Glenn talks with author David Baldacci


First Family

by David Baldacci

GLENN: I've been reading David Baldacci's new book, First Family, and I don't know, about halfway through it and my wife says to me last night, she said, what are you reading? And I said, this fantastic book. I haven't had a chance to read any fiction for a while now. And I said, I just, I don't remember.. I said, David's going to be on with me. I hope it's still a couple of weeks away because I just haven't had a chance to finish this and I really want to finish it because it's fantastic so far. I get in this morning and they said, hey, Glenn, by the way, Hour Number 3, David Baldacci's going to be with you. So David, I have to apologize. I've tried to read all of the book. I haven't been able to get all the way through it but it's fantastic so far.

BALDACCI: Thank you.

GLENN: It's really pretty creepy.

BALDACCI: Yeah, I do creepy really well people tell me. It's a talent to be creepy.

GLENN: Yeah, I don't want to give anything away.. So you explain what the book is about. Are you there, David? Did we lose him? Did we lose him? Dan? Oh, good.

DAN: We'll call him back. It says he's there, but   

GLENN: Call him back. Dan

STU: Do you want me to guess at what it's about?

GLENN: What did you say, Stu?

STU: I can guess what it's about.

GLENN: First family, go ahead.

STU: Basically it's about a family, their last name is First, John and Tania First.

GLENN: No.

STU: It's about their struggles with the local softball league as they try to organize this ragtag group of   

GLENN: No, it's creepy. It's creepy.

STU: Well, I just said toddlers. You don't think it's getting creepy from there? I think I can get to creepy from there. I'm just saying   

GLENN: No, it's actually   he's back on the line.

BALDACCI: I'm here. That was creepy.

GLENN: So tell us about the book real quick.

BALDACCI: First Family I bring back Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, secret service agents, I've written about them in two other books. They come back and the niece of the first lady is kidnapped after a birthday party at Camp David and she has a prior relationship with Sean King, the first lady, and she asks them to find her and they spend most of the book trying to do just that.

GLENN: Can you talk about the Southern connection?

BALDACCI: Yeah, this is sort of a David versus Goliath story and you think you've kind of lined up the good and evil players in this book early on but it sort of gets flipped on its head as you keep reading the novel. There's a guy named Sam Quarry who lives in rural Alabama and he lives on an old farm and his family's been there for centuries and he has something that he wants to accomplish. He has some revenge in mind. And I love comparing the worlds of, you know, D.C. power corridor with just a slice of Americana in the deep South and write about that plausibly in a story and Sam Quarry is the guy that allowed me to do that.

GLENN: You know, I have to tell you, I don't know how you envisioned this but I'm, you know, reading about the daughter that's upstairs and everything else and I'm   I mean, I'm really creeped out by this guy.

BALDACCI: Yeah.

GLENN: Did you intend it to be that creepy?

BALDACCI: Yeah. He's sort of, he's obsessed with what he needs to have done. And at the end you can decide whether he's justified or not but it's sort of an example of when you allow one thing in your life to completely dominate you, you sort of lose a little bit of sense of reality and in touch with the rest of the world.

GLENN: So David, here I am. We're reading about, you know, a first family, the president, and there's a kidnapping and a murder and everything else that happens. A guy who is a veteran. He is assisted by other veterans. They are involved in the kidnapping. They have got an axe to grind, everything else. I, David, am accused all the time of laying out scenarios, which I haven't done any of them, laying out scenarios where people can pick up their guns and take to the streets and start a revolution. You are writing a book that is, at least where I'm at, is what the Department of Homeland Security says they are afraid of. How are you   how do you get away with that?

BALDACCI: How do I get away with it?

GLENN: How do you get away with that?

BALDACCI: That's why I write fiction. I'm only bound by plausibility and the things that I think could happen, not whether they do happen or will happen. Whether they can happen. And I try to take, you know, emotions that people are feeling and secrets in their past and build into the scenario things that could just blow up and erupt. And I think people tend to   they sort of   it's like the boogeyman. You know, when you were a little kid, you don't want to look under the bed and you look under the bed. Adults don't want to be scared from the same distance.

GLENN: I know how far you have to write a book, how far away that has to be. This is at least two years ago you were sensing this disenfranchisement. What were you sensing? Where did this come from? People are just stumbling onto the   and maybe I'm wrong going down this road but I sense at the beginning of the book at least it's playing into the whole tea party kind of feel right now.

BALDACCI: Well, there's as we all know sort of looking around at the economy and a lot of other things that people are feeling very frustrated and there's a sense of injustice sweeping across the country if you are very rich and very powerful, you can get away with anything and that's just the way it will be. I was a lawyer for ten years and I represented people who either had a lot of money or didn't have any money at all and I lost cases I probably should have won and won cases I probably should have lost. That's just the way the system works. And sometimes you win because you have a better lawyer. And there is that sense of injustice that's days where you see big executives walking away with their millions and billions of dollars and leaving the rest of the economy trashed and I think that ordinary mom and pops across the country feel like, you know, the playing field is not level. It's not fair and people who should be punished are not being punished and I sense that emotion building in people, certainly.

GLENN: Okay. So   but help me out on this because everybody   another thing I'm accused of is making this all about Barack Obama. It ain't about Barack Obama. It's about both parties. It's about the whole system is just, it's gone to hell in a hand basket.

BALDACCI: Yeah, it is. We have a flawed political system right now. We've had it for a long time and I think people are sensing that, that big money controls a lot of what happens in Washington D.C., and you are right, both parties are to blame for it. It's been going on for decades and I think there's a growing sense of frustration. Every year, every election cycle people are frustrated but I think particularly with the economy bottoming out and seeing so many people walking away, you should not be walking away with this with riches in hand, that frustration is higher than I've ever seen it before.

GLENN: Where do you think we're headed, David? By the way, we're talking about his new book, first family. Is it out today or tomorrow?

BALDACCI: It's out tomorrow.

GLENN: I'm going to be real honest with the audience. I don't ever lie to them. I've only read about half of it and the first half, I can't wait to get home. It's one of those books where you can't   you'll live all day. Do you know what I mean? You read those books and you live with it all day long. It's one of those books. It's absolutely fantastic. So   

BALDACCI: Thank you.

GLENN: It's out tomorrow. Where do you think we're headed, David?

BALDACCI: Well, you know, I'm an optimist and I think that, you know, with the economy doing what it's doing that maybe it might get everybody back to a more basic level, you know, living more within their means but it also I think might have a turning point with, you know, how the government is run and has operated. And I would hope that people who never thought about getting into politics before might want to think about it now, who have a lot of common sense, who might have some experience, who want to stand up and make a difference. And also I think having us look at sort of how, you know, the government is structured. And I know a lot of people out there are really talking a lot more about term limits now, that having people up there for, you know, 30, 40, 50 years is not the right way to go and a lot of people are thinking about, well, maybe there should be more than two major political parties, the people should have more choices. I think all of those things right now probably have a lot more energy and a lot more juice than I've seen in the last 20 years.

GLENN: Hold on just a second because I want to further this conversation. David Baldacci joins us again in a second.

(OUT 11:42)

GLENN: Just looking at, we have David Baldacci on. His new book First Family is out tomorrow. It's a fantastic book. He had 75 million copies in print worldwide since he began publishing. All 16 of his novels including two nonthrillers have been New York Times best sellers and yet nobody reviews your book, do they?

BALDACCI: Yeah, according to some magazines I never get any good reviews but actually I get a lot of good reviews. But that doesn't matter to me. You know, I don't write for reviewers. I don't even know who they are.

GLENN: You know what's amazing to me, David, is these reviewers, you know, the same people that, you know, they wonder why their magazines or their newspapers are going out, you know, going out of business because they don't   they are so snotty that they don't understand, like for instance   and please try not to lose   you may not have any respect for me. So I don't know. If you have any respect for me, don't lose very much. Until I was 18, I never read a book. I mean, I really, I read it for school but I hated reading, everything else. And I stumbled across Sherlock Holmes, Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle and I read that book and I read it twice because I didn't think any other book could be this good. And I loved it. And that got me into reading other books and now I read history, I read stuff that just makes your eyes bleed, but I love to read. It's like crack. What is it where they don't understand these elites getting you into any kind of book is a good thing.

GLENN: I know, I wish I understood it, too. I've talked about that as well. People need a variety in life. Sometimes you want to read a more serious book, sometimes you want to read nonfiction, sometimes you read something lighter. It's like going to the movies. I don't want to see an Oscar winner every time. Sometimes I just want to go and escape and newspapers and magazines really are shooting themselves in the foot by not promoting popular books because really that's what makes people read. It's not they will read my book or just another thriller like you. You read lots of different books, but you have to get started somehow.

GLENN: Yeah. What do you think of the Kindle?

BALDACCI: I've got one and I like it when I'm on the road. When I'm at home, I still pull out a real book.

GLENN: Yeah, I feel the same way. The only time I use   my wife gave it to me because when I go on tour or whatever, I've got to   I'm not kidding you, I have a suitcase just full of books. And she's like, you've got to stop with the stupid books. And so I bring a Kindle but I don't like it because I don't   you don't turn the page. Somebody explained it and said, oh, it's like turning a page. No, it's not. It's like sitting there with a computer, a little teeny computer in bed.

BALDACCI: Right. No, I like the real books better.

GLENN: So we were talking before we went into break about what you think is coming and you said you're an optimist and, you know, David, I've been trying to ask some of the smarter people that I know, and anybody who writes plausible fiction for a living as well as you do, you know, you can't be an idiot on figuring things out.

BALDACCI: Yeah.

GLENN: Help me out on this. You say that you think that it's going to   you know, it will work out well because maybe it will get us back to reality and we'll spend within our means and we'll do the right things, we'll save, you know, we'll be reasonable people the way we used to be. But when you look at the economy and realize that 70, 75% of it is all built on spending and you've got the government now saying that they want to cut interest rates to negative 3% where if you borrow $100, you only have to pay them back $97, how do you save this economy? How do you save this system without it being rebooted when it's all built on bogus spending?

BALDACCI: Yeah, it is. It's been coming for a long time and when you have an economy that's based on you and me going to the shopping mall every Saturday and spending not just what we have but more than what we have, that's not sustainable. We have to get back to where Americans actually build things and know how things work and how to make things again and if we have to consume less of certain things, that's okay because nobody needs 10 Xboxes. But I think if we get back to a more fundamental sense of we actually produce things in this country that other people want to buy, that has ripple effect across the board because it means you have better educated workers, better training, the schools have to get better. It has a ripple effect that we don't need anymore right now. If I'm going to go to the shopping mall, why does my kid need an education to go to the shopping mall and buy the biggest gadget. We've gotten away from fundamentals, not just consumption, it's everything tied to consumption which includes job education. We've gotten away from all those things. I don't bedrock my faith in institutions, I bedrock it in resiliency of the American people and that's what I really believe in and I think we can come back. It's not going to be easy and it's not going to come without sacrifice but I think we can come back.

GLENN: See, I don't hear any politician actually saying that, though.

BALDACCI: I don't, either.

GLENN: That's where I'm at. I don't believe in the government. I mean, I don't hate the government by any stretch of the imagination. I'm more of a purist when it comes to the founders. I believe in what they believe. But I believe in the American people. I would bet on the American people and American ingenuity if the government gets out of their way over any group of people on planet Earth at any time period. We can accomplish something. There's something unique about us. But then again we're also at a time period, David, where you kind of look at us and you say, well, I don't know. I mean, there's only 53% now of the American people believe that capitalism is better than socialism. Are we, are we the people that   is there enough of us that can turn this thing around that are willing to make the economic sacrifices in our own life to get back to basics?

BALDACCI: Well, you know, I can only speak to people I know and people I've talked to, you know, friends of mine, acquaintances across the socioeconomic spectrum but I don't know anyone that thinks that this country converting to socialism or communism is the right path to go. I think the people still believe deeply in capitalism because if you look, you know, in the last 40 or 50 years, most Americans have profited greatly from it and their living standards have grown exponentially. So those are all positives. But when you have such enormous growth and such enormous risk taking, you have issues like this in capitalism that come up. I think it was exacerbated by a lot of things that some people should probably go to prison=


for but at the same time capitalism is sort of a risky beast to live with and it got out of whack, completely out of whack. It's hurt a lot of people across the United States but that's not to say that we should jettison it for something that's going to be far worse. Most people that I know still believe in capitalism, still believe in personal freedoms and they want to see their system come back with a little fine tuning. I'd take moderate growth over these enormous peaks and valleys because I don't know anybody who wants to go through this again.

GLENN: Oh, I don't. I mean, who wants to go through this. But I don't want the security. I want a system where it does have the peaks and valleys but I mean, self regulation keeps you out of that yourself. I want to be able to succeed and to fail. You know, I don't want somebody putting an artificial regulation on it, especially people, you know, in Washington that don't   that have never run a business.

BALDACCI: No, not at all. And I'm not suggesting that. But certainly if people go beyond the law, they should be punished for that.

GLENN: Oh, yeah.

BALDACCI: If they do things beyond the scenes that are not right, basically take money from other people unlawfully, they should be punished for that.

GLENN: Do you think that   do you see those people, David   you don't have to identify them and I don't even know what part of the political spectrum you come from. I think you are an independent.

BALDACCI: Yes.

GLENN: God bless you. Do you see the people in Washington that you trust that you say this person is in there fighting?

BALDACCI: There are some, you know. There are some that are there for the right reasons that I know. I can't say that they constitute a majority by any means and that's unfortunate because right now we do, we need real leadership, you know, real altruism, real public spirit. But there's a lot of people that have been embedded there for a long time.

GLENN: The name of the book is First Family, it is out tomorrow. It is a great read. First Family by David Baldacci.

Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history.

The Allied invasion force included 5,000 ships and landing craft, 11,000 planes, and almost three million allied soldiers, airmen and sailors. Despite such numbers, the location and timing of the invasion was still an enormous gamble. The Nazis fully expected such an invasion, they just didn't know precisely when or where it would be.

Despite the enormous logistics involved, the gamble worked and by the end of June 6, 1944, 156,000 Allied troops were ashore in Normandy. The human cost was also enormous – over 4,900 American troops died on D-Day. That number doubled over the next month as they fought to establish a foothold in northern France.

There were five beach landing zones on the coast of northwestern France, divided among the Allies. They gave each landing zone a name. Canada was responsible for "Juno." Britain was responsible for "Gold" and "Sword." And the U.S. had "Utah" and "Omaha."

The Nazis were dug in with bunkers, machine guns, artillery, mines, barbed wire, and other obstacles to tangle any attempt to come ashore. Of the five beaches, Omaha was by far the most heavily defended. Over 2,500 U.S. soldiers were killed at Omaha – the beach so famously depicted in the opening battle sequence of the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan. The real-life assault on Omaha Beach included 34 men in that first wave of attack who came from the same small town of Bedford, Virginia. The first Americans to die on Omaha Beach were the men from Bedford.

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America has a national D-Day Memorial, but many people don't know about it.

America has a national D-Day Memorial, but many people don't know about it. Maybe that's because it wasn't a government project and it's not in Washington DC. It was initiated and financed by veterans and private citizens. It's tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the small town of Bedford, Virginia. Why is the memorial for one of the most famous days in modern world history in such a tiny town? Because, as a proportion of its population of just 3,200 at the time, no community in the U.S. sacrificed more men on D-Day than Bedford.

There were 34 men in Company A from Bedford. Of those thirty-four, 23 died in the first wave of attacks. Six weeks after D-Day, the town's young telegraph operator was overwhelmed when news of many of the first deaths clattered across the Western Union line on the same day. Name after name of men and families that she knew well. There were so many at once that she had to enlist the help of customers in the pharmacy's soda shop to help deliver them all.

Among those killed in action were brothers Bedford and Raymond Hoback. Bedford was the rambunctious older brother with a fiancée back home that he couldn't wait to return to. Raymond was the quieter, more disciplined younger brother who could often be found reading his Bible. He fell in love with a British woman during his two years in England training for D-Day. Like in that opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, Bedford and Raymond barely made it down the ramp of their Higgins Boat in the swarm of bullets and hot steel before they were cut down in the wet sand.

Bedford and Raymond Hoback's mother, Macie, learned of both their deaths from two separate telegrams, the first on a Sunday morning, the second the following day. Their younger sister, Lucille, remembered her mother's devastation, and her father walking out to the barn to cry.

The day after D-Day, the killing field of Omaha Beach was already transforming into the massive supply port that would help fuel the American drive all the way to Berlin over the next year. A soldier from West Virginia was walking along the beach when he saw something jutting out of the sand. He reached down and pulled it out. He was surprised to find it was a Bible. The inside cover was inscribed with: "Raymond S. Hoback, from mother, Christmas, 1938." The soldier wrote a letter and mailed it with the Bible to Raymond's mother. That Bible, which likely tumbled from Raymond's pack when he fell on D-Day, became Macie Hoback's most cherished possession – the only personal belonging of her son that was ever returned.

Of the 23 Bedford men who died on Omaha Beach, eleven were laid to rest in the American cemetery in Normandy.

These men, many of them barely out of their teens, didn't sign up to march to the slaughter of course. They had hopes and dreams just like you and I. Many of them signed up for adventure, or because of peer pressure, and yes, a sense of honor and duty. Many of the Bedford Boys first signed up for the National Guard just to make a few extra bucks per month, get to hang out with their buddies, and enjoy target practice. But someone had to be first at Omaha Beach and that responsibility fell to the men from Bedford.

Over the last several years, the D-Day anniversary gets increasingly sad. Because each year, there are fewer and fewer men alive who were actually in Normandy on June 6, 1944. The last of the surviving Bedford Boys died in 2009. Most of the remaining D-Day veterans who are still with us are too frail to make the pilgrimage to France for the anniversary ceremonies like they used to.

It's difficult to think about losing these World War II veterans, because once they're all gone, we'll lose that tether to a time when the nation figured out how to be a better version of itself.

Not that they were saints and did everything right. They were as human as we are, with all the fallibility that entails. But in some respects, they were better. Because they went, and they toughed it out, and they accomplished an incredibly daunting mission, with sickening hardship, heartbreak, and terror along the way.

So, what does the anniversary of D-Day mean in 2019?

In one sense, this anniversary is a reprimand that we've failed to tell our own story well enough.

In one sense, this anniversary is a reprimand that we've failed to tell our own story well enough. You can't learn about the logistics of the operation and above all, the human cost, and not be humbled. But as a society, we have not emphasized well enough the story of D-Day and all that it represents. How can I say that? Because of an example just last weekend, when common sense got booed by Democratic Socialists at the California Democrats' State Convention. When Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper said during his speech that "socialism is not the answer," the crowd booed loudly. When did telling the truth about socialism become controversial?

Sure, socialists, and communists and other anti-American factions have always been around. America certainly had socialists in 1944. But the current socialists trying to take over the Democratic Party like a virus don't believe in the D-Day sacrifices to preserve America, because they don't believe America is worth preserving. They are agitating to reform America using the authoritarian playbook that has only ended in death and destruction everywhere it is followed.

Ask a Venezuelan citizen, or an Iraqi Christian, or a North Korean peasant why D-Day still matters in 2019.

The further we move away from caring about pivotal events like June 6, 1944, the less chance of survival we have as a nation.

At the same time, the D-Day anniversary is a reminder that we're not done yet. It's an opportunity for us to remember and let that inform how we live.

Near the end of Saving Private Ryan, the fictional Captain Miller lays dying, and he gives one last instruction to Private Ryan, the young man that he and his unit have sacrificed their lives to rescue in Normandy. He says, "Earn it."

In other words, don't waste the sacrifices that were made so that your life could be saved. Live it well. The message to "earn it" extends to the viewer and the nation as well – can we say we're earning the sacrifices that were made by Americans on D-Day? I cringe to think how our few remaining World War II veterans might answer that.

Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Gratitude. Personal responsibility. These used to mean a lot more.

Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Gratitude. Personal responsibility. These used to mean a lot more. I don't want to believe it's too late for us to rediscover those traits as a nation. I want to believe we can still earn it.

The challenge to "earn it" is a lot of pressure. Frankly, it's impossible. We can't fully earn the liberty that we inherited. But we can certainly try to earn it. Not trying is arrogant and immoral. And to tout socialism as the catch-all solution is naïve, and insulting to the men like those from Bedford who volunteered to go defend freedom. In truly striving to earn it, we help keep the flame of liberty aglow for future generations. It is necessary, honorable work if freedom is to survive.

The end of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is remarkably relevant for every anniversary of June 6, 1944. This is what D-Day still means in 2019:

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Letter from Corporal H.W. Crayton to Mr. and Mrs. Hoback – parents of Bedford and Raymond Hoback who were both killed in action on June 6, 1944

Álvaro Serrano/Unsplash

July 9, 1944 Somewhere in France

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Hoback:

I really don't know how to start this letter to you folks, but will attempt to do something in words of writing. I will try to explain in the letter what this is all about.

While walking along the Beach D-day Plus One, I came upon this Bible and as most any person would do I picked it up from the sand to keep it from being destroyed. I knew that most all Bibles have names & addresses within the cover so I made it my business to thumb through the pages until I came upon the name above. Knowing that you no doubt would want the Book returned I am sending it knowing that most Bibles are a book to be cherished. I would have sent it sooner but have been quite busy and thought it best if a short period of time elapsed before returning it.

You have by now received a letter from your son saying he is well. I sincerely hope so.

I imagine what has happened is that your son dropped the Book without any notice. Most everybody who landed on the Beach D-Day lost something. I for one as others did lost most of my personal belongings, so you see how easy it was to have dropped the book and not know about it.

Everything was in such a turmoil that we didn't have a chance until a day or so later to try and locate our belongings.

Since I have arrived here in France I have had occasion to see a little of the country and find it quite like parts of the U.S.A. It is a very beautiful country, more so in peace time. War does change everything as it has this country. One would hardly think there was a war going on today. Everything is peaceful & quiet. The birds have begun their daily practice, all the flowers and trees are in bloom, especially the poppies & tulips which are very beautiful at this time of the year.

Time goes by so quickly as it has today. I must close hoping to hear that you receive the Bible in good shape.

Yours very truly,

Cpl. H.W. Crayton

It's not as easy as it used to be for billion-dollar entertainment empires like The Walt Disney Company. It would be more streamlined for Disney to produce its major motion pictures in its own backyard. After all, abortion in California is readily available, as well as a protected, cherished right. And since abortion access is critical for movie production, right up there with lighting equipment and craft services, you would think California would be the common-sense choice for location shooting. Alas, even billion-dollar studios must pinch pennies these days. So, in recent years, Disney, among other major Hollywood studios, has been farming out production to backwater Southern lands like Georgia, and even Louisiana. Those states offer more generous tax breaks than Disney's native California. As a result, Georgia for example, played host to much of the shooting for the recent worldwide box office smash Avengers: Endgame.

But now it looks like it's Georgia's endgame. The state recently passed what is known as a "heartbeat" bill – a vicious, anti-woman law that would try to make pregnant women allow their babies to be born and actually live. It's a bridge too far for a major studio like Disney, which was largely built on creating family entertainment. How can Disney possibly go about making quality movies, often aimed at children, without access to unfettered abortion? It's unconscionable. Lack of abortion access makes it nearly impossible to shoot movies. So, what's a major studio to do? Disney might have considered migrating its business to Louisiana, but that state too has now signed a heartbeat bill into law. It's utter madness.

These monstrous anti-abortion bills, coupled with having to live under President Trump, has led Disney to seek a new home for its legendary movie magic. Last week, Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, announced that all future Disney movies will now be filmed on location in the Sub-Saharan African nation of Wakanda.

"Disney and Wakanda are a match made in heaven," Iger told reporters. "Wakanda was, until recently, a secret kingdom, much like our own Magic Kingdom. With this new partnership, we'll not only get to continue our legacy of making movies that parents and children everywhere enjoy together, but we'll get to do so in a safe space that reveres abortion as much as we do."

Wakanda is one of only four African countries (out of 55) that allow unrestricted abortion.

As home to the most advanced technology in the world – and with the planet's highest per-capita concentration of wokeness – Wakanda offers women painless, hassle-free abortion on demand. As the Wakandan health ministry website explains, the complete absence of any white-patriarchal-Judeo-Christian influence allows women in Wakanda to have complete control of their own bodies (with the exception of females who are still fetuses). As winner of the U.N.'s 2018 Golden Forceps award (the U.N.'s highest abortion honor) Wakanda continues its glowing record on abortion. That makes it an ideal location for Disney's next round of live-action remakes of its own animated movies in which the company plans to remove all male characters.

Iger says he hopes to convince Wakandan leadership to share their top-secret vibranium-based abortion procedure technology so that American women can enjoy the same convenient, spa-like abortion treatment that Wakandan women have enjoyed for years.

Wakanda is one of only four African countries (out of 55) that allow unrestricted abortion. Disney plans to boycott and/or retaliate against the other 51 African nations, as well as any U.S. states, that restrict abortion. Specific plans are being kept under wraps, but sources say Disney's potential retaliation may include beaming Beverly Hills Chihuahua into the offending territories on a continuous, indefinite loop.

When asked how Wakanda's futuristic capital city and distinctly African landscape would be able to double for American movie locations, Iger said, "I guess America will just have to look more like Wakanda from now on."

One potential wrinkle for the Left-leaning studio is the fact that Wakanda has an impenetrable border wall-shield-thing designed to keep out foreign invaders as well as illegal immigrants. Iger said he understands Wakanda's policy of exclusivity, adding, "After all, not everyone gets into Disneyland. You have to have a ticket to get in. Anyone is welcome, but you have to go through the process of getting a ticket." When one reporter pointed out that Iger's answer sounded like the conservative argument for legal immigration under the rule of law, Iger insisted that the reporter was "a moronic fascist."

What if the unthinkable happens and Florida also enacts its own "heartbeat" law? That would be problematic since Walt Disney World is located in Florida. Iger responded that Disney would "cross that bridge if we get to it" but that the most likely scenario would entail "dismantling Disney World piece-by-piece and relocating it to the actual happiest place on earth – Wakanda." As for whether Disney would ever open character-themed abortion clinics inside its theme parks, Iger remained coy, but said, "Well, it is the place where dreams come true."

With the Wakanda solution, Disney may have found a place where Minnie Mouse can finally follow her heart and have true freedom of choice.

When pressed about the cost of ramping up production in a secretive African kingdom that has no existing moviemaking infrastructure (which could easily end up being much more expensive than simply shooting in California) Iger said, "You can't put a price tag on abortion freedom. Wakanda Forever and Abortion Forever!"

With the Wakanda solution, Disney may have found a place where Minnie Mouse can finally follow her heart and have true freedom of choice. And that will be welcome relief to traditional families all over the world who keep the Walt Disney Company in business.

*Disclaimer: The preceding story is a parody. Bob Iger did not actually say any of the quotes in the story. Neither is Wakanda an actual nation on planet Earth.

"Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris," is a podcast featuring conversations about how faith has guided newsmakers and celebrities through their best and worst times. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a much maligned religion so Glenn joined the podcast and took the time to explain what it means to him and how it changed his life.

From his suicidal days and his battle with drugs and alcohol, it was his wife Tania and his faith that saved him. All his ups and downs have given him the gift of empathy and he says he now understands the "cry for mercy" — something he wishes he'd given out more of over the years.

You can catch the whole podcast on any of the platforms listed below.

- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- TuneIn
- Spotify
- Stitcher
- ABC News app

One of these times I'm going to go on vacation, and I'm just not going to come back. I learn so much on a farm.

You want to know how things work, go spend a summer on a farm. You're having problems with your son or daughter, go spend a summer on a farm.

My son changed. Over two weeks.

Getting him out of bed, getting him to do anything, is like insane. He's a 15-year-old kid. Going all through the normal 15-year-old boy stuff. Getting him on the farm, where he was getting up and actually accomplishing stuff, having to build or mend fences, was amazing. And it changed him.

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Our society does not allow our kids to grow up, ever. I am convinced that our 15-year-olds could be fixing all kinds of stuff. Could be actually really making an impact in a positive way in our society. And what's wrong with our society is, we have gotten away from how things actually work. We're living in this theoretical world. When you're out on a farm, there's no theory here. If it rains, the crops will grow. If it rains too much, the crops won't grow.

If there's no sun, they won't grow. If there's too much sun, they'll shrivel up and die. There's no theory. We were out mending fences. Now, when I say the phrase to you, mending fences, what does that mean? When you think of mending fences, you think of, what?

Coming together. Bringing people together. Repairing arguments.

I've never mended a fence before until I started stringing a fence and I was like, "I ain't doing this anymore! Where is it broken? Can't we just tie a piece of barbed wire together?"

Let's stop talking about building a wall. Because that has all kinds of negative imagery. Mending fences is what we need to do.

That's called mending fences.

And why do you mend fences? So your animals don't get out and start to graze on somebody else's land. When your fence goes down, your cow is now on somebody else's land. And your cow is now eating their food.

We look at the phrase, mending fences as saying, hey. You know, we were both wrong. Mending fences has nothing to do with that.

Mending fences means build a wall. My neighbors and I, we're going to get along fine, as long as my cows don't go and steal their food, or their cows don't come over and steal my cow's food.

We're perfectly neighborly with each other, until one of us needs to mend a fence, because, dude, you got to mend that, because your cows keep coming over and eating my food.

You know what we need to do with Mexico? Mend fences.

Now, that's a phrase. You hear build a wall. That's horrible.

No, no, no. We need to mend fences.

In a farming community, that means putting up an electric fence. That means putting up barbed wire.

So the cows — because the cows will — they'll stick their head through barbed wire. And they'll eat the grass close to the road. Or eat the grass close to the other side of the fence. And they'll get their heads in between those fences. And they can't get out sometimes. Because the grass is always greener on the other side. You look at these damn cows and say turn around, cow — there's plenty of stuff over here.

No. They want the grass on the other side of the fence.

So you mend it.

And if it's really bad, you do what we do. We had to put an electric fence up. Now, imagine putting an electric fence up. That seems pretty radical and expensive.

Does it really work? Does it shock them? What does that feel like to a cow?

The cows hit it once, and then they don't hit it again. They can actually hear the buzz of the electric fence. There's a warning. Don't do it. Don't do it. They hear the current and they hit it once and they're like, "I'm not going to do that again."

So you mend fences, which means, keep your stuff on your side. I like you. We're good neighbors. You keep your stuff on your side and I'll keep my stuff on my side and we'll get together at the town hall and we'll see each other at the grocery store. Because we're good neighbors. But what stops us from fighting is knowing that there is a fence there.

This is my stuff. That's your stuff. But we can still trade and we'll help each other. But let's stop talking about building a wall. Because that has all kinds of negative imagery. Mending fences is what we need to do.

You can have a tough fence. It could be a giant wall. It could be an electric fence. But you need one. And that's how you come together.

The side that's having the problem, mends the fence.