Glenn Beck: What happened?


Glenn's letter to his family explaining how we got into this economic crisis...

Yes, another email letter from your crazy brother. You raised a lot of questions in your last email and I am going to try to answer all of them.  

I think all of your questions fall  into three areas:  (1) how did we get here; (2) what's coming; and (3) what can I do to prepare myself and my family.

Consider this email as my answer to your first question, "how did we get here?". I'll be sending you 2 more emails answering your other two questions.  Since there's a lot of misinformation out there I will document each of the facts in my emails so you know where I pulled the information from and where you can go to read and learn more.

What you shouldn't do is panic. We'll get through this--don't pull all of your money out of the bank but have enough cash on-hand to meet any possible emergencies.

First, you've got to get the stock market's ups-and-downs out of your mind. The recent drops and upticks are short-term. Our economic problems are much bigger and deeper. Too many people believe that if the stock market goes up our problems are behind us and that's simply not true.

Last week the market had big drops and big upswings. In the end, the market ended down more than 800 points and lots of 'experts' were shouting it was a time to buy. I don't see it that way.

Did you know that just two days after the stock market crashed in October 1929 the market actually gained ground the next two days? The New York Times reported that "the market quickly regained its poise and stability...." Today, Wall Street 'pros' are telling us it's a good time to invest because Warren Buffet is investing. A lot of people were probably using the same argument when the Rockefeller family was buying stocks right after the 1929 crash, what they didn't know was that it would take Wall Street ten more years to see those prices again.

Our current economic crisis was caused by politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, who perverted the American Dream by treating home ownership as an undeniable right rather than what it really is, a privilege. President Bush aggressively promoted the benefits of home ownership through various policy positions, including a reckless zero down-payment initiative for some homebuyers and praised Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even after concerns about their accounting standards began to surface.

Home ownership has always been part of the American Dream. It allows individuals and families to build wealth by having them pay themselves instead of a landlord or rental company and vests people in their communities by grounding them in local schools, stores and government.

The concept that owning a home was a privilege and not a right began to change in 1992 following a flawed Boston Federal Reserve Board study which allegedly found subtle discrimination in loan and mortgage lending by banks and mortgage lenders.

Politicians didn't care that the study was full of errors. The study found discrimination took place when five minority applicants were rejected for special low-income loans even though the applicants were rejected because they made too much money to qualify for a low-income loan, not because of their race. The report also classified as 'rejected' the applications of eight minority borrowers even though these borrowers voluntarily withdrew their mortgage applications. The study's sloppiness also went the other way.

The study reported that a white applicant was approved for a $3,115,000 loan in order to purchase a home valued at $445,000. It was later demonstrated that the actual loan was approved for $311,500, far less than $3 million reported and more importantly, less than the home's purchase price. When these and other errors were corrected no evidence of discrimination existed.

But politicians didn't care. They used this report as the basis to fix a problem which didn't exist. Leading the charge for change was President Clinton who immediately set-out to rework the Community Reinvestment Act to give federal officials the power to pressure banks to make loans they otherwise considered too risky or uneconomical.



Traditional lending requirements were labeled 'outdated' and discriminatory. What 'traditional lending requirements' were viewed as 'outdated' and 'discriminatory'? (1) banks were told that a "lack of credit history should not be seen as a negative factor" and that "past credit problems"


should be viewed and considered in light of any "extenuating circumstances" so loans could be extended when they otherwise would have been denied; (2) banks were encouraged to let borrowers without enough money for a down-payment make-up any deficiency with "gifts, grants, or loans from relatives, nonprofit organizations, or municipal agencies" even though banks considered this risky as the home buyer would have little or no equity in the house; (3) banks were also instructed that borrowers who received child support, welfare payments or unemployment benefits could count that as 'income' for borrowing purposes.

Call me crazy but if you need to count child support money that's intended for your child, or are in such bad economic shape that you're relying on welfare payments to make ends meet or are unemployed, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't be buying a house. Too bad our politicians and the 'best and brightest' on Wall Street couldn't figure that out!

Community groups like ACORN, threatened to cry racism if banks didn't increase their loans to subprime borrowers. Banks typically avoided subprime loans as they carried a greater risk of default, but with law on its side, ACORN and other groups intimidated lending institutions into making such loans.

Banks soon learned, however, that making subprime loans actually could increase their profits without increasing their risk. Once the banks extended a loan to a subprime borrower that loan could then be sold by the bank to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, two government sponsored entities charged with making home ownership affordable to all Americans.

Banks, Wall Street, and mortgage lenders were soon eager to extend mortgages to subprime borrowers because they could make lots of money without carrying any risk. Fannie and Freddie carried all the risk once the original lending agency sold the loan to them. And once Fannie and Freddie bought the loan this freed up the banks to make even more subprime loans.

So everyone was a winner. The subprime borrower got the money to buy a house. The banks generated mortgages and made a nice profit and Fannie and Freddie executives made tens-of-millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses by hitting their annual goals.

The problem was that in order to keep all of this going lending standards were continually lowered to help the next level of subprime borrowers qualify for mortgages and no one had an incentive to make sure that the new subprime borrowers would actually be capable of making regular mortgage payments. The banks which extended the loans really didn't care because they were just going to sell the loan off to Fannie or Freddie. Fannie and Freddie weren't too concerned because it wasn't their money-they knew that they were insured by the 'full faith and credit' of the federal government (that's government lingo for "you and me").

So when federal regulators began to warn the executives at Fannie and Freddie about the increasing risks of non-payment by subprime borrowers the companies did nothing and when the regulators took their concerns to congress their warnings were met with scorn and contempt. The politicians who received the most political contributions from Fannie and Freddie, by pure coincidence, just happened to be their biggest defenders: Chris Dodd (D-$133,900), John Kerry (D-$111,000) and Barack Obama (D-$105,189).

Representative Barney Frank, who has been a fierce defender of Fannie and Freddie, actually said, while arguing against more regulation, "I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing.... " It's nice to know that he doesn't mind gambling with our money. Senator Chris Dodd, in praising Fannie and Freddie said, "I, just briefly will say, Mr. Chairman, obviously, like most of us here, this is one of the great success stories of all time.


"While Senator Charles Schumer said, "And my worry is that we're using the recent safety and soundness concerns, particularly with Freddie, and with a poor regulator, as a straw man to curtail Fannie and Freddie's mission."

Barack Obama has received more money from Fannie and Freddie than any other senator, with the exception of Senator Dodd, in the last four years. Before entering the senate, Obama filed a class-action lawsuit against Citibank, alleging that the bank was red-lining, or not doing enough lending in certain areas. That lawsuit was eventually settled. Arguably, Barack Obama helped cause the problem he now wants to fix.

The Federal Reserve Board was doing its part by throwing huge piles of cash at would-be home buyers by keeping interest rates too low. With low interest rates speculators began to look at houses as business opportunities, while others began to look at their homes as a giant piggy bank rather than a place where you actually lived and raised a family. Alan Greenspan encouraged this type of behavior and proudly said, "American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgages..." President Bush, responding to September 11th unwisely encouraged us to "go shopping" rather than hunker down financially and contribute to the War on Terror in other ways (can you say home equity loans?).

The SEC also shares in the blame. It failed to do its job (failed to adequately regulate mortgage brokers, the credit rating companies, and naked short-sellers), acted only after the markets froze-up (finally addressed mark-to-market rules) and refused to examine how the credit-default-swap market could grow from $919 billion in 2001 to over $54 trillion by 2008 (which allowed companies to make wild financial bets with the false confidence that 'insurance' would be there if the deal went south).

So what happened? Home-ownership rates which had been relatively constant for 25 years began a 10 year upward climb beginning in 1995, around the same time that government began its push and pressure for banks to make more subprime loans. The politicians, banks, lenders and Wall Streeters were thrilled because they were all making gobs of money.

Today we are all paying the price for the decisions made long ago. I have spoken to people involved at the highest levels and they now are all saying the same thing, "it is worse than anyone knows" and "worse than I even thought." Political and business leaders who I respect have told me that the economy is on the edge of an abyss.

The bailout is an outrage and is designed only to buy time for the politicians. It will delay the real hard times from hitting until after the November elections. Not one politician has said that this bailout legislation will put us on a better financial footing or that our economic problems will be put behind us. In fact, we'll be worse off because our politicians, even in this crisis, can't stop themselves from spending. This bill includes an extension of the rum tax benefits for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands ($192 million), tax benefits for companies which manufacture wooden arrows for kids ($6 million), car racing tracks ($128 million), a provision which forces insurance companies to treat mental health problems like physical problems ($3.8 billion) and many, many more.

International markets don't offer any better alternative. Germany, England, the Netherlands, and Russia have all come out with their own government backed bailout plans. There are now calls for more international regulation (presumably led by the United Nations) and China has taken this opportunity to call for "a diversified currency and financial system and fair and just financial order that is not dependent on the United States." Meanwhile, there is increasing international indications that the dollar will lose its place as the reserve currency of the world.

The politicians from both political parties continue to lie to us. They promise us better healthcare and more government programs. The only thing either party will be able to deliver is higher, much higher, taxes as the debt swells and government revenues fall. The same politicians remain silent, while capitalism, which brought us the highest standard of living in the world, is increasingly attacked and discredited by its enemies.

But it's not capitalism which has been discredited by our current crisis, it's greed that has been shown to be at the root of our present economic uncertainty, and greed is unfortunately a universal human trait and has demonstrated its reach in socialism, fascism, communism and capitalism. The greed of Wall Street is nothing compared to the greed of our politicians who have continued to expand their power and influence at the expense of their country.

Our children and grandchildren will ultimately pay the price for their failure to act prudently and in the best interest of our country because they will be the ones saddled with mountains of debt and diminished standard of living.

I hope that this summary gives you a better idea of how the people who caused this fire are the same ones who are now telling us that they know best how to put it out and a reason not to believe their current promises.

We have faced tough times before. We fought the Nazis in World War II, defeated communism in the Cold War and Americans fought each other to keep our country together in our own Civil War. These tough times require us to educate ourselves and help others understand what has brought us to this point and the grave consequences of what will happen if we let this continue-that is our fight.

In my next email letter I will answer the other question you asked, "what's coming?"

Sis, I know you will always consider me your crazy brother but please pass this message on to all of your friends.  There are too many rumors circulating and I want to put the facts out there. This isn't about slamming the Democrats or Republicans--this is about getting the truth out to as many people as possible.  The more people we can wake-up the more people we will have restoring the hope, promise and opportunity of our great country.  Please pass this on.


 


Glenn

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.

amp only placement

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.

RELATED: 'Human Wave Theory': Connecting the dots on the strategic attack on our border

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.