Melania Trump Is Not Adolf Hitler's Wife

Inauguration day is less than three weeks away and Melania Trump is keeping a low profile. However, the long-time client of designers Dolce & Gabbana is being unfairly compared to Eva Braun after the fashion duo complimented a cocktail dress she wore on New Year's Eve.

"Does anybody on the left buy any Hugo Boss? Because only haters would buy Hugo Boss because Hugo Boss actually designed and produced the SS black uniforms for Adolf Hitler. At the time, they knew who he was, they knew what he was doing, and not only did they produce them, design them, they created them using Jewish slaves in labor camps," Glenn said.

Consistency has never been a hallmark of the left. Rather, double standards are the standard of the day.

"You don't take a Bayer Aspirin, do you? Because Bayer Aspirin, the sister company was IG Farben and IG Farben, of course, was the one that made Zyklon B, the gas chamber gas," Glenn said.

You can't have it both ways, liberals.

Enjoy this complimentary clip from The Glenn Beck Program:

 

 

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

GLENN: We're okay with that. You know, but apparently -- apparently, that's okay now to some students in Columbia and up in Boston. Other students are going down because it's time for a revolution.

Who are we becoming, and where do you stand? Will you add fuel to the revolutionary fire, or will you try to grab the fire hose? I'll play the amazing audio to you right now.

(music)

GLENN: Hello, America. Welcome to the Glenn Beck Program. I want to start with something that I mentioned last hour, and I want to make sure that we get to it. Because, again, it is one of these things -- one of these things that I just think we -- we need to point out to our friends on the left that this is not reasonable.

Inauguration day is less than three weeks away. Melania Trump has made a point of keeping a low profile. She is probably the lowest profile First Lady I've seen in a long time.

I mean, Bush was -- Laura Bush was pretty low profile. But, you know, she was -- she was the typical First Lady, where you didn't -- you didn't read anything really about her, except in Better Homes and Gardens or magazines like that. Here's Melania Trump that could be everywhere and is withdrawing. Doesn't want anything to do with it.

Listen to this: Keeping a low profile, but she is to be -- her choice of Dolce & Gabbana's dress for New Year's Eve in Palm Beach at Mar-a-Lago kicked off an online firestorm.

She was -- she's a long-time client of the Italian brand. She wore a black Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress with bows on each shoulder.

Stefano Gabbana thanked her via Instagram, with #madeinItaly and called her a DG woman. It posted -- it generated more than 13,000 likes and 1100 comments, as of Tuesday afternoon. Among other things, the designer called her a beautiful woman.

In response to one Instagramer comment, "No. Whether she's beautiful or not, would you proud to dress Eva Braun?"

He responded, "Who is Eva Brown?"

Okay.

(laughter)

PAT: First of all, to compare Melania Trump to Eva Braun is asinine. Ludicrous.

GLENN: Well, on multiple levels.

PAT: Insanity.

GLENN: Insanity. Insanity. Donald Trump is not Adolf Hitler. In fact, only Adolf Hitler is Adolf Hitler.

PAT: Come on. Yes.

GLENN: And Eva Braun was insane. Insane.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And to compare Melania Trump to this -- and so I -- I would just like to point out to all of the -- because the designers now are saying they will not make clothes for Melania Trump.

Well, let's talk about the bakers that wouldn't make a wedding cake, and those people had their First Amendment religious right at stake.

PAT: And completely violated.

GLENN: And completely violated. And you, now because you're a big-time fashion designer, you want to play by your own rules and say, "No, I got to pick and choose. I don't have to sell her a dress if I don't want to."

PAT: The bakers in Oregon were forced to pay $137,000 penalty to the couple they denied the wedding cake to. Wow.

GLENN: So let me -- so let me ask this: Do the designers -- do you still work for Hugo Boss, or have you shunned them? I mean, does anybody on the left buy any Hugo Boss? Because only haters would buy Hugo Boss because Hugo Boss actually designed and produced the SS black uniforms for Adolf Hitler. At the time, they knew who he was, they knew what he was doing, and not only did they produce them, designed them, they created them using Jewish slaves in labor camps.

Do you have a problem with Hugo Boss? I'm sure you're shunning them, right? Because you're willing to call Melania Trump Eva Braun. So if you're willing to say that about somebody who has nothing in common with Eva Braun, then, of course, you're shunning Hugo Boss.

Or how about the Rockefeller Foundation? Because you hate the Rockefeller Foundation, right?

The Rockefeller Foundation, you know, they actually helped found -- their money helped found the German eugenics program. Even funding -- the Rockefeller Foundation funded the program that Josef Mengele was working on before he went to Auschwitz.

So you're against the -- the Rockefeller Foundation, right? I mean, they funded Josef Mengele. So you, of course, don't have anything to do with them, right? Or Bayer. You don't take a Bayer Aspirin, do you? Because Bayer Aspirin, the sister company was IG Farben. And IG Farben, of course, was the one that made Zyklon B, the gas chamber gas.

So you would never take a Bayer Aspirin. Because that's not like, "Oh, my gosh." That's like Bayer Aspirin that helped develop Zyklon B. It's not like the people who designed Zyklon B. It is the people that designed Zyklon B.

Hugo Boss is not like the people who made the SS uniforms with Jewish slave labor. They are the company that made the SS uniforms with Jewish slave labor.

So I'm sure you care about that now, right?

I'm sorry. But just a few weeks ago -- a couple of weeks ago, we got off the plane from Haiti. And Pat and I went to Haiti and witnessed things that I've -- that I knew, but I didn't know.

I know that there are more slaves on planet earth today than ever. But they are so far distant from me, that I don't -- I can't relate to it, until I stand there and look at the fruit in Haiti and I look at the avocados from the Dominican Republic or the bananas from the Dominican Republic that we all eat that sit on my counter. And then see the children that had been caught in the slave trade because of all of the death of so many parents during the last hurricane. And was it an earthquake or hurricane? I can't remember now.

PAT: Earthquake.

GLENN: Earthquake. So many children. 300,000 homeless that were swept up into the slave trade.

But does anybody really care about that now? No, there's a lot of churches that go over. There's a lot of churches that are doing a lot of good will. And there are some churches that think they're doing a lot of good things, and they're not.

For instance, I don't know if you caught this, Pat, but we drove by what they would call a store. I would call it a slum house.

We were on a really busy street in Haiti, and we went by this store. And there, sitting on the shelves of the store, were bags of rice with the American flag on it. That rice was supposed to be given, not sold. Given, not sold. They're selling it in stores.

Corruption is rampant. And that rice, because we gave so much rice, the rice farmers can no longer make any rice because they got plenty of rice coming from the United States. So they can no longer grow food for themselves.

We think we're helping. Indeed, we may actually be hurting them. And on top of it, when you see orphanage after orphanage after orphanage where the country is being trapped in corruption and slavery and you come up to these children who are three years old, I have a boy -- Pat, you have two sons.

PAT: Three.

GLENN: Jeffy, you have --

JEFFY: I've got two sons and a daughter.

GLENN: I'm only pointing out sons because sons are usually over everything. Are they not? They're crawling. They're moving. They're constantly --

JEFFY: Oh.

GLENN: You held a baby girl for a long time. Robert and I held boys. I held that boy in my arms for probably 45 minutes. He held me and wrapped his arms around my neck. And every time I would try to put him down, he would hold tighter. What 3-year-old boy is doing that? He would push his face -- and I think the girl did it to you and the boy did it to Robin. They would push their face against our faces for skin-to-skin contact. They just wanted human affection.

Where is -- where is Hollywood on slavery? Where is Black Lives Matter? If black lives matter, you want to know where hell is, it's called Haiti. You want to fix the problem, there's ways to fix the problem.

We met with a guy in Haiti, probably one of the braver men I've ever met. Would you agree with that, Pat?

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: This guy was in charge of the sex crimes and slavery division in Haiti. You know you have a problem when you have a slavery division of your government task force.

He came in and met with us. And he actually had to walk in through a side door because he couldn't be seen with a couple of other people from Haiti, I guess. I don't know how that all worked.

But he came in and he spoke. And he said, "I just put the -- the main, if you will, Secret Service agent, the guy who is in charge of the president of Haiti, of his security, I just put him in prison for molestation of his daughter." Right? It was some sexual molestation charge.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: The president of Haiti pardoned him. This guy went back and said, "Sorry, no can do." And put him back in prison.

I looked at him and said, "You are completely alone, and even the president doesn't want this to stop." He knew he was facing a death penalty. Any doubt in your mind?

PAT: No.

GLENN: He knew. I have a good shot at dying for this, but it's worth it.

Can we maybe stop talking about, "I will design a dress, or I won't design a dress for Melania?"

Personally, I don't think -- if you don't want to design a dress for Melania, I don't think she's going to give a rat's ass. I don't think she's going to care. Not going to care. And it will say more about you than her.

But if you really want to have some standards, maybe you should talk to Hugo Boss. Maybe you should stop taking Bayer Aspirin. Maybe you should never use an IBM product. You know they made the filing system for the death camps. IBM helped sort the Jews out so they could help find them more efficiently. Maybe you should do that. Or you could just claim that Melania is Eva Braun. Eva Braun and so you're never going to make a dress. But please then don't talk to me about the baker who says, "Because of my religion, I can't be a part of your ceremony," if you're only talking to me about not making your precious dress for a person you disagree with their political stance. Not their religious stance.

Media, if somebody doesn't wake up soon, your window is closing. If somebody in media doesn't start reaching out -- quite honestly, a few people have. If you don't start to see some changes from the media, you're going to lose your opportunity.

But maybe they'll get more ratings that way. I was told by somebody -- did an interview yesterday with I think it was Variety. And they said, "How do you sell -- how do you sell a show that's not wrapped around fear or calling people names? Because that's what everybody does now." And I said, "Yeah, I know. And I think everybody is sick of it." He said, "Well, it doesn't usually prove out to be true." And I said, "Well, then I'll be broke, but I'll at least have my soul." But I think there's a strong hunger for people coming together.

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New analysts suggest that climactic trends that lead to greater hurricane activity also create a coastal buffer that weaken storms at landfall.

Wait. What? The author of the study who is an atmospheric scientist called it an incredibly lucky phenomenon.

Climactic trends that lead to greater hurricane activity also are at the same time creating a coastal buffer that weakens the storm just before it hits land. You can call that --

PAT: Weird.

GLENN: Yeah, you can call that lucky.

PAT: Hmm.

GLENN: I might call that protection or Divine Providence or grace. Anything that we don't actually deserve. That's an amazing thing.

PAT: Yeah.

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(OUT AT 10:25AM)

GLENN: So Eva Braun, the long-time girlfriend and said to be wife in the last few minutes of Adolf Hitler's life, Eva Braun, Melania Trump was compared to Eva Braun by people who are fighting for fashion because they said she's a beautiful woman and they're glad she's wearing her dress.

PAT: Dolce & Gabbana said it.

GLENN: Yeah, Dolce & Gabbana said it. And they're getting hammered for it. You know, I pointed out the history of Hugo Boss and the Rockefeller Foundation and all they did.

PAT: IBM.

GLENN: Just a couple of things. You know, there also was BMW. And I'm sure that nobody on the left drives a BMW. Because BMW used 30,000 slave labors, POW, and Jewish camp laborers to build BMWs.

JEFFY: That's why you never see any BMWs on the road.

GLENN: And, you know, Ford and GM, they control 70 percent of the automobile factories that became munitions factories. Ford and GM. That's why Hitler loved Ford. But I'm sure nobody in Hollywood. I know that your dress is very important. And to say that she should not be wearing one of your dresses because she's like Eva Braun, I'm sure those things that are like a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer are disturbing. But certainly, it's much more disturbing for those that are not like them, but actually those people who sympathized and supported, right?

I mean, right? We need reparations.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: White people have got to pay for what happened in 1860. And I know you believe that. I know that what happened with slavery 150 to 200 and 400 years ago, that is white guilt. But I'm sure seeing that this one happened in either your lifetime or the lifetime of your parents and it affected the entire world and it was so horrific, I'm sure that you're -- because I know how you feel about Eva Braun who really had nothing to do with the war. She was just the love interest of Adolf Hitler.

So I know how passionately you feel about her. You must be passionate about Hugo Boss

PAT: Oh, because they're so consistent. You know that they're just as passionate about that. You know they are. You know they are. Of course.

GLENN: Yeah. Or not.

PAT: Or not.

GLENN: Or not. I'm not sure which one it is right now. Back in a minute.

He may not be a super hero like he plays in the movies, but Chris Pratt is proving once again why he's a hero to so many. The silver screen protector of the universe announced on his Instagram page a contest that will benefit the Brain Treatment Foundation, who is a partner of Mercury One that does amazing work with veterans. The Brain Treatment Foundation specializes in helping combat veterans who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The contest asks fans to donate $10 to the foundation for a chance to win a trip to drop in on the Guardians of the Galaxy star on the set of his new film Tomorrow War.

Watch his video below to hear all the details.


Ryan: The Ascent of Kanye West

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Apollo, god of poetry, light, prophecy, dance. Star of Greek mythology, rivaled only by Zeus, his father. God of justice. God of purification, knowledge, healing. God of the Sun. But most of all, god of music. So they called him the Leader of the Muses.

And on a bright Sunday morning midway through November, at the tail end of a decade, Kanye West looked out at the congregation of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, a 16,000-seater originally built for the Houston Rockets, and said, "Jesus has won the victory: Now the greatest artist God ever created is now working for him."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye's newest album, Jesus Is King, had been out for three weeks, and like every Kanye album, it was controversial, as adored as it was unaccepted.

Critics had shown a mostly tepid response, but nobody could tell if their disinterest was genuine, or if it was politically motivated.

After all, for the past year, Kanye had once again managed to penetrate the epicenter of American society. The last two Presidents had literally shamed and cursed Kanye, but, still, who could've guessed he would befriend this one?

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The week after Kanye's Olsteen appearance, at the House impeachment hearings, as the entire country watched and listened, Congressmen and diplomats would mention longtime Kanye collaborator A$AP Rocky no less than five times, in casual reference to the Kardashians and the deal between Trump and Sweden, struck at the urging of Kanye West.

Meanwhile, Jesus is King became the ninth consecutive Kanye album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 — a feat he shares with Eminem and The Beatles — and the sixth time in the 2010s alone. And, to be fair, his only studio album not to debut at number one was The College Dropout, his first, which went triple platinum and earned the third-most Grammy nominations in one night, winning Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song with "Jesus Walks."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Jesus is King was also the first record ever to top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums, Christian Albums, and Gospel Albums simultaneously. All eleven tracks charted on the US Billboard 100, joining the other 96 Kanye songs to have landed on the Top 100.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

This album was different, and not just because of Kenny G. For the first time, Kanye was not a god or a self-destructive fallen angel. He was a father, a husband, a son, and, most important, a man full of belief, with his hands outstretched, surrounded by a choir.

"I remember sitting in the hospital at UCLA after having a breakdown," he told the congregation, "and there's documentations of me drawing a church and writing about starting a church in the middle of Calabasas."

That night, following an afternoon of ice-skating at the Galleria, Kanye returned to Lakewood Church and performed a concert. Imagine hearing a his electro-gospel opera in an arena designed, acoustically, for professional basketball games. Only better, because everything had been padded. With LSD graphics on the swirly blue carpet.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When we experience art, it changes us.

So there I was, four rows from the stage, crying in front of FoxNews. Because Kanye had brought his Sunday Service choir with him, and they were singing "Ultralight Beam," one of the few perfect songs ever made, a song that played during my wedding ceremony, the song my daughter, God willing, will be born to, a song I have never once listened to without at least tearing up.

“Jesus Is King" A Sunday Service Experience at Lakewood Church with Kanye West youtu.be

"This is a God dream, this is a God dream. This is everything."

Kanye was the only person onstage dressed in his own clothing, a neatened blazer. The choir were draped in grey, like holy silhouettes.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

So who cares about FoxNews and their snotty reporters in their shoulder-padded blazers. The rest of us had drifted into the immediacy of it all. And I wasn't about to play stoic journalist here. I wasn't a reporter first and a human or an American later.

The choir zigzagged on the loft flanking the stage. Each of them had a headset microphone, like Garth Brooks.

God only knew how they sang so perfectly. How did they project their voices like that? More beautiful than anything we had ever heard, more beautiful than water.

After "Ultralight Beam," it was "Every Hour," the mesmeric opening track of Jesus Is King.

Sing every hour, Every minute, Every second, Sing each and every millisecond, We need you

Every Hour youtu.be

The performance felt all the more sacred because this was church, where people gathered to lose themselves, to sing as a chorus, to confront who they really are.

Across the street, one protestor stood hollering.

Meanwhile thousands of people waited at the entrance, giddy to get in. They would join us in no time. Soon, they would fill every seat in this church.

*

That morning, Kanye told Olsteen,

"It's like the devil stole all the good producers, all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people and said, 'you gotta come over and work for me.' And now the trend, the shift, is going to change."

Jesus Is King was the result of a new cultural and artistic movement that more or less started with 2016's Life of Pablo, Kanye's closeted gospel album. Which was a surprising departure from 2013's Yeezus, with its tangled social commentary and fashionable solipsism. And that drum sound, the one every half-decent producer has spent the last six years failing to emulate.

The 2010's saw him grow more cerebral. He even teased a book of philosophy titled Break the Simulation.

Then, in 2018, he released Ye, the second of five albums in a Kanye-produced series, all recorded at his Wyoming studio. In keeping with the criticisms of hip-hop he voiced on "Ye vs. The People"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye eschewed many of the themes he'd embraced for so long, replacing them with meditations on mental illness, fatherhood, suicide, love, and addiction. The album's working title had been "LOVE EVERYONE."

On "I Thought About Killing You," he raps,

The most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest.

The title "Ye" is not just the diminutive of "Kanye."

As he said in an interview

I believe 'ye' is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and, in the Bible, it means 'you,' so it's [saying] "I'm you, I'm us, it's us." It went from being Kanye, which means the only one, to just ye – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything, that I'm just more of a reflection of who we are, just as beings.

Philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer wrote that

All individuality is a manifestation of universal life, and hence everyone carries a tiny bit of everyone else with him, so that divination is simulated by comparison with oneself.

In the months following the release of Ye, Kanye would live out this idea, and build his own movement, a reflection of who we are, then begin his church in Calabasas.

*

At 10:30 that morning, the three of us — Samantha Sullivan, my wife Caroline, and me —- strolled into the arena and claimed seats in the media section.

That place resembled the inside of an ant colony. We were three ants.

The service began with errorless music, then shifted into a quick, stirring message by Osteen, who always seemed to appear onstage from nowhere, privvy to the kind of big-money stage tricks you find at a Shania Twain concert.

The entire place and all the Jumbo-Trons and all the people, it all had a cinematic presence.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

A preliminary giddiness spread through the room. Then, Kanye emerged, there on the stage, and the place erupted.

A man in a "Jesus is King" shirt danced around his seat.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Everyone took their seats, but one man standing in the crowd shouted affirmations. "Speak truth my brother," he shouted.

The man shouted several more times, then Kanye politely told the guy to hold off on the support because it wasn't helping, because Kanye needed relative quiet to capture and release his flow.

The ceiling glowed in skittish purple.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye described the corrupting force of the media. A chill came over the room. Behind him, the unapologetic blue of Jesus Is King.

It was my first encounter with Joel Osteen, and I was surprised and somewhat baffled to find him likeable, based on everything I'd ever heard about the man.

Kanye said as much, that Osteen is nothing like the version of Osteen many people have broadcast.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Osteen laughed, "When you've got Kanye defending you, you've made it, man."

Rays of light danced through the arena. I'm talking Pink Floyd light show levels.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

With 21 Grammys, Kanye is tied with Jay-Z as the most decorated hip-hop artist of all time.

Osteen asked Kanye what he would say to his younger self, if he could go back in time.

"You know, it's nothing I can say to the younger Kanye through words," he said. "I could speak to the younger Kanye through music."

*

Osteen played the middle section of "God Is," arguably the focal point of the album.

And Kanye danced and rapped along with it. And the surreality of the situation was daunting. Was that really Kanye West up there? with Joel Osteen? dancing to his gospel song?

Six or seven years ago, I saw Kanye a mile away at the Toyota Center — coincidentally, the current home of the Houston Rockets — for his and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne tour. It was a much different experience than this.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When Kanye finished, the media flooded out. As did a quarter of the people in the congregation. This bothered many of the regulars.

Security and ushers yanked big grey mop buckets from cabinets, and dispersed them down aisles, and money music played.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then the time for prayer. Prayer leaders lined the walls and pews. And anyone could walk over to them and pray. Men and women clung to strangers, crying sometimes, hugging. Holding hands, whispering phrases.

*

One of the media coordinators pulled us out of the sermon, led us through passageways and elevators, past classrooms and security guards, through a black sheet, then behind a barricade.

This is where all the media had rushed off to like old folks trying to get the best seat for bingo.

Each news outlet was allowed one question.

After 15 minutes, the energy changed and you could tell they were near.

Then, Kim Kardashian-West was walking our way, holding her daughter's hand, followed by Kanye, who was followed by Osteen.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

"Nice tags," Kanye said, referring to my "GOOD" necklace.

Then:

Brief interview with Kanye West and Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Nov. 17 in Houston, TX www.youtube.com

Some of the outlets asked more than one question, but that was on them. They were the ones sinning in church.

*

As Kanye and Olsteen shuffled away, down the line of journalists, I said hello to a small crew from FoxNews as they packed their equipment.

"We're from TheBlaze," I said, smiling. To which they sneered and glanced at one another then got back to their conversation.
Samantha rolled her eyes and the three of us wandered around for an exit.

"Did we just get stiff-armed by Fox News?" Said one of us. "I didn't think they were allowed to look down on anybody."
"I've had that with people from Fox on several occasions," one of us replied.

"I mean, I thought I was doing them a favor a favor by acknowledging them. Nobody else does."

Then it happened again, a few minutes later, this time with someone we had worked with, someone who knew us.
You bet we were salty.

Bad as it felt to be judged like that, it was good to be underestimated. A relief. It meant we could perform without anyone caring or watching.

They had no idea who we were or what we were really doing. Good.

*

In November 2007, Kanye's mother died during a routine surgery. He and his mom, Dr. Donda West, had always been incredibly close. She raised him alone, after Kanye's father left, when Kanye was three.

A few months later, his engagement with Alexis Phifer abruptly ended.

He was 30 at the time.

Oddly, this tragic sequence of events would cause the birth of auto-tune in rap. Broken-hearted, Kanye wanted to sing. So he ran his voice through a vocoder.

Kanye's album 808s & Heartbreak, which like Jesus is King has no curse words, shoved music ahead at least two decades, into a world of synth-driven robotic R&B/Rap love songs belted out in janky auto-tune. That description doesn't sound ridiculous today. But that's only because Kanye eschewed the stale hip-hop of the early 2000s and reinvented the genre, something he has accomplished with every album.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then, he went on tour. But he never took off any time following his mother's death. And, by the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he'd fallen to what he calls his sunken place.

He and then-girlfriend Amber Rose brought a bottle of Hennessy with them to the award show. They took slugs in the limo. Then on the red carpet.

When Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, Kanye stormed the podium, sunglasses on, and grabbed the microphone, said "Imma let you finish," then let everyone know the award should've gone to Beyoncé, for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."

He was kicked out immediately. He tweeted, "Everybody wanna booooo me but I'm a fan of real pop culture... I'm not crazy y'all, I'm just real."

Followed by an apology. Then a few days later, during an appearance on debut episode of "The Jay Leno Show"

Leno asked Kanye, "What do you think [your mom] would have said about this?"

That hit Kanyelike a punch to the jaw. He teared up, froze.

He publicly apologized to Swift. Several times.

But it did little to quell the blowback. Once again, it felt like the entire nation hated Kanye. Compounded by a hot-mic recording of Barack Obama — the country's first black President — calling Kanye a jackass.

So the embattled Kanye retreated to Hawaii to record a masterpiece, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

*

"We are a Christian country," Kanye said at one point, to uproarious applause.

The vast majority of Americans, 90 percent, believe in a higher power.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

And America has the largest number of Christians in the world, with roughly 167,000,000, comprising 65-to-70 percent of the population. But that's down from 80 percent, as part of a downward trend over the last two decades.

The percent of Americans who attend a religious service of any kind — church, synagogue, or mosque — is even lower, less than half.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

One political scientist blamed the public's growing distrust in institutions. Another blamed conservatives. A writer from New York Magazine took it a step further.

Meanwhile, David French.

As always, the issue is far more nuanced than either side will admit.

Somehow, in the last twenty years, church and religion had become not just uncool, but slightly villainous.

All day, every time I looked around — at people singing, at people dancing, at people crying in joy or in the relief and recognition of their pain — I thought, "How could this ever be a bad thing?"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

I had spent my life going to concerts, had seen Kanye West numerous times, and this was something other than a concert, and unlike anything I'd seen from Kanye. It was also more than just religious or spiritual.

A family of strangers in a city of 6 million, in a world of 7-and-a-half billion, broadcast live, led by a man who fought off the devil in front of us for years. Who struggled with life just like we do, only we could nitpick through the one-way mirrors of our phones and our TVs.

But, now, he had been baptized in public.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Some people were still negative about Kanye's recent faith, especially Christians. As Kanye raps on "Hands On"

What have you been hearin' from the Christians?
They'll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me

Consensus was, they couldn't believe him. As a Kanye fan since I was 13, I can tell you that he is genuine. It's really his only setting. Plus, his spiritual transformation has been building for quite some time.

*

By the time we returned to Lakewood that evening, the sky had turned dark blue, and frantic with airplanes.

The sidewalks around the arena overflowed with people. Police cars jutted out in crooked lines to block entrances or exits, the strobe of red-white-blue whirling onto pedestrians' faces.

Across the street, facing the giant arena, a man with a bullhorn ranted about the evils of sinful music.

Earlier that day, sheepish protestors had occupied the spot, holding red poster-sized letters that spelled out "I M P E A C H." There were only four of them, though, so they had to double up and share, and sometimes the "H" slanted down or the "I" slipped loose.

"Impeach Kanye?" one of us said, laughing.

"Kanye 2020," shouted someone.

The air was electric. People bounced when they stepped, or walked faster than normal, or turned oddly as they spoke like a third-year professor.

They sang along as they passed traffic-jam cars, most of which were blasting Kanye.

A chorus of police whistles and the usual rumble of semi-trucks passing on US-59. Just down the street, porn shops and strip clubs and a Ferrari dealership. Immediately Southwest, the Mahatma Ghandi District. West, the Galleria, home of the opulent Galleria mall, where Kanye and Kim and family gone ice-skating earlier.

Inside the arena, a different world, low-lit and glowing. A dreamscape of lambent crimsons and violets, a deeper, warmer, slower take on the lights atop the police cars outside. Globular squares of blue were arrayed along the ceiling.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When the musicians emerged to their instruments, the arena was still half-empty. The show had already been delayed 40 minutes. The demand to get in was so ferocious that the security gate was jammed up like a glass Ketchup jar.

Then, like spirits, men and women drifted onstage in all-grey uniforms and matching hats that looked like they should say "VIETNAM VETERAN" but actually said "Sunday Service."

Every single member wore brand-new grey YEEZY Boosts.

From the start, the performance was cinematic, a sort of new-world opera sung by a chorus of young American muses with nose rings or gold chains or dreadlocks or pink hair.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

From the huddle, a young man rose, and began reciting a poem. It was the invocation of the muse.

Gadamer wrote that poetry "becomes a test of what is true, in that the poem awakens a secret life in words that had seemed to be used up and worn out, and tells us of ourselves"

*

After a whirling rendition of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna," the choir began "Ultralight Beam."

They let the song spread. It grew enormous.

The air swirled as the song widened.

Kanye waited out of view, then appeared without ceremony.

A collective gasp when people recognized the melody of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." Which sounds like a dream already, with all that wilderness.

So it was even stranger when the song morphed into SWV's "Weak," a skating rink anthem written by Charlie Wilson of the GAP Band. A classic.

The choir were their own countervailing force. Yet they also connected us to the drama of the performance.
Looking back, I wish I could live in those moments forever.

*

Then came their cover of "Father Stretch My Hands" by Pastor T.L. Barrett And the Youth for Christ Choir.

Father Stretch My Hands www.youtube.com

Kanye has paid homage to Barrett's track on two different songs, from two different albums.

It was his prayer.

Pastor T.L. Barrett, a man who's lived an exciting and at times difficult life, only to become a Pentecostal preacher on Chicago's south side, and form a choir of 40 teenagers from his weekly choir practice.

If you dive into Barrett, you'll better understand what Kanye is doing.

*

Ten seats from Kim Kardashian-West, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) stared ahead in a neat grey suit, occasionally poking at his phone and blasting people on Twitter.

Which means there were at least two people in the building who have appeared on Saturday Night Live.

There were other politicians, including Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. And even more at the earlier service. You could tell they were politicians the same you can tell a vegan burger from a real Whopper. Several times, Kanye held up his phone up and read the words from his newer songs.

Like "Selah," which built into "Hallelujah"s at the end, intoxicating and perfect, like being sucked into an undertow. Which led into "Follow God," a continuation of "Father I Stretch My Hands."

Kanye uses the image of stretched hands to express his own submission and the process that leads to his healing. As a reference to John 21:18

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

But the song is also about Kanye's literal father, and an argument they had. Then, under it all, he adds a sample of "Can You Lose By Following God" by Whole Truth. He ended the song with his Kanye shriek, somewhat confusing and abrasive with a choir present.

Then — something I did not expect. The thumping bass of Cajmere's "Brighter Days (Underground Goodie Mix)."

And now this was cosmic gospel.

It felt like a rave. Have you been to a rave? It's people dancing, taking MDMA. That is what it felt like.

Flourishes like that were part of Kanye's genius. No other gospel performance would dare. You won't find that kind of diversity at any other hip-hop show, either. The acoustic instruments, the choir. Maybe during a set by electronic musicians like Moodyman or DJ Koze. But, no choir. Yet here Kanye was, at Joel Osteen's church, blasting classic techno.

Oddly enough, though, the most popular song of the night was "Closed on Sunday," Kanye's ode to Chic-Fil-A.

Everyone in the arena knew the words. So then there were two choirs, in a dialogue. I didn't think it was possible, but the collective harmony got even more intense and engulfing than it had all night. So much so that the house speakers started to peak in one corner of the arena.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The Ancient Greeks were the first to use a chorus. In the 5th Century B.C., 50 actors would gather in the orchestra pit and sing in unison, commenting on the action of the play, describing scenes to the audience. They were a collective force. They represented one character, who was able to connect the audience to the characters and events onstage.

Kim Kardashian was front and center filming with her phone, as two of the West kids jumped around on the trippy blue carpet.

The performance was nearing its end, and suddenly Kanye was dressed like everybody else in the choir. Grey Yeezy kit and the Sunday Service hat. His transformation. From Kanye West to Pastor Ye, stretching hands.

Then, he was gone.
One by one, the choir began fluttering off the stage, to the Clark Sisters' "You Brought the Sunshine."

Half were gone, when I noticed the singer with braided hair crying. With every exhale, she collapsed her hands into the floor. Let them fall like tired flowers. Arrayed in fitful blue. She gasped. She heaved her shoulders like a wingspan. For a moment it was like she would actually take flight.

A security guard peered over the railing from above the stage. He looked like God.Symbolically, he was.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

Don't believe in time travel? Think it's just a wild conspiracy theory reserved for late night alien radio programs? Well, we have unearthed bombshell evidence that will blow you away and have you questioning everything!

A 120-year-old photo PROVES climate change activist teen Greta Thunberg is actually a time traveler warning all generations of the dangers of global warming.

Glenn did some exhaustive research and found several other photos and subjects in historical paintings. Check them out here and see if you are now a believer:

Warning Elvis fans

Ryan: Suction energy, pt. 1

Photo by Sean Ryan

After his speech at the Boone County fairgrounds, Joe Biden nodded and people engulfed him like he was their oxygen. Journalists shouted questions, photographers shoved people aside. Biden's bodyguards even drew closer. I found a good oak tree and hid out in the shade, 100 yards from the chaotic huddle.

Photo by Sean Ryan

They shoved closer and closer and closer, with a vacant urgency to their eyes. They had to get as close as possible. It was like some force of nature had taken control of everyone, and now their only goal was to merge their lifeforce with Biden's.

The frenzy of writhing arms and contorted bodies reminded me of Shark Week, when the hulking Great White breaks through the protective cage and how's the diver gonna make it out alive this time?

*

A need for convergence, often leading to upheaval.

Most of the Democratic candidates caused this effect. As did their opponent, to a far greater degree. Because he was the president, and he was Donald Trump, so, for the time being, he embodied this magnetism more fully than anyone else in the entire world.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Every time Trump entered a room or a building or a space of any kind, every person within a reasonable distance felt it. And they couldn't help but bob their head around, and arch up on their tiptoes, scouring till they saw him, and then all they could do was lean forward and wonder if it was actually him.

Some of the Democratic candidates had a stronger magnetism than others. Which meant the gravitational pull had laws that guided it. The term I started using for it was "suction energy."

It was something you could physically feel.

At the Iowa State Fair, Bernie Sanders' suction energy was so intense, so visceral that it reminded me of a hurricane.

Photo by Sean Ryan

People wanted to be as close to the man as possible. They wanted a picture. Proof that it happened—that they had actually seen someone that famous.

And they were perfectly right. And their reactions were understandable and lovely even, and altogether innocent. Encouraging. Because they were genuine.

Even journalists were susceptible to suction energy. In fact, they could spazz even harder. Unlike the public, they were there as workers.

*

Suction energy is an art, something you cultivate. But it's also a result of luck and reality. Some people will just never have an ounce of it.

Take, for instance, Jay Insleey, who was apparently a Democratic presidential candidate in the 2020 election. At some point in my travels, I wound up in the same place as him.

Maybe it was a couple times. A couple, two, three. I can't remember.

All I know is that I went to Clear Lake, Iowa for the Democratic Wing Ding, to see Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren and the 20 other candidates, and this guy Jay Insless ... sorry, I mean Inslee took the stage at some point. It's hard to say when exactly because, as I mentioned, he was impressively forgettable, like a human thumbtack.

Wing Ding featured Jay Insee?Photo by Sean Ryan

He was yammering about something, and, man, he looked and sounded like P.C. Principal, from South Park, and that was pretty funny.

I told my dad, and then we were both laughing. Then my dad did an imitation of P.C. Principal, and we were really hooting.
Then all I could think about was P.C. Principal. So I ducked out into the hall to watch a P.C. Principal clip compilation, and I laughed and laughed and nobody went "Shush!," because there were plenty of others like me.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And, boy, I laughed. I was actually a bit sad when the clip was over. I'd forgotten where I was, and when I caught a glimpse of the guy onstage, my sadness deepened into pity. The feeling you get when you realize that the amateur thinks he can beat the professional. When the replacements think they will know valor. When your dog thinks they're going to the park, but really it's the vet, and they wake up without balls.

Do we have an obligation, a moral imperative, to tell a Square when she's trying to shove into a Triangle hole? How much teeth-lettuce does a person lodge into their incisors before you are inclined to alert them?

Like, after this speech, that guy John Insley, would wander around the walkways of the Surf Ballroom, same as Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang, only he'd lack their glow.

Crowds flocking to Kamala HarrisPhoto by Sean Ryan

At one point, he'd clench his jaw into what must have been a smile, ready for any nearby journalists to sneak a candid photo or rush forward for a quote.

Photo by Sean Ryan

If any of the others noticed, they didn't let on. So here was this chubby kid in a costume knocking on the front door, and I know full well Halloween was weeks ago, but who's gonna feed the harmless lie if I don't?

Photo by Sean Ryan

Nobody, that's who.

So I groaned and shrugged and told my dad, "Let's give the tubby kid some Starburst."

"Wha?" he asked.

Then I asked would he get a picture of that candidate over there.

"Who," he replied. As in, "I can't see an important person over there, which one is running for president?"

In other words, Insleep had absolutely zero suction energy. To a near-magical extent.

Within a few weeks, he would announce the end of his campaign on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Yet there he was, somehow center stage, looking out at the packed Surf Ballroom, where, on February 2, 1959, Buddy Holly played his last show.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Buddy Holly, now there's a man with suction energy. So much suction energy that, when he died, music went with him.

*

When I saw Kamala during the week of the Iowa State Fair, she was at the height of her campaign, having climbed to second place, within nine points of Biden.

Everywhere I went, there was Harris, with her personalized KAMALA bus, and her chartered press pool, and her entourage of staff and fans and media.

Photo by Sean Ryan

On the first Saturday of the Fair, my dad and I wound up seeing Harris five times. Five times! In part because she could hustle. She wanted that job. But also because she understood power and optics.

Before her speech at Jasper Winery, (when she played savage 4D chess with Andrew Yang, she spoke to several hundred people packed into the atrium of Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, her fourth rally of that day.

Photo by Sean Ryan

When she finished her speech, a horde surged straight for her, eighty or so.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Just a month earlier, The New Yorker had run a glowing profile on Harris. That was huge. As of the release of this story, Harris was the only 2020 presidential candidate that The New Yorker had featured.

Photo by Sean Ryan

At that point of the election, excitement for Harris was so intense that it seemed obvious she would get the nomination, or close to it. So I wrote five pieces about her.

But by the time I finished all five stories and added them to the publishing schedule, Harris had sunk 11 points to 4 percent, which put her in 8th place. In New Hampshire, the first state to hold primaries, she was polling at 1 percent. By comparison, Biden, Warren, and Sanders were locked at 19.

Now, the only headlines were about her foundering campaign and her dwindling cash and her downsized staff. In each case, the sentiment was the same, "Whatever happened to Kamala Harris?"

Which answer a question I posed in my first story. Would Harris "I got this one in the bag" attitude help her or ruin her? Turns out the ostentatious bus and the unnecessary press accommodations had been a premature move, and now she just seemed cocky.
Because suction energy can, and often does, vanish in an instant.

A Bernie can always become a Jay InslepInslee. Nobody is immune, no matter how powerful they appear. Look at Bill Cosby. Harvey Weistein. Both were godlike in their power. Both had a gravitational pull so intense that they raped women for decades and nobody did a thing. Cosby's suction energy was so intense that he collected honorary degrees like a vacuum collects dog hair. 70 of them. Then, off to prison to eat pudding in the dark.

By the time I saw Harris at the Democratic Debate in Houston, a month after she stormed Iowa, she'd begun transforming into Joe Biden, focused on all the wrong things, laughing at her own jokes, without realizing that nobody else was laughing.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com