How Hobby Lobby's Founder Turned $600 Into a Nationwide Retail Chain

David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby and author of the new book Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously, joined Glenn in studio on Wednesday to talk about his amazing journey. He started Hobby Lobby in his garage with a $600 bank loan in the 1970s. Today, the chain has 600 stores nationwide and will soon have 10 million square feet of warehouse and office space.

Green shared with Glenn stories from when Hobby Lobby came close to bankruptcy in 1986, as well as winning the Supreme Court battle that challenged his company’s right to life beliefs in 2014: "God didn't want us to take life."

Listen to these segments from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby. Started with $600. Did you borrow $600?

DAVID: Well, yes. We borrowed the money. So we started with nothing, just the loan, took from the bank.

GLENN: Yeah, started with a 600-dollar loan. And you wanted to start making frames in your garage.

DAVID: Correct.

GLENN: And what happened?

DAVID: Well, my family helped -- my wife worked for the first five years for zero, and my two kids glued frames together for 7 cents a piece. And so that was in 1970. But by 1972, we opened up a Hobby Lobby store. The first was 300 square feet, which is about the size of a living room.

GLENN: Did you have any idea what was coming your way?

DAVID: None whatsoever. You know, we just took one day at a time and one brick at a time. I don't know that there was a moment that said, hey, we've made it.

GLENN: Yeah.

DAVID: So it's just been a constant growth for the 40-some-odd years.

GLENN: It's really you and Mr. -- what's the guy's name, who started Walmart? Walton.

Yeah, Sam Walton. It's really you and Sam Walton, who are the -- the big American success stories in brick-and-mortar business that have changed everything in brick and mortar in many ways. And you both had the same value system.

DAVID: Correct. Yes. Our whole value is -- is solid on the basis of the Scriptures, God's word. And so that's what gives us our foundation is just, we go back to that. We really don't think we have any wisdom outside of the wisdom we find in God's word.

GLENN: You wrote -- I think it was -- in reading the book, was it a Post-It note that you wrote to yourself. When things started to go well and you started to worry about, wow, I want to make sure I keep on the right track, you wrote a note to yourself.

DAVID: Well, one of the notes that I have -- and I don't know if that's what you're referring to is one that says, "I own Hobby Lobby, signed God."

GLENN: Yes, that's one.

DAVID: And even today, that's under the glass on mine. And so we know we don't own the business. Not because we say so. It's because God's word says so. He says he owns it all. So we literally believe that we do not own it, that we're only the stewards of what God has given us.

GLENN: So I have been up to Hobby Lobby. And I don't know if you give tours, like you gave to me and my wife. I have seen some incredible things. I've had -- I'm sure you probably have too. Have you been in the Vatican archives? The secret archives?

DAVID: No, we haven't. But we've shown our antiquities a couple times at the Vatican. But we haven't seen their archives.

GLENN: Oh, you -- you -- I've gone in, and you have to get a tour. It is unbelievable.

I will tell you, I've been to the secret archives in the Vatican. I've seen where they -- where they made the new Gregorian calendar. I am just as impressed with what you have in Hobby Lobby, going through and seeing your operation, mainly because I don't know how you've put together so many people that will hold on to the vision. They -- I mean, it is huge warehouse after -- I mean, bigger than football field warehouses, full of people. And it's consistent. And the people are consistent.

How do you do that?

DAVID: You know, we're blessed with an awful lot of great people. Right now, what you're talking about is we have 9 million square feet of warehouses and offices.

GLENN: 9 million.

DAVID: 9 million. And we're building the tenth. So we'll have 10 million after about 18 months.

GLENN: Were you with me, Pat? Did you go through that? Did any of you guys go through that with me?

PAT: Yeah, I was there. Yeah, it was incredible.

GLENN: It was one of the most incredible things I've ever seen.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: I can't keep -- I have 80,000 square feet, and I can't keep it in order. I've got 300 employees and I don't know how to keep --

PAT: 9 million. That's incredible.

GLENN: How do you do that?

DAVID: I can't explain it, other than we just have a lot of great people that's in charge of so many different areas. So God has blessed us with a lot of great people.

GLENN: If you were giving -- I'm just using this as a therapy session. We could sell your book. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. I just want a free therapy session with you.

DAVID: Stay on track. Sell the book.

GLENN: Yeah. I am reading the book because that's the answer I'm looking for. And you are giving answers in this.

Explain how you go from a store in a garage --

DAVID: Uh-huh.

GLENN: -- that's rock solid because it's your familiar.

DAVID: Uh-huh.

GLENN: How many employees do you have now?

DAVID: We have 35,000 employees.

GLENN: How do you go from that -- I go into Hobby Lobby. Literally, I probably have purchased your car.

DAVID: Okay.

GLENN: I go into Hobby Lobby by my house all the time.

DAVID: Thank you.

GLENN: And everybody that works there has the same attitude. They're gracious. They're kind.

How do you keep that going, David?

DAVID: One of the things we do is we bring all the new hires in that are going to be leaders, and we talk to them and spend two days with them. And the key word we use is "serving." No one is being served. We are serving one another. We let our store managers know, we're there to serve them. They're not serving us.

GLENN: You talk in the book a little bit about this. You talk about the replacement for you. When you're looking for a replacement for you, you say there's three things that they have to have. Do you remember what those are?

DAVID: No, I don't. No, I'm sorry.

GLENN: Let me see if I can find them here. Towards the end of the book. You said, you have to have integrity.

DAVID: Okay.

GLENN: The attitude of a servant. And a thorough knowledge of the job.

DAVID: Exactly. Yes. And this is the kind of people that we have and employ. So we have people that -- there's no big. Egos. You know, you can smell ego a mile away. And so they're just a lot of servants. And we try to start that by being a servant ourself at the very top. And so this helps filter right down to the stores.

GLENN: And you -- and you are a servant to the people. You -- you have better health care than -- I mean, you take care of all of the employees.

DAVID: Our minimum wage is $15.70 for our full-time people. We have a clinic to take care of our people on the campus that have over 5,000 people. And we have an MRI machine that saves $1500 for an employee when they need it. So we do everything we can for the family. So if we're strong about family, we need to cough up and do whatever it takes. Like short hours. We're only open 66 hours a week, which is pretty much unheard of. Closed at 8 o'clock and Sundays. So we put a lot of emphasis on the family.

GLENN: You don't know this, but my welcome to Texas -- I was in Jerusalem. And we were moving to Texas. My wife went ahead -- and I was flying in from Jerusalem. And she said, "Welcome to Texas." She sent me a text with a picture of the sign that is in your door right here where -- right by where I live, that said, "We are closed on Sundays, so our employees can celebrate the Sabbath." And that was such culture shock from New York City, that that was my welcome to Texas sign.

DAVID: That's great. That's great.

GLENN: Yeah. You're also -- because you have really made it, unlike most people have made it, you're -- you've really worried about your kids. And you don't have to be -- I mean, you don't have to be a millionaire or -- I think you're probably a billionaire. You don't have to be wealthy like that to have that concern. We all have that concern.

Talk about some of the things that you write in the book about, you know, family and the poison of -- of wealth and the things that, you know -- the entitlement of being a Green.

DAVID: Right. No, this -- this gave me a lot of grief as far as what to do. And we had Christian leaders that would come and tell us to hand it down from one generation to another. But we see Hobby Lobby as a tree, a tree that's owned by God. Here again, not because I say so, but because God's word says so. So then if he owns it, then we're stewards. So we put all of the voting stock into 1 percent of the company, and we formed a trust that's a green stewardship trust. And we are only stewards.

There's no way that we can touch the company. We've all signed off that there's never can be a benefit of the company to us because we do not own it. So we only use the finance to do things that are kingdom -- kingdom ideas, such as the museum in Washington, DC, that we're going to be opening.

So my kids can't inherit anything. We give them opportunity to work, but there's nothing for them, in terms of wealth.

GLENN: David Green is the founder of Hobby Lobby. He has a new book, Giving It All Away and Getting it All Back Again.

I have a friend, Jon Huntsman, who he asked me for a donation to his cancer hospital. And I said, "I will do that, only if you will spend some time with me teaching me how to be charitable. I grew up in a poor family. It's a huge responsibility to have money."

And he smiled and he said, "Oh, I'll make that deal with you. I'll help you give your money away. You bet." And what he said to me was, "The first secret is, you have to care about everything." You know, his big thing is cancer. He said, "But it's about humanity. It's about all of it. You can't just care about the thing that affects you."

If you're teaching somebody how to give it all away, what's your advice?

DAVID: You know, what we do as a family. Because we come together once a month to decide on our giving. We have about 300 requests for finances every month.

And so what we do is we come together, and we try to focus on two things that's eternal. Because there's a lot of temporal things that you can put your money on. But we try to focus on God's word and man's soul. And so these things are the only two things that will last. So we feel good about where we put our money. And that's why we do a lot in terms of the Bible.

GLENN: Do you look at -- I had another friend who was a bishop of a church. And he said -- he spent a lot of time -- he was high up in Goldman Sachs.

And I said, "So tell me about giving. How do you give?" And he said, "Well, it might be my Goldman Sachs background." He said, "But I look at every dollar that I'm giving as an investment in people and an investment in whatever it is I'm trying to do." He said, "Who is going to take that dollar and give the most amount of that dollar directly to what I'm trying to do?"

Do you look at it as investments for God?

DAVID: Yes, I do. Because I think we can do all the things we need to do for humans. Like we feed hungry children. But it's always connected to the gospel. Because only feeding the children is a good thing, but it's not a great thing until you tell them about salvation and eternity.

GLENN: You can say Jesus Christ over here. We're not shy.

DAVID: And so that's -- we drill wells. But we don't drill wells with someone that is not taking it to the other step. Because getting good water is only temporarily. But telling them about eternal life by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior is eternal.

GLENN: So I have to tell you this, we -- this audience started something called Operation Underground Railroad. It's -- we're freeing kids in sex slavery and doing some amazing things all around the world. And it's all Christ-based -- centered. And I was just in Bangkok, and a monk that I met who is part of one of the shelters over in Bangkok, when we was opened the shelter, gave him the Scriptures. He was already doing these things. Gave him a copy of the Scriptures.

Just saw him and he said, "Okay. Don't tell any of the other monks or I'll be in trouble," he said, "But I'm a Christian." He said, "I read this book," and he said, "I'm using all these principles in the shelter." He said, "I don't think there's any way to healing without this."

And it was such a profound like lightbulb moment for him that he found this truth that is there.

DAVID: That's exactly right. I like that.

GLENN: Yeah.

DAVID: But you can do all the things that Christ has asked us to do for humans, but you can bring it alongside the death of our savior who died for and paid for our sins. You can pull it all together. And that's what we do.

GLENN: Okay. I want to come back and talk to David Green a little bit about the trouble that he went through with the Obama administration because he would not provide -- what were they saying? Just contraception. And I think it included abortion, did it not? Abortion pills.

DAVID: Yes. There was four drugs that would, we felt, without any question would be abortion. We -- we provided 16 contraceptives, but there was four that we could not do.

GLENN: And, of course, he's a hatemonger. And the family is, of course, against all women, including all the women in the family. And he faced probably one of the greatest battles, I think I've ever seen any business face. Somebody that says -- how many millions a day was it?

DAVID: 1.3 million a day. Because of the number of employees we had, it would have cost 1.3 a day.

GLENN: Okay. So they're fining him $1.3 million a day. Any other company would fold. They stood and took it all the way to the Supreme Court. And it was dicey. Didn't know how it was going to end. He'll tell a little bit of that story coming up in just a second. Again, the name of the book is Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again. David Green.

[break]

GLENN: With David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby and the author of a new book I highly recommend, Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again.

When the government hammered you -- and I don't think -- I mean, have you found a case where somebody has been hammered as hard as you were as a company?

DAVID: Well, our principles, I don't think so.

GLENN: Yeah.

DAVID: Because they were just asking me to go completely against my principles.

GLENN: Yeah, they were asking you, pay for abortion or be shut down.

DAVID: Exactly.

GLENN: And they were fining you $1.3 million a day for how many days did that go on?

DAVID: Well, that would go forever. Now, it never got to that point because my insurance policy had not -- it was not completed before I had to go to the new insurance policy. But that's the amount that I would have had to pay, had I not have provided these four drugs that would really cause abortion.

GLENN: Right. So you were -- you sued the government. You took them to court, all the way to the Supreme Court.

Was there a moment at all that anyone around you said, "David, David, let's just -- I'm not saying that we do it, let's just look at this. What does this mean if we lose?"

DAVID: Yes. I had some. Lawyers. Different people that just thought that we probably shouldn't do this.

GLENN: Are they still with you?

DAVID: Not really.

(chuckling)

GLENN: Didn't think so.

DAVID: Actually none of my in-house lawyers. It was more of the out -- things that were not employed with us and knew who we were.

GLENN: And so there was no one who knew who you were that said -- so there was no doubt in the family's mind. Did you have a meeting with the family and say, "I mean, it's God's company. So we're not losing anything. But we could lose God's company on this?"

DAVID: We did bring our family together. I've got ten grandkids. My children, we were all there. Because we wanted to make sure we were united on this. Because we knew the news media would come in and they would just try to rip us apart.

GLENN: Rip you apart.

DAVID: But every one of them, in all the generations, the three generations, we were all united that this was not something that we could do. It was real easy from our standpoint. It was black and white. We either take life or we don't. So this issue is real, real solid and easy for us, that God did not want us to take life.

GLENN: The name of the book is Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again. David Green. He'll be joining me for a full hour tonight in The Vault with some pieces from the Bible Museum. More in a minute.

[break]

GLENN: We're with David Green. Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again.

This is the company -- his family runs Hobby Lobby and is -- is just this remarkable -- just truly remarkable family. Started with a loan of $600 back in the '70s. And now, you know, it's worth billions of dollars. And -- and they've done some remarkable things. They're going to open up the Bible Museum in Washington, DC. We'll get to that here in a second.

But you also took a stand against the Obama administration. And you were absolutely fearless.

Can you share one story with us that was either the high or the low of that? That whole ordeal. What do you take away?

When I say that, what comes to mind about that time period in your family's life?

DAVID: You know, I think the thing that came to mind at first was when we first knew that we were going to have pay for these drugs that would create abortion. I think there was no question about it, I lost a lot of sleep. Because my first thought was, you know, we can lose this company. Because we are going to take a stand. It's right to take a stand, regardless of what you lose. And we knew that that was the case.

GLENN: A lot of people would say -- now, this one is so extreme -- I mean, we've talked about this a lot.

I don't understand how the pro-choice people can say that we're awful people because we truly believe it's a baby. And if you truly believe it's a baby, then you automatically believe it's murder. And how could you not say something about that?

But you know that there are people in all walks of life that face something like this. Maybe not this extreme. That somebody will convince them or they'll even convince themselves, yeah, but if I lose it, then I have nothing and I won't be able to make any impact. I need to -- I need to be able to make an impact. So I'll compromise on this to be able to get that.

DAVID: Yeah, I just don't think there's ever a right time to do a wrong thing. And so this is what we decided. We were 100 percent sure that this was the wrong thing to do. And so we rested in that.

And the other thing that I think that I have to mention is we had so many that were praying for us. And it was their prayers that after the first initial thought that we were going to have to pay $1.3 million a day -- that left. And we were basically -- my wife and I were at total peace because we made the right decision. And whatever it be, it be. Because we had already given the company to God. We're not the owners, and we don't accept ourselves as the owners.

STU: What about the argument -- because we hear this a lot from people who go to Washington.

JEFFY: We sure do.

STU: You're doing so much good as a company. Here you are. You're a great pillar of the community all over the country. And if you don't -- maybe you should just give on this one issue because if you don't, you're going to ruin all the good that you're doing.

DAVID: I think it's when -- God blesses us when we pass the test. This was a test.

GLENN: I agree.

DAVID: And when you don't pass the test, that's when you don't have God's blessings. And so God knows if you're going to pass the test -- we all come to him every day. We have to pass the test, and this is one of -- of many tests. We've had tests about alcohol and subleasing a store to someone that was going to distribute alcohol. And we passed it up and paid another ten years on a lease. But that was a test. And I think when we pass those -- not that we do all the time. Hopefully we do, then I think that's when you see God's blessing in a country, in a family, in a business.

GLENN: It's the story of tithing. I mean, it's the story of your book. Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again. You pay your last dollar for tithing over food. And it -- you -- you will get it back. You will get it back. And then some.

It requires -- it's -- it's wonderful the way God works. God requires you to do your own homework and then have faith. And when you have faith, he'll give you more. And you'll grow bigger and you'll have more knowledge. And it will require more faith.

And then you're off to the races.

DAVID: Yes. When we tithe, the Bible just tells us, the windows of heaven will open up. And try me and see. So it seems like that if you don't, you don't believe in God's word. But we do believe God's word, when he says we don't own the company or that he's going to open the windows of heaven when you pay your tithes.

And then it also says, I do believe this book. And that's another test. Whether you pay tithes or not is one of the other tests.

GLENN: So, David, you started with your sons. Your son was making seven cents a frame when you started.

DAVID: Seven and 9-year-olds.

GLENN: Seven and 9-year-olds. They were there from the beginning of Hobby Lobby.

DAVID: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Your son -- does Steve -- he runs Hobby Lobby now, or is he running --

DAVID: I'm the CEO. He's the president. But he spends 20 percent of his time there. The other 80 percent, he's trying to get curriculum to put back into schools.

GLENN: Which is fantastic.

DAVID: We're going to try to put the Bible back in the school. We're working with ADF to make sure it's done in such a way that it can stay in there.

GLENN: Right.

DAVID: And then the other time is building the museum.

GLENN: And so are you doing most of your time at Hobby Lobby?

DAVID: I'm doing 97 percent of my time.

GLENN: Okay. At Hobby Lobby.

DAVID: The other 3 percent, I'm sitting here with you.

GLENN: What is your -- what is your son good at? Where has your son passed me as a man?

DAVID: Actually both of my sons are in ministry. Both of them are almost full-time, relative to the Bible. Their work is relative to the Bible. So God has taken them away from the business.

I have 35,000 employees. It doesn't have to be my family. It's God's -- it's -- it's a ministry. And we just want the very best person from it.

But it's pretty obvious my two sons will not be the one that replace me because they're doing things that's much more important.

GLENN: How -- how do you live in a world -- I try to make the case all the time that by taking care of your employees -- in fact, like you are, 15 percent. Or 15-dollar minimum wage. That's what, you know, the people at McDonald's are screaming for. Fifteen-dollar minimum wage. Et cetera, et cetera.

I keep making the case that when it comes to capitalism -- true capitalism, the more you help the workers that you have, the more you take care of them, the MRI machine. You know, I want -- you know, we're not big enough now. But when -- when and if God allows us to be big enough, I want to put medical health care here because the insurance we have is horrible and it's the best I can do.

But that helps me as a business too. Right now, capitalism is viewed and in many cases, it is -- it's executed as a dog-eat-dog, I will take it, I get it from you, it's mine, I hoard it, I stomp on other people. I have a -- I have some HR people we've just hired who when I told them about how I look at the company and how insurance, when we were interviewing them, they said, "Oh, my gosh, please, let us work here." Because they had said -- they had just gotten out of board meetings where the board of directors said, "Don't those people have like that Obama thing?" They were so far removed from the people, they were just like, dump them into the government system.

That's the worst thing you can do as a capitalist.

DAVID: Yeah. I think we have to here, again, go back to the word serve. I think this is what Christ would have us to do. He paid all. And somehow or another, we should have care for our people. And we need -- that should be our first motivation because it's just within our hearts to give and to be generous with what we have. But secondly, it's good for business. We found it's very good for business to care about our people.

GLENN: So explain that. Because I know you talk about that in the book. But explain this now in a way that a non-Christian -- somebody who is not rooted daily in the Bible and doesn't look at their business that way, explain this in the business world, how that pays off.

DAVID: It's still a great principle. The principles in the Bible are still good. Believe it or not.

GLENN: Right.

DAVID: You don't have to be a believer for this thing to work.

GLENN: Right.

DAVID: It just works that you care about people, then they're going to care about you. But you have to be true in it. You can't say one thing and do another.

I mean, the fact that we're closed most Sundays, 8 o'clock at night, only open 66 hours, says we're not just speaking it. We're doing it. We're telling them we care about you.

GLENN: We're telling you that we close as 8 o'clock, because at 8 o'clock, every mom and every father should be home with their family.

DAVID: Exactly. If I can have them -- and I'm telling them that their family is more important than Hobby Lobby. We tell them that. We want that to be in their hearts.

So if you're a non-believer, that still works. That if you care about your people -- and sometimes it -- that love comes from Christ, that you have for other people. Where do you get that? I'm not sure how strong that is if you don't know God's love for you. He paid his life for you.

And that same love as a Christian should extend to other people. And I care about your family. Well, what can I do for your family? I can pay you more. I can start you out more. Those are the things that come back to pay dividends.

GLENN: And in a society where everything is expected and everything is like, of course, you're going to do that, you should do that, you're rich, you should give that to me. I should have what you have -- how do you keep that balance of -- of giving and gratitude on both sides? How do you teach the employee to be a servant as well?

DAVID: I'm not really sure we do that real well. I'm working for that in my own life.

GLENN: Right.

DAVID: To have gratitude for what God has done. And I'm not really sure we do that. But hopefully, they can see our lives at the corporate office and what we're trying to do then. And hopefully, they will grab on to that idea.

GLENN: Quickly, I know that we're going to be filming something in The Vault today. I just got word that it's not going to air today. It's going to air in a couple of weeks.

But tell me about the Bible Museum, something you guys have been working on for years and opens in November.

DAVID: We're very excited about this book, as you can -- as you can well understand after our discussion today.

And we think it needs to be planted right there in Washington to see the seat of government.

GLENN: Right.

DAVID: This is where we came from. There's going to be a fly-through there, where you're going to be standing there and you're going to be -- actually think you're in an airplane. You know, because we're going to fly around and show you all the different Scriptures on all the different monuments -- monuments to show you where we came from.

GLENN: It's so important. Nobody believes it anymore.

DAVID: Yeah. But we're going to show you where we came from, just -- by this fly-through.

It's going to be three floors. One of them is going to be the history of this book, and the next one is going to be the story. This is the story from the beginning to the end.

GLENN: So great.

DAVID: It's a story. Not stories.

GLENN: And you have some of the best people in museums and in -- I mean, I almost want to say almost like Imagineering. The Disney Imagineering. You have some of the best storytellers on the planet.

DAVID: It is going to be very high-tech, and there's going to be things in there that could go exceed Disney in some areas.

And then the third floor is going to be the impact that this Bible has had. So those are the three floors. But there's going to be a lot of others. Banquet halls. Theaters. Things of that nature. So it's about a billion dollar project that we will have ready to go November the 17th.

GLENN: Unbelievable. David Green, the name of the book is Give It All Away and Get It -- and Getting It -- Getting It All Back Again. Giving It All Away and Getting It Back Again. Thank you. It's so good to you.

DAVID: You're welcome.

GLENN: Thank you.

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 or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

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 or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

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

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

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

*

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

Photo by Kevin Ryan

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New installments to this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. For live updates, check out my Twitter or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

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.