WATCH: "I'll be home with bells on"

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Glenn met a 94 year old farmer who dispensed some very common sense solutions about how to fix the problems facing the country. He told Glenn about his dad, a mule train driver, who would transport supplies across the land. They were tough guys, some weren't even that friendly, but they all lived by one rule: if you saw a man on the side of the road who had a flipped wagon, you helped him reload. And if you stopped and helped, the other driver would give you the chain of bells from the mule in the front of his team. The bells were a symbol for honor, and the only way to get another set of bells was to help another person who was stuck. That's how you got your honor back. The farmer told Glenn that his dad always promised when he left the house that he would be "home with bells on". In other words, he would always return home with his honor. Wouldn't it be a better world if people still lived that way?

From the show:

This weekend, I went out to the Mountain West. I worked on the Man in the Moon, which I’m telling you now, I’ve done a lot of things that have been pretty amazing, but I don’t think I have been part of anything as amazing as the Man in the Moon. I brought some of my team in from New York and from Dallas to see it on Friday, or at least parts of it on Friday, and they all walked away saying, holy cow, I had no idea. It’s pretty amazing.

And then on Saturday, I spent time getting some economic advice from a 94-year-old man. When somebody has lived 94 years and has that kind of life experience, when they talk, you listen, or at least you should. I did. He said, “This is all the economic advice anyone ever needs, Glenn: buy for one, sell for two, and never pay interest.” He felt after pointing that out that he felt it was necessary to also point out that he doesn’t have an economics degree. And then he said, “And if you want fancy advice, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.”

We talked for a couple of hours. He said, “I don’t care what your business is, or how rich you ever become, let me give you this – never throw anything away that can be used for other purposes.” Fancy – no. Wise – yes; pretty much what my grandparents would’ve told me. The answer is always simple. It’s not always easy, but it’s simple. And I think that’s what we have to kind of talk about, because sometimes we get in our own way, and we make things more complicated than they need to be.

We’re constantly told by the media that only the elites with Ivy League educations are qualified to save America, but that’s a lie. The 94-year-old farmer explained some solutions to me using these bells. We spoke for hours, and at many times, both of us had tears in our eyes, especially when he talked about his father. He told me about a man, his dad, who was a wagon freighter in the late 1800s. This is when people were crossing the mountains, and they would have two wagons, and sometimes a grueling, dangerous life would be led behind these mules.

These guys were tough as nails, and they made a living transporting the goods through the rough terrain of the West with as many as 20 mules. I saw a picture of his father. His father came up just below the eyes of the mules. They were huge. And they would haul these giant wagons that were precariously loaded with supplies.

And at various points in the journey, the trails would become extremely hazardous and narrow, in fact, so narrow that when you would come up to a crossroad, if you wanted to turn, you’d have to stop and really listen. And you would be listening for bells. All of the mules would have bells on, and you would listen to hear for those bells.

He told me that sometimes you could hear them for up to three miles, and if you heard them coming towards you, you knew you had to wait, because it was such a narrow trail, once you got onto that road, if someone was coming towards you, you’re both going to be stuck. No two mules could pass each other at the time, and you couldn’t turn the mules around.

Hard living men, the kind of men that would look at the comforts of modern day life with, I think, disgust, not exactly the kind of guy that would hang around and hug their competitors on the trail. But despite all the external toughness, there was something that I think that we miss in today’s world, and it may be the answer to most of our problems – the underwritten rule: If you come across a wagon that is tipped over, whether it belongs to a friend or a mortal enemy, you had to help him.

There were two expressions that this 94-year-old friend of mine gave me this weekend, two expressions that I’d heard a million times, but I didn’t know what they meant. The first one was Yee Haw. You’ve heard – I mean, his kids were like Yee Haw, right? If you said it like that, it’d be very confusing to the mules, because those commands, there’s two of them, Yee and Haw. And the two mules up front knew what they meant.

You see, the best mules were the lead mules, and it was really to keep you on the straight and narrow path. If you started to go up the mountainside a little bit too much, Ha! Ha! or Yee! Yee! And that’s how they steered. You couldn’t go either too far off this, or you’d fall off the cliff, or if you went up too far on the mountain, well, then your wagon would tip, and that was a real mess that you weren’t getting out of easily.

But like I said, if you came across a wagon with the mules, and it had been tipped over, it was your responsibility to help, and not just help get them upright. You also had to reload their wagon. You had to fix any of the broken parts. Whatever they needed, you made it right.

What did you get out of the deal? Nothing – well, in today’s world, nothing, but in their world, a lot. You would get these. These were not the bells that were on the back mules. These bells were only on the front mules. They were the best. And they were from the best mule. They’re not really worth anything of value themselves. This wasn’t for trade or financial gain. The bells were a symbol. They were a symbol of honor.

If you lost your bells, you lost your honor, until you stopped and helped someone else. And then you got their bells. It was all about honor. This hardened 94-year-old farmer welled up like a child when he started talking about his father. Through that weathered exterior, I could still see the pride that he had as he talked about how much honor meant to his father and wondered if it means anything to us now.

He told me whenever his father left on a trip, he would always say the phrase that we have always said but never knew what it meant. He said, “I’ll be home. I’ll come home with bells on.” You see, his mission wasn’t money. It wasn’t really fame. In the end, it was to return home with honor. That’s what we’re missing today.

But the best part is we don’t need to have fancy economics degrees from Harvard to fix it. We just have to get up every morning and put on our pants and our shoes and on the way out the door tell our wife and our kids you’ll be home for dinner with bells on.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.