The Best Thing About John Kerry's Speech? It Will Be His Last.

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 1 for answers to these questions:

• Who wrote CNN's 16-page diatribe on John Kerry?

• When will Democrats accept the election results?

• How will the Obama administration punish Russia?

• What did Hillary expose about the old boy network?

• Will Bourbon Street be safe this New Year's Eve?

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

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

MIKE: Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. My name is Mike Broomhead in Phoenix, Arizona, filling in for Glenn today and tomorrow. Thanks for joining the show. We have a lot going on.

If you want to reach out, social media is the best way to reach out to me. Twitter, I am @BroomheadShow. Don't tweet Mike Broomhead. That's some guy in England who is really upset that he gets my tweets all the time.

So @BroomheadShow on Twitter or the Mike Broomhead fan page on Facebook, best way to reach out to me.

A lot going on in the news. We've heard about the death of a movie star in Carrie Fisher. Big deal because of the Star Wars movies that she's a part of. That may be a part of the conversation this morning.

But so much happening with Israel, the UN, the vote there. The US abstaining. That's going to be a big part of the program today as John Kerry -- I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. What I mean by -- anytime I talk about John Kerry, it makes me angry. But at the same time, it's this final speech in the Middle East. There's good news for America and the rest of the world.

John Kerry will be leaving the post as Secretary of State. And, fortunately, he's such a dolt, he hasn't done much. He hasn't done much damage because I just don't think he's that capable. We'll talk about him.

Harry Reid makes some statements bragging about some of the horrible things he did while he was in the Senate. More good news for America. The Senate will take its next session in January, minus Harry Reid. That's already a great year.

So far nothing but good news. Some of the headlines: President Obama says that they are going to somehow punish Russia for meddling in our elections. You know that 54 percent of Democrat voters -- this is just a poll. And we know that numbers can be skewed. But half of Democrats believe that the Russians changed the vote tally.

Now, the Russian influence had everything to do with emails, if you believe it was the Russians that did the hacking and sent over to make sure it was dropped by WikiLeaks. And if you believe the Russians had a hand in that, that was the extent of what they did in influencing elections. They had nothing to do with hacking into vote tallies anywhere. But 50 percent of Democrat voters -- apparently over 50 percent believed they had something to do with changed the vote tally.

By the way, Jill Stein still not done with protesting elections. At some point, you've got to give up. Don't you? You've got to give up and just say it's over. The electoral college has voted. Joe Biden is going to count those votes pretty soon. You know, on January 20th, Donald Trump is going to be inaugurated as president of the United States.

And I wonder the shoe is definitely on the other foot in America today. I question so many people on the left that I'm friends with. And I enjoyed my friends that think different than me politically. It's one of the things I enjoy the most, is when I have disagreements with people that I admire and I like. Because I would rather figure out how we could be so close to each other and yet so far apart on some issues. And I try to come to the conversation from a position of respect.

I look at Donald Trump moving into the White House, and there are a lot of people on the conservative side who are terrified of a Trump presidency. I've mentioned on this show before. I was filling in here -- and I was honored to be a part of the network for Glenn Beck long before I was friends with Glenn. But I have gotten to know Glenn fairly well.

And, you know, I am not the anti-Trump person that Glenn is, which is -- when I look at somebody I admire as much and knows as much about American history and American politics that I disagree with, I'd rather learn why and what they believe.

But when you look at the pro-Obama crowd, you look at the people in this country that were thrilled with what Barack Obama was doing because Congress would not go along. The Founding Fathers were geniuses in the sense, it was called the great experiment. It still is. Our form of government was never done like this before. Ever.

The House of Representatives being called the people's house, representing very small districts across the country, where individual voices, I mean, supposedly are being heard in the House of Representatives. Those people can be replaced every two years. The house of representative is up for reelection. I'm not giving anybody the civics lesson here. The Senate, every six years. A six-year term. Two senators equally representing every state in the union. Equal power. Two senators from each state doing the business of the states.

That makes up the legislative branch. And the executive branch, the president having veto power. And there is a lot of power that comes out of that office because it is that office. But that power is also not absolute, which is why the Congress is supposed to be the balance.

And to get something through both houses of Congress, to get it signed by them and sent to the White House to become law, and then the check and balance there -- the checks and balance there, of course, are the Supreme Court. We can argue what it's become. And I agree the Supreme Court has become something it was not intended to be. But the Supreme Court is supposed to decide whether or not the laws made by Congress are constitutional. Not good or bad. Constitutional or not.

We realize we now have justices on both side of the aisle over there, that are legislating from the bench, which isn't what they're supposed to do. But in theory, what our Founding Fathers have created, such an amazing thing.

When you have a president that says I have a cell phone and a pen, and if Congress isn't going to go along, I think I've got the power, and the Supreme Court has disagreed with him on some very important facts of his executive powers. And some yet to be determined. When you expand the executive powers and you set the precedent that Barack Obama has, I've asked people on the left before we even had any inkling that Donald Trump was going to be president -- this brash guy that's bucking the system and is going against both parties and all the things he says he's going to do.

I ask people on the left, how are you going to feel if the next president says -- and he's on the far right -- and he says, you know, President Obama was on to something. There is a lot of things that a president can do. He doesn't need Congress for. I'm just going to use executive orders to do everything I want to do. And I'm going to do it the same way Barack Obama did, although it's going to be completely different policies.

You watch how all of a sudden the political left in the next four years is going to become a small government limited power in the executive branch group of people. And when the Democrats are saying we have to stop the ideology and the plans of Donald Trump, which means we have to be an obstructionist, isn't it funny that we -- that the right was told, "You got to work with President Obama. The people elected him. They want his policies in place. So you should go along with what he wants because that's what the American people want." Well, now we're hearing the opposite.

And I'll tell you this, in all fairness, if Donald Trump uses executive powers the way Barack Obama did, I will call him out like I did Barack Obama. Because the Congress is supposed to be included. It never was supposed to -- because if you eliminate them. If you do things by executive order, the Congress either becomes a dissenting voice or a rubber stamp. That's it. Now you've got absolute power. You can't have it. Donald Trump is going to have to negotiate with the Congress. He's got a majority -- obviously a big majority in the House right now. That could change in two years. But right now, a big majority in the House. So it's going to be fairly easy to get some of his policies, when agreed upon through the House.

But with only a two-seat majority, really, in the Senate, it's going to be difficult on some issues. Now, Obamacare has got to be repealed and replaced. That should be easier because there are a lot of Democrats in the Senate that are in places where it's costing a lot of money for Obamacare. So repealing and replacing that may be something they go along with just for their political futures. But other things are going be tougher. And when it requires 60 votes, it's going to be difficult. And there's going to have to be some negotiations.

So that's going to be a part of the discussion today. Here in the first hour, just so we know what we're going to talk about. John Kerry and his final speech in the Middle East before he goes. The president in trying to punish Russia before he leaves office because of their meddling in American elections. And security measures in the United States, big offense like the Thanksgiving Day parade, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, the Boston Marathon. And upcoming in what we're going to see in Mardi Gras in New Orleans. What we are learning about, terrorist attacks, and how we're trying to prevent them here in the US. So we'll get to all these here in the first hour of the program. Once again, my name is Mike Broomhead. I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. I'm in here for Glenn Beck. And this is, of course, the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: Thanks for being here this morning. Mike Broomhead, Phoenix, Arizona, in for Glenn Beck. Today and tomorrow I will be in for the Glenn Beck Program. Thanks for being a part of it. And making it a part of your day. It is -- John Kerry will be giving his final speech in the Middle East.

Now, this under the backdrop now of what we've seen in the UN resolution, that we're calling the new settlements in the West Bank by Israel illegal. The US abstaining from that vote, which is ridiculous.

We, from every perspective you can think of as Americans, whether it is -- they are our only and closest ally -- I shouldn't say only ally. Our closest ally in the region is Israel. We are their best friend.

From that point of view, from a faith-based point of view from me personally and for a lot of people within earshot of me right now, we have had a responsibility and a long-standing tradition of standing side by side with Israel.

And nor -- the Israelis claim they have ironclad proof that we were behind the resolution calling those settlements illegal. And the Israelis are going to defy the UN, and they're going to continue to settle in the West Bank. And they're absolutely entitled to do so. And anybody out there that wants to talk about the battles between the Israelis and the Palestinians and you're siding with the Palestinians -- I love that conversation because you are a propagandist and are believing absolutely the wrong things.

The tunnels that are being dug are not being dug by the Israelis. The bombs being lobbed are not being lobbed by the Israelis.

And, you know, we can go through history and talk about a lot of these things. Golda Meir and some of the quotes from Golda Meir. And when I say quotes, I'm probably going to screw it up by a word or two, so I don't mean to paraphrase. But I believe it was Golda Meir that said to the Palestinians, "We can forgive you for killing our children. We can't forgive you for forcing us to kill yours." And that has been the Israeli point of view for decades in this war.

They -- the other quote is, "If Israel were to lay down their weapons, there would be no Israel. If the Palestinians were to lay down their weapons, there would be peace." That is another accurate -- in my opinion, accurate statement.

But for the UN to do what they've done and for the accusation even to come from Israel, that they believe -- let's say that they don't have ironclad proof, that it's just a belief that they have, that the US is behind this resolution. Tells you to what degree other relationship between the United States and Israel has deteriorated over the last eight years.

Jews in America largely vote Democrat, most of the time based on social issues, if not economic issues. Definitely social issues. I don't know for the life of me how anybody -- how any American Jew can vote for Barack Obama and the policies of that office.

But specifically, John Kerry now giving his final speech in the Middle East. And CNN had a story that was written about him that is -- I think John Kerry's wife wrote this and just did it under somebody else's name. Elise Labott from CNN global affairs correspondent, John Kerry's Mission to Save Diplomacy, is the title. It is 16 pages on their website.

And it is -- the first paragraph -- and I don't like to read stories on the air. You can read them yourself. But it starts like this: You can see it in everything he attempts to do around the globe, even conflicts he -- every conflict he weighs into, every crisis he refuses to concede. And as John Kerry prepares to step down as Secretary of State next month, he will carry it with him just as he has for 15 years, a deep-seated belief that America and indeed he can solve some of the world's thorniest problems with the right mix of politics, diplomacy, perseverance, and personal charm.

Now, is that a journalist or is this a biographer?

John Kerry sat down over and over and over again with the Iranians and hashing a nuclear deal that was hated by every other nation in the region, to the degree that the Saudis and the Israelis were working together saying that we will work together to make sure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.

The US has very limited publicly as they could do, solve the problem of the fears by the nations in the region because of the deal by selling bigger arms to those nations, arming nations around Iran to a larger degree so they could defend themselves if the Iranians break the deal. That's how confident we were in the deal. Not to mention that every aspect of the Iranian government, from their religious leaders, the ayatollahs speaking in a public forum, the crowd chanting death to America, their religious leader -- who runs the country, by the way. It's not the government. They take their lead -- they are a theocracy. The ayatollah chanting with the crowd. Yes, of course. Death to America. This while John Kerry is negotiating with the Iranians.

One of the Iranian military leaders said, "No matter what happens in this deal, the Americans will always be our enemy." John Kerry didn't push away from the table. So they're right when they say he perseveres. When the Iranian government was voting on this deal behind the scenes to denounce the US -- they can't sanction us. But it was an anti-American vote going on. And I believe with 200 members they had, it was 199 to one. And while members of the Iranian government were voting on this, in what would be their -- we would have the House came home or the Senate came home, while they were voting in their governmental chamber, the parliamentary chamber, they were chanting, "Death to America." Not all of them. But some of them. And yet we continue to negotiate with the Iranians. Every aspect of the Iranian government, chanting in some way, shape, or form throughout these negotiations, death to America. There's your chief diplomat at work.

When the Iranians captured two US vessels and then took those US sailors, stripped them of their uniforms, showed the videotape of them crying around the world, embarrassed and mocked the United States Navy to the entire world, John Kerry thanked the Iranians for the way they treated our sailors. He was in the Navy.

Remember when he ran for president as a Swift Boat captain? He crossed the Delaware and saluted and said, "John Kerry reporting for duty," and he looked like a dope. This guy was in the United States Navy and thanked the Iranians for their treatment of the United States Navy. There's your chief diplomat being talked about as a saint in a 17-page CNN review.

This administration was going to restore the world's confidence in the United States. Anybody believe that's true? Even on that side of the aisle. From Hillary Clinton and Benghazi to John Kerry and Iran -- and not just the Iranian nuclear deal, but when the two American ships were taken. One of the stories we're going to discuss a little bit later on in the show is the Chinese won an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. They're going to monitor us. They're sending us a message.

How incredible is it that we have become what we have become. Our enemies have no reason to fear us. Think what we've done with John Kerry as Secretary of State under the policies of this administration. We have restored diplomatic ties with Cuba, which is an absolute abomination because of the way the Cuban people are treated. I could spend the next 30 minutes talking about Cuba again. But we've restored that with Cuba -- relations with the Cuban government, while the Cuban people still suffer under that communist regime.

We gave the power back with nuclear weapons and billions and billions and billions of dollars to the Iranians. Even John Kerry had to admit, it's probably going to go and foster terrorism. Nothing about ISIS. It's been a failure.

Coming up in just a few moments, the Obama administration, they're going to punish Russia for election interference. How? We'll talk about that, next.

[break]

MIKE: All right. Thank you for being here. Mike Broomhead in Phoenix, Arizona, in for Glenn Beck today and tomorrow. Thanks for making the Glenn Beck Program a part of your day.

The Obama administration close to announcing measures to punish Russia for election interference. I'm going to get to this in a moment.

I'm in Phoenix. Do a local show in Phoenix, Arizona. One of the listeners, her name is Jackie, is the best producer I've ever had. No offense to my producer. She does a great job. She sends me information all the time. I was talking about Harry Reid a little earlier. Harry Reid talking with someone about his career, said, "As my staff will tell you, I've done a number of things because no one else will do it." What was he talking about? The false accusation about Mitt Romney not paying his taxes. And he admits, whether it was changing the rules in the Senate and basically, you know, using a nuclear option to do what he wanted to do there, when he said earlier in his career, if that ever happened, it would destroy the United States Senate and the intent of the United States Senate. And he did it. Because he wanted to get what he wanted to get through. He justified it 18 different ways. It was wrong. And then as soon as he got booted from power because the Republicans took over the Senate, he said, "This shows America wants us to work together."

Well, here's what he said about what he did to Mitt Romney by lying about Mitt Romney. I tried to get everybody else to do that. I didn't want to do that. I didn't have anything against him personally. He's a fellow Mormon. Nice guy. I went to everybody, but no one would do it. So I did.

So when we talk about American politics, we want to talk about what's happening. And you want to hear about the vitriol of people. It's on both sides. I'm not condoning it on either side of the aisle. I've been very critical of Donald Trump when he was running for president about the way he said things and the way he did things.

But I thought he was a much better option than Hillary Clinton. I voted for Donald Trump. And I have been very complimentary about the way he's handled the transition and the way he's handled things since then in a lot of regards. His victory speech which could have been a moment where the Donald Trump supporters from day one, which I was not, but the Donald Trump supporters day one said he was going to win. And a lot of us, myself included, said there's no way that guy could win. When they were proven right and the rest of us were proven wrong, in a moment where Donald Trump could have had a drain the swamp, lock her up, give the country the middle finger kind of a moment, he was gracious and he was humble. And so were the supporters that night. They kind of followed his lead.

So I'm hopeful -- I'm hopeful for the presidency, and I've been complimentary, as much as I was critical. But anybody on the left that wants to come after a Donald Trump, you know, low-hanging fruit of some of the tweets that have been sent out, look no further than your own party, where they don't like the way things are being handled on the right.

If you remember, it was Harry Reid that called the sitting president of the United States, that time George W. Bush, an idiot, his words. I don't know what happened to Harry Reid. I don't know when Harry Reid became what Harry Reid had become. But I'm glad he's gone.

Harry Reid, John Kerry, they just -- I'm glad they are -- thrilled that they are gone from American politics at least in the short-term. I think we're a better country for it.

And, you know, if Nancy Pelosi would have lost her seat, I think that would have been another great service to the American people. And I just wanted to get that out before I got to the other thing with Harry Reid and some of the nonsense he has spewed before.

By the way, I'm in today and tomorrow. If you are a social media user, I love to interact on social media. You can find me on Twitter. I am @BroomheadShow. Not Mike Broomhead. @BroomheadShow is my handle on Twitter. Mike Broomhead on Instagram. All one word. You can find my -- I'm famous for my blurry pictures I post on Instagram. Or the Mike Broomhead fan page on Facebook if you want to find me there. I would love to interact with you if you have questions, comments. If you want to do that on social media, that would be terrific.

The Obama administration is getting ready to announce whether it's going to be economic sanctions or diplomatic censure. But the president of the United States has every intention of punishing the Russians for interference in American elections.

Now, what they did was hack the DNC, most specifically Podesta and emails. And exposed the corruption in the Clinton campaign.

Now, the accusation was out there, where they also hacked the RNC, but didn't turn that information over, which the RNC says it was never hacked. They showed proof that they were never hacked. Reince Priebus saying they were never hacked. That it was the Democrats. Was this a pro-Trump thing or an anti-Hillary thing? I'm pretty sure it's anti-Hillary.

What's funny, be careful what you hear because as far as I know, nobody denied the validity of those emails. Nobody said it wasn't true. Nobody said they were manipulated.

What they said was they were stolen.

The American media was all over it. And then when Donald Trump won the election, now they're blaming the Russians, and they tried to do everything they could to stop what they were a big part of, from the beginning.

But the president himself had to admit there was no tampering with the election itself. They didn't hack into voting machines. They didn't change vote tallies. They didn't get into any voter databases.

What happened was that they were -- if it was them, and so far, it hasn't been proven that it was. But they're -- and I'm hearing from some very high-level people that they believe it was the Russians. So let's go for arguments' sake to say that the Russians were the ones behind the hack that got the emails exposed through WikiLeaks. What they did was expose the corruption inside the Clinton campaign. That's what sank that ship.

When you see Hillary Clinton saying to the entire world, when I become Secretary of State, there is going to be this huge firewall -- her word -- between my Secretary of State's office and my foundation. And then we find out almost from day one that was never the case.

Even when it came to Haiti, earthquake relief, there was a lot of government grants, money that was out there, given the companies that were there to do relief efforts, whether it was humanitarian aid, humanitarian relief, or it was rescue and recovery and rebuilding of Haiti. And when people were applying for that -- for those State Department grants and State Department funds, there were emails being exchanged, that if you weren't friends of Bill or Clinton VIPs to the foundation, then they were sent to a website to fill out the paperwork.

If they were friends with the Clintons or VIPs, then they were told send them to us at the State Department directly. Those were handled in-house. Those people were given the contracts.

There's your firewall. There's the collusion and corruption that the American people were tired of. If anything else in this election cycle, we learned the good ol' boy network was despised by the American people. And Hillary Clinton exemplified that with her office. Seating at state dinners for donors to the foundation. And meetings being brokered because there were diplomats that couldn't get a meeting with the Secretary of State, but their country or they individually had donated a lot of money to the foundation. So the head of the foundation, reaching out to Huma Abedin and some of the other handlers for Hillary Clinton and saying, "Hey, this is a big donor of the Clinton Foundation, trying to get a meeting with the Secretary of State, and can't do it through the diplomatic channels. Is there anything you can do?" And then the email going back saying, "Yeah, we've given them a few dates. Let us know what works for them."

You know, that's the kind of corruption the American people despise. That's what sank that ship.

So the president going along with the theme -- and all it has to do is keep the American people doubtful. You know, when Al Gore lost and George W. Bush's brother was -- Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida. And, of course, that's why he won Florida. And all that stuff died off fairly quickly. Not this time.

Nobody went quietly into that good night this time. The electoral system in the United States is set up for an express purpose in an express ways. They don't want it to be coastal elections. They don't want LA and New York deciding every election, which they would have.

They tried to get the electors to change. I know one of the Arizona electors received over -- they weren't -- this was not a unique case. They received over 40,000 emails trying to get them to switch their vote from voting for Donald Trump as the people of Arizona had done to anybody else, basically.

And that is not -- that's not the way the American people behave.

We know about the terrorist attacks that happened in Germany and France, where they're not using bombs, they're not using guns or knives, they are using vehicles to just mow down people in crowds. It is just a horrifying way to take human lives. But it just shows you, again, the ingenuity and the desire and the hatred for humanity that some of these people -- in the name of religion -- have. And we saw it in Germany at a Christmas market. We saw it in France.

Well, in America, we've got big events here. And are the Americans learning from what's happened in other countries? The best of a horrible situation is to learn from others -- not mistakes necessarily, but learn tactically from things that happen in other countries.

Well, we've got Mardi Gras coming up. What's happening in New Orleans? What happened at the Thanksgiving Day Parade? What happens now at the Boston Marathon? What are happening at some of these events in America to be one step smarter than we were before and try to prevent the mayhem and the death? We'll talk about that here in just a moment. Again, my name is Mike Broomhead. I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. This is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: All right. Mike Broomhead in for Glenn Beck today and tomorrow. Coming up next hour, we'll talk about the US inequality keeps getting uglier in a CNN story. Talking about the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. It's a great topic.

And also in the next hour, one of my heroes -- if I could emulate anyone, which I don't ever want to do, but if there's one person whose career I admire, it's Mike Rowe. Mike Rowe has been the voice for kind of the working man in what he does in his television shows and what you see when you hear him on broadcasts. And he's just one of those working class heroes. And it's genuine. It seems very genuine.

If there's one person out there that I would love to be able to meet some day and just have a conversation with, because I think it would be a fascinating conversation, it would be Mike Rowe.

Mike Rowe talks about why there's a lot of jobs out there that Americans aren't taking. And I think he's right on the money with some things. So we'll talk economy big in the next hour.

But to wrap up this hour of the show, Bourbon Street to be pedestrian mall for New Year's weekend. So it's not just Mardi Gras, but over the new year, they are going to be using blockades and trucks, I think, to block the streets where there will be pedestrian traffic only, to stop the same kind of mayhem where a vehicle is used to murder as many people as possible. We've now seen it in Europe a couple of different times. And now we're looking at a different scenario.

If you looked at Ohio State -- and this was the big argument. The stabbing in Ohio State where a guy rammed a building with his car, tried to run people over, then started with knives and started stabbing people before he was killed by a police officer.

Right away, the anti-gun crowd in America -- because the reports were out there. There was a gunman at the Ohio State campus. Right away, it was an anti-gun message. Right away, the gun control crowd was out there once again in full force.

Turned out that he didn't use a gun. One of the arguments I've always had -- and I'm fortunate to live in a place where our gun laws are probably the most lenient in the entire country. And I live in a very safe place. Phoenix, Arizona, if you've never visited, I hope you will someday. It's a beautiful city. And it's safe. The valley -- all the surrounding cities. We call it the valley. Beautiful and safe place. If you can legally own a handgun in the state of Arizona, you can conceal it without a permit.

Now, a lot of people think that's, "Oh, my gosh. How Wild West is that. No training. No -- the offset to that is criminal conceal weapons all the time. They don't have any training. There's not been an increase in death. There's not been an increase in shootings. There haven't been an increase in violence. None of that.

Good people, law-abiding citizens do not brandish weapons on each other. They just don't.

And now we're seeing the terrorists around the world are using guns when it's effective. They're using pressure cooker bombs when they believe that's going to be effective. And now they're using big trucks. We're going to limit the size of vehicles now. That's what they want to do with guns. Let's limit the amount of ammunition in a magazine. Let's limit the caliber. Let's limit the number of bullets somebody can buy.

Let's -- have we really turned into people that believe that that's going to solve a problem? I could go into the grocery store today because New Year's Eve is right around the corner, I could go in to a grocery store with a hand truck. I could buy six cases of beer, four cases of whisky, and 15 bags of ice and roll it out to my truck, and people would look at me and say, "Where is the party?" No one is going to look at me and say, "Oh, look at all the drunks he's going to be creating on New Years Eve. There's going to be death and mayhem in the streets from drunk drivers."

But you roll out of -- of a gun store with a couple of thousand of rounds of ammunition, and they may follow you home.

There is evil in the world, and people that based on religion, right now -- I mean, there's other reasons as well, are just looking to kill the western way of life. And we have to try to stay one step ahead of the way they're doing things. And this is going to be one way to stop people from driving trucks down Bourbon Street and just running people over that are celebrating New Year's Eve. But they're going to come up with a new way to kill people.

We have to double down and be diligent. The joint terrorism task forces around the country are constantly assessing what's going on around the world to improve how they target people, how they watch people, and how they protect the American citizens. So next hour, we'll talk about the economy iniquities, inequalities in our economic status in America, and what we can do to fix it, according to CNN. Stick around. You're going to love what's next.

Featured Image: Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a speech on Middle East peace at The U.S. Department of State on December 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Kerry spoke on the need for a two-state solution and defended the Obama administration's approach to Israel. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

This edition features a brand new number two, a big mover in the top five, and the biggest drop since we started the power rankings.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history. Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes.

The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground.

If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

24. Mike Gravel: 15.3 (Debut)

The month Ronald Reagan moved into the White House, Mike Gravel left his last government job.

He was a Senator from Alaska from 1969-1981, where he was known for his anti-war efforts and attempts to implement direct democracy. The latter is what led a couple of teenagers to attempt to draft him into the 2020 race. When I say "draft," I mean "ask him once on social media."

Gravel fought for something called the National Initiative, which would allow state style ballot initiatives to be passed on a federal level. What could possibly go wrong?

He is probably best known for one of the strangest political ads in history during his Presidential run in 2008. Entitled "Rock," the commercial begins with Gravel staring into the camera for well over a minute. Then it gets really boring. He also was a self-described "womanizer" which you might think makes him a perfect fit for the VP slot for Joe Biden— however, he's been critical about "Joe Biden's creepiness around young girls."

Gravel is 89 years old, making him one of the youngest candidates in the field.

23. Wayne Messam: 15.8 (Previous: 20th / 13.4)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

A full 3% of Americans have a positive opinion of Wayne Messam.

Admittedly, that sounds bad.

Coincidentally, it also is bad.

The good(?) news is that another 8% know who he is. Unfortunately, all of them have a negative opinion. Messam is the Mayor of Miramar, FL, which is actually larger than South Bend, IN — the home of Pete Buttigieg. That strikes me more as a point against Buttigieg, but we'll count it in Wayne's column for now.

And hey! He's out of last place!

22. Eric Swalwell: 20.2 (Previous: 17th / 20.2)

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Swalwell has navigated his desperate quest for attention in campaign form with little success so far, which is unsurprising. (Even his parents are Trump voters, and it's not yet clear if they will vote for him.)

Candidates like Elizabeth Warren have rejected town halls on Fox News, but not Swalwell. He would love to have a town hall on Fox News. It's just that Fox News doesn't want him.

Running for President is hard.

21. Marianne Williamson 20.6 (Previous: 19th / 17.1)

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"I'm deeply grateful to the many people who expressed early support for my candidacy. Today we reached an important milestone and we can go full steam ahead from here."

This is the sort of thing you say when you've accomplished something major in a campaign. Marianne Williamson said it after this: "We just hit 1% in our 3rd poll!"

It's a microcosm of the bizarre nature of the 2020 Democratic primary experiment, but in theory, this feeble showing in the polls may be enough to get Williamson on the debate stage.

It's on that stage where she is sure to shine, as she explains the narrow logical pathway of her worldview. She is a self-described "capitalist with a conscience" but also seems to admire socialism: "What's supposed to scare me about socialism, the free health care or the free college?"

Usually, it's the 100 million dead in a century. But, when you find out how much that "free" health care and college cost, they can get pretty scary too.

20. Seth Moulton: 21.5 (Previous: 16th / 20.6)

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"America is not a socialist country." Sure, this statement used to be entirely uncontroversial (like, way back in 2018). But, Seth Moulton is saying those things in 2019, in a Democratic primary, which seems almost disqualifying. It's hard to imagine a path towards success for someone with this opinion, unless maybe your last name happens to be Biden.

"There are elements of our party that are going too far toward socialism." True enough. But, it's a little like saying "There are elements of this orange juice that are going far too close to oranges."

Warning: The orange juice is made out of oranges.

19. John Delaney: 21.8 (Previous: 15th / 20.3)

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John Delaney is probably one of the most moderate candidates in the field. He is even selling himself this way, arguing "to beat Trump, we need a moderate."

It's an interesting window into the state of the Democratic party. If the introduction of a $4 trillion global warming tax and spend scheme makes you moderate, what makes you a liberal?

18. Tim Ryan: 24.3 (Previous: 14th / 20.7)

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Tim Ryan was elected as a pro-life Democrat. Now he's thanking NARAL and Planned Parenthood for convincing him that some babies just shouldn't be alive.

Essentially, your local drive-thru abortion hut won the moral reasoning battle against the Pope, which is an interesting decision for a Catholic: "I believe my faith supports my position because to me being Catholic, to me being Christian, to me following the teachings of Jesus is about being compassionate and an open-hearted toward people who you shouldn't be judging."

Someone should tell Ryan and his other deeply religious Democratic colleagues that judgment of behavior is actually pretty central to faith in general.

Religion may be a lot of things, but it is not about being "open- minded." The foundational book of Christianity is most famous for its list of "commandments."


"Thou shalt…or shalt not, whatever you want to do…let me know." -Exodus 20:9024325 or something.

17. Bill de Blasio 24.9 (Debut)

No one loves Bill de Blasio more than… well, no one loves Bill de Blasio. After his announcement, the New York Post ran the headline "Everyone Hates Bill."

Bill de Blasio is essentially a socialist, but that's not why New Yorkers hate him. They're fine with the left-wing craziness. They just want someone who can at least do his job half as well as he promotes himself.

De Blasio is so disliked in New York that even left leaning publications like New York Magazine admit they struggle to find one person who actually supports him for president. He begins his run with the highest unfavorables in the entire field, an amazing accomplishment considering his late entry into the race.

If you want to find something positive for Bill, it probably comes in the form of cash. As Donald Trump used to describe business life in New York, he would routinely donate to Democratic politicians he didn't like, because it helped grease the wheels for his company. De Blasio will likely get a considerable amount of cash from people who hate his guts, but realize that a hefty "donation" is a great way to get favorable treatment from a powerful socialist.

16. Steve Bullock 27.7 (Debut)

On paper, Steve Bullock could be a strong Democratic candidate for president. He's one of a few governors around the country that fit a very popular profile: in a deep red state, he's a Democrat, but tries to be seen as a "sensible" one. Larry Hogan, Republican from Maryland, has the same approach from the other side.

Bullock ran for governor of Montana with promises of streamlining the regulatory system, fighting prescription drug abuse, tax refunds, protecting the coal industry, and the baby sister to America first— "hiring Montanans first."

This approach had Bullock win reelection in a red state that Trump won by over twenty points. He was also the 4th most popular governor in America with an approval rating of 66%, with only 19% disapproving.

However, there are plenty of hints that Bullock is no moderate. He blocked multiple bills to restrict late-term abortion, supported DACA, supported net neutrality, and is deeply in the pocket of the unions, including wanting to force unwilling participants to pay dues until it was ruled unconstitutional.

Policies aside, Bullock seems to lack a certain je ne sais quoi. If you don't speak French, it's kind of hard to describe why, but basically most people find it difficult to pay attention to him.

Bullock is trying to sell moderation with a wink. The idea that one can sound moderate to get elected, then run the country as a relatively strong progressive, similar to the package he delivered to Montana. In the era of "shout your abortion," it seems like a difficult message to connect with primary voters.

Maybe there's a VP window for Bullock, but if you do want the moderation with a wink approach, it's unclear why you wouldn't just go with Biden at the top of the ticket.

15. Andrew Yang 28.3 (Previous: 12th / 27.1)

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Andrew Yang continues to have the highest buzz-to-poll results ratio in the race. This is partially because of his embrace of issues well off the normal path of politicians. I.e., pennies must go!

Yang does have some legitimate credibility when it comes to our governments pathetic technology infrastructure and is capable of talking about issues like AI, cryptocurrencies, and probably Fortnite. He's embraced meme culture and has a way of going viral that eludes other candidates who try way too hard to do it (see Booker, Cory and Gillibrand, Kirsten.) Unfortunately, you can't tweet yourself into the White House. (Most of the time.)

14. Michael Bennet 28.8 (Debut)

Michael Bennet grew up in Washington D.C. and went to a high end prep school and is currently serving as a U.S. Senator from Colorado. A political outsider, he is not.

He was appointed to the Senate in 2009 and went on to a somewhat surprising victory over Ken Buck in the Tea Party wave election of 2010. He's a Democrat from a purple state that outperformed Hillary in 2016. And it's not the worst thing in the world for his candidacy that his little brother is the editorial page director of the New York Times.

But Bennet is one of a handful of little known, unremarkable, pseudo-moderates in this race that have no chance to win unless Joe Biden slips his hand up a female moderators skirt in the middle of a debate.

The best part of Bennet's candidacy is the fact that he was born in New Delhi, India. Who's ready for another cycle of the media highlighting every random Facebook users posts about birtherism! I know I am!

13. Tulsi Gabbard 28.8 (Previous: 13th / 25.9)

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The Las Vegas shooting was just a distraction for the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Russia didn't hack the DNC.

The Parkland shooting was a false flag.

Pizzagate is real.

Bill Cosby was framed.

Is this a grouping of opinions from Alex Jones? Well, probably yes, but they also happen to be the views of the biggest online fundraiser for Tulsi Gabbard.

As pointed out in her candidate profile, Gabbard is a bit of an odd bird as a Democratic option for president. But the main reason for her support among conspiracy theorists and racists like David Duke, seems to come back to her role as supporter and excuse factory for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Tulsi was able to get herself on the Joe Rogan podcast, which has brought a lot of attention (along with no poll number increase) to her campaign. While there, she mentioned her affection for South Park—the Human Centipede episode in particular.

However, Gabbard does not endorse turning people into human centipedes, that we know of...as of this writing.

12. Jay Inslee 30.4 (Previous: 11th / 30.4)

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Jay Inslee is trying to branch out from his single issue climate change campaign.

Forget sanctuary cities, Jay wants sanctuary states. He's also signed a public option add on to Obamacare in Washington, which was part of Obama's original plan. (Also, not part of his plan was an individual mandate, but I don't see many Barack originalists in the Democratic party on that point.)

Inslee has hit the magical 65,000 donor level to get him into the debates, but has made as much of an impact in this race as his favored amount of carbon emissions: zero.

11. John Hickenlooper 32.0 (Previous: 10th / 32.0)

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Is John Hickenlooper a moderate? He wants America to think he is… but he wants Democratic primary voters to know that he isn't.

"You can have progressive ideas, but you have to present it to them in a moderate way."

This is a very typical Democratic politician approach, or at least it used to be. Today, Hickenlooper couldn't avoid being unmercifully booed for daring to say that socialism isn't the answer… when it comes to beating Donald Trump. In other words, you can have the terrible ideas, but don't tell everyone about it.

Hickenlooper's CNN town hall did beat Beto's town hall in the ratings, which unfortunately says more about Beto's failure than it does about Hickenlooper's success.

10. Julian Castro 34.5 (Previous: 10th / 35.7)

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I usually write these things in order from worst to first, and it's always around Julian Castro where I have the same thought: I've been writing too long to just be at Julian Castro. However, this is a race in which some polls show 17 of the 24 candidates are at zero or one percent, allowing an enormous disappointment like Castro to still squeak into the top ten.

One bandwagon that Castro has jumped on is the "fight for $15"— an attempt to try to force McDonald's to pay its employees $15 per hour. Of course, there are plenty of high-end restaurants/coffee shops/political campaigns that cater to left-wing audiences that don't pay $15 an hour, but McDonald's seems to always be the target.

This is bizarre, considering McDonald's is known for its high-volume, low-margin business model, making it among the most easily damaged by higher minimum wages. It, also, already has technology available to have kiosks replace workers, which can easily be more widely distributed.

Of course, the "fight for $15" is much more about grabbing attention than helping workers. Now, I'm hungry for McDonald's.

9. Kirsten Gillibrand 36.7 (Previous: 9th / 38.1)

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Kirsten Gillibrand is not good at this. One of many examples: she was asked during her Fox News town hall why she flip-flopped from pro-gun to anti-gun after leaving her conservative district for the more liberal audience statewide.

Her answer was to explain that her previous district was more conservative and wanted more gun rights, but the state as a whole was not.

That was the accusation against you. It's not supposed to be the same as your excuse.

When asked what gun policies would have stopped the recent shooting in Virginia Beach, she said we should "stop being beholden to the NRA." This quality analysis wouldn't get you an internship under a low-level editor at Think Progress, but somehow she's a Senator and running for President.

But if you think that's bad, look at her fundraising. "Gillibrand raised less money from small contributors in her first quarter as a presidential candidate than she had in six of the eight previous quarters when she wasn't running for president."

I continue to believe that Gillibrand will drop out long before Iowa casts a vote.

8. Amy Klobuchar 41.9 (Previous: 8th / 45.1)

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Klobuchar's campaign hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire so far. That's the bad news. The good news is there isn't a long list of gaffes on the campaign either. (Bonus! She hasn't abused any underlings on camera!)

This formula probably isn't enough for her to compete for the nomination, and she claims the third largest point drop from our last power ranking.

But this news is not entirely terrible for Klobuchar either, who is likely still a top tier VP candidate. She's been working on entirely controversy-free legislation like securing tax breaks for Gold Star families. If she can look competent in the debates, show some gravitas, and not light an interns torso on fire in front of gasping kindergartners, she might be fine.

Klobuchar's best path to success continues to be avoiding mistakes and hoping Joe Biden wins the nomination.

7. Cory Booker 51.6 (Previous: 6th / 54.9)

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Cory Booker is your white knight, ladies.

Swoon.

Cory wants you to know that men are the problem, which is why he wrote an open letter to all men. The topic? How men need to fight alongside women who are facing new restrictions in their moral crusade to make children more available for expiry. How can a society possibly demand women to endure "lengthy 72-hour waiting periods?" (Yes, it's a real quote. You see, 72 hours sounds long. Three days sounds short.)

Booker wants to heal our divisions about abortion by… what else?... creating yet another government bureaucracy. All hail the "White House Office of Reproductive Freedom."

There is some stunning evidence that voters seem to like Booker, challenging the virtue of democracy, and perhaps our civilization as a whole.

6. Robert Francis O’Rourke 52.8 (Previous: 5th / 60.2)

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Beto's campaign is falling apart. His 7.4 point drop from our previous power ranking is the largest drop since the rankings began.

However, a high-profile launch, followed by a complete fizzle does not always mean the death of a campaign. John McCain's 2008 run began the same way, even leading to a mass firing of campaign executives before relaunching and capturing the nomination.

But McCain was a well-known D.C. power player with massive name recognition and political connections. O'Rourke is essentially a viral video about Colin Kaepernick and a travel blog to find himself wrapped into an Irish guy pretending to be Hispanic.

O'Rourke doesn't have to win to give himself a future in politics (as we've already seen), but he does need to avoid complete embarrassment. This is something he should keep in mind next time he decides to live stream his own haircut.

5. Elizabeth Warren 53.4 (Previous: 7th / 45.3)

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It shocks (and pains) me to say this, but Elizabeth Warren is having a little bit of a moment. Her 8.1 point rise leads the field in this edition of our rankings, and she has created a nice little niche for herself. She's claimed the progressive high ground on policy, with her somewhat effective but twice as annoying "she has a plan for that" mantra. In another era, the idea that a politician has a way for government to be involved in every aspect of your life would show up in an opposition commercial. But today the left eats it up.

To be clear, none of them have actually read any of these proposals. And they all rest on an impossible to pass, completely unenforceable, and almost certainly unconstitutional wealth tax on the rich.

But her combination of a furious technocratic pace, along with her individual outreach to voters (Elizabeth Warren called me!) has lifted Warren out of her self-imposed gaffe-a-thon and back into a serious contender.

We now estimate that Warren has a 1 in 1,024 chance to win the presidency.

4. Kamala Harris 65.9 (Previous: 3rd / 68.6)

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If you're going to make a massively misleading statistic one of the cornerstones of your campaign, you should probably understand how the statistic is calculated.

Kamala Harris is supposed to be one of the intelligent options in the Democratic field, but at times, one is amazed at her ignorance of basic facts.

Literally anyone who has studied or debated the gender pay gap is familiar with the massive problems with the statistic. It simply averages all women working and compares it to all men working. It doesn't account for experience level, choice of industry, education level, and so on.

Harris said to Stephen Colbert "In America today, women on average are paid 80 cents on the dollar of what men are paid for the same work." She then doubled and tripled down on the "same work" aspect of the claim. It is most certainly not a measure of different pay for the same work. We should also note that, of course, Harris is paying women in her campaign less than men. But you probably guessed that one already.

This isn't about the gender wage gap, which can be easily explained in the book 'Why Men Earn More,' for example. It's more of a study of the early disappointment of the Harris campaign. She just occasionally blurts things out that make you crinkle your forehead.

Another example: "Very few people can get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook." This was said in an explanation about regulating Facebook as a utility. But about a third of adults don't use Facebook at all. One could not say the same about electricity, water, or sewage.

These are minor examples of a potential larger issue. Harris needs to know what she's talking about a little more often. To quote Tim Malloy of Quinnipiac polling, "I don't know why she's not caught fire. But she hasn't."

3. Bernie Sanders: 67.2 (Previous: 2nd / 68.3)

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Most people who follow politics realize that Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist. But, the democratic primary has brought his pro-communist and anti-American views of the past into a new light. This has left many Democrat friendly media sources to discover that conservative media has pretty much been correct all along. The New York Times wrote about his past support for communist governments in Central America, including the Nicaraguan Sandistas.

"The Times shows that Sanders went well beyond mere opposition to funding the war. He wrote to Sandinista leaders that American news media had not 'reflected fairly the goals and accomplishments of your administration.' On a visit to the country, he attended a Sandinista celebration at which the crowd chanted, 'Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die,' and complained that American reporters ignored 'the truth' about Nicaragua's government, telling a CBS reporter, 'You are worms.'"

Sanders "…at times crossed over from mere opposition to American policy to outright support for communist governments." This isn't from the Blaze. It's from New York Magazine.

"Any politician is going to frame issues selectively, but Sanders is presenting a spin on the controversy so selective it completely fails to convey any of the points relevant to the controversy."

Ouch.

It's getting harder to see Sanders actually winning the nomination, given what seems like a ceiling in his support. The thinking goes, why pick Bernie, when you can get Bernie's policies in a much more attractive package from almost anyone else in the race?

The answer may come down to how dumb, uninformed, and oblivious the primary voters are… at least, according to NBC news:

2. Pete Buttigieg 68.8 (Previous: 4th / 62.9)

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It's completely shocking to see the mayor of South Bend, Indiana at number two in a 24-candidate field. This is a guy that 31% of Democratic primary voters have still never even heard of.

In fact, I had recently been under the impression that the Buttigieg bump had started to fade away. But the numbers say what they say, and Mayor Pete has pushed himself all the way to number two in our rankings.

The first time we ran these numbers, Buttigieg had a candidate score of 30.8, now he's at 68.8. He's moved more than any other candidate, and it's not even remotely close.

Why?

Given this is a Democratic primary, one would be committing a crime against the obvious if we didn't note that identity politics are playing a role. But Buttigieg is an obviously smart, well-spoken candidate that plays well in this particular moment.

In short, he's the polar opposite of Donald Trump—in demeanor, in age, in his interest in hooking up with female supermodels from the Eastern Bloc.

Buttigieg gives Democrats exactly what they're looking for—a candidate to signal to everyone around them that they're more tolerant, more intelligent, more reasoned, and just generally better than those Neanderthal Republicans.

He's basically a Prius in the form of a candidate.

1. Joe Biden 82.3 (Previous: 1st / 78.8)

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Saying that Joe Biden is the "leader" or the "favorite" in this primary doesn't really do him justice. Biden is in a tier by himself. Sure, he continues to hold massive leads in the polls, but perhaps more importantly, those leads are affording Joe the ability to execute the perfect Joe Biden game plan.

1. Run away and hide in the polls

2. Run away and hide in real life

Biden has near universal name recognition and access to the very valuable 2012 Obama campaign voter list. He doesn't have to be seen in public to lead the polls. When he does have to show his handsome face, he's on prompter, and he's keeping his hands to himself.

Most analysts don't think that Joe Biden will simply cruise to a 20-point victory. He will be challenged by someone as this race gets closer. He will be forced in front of cameras. He will say that television was invented in 1593, and he will inhale the follicles of a passing pre-teen. We all know this--and more--will happen at some point in this campaign.

The question is, does Joe have enough in the tank to protect this lead? Can Joe defend himself over what will be uncovered from his political past?

For instance, video emerged of Joe Biden joking about "panty raids" that he once participated in. Can a party constantly talking about male privilege nominate a candidate who once stormed female dorms, only to steal their undergarments?

The fact that Biden made the comments in the 80s, about the 60s, while in his 40s, does not exonerate him.

It somehow makes it even more creepy.

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.

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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.

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