Soros Exposed: Research on the Progressive Puppet Master

For months, Glenn has been pulling back the structure progressives have worked decades to put in place. Beneath every layer lies one common thread: George Soros. Tonight on TV, Glenn presents an in-depth look at the Puppet Master, billionaire financier George Soros, one of the most powerful forces in the Progressive Movement. But don’t just take Glenn’s word for it. Read. Analyze. Do your own homework and come to your own conclusions - read below to fact check all the sources used on tonight's show.

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BACKGROUND

“Messianic Fantasies”

- “It is sort of a disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out,” (The Independent, June 3, 1993 “THE BILLIONAIRE WHO BUILT ON CHAOS - GEORGE SOROS.”)

- “I admit that I have always harbored an exaggerated view of my self-importance—to put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god or an economic reformer like Keynes (each with his General Theory) or, even better, a scientist like Einstein (reflexivity sounds like relativity).” (The Alchemy of Finance, George Soros) (http://www.scribd.com/full/41008029?access_key=key-1akmk6l4oun8ydlm6yem)

- “As I looked around me for a worthy cause. I ran into difficulties. I did not belong to any community. As a Hungarian Jew I had never quite become an American. I had left Hungary behind and my Jewishness did not express itself in a sense of tribal loyalty that would have led me to support Israel,” (http://www.osi.hu/oss/ch1.html)

INFO ON NAME CHANGE FROM SCHWARTZ TO SOROS

- Born in Hungary in 1930, Mr. Soros began life as George Schwartz. His father, Tivadar, was from humble origins; his mother, Erzebet, from money. Both were Jews, but nonobservant (she eventually converted to Catholicism). Once married, Tivadar had to work just two hours a day managing some of his wife’s family property, which provided a handsome living for them and their two sons, Paul and George. At some point during the boys’ childhood, the parents decided to change the family name and chose the Hungarian-sounding but in fact obscure Soros. It means “soar” (in the future tense) in Esperanto, the made-up trans-European language promoted by those who dreamed of a world free of nationality. Tivadar was among its leading proponents. (Source: The Mind of George Soros; Meet the Esperanto enthusiast who wants to save the world from President Bush, 2 March 2004, The Wall Street Journal)

- Before the end of the war, however, Soros’ upper-middle-class world had inverted. The family posed as Christians and separated to hide from the Germans. They changed their name from Schwartz (considered too Jewish-sounding) to Soros (more reflective of the family’s Hungarian roots and because his father liked the palindrome). (The elusive billionaire: An author tries valiantly to capture the essence of philanthropist George Soros, Vancouver Sun, 20 April 2002)

MORE ON TIVADAR SOROS

The other day, George Soros and his older brother Paul, an engineer turned investor-philanthropist, met in the offices of Soros Fund Management to discuss their father. The occasion was the English-language publication of Tivadar Soros’s wartime memoir, “Masquerade: Dancing Around Death in Nazi-Occupied Hungary,” which was first published in 1965 in Esperanto, one of six languages in which Soros pere was fluent.

“It was his nature, regardless of difficulties, to believe that one must behave like a human being and one must make the most of life,” Paul Soros said, explaining the charm and ebullience of his father, who, in the book, is described by his five-year-old son George as “a married bachelor,” and who, even when living semi-reclusively under an assumed Christian identity, never missed his daily swim. “I remember during the siege we went to the opera, because at a time when there was no food the opera still served very nice hors d’oeuvres and patisserie. Whether or not it was prudent, the idea was that you should make the most of your circumstances.”

George, who, like Paul, has inherited his father’s broad face, pointed out that Tivadar’s fondness for the comforts of bourgeois life was not accompanied by a docile bourgeois sensibility. “We didn’t preserve ordinariness,” George said. “He made us very conscious that these were extraordinary times and that the normal rules didn’t apply.” In the book, Tivadar writes that at one point young George was required by the authorities to deliver notices to certain Jews that they should report to the Rabbinical Seminary with blankets and food. “This was a profoundly important experience for me,” George said. “My father said, ‘You should go ahead and deliver them, but tell the people that if they report they will be deported.‘ The reply from one man was ’I am a law-abiding citizen. They can’t do anything to me.’ I told my father, and that was an occasion for a lecture that there are times when you have laws that are immoral, and if you obey them you perish.”

“Masquerade” contains a great deal of black social comedy; a running theme is Tivadar’s efforts to convince his recalcitrant mother-in-law that, all things considered, it really would be best if she stopped regarding the occupation as a personal insult. (”I refuse to go anywhere if the people don‘t know who I am and I have to pretend I’m somebody else all the time,” she said of his attempts to find a safe house for her.) Tivadar’s own ease with his assumed identity-he grew a mustache, and went by Elek Szabo-led him, one day during an air raid, to tell a neighbor in the shelter about the time he approached the podium on which Hitler was standing at the 1936 Winter Olympics, just to see how close he could get. “Hardly fifteen minutes had passed after my tale when there was suddenly a great commotion,” Tivadar wrote. “The shelter commander appeared, surrounded by several officers. . . . It transpired that the air-defense commander, in great excitement that there was someone present who had seen Hitler, had radioed headquarters and a group had come over right away to see this privileged person.”

Tivadar’s energies, though, were largely devoted to the extremely serious business of procuring papers to save relatives and friends from a new, unimaginable form of terror. “My father was ahead of the curve, because he recognized the moment the Germans came in that this was a different world and one had to act differently,” George said. He and Paul agreed that they still try to live by their father’s resourceful example. “The funny thing is that in character we probably both inherited a lot more from our mother,” George said.

(The New Yorker, October 15, 2001, The Talk Of The Town -- DEPT. OF EXAMPLES; Pg. 56 “A SOROS SURVIVOR'S GUIDE”  REBECCA MEAD)

GLOBALIZATION

- Soros has long been calling for increased globalization. In “The Crisis of Global Capitalism,” 1998 he writes: “To stabilize and regulate a truly global economy, we need some global system of political decision-making. In short, we need a global society to support our global economy. A global society does not mean a global state. To abolish the existence of states is neither feasible nor desirable; but insofar as there are collective interests that transcend state boundaries, the sovereignty of states must be subordinated to international law and international institutions. Interestingly, the greatest opposition to this idea is coming from the United States. But there has never been a time when a strong lead from the U.S. and other like-minded countries could achieve such powerful and benign results. With the right sense of leadership and with clarity of purpose, the U.S. and its allies could help to stabilize the global economic system and to extend and uphold universal human values. The opportunity is waiting to be grasped.”


(Source: The Crisis of Global Capitalism.(book excerpt), George Soros, 7 December 1998, Newsweek)

- During this year he called for greater authority to institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and for an International Credit Insurance Corp. to establish some kind of supervision over national supervisory authorities and stated, “At the same time, there remains the urgent need for Congress to authorise an increase in the capital of the IMF.“ He admitted that such ”radical ideas“ could not even be considered until Congress ”changes its attitude toward international institutions in general and the IMF in particular.” (Source: Soros calls for global credit insurance agency, 15 September 1998, Reuters News)

- Soros has said that the United States would cease to be the world’s undisputed dominant force. “The veto power that we have in the International Monetary Fund will disappear. We will be downsized. At the same time, hopefully, we will have a better working system and opponents will be more downsized than we will.”


(Source: BOSTON, Oct. 29 — Massachusetts Institute of Technology press release http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/soros-1029.html)

- “The Bubble of American Supremacy,”: “The disparity between private goods and public goods manifests itself in a number of ways. First, there is a growing inequality between rich and poor, both within countries and among countries. Admittedly, globalisation is not a zero-sum game: its benefits exceed the costs in the sense that the increased wealth produced by globalisation could be used to make up for the inequities and other shortcomings of globalisation and there would still be some extra wealth left over.


The trouble is that the winners do not compensate the losers either within states or between states. The welfare state as we know it has become unsustainable and international income redistribution is practically nonexistent. Total international assistance amounted to $US56.5 billion ($74.4 billion) in 2002. This amount represents only 0.18 per cent of global GDP. As a result, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow.”


(Source: Edited extract from The Bubble of American Supremacy by George Soros via The Sydney Morning Herald, February 4, 2004)

KARL POPPER

SOROS’ PHILOSOPHY

- At the London School of Economics, Soros discovered the work of philosopher Karl Popper, whose ideas on open society had a profound influence on his thinking. He was attracted to Popper’s critique of totalitarianism, The Open Society and Its Enemies, which maintained that societies can only flourish when they allow democratic governance, freedom of expression, a diverse range of opinion, and respect for individual rights. Later, working as a trader and analyst, he adapted Popper to develop his own “theory of reflexivity,” a set of ideas that seeks to explain the relationship between thought and reality, which he used to predict, among other things, the emergence of financial bubbles. Soros began to apply his theory to investing and concluded that he had more talent for trading than for philosophy. In 1967 he helped establish an offshore investment fund; and in 1973 he set up a private investment firm that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds. http://www.soros.org/about/bios/staff/george-soros

QUOTES FROM “The Open Society and Its Enemies: Hegel and Marx,” by Karl Popper (Vol. 2), by Karl Popper

- The development of capitalism has led to the elimination of all classes but two, a small bourgeiouse and a huge proletariat: and the increase of misery has forced the latter to revolt against its exploiters.  The conclusions are, first, that the workers must win the struggle, secondly that, by eliminating bourgeiouse, they must establish a classless society, since only one class remains. (pg 151-152)

- But all over the earth, organized political power has begun to perform far-reaching economic functions.  Unrestrained capitalism has given way to a new historical period, to our own period of political interventionism, of the economic interference of the state. Interventionism has assumed various forms. There is the Russian variety; there is the fascist form of totalitarianism; and their s the domestic interventionism of England, of the United States, and the “Smaller Democracies” led by Sweden where the technology of democratic intervention has reached the highest level so far.  (pg 155)

- Admittedly, increasing misery must produce resistance, and it is even likely to produce rebellious outbreaks.  But the assumption of our argument is that the misery cannot be alleviated until victory has been won in the social revolution. (pg 163)

- I am not in all cases and under all circumstance against a violent revolution. (pg 166)

- …the working of democracy rests largely upon the understanding that  a government which attempts to misuse its powers and to establish itself as a tyranny (or which tolerates the establishment of a tyranny by anybody else) outlaws itself, and that the citizens have not only a right, but also a duty to consider the action of such government a crime, and its members as a dangerous gang of criminals. (pg 167)

MORE ABOUT KARL POPPER

http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/8018

- Although compelled to leave his native Austria in the 1930s (because of his Jewish ancestry), his book is remarkably free from personal bitterness or sadness.

- He did not shrink from tracing the sources of those dangerous ideas to Marx, to Hegel, and even to that greatest of all philosophers, Plato. At a time when many intellectuals had lost faith in democracy, Popper offered a spirited defense of democratic principles and outlined a compelling vision of a society grounded in democratic reforms.

- Popper was a fallibilist, one who perceives great error and danger in any theory of knowledge—or regime—that claimed to offer certain truth. In such a system, there would be no incentive to establish social and political structures that promote learning or the free exchange of ideas; truth is already at hand. In the name of historical progress, the regime may then justify the squelching of human freedoms and even atrocities on a grand scale.

- George Soros, who first encountered The Open Society as Popper’s student at the London School of Economics, founded the Open Society Institute to propagate Popper’s ideas, particularly in Eastern Europe. Thus the political philosophy Popper first articulated before the start of the Cold War is now being studied and put into practice in countries newly emerging from behind the Iron Curtain.

- He left school at age sixteen and began auditing lectures at the University of Vienna. Although a Marxist as a teenager, he was repelled in 1919 by the leftist-inspired street violence of postwar Vienna that resulted in the deaths of demonstrators. That same year, he studied Freud’s psychoanalysis and worked for a time with psychiatrist Alfred Adler.

- In 1922 he matriculated at the University of Vienna. To support himself, he apprenticed himself to a cabinetmaker and took up social work. Pursuing his goal of becoming a schoolteacher, Popper subsequently returned to the university. In 1928, he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy and, in 1929, a teacher’s certificate. Beginning in the late 1920s, Popper began interacting with members of the famous Vienna Circle of logical positivists, a group of prominent intellectuals trying to articulate the importance of science for philosophy. Shortly after publishing (in German) a then little-noticed but classic work on the logical foundations of science in 1934, Popper left Austria under the threat of Nazi anti-Semitism. From New Zealand, where he had obtained a university teaching post, he returned to England after World War II as professor of philosophy of science at the London School of Economics, where he remained until his retirement.

SOROS’ CURRENT TIES

SOROS AND PRESIDENT OBAMA

- In December 2006, Soros met with presidential hopeful Barack Obama in Soros’ New York office. Soros had previously hosted a fundraiser for Obama during his 2004 campaign for the Senate.

- On January 16, 2007, Obama announce the creation of a presidential exploratory committee and within hours Soros sent a contribution of $2,100, the maximum allowable under campaign finance laws.

- Days after Obama was elected in November of 2008, Soros said in an interview “I think we need a large stimulus package which will provide funds for state and local government to maintain their budgets – because they are not allowed by the constitution to run a deficit. For such a program to be successful, the federal government would need to provide hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition, another infrastructure program is necessary. In total, the cost would be in the 300 to 600 billion dollar range.” Since then, Congress passed a $787 billion stimulus and Obama very recently introduced a $50 billion plan to improve the country’s transportation program, saying “I want America to have the best infrastructure in the world.” (http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,592268,00.html)

- In that same interview, Soros called for cap & trade: “I think this is a great opportunity to finally deal with global warming and energy dependence. The US needs a cap and trade system with auctioning of licenses for emissions rights. I would use the revenues from these auctions to launch a new, environmentally friendly energy policy. That would be yet another federal program that could help us to overcome the current stagnation.” Since then, Congress has introduced cap & trade legislation. (More info in “going green” section)

- Also in that interview, Soros said “In 2010, the Bush tax cuts will expire and we should not extend them.” Since then, Obama expressed his opposition to the Bush tax cuts in an interview with ABC on September 9th: “All those middle class folks who need tax relief hostage right now in order to provide tax breaks for the top two percent wealthiest Americans, who don’t need a tax break, aren’t asking for a tax break. And you know, if we could afford it, it’d be one thing. But we know that’s gonna cost $700 billion over ten years. And so, that is not a smart thing to do for the economy”

- Soros is also on board with Obama’s proposals to reform the banking system. In an interview with the BBC: Interviewer: Now President Obama last week announced some quite radical proposals to reform the banking system. He wants them out of what he calls “proprietary trading”, using their capital to speculate on their own account, and also he wants a limit on their size. Are these constructive measures in your view? Soros: Very much so these are the right … it goes in the right direction. In my opinion, it doesn’t actually go far enough because it still leaves the problem of too big to fail. In other words, if you let’s say now again Goldman Sachs gives up its banking license, it becomes then an investment bank …

January 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/davos/8485029.stm

- Since Obama’s been in office, Soros has made four visits to the White House

ALSO IN HIS 2008 INTERVIEW:

Soros: “I think this is a great opportunity to finally deal with global warming and energy dependence. The US needs a cap and trade system with auctioning of licenses for emissions rights. I would use the revenues from these auctions to launch a new, environmentally friendly energy policy. That would be yet another federal program that could help us to overcome the current stagnation.

SPIEGEL: Your proposal would be dismissed on Wall Street as “big government.” Republicans might call it European-style “socialism.” 

Soros: That is exactly what we need now. I am against market fundamentalism. I think this propaganda that government involvement is always bad has been very successful — but also very harmful to our society. 

SPIEGEL: Would you advise the new president to say that publicly?

Soros: He has already spoken about changing the political discourse. I think it is better to have a government that wants to provide good government than a government that doesn’t believe in government.

WILL ANOTHER FISCAL STIMULUS BE NEXT?

- “The simple truth is that the private sector does not employ available resources. Mr. Obama has in fact been very friendly to business, and corporations are operating profitably. But instead of investing, they are building up liquidity. Perhaps a Republican victory would boost their confidence, but in the meantime, investment and employment require fiscal stimulus,” (Financial Times, Oct. 4, 2010  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/61a77634-cfeb-11df-bb9e-00144feab49a.html)

LAUNCHING A WAR AGAINST PRESIDENT BUSH

- Soros told the Washington Post: “I have made rejection of the Bush doctrine the central project of my life… America, under Bush, is a danger to the world.  And I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”

- Also during that election: “This is the most important election of my lifetime. These aren’t normal times. The ends justify every legal means possible.”


Read more http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/10/18/041018fa_fact3?currentPage=3#ixzz0xAm1jvyV

SOROS AND VAN JONES

- Soros has also supported Van Jones – Originally through the Open Society Institute which gave the Ella Baker Center $151,800 in 2006 and $140,000 in 2007. Van Jones was head of the Ella Baker Center during those years. OSI also funded Green for All in 2008 –  they received a grant in the amount of $75,000 to “integrate the Civic Justice Corps into Green For All’s campaign to create a national Clean Energy Corps.” while Van Jones was running it. Van Jones later appeared as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Additionally, OSI helped fund TIDES which then started the Apollo Alliance (where Van Jones sat on the board).

CAP & TRADE

Soros is also a huge proponent of cap and trade. The sot below sounds very similar to VAN JONES’ “We’re not going to put a new battery in a broken system.”

SOROS: work on a better world order where we work together to resolve problems that confront humanity like global warming. And I think that dealing with global warming will require a lot of investment.

SOROS: You see, for the last 25 years the world economy, the motor of the world economy that has been driving it was consumption by the American consumer who has been spending more than he has been saving, all right? Than he’s been producing. So that motor is now switched off. It’s finished. It’s run out of — can’t continue. You need a new motor. And we have a big problem. Global warming. It requires big investment. And that could be the motor of the world economy in the years to come…Instead of consuming, building an electricity grid, saving on energy, rewiring the houses, adjusting your lifestyle where energy has got to cost more until it you introduce those new things. So it will be painful. But at least we will survive and not cook.

MOYERS: You’re talking about this being the end of an era and needing to create a whole new paradigm for the economic model of the country, of the world, right?

GEORGE SOROS: Yes.

VIDEO: Link

MORE ON GREEN INITIATIVES

- In 2009, Soros announced the formation of the Climate Policy Initiative to address global warming, and said he would fund it with $10 million a year over 10 years

- Friends of the Earth is another group that receives Soros money. In 2008 they received $50,000 from OSI to “build and support an international network of organizations dedicated to improving the environmental, social and developmental impacts of Chinese overseas investments.” Friends of the Earth also received $180,000 from Tides Foundation in 2008 to “integrate a climate equity perspective in the presidential transition.”

THE OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE

- Soros started Open Society in 1993

- Soros has given away over $7 billion to “support human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education in 70 countries.”

- Up to $425 million donated annually

- Aryeh Neier is the president of the Open Society Institute and Soros foundations network. “Neier personally created the radical group Students for a Democratic Society in 1959… He worked for the American Civil Liberties Union for fifteen years,” (The Shadow Party, pg 23).

- Open Society Foundations recently pledged its largest donation ever to Human Rights Watch in the amount of $100 million to be distributed over 10 years

- Richard Poe writes, “Through his global web of Open Society Institutes and Open Society Foundations, Soros has spent 25 years recruiting, training, indoctrinating and installing a network of loyal operatives in 50 countries, placing them in positions of influence and power in media, government, finance and academia.”

- Some organizations that have received support from OSI:

- Center for American Progress


- Tides Foundation


- Campaign for America’s Future


- National Council of La Raza


- ACORN


- Apollo Alliance


- Center for Community Change


- Free Press


- MoveOn.org

Top 20 grant recipients in 2008 (the most recent OSI filing)

- International Crisis Group        $5,000,000


- Ministry of Education Republic of Liberia        $4,250,000


- Drug Policy Alliance        $4,000,000


- Media Development Loan Fund        $3,900,000


- Bard College        $3,094,539


- Proteus Fund Inc         $3,000,000


- The Revenue Watch Institute     $3,000,000


- The Tides Foundation     $2,875,000


- The Mayors Fund to Advance New York City  $2,512,415


- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities     $2,107,000


- Public Interest Projects    $1,700,000


- The Tides Center     $1,396,681


- Center for Community Change     $1,362,500


- Leadership Conference on Civil Rights education    $1,320,000


- Fund for the European University     $1,100,000


- Center for New York City Neighborhoods     $1,050,000


- American Civil Liberties Union Foundation     $1,000,000


- Center for American Progress     $1,000,000


- Foundation to Promote Open Society     $1,000,000


- Link Media Inc     $1,000,000

(Source: Open Society Institute, IRS Form 990-PF, 2008))))

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS

- Early in 2003, Soros pledged $3 Million over 3 years to the think tank

- He awarded $1 Million in grants to Center for American Progress for 2008/2009

- The group was largely set up to prevent Bush from gaining re-election in 2004. Soros told the Washington Post: “I have made rejection of the Bush doctrine the central project of my life… America, under Bush, is a danger to the world.  And I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”

- The organization is headed by John Podesta

- Van Jones is currently a senior fellow

- In its first year, CAP took in more than $10 million

- In 2006, CAP launched a network of liberal religious leaders called Faith in Public Life to “fuel this burgeoning faith movement with cutting edge strategies and capacity-building resources”

- CAP’s campus Progress, with a staff of 15 and a large network of student advisers, offers money and guidance to help college activists launch initiatives and newspapers

- CAP has a congressional outreach staff and aides dedicated to booking its experts on talk shows. It has a studio that offers daily taped segments and talking points for radio hosts, and it broadcasts liberal radio host Ed Schultz‘s show when he’s in town. .

TIDES

- 2008 funding from Open Society Institute to Tides (latest year for which the OSI has filed a Form 990 document with the IRS):

The Tides Center:       $1.354 million


Tides Foundation:       $2.875 million


Total:                         $4.229 million

- Drummond Pike is Founder & CEO of Tides Foundation. He is also Treasurer of Democracy Alliance, a group that was founded with major financial backing from member George Soros.

- The Apollo Alliance is a project of the Tides Center.

- Van Jones is a former board member


- Apollo Alliance helped to design and promote the stimulus bill which included $110 billion for “green spending”

SOJOURNERS

- Open Society gave Sojourners a $200,000 grant in 2004, $25,000 in 2006, and $100,000 in 2007.

THE QUANTUM FUND

- Soros launched the Quantum Fund after immigration to America from London in 1956. It was one of the world’s first private hedge funds.

- Soros recently passed much of the fund’s management to his two grown sons, Robert and Jonathan

- The fund, which is registered in the Netherlands Antilles, turned an original investment of six million dollars, in 1969, into five and a half billion dollars by 1999.

AMERICAN CONSTITUTION SOCIETY

- The American Constitution Society is a left-wing legal activist group working to change our nation’s laws and approaches towards law enforcement. One of its areas of focus is constitutional interpretation and change.

OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE DISCLOSED GRANTS TO ACS

Grants disclosed on George Soros’ Open Society Institute’s Form 990 tax filings to American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) going back to 2002 (with the exception of the 2005 filing which could not be searched electronically).  Open Society’s 2002 filing referenced that the grant was designated for start-up of ACS.  Adding all the totals from each year below (excluding 2005) comes to $14,602,850.

2008 funding: $3.65 million


2007 funding: $4.5 million


2006 funding: $5,025,000


2004 funding: $676,800


2003 funding: $251,050


2002 funding: $500,000

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!