Important Presidential Farewell Addresses Warned Against the Very Troubles We Face

It's remarkable. There is a fundamental shift in America. There's a great article today in National Review about how we should have heeded the words Ronald Reagan delivered in his farewell speech. Throughout history, presidents have used their farewell addresses to warn future presidents and generations about threats they see to, among other things, the American way. There are three farewell addresses that I personally believe could have helped us avoid the trouble we're in now. I was so happy to see the National Review choose the same three.

George Washington

The first came from George Washington. In Washington's Farewell Address, he warned about political parties and having loyalty to them above country. He said that would kill us in the end, as well as foreign entanglements.

George Washington wrote his remarks, but he never actually delivered them personally. Instead, he sent his Farewell Address to the newspapers for publication.

Once upon a time, Americans had to study his Farewell Address, memorize it. There were three documents that students had to study --- the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and George Washington's Farewell Address. Up until about 1920, his Farewell Address was studied by every generation. You couldn't pass the eighth grade unless you knew it.

Nowadays, most people have never even read Washington's Farewell Address, let alone heard of it. It's one of the best documents in American history, and it shows where we've gone wrong.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The second was Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Radio and Television Address to the American People. Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex. He warned that if we don't watch what's happening with the Pentagon and the military, they would get us involved in everything and spend us into oblivion, causing all kinds of foreign entanglements. I think this was the most risky, yet totally honest warning any president has ever given us.

Eisenhower was the winning general of World War II, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces. He grew up in the military, was a fan of the military, and he saw a change in the 1950s because of the Cold War. He realized we weren't going to descale or de-escalate.

Up until World War II and then Korea in the 1950s, we would call an army together to go fight. Our army before World War II was literally training with broomsticks. We didn't even have enough guns. People would bring their own guns from home to train. We had a civilian army. That's the way we always were: Hey, there's a war coming. Let's all get together and train.

In the 1950s, the world changed because of nuclear war. Everyone realized we could all be dead in 12 minutes. With nuclear weapons at the ready, we had to have to have a standing army. We had to have a military-industrial complex that was building and researching the latest technology for war.

In his Farewell Address, Eisenhower warned America we would no longer be sending these people home to the private sector. They were now permanent, professional fixtures within the military. And as with everything, unless they were monitored, they would grow in power and lead us around on a leash.

Here was a general saying beware the military-industrial complex, beware the collusion between the military and the capitalist companies that are going to get rich off of those military sales. That was extraordinarily brave.

And what happened? Mostly kooks listened to it. The vast military-industrial complex became a joke, a conspiracy theory. I don't think that was by happenstance. I think it was people in the military-industrial complex turning it into a joke. "Oh, I know you got to be careful of the black helicopters." Well, yeah, you kind of do. It could get out of control, as George Washington said.

Only those with a healthy respect for fire and what it is and what it does and how out of control it could be should be tending the fire. That's all that Eisenhower was saying. If you don't have a healthy respect for what capitalism and the military can do, you shouldn't be tending to it.

Ronald Reagan

And then there was the third one, from Ronald Reagan, one that I think was misunderstood. We were so fat and sassy at the time, that I don't think anybody really listened to it. I want to share about five paragraphs of the Reagan's Farewell Address to the Nation:

Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in Presidential farewells, and I've got one that's been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I'm proudest of in the past 8 years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.

Did you hear that? National pride is good, but it doesn't count for anything unless it is grounded in kindness and knowledge.

I contend we have neither of those right now, on any side, that our national dialogue is not grounded in knowledge, certainly not kindness. Who are you hearing talk about real issues, the ones that face you, and real solutions? Who are you hearing talk about real solutions with kindness and with knowledge? How many of us are responding back with knowledge or kindness? Ronald Reagan said it won't account for much, unless it's coupled with those two things.

An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?

That's a question. That's a question, and you can answer that question now. You couldn't answer it then. Are we doing a good enough job of teaching our children the history of America? I believe my parents probably said yes. And if I were a parent back then, I'd say yes. If I were a parent in 2000, I'd say, well, kind of, pretty much. If I were a parent in 2008, I would say, well, it's kind of bad. If I'm a parent in 2017? Look at the failure. We didn't even see how rotted this system has become. You can get your doctorate in history at maybe 90 percent of colleges nationwide and not be required to take any American history. How can you have your degree in world history without taking any American history? That doesn't make sense. That's like saying your an expert in world history, but you didn't study England or Rome. How is that possible? If that's the case then you're not a world historian. You might be a historian on Asia and the Middle East, but that's only part of the world.

Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.

He's getting ready to leave office in 1989, saying we used to have this in popular culture. Go back in popular culture in 1989, and it's practically Uncle Sam pants compared to now. Think about what culture is like now. Remember, entertainment creates culture, but culture creates values. Our culture back then was creating values that were good, kind, gentle, strong, American. Our entertainment is none of those things now. What are the values being mined and minted right now in our culture? They are not what we grew up with, and he was my president when I was a teenager.

But now, we're about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven't reinstitutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom-freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs protection.

So, we've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important-why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant.

You know, 4 years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, "we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did." Well, let's help her keep her word.

It's an amazing call to arms and one that needs to be heard again and answered again.

I want to bring you along for a ride that we're going to take because we are going to answer that call --- in a different way.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Editor’s Note: The following is based on an excerpt from The Glenn Beck Program on June 21, 2017.

As the nation soaks in the victory of the recent passing of the historic First Step Act, there are Congressmen who haven't stopped working to solve additional problems with the criminal justice system. Because while the Act was impactful, leading to the well-deserved early release of many incarcerated individuals, it didn't go far enough. That's why four Congressmen have joined forces to reintroduce the Justice Safety Valve Act—legislation that would grant judges judicial discretion when determining appropriate sentencing.

There's a real need for this legislation since it's no secret that lawmakers don't always get it right. They may pass laws with good intentions, but unintended consequences often prevail. For example, there was a time when the nation believed the best way to penalize lawbreakers was to be tough on crime, leading to sweeping mandatory minimum sentencing laws implemented both nationally and statewide.

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Only in recent years have governments learned that these sentences aren't good policy for the defendant or even the public. Mandatory minimum sentences are often overly harsh, don't act as a public deterrent for crime, and are extremely costly to taxpayers. These laws tie judges' hands, preventing them from using their knowledge and understanding of the law to make case relevant decisions.

Because legislation surrounding criminal law is often very touchy and difficult to change (especially on the federal level, where bills can take multiple years to pass) mandatory minimum sentences are far from being done away with—despite the data-driven discoveries of their downfalls. But in order to solve the problems inherent within all of the different laws imposing sentencing lengths, Congress needs to pass the Justice Safety Valve Act now. Ensuring its passing would allow judges to use discretion while sentencing, rather than forcing them to continue issuing indiscriminate sentences no matter the unique facts of the case.

Rather than take years to go back and try to fix every single mandatory minimum law that has been federally passed, moving this single piece of legislation forward is the best way to ensure judges can apply their judgment in every appropriate case.

When someone is facing numerous charges from a single incident, mandatory minimum sentencing laws stack atop one another, resulting in an extremely lengthy sentence that may not be just. Such high sentences may even be violations of an individual's eighth amendment rights, what with the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. It's exactly what happened with Weldon Angelos.

In Salt Lake City in 2002, Weldon sold half a pound of marijuana to federal agents on two separate occasions. Unbeknownst to Weldon, the police had targeted him because they suspected he was a part of a gang and trafficking operation. They were oh-so-wrong. Weldon had never sold marijuana before and only did this time because he was pressured by the agents to find marijuana for them. He figured a couple lowkey sales could help out his family's financial situation. But Weldon was caught and sentenced to a mandatory 55 years in prison. This massive sentence is clearly unjust for a first time, non-violent crime, and even the Judge, Paul Cassell, agreed. Judge Cassell did everything he could to reduce the sentence, but, due to federal law, it wasn't much.

The nation is facing an over-criminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties.

In cases like Weldon's, a safety valve for discretionary power is much needed. Judges need the ability to issue sentences below the mandatory minimums, depending on mitigating factors such as mental health, provocation, or physical illness. That's what this new bill would allow for. Critics may argue that this gives judges too much power, but under the bill, judges must first make a finding on why it's necessary to sentence below the mandatory minimum. Then, they must write a clear statement explaining their decision.

Judges are unlikely to risk their careers to allow dangerous criminals an early release. If something happens after an offender is released early, the political pressure is back on the judge who issued the shorter sentence—and no one wants that kind of negative attention. In order to avoid risky situations like this, they'd use their discretion very cautiously, upholding the oath they took to promote justice in every case.

The nation is facing an overcriminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties. Mandatory minimums have exacerbated this problem, and it's time for that to stop. Congresswomen and men have the opportunity to help solve this looming problem by passing the Justice Safety Valve Act to untie the hands of judges and restore justice in individual sentences.

Molly Davis is a policy analyst at Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. She's a writer for Young Voices, and her work has previously appeared in The Hill, TownHall.com, and The Washington Examiner.

New gadget for couples in 'the mood' lets a button do the talking

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

Just in time for Valentine's Day, there's a new romantic gadget for couples that is sure to make sparks fly. For those with their minds in the gutter, I'm not talking about those kinds of gadgets. I'm talking about a brilliant new device for the home called "LoveSync."

This is real — it's a simple pair of buttons for busy, modern couples who have plenty of time for social media and Netflix, but can't quite squeeze in time to talk about their... uh... special relationship.

Here's how it works. Each partner has their own individual LoveSync button. Whenever the mood strikes one partner, all they have to do is press their own button. That sets their button aglow for a certain period of time. If, during that time window, their partner also presses their own button, then both buttons light up in a swirling green pattern to signal that love has "synced"...and it's go time.

According to the makers of LoveSync, this device will "Take the Luck out of Getting Lucky." It brings a whole new meaning to "pushing each other's buttons." It's an ideal gift to tell your significant other "I care," without actually having to care, or talk about icky things like feelings.

If you find your significant other is already on the couch binge-watching The Bachelor, no problem! You can conveniently slink back to your button and hold it in for four seconds to cancel the desire. No harm, no foul! Live to fight another day.

Have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children.

No word yet on whether LoveSync can also order wine, light candles or play Barry White. Maybe that's in the works for LoveSync 2.0.

Of course, LoveSync does have some pitfalls. Cats and toddlers love a good button. That'll be a fun conversation — "Honey, who keeps canceling my mood submissions?" And have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children. "Yeah, kids, that button just controls the lawn sprinklers. No big deal."

If you've been dialing it in for years on Valentine's Day with flowers and those crappy boxes of chocolate, now you can literally dial it in. With a button.

Good luck with that.

The social power of 'Reddit' is helping teens of anti-vaxxers get vaccinated

Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Reddit certainly earns its motto as "the front page of the internet," with roughly 540 million visitors monthly, the third most-visited website in the U.S., sixth worldwide. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Reddit is a largely anonymous platform. People's faces are masked, their names are disguised. Which makes their hidden humanity all the more impactful.

On Reddit, both news and serious information are threaded in among gifs of cats and posts about Call of Duty, but that doesn't make it any less important. For many people, Reddit signifies the town hall where news is passed along or stomped into obscurity.

It gives you a healthy read of our society as a whole.

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A recent Pew Poll found that Reddit leans left politically at a rate higher than the general public. Most users are young men, whose extensive internet use gives them a gatekeeping authority over what information should be considered important. From there, it spreads through the rest of the internet and helps shape public opinion.

So, it makes a lot of sense that Reddit has become a sort of makeshift safe place for children who grew up with parents who refused to give them vaccinations. Of course, Reddit also vehemently mocks the anti-vaccination folks, for better or for worse, often the latter, but that's a subject for another day.

The Daily Dot recently published an article on this strange intersection of ideology and nerd culture. "Desperate teens of anti-vaxxers are turning to Reddit for vaccination advice."

The article follows Ethan, whose parents are staunchly against vaccinations:

But Ethan is not his parents. When he turned 18, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He wasn't sure where else to begin, so he turned to Reddit.

Where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age?" Ethan asked his fellow redditors in December. Ethan's post flooded with over 1,000 comments from users offering their encouragement and support, along with practical advice. "Good on you for getting your vaccinations," one user responded. "It's never too late and you're not only protecting yourself but those around you who truly can't get vaccinated.

Ethan told the Daily Dot that some redditors even offered to give him money via GoFundMe or PayPal if insurance didn't cover the shots. "People were really supportive, and that was really cool," he said. "I had the blessing of Reddit. They were supporting me on a decision my mom freaked out about." Ethan is not alone. "More and more teens are turning to places like Reddit to seek out information on where and how to get vaccinated, and if it's too late."

Whatever your opinion on vaccinations, there's a positive message to all of this. A human message. Hopeful. Proof that, in an increasingly caustic world, people can turn to one another in times of need.

Whatever your opinion on vaccinations, there's a positive message to all of this. A human message. Hopeful.

Now more than ever, that is crucial.

Given the social power of Reddit, it is often characterized as a tool for politicians or political movements. Throughout the forum, various political ideologies gather and organize like factions in some ideological war. A political thread on Reddit is like a Facebook comment section at its most hostile, arrogant or confident, but with no identities attached to the attacks, rants or opinions. When you find yourself riled into a debate, it's easy to wonder who's behind the replies, especially the more vicious ones.

People often characterize it as a hive-mind message board full of circlejerk memes and jokes about SpongeBob. This description isn't entirely wrong, but it is shallow and incomplete. At its core, Reddit is humane. Its users, for the most part, are compassionate. If it were an experiment on human nature, the results would be gratifying.