Hey Occupy, if America is so terrible why do people risk dying to get here?

by Sara Johnson

While Occupy marches through the streets of Chicago protesting “corporate greed” (yet demanding they be given things they haven’t earned), “police brutality” (while breaking store windows and plotting acts of terrorism), and countless other ridiculously backward complaints, one man joined a large number of brave men and women who have risked their lives to experience the freedom we have been blessed with in America.

Over the weekend the blind Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng, who escaped house arrest and risked his life to get to the U.S. embassy in China, finally made it to America. The 40-year-old activist, known as a leader in the civil rights struggle in China, is symbolic of a new breed of activists that the Communist Party finds threatening. Why? They appeal to the average citizen, making them effective in empowering others to join them. Chen was well known for fighting for disabled farmers’ rights and fighting against forced abortions in his community, and because of this, he and his family had been living under house arrest for about seven years.

Bob Fu, founder and president of the U.S.-based human rights group China Aid, played a key role in publicizing Chen’s escape and updating the events that took place leading up to his transport to the U.S.  Fu, who also escaped persecution from China, was instrumental in keeping pressure on our leaders here at home; getting Chen two opportunities to speak to Congress live from China. Fu’s PR success with this story helped make the average American aware of the dire situation Chen was in after making it to the U.S. Embassy adding pressure to our government leaders. The story was all over the news, and you would have been hard pressed to find an American who didn’t think we should protect Chen and get him to America.

Despite the public support, most American-born citizens don’t know what it is like to have a real fear of their own government, my generation in particular – the “20-somethings.” The average American under the age of thirty has barely been taught enough about the countries where citizens have or do live under oppression to really comprehend how blessed they are to live here. As Glenn has revealed on his program many times, there are many college professors that are teaching their students that America isn’t great and our government is oppressive. Any proof needed of that can be easily found in the “Occupy” movement.

As the “I want” generation demands free education, housing, and refer to a guaranteed job as a human right, Chinese citizens, like Chen, are fighting the right of life or the life of their second child. While young, single women around the country are complaining about their college making them pay tens of dollars a month for birth control, women in the Sharia governed countries would be stoned for needing it. Young people listen to music and watch TV shows and movies every day that talk about women like they are a commodity, well in countries like China, they are. The female infanticide rate is through the roof because of the one child policy. So, while women within our borders claim abortion is a matter of “women’s health and women’s rights,” citizens of China are fighting for the right to life, or at least to choose.

When in the last time you saw people fleeing the “oppression” of America to go to China? Never, yet that is exactly what many of the Occupy protesters are fighting for. They want guaranteed housing, healthcare, education, jobs, clothes – you name it, they want it, and it’s Uncle Sam’s job to provide it for them. Well Occupy, all of that can be found in communist China, along with forced abortions, death rooms for babies, more executions than any other country in the world, religious persecution, etc.

Chen arrived at NYU on Saturday and recounted how he made his way to America, and thanked those who helped him. He also shared some stories how he and his family were persecuted, and the fear he has that his extended family will be punished. Have you ever had to worry about the government physically hurting or imprisoning your extended family because of something you did? Of course not, but that doesn’t keep members of my generation from marching through the streets shouting “F*** the police, throwing things at officers and claiming police brutality.

Chen is expected to attend law school at NYU, a dream of his, and if NYU wasn’t too busy offering class credit to join the Occupy movement that’s pushing to overthrow the U.S. government for a system like the one Chen fled, they might take this opportunity to highlight what people are willing to risk to get to America. And, how unique our country is for allowing refugees, like Chen, to come to here and pursue their dreams.

We are all guilty of taking the blessings of America for granted from time to time, and our country isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is exceptional. If we opened our borders and stripped away the immigration laws, do you think there would be a huge influx of people into our country or out of it? What country do people run to when they are being persecuted in their own country? Who do they ask for help from? There is one reason for that, and our current President refers to it as a “negative charter of liberties.”

Every American could probably learn a thing or two from Chen Guangcheng about how blessed we are to live where we do, but younger especially the younger generations. Every time you see a mother with two kids, a female or disabled child, even a (peaceful) protester, thank God you live in America.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…




Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

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.