The Real American Dream


Money to Burn: A Novel of Suspense


by James Grippando

This week marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the death of two great American heroes—Sgt. Michael Strank and Cpl. Harlon Block, two of six Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima.  A third, PFC Franklin Sousley, was killed in action three weeks later, as the battle came to a close.  The battle of Iwo Jima was the bloodiest in the history of the United States Marine Corp, with almost seven thousand Americans killed and over 19,000 wounded.  More than a quarter of all Medals of Honor awarded to marines during World War II recognized the bravery of men who fought (and in many cases, died) on that Pacific Island. 

The Pulitzer-prize-winning photograph of the marines raising the American flag is probably the most enduring image of the Second World War.  Sadly, other memories—important memories—are fading. 

My father died last year, one of nearly a thousand World War II vets who die each day.  He lived through the Great Depression, stood in breadlines at age eleven, and spent the four best years of his life fighting the worst war the world has ever seen.  I know my eleven-year-old son now cherishes the World War II uniform his grandpa left him.  More than that, however, I hope my son will remember.   

I can’t say I’m optimistic.  Much of my concern arises from a recent experience I had in writing my latest novel, Money to Burn.  As a tribute to my father, a character named “Papa” plays a central role.  It’s a Wall Street thriller, and my father was about as far away from Wall Street as you could imagine—which is exactly the point.  The Greatest Generation is the perfect counterbalance to the greed and self centeredness that nearly destroyed us.  In an early draft, I described Papa as “part of the generation for whom 9/11 was a dark day, but for whom December 7 was the day that will live in infamy.”  The line was cut. 

“Why?” you might ask.  Simple:  Because too many of my younger readers wouldn’t have any idea what I was talking about.

I hated to lose that line, but I agreed to change it to fit the tone of a financial thriller.  The novel, after all, wasn’t about World War II.  The inspiration for the story came to me when, in March 2008—another anniversary to mark this week—a group of powerful hedge-fund managers gathered for a champagne breakfast at a Manhattan restaurant.  They specialized in short-trading—essentially betting that the value of a company’s stock will go down.  They were rumored to have been celebrating the fall of Bear Stearns, the first major investment bank to go the way of the T-Rex and the Dodo bird.   Over the next seven months, I would conduct my research by watching Wall Street implode in real time.  I was writing about short-sellers trading investment banks into oblivion.  Financial media fanning the flames by carelessly spreading dangerous rumors planted by unscrupulous traders.  Mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps landing insurance giants on life support.  Fortunes lost overnight in Madoff-sized Ponzi schemes.  I was writing about the world of high rollers and high finance.

Or was I?

Through it all, the voice that spoke loudest to me was that of a fictional character—the one based on my father.   I wrote most of the outline for Money to Burn while at my father’s bedside in a skilled nursing facility.  After he passed, the novel seemed to write itself.  It was in the later stages of his illness, while reading early pages aloud to him, that I realized how much the crumbling financial world could have learned from a high-school graduate and a D-Day survivor who came home from the war, went to work in a print shop, supported his family, saved enough to retire at age fifty-five, and died with no debt.  Zero.

Yes, I changed the line about 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, I changed it to:  “Papa was part of the generation for whom the American Dream was not just to buy a home, but to actually pay off the mortgage.” 

What a concept.

This week—sixty-five years after the death of those Marines who are now symbols of American bravery—tell your kids about the real American Dream.  Tell them about Iwo Jima and “the day that will live in infamy.”

Shame on you if they don’t remember.

© Copyright James Grippando 2010

James Grippando is a national best-selling author of seventeen suspenseful thrillers in as many years, including Money to Burn, which will debut on the New York Times bestseller list.  His novels are enjoyed worldwide in twenty-six languages.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and not necessarily of Glenn Beck or Mercury Radio Arts, Inc.

On the radio program this week, Glenn Beck and Pat Gray discussed a series of recent polls that suggest presidential nominee Joe Biden's expected lead may be slipping with traditionally Democratic voters.

A new poll conducted by the Jewish Electorate Institute shows that two-thirds of Jewish voters still plan to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket in November. However, President Donald Trump's support within the Jewish community is also the highest among any Republican candidate in recent history.

In more bad news for Biden, a CNN poll (yes, CNN) released last month showed growing support for President Trump among black voters in swing states. Meanwhile, his support among Latino voters remains at roughly 33%.

"I don't think it's going to go the way the Democrats hope that it will," Glenn said of the election. "If you look at the groups that the Democrats have carefully fostered ... that's falling apart. If Donald Trump can grow that by 5%, and hurt the Democrats by 5% ... that alone could swing the election."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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We're being set up for a civil war. The Left is grooming us for an Eastern European-style revolution this election, and they're not even trying to hide it any more. The playbook for Mainstreet USA is the exact same that has been used in places like Ukraine, initiated by the same people in order to completely upend the American system.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck takes us through a tale of three chalkboards that will connect the dots: the Obama admin in Ukraine, the State Department's relationship with George Soros, Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots, the Great Reset, public school indoctrination, mail-in voting. It all points to something dangerous happening in November if we don't act now.

Watch the full video below:


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The left has already determined that the wildfires raging across the West Coast were definitely caused by climate change and Big Tech is determined to silence anyone who dares suggest otherwise. Facebook even announced a sweeping policy on Saturday to remove posts that claim the fires were caused by arson from far-left activists.

But on his radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck revealed multiple arrest records for suspected arsonists in California, Oregon, and Washington — and several of those charged and arrested were also instigators in Black Lives Matter rallies, violent protests, and Antifa riots. He also called out the "news gods" in Big Tech, daring them to try to censor his video.

"I asked my staff, to see if there was any evidence [of arson] on the fires. And I don't mean evidence from Twitter. I mean evidence. Is there anybody who has been arrested for arson?" Glenn said. "Well, here they are. And YouTube and Facebook, go ahead. I want you to demonetize this clip. I want you to somehow or another say that we're lying. I want you to throttle this. Go ahead. Because then you're going to have to explain what we got wrong. And I happen to have all the documents right here. So my attorney is really ready for that throttling or demonetization. You say you're a protector of the truth? Great, here it is."

Glenn read off the first 10 arrest records, which combined allege the destruction of more than 120,000 acres and 700 structures, as well as tens of thousands of people evacuated from their homes.

"You want to tell us, PolitiFact, how you came to the conclusion ... that there was no arson in these fires?" Glenn asked. "Can you tell me how you came to that conclusion? Because your fact-check seems to be entirely false."

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Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders joined Glenn Beck on this week's podcast to share her unique perspective as a trusted adviser and confidante to President Donald Trump for two and a half years, which she also details in her new book, "Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House."

Sarah described the unprecedented levels of corruption she saw firsthand during the Russia probe and shocking lengths to which Democratic leaders and the mainstream media would go to "take the president down."

Sarah said she often saw sides of Donald Trump that the media never covered. Recently, she went on the record denying the Atlantic's claims that the president mocked our military during a 2018 trip to France. She was on that trip, she told Glenn, and her account of what really happened paints a very different picture.

"The people who are making this outrageous charge are such cowards for doing so in an anonymous way. If you really believed this, and believed it was wrong, one, why did it take you so long? And, two, put your name on it the way the rest of us have," Sarah said.

"He didn't say those things. Not only was I there that day, Glenn, I spent two and a half years traveling all over the world with the president, watching him interact with men and women of our armed forces almost every single day during that two-and-a-half year period," she added.

"This is a person who loves America and loves the people who allow the rest of us to live in America, free, and have prosperity. And I got to see that a lot. I think it is shameful that people are trying to distort who he is and what he has done, particularly when it comes to the men and women in the military."

Watch a clip from the full interview with Sarah Huckabee Sanders below:

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