Ryan: Jeffrey Epstein and the authenticity mirage

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First thing that morning, millionaire socialite and prolific pedophile Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell. With a State-issued bedsheet would you believe? Supposedly no thicker than off-brand toilet paper.

Ever since Epstein had been arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, people had been waiting for something unbelievable to happen. How light would his slap on the wrist be this time around? Or maybe not. This was the post-MeToo world, after all.

Then, when his bail was denied — Epstein's first bout of misfortune in decades, possibly ever — we all wondered if he'd actually face justice this time. And what did that mean for all his high-powered friends? Political and otherwise. Surely they had a problem with all his secrets. Supposedly he had incriminating video footage of important people, for blackmail, and here was his chance to share it with the world.

For weeks, the joke was "Wanna bet that he gets suicided?" Now he was dead. Via suicide. Which looked a lot like "suicide." It was hard to tell what was news and what were memes anymore.

*

When the guards at the Metropolitan Correctional Center noticed Epstein all droopy, they slammed into his cell and yelled and yelled and yelled, "Breathe, Epstein, Breathe."

Alas, he was blue and stumpy and by then probably stiff.

An odd way to begin a Saturday, any Saturday, but especially the first weekend of the Iowa State Fair, as you're gnawing on a fried Oreo, chomp gnash chomp and you get the news that Hell just welcomed yet another prodigious monster.

Plus, most suicides happen on Monday's or Wednesday's, and usually after midnight.

Saturday bright and early was a strange one. But I suppose even the weekend sucks when you're a celebrity millionaire stuck in high-security prison for prolific sex trafficking and molestation that was international in scope. And all you can do is think about all the high-powered people you pose a threat to, or your connections to an embarrassing amount of celebrities, including at least one member of the British royal family.

The coward. He'd stayed alive despite himself for six-and-a-half decades, raping and extorting and bullying and eluding, why couldn't he just wait until the next figurative commercial break?

Ideally, he'd have waited till trail. So that all the people he'd tormented could stare him in his dead, sharky eyes and lob words like spit in the direction of his miasma.

And why in the middle of an already-bizarre election? Now it was Hamlet on an Iowa Saturday. A silly wacky mix-up. So lifelike because the irony is gross. Because the slip-ups are so perfectly timed.

Daddy Epstein drank the poison meant for who knows who.

And now Epstein's whimpering pouty ghost cast a shadow on the American public. Wasn't it enough that he'd existed at all? And it was annoying, the way none of it made sense.

Why hadn't he been on suicide watch? Wasn't he a celebrity? Was this the first time in his life he didn't get lavish treatment? His first time really alone, and he couldn't handle it?

Didn't sociopaths tend to aviod suicide, for narcistic reasons?

And was it true that the security cameras — all of them?! — went off for thirty minutes, the same half-hour that all the guards took a nap? A nap?

And why did he kill himself before the trial? Didn't people usually wait until after they were convicted, when there was no hope that they'd be free ever again?

And worst of all he was sulking on our weekend.

It was about disgust. We were repulsed. Like when you see a brown recluse spider and your skin gets itchy for a few minutes and you suspect that something awful has occurred.

*

All day in Iowa, at all the various rallies and speeches and events, none of the Democratic candidates mentioned Epstein. We all know they had heard the news. But who could smile after biting into a lump of charcoal? And these people were all about smiling and not at all about charcoal.

So they were playing dumb or acting smooth or just confused and annoyed like the rest of us. Whatever the case, excellent decision, to zip their lips. But it still felt odd.

Because I suspect that if the BBC ran an article about Joe Biden telling reporters, "We need justice for the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, who is similar to Donald Trump. What he did was cowardice. When I'm President I will handle this situation as such..." or if Kamala Harris tweeted "#EpsteinWasMurdered!" and if any of that boosted Biden's or Harris' favorability online and in polls and with the media, then game on for all the other candidates.

We get it, they signed up for a year-long debate tournament and crazy shit keeps happening and at every moment they have to be ready with some brilliant answer.

But it still felt grimy. Like they were closer to Epstein's world than to ours.

The world of politics is gross. You can read Plato's "Republic" in a library all day, but politics is still disgusting. Politicians are the plungers of humanity, chugging toilet water and shit for a living, a thrill. They make a game of our lives and our country. Those rubber leeches cling to dark pipes and keep climbing through the sewers and the gutters like maniacs. Some of them are gifted enough at navigating excrement and latching onto pvc pipes that they make it to the finest waste treatment facility in the land. And right there in piles of you-know-what, they duke it out until the best plunger wins.

"Hooray-glorg-SLURP," bellows the champion at the wobbling podium, ribboned by tufts of thin white tissue.

*
The personal is political insofar as politics as a whole belongs to humanity. In service to we the people. And humanity must always precede politics, which is just the lengthy — at times begrudging — set of rules that we do our best to adhere to, even as the global population nears 8 billion. Because roughly 107 billion people lived and died before us.

Yet we are really not much closer to the great realities than the ancients were. But we are closer to something.

And it's not Jeffrey Epstein. The opposite. Or something far, far away from him and his cruel, depraved empire of mud and paper. He is the dark ghost behind us, the skid mark leading to the fatal crash.

He typifies what we have learned and now regret knowing. Yet, he represents the undefined lower reaches of the American psyche. If Taylor Swift is the Magic Kingdom at DisneyWorld, Epstein is a speakeasy stripclub in downtown Tampa, full of backroom syringes and deadly venereal diseases.

Same city, but two horrifically different environments. Which is more American?

Easy. Disney. Hope. Wonder. Beauty arrayed into the sky despite all the dark winds that howl through mankind. Because, for the most part, America is everything in between.

So drive and drive, through the wild-eyed curves and humps of the country.

You will witness the capillary strings of fog in the morning, the soliloquy chatter of tiny red birds waiting for a storm to pass. Broken ground in the summer, and the last sheaf of daylight like a dark low jack of the ocean, and the whine of a grasshopper that sees our world the way we see the universe.

You will meet grocery-baggers and lawyers and people of so many other professions. Most things about them will be different than you. At the surface. But what you'll find are people with the same depthless stirring as you.

New installments of this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. Check out my Twitter or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

If we can build skyscrapers, we can rebuild bridges

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Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

I am sick and tired of hearing about our limitations. The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge this week is an amazing hero story of the cops and first responders who saved an untold number of lives by doing exactly the right thing quickly. But I’m really tired of hearing about how long it’s going to take us to recover from this catastrophe and how bad it’s going to be.


The immediate impact for Americans regarding this bridge collapse seems dire. If you're waiting for a new car to come in from overseas, prepare to wait longer. The Port of Baltimore stands as the nation’s leading import-export site for cars and trucks. It’s also the leading nexus for sugar and gypsum, which is used in fertilizer, drywall, and plaster. A record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo was transported through Baltimore just last year.

To expect more from our leaders is rational. But to expect the most from ourselves is essential.

The bustling port is now cut off after the 1.6-mile-long bridge crumbled and fell into the river early Tuesday, blocking the only shipping lane into the port.

The officials have said the timeline for rebuilding the bridge will be years. The Port of Baltimore creates more than 15,300 jobs, with another 140,000 jobs linked to the activity at the port. This is a major disaster and will continue to cause significant problems on the East Coast for U.S. importers and exporters.

The bridge collapse means it will not be possible to get to the container terminals or a range of the other port terminals in Baltimore. Maryland Secretary of Transportation Paul J. Wiedefeld told reporters on Tuesday that vessel traffic in the port would be suspended until further notice but noted the port is still open to trucks.

Michael Mezzacappa, an attorney and expert on property damage cases in the shipping industry, told the New York Post that the collapse will have a major impact on shipping and traffic routes in the East Coast for the foreseeable future. “It’s not going to get fixed any time soon,” Mezzacappa said. “It’s going to take a lot longer than anyone expects. This is going to be a major problem for the Northeast.”

Remember the American spirit

I am absolutely sick to death of all of these stories that say things like that. Have we forgotten who we are? Have we forgotten what we’ve done?

Let me remind you of the American spirit, a spirit so potent and so vibrant that it has scaled towering mountains, mountains nobody thought they could cross.

It’s the spirit that constructed marvels of engineering. Have you ever been to the Hoover Dam? Have you seen the New York City skyline? The skyscraper was invented here for a reason. Here we are on the threshold of tomorrow, and none of us knows what is going to happen. But I'm getting the impression that we’ve been so beaten down that we believe we’re not going to make it tomorrow.

Have we forgotten who our ancestors are and what they did? If you look through our history even briefly, you will see a group of people who never take no for an answer. You will see a people who can do anything.


I want to stop just briefly in 1930. The Great Depression had its icy grip on us. It was a time that felt like a flickering candle in the vast darkness just barely holding on. Yet, it was in this crucible of adversity that Americans did great things.

The Empire State Building rose. It wasn’t just a structure of steel and stone. It was a beacon, a beacon of hope and American resilience and ingenuity. The way that thing was built — no one has ever seen anything like it before and since. In a record-shattering one year and 45 days, an army of workers, as many as 3,400 men on certain days, transformed this audacious vision into a cowering reality.

If you look through our history even briefly, you will see a group of people who never take no for an answer.

The Empire State Building wasn’t constructed. It was conjured into existence with a symphony of clanging metal and roaring machines and the inexhaustible spirit of its builders. The men perched on steel girders that were being flown in by giant cranes whispered tales about how they could still feel the warmth of the freshly poured metal beneath them. That beam was still warm, even though it was poured in Pittsburgh, put on a train, then put on a boat, then on a truck, then hauled up into the air.

They could fill the warmth because we moved that fast. It was a feverish pace of construction. It seemed to defy the laws of time and physics.

For a long time, it was the tallest building in the world — an architectural achievement. It was also a declaration to the world that America was a land where the impossible became possible, that we are a people of determination, innovation, with a relentless will to succeed.

These aren't merely historical footnotes. They are blazing torches illuminating our path forward. They remind us that when we're faced with adversity, we don't just endure it. We overcome it. We don’t wait for history to chart our course. We write it with the sweat of our brow and the strength of our backs. That’s who we are. Have we forgotten that?

What are we waiting for?

We find ourselves at another crossroads faced with the challenges that threaten to dim the bright future that we all dream for our nation, for our children. The spirit that built the Empire State Building, laid down miles of railroads, cut through the Rocky Mountains, and sent astronauts to the moon is still inside of every heart of every American, somewhere.

Awaken that spirit. Scale new mountains. It's not just rock and earth. Scale the mountains of innovation. Build. Not just physical structures but a future that upholds the spirit of adventure, hard work, and ingenuity. Stop tearing everything down. Let's start building.

Why are we waiting? If this isn't a national emergency, I don't know what it is.

And I don't just mean the bridge. I mean all of it. You might say, “Well, our government has to lead.” Really? Does it? Maybe that’s our problem. America is led by its values and principles that are found in the souls of those who still remember who we are and who we serve. Americans lead the way. The government always follows.

You might say again, "Well, we can’t act without the government." Nonsense! Where are the bridge builders who will stand up today and say, “I'll get it done!” As soon as that happens, you’ll see who is leading and who is stalling. The government is the one that stalls the engine out. To expect more from our leaders is rational. But to expect the most from ourselves is essential.

There is nothing we can't achieve when we all stand together, united by our dreams, and driven by the will to see them fulfilled. Don't listen to anybody else who tells you differently.

6 things every voter needs to know heading into the 2024 election

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Election season is coming up and every vote matters. Over the last four years, our country has experienced some of the lowest lows it has seen in a long time. From horrors at the southern border to government overspending, it is clear: our country is in trouble. Everybody needs to get out and vote.

When you look at the numbers, there are some noticeable trends in who actually votes... and who doesn't. According to Pew Research, the more mature crowd (30 and up) gets out there and does their civic duty, while the younger crowd (18 to 29) just doesn't make it out to the polls. If you are a young or first-time voter, the process can seem daunting. You have to jump through some bureaucratic red tape before you can head to the polls, which can be frustrating and discouraging for someone who has never done it before.

If this describes you or someone you know, you're in luck. We compiled everything you need to know to get ready to hit the polls this election season in a convenient guide below.

Get an I.D.

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The first thing you'll need is a valid state I.D. These can take a while to acquire, so if you don't yet have one, it's time to get on it. Not all states require I.D., and every state has different requirements. You can check to see if your state requires an I.D. to vote here.

Register to vote

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Every state, except North Dakota, requires prospective voters to register, so it is important to make sure you are registered in the state and county you reside in. Every state has a different registration process. You can find your state's registration website here.

Confirm date of election day

You want to make sure you arrive at the polls at the right date and time. Most states have a set election day, and often there are even a few days or weeks of early voting that lead up to it. Check out this list of election dates to find out your election day and mark it in your calendar.

Find your polling location

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You can find polling locations on your state's voter information website, which can be found here. Keep in mind that you will likely have to find a location within the county where you reside. These locations often include public schools, public libraries, city halls, and other public buildings.

Research candidates on the ballot

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Before you vote, it is important to be educated in what you are voting for. Find out who will be on the ballot (and don't be surprised when it's not just the presidential nominees), and do a little digging. Don't assume that because a candidate has a little "R" next to their name they share your values. You can visit this website to find out who will be on the ballot in your local area.

Actually go vote

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There is nothing else to to but get out there and vote! Go out there and make your voice heard!

What do clay pots have to do with to preserving American history?

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Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

Why should we preserve our nation’s history? If you listen to my radio program and podcast, or read my columns and books, you know I’ve dedicated a large part of my life and finances to sourcing and preserving priceless artifacts that tell America’s story. I’ve tried to make these artifacts as available as possible through the American Journey Experience Museum, just across from the studios where I do my daily radio broadcast. Thousands of you have come through the museum and have been able to see and experience these artifacts that are a part of your legacy as an American.

The destruction of American texts has already begun.

But why should people like you and me be concerned about preserving these things from our nation's history? Isn’t that what the “big guys” like the National Archives are for?

I first felt a prompting to preserve our nation's history back in 2008, and it all started with clay pots and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1946, a Bedouin shepherd in what is now the West Bank threw a rock into a cave nestled into the side of a cliff near the Dead Sea. Instead of hearing an echo, he heard the curious sound of a clay pot shattering. He discovered more than 15,000 Masoretic texts from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D.

These texts weren’t just a priceless historical discovery. They were virtually perfect copies of the same Jewish texts that continue to be translated today. Consider the significance of that discovery. Since the third century B.C. when these texts were first written, the Jewish people have endured a continued onslaught of diasporas, persecutions, pressures to conform to their occupying power, the destruction of their temple, and so much more. They had to fight for their identity as a people for centuries, and finally, a year after the end of the Holocaust and a year before the founding of the nation of Israel, these texts were discovered, confirming the preservation and endurance of their heritage since ancient times — all due to someone putting these clay pots in a desert cave more than 2,000 years ago.

I first felt a prompting to preserve our nation's history back in 2008, and it all started with clay pots and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

So, what do these clay pots have to do with the calling to preserve American history? I didn’t understand that prompting myself until the horrible thought dawned on me that the people we are fighting against may very well take our sacred American scriptures, our Declaration of Independence, and our Bill of Rights. What if they are successful, and 1,000 years from now, we have no texts preserved to confirm our national identity? What kind of new history would be written over the truth?

The destruction of American texts has already begun. The National Archives has labeled some of our critical documents, like our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, as “triggering” or “containing harmful language.” In a public statement, the National Archives said that the labels help prepare readers to view potentially distressing content:

The Catalog and web pages contain some content that may be harmful or difficult to view. NARA’s records span the history of the United States, and it is our charge to preserve and make available these historical records. As a result, some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions. In addition, some of the materials may relate to violent or graphic events and are preserved for their historical significance.

According to this statement, our founding documents are either “outdated, biased, offensive,” “possibly violent,” or a combination of these scathing descriptions. I’m sorry, the Declaration of Independence is not “triggering.” Our Constitution is not “outdated and biased,” and our Bill of Rights certainly is not “offensive and possibly violent.” They are glorious documents. They should be celebrated, not qualified by such derogatory, absurd language. Shame on them.

These are only the beginning stages of rewriting our history. What if they start banning these “triggering” documents from public view because they might offend somebody? Haven’t we torn down “triggering” statues before? What if we are no longer able to see, read, and study the actual words of our nation's founding documents because they are “harmful” or “possibly violent”? A thousand years from now, will there be any remnant to piece together the true spirit behind the nation that our founders envisioned?

The Declaration of Independence is not “triggering.”

That is why in 2008, I was prompted to preserve what I could. Now, the American Journey Experience Museum includes more than 160,000 artifacts, from founding-era documents to the original Roe v. Wade court papers. We need to preserve the totality of our nation’s heritage, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We need to preserve our history in our own clay pots.

I ask you to join with me on this mission. Start buying books that are important to preserve. Buy some acid-free paper and start printing some of the founding documents, the reports that go against the mainstream narrative, the studies that prove what is true as we are continually being fed lies. Start preserving our daily history as well as our history because it is being rewritten and digitized.

Somebody must have a copy of what is happening now and what has happened in the past. I hope things don’t get really bad. But if they do, we need to preserve our heritage. Perhaps, someone 1,000 years from now will discover our clay pots and, Lord willing, be able to have a glimpse of America as it truly was.

Top 10 WORST items in the new $1.2 TRILLION spending bill

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Biden just signed the newest spending bill into law, and Glenn is furious.

Under Speaker Johnson's leadership, the whopping $1.2 TRILLION package will use your taxpayer dollars to fund the government through September. Of course, the bill is loaded with earmarks and pork that diverts money to fund all sorts of absurd side projects.

Here is the list of the ten WORST uses of taxpayer money in the recently passed spending bill:

Funding venues to host drag shows, including ones that target children

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Money for transgender underwear for kids

Funding for proms for 12 to 18 year old kids

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Border security funding... for Jordan and Egypt

Another $300 million for Ukraine

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$3.5 million for Detroit's annual Thanksgiving Day parade

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$2.5 million for a new kayaking facility in Franklin, New Hampshire

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$2.7 million for a bike park in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, a town with a population of less than 2,300 people

$5 million for a new trail at Coastal Carolina University

$4 million the "Alaska King Crab Enhancement Project" (whatever that means)

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