you know, when the lights believe on -- which really struck home with me because I was an electrical contractor. When, you know, there are people -- the building that I'm in right now in Phoenix, Arizona, is being remodeled. They're remodeling our offices.

And so I'm ducking my head around on the construction side of what's going on because I miss it. I miss the feeling that happens at the end of the day when you look at -- for the electricians out there, when you look at a panel that you're wiring or you're running conduit somewhere and you see it, and you think you can see what your hands have created, at the end of the day. I miss that, as much as I love what I do right now.

But there's an underserved part of our population that will drive this economy in the years to come. When Donald Trump went into those states that he flipped, when he was in Florida and he was -- you know, especially when he was in Pennsylvania and he was in Michigan and he was in Wisconsin, when he was telling people, "We're going to keep these factories open. We're going to get the ones that are closed reopened. We're going to give you your jobs back." People weren't looking for a handout. People weren't looking for a minimum wage increase. They were looking for a job. They want their career back.

I know what it's like to have a 5-gallon bucket of tools in the back of a pickup truck and go and do a day's work for somebody and be proud of what you've done.

It's funny. Now that I'm doing what I do, I speak at a lot of events. Or I'm invited to attend a lot of events in ballrooms at beautiful resorts here in Arizona, all over the place. You know what's funny, is when I walk into these places now as a guest, I walk past the electrical work I did on the lights outside or the fountain that I worked on. It makes me laugh to myself. I'm the same person I was then, except now I'm in a suit and a tie walking into the ballroom, instead of a bucket of tools in the back entrance, fixing something so you never see me.

So the CNN story we talked about at the beginning of the hour and the disparity between the have and the have-nots in this country. It's not about limiting what the haves get. We should really be happy that the wealthy in this country have become wealthier, that the successful people have learned how to become even more successful than they ever dreamed of. What are we doing to serve -- and what I mean by serve is not hand anybody that's not making a decent living money or a job.

What are we doing to create an opportunity?

You take somebody that's in the fast food industry, that's working away or in retail, that's working away -- they're working very hard.

But give them an opportunity at a career, whether it's a trade like I was in. Whether you're an electrician, plumber, HVAC, or a welder, and show them the honor and dignity in a job like that. But not just honor and dignity, but a nice living.

You can provide for your family and be proud of the work you do. I think that's Americanism. The wealthy getting wealthier. Good for them. I'm happy -- everybody wants to work for someone that's wealthy. I know I do. I want my check to cash on Friday. I don't ever want to worry that my paycheck is going to bounce. So I don't care how wealthy my boss is.

But when I work hard, Christmas bonus, pay raises, paid vacation, benefit package, and be able to do a job that my family respects, that I can look at myself in the mirror. I think what Americanism is. And Mike Rowe -- nobody paints that picture better than Mike Rowe has. He's done it with dirty jobs. He's done it -- you know, the deadliest catch shows. And the spin-offs from that have just been -- I love that show.

That's the underserved part of our society. The young men and women in high school right now that may not be going to college. And if they do, they're going to get a business degree and barely squeak by and then wonder why they're saddled with student loans. And what did that degree do for them? They could go to a trade school. They could learn a skill that in a couple of years, they are making a nice living, and they're not saddled with such a student loan debt. And they're out contributing to society. And they've got careers that they can lean on, as opposed to just a job.

Not everybody has to be a superstar or a millionaire. There's a lot of people that are happy making a really nice comfortable living, knowing they -- proud they can feed their families on their own without assistance from the government.

So more on this I think before we finish up the hour. Social media users, if you want to reach out, I'd love to hear -- if you're part of that working class I'm talking about, I'd love to hear your story. On Twitter, I'm @BroomheadShow. The Mike Broomhead Show, Facebook page. If you want to reach out to me there. I'd love to hear your story. It really is a great story.

And we'll talk more about the American economy and what is going to bolster that middle class. And I think it is that working class part of America.

And in the next hour, California changing its gun laws, just like the president of the United States tried to do that here in the US. So the gun sales over the last eight years have skyrocketed.

Well, what do you think is happening in California? We'll talk specifically about that from another Blaze.com story in the next hour. So we'll do all that here in a few minutes. Close out this one, and then jump into hour number three in a few minutes. I'm Mike Broomhead. And this is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: All right. Mike Broomhead in for Glenn Beck today and tomorrow. Before we get into the next hour where we're going to talk about the California -- which have caused gun sales to skyrocket. It's a Blaze.com story. If you want to go and read up on it at TheBlaze.com, before we get to it in the next hour.

Wrapping this hour up with the conversation about the economy and training and giving people an opportunity at success, and success changes for people.

I'm very fortunate. I'm blessed. You know, I was raised by a single mom. I've mentioned this before. And we were raised with very little. So I've been on that side of it. And I was happy, although I wished I had had more.

Now I'm in a career. I've got more than I ever dreamed I would have. I'm no less or more happy because of the things I've accumulated. It's just different.

Success for me was always the ability to take care of myself. And I think for most Americans, that's what we want. We don't want to be cared for. We don't want -- and I'm not -- when people are in need, it should be available to them. We should be a benevolent society. And we are.

But people don't want to be cared for, for their entire lives. They want to be able to care for themselves. They want to feel like they can do that. Giving people an opportunity is what we do as Americans.

Keeping jobs here -- you want to know why people are largely becoming more optimistic about a Trump presidency, it's because he is saying he is going to keep jobs here. And there is proof now that those things are beginning to happen.

Will we stop with the class warfare? Will we stop with the rich versus poor? The haves versus the have-nots? We've got to stop.

There are greedy poor people, and there are greedy rich people. There are kind and giving poor people, and there are kind and giving wealthy people. It's human nature on both sides. And your economic status has nothing to do with what kind of person you are. And political parties have divided haves and have-nots for political purposes way too long.

If your job is insured or is more likely to remain because the government reduces regulation and taxes on your boss, what do you care if your boss gets richer?

And the nice thing about these things is as the job market becomes more competitive, if you don't believe your boss is paying you what your job is worth, there is going to be more opportunity out there for you, when other businesses are opening or expanding. There will be -- that's how things work.

Falsely inflating the minimum wage will do nothing for the economy. The poor working class person that's working at minimum wage level, if it goes up to $15 an hour, their lifestyle does not change because the basics of keeping them sustained will also increase in cost, where their lifestyle won't change. And a wealthy person will eat the increase in the costs that go with an increased minimum wage. What's left of the middle class? Who pays the price?

You know, if restaurant food goes up by, you know, 10 percent, I'm in a place right now financially, I can eat the 10 percent. I'm still going to the restaurant. I may complain about it, but I'm still going. Middle class family, maybe not.

We should be thinking about what's best, instead of what's going to hammer the people we don't like. We got to stop with the class warfare. I just think it's damaging to us as people. And it's damaging to our economy as well.

So I am hopefully optimistic going into next year. And the inauguration. We'll see if economically any of these things continue to go in that direction.

Coming up in the next hour, California's gun sales are skyrocketing right now because the changes in their gun laws that are getting ready to go into effect.

Sound familiar? Sounds like the last eight years nationally to me. That coming up in the next hour. My name is Mike Broomhead. I'm in for Glenn Beck on the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

Featured Image: US president Barack Obama, daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (2nd R) and First Lady Michelle Obama return to The White House in Washington DC, January 3, 2016 after vacationing in Hawaii. (Photo Credit: CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)

RYAN: Kanye West and the Great Society

Graphic by Alexander Somoskey.

Donald Trump has been name-dropped by nearly every major rapper of the last 30 years, starting with a reference by Beastie Boys on their iconic album Paul's Boutique, the Sgt. Pepper of hip-hop.

He's been mentioned by Jay Z. Ludacris. Young Thug. Nelly. Kendrick Lamar. Juicy J. Rick Ross. Eminem. Big Sean. A Tribe Called Quest. Scarface. Lil Wayne. The Coup. Master P. Ice Cube. Mos Def. Raekwon, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and various other Wu-Tang Clan affiliates. R. Kelly. Pete Rock. Nas. E-40.

And don't forget this surreal moment in our nation's history.

Then-candidate Trump on SNL ... dancing to a Drake parody.(Screenshot from YouTube)

When Bun B referred to Trump on the Chopped-n-Screwed anthem "Pocket Full of Stones," he was keeping with a tradition of rappers admiring Trump. This only changed a few years ago.

But then there's Kanye West, who proudly donned the red MAGA hat after discovering Candace Owens and being called "a jackass" by our nation's first black President. Then Kanye was hugging President Trump in the Oval Office? While wearing a Make America Great Again hat, supposed symbol of white supremacy, Nazism, hate, evil?

(Screenshot from YouTube)

People flipped. Everyone did. Longtime critics suddenly — and bizarrely — embraced Kanye as an ally, while longtime defenders disowned him, abandoned him like nail clippings, often mocking his struggles with mental illness and labeling him, if you can believe it, a white supremacist.

Then, in a moment that changed music history, Kanye released the single "Ye vs. the People."

Ye vs. the People (starring TI as the People) www.youtube.com

In it, he challenges what he sees as the unspoken rule that black Americans have to vote Democrat. He had hinted at the idea on his track "Black Skinhead," from the hauntingly gorgeous album Yeezus, but now he was addressing it head-on, with the passion of a man going to Confession for the first time in a decade.

Why should black folks have to abide by any set of cultural or political or artistic guidelines to begin with? And, he argues, the pressure to adhere to this longheld framework is itself undergirded by a subtle and cleverly masked racism, imposed by a group of people who portray themselves as the champions of race and enemies of white supremacy and destroyers of dumb yokel rednecks with their Rebel flags and monster trucks and fully-automatic AR-15 assault weapons. All of which, it turns out, is some next-level projection.

Kanye also confronts the presence of these expectations and stereotypes in hip-hop. The idea that rappers must invoke a negative persona in order to succeed. And the moment they deviate from that image they are rebuked or ignored, even though the persona is damaging to the black community as a whole. Which is especially ironic given that the people who voice the most outrage tend to be highly privileged, supposedly progressive white folks who love to rant about white privilege and black oppression.

Is it better if I rap about crack? 'Cause it's cultural?
Or how about I'ma shoot you? or f**k your b***h?
Or how about all this Gucci, 'cause I'm f****n' rich?

Best of all, Kanye has answers. And they differ from the erudite solutions offered by, say, A Tribe Called Quest, who, like Kanye, have modeled a healthy, positive image of blackness for the black community.

A central theme within "Ye vs. The People" is empathy as power, rebellion, freedom.

Make America Great Again had a negative perception
I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction
Added empathy, care and love and affection
And y'all simply questionin' my methods.

This concept is an extension of the powerful devotion to positive energy that Kanye adopted around that time, a purview he has cultivated into a wild new form of electronic gospel.

But his personal transformation was tough.

That [MAGA] hat stayed in my closet like 'bout a year and a half
Then one day I was like, "F**k it, I'ma do me"
I was in the sunken place and then I found the new me.

This is a struggle that many Americans undergo. Researchers call it the spiral of silence. The idea that the news media and social media present biased opinions as though they are fact, and when the message conflicts with a person's opinions or values, they feel isolated, alone.

Kanye and T.I. during the making of "Ye vs. the People"(Screenshot from YouTube)

As Kanye raps in "Ye vs. the People"

A lot of people agree with me but they're too scared to speak up.

Because we have an incredible ability to sense public opinion. So when we suspect that we hold a belief that rails against acceptable thought, we tend to keep quiet about it. That silence makes the opinion seem even more taboo, resulting in a more widespread silence.

In reality, many of these supposedly taboo opinions are not only popular, they are normal and practical and logical. Healthy, even. And the real danger is in demonizing them. But too many people are afraid they'll be ostracized for expressing their beliefs.

Like how — despite what we've been led to believe — most Americans cannot stand political correctness.

But the small minority of people who champion it are powerful and loud. They're like that cardboard city in North Korea, just visible enough from the border to make it seem like a thriving community. They're the Wicked Witch of the West, or Iago from Othello, or Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants.

So far, they have been successful. Although "success" by their metric is anarchic and primal, all destruction and loudness and people nervous to speak their mind. And the cost of rebellion can be devastating.

By the time Kanye West wrote "Yay versus the People," he had gotten sick of this power dynamic. So he broke the spiral of silence."

*

In the words of German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, "Whoever has language has the world."

Humans alone have it.

But in order for us to know freedom in our world, our language has to be public, shared, active. Because each of us thrives constantly with language, a stream of it always in our mind. Aristotle defined "thought" as the infinite dialogue between the soul and itself. Conversation is the exchange of thought between people. When we converse, we simultaneously release our infinite dialogue and accept the other person's. By speaking, we shape the world and free ourselves.

*

Another way to say it is that Donald Trump might have inspired the song that could very well signify the end of Hip-Hop, which is not only the most popular genre of our zeitgeist, it's the most popular, and successful, form of music in American history, which is the most important era of musical history.

If the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, and Drake literally outpaces the Beatles, then, well, you get the point God forgive me. And Kanye is bigger than Drake. So who better to have the final word on the capacities of Hip-Hop than Kanye West?

Nobody.

Every genre must come to a close. There's a reason why people aren't eagerly awaiting the next great disco album, or flocking to arenas to hear the newest bluegrass superstar, or asking to get their hair done like the latest syringe-armed guitarist of Guns N Roses.

(Screenshot from Instagram)

The great era of Rock 'N' Roll ended roughly about the time Radiohead traded their guitars and drums for synthesizers and sequencers, not long after Kurt Cobain took an insane amount of heroin and cradled a shotgun in his guesthouse, only to be discovered several days later by an electrician. Even worse, Nickelback soiled Cobain's legacy with godawful anthems, and who have their own weird and contradictory and hilarious connection to President Trump.

These days, Rock N' Roll lives mostly via nostalgia, as evinced by the explosion of cover bands. Notice how you don't see any hip-hop cover bands. You will, someday. But, for now, Hip-Hop reigns supreme. And Kanye is the King.

The brilliant Nina Simone once told a reporter that "An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times."

Because music accords itself to the gravity and creative truth of the era. And currently we entrust hip-hop with this complicated maneuver.

But the past year, Kanye has been crafting a new sound through his Sunday services, weekly jam sessions with acoustic musicians and a choir and everyone dressed in white, praying through song, herding us into a better place, looking above for guidance. If it's anything like his track "Ultralight Beam," it will bring calm to our divided culture.

Mark my words: The resultant album will usher in an entirely new era, a magical flash in human history.

So far, hip-hop has been the defiant child of R&B and Electronica, the grandchild of Spoken Word and Steve Reich Minimalism, with tinges of Punk. Not for much longer. Kanye will see to that. And, weirdly, President Trump has helped inspire this transformation.

Meaning, Donald Trump will have had a hand in reinventing music as a whole, in spreading a movement of positive reformation. Love him or hate him, it does not matter. What other politician can make that claim?

There's an optimism to this that Dave Chappelle captured in his now-infamous Saturday Night Live monologue, just days after Trump was elected, asking Americans to at least give the man a chance. And again in his special "Equanimity," when he said

I swear no matter how bad it gets, you're my countrymen, and I know for a fact that I'm determined to work shit out with y'all.

In a moment of now-tired irony, the usual suspects heaped a barrage of hate at Chappelle for these remarks. But their outrage does not matter, in the grand scheme of things. Because it is an incredible time to be alive. It's beautiful. We should never forget that, no matter how petty or outrageous daily life gets.

At the moment, we are a country that is — everywhere, secretly — hurting. But we are Americans. Together. This is America. And, every day, God delights in our greatness and our empathy and our endless gift for love. So open your heart and listen. Say what you need to say.

New installments of this series come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter.

RYAN: Michael Bennet, Little League

Photo by Sean Ryan

Every day, life getting shorter. Every day, life going faster. Every day, like a roller coaster. These were the kinds of things that Michael Bennet was saying.

Michael Bennet, God bless him, he seemed like a decent lad. All week he had his family there. He said his campaign was their family vacation. He had had prostate cancer but would you believe he survived?

"Life is getting shorter," he said. "Every day."

Photo by Sean Ryan

He was well spoken. Dry. Talked with an air of consultation. Like you were in his office, and he had things to tell you.

Like a Little League coach who could actually be a coach someday.

*

I would encounter Bennet again the next day, at the Iowa State Fair.

Having just seen Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at a small Baptist church, we ventured to the fair to see Bernie Sanders' riot of a Sunday speech. Bennet was on before him, so I got there early, and I paced off to get a restroom break. The media center is in the basement of the administration building, right by the Political Soapbox stage.

For whatever reason, the first-floor men's restroom has giant windows along the wall, and you can see right out onto the walkway that wraps around the building. I did not realize that this was the path that the candidates take to get to the stage.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And, this far into the 2020 presidential election, they never went many places alone. They had a press swarm and their wives and maybe an old friend who relocated here when the hurricane sank his house.

I was rushing. Panicking, really. Because I heard all the commotion. But nature abides by its own pace. And as I shuffled to the sink to wash my hands, my pants fell all the way down. I was exposed. Out in the open and in such desperation, you clobber yourself outside of time. It was all slo-mo with the Chopped-n-screwed voices as I scrambled to lift my trousers and audibly gasped the words, "Well just no." At that exact moment, that "accidental Renaissance" painting occurred as I locked eyes with Michael Bennet, slowly maneuvering the walkway.

These sorts of things happened, didn't they? There you were in a restroom, at an NFL game or a concert or maybe a bar, and you see someone you work with, or someone from church or school, and you lock eyes for a moment in confusion then revert to cave talk and shrug and get on with what you were doing. But it's weird when only one of you is actively part of the etiquette and allowances of a restroom and one of you is held to a higher standard, for the sake of common decency. Now let's say that you, the restroom occupant, happen to be credentialed press, and the outsider, Michael Bennet, happens to be a candidate for president of America.

Once the herd passed by behind him, I laughed a bit, quietly, because life could be very funny.

*

Onstage, Bennet, a senator from Colorado, gave the performance of a cake falling into a pool. Like he had been ghost-busted. Like he had spent the last two months learning the Fortnite dance moves and now that he had mastered them, suddenly Fortnite was for losers, and Fortnite dances, well, they were even worse.

The Political Soapbox is great because every candidate has 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes were theirs. Most of the time, they got romantic like a Backstreet Boy singing up toward an open window. Occasionally, they lost it. Bennet did neither. He belly-flopped into hay bales.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Remember that the growing crowd had the dangerous feel of a natural disaster. And it was gaspingly warm that day. So neither the crowd nor the environment were ready to give Bennet a freebie.

He gave a ravishing speech, full of neat invective. Then looked up and realized he still had 14 minutes on the clock. Oof. That was most of it, and he'd already done the Floss and the Robot and the Electro Shuffle, and honestly his shoulder was a little stiff from all that dance practice. So he opened the floor for questions.

Now, that was not the greatest idea. For one, this was not the type of place for such a thing. They called it a soapbox because you were meant to live out the phrase "on a soapbox" by ranting and fist-pounding and all other theatrics.

The Bernie Sanders supporters hadn't arrived en masse yet, so most of the people around the stage were clad in Trump gear. And they all had their hands up ready to ask him questions. Well, firebombs, really, masked as interrogative statements. Bennet shouted without breathing, then said, "I want to find a non-male person who has a question."

This did not sit well with the males who did not like the trend of personalizing all things, cautious gendering, and the sudden change of direction so that now they had to just listen.

Most people did not care.

"I do not support Bernie's plan," Bennet shouted. But would you believe the Bernie supporters had literally just arrived, you could smell their hair dye.

They jeered, then acted exactly — and I mean exactly — like the Trump supporters.

"I would rather support free pre-school than free college," he shouted. "Many people talk about... " but the jeering was too powerful. And the Bernie supporters had likely just had quinoa açaí bowls at their pre-Bernie brunch, so they were unstoppable. Well God bless the man for scratching "Give Presidency a Try" off his bucket list. Because at least he had a bucket list.

What did they have? Student debt and a restraining order? They being the growing factions of Bernie and Trump supporters in the audience. You could not see any pavement. It was just people and faces like the Mediterranean in the evening, all the way to the towering walls of the Grandstand.

Looking out at all that chaos, all that latent disaster, Bennet must have felt a deep stirring.

The night before, Slipknot headlined at the Grand Stand, a sold-out show. Rollicking and bursting and howling. How many drumbeats could drummer Jay Weinberg get per minute? At one point, vocalist Corey Taylor unleashed a demonic bellow, then adjusted his mask and looked out to all those people, those devoted fans, because many of them had Slipknot tattoos, and maybe he, like Bennet, indulged a moment for himself, a personalization of the grand setting, then shrieked, then persuaded the audience to lift their hands into the air, maybe toward a constellation of their choosing, and extend their middle finger like it was an egg landing on a pillow, which symbolizes the human condition.




New installments to this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. For live updates, check out my Twitter.

President Trump couldn't personally make it to Houston for the 3rd Democratic Debate, so he paid $7,500 for a single-engine Cessna to fly in circles over Texas Southern University campus while pulling a banner that said, "Socialism will kill Houston's economy! Vote Trump 2020!"

For four hours, it chugged around up there. You could hear it everywhere. It was the soundtrack of the night.

You can just imagine Trump's face as he had the banner-plane idea. You can hear him putting in the order. You can see his list of demands. And at the very top, "I WANT THE LOUDEST PLANE YOU CAN FIND!!!"

*

Was that Bret Baier in the aisle, adjusting his reading glasses and thumbing at the strap of his comically small backpack as he crossed the blue-carpeted gymnasium? He looked like the human version of Wisconsin. He was saying something but all you could hear was the plane overhead.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Bret Baier, the stoic host of "Special Report with Bret Baier" on Fox News and the network's chief political anchor. He's underrated, if you ask me. Legacy. Old-school. He just delivers the news, which is what most people want. He talks the way anchors used to talk, with the American accent unique to news anchors even though he was born in New Jersey and raised in Georgia.

I had spent the last year-and-a-half on a series of in-depth profiles on some of the major countercultural figures of our time. People like Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and Carol Swain. So my first impulse was to rush over to Baier and profile the guy. Nobody else would, after all. The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's. But they ought to. The man has a hell of a story.
He joined Fox News a year-and-a-half after it was founded, as the southeast correspondent in Atlanta. A few years later, on a Tuesday in September, nineteen terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners and crashed into America.

When the first plane hit, Fox producers told Baier to just get in his car and drive to New York City. They needed back-up reporters for the next day. When the second plane crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m., they said, "Step on it, Baier."

He and his producer were an hour outside Atlanta when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon. Still a good 8 hours away, but closer to D.C. than to New York City. So they re-routed to Arlington, Virginia, as fast as they could. Past a blur of fields full of indifferent cows. Past houses full of people who could hardly talk, people who couldn't describe what they were seeing and hearing, all the smoke and the blood and the office-supply confetti. Past towns that barely moved, gas stations with nobody in them, people sunken into a far-away stare.

Yet there was the sun, with only a few bangles of cloud every so often. America had been paralyzed but the earth kept trucking along, quiet and unbothered. It must have felt strange for Baier, to speed down empty highways — toward literal death and chaos — under a perfect sky, below cascading light and color.

Nature doesn't care if we make it out alive.

*

That day, Baier reported live from a Citgo station across the street from the Pentagon, rubble in heaps of flame behind him. It was like he'd fallen onto a different planet and was reporting back to home.

The next day arrived and it was so quiet everywhere. Nobody knew a damn thing. We could not believe our eyes. We all turned to reporters and anchors for answers. Most often, they blurted out whatever they could.

Something about Bret Baier gave audiences a much-needed boost. Reliable, sturdy. Like he said what had to be said and not a word extra.

Fox kept him in D.C., indefinitely. A friend helped him find an apartment. He never went back to Atlanta. Two weeks later, Fox News appointed him Pentagon correspondent, a position that saw him travel the world, including 13 trips to Afghanistan and 12 to Iraq.

Halfway through George W. Bush's second term, Baier became Fox News' White House correspondent.

Then, a year before he would earn his current position as anchor, Baier became a father. His son was born with holes in his heart — five congenital heart defects. Twelve days later, the boy underwent open-heart surgery. Baier and his wife waited in tiled rooms drenched with flowers and ESPN and drab ultraviolet light, surrounded by machines full of beeps and whirring and beeps and whirring.

Baier's son has since undergone two additional open-heart surgeries, nine angioplasties, and one stomach operation. In an interview with Parents Magazine, Baier said that his son's health problems have "given me perspective about my job, going through policy and politics in Washington, D.C., to see the bigger picture."

*Part of the reason I couldn't tell whether or not it was Baier is he's usually up on the main stage. For the 2012 election, he moderated five Republican debates, and co-anchored FNC's America's Election HQ alongside Megyn Kelly.

The 2016 election would propel him into a much larger role. He anchored three Republican debates, but this time he had to handle Donald Trump.

Baier knew Trump personally, from before the election. They'd played golf together. He described Trump as "a nice guy outside of his TV persona" and never thought Trump would actually make a run for the Presidency. Onstage, Trump was much different. And Baier had been tasked with maintaining control.

A devout Roman Catholic, he appreciates a nice glass of wine and a fine cut of steak. He likes a good joke, too. In January, 2019, Baier signed a multi-year deal with Fox News to continue "Special Report." A few weeks later, he and his family went to Montana for a ski trip. The weekend was wonderful. But they had to get back to New York because Baier was scheduled to appear on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that Tuesday.

Imagine him, again in a car hurtling toward a fateful destination. How he squinted through the frost-pocked windshield and gripped the steering wheel. As he guided the white SUV along the two-lane road to the airport. The land looked haunted, barren, lifeless. Everywhere, the world was frozen white. Snow and ice blanketing the fields, gauze over the sky.

At some anonymous intersection, Baier pumped the brakes, but the tires hit an ice patch, and the SUV spun loose. An oncoming car slammed into the driver's side, launching the vehicle into an embankment, wedged on its side. A man named Zach stopped his pickup truck and helped the family crawl free, and the Montana Highway Patrol rushed them to the hospital.

"Don't take anything for granted," Baier tweeted later. "Every day is a blessing and family is everything. It's always good to remind yourself of that before something does it for you."

Before every debate that he moderates, Baier spends 10 minutes alone, praying.

*

A Freedom of Information Act request in 2011 revealed that Fox News was actually right. That the Obama Administration really did hate them. And had intentionally excluded them from a press pool two years earlier. Then laughed about it.

The documents unearthed snarky emails between various high-ranking aides in the Obama Administration. In one, the Deputy White House communications director bemoaned Baier's reporting on the bias. "I'm putting some dead fish in the [Fox News] cubby — just cause Bret Baier is a lunatic." That same day, deputy press secretary Josh Earnest bragged in an email that "we've demonstrated our willingness and ability to exclude Fox News from significant interviews."

The Trump administration pulled a similar stunt in July, 2018 by banning a CNN reporter from the press pool. Trump and Fox News had developed a beneficial relationship by then. And CNN was a lifelong competitor, a public enemy.
That night, Baier delivered an official statement, "This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better. As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access."

Fox News rebuked Trump in solidarity with CNN. It was a heartening gesture between two seeming enemies. Fox News were standing up for truth, defending journalism, rejecting tyranny even though the ban would have benefitted them as a company.

Who knows how many books and dissertations and articles have been written about Fox News, usually in relation to bias, usually with a scathing tone. The conclusions differ wildly, yet each one claims certitude.

Generally, academics and journalists have taken a doomsday tone when talking about Fox News. Accusations of evil, fear-mongering, bigotry, hatred, misinformation, propaganda, racism, homophobia, and so on.

Despite these outcries, Fox News has consistently held its spot as the most-watched network in the country. Imagine how that makes its critics feel.

In an August 3, 2018 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Baier said, "the biggest problem is that the people who are most critical of Fox are usually people who have not watched Fox News."

Fox News is composed of two distinct departments. Punditry and straight news. Or "opinion news" and "descriptive news." Consistently, surveys of the public rate Fox News as both the least- and most-biased news network.
Last year, a survey found Fox News to be the second most-trusted television news brand in the country, after the BBC.

In a separate study, Democrats rated its bias score at (negative) -87, while Republicans placed it at (positive) +3. Which is like if, at a football game, one referee said "Touchdown," while the other referee said "Turnover, leading to Touchdown for the Defense." It can't be both, can it?

Public opinion may not be the best metric for understanding Fox News, especially in 2019.

Quantitative studies have offered clearer conclusions. In 2016, a content analysis used crowdsourcing and machine learning to examine over 800,000 news stories published over a year by 15 major outlets, from the New York Times to Fox News. They wanted to chart media bias.

What they discovered is that news outlets are far more similar than we believe. Much of the perceived bias is a matter of separating "opinion news" from "descriptive news." For conservatives, it's punditry. For those on the left, it's op-eds and long form investigative pieces, although the left tends to insist that they're not biased, that they are instead just more apt to tell the truth, even though research has disproven this belief.

The researchers found a much larger bias-divide in opinion news, whereas descriptive news was practically neutral. One of the researchers described Fox News' descriptive news as "guided by similar news values as more traditional, legacy media."

University of California Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild wrote that "Fox News stands next to industry, state government, church, and the regular media as an extra pillar of political culture all its own."

Say what you want about Fox News, they play a crucial role in the so-called mainstream media. And, despite what Fox News will lead you to believe, they are definitely part of the mainstream. And they are by no means the innocent victim. And certainly not powerless. And they have all kinds of problems that I will not defend. But we'll talk about that in a later installment, the one about Kamala Harris at a gun control rally, advocating for propaganda.

*

After two months of political events, I suspected that different news networks have their own signifiers, like the distinct stripes and markings on various spiders.

Wall Street Journal reporters tended to carry old-timey notepads and interview any bystander they could find. Breitbart usually only sent one person, and he wandered around with his iPhone, recording every single thing. Politico, prim-suited men who could just as easily work on the stock market.

Most of the reporters dressed like that, in stagey business attire. Prim for a high school job fair. Meanwhile, the photographers, mostly men, looked like professional paintball players. The camera crews and technical staff were the only ones decked in tattoos and wearing sandals and generally not caring about the chaos all around them. On-camera talent were covered in makeup and shrink-wrapped into dresses or suits with chip-clips along the spine.

The Washington Post sent the classiest and most bored-looking people I have ever encountered. They never looked at their laptops as their fingers chopped at the keys, and you assumed they were pretending until you read their stories online. You could spot ABC because their camera crew wore faded red ABC hats. Associated Press looked like they had just come back from a battlefield assignment in Syria, and never donned the same press credentials as everyone else, preferring a tattered AP lanyard. And you always knew when someone was with the New York Times because they announced it to the entire room.

And Fox News? At democratic events, they usually hid. But not that day, in Houston, as Bret Baier walked up the aisle to a table a couple rows in front of me.

Most people arrived in the Media Filing Center several hours before the debate. Fox News got there just slightly after that, as everyone was wiggling in their seats and connecting their laptops to a shared outlet.

There were seven or so in the pack of Fox News, all grinning. They all had white to-go sacks from Chick-fil-A. And the room got quieter, so Trump's plane got louder. It was a double trolling event.

As host of the debate, ABC would be providing dinner. This information was included in the credentials email that all of us had received. So nobody else had brought food with them. No need.

Even better, I was familiar enough with that part of Houston to know that there was not a Chick-fil-A anywhere close to us. Who knew where they'd gotten that Chick-fil-A, but odds are it wasn't warm. Who knew if there was even any food in the bags.

They had brought Chick-fil-A into a building full of national media during the third Democratic Presidential debate. The 2020 election was already full of outrage about plenty of things, and one of them was Chick-fil-A. To some folks, the red chicken logo might as well have been a swastika. That very week LGBT activists had vehemently — cartoonishly — protested the opening of several Chick-fil-A's throughout North America. Chicken sandwiches had become yet another flag on the tug-of-war rope in the Culture War of our country.

To be clear, the political left was anti-Chicken and the political right was pro-Chicken. The media tended to lean anti-Chicken, and frequently wrote about anti-Chicken causes, often scolding pro-Chicken voices, or ignoring the struggles of the pro-Chicken community only to deny any opinion on Chicken at all. That was the cowardly part, of you ask me, the pretending like they weren't activists.

The Democratic candidates definitely leaned anti-Chicken. Sometimes they took it so far that it upset moderate anti-Chicken advocates. Because was it really so bad to eat Chicken? Couldn't you be anti-Chicken but also enjoy Chicken occasionally? Why did everything have to be either "all Chicken all the time unless you hate freedom" or "no chicken ever unless you support hate"?

The fight had spread everywhere. Airports, stadiums, malls, campuses. All had served as battlegrounds for the anti-Chicken versus the pro-Chicken.

The previous President was anti-Chicken. In fact, he may well have enflamed the entire movement. During his tenure, there were nationwide protests that saw pro-Chicken advocates angrily and proudly eating Chicken while anti-Chicken advocates protested outside and occasionally engaged in homosexual affection, which was being threatened by Chicken, according to them.

Every time the pro-Chicken folks bit into a Chicken sandwich, it was like they were gnawing away at the anti-Chicken people themselves. Degrading their identity. Because, for them, it was about the identity.

But the current President, unabashedly proud of his pro-Chicken stance, once served Chicken at the White House to some winning sports team, and the anti-Chicken activists saw it as proof that Chicken and hate go together. And maybe Chicken would even lead to the impeachment of the President they hate, which would mean the Vice President would become the President, but he's one of the most pro-Chicken people in America, so they'd have to impeach him, too. And the Supreme Court, it was overrun with pro-Chicken types.

This election, the Democratic front-runners competed for the bolder plan. They would end Chicken in America once and for all. They would obliterate our evil President and his Chicken Supremacy. Their stump speeches relied on harsh criticisms of pro-Chicken voters, who pretended to find the whole anti-Chicken movement amusing but were secretly enraged by it. In fact, they were certain that the anti-Chicken movement had been systematically silencing them for years, and that they had to fight for their Chicken in order to keep everything that they valued, even all the not-Chicken.

The media and the democrats and Hollywood and academia — all hated the Chicken, because they hated the pro-Chicken people. If they had their way, no more Chicken, ever again. And no more pro-Chicken deplorables. And tonight the anti-Chicken politico-culture complex would prove it, with long rants which get confirmed by glowing articles, calculated takedowns about the merits of anti-Chicken and the evils of pro-Chicken.

Yet here was Fox News, with actual Chicken. And they were smiling. Maybe in part because the police who were guarding us all tended to be pro-Chicken. And this was Texas, after all, an incredibly pro-Chicken state. But there were 49 other states and 14 territories, and all of them were fighting for or against Chicken.

Some experts even said we were on the cusp of a Civil War.


New installments to this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. For live updates, check out my Twitter.

We've heard the catchphrase "follow the money" so often that it's nearly a joke. It gained added attention in the 1976 movie All the President's Men, which follows the story of the two journalists who uncovered Watergate. "Follow the money," their source told them, "and you'll find corruption."

Problem is, corrupters hide their bad behavior remarkably well. They are masters of disguise. But if you look closely enough, you can spot the seams splitting in their choreographed routine.

One technique that magicians use for psychological misdirection is called the false solution. The goal is to distract the audience, to make them believe that they know what's really happening. All the while, the machinations of the actual trick are happening right in front of them, because "implanting an unlikely and unfamiliar idea in the mind can prevent participants from finding a more obvious one."

Billions of dollars. Lost. Gone.

I want to tell you a story of tremendous corruption, masked cleverly, using many of the same techniques that magicians have used for centuries. Only it's not a rabbit disappearing into a hat or a coin vanishing behind an ear. It's billions of dollars. Lost. Gone.

And the people responsible are the same people who have been so monstrously worked up about Trump's impeachment. The same people screaming about Trump's malfeasance with Ukraine are actually the ones misbehaving in Ukraine.

It's essentially an elevated, highly organized form of projection. Only instead of one person lashing out at the world, it's an entire political party, right up to the top. The very top. Barack Obama. It's right there on video.

Or how about the audio recording we uncovered, with Artem Sytnyk, Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine, openly admitting a connection between the DNC and Ukraine?

So far, the story told by the Democrats and the media has been about Trump and Ukraine. Every so often, you hear mention of Joe Biden's dubious history with the war-torn country.

We were the first to talk about Joe Biden's connections to Ukraine back in April, with our candidate profile on Biden.

It turns out, the whole debacle was much worse than we thought. It stretched further than Uncle Joe. What we found out is that the DNC was working with the Ukrainian government.

This isn't a conspiracy theory. And we have the documents to prove it.

Read on to discover everything you need for a 30-second elevator pitch that you can give to your friend and say, "Look, here's what you need to know. Here's what's really going on."

If anyone is guilty, they should go to jail.

Last night, in Ukraine: The Democrats' Russia I revealed the elaborate misdirection taking place.

I said it last night and I'll say it again: If Trump is guilty, he should go to jail. If anyone is guilty, they should go to jail. Because this is too important to the Republic.

Watch the hands, follow the money.

Here are the documents, video, and audio that we found in our reporting. This is the hard evidence that will help you explain this unbelievable situation to other people.



  • June 2016 State Department memos detailing contacts between George Soros' office and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.




As you can see, we did a lot of research on this, and we've done our best to condense it for you. It still requires you to do your own homework, but there's a tremendous freedom to that.

You are seeking the truth.

You are bucking the mainstream media. You are rejecting them. And you are seeking truth. Because they abandoned truth a long time ago and they certainly aren't interested in recovering it now.