What does the rest of the world look like? Glenn reflects on his Mexican vacation

Last week, Glenn and his family headed south of the border for a week on the beach in Mexico. Staying at a friend’s home in the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, Glenn could not help but notice the abject poverty that existed in a major metropolis not all that far from the U.S. border. On radio this morning, Glenn explained that he returned to the United States fearful he had just witnessed our country’s future. The thing that has always made America different, the thing that has always made America great is our Constitution. But if we continue further down the road we are on, the U.S. will be no different than any other failed socialist country in the world.

I spent my vacation in Mexico, and I haven't been to Mexico in I don't know how long. I think it's been at least 10 years... But my wife planned a 50th birthday party for me, so we went down to a friend who had a vacation place down there… It was an eye-opening experience. Mexico has changed.

I was down to Puerto Vallarta. The situation there is nothing short of tragic. It's really truly amazing the abject poverty. It is mind-boggling. I talked to the guy who was driving us from the airport, and we had quite a conversation between the two of us. He made $12 a day… We looked at the buildings and, not kidding you, the machine gun turrets on top of some of the buildings, the shanties that were around and the people begging in the middle of the street. Going from car to car…

But I couldn't help but think: Southern California is just right up the coast. It's not very far at all. What happens at the border? What is the difference between our two countries? And it is certainly not the people. I asked the driver… what's going on here and not in the United States or vice versa. What's the difference between that border? He thought for a while. And I was shocked. He said: Resources. You know, [the U.S. has] oil and good land. It's our good land and it's our oil? Really… The growing season mostly tropical Mexico is nearly year-round. Are they really hampered by a lack of resources or is there something else at play here?

The answer, of course, is something I've been thinking about all week… It's not our oil resources. We have been greatly blessed with those things. But there are many nations who have great natural resources. So what is it? What is it that sets us apart? You know the answer. I know the answer. It's the Constitution of the United States. That's what it is. That's what spread this throughout the world: The Constitution.

[…]

Now, I was going to the WalMart about three days in, and I happened to talk to another driver. And I said, ‘What is it about your country versus our country?’ He said, ‘Our country, our government, keeps you down. Our government doesn't allow you to be able to be who you are.’ He said this to me as we were driving by a vegetable stand that the government owns. And forces all of the farmers to sell all of their vegetables at this particular government-owned vegetable stand. They don't allow you to be who you are… Everybody in Mexico experiences income inequality, yet they're a socialized country. And everybody seems to be doing equally bad except for those few, the tiniest fraction of elitists… Same can be said for the Soviet Union before it collapsed, China before their capitalism hybrid, North Korea, Cuba, and every other socialist equality preaching nation.

Socialists in America today always, always point to Finland and Sweden or Norway. Well, that's where socialism is working, right? Is it? Is it really? Do they have the freedom that we enjoy? Do they have the lifestyle that we enjoy? In Norway, for example, the average monthly income is just over $7,000. Well, that's fantastic. Until you look at their taxes. Their take home pay is just over $3,300. $7,000, their take home pay is $3,300. So the average Norwegian pays 53% in income tax. But wait, there's more. Norwegians also have the privilege of routinely paying between $9 and $10 a gallon for gas. Oh, and there's a 14% VAT tax on food. Cars are nearly unobtainably expensive, so at least that makes the gas tax a little best relevant. Housing is so ridiculously expensive and so is entertainment. But I mean, really, who cares? I mean they're spreading the wealth out, right? II mean somebody has to pay for all of the service that Norway offers. And it is those services paid for on the backs of every Norwegian that the U.N. Development Program loves so much, that they continually list Norway as the number one place in the world to live…

When I went over these stats with my kids yesterday as we were getting ready to leave Mexico. And I told them a little bit about Norway. And my son-in-law said, ‘Why would anybody work? What's the incentive?’ And I said, ‘Work is one thing. But why risk anything? Why risk? Why roll the dice? Why even think about inventing something, making a better toothbrush, doing anything?’ There is no substitute for the foundation laid by our Founders. Yet from inside our own borders, we hear a constraint refrain of income inequality and collectivism, which is just another word for socialism. Income equal. Equal outcomes for all. Just another way to promote communism and communism is just socialism on steroids.

All Americans should fight against socialism and communism with all their might. It is soul crushing. It is economy busting. It is freedom robbing. Socialistic, communistic ideology. Quite honestly, it is the greatest enemy to mankind. It is the greatest evil we face in the world today, and somebody has to start saying it because somehow or another in our own country it has been laundered. It has been white washed. It has been sugarcoated…

Today's American progressives, who are no more or less than communists with patience… That's the progressive movement: Communists with patience. They can't allow the American people to know their true designs of what they really have in mind for our nation. If the American people ever came to understanding of where progressives well want to take us, they would see them as an enemy to the Constitution of the United States, which they are…

But if they can keep you focused on what they can do for you with somebody else's tax dollars, they can keep you distracted from the truth that they're pursuing… Has there ever been in world history a socialist or communist nation that provided more freedom than was provided by our Founding Fathers… We have to ask ourselves, what did God intend for this country? Should we even ask that question? What is it that He intended? How is it that our neighbor across the border can be in such darkness? Is it really just our resources? How can we get it back to what He intended? Maybe the only way to do that is to actually read what he says about it. And then whether you like it or not, do those things and stand against those who are desperately trying to tear us down… We will become more like the rest of the world. You want to know what the rest of the world looks like? Take a gander at Mexico.

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.