Privacy vs. Technology: Which Would You Choose?

Radio and news veteran Mike Opelka, host of Pure Opelka on TheBlaze and editor of FireWire, TheBlaze daily newsletter, filled in for Glenn on The Glenn Beck Program today, Friday, December 30.

Read below or listen to the full segment from Hour 3 for answers to these questions:

• Could our technology devices betray us?

• Should police officers get immunity for "hot mic moments?"

• Will a flying fulfillment center soon deliver your stuff?

• Is recording a phone call a Fourth, Fifth or Tenth Amendment issue?

• Can you die of a broken heart?

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

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

MIKE: Happy Friday. Happy farewell to 2016. Mike Opelka with you, sitting in for my friend, Glenn Beck.

If you want to know more, join me on Twitter @stuntbrain. S-T-U-N-T B-R-A-I-N. You can also join me Monday through Friday evenings on TheBlaze Radio Network on a show called Pure Opelka. And we've just expanded to five nights a week and Saturday morning. So we have plenty of room.

If you want to join the conversation here today, you can do it on Twitter. So many of you have been tweeting in. And I appreciate you. We're asking what you -- what you won't miss about 2016. You can also call 888-727-BECK. (888)727-2325.

We're talking with my friend, our show friend, Dr. Wendy Patrick. Wendy Patrick, PhD. She is a lawyer. She is an author. You see on television all over the place talking about the politics and some of the things we're discussing.

Today, a legal question about -- about Amazon and these devices in our lives that listen to us, like Amazon's Echo.

Do these things -- could they betray us? The same way Chicago's police unions are saying, "If cops wear body cameras, they need to be protected for hot mic moments," where they might say something that could be I guess a problem. And the unions want protection.

Wendy, welcome back. I know you only have a couple of minutes here before you join some TV show, one of the hundreds you're on every day.

Did you hear about the cop thing in Chicago?

WENDY: You're going to have to fill me in, Mike. There's been a couple of different incidents that we've heard about in Chicago.

MIKE: Okay. In Chicago, the police union boss is saying, "Well, wait a minute, if you're going to put body cameras on the cops, first of all, we want more pay for any cop that wears a body camera," which I thought was pretty interesting. And the second thing: They want immunity in case the cop says something that could be considered a hot mic moment. You know, an embarrassing moment. And I was kind of surprised by this. I think that's a lot of hubris on the union's side.

WENDY: Well, you know, we live in a day and age where everything we do and say is caught on video camera/audio recording, whether it's inadvertent, whether it's intentional, whether or not it's going to be admissible in a courtroom.

So the instance in Chicago is representative of some of what we're seeing all around the nation when it comes to how much are we going to be able to use of the things that are recorded.

I mean, think about it this way: Recordings are now being used not only to solve crimes, but to exonerate people from committing crimes.

And so too in the law enforcement world, it's -- it's both a sword and a shield when it comes to how they are used in police work, when they're activated, how they're activated, whether they should have been activated, or whether something that was inadvertently recorded should be admissible.

So it's not a surprise that unions across the nation would be taking a look at this, just to make sure that these devices are used accurately and fairly in police work.

MIKE: It's interesting, Wendy, isn't it? That, as you mentioned earlier, that technology is ahead of the law, that so much of what's happening is venturing into untested territory.

We're putting our toes into waters we don't know what's underneath. And we're going to have to I guess -- we're going to have to have a few problems, a few kerfuffles before we actually figure it out.

And I'm fascinated by this murder case that they're actually -- it looks like the judge said, "I'll grant the subpoena," that the Arkansas man whose body was found in a hot tub, over a year ago, can now include a probe into new evidence that might be on his Amazon Echo smart speaker, which to me, that sounds like self-incrimination. I know you've only got like a minute left.

Are we protected from self-incrimination by devices that might record us that are personal devices?

WENDY: You know, Mike, I could talk for a whole hour on this. It's such an interesting question because on the one hand, obviously everybody's got a right not to incriminate themselves. On another, you don't have to buy these devices. I mean, there's lots of people that buy devices that are voice activated and then are upset that it works as designed.

But you also see a lot of cases where there are other things that activate devices. So you might have instances where perhaps you're recording illegally, where you don't have everybody's consent. You might have instances where something else is being recorded, and it has nothing to do with the suspect.

I mean, let's face it, it's unlikely somebody is going to activate a device and ask, "How do I dispose of a body? How do I clean up blood in my house?" Normally, they're asking about the weather or asking a device to play '70s music.

So you do see that sometimes these things work as intended. And why shouldn't they be admissible? But that is not exactly just a knee-jerk response when it comes to what a judge is going to rule as admissible.

A judge is going to have to see whether these devices are reliable, whether they've been tested and whether, in fact, the information is consistent enough to show to a jury. That's been untested as of yet. And that's why we're closely watching some of these early cases seeking to admit such evidence.

MIKE: This is fascinating stuff.

Wendy, I know you're short on time. Promise me -- will you come back on Monday and let's deep dive on this a little bit more. I'll grab some more cases, and we'll tear it apart.

WENDY: It's a date.

MIKE: It's a date.

Well, Happy New Year. Say goodbye to 2016 and all the craziness, and let's have a great 2017, my friend.

WENDY: Happy New Year to you as well, Mike.

MIKE: Take care. That is Dr. Wendy Patrick. If you want to know more about her, WendyPatrickPhD.com is where her digital world lives, and she really is somebody that I use on a regular basis on the nighttime show to talk about issues like this.

I'm fascinated by this case, especially -- it comes on the heels of the case with that guy Durst, who was wearing a microphone in a bathroom, while he was recording a -- a series, a documentary series. And they believe he admitted to committing a crime.

They believe he admitted he confessed to murder. And now that case is currently in court. And they were saying he was not admitting to it. And, in fact, he was just rambling because he was -- he was a meth addict. It's stunning what's going on right now. It's absolutely stunning. And it is the technology that's getting ahead of us.

For example, today the story is breaking -- the story is out there that, where did that go? Is it -- Amazon. Amazon who wants to use drone delivery for just about everything. And I was joking earlier when I said, "Can my drone be delivered by a drone?" Well, that's probably going to happen because it appears that this flying warehouse, Amazon, wants to put a gigantic warehouse in orbit. 45,000 feet above the earth. That will be a warehouse at high altitude. And when you order stuff, it will be deployed and delivered from the floating warehouse.

Imagine, sort of a giant blimp, an airship that is a fulfillment center.

Now, I'm guessing that it's got to be automated. Can you imagine saying, "Oh, I've got to get up to the -- I've got to get up to the warehouse," and you have to fly up to 45,000 feet and then supervise this. But they're going need to somebody to keep it in working order. They're going need to somebody to make sure the machines stay on track. They're going need to somebody -- oh, this is just amazing stuff.

We are truly starting to delve into the world of the jettisons, and this technology warehouse -- a flying warehouse fully functioning flying fulfillment center that will deliver drones -- that will dispatch drones to deliver stuff to you.

Just amazing. And, you know, we -- we -- we worry. Well, what about stuff falling from the sky? Do you know how many things that are above us right now in orbit that don't fall on us from the sky? There are thousands and thousands and thousands of things up there, circling the planet. And they're not going to come down and clunk us on the head. Just, we have to calm down about that.

But I will be looking forward to that. I love the technology. I'm addicted to technology. But I also love my privacy. And Dr. Wendy was talking about -- she was talking about, if you record somebody and not everybody in the room has given their permission, that could be a problem. It could render something inadmissible in court.

And I also believe that not only do we have a Fourth Amendment, a Fifth Amendment issue here, but we also have a Tenth Amendment issue because every state is different. Every state has different requirements on if you can record a phone call.

For example, remember the story of Monica Lewinsky and the phone calls where she admitted what happened with Bill Clinton?

She didn't know those calls were being recorded, but the state where they were being recorded only required one party to consent.

And there was the -- the rub, as it were. Lewinsky could not prevent those tapes from getting out, because one party, namely the party recording her, knew they were being recorded.

But I think now when you -- let's say you call a customer service line, they always say, "By the way, for training purposes, we record all our calls."

And they want you to start trying this out. Every time somebody says that to me, I always say, "Oh, yeah. That's great. We do that here too. I'm recording you on this end."

And pay attention to see if anybody picks up on it. Typically, they don't. But every now and then, you will get someone who says, "Wait a minute. You're recording me?"

And I always say, "Yeah, sure, I am. You're recording me. Why can't I record you? It seems like it's only fair, really."

Another story I want to get to, and we will get to this after the bottom of the hour, we talked about all the celebrities who died this year. And, yes, this week the horrific tragedy to the Fisher family with Carrie Fisher passing away at 60 and then 23 hours later, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, dying.

Can you die of a broken heart? Is that a thing? Is that possible?

Well, we're going to talk to a doctor about that very subject. And he's going to give us the explanation.

But before we get to that, there is a story that's floating out there. And it's one that I'm surprised hasn't got more attention. It is a rant against Caitlyn Jenner, a rant saying that Caitlyn Jenner should not be named one of Glamour magazine's women of the year. The magazine making that announcement or about to make that announcement, which will be the 25th anniversary. But somebody said I think misogyny plays a really big part in all of this. That a man who goes to these lengths to become a woman will be a better woman than someone else who was just born a woman. Interesting.

Imagine if I said that. If I said, "Caitlyn Jenner being named woman of the year or one of the women of the year by Glamour magazine, was misogyny, that a man who goes to these lengths to become a woman will be a better woman than someone who is just born a woman," do you think I'd have my job? Do you think if I went on to say, "Just because you lop off your (sound effect) and then wear a dress doesn't make you a (sound effect) woman." If I said, "I've asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I'm going to wear a brown coat, but that won't turn me into a Cocker Spaniel," do you think I'd still have my job? Somebody actually said that.

Somebody actually went public with that criticism of Jenner and hasn't really been called out. I'll explain to you what I'm talking about around the corner.

Mike Opelka in for Glenn Beck on the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: Coming to you live from the constitutionally protected free speech bunker in the woods of Delaware, this is the Glenn Beck Program, hosted today and Monday by Mike Opelka. I am also here on TheBlaze Radio Network nightly, Monday through Friday from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern on a show called Pure Olpelka. You're welcome to join.

Looking for a little holiday film to see? I know a lot of people are saying, go see Sing. Go see Sing, the animated thing with all the animals singing. You might encounter some social justice warriors protesting out in front because they say it's racist. You have to see it for yourself to believe it.

But you also might want to take a look at something -- I'm just -- I'm just saying. I don't know if it's in theaters yet. But it looks like it could be very entertaining.

VOICE: New from Disney and Pixar, in association with the producers of Where's Waldo comes a major motion for our time. Ripped from the headlines, especially if the only headlines you see are on HLM. She's lost and all alone in a great big world, plucked from the headlines, trying to make it back home. Is she in the woods? Is she out of the woods? Is she in a coffeehouse? Is she being hacked by the KGB or in the secluded underwater prison, a captive of the evil Trump fish? Finding Hillary.

VOICE: Just keep voting. Just keep voting. Just keep voting. Just keep voting.

VOICE: The latest post-apocalyptic post-election animated classic, featuring a two-dimensional candidate in a three-dimensional political world. Finding Hillary. Opening Friday. Rated, gee, whiz, will you get over it?

MIKE: Thank you, Doc Thompson.

My buddy Doc Thompson sent that to me. And I love it.

Obviously, it's not a real movie. I will get back to my topic about the offensive comments made about Caitlyn Jenner. But Jeff is on the phone again from Georgia. Jeff, I'm sorry we lost you earlier. Welcome to the Glenn Beck Program, sir.

CALLER: Hey, Mike, thanks for giving me a second chance.

MIKE: Yeah, everybody -- you know, I am the leader of the first church of the second chance. And I believe that everyone deserves! Say it.

CALLER: Oh, I appreciate it.

MIKE: A second chance.

CALLER: I wanted to share a couple things about the 22 Lives movement that Ernest (sic) was talking about.

MIKE: Okay. What -- let me just fill everybody in. What Jeff is talking about is before -- last hour, we talked to Ernesto Rodriguez who is a former 15-year Army guy who retired who is walking from Tennessee all the way to California to raise awareness of the vets, especially those who are committing suicide at the rate of up to 22 a day. And Jeff wanted to chime in on another way to draw attention to this problem.

CALLER: Yeah. So I honestly didn't know about it till Christmas. My wife -- I'm a big fan of NineLine.com's apparel, which is Wounded Veterans' own company. And I live about 2 miles from the headquarters. And so I have a lot of T-shirts. And so she gave me a 22 Lives T-shirt for Christmas. And that's when she told me about it. But -- so I just want everybody to know, they can go there, and they can buy the T-shirts and everything else. And everything that they buy there goes to wounded -- Wounded Warriors.

But the other thing is, that I thought was pretty cool, is there's a -- unlike these, like, mannequin challenges and white bucket challenges, there's a 22-day challenge where you tag your friends on social media. You're supposed to do, I guess, 22 pushups for 22 days or something like that. But it brings awareness out, and I think it's really cool. I'm a veteran myself. So I appreciate, you know, all these kind of things that people are doing.

MIKE: Well, Jeff, thank you for your service. What branch did you serve in, sir?

CALLER: I was United States Army.

MIKE: God bless you.

Now, in terms of that company that is owned by Wounded Vets, that's giving a portion of their proceeds to help Wounded Vets, what is the name of that company? Because I didn't catch it.

CALLER: It's Nine Line.

MIKE: Nine Lines?

CALLER: Yes. Exactly like that.

Their shirts stick out. Everywhere in a crowd, I have -- every time I wear one, somebody is always wearing one across to me. And like, "Hey, nice T-shirt." You know, they're -- it's a really good -- good thing that they're doing.

MIKE: Okay. Beautiful. I will get -- I will get it out there. I will look for it. I'm -- I'm having trouble getting it up on the computer now. And I'm against a hard break. But, Jeff, thank you for your service. Thank you for calling attention to this. And I hope to be sporting one of those shirts myself soon.

CALLER: Thanks, Mike. Happy New Year.

MIKE: Happy New Year, sir.

When we get back, can you die of a broken heart? We lost Debbie Reynolds the other day. She lost her daughter Carrie Fisher. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez joins us because apparently this is a real thing. And, look, our hearts are kind of important to us. Number one killer in America is heart disease. We'll find out about this, next on the Glenn Beck Program. Come back, won't you?

[break]

MIKE: Mike Opelka with you on the Glenn Beck Program, on this the final Friday of 2016. A year I will long to see in my rearview mirror and won't miss in the immediate future. It is a year that saw -- well, there was some good things. Look, I got to participate in -- in my Super Bowl. In other words, I got to attend both of the political conventions. I had a front row seat to all the -- all the New York shenanigans and all the press conferences that Donald Trump was involved in. And then I was afforded the opportunity for TheBlaze and TheBlaze Radio to host or visit both conventions, both the G.O.P. convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Very unique experiences, each one of them.

I think the one unifying thing that both conventions have are the hats. Everybody's got ridiculous hats. That is -- and I always look for things that unite us, versus things that divide us. And if you're talking about political conventions, there is precious little other than the fever and the fervor and the hats. And I had a lot of fun taking pictures of the hats.

Now, I mentioned we were going to be talking about some of the notable deaths of the year. Obviously, David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Justice Scalia, and so many. But in the last week, everyone has been fascinated and heartbroken over the -- the death of Carrie Fisher at 60 and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who died 24 hours after -- after Carrie Fisher died.

It's got to be heartbreaking. It's got to be heartbreaking. But can you die of a broken heart? And that was the thing we were trying to figure out. And I'm hoping -- I don't know. Do we have Dr. Jorge on the phone yet? Is our buddy, Dr. Jorge, there?

All right. We're trying to get him. So we will deal with this.

There is an actual condition that says that you can die -- you can die from a broken heart. It's something that happens to you. While we wait for Dr. Jorge, I'll call your attention to my survey question of the day. We are -- we're asking: New Year's Eve, are you staying in, are you going out, or haven't you decided yet? Answer the poll. It is on my Twitter. @stuntbrain. At S-T-U-N-T B-R-A-I-N.

I'd like to know this audience, based on the little things in your life. So now that we have our buddy Dr. Jorge here -- if you want to know more about him, DrJorge.com is the place you can get the Wellness Wednesday tips from my buddy, a board certified internal medicine doctor. Also, a guy who has written books about your health, specifically focusing on how to avoid diabetes, which I think is an epidemic in this country. And it takes just little common sense things to deal with.

And I'm going to ask Dr. Jorge the poll question before we get to the broken heart question.

Dr. Jorge, are you staying in, are you partying, or have you not decided yet, my friend?

JORJE: I have not -- hey, Mike, how are you? First of all, Merry Christmas. And I have not decided yet. We're actually going to an L.A. Kings hockey game that ends around 10:30. And then after that, we'll decide whether we go to a party we were invited to or not. A little bit of a cold.

Chances are, you know what, we'll go out a little bit. But I don't like to party too much on New Year's Eve. I think it's kind of an amateur's night, you know. It usually doesn't live up to the expectation.

MIKE: Yeah. I have to admit, sheepishly I was part of the amateur night years ago and have backed off after I realized just how much dumb stuff we did and are so lucky to still be here.

JORJE: Absolutely. Uh-huh.

MIKE: Now, I did New Year's Eve for work a couple of times.

Times Square -- and it's crazy. And if you're working, you can say, "I'm sorry, I'm not drinking." And you can stay sober, and it's wonderful.

But to be among a million people is not my idea of a good time. It's for folks much younger than I. So I will be riding the couch, watching Kathy Griffin --

JORJE: And Anderson Cooper. Uh-huh.

MIKE: -- and Anderson Cooper have a good time. And I've got a buddy who's producing the 1:00 a.m. show from Dallas. You'll be at the hockey game. Who are they playing, by the way? Who are the Kings --

JORJE: I think they're playing the San José Sharks. Yeah, who is right up there, I think number two. And, you know, the Kings are on the bubble to make the playoffs.

And can you believe this, a Cuban boy who probably didn't see ice till he was 24, you know, into hockey. It's crazy

MIKE: Ooh.

A Cuban boy who didn't see ice until it was being shaved into a mojito.

(laughter)

But, no, I'm a hockey fan. I'm an undying, unabashed Chicago Blackhawks fan. And you guys almost knocked us off a couple seasons ago.

JORJE: Ooh. You just said fighting words when you said Chicago Blackhawks.

MIKE: Yeah, we're the original six. We're part of the original six in the NHL. And three of the last six Stanley Cups went to Chicago. So --

JORJE: But I got to tell you something. Chicago fans are great fans. Even when they were playing the Kings a couple years ago -- we were up in Chicago, and they were -- yeah, you know, they -- you bantered back and forth, but the whole time, they were very respectful and just really great fans.

MIKE: Plus, your team -- you've got fast skaters on your team. That is a fast and tough team. Enough with hockey talk.

JORJE: Yes, enough.

MIKE: Now, the Debbie Reynolds story, it struck a chord with me. Because grief is such a powerful thing and an overwhelming stress thing. Can you die of a broken heart?

JORJE: You can. And let me -- let me clarify that.

You know, there have been lots of studies that have shown that people that have been married or together for decades, they -- they die sometimes within weeks of each other. Statistically greater than they would have.

But there is definitely a syndrome called Broken Heart Syndrome that we doctors called stress-induced cardiomyopathy. To put it very simply, when you're under times of great stress or great sadness, your body releases this hormone called cortisone.

And cortisone, we have in small amounts. But when it's released, when it bombards your body in such high amounts, it can cause the heart to have crazy rhythms. It can cause your blood pressure to go up.

But what has been noted is that in many people, it actually makes the heart muscle sick. It's called cardiomyopathy. And the heart muscle -- the Japanese have a name for it, called (foreign language). And I'm practicing saying that. Because it looks like some kind of urn that they keep octopuses in. I looked all this bizarre stuff up. So the heart just sort of gives up and just becomes flaccid. So it -- it's crazy, but it definitely can happen.

MIKE: So in the case of somebody like Debbie Reynolds who -- who died suddenly, the initial report was a stroke.

JORJE: Right.

MIKE: So that possibly could have been -- and I'm playing my amateur doctor role here. Elevated heart rate that stressed the arteries, and she blew out an artery and had a stroke. And that may have taken her or pushed her over the edge.

JORJE: That could have done it. Her blood pressure could have gone way up, and that also could have blown an artery.

You know, so people that are more fragile, that already have heart disease, that have partially blocked arteries, definitely are at higher risks at times of greater stress, when things like this happen.

It could be fear. It could be a doctor. You know, it could be a letter from the IRS. It could be almost anything.

(chuckling)

But sadness can definitely -- and mourning can definitely affect you.

MIKE: Well, they say that those big life events can build up -- for example, if you move, if you change jobs, if you get married, if you get divorced, the loss of a loved one, and if you compound all of those, they could have a -- I guess an avalanche of emotion that takes you into the spiral. And in this case, what was the Japanese word for it again?

JORJE: I think it's (foreign language). (foreign language).

MIKE: I think I ordered that last night.

JORJE: I think I got sick from eating it actually.

(laughter)

MIKE: Doctor, it's -- it's such an important topic. I'm not trying to make light of heart disease.

JORJE: No, no, no.

MIKE: Especially on National Bacon Day. I don't know if you knew this. National Bacon Day is today, and I haven't had any yet. I plan on having a little bacon later.

JORJE: Today is National Bacon Day? Seriously?

MIKE: Yeah, seriously.

JORJE: Mike, I don't know if you know, but I live with a Texan. And two Thanksgivings ago, our turkey was a nice turkey really latticed on the outside with bacon strips. So I took an extra Lipitor that day and enjoyed bacon.

But, you know what, we are making light of it. The key is that heart disease is the number one killer in this country. The number one killer. Almost 700,000 people a year die from heart disease.

MIKE: Wow.

JORJE: And I always get a little annoyed with people when they don't want to take medications for their cholesterol or their blood pressure because they're feeling fine. And the problem with heart disease is that you feel fine until the day you don't. And then it may be too late.

MIKE: Wow.

JORJE: So a word to the wise, if you're over 40, if you have a high blood pressure or diabetes, for God's sake, check your heart. It is what keeps you alive.

MIKE: And you're saying, check your heart, don't just go to the health chair at Wegmans and put your hands on the blood pressure meter.

JORJE: No. No. Listen, I'm going to do some Wellness Wednesdays about the difference between high blood pressure, a stroke, and heart attacks. Because people really confuse them all.

Think of it this way, if you have a lawn, under the lawn is the PVC piping that supplies water. Right?

MIKE: Yep.

JORJE: For all you know, if you look at your lawn and it looks green, you're getting enough water to your lawn, you're getting enough blood. But you don't know if the pipes are 80 percent clogged.

And one day, one of them is going to get clogged 100 percent, and that sprinkler is not going to give water. That's a heart attack when that part of the lawn dies.

So if you have a family history, if you're overweight, you need to ask your doctors to do more thorough tests than just a blood pressure or even an EKG. All right?

MIKE: Yeah, now I'm getting panicked. Not just about my lawn --

JORJE: No. But go ahead and enjoy your bacon ice cream or whatever you're having today.

MIKE: Thanks. Yeah, from the guy who had a turkey wrapped in bacon last year.

(laughter)

But you did --

JORJE: I had a little bit.

MIKE: A little bit. Right. Right.

Weren't you the guy who was telling me about flawn (phonetic)?

JORJE: Well, yeah.

Listen, another model of mine is, if you can do it, moderation in everything.

MIKE: Well, I think that's key.

JORJE: You know, I really do believe that. I think in diets, if you deprive yourself of too much stuff, you end up binging and going overboard.

MIKE: Well, it is about -- and you and I have had these talks for years. And this is Dr. Jorge Rodriguez. DrJorge.com is his site. He's a great author. He's a common sense guy. He's a physician. An internal medicine guy. And he speaks plainly to us in the layman's world about health and medicine. And you're my go-to guy in stuff like this.

JORJE: Thank you.

MIKE: I'm sorry to say we had to bring up the topic, a broken heart can kill you. Now we know it can. It's not exactly your heart breaking in half.

But going forward in the New Year, Dr. Jorge, I hope we can talk about January and what we all need to do to kick off the New Year and stay healthy. And I hope you'll carve out some time for us going forward.

JORJE: I would love so. I'd love to do that. You know, we'll get on a plan together. So thank you, Mike.

MIKE: Well, the last time we did that, you told me I couldn't drink for the month of January.

JORJE: Well, did you listen to my advice?

MIKE: I listened.

(laughter)

Application was a different thing.

JORJE: I know. All right -- and I'm still about to send your Christmas present. You'll see what it is.

MIKE: I can't wait. I have one for you too. It's a trophy. And I think you're going to love it.

JORJE: Oh, Lord.

MIKE: Yes.

But good luck to your Kings. We'll see you in the playoffs, sir.

JORJE: Thank you. I'd love that. That would be great. We could banter back and forth. And Happy New Year to you and yours, Mike, and to your listeners.

MIKE: Thanks, Dr. Jorge. Take care, my friend.

JORJE: Have a great one. Bye.

MIKE: Thank you. He is one of the good guys out there. One of the good guys who explains medicine the way I wish my doctor -- and I wish my brother who is a physician, he's a surgeon, I wish he could speak as plainly and as clearly as Dr. Jorge. Just a good guy. And I appreciate him so much.

When we get back -- I think I have one more little story to share with you, and then we'll wrap up 2016. I've got to put a bow on 2016. And as I said, I'm tying lead cinder blocks to it and dropping it in the ocean. Mike Opelka in for my buddy Glenn Beck on the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: It is the Glenn Beck Program. Wrapping up 2016. Mike Opelka from Pure Opelka on TheBlaze Radio Network saying thank you for joining me today and being a part of the show. So many of you participated via the Twitter. And we'll be back Monday. Monday, I have a very important story about the UN. There is something happening at the UN that nobody is paying attention to, at least I don't think so.

If you remember Agenda 21 and how evil it was, then you should know and you should want to be here Monday. Because the UN took Agenda 21 and pulled it off the table. Once we started pointing it out, once we exposed the one world government plan of Agenda 21, the UN shut down that program, but it's coming back. And it's bigger and more dangerous than the previous once. I will explain that to you on Monday.

Plus, we're going to look at food trends. We'll talk to Dr. Wendy more about your privacy. And I want to share something with you. When we started 2016, my -- my dream, my goal, my mission was to be situationally aware at all times and try and be more attentive to situations around me. And I think I accomplished that.

However, I want to put a new -- a new mission in place for 2017. And it struck me yesterday when I saw a rose bush trying to kick out a flower in -- in late December here in Delaware yesterday. And I thought, "Nature is relentless. Nature never stops trying to create beauty. Nature just never gives up." And so for 2017, I'm really hoping that I can be more like nature, that I can be relentless, but I can be relentless in my efforts to create things that are beautiful. Things that contribute. Things that make people smile.

Yes, we'll still educate. But let's push. Let's be relentless. Let's make beautiful things in 2017. Testudo, my friends.

Featured Image: Man looking over laptop, Tookapic

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.


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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.