What is really happening in Baltimore?

What happened to Freddie Gray? Every hour there seems to be a new story that contradicts the “facts” that everyone accepted the hour previous. Freddie Gray was beaten by police officers on his way to jail. No, Freddie Gray threw himself against the wall of the police van, damaging his own spine. Wait, that may not be it either. But the cops are racist - except half of them are black. What’s really going on? What are you supposed to do? Glenn gave his thoughts during Monday’s radio show.

Let me go to Baltimore. Another confusing situation, I guess. I guess he broke his spine before getting into the van, except that wasn't true. He was pounding his head on the wall of the van, trying to inflict injuries on himself. He had a witness that is a criminal, now says that wasn't true.

The cops were arrested as a sacrifice, or was it the cops were arrested because they're guilty? Or were the cops racists? Except half the cops are black, and almost every city official I see in Baltimore is black.

Protesters should wait until all the information is out and let the system work before they judge the case or riot. And yet, the internet is ablaze with the authors of the last point now saying it's an injustice and time for people to take the streets.

I don't know what to believe anymore. I don't even know who we think we are anymore. I watched CNN. I got one side. I watched Fox. I got the other side. But I don't think I got the truth in either of them.

There are no good guys. No bad guys. Nobody really wanting to find out the facts. Are those who support the police any more patient than the protesters? Yes, they didn't burn down the city. But I have read the calls for violence, haven't you?

I believe in the system. I believe the vast majority of people in Baltimore are good. I believe the vast majority of cops are good. I don't have faith in our federal system, and I don't have faith in the old media. But I do have faith in people.

We've screwed things up in the last hundred years, it's going to take time for this unravel. But if we all have the same goals of truth, justice, and unity, we will prevail.

I pray for the Gray family. I pray for the city of Baltimore. I pray for the policemen involved. I pray for their families. All the cops around the country that know this is coming to their city, because it is. It already is. In Seattle. In Oakland. In Dallas. This weekend. There were protests all around the country. It's coming. The truth must prevail. The Democratic socialists that have run these cities for decades are at fault in a big way.

If this police force is bad and racist, who didn't do their job to clean it up a long time ago? The African-American Democratic socialists.

The only ones I'm afraid that will get out without paying any price are the so-called leaders in these cities and in our country.

We have to look to clean up our own cities, and our own police departments have to police themselves. We have to clean up our own families. We have to clean up our own churches. We do it now before there's trouble. Because this story will play itself out over and over again in America. And how do I know? I know because I read The Coming Insurrection. I listened to those radicals who led Occupy Wall Street. I read what ISIS is currently tweeting. I look at what Iran is saying. I listen to those leaders in Russia. I've listened to Frances Fox Piven and Al Sharpton and the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam or any of the other leftists who have been planting these seeds for a very, very long time. Now is the time to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

Speak truth. Find joy.

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.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!