The Hilarious and Unrealistic Eco Consequences of a Border Wall

Uh oh. According to Jeff Corwin, American wildlife biologist and nature conservationist, there could be some unexpected and "unprecedented environmental catastrophes" should a border wall go up:

It's poised to cut through more than 1,200 miles of habitat along the border between the United States and Mexico. There are over 90 threatened and critically endangered species that are in the crosshairs because of this wall, and we've got over 100 migratory birds that will be impacted from this wall. The endangered Mexican gray wolf, only 133 individuals left of this iconic carnivore, this amazing canine. Its head is on the chopping block and likely could fall prey to extinction. The expanse of the jaguar, just now, being restored into its habitat in Arizona, will likely be extirpated, pushed back towards the precipice of extinction because of this disastrous wall.

Yikes.

"Hang on just a second. Animals don't have passports. There are no borders for animals, okay? They don't have pockets, so we can't require them now to have passports. They do not have pockets, except for the kangaroo, but that's a different continent," Glenn said Thursday on radio.

It turns out, borders are complicated with animals.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: If you were for a border fence or a border wall, you're for stronger immigration laws or at least enforcing. Not for stronger. You just want to enforce the laws that we have.

PAT: Hateful.

GLENN: You're going to probably change your mind. And this is going to be that moment that I always say, what was the pivot point? This will be the moment where you will say, this is my pivot point. I had never thought about this while we were talking about the border wall. Listen to this.

VOICE: Well, Craig, if this border wall happens, it will be an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.

PAT: This is Jeff Corwin, by the way. Jeff Corwin, who is -- I mean, he's an animal expert. We all know that. Remember, from -- was it Animal Planet, he did all those shows? And now he's on an ABC special.

GLENN: Yeah. Now, this is -- I want you to know --

PAT: Unprecedented.

GLENN: Unprecedented environmental tragedy and disaster.

PAT: Disaster.

VOICE: It's poised to cut through more than 1200 miles of habitat along the border between the United States and Mexico. There are over 90 threatened and critically endangered species that are in the -- in the crosshairs because of this wall. And we've got over 100 migratory birds that will be impacted from this wall.

GLENN: Now, listen to this. I want you to listen to this.

VOICE: The endangered Mexican gray wolf. Only 133 individuals left of this iconic carnivore. This amazing canine. Its head is on the chopping block. And likely could fall prey to extinction. The expanse of the jaguar. Just now, being restored into its habitat in Arizona will likely be extirpated. Pushed back towards the precipice of extinction because of this disastrous wall.

(talking over)

GLENN: Hang on just a second. Animals don't have passports. There are no borders for animals. Okay? They don't have pockets. So we can't require them now to have passports. They do not have pockets. Except for the kangaroo, but that's a different continent. So if we were talking about kangaroos, we could give them passports because they have pockets. Other than that, they don't have pockets. They don't have hands either. So they couldn't really step up to the little thing and they can't talk. It's complicated with animals. Borders are complicated with animals.

PAT: It is.

GLENN: Now, the one I'm worried about because we're talking about an environmental disaster, we're worried about the birds.

VOICE: At the risk of sounding ignorant or foolish, the bird specifically, wouldn't they just be able to fly over the wall?

PAT: This is great. He's almost afraid -- it's such an obvious question. He's afraid to ask it.

GLENN: I don't want to sound ignorant to anyone, but I'm going to dial in some common sense. All right. I'm just going to say it.

PAT: They fly, right?

GLENN: Birds, they can fly left and right, but I think they can fly up and down as well.

STU: Not 30 feet off the ground.

JEFFY: No.

PAT: And, by the way, the wall will not wind up being 30 feet, would be my guess. It will be ten, tops.

GLENN: Yes.

VOICE: Well, it's interesting you should say that, and it's actually an excellent question.

PAT: It is.

GLENN: Stop.

VOICE: And I'm sure many animals that fly can migrate over that wall.

PAT: Okay.

JEFFY: See.

STU: So, yes, they will fly over the wall.

GLENN: Yes.

PAT: So, in other words, sure.

GLENN: So it's a good question because it's an obvious question.

PAT: I didn't think you would ask it because you're on NBC. Who knew?

GLENN: Yeah, it's not a question that you should have asked. But it's a good question.

PAT: It sounds like Fox News propaganda to me. Birds can fly.

VOICE: But many animals actually stay very low. Many of these animals, for example, birds and bats are actually passing close to the -- to the ground's surface because they're heading towards plants.

PAT: I say, if they're that stupid, they probably deserve to run into the wall.

GLENN: Darwin. Darwin. If you're a bat and your sonar radar, whatever it is that makes you fly around without eyes is so bad that you can't find and see a 1700-mile fence --

(chuckling)

GLENN: -- natural selection should kick in for that bat.

PAT: It seems like trees would be killing them too. Right?

GLENN: Right. They're flying low because they're going for the plants. A rock.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Private fences around homes. Yeah, anything.

GLENN: Come on. A home. A home.

STU: And a parked car. Anything would be --

GLENN: Can I tell you something --

PAT: Are we saying that the wall will be built out of glass and we're going to use Windex on it so they won't be able to see that it's a wall?

GLENN: Thump. Thump. Thump.

PAT: Maybe that's what it is. Maybe that's what it is.

GLENN: But let me tell you something, I think you're all dismissing the pictures that we've all seen of the Great Wall of China and all of the dead birds and the bats on both sides of that wall. Giant piles.

STU: Piles of bats?"

GLENN: And it doesn't -- after a while, the wall doesn't matter because the dead bats are just -- they become ramps. And you just walk on the bodies of dead bats.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: Yeah, it's a bat ramp. You're mocking. Were you mocking?

STU: No, I said it was a bat ramp. A bamp.

GLENN: But that was not mocking?

STU: No, no, no. It's a very important part of our security.

GLENN: We should use that. You know what, I'll give that free to the scientific community. Vamps. It's yours, but I ==

STU: Bamp. Bat ramp.

GLENN: Or a bamp. Yeah, bat ramp. A bamp. You can use that in all your -- all your, you know, scientific literature on why this is going to be such a hassle.

PAT: Devastating. Devastating disaster.

GLENN: Devastating disaster for the birds that can't fly.

PAT: They're on the chopping block. The wolves are on a chopping block. Are they actually going to put wolves' heads on chopping blocks and cut their heads off?

STU: Right. The imagery is so great.

PAT: Well, I'm sorry. We can't build this wall until I cut your head off.

GLENN: If there are 150 of them, what do you say that we make sure that it's not all the male wolves on one side and female wolves on the other.

STU: Or, you know, there is an argument against free-range wolves. I don't know if anyone knows this.

GLENN: No, no. These are beautiful animals. They're carnivores. They're beautiful carnivores.

STU: That sounds terrible, actually.

GLENN: Have you ever seen a wolf?

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: In real life?

PAT: Yes.

GLENN: They are terrifying.

STU: Yes.

GLENN: I saw -- you know, Little Red Riding Hood, it was a wolf that ate her and the grandma. I mean, hello.

STU: That's right.

PAT: And then jaguars. Do we really want jaguars roaming free on the border?

GLENN: I'd like them to stay on the Mexican side. I mean, that's cool. I don't have a problem with that.

STU: Yes.

PAT: Yeah. Yeah.

STU: That's one of the benefits of the wall. I think we put all the dangerous animals on the other side of it.

GLENN: On that side. You can have the jaguars. I love that about you and Mexico. And I'll go visit and see those jaguars. You let them mate on your side of the wall.

PAT: But even so, I'm kind of confused as to why they can't just move out of the way of the wall being built and then go back their business.

STU: Well, the imagery there is amazing. These animals are in the crosshairs. They're on the chopping block.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Like none of these things are real.

PAT: What are you talking about?

STU: What, they wouldn't move 100 yards? I understand that that is -- it could be theoretically --

GLENN: Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.

PAT: There's actually a river between the two countries too. Now that they navigate --

GLENN: Okay. Okay. All right. Oh, my gosh.

JEFFY: Thanks to the bridge.

GLENN: Do we need to look? Do I need to bring up north and South Korea where all of the DMZ, where all of the little wolf family members are living in freedom and the -- and the North Korean wolves are living in slavery and they're not able to see each other anymore and they don't know if they're alive or dead?

Imagine, you're a wolf, and you don't know if you're alive or dead. If you're -- if your relative who you love is on the other side of the wall with a concussion or worse because it didn't see the wall and ran right into it, trying to come home to you. It's wrong. It was wrong with the Berlin wall. It was wrong with the Great Wall of China. Jina. It's -- it's wrong for birds. It's wrong for bats. It is wrong for panthers, jaguars. BMWs.

PAT: Mexican timberwolves. Whatever.

GLENN: All of them.

PAT: All of them. Separating wolf families.

GLENN: Bad. You go ahead. You break up the families.

Could we -- could we go to Victoria in New York. Yes, Victoria. You're on. More on bird talk. You're on bird talk. Go ahead. Hello, Victoria. Line one.

That's Mary. Hang on, put Mary on hold. And let's go to Victoria. Line one, please. There we go.

Victoria, hi.

CALLER: Yes, hi. I just love this show.

GLENN: Thank you.

CALLER: I wanted to make a comparison here. They're so concerned about the wall.

GLENN: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

CALLER: But, meanwhile, what about those windmills that are out there killing birds that are supposed to be great for the environment?

PAT: Right. Where is Jeff Corwin on those?

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?