You’ll Never Guess Which State Has a Confederate Monument to Take Down

Montana officials have directed the removal of a Confederate fountain in Helenafollowing the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last weekend.

Native American lawmakers petitioned the city council of Helena to remove the fountain, which was commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. While Helena Mayor Jim Smith formerly opposed removing the fountain, which was dedicated in 1916, he said his change of heart came after recent events.

“I believe the time has come for the removal of the fountain,” he told the Independent Record.

The Helena City Commission has directed the city manager to remove the granite fountain. Officials haven’t yet decided what will be done with the memorial or if it will be replaced.

Pat, Stu and Jeffy looked at the story on radio Friday.

Pat wondered how on earth a Confederate memorial made it all the way up to his hometown in Montana.

“A) Montana wasn’t a state at the time, and B) it doesn’t get any more North … that’s a Northern state,” he pointed out.

“Is it possible it was just a shipping error?” Stu theorized jokingly.

STU: Do you think statues honoring the leaders of the Confederacy should remain as a historical symbol or be removed because they're offensive to some people? Now, you'd see, of course, Republicans would be on the side of keeping them up. You would expect that. Eighty-six to six, they want to keep them up. Now, independents should be in the middle of this, right? Independents are the ones -- you're not going to get the party stuff here. Independents support keeping the statues up, 61 to 27.

PAT: Wow.

STU: It's not a close call. This is a blowout, keep the statues up. And you might think, well, Democrats though, are really going to oppose it. No.

They are split on the issue: 44 percent say keep the statues up. 47 percent say take them down because they're offensive.

So the Democrats aren't -- I mean, they're saying that people who are opposed to removing these statues are bad people. Well, let's be honest, you have half of Democrats who say keep them up. You have two-thirds of independents and almost every Republican. So the issue here is not whether you're a racist if you -- if you think statues should remain up. Because across-the-board, there's a lot of people -- the overall, 62 percent of people overall say keep the statues up. And so this is not a particularly close argument. Most people say, "Look, we understand that there were bad things in our history. We -- it's important to keep this up so we remember it." And as Jeffy said earlier in the break, "You walk by one of these statues and it's offensive to you, tell your kid why it's offensive." What a great teaching tool.

JEFFY: Yeah. Absolutely.

STU: And tell them, this is offensive because this person did this, this, and this, and you should know about it. That's a really good way of handling it.

And I can't believe I just complimented Jeffy's parenting style. That is -- wow, I should --

JEFFY: I didn't say I was going to do it. I just said you should.

STU: Good. Good. Okay.

PAT: This -- we're on such a dangerous path to tearing down everything that is offensive to people, to silencing people, to saying that you can't -- that hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. I mean, we're on a really dangerous path right now towards losing our freedom. If we don't stop this madness, this snowball that's rolling down the hill, we're going to be sorry. And there's not going to be a Constitution that stands.

They're setting fire to it right now. But we're going to have to decide what to do with these Confederate monuments because there's still more than 700 of them throughout the United States.

JEFFY: There's a lot.

PAT: 700. Including one in my hometown, on the mean streets of Helena, Montana.

JEFFY: Right.

PAT: Now, what it's doing in Helena, Montana, I don't know.

JEFFY: Commemorating the Confederacy.

PAT: Yes, it is. But, A, Montana wasn't a state at the time. B, it doesn't get anymore north in the 48 contiguous states than Montana.

(laughter)

STU: That's a very --

PAT: That's a northern state.

JEFFY: Yes, it is.

STU: Is it possible that it was just a shipping error? They gave it to FedEx?

PAT: We meant this for Alabama.

JEFFY: They dropped it off. And Bill said, "You know what, just put it over there." Just put it in the park.

STU: It's too heavy to ship it again. I don't want to box it up. Leave it over there.

PAT: I mean, how does that happen? Pretty weird.

STU: I don't know. This is your hometown. Do you remember seeing it?

PAT: I don't.

STU: Because the map is odd. And, of course, obviously, 98 percent of -- I mean, there's one in Iowa. Is the -- is the next furthest north?

PAT: Jeez.

STU: I mean, there's not a lot.

PAT: That's crazy.

STU: Maybe there's two in Iowa. Outside of that, there's like one in Pennsylvania. But overall, they're all, you know, south, where people generally --

PAT: Where you would expect them to be.

STU: Where you would expect them to be. And then there's just one up there in Helena. Just like, you know what, right here.

PAT: So weird. And apparently, Helena's mayor was originally like, no, we're not going to go remove that. But after Charlottesville, he's now saying, "Yeah, maybe it's time." So...

STU: That's weird. And I don't think we mentioned this: Baltimore just -- in the middle of the night, which is what they do in Baltimore -- they remove NFL teams in the middle of the night and statues in the middle -- why not just remove all the statues, like, yeah, we don't want them.

PAT: Exactly right.

STU: No debate. They didn't have any rallies. And they didn't have any protests, which I'm sure is what they were trying to avoid. But that's an interesting way of doing business.

Yeah, now they're gone. The thing that you saw yesterday, not there now. Huh. Yeah, there you go. Buh-bye.

PAT: Not there. And there's -- there's quite a few places around the country where it's being considered, that they're going to remove them.

And then -- but there's hundreds and hundreds of them where they still exist and nobody is saying they shouldn't, but it will happen. Right?

JEFFY: Oh, we got a rally going on here in Dallas, on Saturday. Right? A big rally for -- in downtown Dallas this weekend.

PAT: Are they rallying for it, to keep it up, or rallying against it? Probably both, right?

JEFFY: I think they're rallying probably both.

PAT: Yeah, probably both. Probably both.

JEFFY: But the main focus of the rally, I believe, is to make it go away.

PAT: Wow. Wow.

JEFFY: Good luck.

STU: And, look, it's not -- it's not -- it's not uncommon in these moments.

JEFFY: Right.

STU: It's an interesting thing. It seems to be new. Like I would have told you ten years ago, there's no way places like, you know, South Carolina are going to take the Confederate flag off.

JEFFY: Right.

STU: It was something so untouchable. In fact, if I remember correctly, and this has been a year or two since this happened. It was engrained in their Constitution that basically you couldn't do it. I can't remember what the actual law was. You couldn't do it. And they just wound up doing it, anyway, because of the shooting, which was a terrible, terrible incident. But it was mainly based on the fact that there was one photo with the shooter with the flag. Like, it wasn't even that he came in there with the flag and said, "I'm doing this for the flag," or anything like that. There was one picture of him on Facebook with the flag. And because of that, they took the flag out of where it was.

PAT: That's where we are. That's where we are.

JEFFY: And then they changed the law. Oh, you know what, we need to change the law again.

STU: And it worked. You know, this is amazing. This goes back to every piece of progressive ideology, as to how to move things around. And I'm not saying -- like, I have no reference for the Confederate flag myself. But the way you move these things is you don't let crises go to waste. There's a crisis. You have an advantage. You have an emotional moment where you can take a couple steps in the direction you want to go. You take it at that time.

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?