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

He may not be a super hero like he plays in the movies, but Chris Pratt is proving once again why he's a hero to so many. The silver screen protector of the universe announced on his Instagram page a contest that will benefit the Brain Treatment Foundation, who is a partner of Mercury One that does amazing work with veterans. The Brain Treatment Foundation specializes in helping combat veterans who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The contest asks fans to donate $10 to the foundation for a chance to win a trip to drop in on the Guardians of the Galaxy star on the set of his new film Tomorrow War.

Watch his video below to hear all the details.


Ryan: The Ascent of Kanye West

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Apollo, god of poetry, light, prophecy, dance. Star of Greek mythology, rivaled only by Zeus, his father. God of justice. God of purification, knowledge, healing. God of the Sun. But most of all, god of music. So they called him the Leader of the Muses.

And on a bright Sunday morning midway through November, at the tail end of a decade, Kanye West looked out at the congregation of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, a 16,000-seater originally built for the Houston Rockets, and said, "Jesus has won the victory: Now the greatest artist God ever created is now working for him."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye's newest album, Jesus Is King, had been out for three weeks, and like every Kanye album, it was controversial, as adored as it was unaccepted.

Critics had shown a mostly tepid response, but nobody could tell if their disinterest was genuine, or if it was politically motivated.

After all, for the past year, Kanye had once again managed to penetrate the epicenter of American society. The last two Presidents had literally shamed and cursed Kanye, but, still, who could've guessed he would befriend this one?

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The week after Kanye's Olsteen appearance, at the House impeachment hearings, as the entire country watched and listened, Congressmen and diplomats would mention longtime Kanye collaborator A$AP Rocky no less than five times, in casual reference to the Kardashians and the deal between Trump and Sweden, struck at the urging of Kanye West.

Meanwhile, Jesus is King became the ninth consecutive Kanye album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 — a feat he shares with Eminem and The Beatles — and the sixth time in the 2010s alone. And, to be fair, his only studio album not to debut at number one was The College Dropout, his first, which went triple platinum and earned the third-most Grammy nominations in one night, winning Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song with "Jesus Walks."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Jesus is King was also the first record ever to top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums, Christian Albums, and Gospel Albums simultaneously. All eleven tracks charted on the US Billboard 100, joining the other 96 Kanye songs to have landed on the Top 100.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

This album was different, and not just because of Kenny G. For the first time, Kanye was not a god or a self-destructive fallen angel. He was a father, a husband, a son, and, most important, a man full of belief, with his hands outstretched, surrounded by a choir.

"I remember sitting in the hospital at UCLA after having a breakdown," he told the congregation, "and there's documentations of me drawing a church and writing about starting a church in the middle of Calabasas."

That night, following an afternoon of ice-skating at the Galleria, Kanye returned to Lakewood Church and performed a concert. Imagine hearing a his electro-gospel opera in an arena designed, acoustically, for professional basketball games. Only better, because everything had been padded. With LSD graphics on the swirly blue carpet.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When we experience art, it changes us.

So there I was, four rows from the stage, crying in front of FoxNews. Because Kanye had brought his Sunday Service choir with him, and they were singing "Ultralight Beam," one of the few perfect songs ever made, a song that played during my wedding ceremony, the song my daughter, God willing, will be born to, a song I have never once listened to without at least tearing up.

“Jesus Is King" A Sunday Service Experience at Lakewood Church with Kanye West youtu.be

"This is a God dream, this is a God dream. This is everything."

Kanye was the only person onstage dressed in his own clothing, a neatened blazer. The choir were draped in grey, like holy silhouettes.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

So who cares about FoxNews and their snotty reporters in their shoulder-padded blazers. The rest of us had drifted into the immediacy of it all. And I wasn't about to play stoic journalist here. I wasn't a reporter first and a human or an American later.

The choir zigzagged on the loft flanking the stage. Each of them had a headset microphone, like Garth Brooks.

God only knew how they sang so perfectly. How did they project their voices like that? More beautiful than anything we had ever heard, more beautiful than water.

After "Ultralight Beam," it was "Every Hour," the mesmeric opening track of Jesus Is King.

Sing every hour, Every minute, Every second, Sing each and every millisecond, We need you

Every Hour youtu.be

The performance felt all the more sacred because this was church, where people gathered to lose themselves, to sing as a chorus, to confront who they really are.

Across the street, one protestor stood hollering.

Meanwhile thousands of people waited at the entrance, giddy to get in. They would join us in no time. Soon, they would fill every seat in this church.

*

That morning, Kanye told Olsteen,

"It's like the devil stole all the good producers, all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people and said, 'you gotta come over and work for me.' And now the trend, the shift, is going to change."

Jesus Is King was the result of a new cultural and artistic movement that more or less started with 2016's Life of Pablo, Kanye's closeted gospel album. Which was a surprising departure from 2013's Yeezus, with its tangled social commentary and fashionable solipsism. And that drum sound, the one every half-decent producer has spent the last six years failing to emulate.

The 2010's saw him grow more cerebral. He even teased a book of philosophy titled Break the Simulation.

Then, in 2018, he released Ye, the second of five albums in a Kanye-produced series, all recorded at his Wyoming studio. In keeping with the criticisms of hip-hop he voiced on "Ye vs. The People"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye eschewed many of the themes he'd embraced for so long, replacing them with meditations on mental illness, fatherhood, suicide, love, and addiction. The album's working title had been "LOVE EVERYONE."

On "I Thought About Killing You," he raps,

The most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest.

The title "Ye" is not just the diminutive of "Kanye."

As he said in an interview

I believe 'ye' is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and, in the Bible, it means 'you,' so it's [saying] "I'm you, I'm us, it's us." It went from being Kanye, which means the only one, to just ye – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything, that I'm just more of a reflection of who we are, just as beings.

Philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer wrote that

All individuality is a manifestation of universal life, and hence everyone carries a tiny bit of everyone else with him, so that divination is simulated by comparison with oneself.

In the months following the release of Ye, Kanye would live out this idea, and build his own movement, a reflection of who we are, then begin his church in Calabasas.

*

At 10:30 that morning, the three of us — Samantha Sullivan, my wife Caroline, and me —- strolled into the arena and claimed seats in the media section.

That place resembled the inside of an ant colony. We were three ants.

The service began with errorless music, then shifted into a quick, stirring message by Osteen, who always seemed to appear onstage from nowhere, privvy to the kind of big-money stage tricks you find at a Shania Twain concert.

The entire place and all the Jumbo-Trons and all the people, it all had a cinematic presence.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

A preliminary giddiness spread through the room. Then, Kanye emerged, there on the stage, and the place erupted.

A man in a "Jesus is King" shirt danced around his seat.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Everyone took their seats, but one man standing in the crowd shouted affirmations. "Speak truth my brother," he shouted.

The man shouted several more times, then Kanye politely told the guy to hold off on the support because it wasn't helping, because Kanye needed relative quiet to capture and release his flow.

The ceiling glowed in skittish purple.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye described the corrupting force of the media. A chill came over the room. Behind him, the unapologetic blue of Jesus Is King.

It was my first encounter with Joel Osteen, and I was surprised and somewhat baffled to find him likeable, based on everything I'd ever heard about the man.

Kanye said as much, that Osteen is nothing like the version of Osteen many people have broadcast.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Osteen laughed, "When you've got Kanye defending you, you've made it, man."

Rays of light danced through the arena. I'm talking Pink Floyd light show levels.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

With 21 Grammys, Kanye is tied with Jay-Z as the most decorated hip-hop artist of all time.

Osteen asked Kanye what he would say to his younger self, if he could go back in time.

"You know, it's nothing I can say to the younger Kanye through words," he said. "I could speak to the younger Kanye through music."

*

Osteen played the middle section of "God Is," arguably the focal point of the album.

And Kanye danced and rapped along with it. And the surreality of the situation was daunting. Was that really Kanye West up there? with Joel Osteen? dancing to his gospel song?

Six or seven years ago, I saw Kanye a mile away at the Toyota Center — coincidentally, the current home of the Houston Rockets — for his and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne tour. It was a much different experience than this.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When Kanye finished, the media flooded out. As did a quarter of the people in the congregation. This bothered many of the regulars.

Security and ushers yanked big grey mop buckets from cabinets, and dispersed them down aisles, and money music played.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then the time for prayer. Prayer leaders lined the walls and pews. And anyone could walk over to them and pray. Men and women clung to strangers, crying sometimes, hugging. Holding hands, whispering phrases.

*

One of the media coordinators pulled us out of the sermon, led us through passageways and elevators, past classrooms and security guards, through a black sheet, then behind a barricade.

This is where all the media had rushed off to like old folks trying to get the best seat for bingo.

Each news outlet was allowed one question.

After 15 minutes, the energy changed and you could tell they were near.

Then, Kim Kardashian-West was walking our way, holding her daughter's hand, followed by Kanye, who was followed by Osteen.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

"Nice tags," Kanye said, referring to my "GOOD" necklace.

Then:

Brief interview with Kanye West and Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Nov. 17 in Houston, TX www.youtube.com

Some of the outlets asked more than one question, but that was on them. They were the ones sinning in church.

*

As Kanye and Olsteen shuffled away, down the line of journalists, I said hello to a small crew from FoxNews as they packed their equipment.

"We're from TheBlaze," I said, smiling. To which they sneered and glanced at one another then got back to their conversation.
Samantha rolled her eyes and the three of us wandered around for an exit.

"Did we just get stiff-armed by Fox News?" Said one of us. "I didn't think they were allowed to look down on anybody."
"I've had that with people from Fox on several occasions," one of us replied.

"I mean, I thought I was doing them a favor a favor by acknowledging them. Nobody else does."

Then it happened again, a few minutes later, this time with someone we had worked with, someone who knew us.
You bet we were salty.

Bad as it felt to be judged like that, it was good to be underestimated. A relief. It meant we could perform without anyone caring or watching.

They had no idea who we were or what we were really doing. Good.

*

In November 2007, Kanye's mother died during a routine surgery. He and his mom, Dr. Donda West, had always been incredibly close. She raised him alone, after Kanye's father left, when Kanye was three.

A few months later, his engagement with Alexis Phifer abruptly ended.

He was 30 at the time.

Oddly, this tragic sequence of events would cause the birth of auto-tune in rap. Broken-hearted, Kanye wanted to sing. So he ran his voice through a vocoder.

Kanye's album 808s & Heartbreak, which like Jesus is King has no curse words, shoved music ahead at least two decades, into a world of synth-driven robotic R&B/Rap love songs belted out in janky auto-tune. That description doesn't sound ridiculous today. But that's only because Kanye eschewed the stale hip-hop of the early 2000s and reinvented the genre, something he has accomplished with every album.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then, he went on tour. But he never took off any time following his mother's death. And, by the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he'd fallen to what he calls his sunken place.

He and then-girlfriend Amber Rose brought a bottle of Hennessy with them to the award show. They took slugs in the limo. Then on the red carpet.

When Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, Kanye stormed the podium, sunglasses on, and grabbed the microphone, said "Imma let you finish," then let everyone know the award should've gone to Beyoncé, for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."

He was kicked out immediately. He tweeted, "Everybody wanna booooo me but I'm a fan of real pop culture... I'm not crazy y'all, I'm just real."

Followed by an apology. Then a few days later, during an appearance on debut episode of "The Jay Leno Show"

Leno asked Kanye, "What do you think [your mom] would have said about this?"

That hit Kanyelike a punch to the jaw. He teared up, froze.

He publicly apologized to Swift. Several times.

But it did little to quell the blowback. Once again, it felt like the entire nation hated Kanye. Compounded by a hot-mic recording of Barack Obama — the country's first black President — calling Kanye a jackass.

So the embattled Kanye retreated to Hawaii to record a masterpiece, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

*

"We are a Christian country," Kanye said at one point, to uproarious applause.

The vast majority of Americans, 90 percent, believe in a higher power.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

And America has the largest number of Christians in the world, with roughly 167,000,000, comprising 65-to-70 percent of the population. But that's down from 80 percent, as part of a downward trend over the last two decades.

The percent of Americans who attend a religious service of any kind — church, synagogue, or mosque — is even lower, less than half.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

One political scientist blamed the public's growing distrust in institutions. Another blamed conservatives. A writer from New York Magazine took it a step further.

Meanwhile, David French.

As always, the issue is far more nuanced than either side will admit.

Somehow, in the last twenty years, church and religion had become not just uncool, but slightly villainous.

All day, every time I looked around — at people singing, at people dancing, at people crying in joy or in the relief and recognition of their pain — I thought, "How could this ever be a bad thing?"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

I had spent my life going to concerts, had seen Kanye West numerous times, and this was something other than a concert, and unlike anything I'd seen from Kanye. It was also more than just religious or spiritual.

A family of strangers in a city of 6 million, in a world of 7-and-a-half billion, broadcast live, led by a man who fought off the devil in front of us for years. Who struggled with life just like we do, only we could nitpick through the one-way mirrors of our phones and our TVs.

But, now, he had been baptized in public.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Some people were still negative about Kanye's recent faith, especially Christians. As Kanye raps on "Hands On"

What have you been hearin' from the Christians?
They'll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me

Consensus was, they couldn't believe him. As a Kanye fan since I was 13, I can tell you that he is genuine. It's really his only setting. Plus, his spiritual transformation has been building for quite some time.

*

By the time we returned to Lakewood that evening, the sky had turned dark blue, and frantic with airplanes.

The sidewalks around the arena overflowed with people. Police cars jutted out in crooked lines to block entrances or exits, the strobe of red-white-blue whirling onto pedestrians' faces.

Across the street, facing the giant arena, a man with a bullhorn ranted about the evils of sinful music.

Earlier that day, sheepish protestors had occupied the spot, holding red poster-sized letters that spelled out "I M P E A C H." There were only four of them, though, so they had to double up and share, and sometimes the "H" slanted down or the "I" slipped loose.

"Impeach Kanye?" one of us said, laughing.

"Kanye 2020," shouted someone.

The air was electric. People bounced when they stepped, or walked faster than normal, or turned oddly as they spoke like a third-year professor.

They sang along as they passed traffic-jam cars, most of which were blasting Kanye.

A chorus of police whistles and the usual rumble of semi-trucks passing on US-59. Just down the street, porn shops and strip clubs and a Ferrari dealership. Immediately Southwest, the Mahatma Ghandi District. West, the Galleria, home of the opulent Galleria mall, where Kanye and Kim and family gone ice-skating earlier.

Inside the arena, a different world, low-lit and glowing. A dreamscape of lambent crimsons and violets, a deeper, warmer, slower take on the lights atop the police cars outside. Globular squares of blue were arrayed along the ceiling.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When the musicians emerged to their instruments, the arena was still half-empty. The show had already been delayed 40 minutes. The demand to get in was so ferocious that the security gate was jammed up like a glass Ketchup jar.

Then, like spirits, men and women drifted onstage in all-grey uniforms and matching hats that looked like they should say "VIETNAM VETERAN" but actually said "Sunday Service."

Every single member wore brand-new grey YEEZY Boosts.

From the start, the performance was cinematic, a sort of new-world opera sung by a chorus of young American muses with nose rings or gold chains or dreadlocks or pink hair.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

From the huddle, a young man rose, and began reciting a poem. It was the invocation of the muse.

Gadamer wrote that poetry "becomes a test of what is true, in that the poem awakens a secret life in words that had seemed to be used up and worn out, and tells us of ourselves"

*

After a whirling rendition of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna," the choir began "Ultralight Beam."

They let the song spread. It grew enormous.

The air swirled as the song widened.

Kanye waited out of view, then appeared without ceremony.

A collective gasp when people recognized the melody of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." Which sounds like a dream already, with all that wilderness.

So it was even stranger when the song morphed into SWV's "Weak," a skating rink anthem written by Charlie Wilson of the GAP Band. A classic.

The choir were their own countervailing force. Yet they also connected us to the drama of the performance.
Looking back, I wish I could live in those moments forever.

*

Then came their cover of "Father Stretch My Hands" by Pastor T.L. Barrett And the Youth for Christ Choir.

Father Stretch My Hands www.youtube.com

Kanye has paid homage to Barrett's track on two different songs, from two different albums.

It was his prayer.

Pastor T.L. Barrett, a man who's lived an exciting and at times difficult life, only to become a Pentecostal preacher on Chicago's south side, and form a choir of 40 teenagers from his weekly choir practice.

If you dive into Barrett, you'll better understand what Kanye is doing.

*

Ten seats from Kim Kardashian-West, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) stared ahead in a neat grey suit, occasionally poking at his phone and blasting people on Twitter.

Which means there were at least two people in the building who have appeared on Saturday Night Live.

There were other politicians, including Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. And even more at the earlier service. You could tell they were politicians the same you can tell a vegan burger from a real Whopper. Several times, Kanye held up his phone up and read the words from his newer songs.

Like "Selah," which built into "Hallelujah"s at the end, intoxicating and perfect, like being sucked into an undertow. Which led into "Follow God," a continuation of "Father I Stretch My Hands."

Kanye uses the image of stretched hands to express his own submission and the process that leads to his healing. As a reference to John 21:18

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

But the song is also about Kanye's literal father, and an argument they had. Then, under it all, he adds a sample of "Can You Lose By Following God" by Whole Truth. He ended the song with his Kanye shriek, somewhat confusing and abrasive with a choir present.

Then — something I did not expect. The thumping bass of Cajmere's "Brighter Days (Underground Goodie Mix)."

And now this was cosmic gospel.

It felt like a rave. Have you been to a rave? It's people dancing, taking MDMA. That is what it felt like.

Flourishes like that were part of Kanye's genius. No other gospel performance would dare. You won't find that kind of diversity at any other hip-hop show, either. The acoustic instruments, the choir. Maybe during a set by electronic musicians like Moodyman or DJ Koze. But, no choir. Yet here Kanye was, at Joel Osteen's church, blasting classic techno.

Oddly enough, though, the most popular song of the night was "Closed on Sunday," Kanye's ode to Chic-Fil-A.

Everyone in the arena knew the words. So then there were two choirs, in a dialogue. I didn't think it was possible, but the collective harmony got even more intense and engulfing than it had all night. So much so that the house speakers started to peak in one corner of the arena.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The Ancient Greeks were the first to use a chorus. In the 5th Century B.C., 50 actors would gather in the orchestra pit and sing in unison, commenting on the action of the play, describing scenes to the audience. They were a collective force. They represented one character, who was able to connect the audience to the characters and events onstage.

Kim Kardashian was front and center filming with her phone, as two of the West kids jumped around on the trippy blue carpet.

The performance was nearing its end, and suddenly Kanye was dressed like everybody else in the choir. Grey Yeezy kit and the Sunday Service hat. His transformation. From Kanye West to Pastor Ye, stretching hands.

Then, he was gone.
One by one, the choir began fluttering off the stage, to the Clark Sisters' "You Brought the Sunshine."

Half were gone, when I noticed the singer with braided hair crying. With every exhale, she collapsed her hands into the floor. Let them fall like tired flowers. Arrayed in fitful blue. She gasped. She heaved her shoulders like a wingspan. For a moment it was like she would actually take flight.

A security guard peered over the railing from above the stage. He looked like God.Symbolically, he was.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

Don't believe in time travel? Think it's just a wild conspiracy theory reserved for late night alien radio programs? Well, we have unearthed bombshell evidence that will blow you away and have you questioning everything!

A 120-year-old photo PROVES climate change activist teen Greta Thunberg is actually a time traveler warning all generations of the dangers of global warming.

Glenn did some exhaustive research and found several other photos and subjects in historical paintings. Check them out here and see if you are now a believer:

Warning Elvis fans

Ryan: Suction energy, pt. 1

Photo by Sean Ryan

After his speech at the Boone County fairgrounds, Joe Biden nodded and people engulfed him like he was their oxygen. Journalists shouted questions, photographers shoved people aside. Biden's bodyguards even drew closer. I found a good oak tree and hid out in the shade, 100 yards from the chaotic huddle.

Photo by Sean Ryan

They shoved closer and closer and closer, with a vacant urgency to their eyes. They had to get as close as possible. It was like some force of nature had taken control of everyone, and now their only goal was to merge their lifeforce with Biden's.

The frenzy of writhing arms and contorted bodies reminded me of Shark Week, when the hulking Great White breaks through the protective cage and how's the diver gonna make it out alive this time?

*

A need for convergence, often leading to upheaval.

Most of the Democratic candidates caused this effect. As did their opponent, to a far greater degree. Because he was the president, and he was Donald Trump, so, for the time being, he embodied this magnetism more fully than anyone else in the entire world.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Every time Trump entered a room or a building or a space of any kind, every person within a reasonable distance felt it. And they couldn't help but bob their head around, and arch up on their tiptoes, scouring till they saw him, and then all they could do was lean forward and wonder if it was actually him.

Some of the Democratic candidates had a stronger magnetism than others. Which meant the gravitational pull had laws that guided it. The term I started using for it was "suction energy."

It was something you could physically feel.

At the Iowa State Fair, Bernie Sanders' suction energy was so intense, so visceral that it reminded me of a hurricane.

Photo by Sean Ryan

People wanted to be as close to the man as possible. They wanted a picture. Proof that it happened—that they had actually seen someone that famous.

And they were perfectly right. And their reactions were understandable and lovely even, and altogether innocent. Encouraging. Because they were genuine.

Even journalists were susceptible to suction energy. In fact, they could spazz even harder. Unlike the public, they were there as workers.

*

Suction energy is an art, something you cultivate. But it's also a result of luck and reality. Some people will just never have an ounce of it.

Take, for instance, Jay Insleey, who was apparently a Democratic presidential candidate in the 2020 election. At some point in my travels, I wound up in the same place as him.

Maybe it was a couple times. A couple, two, three. I can't remember.

All I know is that I went to Clear Lake, Iowa for the Democratic Wing Ding, to see Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren and the 20 other candidates, and this guy Jay Insless ... sorry, I mean Inslee took the stage at some point. It's hard to say when exactly because, as I mentioned, he was impressively forgettable, like a human thumbtack.

Wing Ding featured Jay Insee?Photo by Sean Ryan

He was yammering about something, and, man, he looked and sounded like P.C. Principal, from South Park, and that was pretty funny.

I told my dad, and then we were both laughing. Then my dad did an imitation of P.C. Principal, and we were really hooting.
Then all I could think about was P.C. Principal. So I ducked out into the hall to watch a P.C. Principal clip compilation, and I laughed and laughed and nobody went "Shush!," because there were plenty of others like me.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And, boy, I laughed. I was actually a bit sad when the clip was over. I'd forgotten where I was, and when I caught a glimpse of the guy onstage, my sadness deepened into pity. The feeling you get when you realize that the amateur thinks he can beat the professional. When the replacements think they will know valor. When your dog thinks they're going to the park, but really it's the vet, and they wake up without balls.

Do we have an obligation, a moral imperative, to tell a Square when she's trying to shove into a Triangle hole? How much teeth-lettuce does a person lodge into their incisors before you are inclined to alert them?

Like, after this speech, that guy John Insley, would wander around the walkways of the Surf Ballroom, same as Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang, only he'd lack their glow.

Crowds flocking to Kamala HarrisPhoto by Sean Ryan

At one point, he'd clench his jaw into what must have been a smile, ready for any nearby journalists to sneak a candid photo or rush forward for a quote.

Photo by Sean Ryan

If any of the others noticed, they didn't let on. So here was this chubby kid in a costume knocking on the front door, and I know full well Halloween was weeks ago, but who's gonna feed the harmless lie if I don't?

Photo by Sean Ryan

Nobody, that's who.

So I groaned and shrugged and told my dad, "Let's give the tubby kid some Starburst."

"Wha?" he asked.

Then I asked would he get a picture of that candidate over there.

"Who," he replied. As in, "I can't see an important person over there, which one is running for president?"

In other words, Insleep had absolutely zero suction energy. To a near-magical extent.

Within a few weeks, he would announce the end of his campaign on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Yet there he was, somehow center stage, looking out at the packed Surf Ballroom, where, on February 2, 1959, Buddy Holly played his last show.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Buddy Holly, now there's a man with suction energy. So much suction energy that, when he died, music went with him.

*

When I saw Kamala during the week of the Iowa State Fair, she was at the height of her campaign, having climbed to second place, within nine points of Biden.

Everywhere I went, there was Harris, with her personalized KAMALA bus, and her chartered press pool, and her entourage of staff and fans and media.

Photo by Sean Ryan

On the first Saturday of the Fair, my dad and I wound up seeing Harris five times. Five times! In part because she could hustle. She wanted that job. But also because she understood power and optics.

Before her speech at Jasper Winery, (when she played savage 4D chess with Andrew Yang, she spoke to several hundred people packed into the atrium of Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, her fourth rally of that day.

Photo by Sean Ryan

When she finished her speech, a horde surged straight for her, eighty or so.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Just a month earlier, The New Yorker had run a glowing profile on Harris. That was huge. As of the release of this story, Harris was the only 2020 presidential candidate that The New Yorker had featured.

Photo by Sean Ryan

At that point of the election, excitement for Harris was so intense that it seemed obvious she would get the nomination, or close to it. So I wrote five pieces about her.

But by the time I finished all five stories and added them to the publishing schedule, Harris had sunk 11 points to 4 percent, which put her in 8th place. In New Hampshire, the first state to hold primaries, she was polling at 1 percent. By comparison, Biden, Warren, and Sanders were locked at 19.

Now, the only headlines were about her foundering campaign and her dwindling cash and her downsized staff. In each case, the sentiment was the same, "Whatever happened to Kamala Harris?"

Which answer a question I posed in my first story. Would Harris "I got this one in the bag" attitude help her or ruin her? Turns out the ostentatious bus and the unnecessary press accommodations had been a premature move, and now she just seemed cocky.
Because suction energy can, and often does, vanish in an instant.

A Bernie can always become a Jay InslepInslee. Nobody is immune, no matter how powerful they appear. Look at Bill Cosby. Harvey Weistein. Both were godlike in their power. Both had a gravitational pull so intense that they raped women for decades and nobody did a thing. Cosby's suction energy was so intense that he collected honorary degrees like a vacuum collects dog hair. 70 of them. Then, off to prison to eat pudding in the dark.

By the time I saw Harris at the Democratic Debate in Houston, a month after she stormed Iowa, she'd begun transforming into Joe Biden, focused on all the wrong things, laughing at her own jokes, without realizing that nobody else was laughing.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com