Rand Paul previews tonight’s GOP debate

In anticipation of the first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign, Glenn interviewed Senator Rand Paul on radio Thursday. Listen to the radio segment below.

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it may contain errors.

GLENN: Well, I don't think there's much to say here this hour. We have Rand Paul with us to talk about tonight's debate. We start there now.

(music)

GLENN: Welcome to the program. Senator Rand Paul. Rand, how are you, sir?

RAND: Very good. Thanks for having me.

GLENN: You bet. I want to talk about a couple of things. I want to start with some surprising news. I believe Pat Gray who is a partner on the show is about to give you a promise ring.

(laughter)

RAND: I don't know what to say.

GLENN: I know. He has not been a fan of yours for a long time. Didn't not like you. Just not been a big fan. Then you came out with your tax proposal, and he now cannot -- literally he said, I can't even remember why I didn't like him.

(laughter)

So let's start there.

RAND: That's a success. Mesmerized with the one-page tax return.

PAT: Yeah. Indeed

GLENN: I will tell you, your tax return is truly shock and awe for anybody who has heard it. It is the kind of bold moves that the country really truly needs. Will you just take a few minutes and explain what you're proposing?

RAND: You know, we have a 70,000-page tax code right now, and I think it chases American jobs and companies overseas because, one, it's complicated, but, two, we have some of the highest rates on businesses in the world. So we just want to get rid of the whole thing. Get rid of the whole thing. We end up with one rate. Fourteen and a half percent for business. Fourteen and a half percent for the individual. And we do something that no other flat tax has ever done. We get rid of the payroll tax. So a worker making $40,000 would have $2,000 more in their paycheck.

PAT: Yes! Wow. That's phenomenal.

STU: You would think too the left would be in support of this. Because that's a regressive tax. It goes away as you get to higher incomes. I mean, the FICA tax is a great thing to target. And I don't know that I've ever heard anyone do it.

PAT: Except that they don't want any tax to go away, and that's the problem with the left.

But, Senator, does that fund the government at current levels?

RAND: Well, that's the thing, Glenn, I think the government needs to be a lot smaller. So it will fund over about 10 years, two to trillion dollars less government. But that's what I want. I want a much smaller government. In fact, I say starve the beast. Government is not good for us. Government, for the most part, gets in the way of business. Gets in the way of prosperity. And Thomas Paine it's a necessary evil. That's what it is. A necessary evil. So we should minimize government. Starve the beast. Have lower taxation. But here's what would happen, you would have a boom, an economic boom like you've never seen before in this country. And you also have to realize how old this tax proposal is. Not one leader in Washington among the Republican Party is for tax cuts anymore. I know you get frustrated with the leadership. You want to get really frustrated with Republican leadership. They're all for revenue neutral tax reform, which is shifting the burden around. And I tell people, if that's what we're for, I'm going home. Let's cut taxes. The last one who was really for it was Reagan. We haven't had a real Republican nominee since Reagan.

GLENN: Well, what you're proposing is something along the lines of Calvin Coolidge, which lead to the Roaring Twenties. And I know the left wants to say how horrible that was, but the Roaring Twenties -- in a ten-year period, we went from people having no refrigerators and electricity to almost everyone having refrigerators and electricity. It was a --

RAND: It gets us to the fundamental debate of, where are jobs created, and where is money best spent? And when you tell people in New Hampshire, you know what, I want to leave money in New Hampshire and never send it to Washington. But I also do the same in the south side of Chicago. I was with an African-American minister who has a private school on the south side of Chicago, across the street from the most dangerous intersection in the country. This is a man who is really trying to clean up the south side of Chicago and to help people. And he understands that the poverty programs, the war on poverty, doesn't help them. The money is stolen by the Chicago machine. If you're a cousin of somebody related to the mayor, you get money. The poor people never get the money anyway. And the poor people keep getting poor. But when I tell him, look, I'm going to leave 2 to $3 billion in the south side of Chicago that's not going to Washington, you don't have to beg to get it back. I'm just going to leave it in your community. People are starting to sit up and take notice.

GLENN: Okay. Let me switch topics. Hillary Clinton came out and she said she is absolutely proud and not moving on her support of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood says these are extremists that are trying to distort what they have done. They're mounting an attack on the Center for Medical Progress. The ones that made the videos over a three-year period.

Honestly, this to me is the clearest mark of evil I have ever seen. This puts us into killing factories. I mean, it's -- it puts us into a category I haven't seen since possibly Germany in the western world. And Congress doesn't seem to be moving -- you know, you try to mount that campaign. And that didn't really go anywhere.

RAND: See, the reason it didn't go anywhere is because we don't have enough votes yet. We will not be able to beat them until we get more people up there. You still have to have the battle. And we'll battle again on defunding. But we still don't have the votes on defunding also. You have to get to 60 votes to do anything. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't fight.

GLENN: No, I know.

RAND: And to me, there's some defining characters of a civilized people. And one is having respect for life. And if you don't have respect for life or you don't think there is something bigger than us or greater than us or something special about human life, then you're not getting it. And I think we'll lose everything else we have. Material prosperity. Everything else that goes along with civilization if we don't respect where life comes from.

And this is a tough debate for Planned Parenthood. These are fully formed babies with kidneys, livers, lungs. And when that doctor callously says, livers are popular for sale, not really even understanding that she's talking about a baby, that lack of humanity, I think, they can't -- they can't buy a PR campaign to overcome that callousness and that evilness.

GLENN: Let me ask you, because I think we're being shown -- you know, you just said. We can't long survive if we don't respect life.

We're not respecting life with Planned Parenthood. It's amazing how callous this conversation is going, you know, across the country on Planned Parenthood. Then you also have ISIS. They're crucifying children. And we don't seem to really be awake. Then we're being told, instead of choosing life and choosing the people who say, hey, I don't want to annihilate everybody, we're being told that we should side with the people in Iran, give them money, give them access -- our soldiers cannot even carry a gun, but Iran can have a nuke while they're saying they will vaporize Israel.

RAND: The first thing we have to decide is, are we going to quit arming our enemies? You would think a basic precept of foreign policy would be don't arm your enemies. This is a real problem we have. It's not just with Iran. It's with ISIS too. We armed the allies of ISIS. We sent arms over there, knowing that these people were fighting alongside al-Qaeda. Fighting alongside what became ISIS. And we did it anyway.

We continue to send arms -- right now, Saudi Arabia is mad about the Iran deal, so they want more arms. Who attacked us on 9/11? Sixteen of the 19 were from Saudi Arabia. Where did the funding come from? There's still some question whether or not Saudi Arabia was involved in that as well.

But what do we do? We continue to send arms to people who hate us. The Islamic rebels in Syria, none of them will recognize Israel. None of them really like us. And when they're done with whoever is in front of them, they'll come for us next.

But right now, ISIS has a billion dollars' worth of US Humvees they stole from us, from us giving those to allies. They also pay their soldiers with a billion dollars' worth of cash they stole. And they also have antitank weapons that they point at us and point at Israel. And they are US antitank weapons that we gave to the allies. So we have to quit funding and arming our enemies.

GLENN: Is it going to pass?

RAND: The Iran agreement I think will initially be disproved -- disapproved. I'm going to vote against it, and I think 60 will. The president will veto it, and I think there is some question -- I don't think it's a certainty. I think he may have survive a veto. We'll see what happens.

GLENN: Let's -- let's go to illegal immigration.

Donald Trump is making an awful lot of noise right now just by saying that he wants to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. I don't know exactly how that works. But --

RAND: Didn't he also say he was going to send them all home, then he's going to bring them all back? That's what I read the other day. He said, yeah, I'm going to send them all home, but then I'm going to let most of them come back.

GLENN: Yeah. I don't know.

RAND: I don't know what he's going to do with that, and how the Mexicans are going to pay for the wall. But there's a lot of questions I have, and I might ask one or two of them tonight.

GLENN: Right. What is your solution -- you know, the Blaze just did a documentary called the Sun City Cell. Where we have documented and ABC and everybody else will pick it up probably about a year from now as they usually do, like we did with Benghazi. We have documented that drug cartels and al-Qaeda operatives are in El Paso, and they have connections all across the country, and they are planning a large attack. There is evidence now that this is happening. This is not about good families coming across the border. What are we going to do to -- if you're president, what is President Paul do on the border?

RAND: The first thing I would do is say that the border is a national security necessity. And you have to be prepared to defend your border as a national security necessity. The second thing I would say is, we haven't had a president, Republican or Democrat, that's enforced immigration law ever. I mean, going back to 1986, what was the tradeoff? They said, oh, if you would accept these 3 million illegals and you would give them status, we'll end up adding border security. Well, it never came.

And even some people who voted for that bill in '86 that are still up there now, that's why they won't vote for another bill until it comes. But there really needs to be a president that enforces the law. This president has overtly, selectively, and aggressively decided not to enforce the immigration law. But even the previous Republican administration really did not enforce immigration law either. So, no, I think you can't have open borders in a welfare state, and that's where we are now.

GLENN: How do you feel about the idea that our soldiers, when they're back home, cannot carry guns?

RAND: I've introduced legislation to end that. I've been talking about this since the Fort Hood mass murder. I said then, and I continue to say now, and I've actually introduced an amendment -- they didn't let me have it -- on the highway bill, but I introduced an amendment to allow our soldiers to be armed on base and at the recruiting centers and to say that if the state law allows for conceal carry, the military shouldn't prevent it. It seems crazy that we're going to let everybody else except for our soldiers carry weapons.

GLENN: So how are you feeling about tonight?

RAND: You know, pretty good, Glenn. I'm ready to mix it up. I hope I'm still that way at 9 o'clock tonight. I'm kind of a morning person. So we'll see you at 9:00. But I plan on mixing it up. I don't think there's any reason to hold back and play nice. So we'll mix it up and hopefully differentiate ourselves.

GLENN: When you say there's no reason to play nice, who are you referring -- to whom are you referring?

RAND: I think to anyone that wants to take on the issues of the day. I mean, I don't mean it in a petty just way to take on, just to take on someone. But I think it's crazy to sit back and just say, oh, yeah, we'll just let this thing short itself out over nine months or so. I think I need to stand up, say what I believe in, and stand my ground. And the chips fall where they may. I think people do want people who will stand for what they believe in. And that's been my history, as far as standing against the president, you know, collecting our records, standing against the illegal drone strikes, et cetera. So I think you'll see me stand my ground tonight and hopefully find a way to present my message.

STU: Is there a way you're walking into this thing just because of the format, there being so many people and I would assume probably such little time to get into the meat of this, is there a way you approach this strategically to try to break through?

RAND: Yeah, I'm going to have fruit in my pockets. And if no one is listening to me, I'm thinking about throwing fruit.

(laughter)

GLENN: The last time there were eight people, the last time there were eight people, we were just talking about this. Was it Rick Santorum --

PAT: He got about ten or 15 seconds.

GLENN: Yeah, 15 seconds. Do you have a -- I've only got 15 seconds kind of idea in your head?

RAND: Yeah, we'll see. Hopefully it will be better spread than that. But it can be difficult. And, you know, we're going to have to see -- but ten people is a lot. And really to tell you the truth, the format that I like better is a couple of people with longer answers in an interview style. But we're not going to have that luxury tonight. You have to make it through the end of February next year and the early primaries probably to get down to five or six candidates. You have to make it through March of next year to make it down to two or three candidates probably.

GLENN: How did you prepare for this?

RAND: By the big, fat tome. Big, fat book I stick under my pillow every night. I've been doing that for months, and I think a lot of ideas are seeping through the pillow and into my brain.

GLENN: I think you're supposed to read it. Sure. Yeah.

RAND: No, I read a lot. I read every day on current events. Every day on foreign policy. Every day on the economy. And then we have a great team. We have discussions. Plus, I interact with the voters. I actually talk to voters. We do something extraordinary in our town hall. We take questions from the audience. And we don't rope the reporters off like Hillary Clinton. And we do interact with the voters.

GLENN: Great.

Rand, we'll watch for you tonight. Best of luck.

RAND: Thanks, guys.

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.