Former GM Executive: People Have 5 Years to Get Their Cars off the Road

An auto industry veterans says that car owners need to “kiss the good times goodbye” because self-driving cars are speedily taking us to the end of an era.

“Everyone will have five years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap or trade it on a module,” former General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz recently declared.

What’s the rush? Lutz believes that autonomous vehicles will take over transportation, starting with ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. He joined the show last week to talk about the self-driving future with Glenn, who wanted to know: What makes this prediction different from when people thought we would have flying cars?

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: I have been -- I have been really trying to bone up on the future and reading a lot of science lately. And I'll share some of that with you in the -- in the coming weeks.

But I firmly believe that as -- when I told you in 2005 that America -- you're going to wake up and you're not even going to recognize your country. That seemed crazy. And I think we're there. I think people are like, I don't even understand this world that I'm living in.

You take that feeling, and, you know, you double that, triple that. That's how you're going to feel. By 2030, life will be completely different on planet earth. Not just the country. But all life. The way we interact with each other. The way we move. Everything. Medicine.

I think we are 15 years away from -- from curing cancer and music dystrophy. There's some bright days on the horizon. But it is going to cause a lot of turmoil, especially if you're not prepared for it.

So I was reading an article from Auto News, and it came from Bob Lutz. It's called, Kiss the Good Times Goodbye.

Bob is quite a credible guy. Retired as vice chairman of General Motors, 47-year career in the global automotive industry, senior leadership positions for four of the world's leading automakers. He was the former vice chairman and head of development at General Motors. His resume is quite long and extensive. But I would rather have you just listen to him. Bob Lutz is joining us now to talk about the future of the auto industry and the automobile.

Bob, how are you, sir?

BOB: Why, thank you, Glenn. You?

GLENN: Great. I'm honored that you would come on the program.

You wrote an amazing story called Kiss the Good Times Goodbye. Where you're talking about how everything is going to change. And you say the automobile is a thing of the past.

BOB: Yeah. And I said, you know, in that article, I said in 20 years, if some people are taking issue with that piece, nobody is taking issue with the future as I outline it. Everybody says, yeah, we accept that. That's the way it's going to be.

I think a lot of people have trouble with my statement, saying it's going to be in 20 years. And, you know, as I look at it, in retrospect, I think, yeah, maybe that is a little overly pessimistic, because, first of all, what I didn't say in the article is that the move to fully autonomous modules that are not controlled by humans, will occur in stages. And that's what one or two of the critics of the article had pointed out. They're quite right.

It will begin first in the urban centers, where human-driven cars will be banned. But in the outlying areas, in the rural countryside, et cetera, et cetera, it will take longer. And the whole thing may take -- instead of 20 years, it may take 30.

GLENN: So, Bob, that is the one thing that I found in your article. Because I thought everything was spot-on. Except you were -- you were talking about fully autonomous vehicles.

BOB: Right.

GLENN: And the problem we have now is the middle of the country is unmapped. And the middle of the country changes so often because we're building and growing, et cetera, et cetera. That it is going to -- it is going to take a long time just to be able to just to map the entire country. Is that the -- is that the problem you're seeing as well?

BOB: No, I don't think the mapping is going to be a problem, because, for instance, one of the -- one of the big mapping companies is a company called Usher. I have to disclose that I'm a board member.

But they have ways now of putting mapping devices on fleet vehicles. You know, big fleets like FedEx, UPS, so forth. So that mapping will be a continuously thing.

Yeah. That's another thing why -- why it will probably go in stages. But I'll tell you what the metro areas are thoroughly mapped. That's where the problem is, with human-driven vehicles, in places like LA and Chicago and so forth. There's so much national productivity lost, sitting in traffic. Not to mention, accidents due to distracted driving, texting, intoxication, and so forth.

GLENN: So, Bob, can you take us -- take us back to the beginning of this. Because there are -- there are several things that are going to change life dramatically. And coming from, you know, a former chair of -- of General Motors, it -- it really carries a lot of weight.

Because you say these are not cars, as we know it. In fact, performance will be a thing of the past. You think that it could wipe out BMW. And, you know, Ferrari, et cetera. Et cetera. As we know it.

Is General Motors -- are they going to be making these pods, or do you see them made by Google?

BOB: Well, I don't think Google knows how to manufacture. They're good at software. But somebody else will -- they'll be the transportation -- the enablers, the transportation providers. But the so-called modules will be made by companies that know how to do that, at low cost. And that will be the global automobile companies. Except, what's going to be gone is the whole brand value of automobiles.

You know, mine is more expensive. Mine is more prestigious. Mine comes from Germany. That's all going to be gone because these -- these driverless or control-less, autonomous modules, which of necessity have to be all pretty much the same shape, they are -- they're going to be manufactured to -- to the low bidder. And the bids are going to be placed by the big transportation companies. And I fully expect that Uber and Lyft and so forth, and other companies, maven will be among the big fleets who are the value providers.

But General Motors gets it because General Motors has -- owns a piece of Lyft. Owns Maven. And so forth. So General Motors is a company that understands that capturing the value is no longer going to be in the sale of the car. Capturing the value is going to be providing the down -- the downstream transportation service.

GLENN: So I've always been impressed, Bob, by the history of General Motors. You know, they -- they've -- you know, Ford gets -- Ford gets all the credit for the assembly line. But it was actually the former chairman of Chevy that was working for Henry Ford that actually put it together in a workable way. They also were -- were Fisher Carriage originally. And when they saw the assembly line finally work. They said, okay. We got to get out of the horse and buggy business. And we're going to make automobiles. So they've already transformed once. You see them on the cutting edge of transforming a second time?

BOB: I do. I think General Motors has a bigger reservoir of highly skilled people than any other automobile company on the planet. Sometimes, you know, the -- with the so-called bean counters, as I like to call them, tend to inhibit creativity in the interest of short-term profitability. So every company goes through those faces. But I will tell you, when it comes to technological capability and just basic smarts, I don't think there's any match for General Motors out there. They're really good.

GLENN: So, Bob, what does -- because right now, people are trying to get their arms around Tesla.

BOB: Yeah.

GLENN: Which can drive itself, et cetera. Et cetera. But you're still looking at a Tesla that looks like a car and everything else. What does the car of the future look like?

BOB: Well, first of all, just a word on the Tesla system. The Tesla system relies on sensors. It's not very autonomous. It requires the drivers hand to be on the wheel at times, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Whereas, Cadillac SuperCruise will now take you from Chicago to New York or LA to San Francisco, without you ever touching the wheel.

So on vehicle autonomy, General Motors is ahead too.

GLENN: Didn't know that.

BOB: Yeah, no. A lot of people don't. And -- and also, what most of the -- the reason why some companies seem to be a little slower is that they understand the value of embedded digital super pre-sizing. That means down to four inches, max. And Tesla up to now does not use that.

They're using a lot of eyes and ears in the car. Whereas, the GM approach is to put in -- is to do this super precise mapping, to where if there were no obstacles, the car could actually get from Detroit to Chicago, without any sensors. Because the car knows so precisely, down to 4 inches, where it is at all times. The only thing you need the sensors for is other objects.

So you go from the Tesla sensing system. It's got to see everything. It's got to see curb stones. It's got to see potholes. It's got to see trees in addition to objects that are in the road.

If you have a sufficiently accurately embedded map, all you need is sensors to tell you -- like for a blind person, he's got to know that the dog is lying in its path.

GLENN: So the Tesla will see a pothole. But the GM will not see a pothole?

BOB: No, no. It will see it also because it will be in the map.

GLENN: You're mapping potholes?

BOB: Well, it's down to 4 inches. When they do freeway, they do every lane separately on a freeway.

GLENN: Wow. Holy cow.

Okay. So, Bob, we haven't even begun to scratch the surface. I need to take a quick break, and then we'll come back with Bob Lutz, author of Icons and Idiots. Straight talk on leadership. In just a second. A guy you really need to listen to.

GLENN: Former vice chairman and head of development at General Motors, Bob Lutz wrote an article, kiss the good times goodbye. He says, the end state will be a fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You'll call for it. It will arrive at your location. You get in, input your destination, and go on the freeway. On the freeway, it will merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules, traveling at 120 to 150 miles an hour.

Bob, why is the average person hearing this kind of stuff, and they're not keeping up with technology? What makes this different than the prediction of flying cars?

BOB: Well, flying cars, you wind up either with a lousy airplane, or a lousy automobile. But it's very hard to ever get flying cars right.

And, by the way, as I never tire of saying and I remind my automotive friends of this, vehicle autonomy is actually easier -- full vehicle autonomy is easier to obtain in the 3D space than it is on two-dimensional surfaces. If you have like an autonomous helicopter/taxi service that connects the inner city to the airport, just shuttles back and forth, that from a technological and software-control standpoint to solve is far easier, far easier than doing it on a surface roadway.

So, yeah, there will be -- there will be a lot of flying modules that operate in three-dimensional space, probably from ground level up to about 1,000 feet so that they don't interfere with regular air traffic and can stay at the FAA system.

So, no, your comment was a very -- a very astute one. It will be both.

GLENN: I -- I -- there are people that I think -- the vast majority of Americans can't get their arms around how different life will be, by 2030, including their jobs.

BOB: Yeah.

GLENN: Can you go into that at all?

BOB: Well, a friend of mine was -- with IBM advanced systems development system in the '60s. And they forecasted that by the year 2000, you know, they were off in their timing, we would have a largely cybernated society, with machines producing machines, machines designing machines, machines maintaining machines. And a lot of -- and a lot of the wealth in the world being created basically fully -- fully automatically, without human intervention. And what do we do then?

And even IBM in the mid-60s postulated that what we were going to have to do is so much wealth is being produced by so little human input, that we would evolve a system where people essentially get a guaranteed annual salary, just to do nothing. Which would enable them to open a little cobbler store --

GLENN: Right.

BOB: Or start making violins again. All things that have disappeared. So I do believe that's going to happen. I mean, medicine can largely be replaced by technology. And --

GLENN: So, Bob, hold on just a second. I want to pick it up right there. And how life is changing. And what it means to the average person.

GLENN: We are lucky enough to have Bob Lutz on. He is the former vice chairman and head of development at General Motors, who wrote an awesome article that you really need to read, Kiss The Good Times Goodbye. Everyone will have five years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap in the future. He says that we are -- we are not going to be driving our cars. And our cars are not going to look anything like they look now. In fact, they'll all pretty much be the same. And -- and you won't own one.

And, Bob, talk to me a little bit about what time of day to change in the mindset of Americans. You know, Americans have always loved their car. It's personal to them.

BOB: Yep.

GLENN: And we also -- you know, we're a performance generation. The new Dodge Demon, zero to 60 in 3.2 second, 850-horsepower, we like that stuff.

BOB: Well, I like it too. But it's unfortunately increasingly incompatible with the prime reason we have cars. The others are just sociopsychological reasons. They're kind of side benefits of vehicle ownership.

The primary purpose of cars, of course, is surface efficient -- safe surface transportation. And sad to say, the automobile as we know it today is increasingly failing in those areas, because we have so much congestion. And because people -- they're not all enthusiastic drivers. A lot of them like to text, take drugs, drink, watch -- watch TV on their smartphones, or engage in other risky behavior that has nothing to do with the safe --

GLENN: So I can see -- I can see us regulate it out. That in 20 years, you can't drive. You know, I don't believe my kids, who are young, you know, 11 and 13, are going to be driving very long in their life, just because of Uber, et cetera, et cetera. But this is coming. We'll regulate it out.

But what I can't get around is how the average American says I don't want a car anymore. But I see that happening with millennials. But a bigger stumbling block is people like General Motors. You guys make a ton of money on lending.

BOB: Yeah, well, that could continue. And there's nothing to be said that the automobile companies cannot lend to the big fleets like Uber and Lyft, just like GMC does now. You know, so I fully expect to see smart car companies survive. But they'll -- they'll just survive in a different form. And --

GLENN: Who do you think is -- who do you think survives, and who doesn't survive in?

BOB: Well, I would say the big companies that can produce efficiently and produce high quality at low costs. And basically produce an unbranded product that will be branded. Lyft or Uber or maven or whatever. They'll survive.

It will be tougher for the small specialty companies that have sold on image. You know --

GLENN: Give me an example. Because when you're talking about General Motors. I don't know what you mean by a small company.

BOB: Well, specialty manufacturers like Maserati. Maybe even BMW or Mercedes. Which you have to ask yourself, do those companies add any value in the basic transportation function, or do they fail because of a whole series of social beliefs and aura that's attached -- attached to the brand, an aura of superiority that's attached to German origin and so forth? Well, when all these things are branded, Uber and Lyft and whatever, a brand is not going to matter.

GLENN: But there is a difference -- there is a difference between getting into -- you know, getting into a Dodge and getting into a Mercedes. It does -- even if you strip it of all of its symbols, there is a difference in the quality of the vehicle. Is there not?

BOB: Well, in terms of -- yeah, maybe the materials are a little nicer. And the seat fabric is a little nicer. But at the end of the day, in terms of performing the transportation function, that's basically the primal reason we have automobiles for it, is human -- efficient rapid safe human surface transportation, in two dimensions.

You know, in major urban areas, the automobile as we have it today, not so much the car, but the people that are operating it -- and it's an integral part of the equation, increasingly failing in that task. And autonomous modules that are short. Not driver controlled. Do not depend on human reaction, where the person in front of you at a traffic light takes four seconds to wake up that the light has turned green. None of that's going to happen anymore, and we'll save enormous amounts of productive time for the whole economy.

GLENN: So you say that just like horses aren't used anymore, but rich people have racehorses, you say that the Ferraris, et cetera, et cetera, will be -- will be had by the uber rich. Will that be used on a race track?

BOB: Well, no. First of all, I didn't say racehorses in general. I said you have to use the analogy of horses, in general, so that there will be off-road dude ranches for four-by-fours. There will be privately owned tracks where you can drive any car. Some of these might be public, like public golf courses, where you have to demonstrate that you can drive. And if you can drive, you can buy an hour or two on the track.

So the car hobby will continue to exist. It's just not going to continue to exist on public roads. And I don't think -- these -- these places are cropping up all over the United States already. There's one in Michigan, in Pontiac, called M1 Concourse. There's one in Illinois. Autobahn. One in New York called Monticello. And so forth. And you buy -- you basically buy -- it's like a country club.

GLENN: Yeah.

BOB: You pay an initiation fee, and then you pay your dues membership. You can actually leave your cars out there.

And there will be manufacturers that continue to cater to that market. The nice thing about those cars, is they'll be totally regulation free. You can make them any way you want, because since they're not on the highways, the feds in the local states have no jurisdiction over it.

GLENN: So, Bob, as I look into basically what IBM said would happen by the year 2000 -- they were off by probably 30 years, but we are moving in that direction. And as I -- I see the rate of change that is coming, the best thing we can teach our children is that change is constant. And to -- and to not cement their thinking into anything. To always be looking for new things and experiencing new things.

I don't know how to teach that even.

BOB: Oh, it's not being taught. In fact, the liberal establishment is teaching exactly the opposite. I mean, every time some species happens to fade away out of the ocean or the rivers, it's considered a major tragedy, because these people behave like, okay. So the world is millions of years old, but now it's finished. And, you know, the world is never finished. It's in constant state of flux and mutation. And the same thing is true for society and technological progress.

You know, I've been asked to describe automotive transportation 150 years from now -- you know what I tell them? I said, we won't even travel anymore. It will all be virtual.

GLENN: So, Bob, what -- if you are somebody who is working in anything that involves an automobile now, what should you be working on? What should you be thinking?

How can you prepare, if that is your livelihood? And, second, how can we prepare our kids?

What should we be teaching our kids now, to prepare them for a different America?

BOB: Well, I think you put it right. You've got to teach people that change is a constant, other than death and taxes. The third thing that's for certain is change. We have to make people comfortable with it. As far as if you're working in the automotive or automotive related industry, keep your -- keep your nose to the grindstone. Learn as much as you can about autonomy. Be prepared for a change.

But, you know, this is going to be a gradual transition. So most of the people working in the industry today will live out their -- they'll live out their careers in the automotive industry. It's not like it's all going to happen in five years. But as we were saying earlier, happen at will. And again, I think you said it right, when it comes to teaching our kids what's important, you have to teach them about the inevitably of change.

GLENN: Bob Lutz, it is an honor to talk to you. And thank you so much for all of the work that you do with Marines and our service men and women. We're -- we're appreciative to -- for what you've done.

BOB: Thank you, Glenn. I'm surprised you know about my Marine Corps service.

GLENN: We do our homework. We do our homework. So thank you, sir. God bless you. Bob Lutz.

Former vice chairman of General Motors and had of development at General Motors.

STU: Incredible. I mean, the vision of that future. You think of all the things that would need to change. You know, we've been talking about a trillion dollar stimulus bill, over the past year or so, in Washington.

How differently should that money be spent, if it were to be spent, when thinking about

GLENN: No, you talk to people. Because I have. You talk to people in Washington now. They wouldn't even understand what he's saying. And I believe he's too pessimistic on the time line.

STU: You think 20 years is not too far out?

GLENN: I think -- no, I think 15 years is right on the money. And it may be changing -- he might be -- I might be wrong on the banning of cars. But we will, by 2030, we will be talking about that seriously. And I don't know when the technology really cements itself. But by 2030, you won't recognize -- you will not recognize your life. You will not recognize the country.

STU: Well, you think how fast this stuff happens. The i Phone was released ten years ago, ten. I mean, think of how different the world is because of that invention and others like it. And I think a lot of people look at that stuff and they think, eh, it's so far in the future. And, you know what, people aren't going to accept those changes.

GLENN: Yeah, they are.

STU: And Bob outlines it really well in his article. You don't have to. You know who is going to do it for you? Amazon. Google. Lyft. Apple. All these things are going to buy these things in the hundreds of thousands. And they have so much power and so much influence, that over time, it's going to change not only the market -- why are companies going to keep building these things for individuals when they can sell hundreds of thousands to large companies? But also through regulation. These companies are already huge donors, huge lobbyists. They're already moving policy like crazy. And as this stuff happens, and they're the ones manufacturing those cars, it's going to move fast.

GLENN: And you also see -- if you look at any of the trends of millennials, they're not buying cars. They're just not buying cars like we used to. When I was a kid and I turned 16, I was dreaming about my first car. That's not happening now. It's just not the same. And they're looking at cars and saying, why would I carry that load? Why would I want one? Especially in bigger cities, when I could Uber. And it will happen in the cities first.

But it will eventually -- it will eventually hit everywhere. And it's going to come faster than you think.

Glenn Beck: Adam Schiff is a LIAR — and we have the proof

Image source: Glenn Beck Program on BlazeTV

On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck didn't hold back when discussing the latest in a long list of lies issued by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) during the Democrats' ongoing endeavor to remove President Donald Trump from office.

"I'm going to just come out and say, Adam Schiff is a liar. And he intentionally lied. And we have the proof. The media being his little lapdog, but I'll explain what's really going on, and call the man a liar to his face," Glenn asserted. "No, I'm not suggesting he's a liar. No, I'm telling you, he's a liar. ... Adam Schiff is a lying dirtbag."

A recent report in Politico claimed Schiff "mischaracterized" the content of a document sent to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) as evidence against President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. Read more on this here.

"Let me translate [for Politico]," Glenn said. "House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff lied about a text message exchange between two players in the Ukrainian saga. And we know it, because of the documents that were obtained by Politico."

A few of the other lies on Schiff's list include his repeated false claims that there was "significant evidence of collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election, his phony version of President Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine, and his retracted claim that neither he nor his committee ever had contact with the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower. And the list just keeps getting longer.

Watch the video below for more details:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere discussed recent reports that former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, wasn't the only family member to capitalize on his connections to land an unbelievably lucrative job even though he lacked qualifications or experience.

According to Peter Schweizer's new book, "Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America's Progressive Elite," Joe Biden's younger brother, Frank, enjoyed the benefit of $54 million in taxpayer loans during the Obama administration to try his hand at an international development venture.

A lawyer by training, Frank Biden teamed up with a developer named Craig Williamson to build a sprawling luxury resort in Costa Rica, which claimed to be on a mission to preserve the country's forests but actually resulted in the decimation of thousands of acres of wilderness.

The then-vice president's brother also reportedly earned hundreds of thousands of dollars as the front man of a for-profit charter school company called Mavericks in Education.

The charter schools, which focused on helping at-risk teens, eventually failed after allegations of mismanagement and a series of lawsuits derailed the dubious business venture.

Watch the video below to get Glenn's take on these latest revelations in the Biden family corruption saga:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Ryan: Bernie at the disco

Photo by Sean Ryan

Saturday at El Malecón, we waited for the Democratic socialist. He had the wild white hair like a monk and the thick glasses and the booming voice full of hacks and no niceties.

Photo by Sean Ryan

The venue had been redecorated since we visited a few nights before when we chatted with Castro. It didn't even feel like the same place. No bouncy castle this time.

Photo by Sean Ryan

A black curtain blocked the stage, giving the room a much-needed depth.

Behind the podium, two rows of mostly young people, all holding Bernie signs, all so diverse and picturesque and strategic.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Lots of empty seats. Poor showing of Bernie fans for a Saturday afternoon. At one point, someone from Bernie's staff offered us seats in the audience, as if eager to fill up those seats however possible.

There were about 75 people in the dancehall, a place built for reunions and weddings and all those other festivities. But for a few hours on Saturday, August 10, 2019, it turned serious and wild for "Unidos Con Bernie."

Photo by Sean Ryan

People had been murmuring about Sanders' speech from the night before at Wing Ding. By all appearances, he had developed a raving lust to overthrow Trump. He had even promised, with his wife just out of view, that, were he elected, he'd end white nationalism in America. For good.

El Malecón lacked its previous air of celebration. It had undertaken a brooding yet defiant spirit. Media were sparse. Four cameras faced the podium. Three photographers, one of whom had been at nearly all the same events as us. A few of the staffers frowned at an empty row of chairs, because there weren't that many chairs to begin with.

At the entrance, Bernie staff handed out headsets that translated English to Spanish or Spanish to English, depending on who the speaker was. The translators stood behind the bar, 20 feet from the podium, and spoke into a lip-ribbon microphone.

Bernie's staff was probably the coolest, by far. As in, they looked cool and acted stylishly. Jeans. Sandals. Careworn blazers. Tattoos. One lad had a black Levi's shirt with lush crimson roses even though he wasn't a cowboy or a ranch-hand. Mustaches. Quirky hats. A plain green sundress. Some of them wore glasses, big clunking frames.

Photo by Sean Ryan

The outfits were distinctly Bernie. As Bernie as the tie-dyed "BERNIE" shirts for sale outside the club. Or later, at the Hilton, like a Grateful Dead cassette stand.

Immigration was the theme, and everyone in the audience bore some proof of a journey. Because America offers life, freedom, and hope.

Sanders' own father emigrated from Poland to America at 17, a high school dropout who could barely speak English. As a Jew, he'd faced religious persecution.

Within one generation, Bernie Sanders' father contributed to the highest stratum of American society. In one generation, near hopelessness had transformed into Democracy, his son a congressman with a serious chance at the presidency.

Photo by Sean Ryan

That's the beauty of America. Come here broken and empty and gutted and voiceless. And, within your lifetime, you can mend yourself then become a pillar of society. Then, your son can become the President of the United States of America!

Four people gave speeches before Sanders. They took their time, excited and nervous. They putzed. Because how often do you get to introduce a presidential frontrunner?

All the native English speakers jammed their earpieces when the woman with the kind and dark energy took the stage.

Photo by Sean Ryan

She mumbled in Spanish and did not look up and said that, when her parents died, she couldn't go home for the funeral. She fought back tears. She swallowed hard to shock herself calm. And the room engulfed each silence between every word.

It felt more like a therapy session than a political rally. A grueling therapy session at that. Was that what drew people to Bernie Sanders, that deep anguish? That brisk hope? Or, rather, the cessation of it, through Sanders? And, of course, the resultant freedom? Was it what gave Sanders a saintlike ability to lead people into the realm of the confessional? Did he have enough strength to lead a revolution?

Photo by Sean Ryan

While other frontrunners hocked out money for appearances, like the studio lights, Sanders spent money on translators and ear-pieces. The impression I got was that he would gladly speak anywhere. To anyone. He had the transitory energy you can capture in the writings of Gandhi.

Photo by Sean Ryan

I'm not saying he's right or wrong — I will never make that claim, about any of the candidates, because that's not the point of this, not the point of journalism, amen — what I'm saying is he has the brutal energy of someone who can take the subway after a soiree or rant about life by a tractor or chuck it up with Sarah Silverman, surrounded wherever he goes.

Without the slightest fanfare, Sanders emerged from behind the black curtain. The woman at the podium gasped a little. The room suctioned forward when he entered. In part because he was so nonchalant. And, again. That magnetism to a room when a famous or powerful or charming person enters. Not many people have it. Not many can keep it. Even fewer know how to brace it, to cull it on demand. But several of the candidates did. One or two even had something greater.

Photo by Sean Ryan

I'll only say that Bernie had it with a bohemian fervor, like he was a monk stranded in a big city that he slowly brings to God.

"We have a President who, for the first time in my lifetime, who is a President who is a racist," he shouted. "Who is a xenophobe and anti-immigrant. Who is a sexist. Who is a religious bigot. And who, is a homophobe. And, what is very disappointing is that, when we have a President, we do not necessarily expect to agree with him, or her, on every issue. But we do believe that one of the obligations is to bring people to-geth-ah. As Americans."

Photo by Sean Ryan

After listening silently for several minutes, the audience clapped. Their sweet response felt cultish. But, then again, what doesn't feel cultish these days? So this was cultish like memes are cultish, in a striving-to-understand kind of way.

"The essence of our campaign is in fact to bring people together," he said. "Whether they're black, or white, or latino, or Native American, or Asian-American. We understand that we are Americans."

At times, this meant sharing a common humanity. Others, it had a slightly more disruptive feel. Which worked. Sometimes all we want is revolution. To be wild without recourse. To overthrow. To pass through the constraints of each day. To survive. The kind of rowdy stuff that makes for good poetry but destroys credit lines. Sanders radiated with this intensity, like a reclusive philosopher returning to society, from his cave to homes and beds and fences and maybe electricity.

Photo by Sean Ryan

But, as he says, his revolution would involve healthcare and wages and tuition, not beheadings and purges and starvation.

Seeing the Presidential candidates improvise was amazing. They did it constantly. They would turn any of their beliefs into a universal statement. And Sanders did this without trying. So he avoided doing the unbearably arrogant thing of pretending to speak like a native Guatemalan, and he looked at the group of people, and he mumbled in his cloudy accent:

"My Spanish — is not so good."

Photo by Sean Ryan

This is the same and the opposite of President Trump's Everyman way of speaking English like an American. Of speaking American.

Often, you know what Sanders will say next. You can feel it. And, anytime this happened, it brought comfort to the room.

Like, it surprised no one when he said that he would reinstate DACA on his first day in office. It still drew applause.

But other times, he expressed wild ideas with poetic clarity. And his conclusions arrived at unusual junctures. Not just in comparison to Republicans. To all of them. Bernie was the Tupac of the 2020 election. And, to him, President Trump was Suge Knight, the evil force behind it all.

"Donald Trump is an idiot," he shouted.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Everybody loved that. Everybody clapped and whooped and some even whistled like they were outside and not in a linoleum-floor dancehall.

"Go get 'em, Bernie," someone in the back shouted.

This was the only Sanders appearance with no protestors.

"Let me say this about the border," he shouted. And everybody listened to every thunking syllable. He probably could have spoken without a mic. Booming voice. Loud and clear. Huddling into that heavy Vermont slug accent.

They'll say many many things about Bernie. One being, you never had to lean forward to hear him. In person, even more so. He's less frail. More dynamic.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Despite the shoddiness of the venue, there was a sign language interpreter. Most of the rallies had a designated interpreter.

"If you work 40 hours a week you shouldn't be living in poverty," he shouted, provoking chants and applause from the audience, as if he were talking about them. Maybe he was.

An anecdote about the people at an emergency food shelf blended into the livable wage of $15 an hour. He shifted into his spiel about tuition-free college and pointed at the audience, "You're not doing well," then at the kids behind him, "they are." He craned his head sideways and back. "Do your homework," he told said.

Laughter.

Half of the kids looked like they hadn't eaten in days. Maybe it was their unusual situation, a few feet from Bernie Sanders at a stucco community center.

Before the room could settle, Sanders wove through a plan for how to cancel debt.

Did he have a solution?

Tax Wall Street, he shouted.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And he made it sound easy. "Uno dos trey," he said. "That's my Spanish for today."

A serious man, he shoved through his speech like a tank hurtling into dense jungle. He avoided many of the typical politician gimmicks. Proof that he did not practice every expression in front of a mirror. That he did not hide his accent. That he did not preen his hair. That he did not smile for a precise amount of time, depending on the audience. That he did not pretend to laugh.

Photo by Sean Ryan

He laughed when humor overtook him. But it was genuine. With none of the throaty recoil you hear in forced laughter.

"I want everyone to take a deep breath," he said. And a palpable lightness spread through the room, because a deep breath can solve a lot of problems.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Then he roused some more. "Healthcare is a human right," he shouted. "A human privilege," he shouted. He told them that he lives 50 miles from the Canadian border in Burlington, Vermont, and healthcare works better up north.

Each candidate had a bad word, and Sanders' was "corporate."

Photo by Sean Ryan

At every speech, he mentioned "corporate media" with the same distrust and unpleasantness that conservatives derive from the term "mainstream media." Another would be "fake news," as popularized by Sanders' sworn enemy. Either way it's the same media. Just different motivations that irk different people.

But the discrepancies varied. Meaning two opposing political movements disliked the same thing, but for opposite reasons.
It sounded odd, Sanders' accusation that the media were against him. The media love Bernie. I can confirm this both anecdotally and judiciously. Yes, okay, in 2016, the media appeared to have sided with Hillary Clinton. As a result, Sanders was publicly humiliated. Because Clinton took a mafioso approach to dealing with opponents, and Sanders was her only roadblock.

Imagine if a major political organization devoted part of each day to agitating your downfall. And then you fail. And who's fault is it?

Sanders wanted to know: those negative ads targeting him, who paid for them?

Photo by Sean Ryan

Corporations, of course. Corporations that hated radicals like him. And really was he so radical? He listed off the possibilities: Big pharma, insurance companies, oil companies.

Because he had become a revolutionary, to them. To many.

He said it with certainty, although he often didn't have to say it at all. This spirit of rebellion had become his brand. He would lead the wild Americans into a utopia.

But just as quickly, he would attack. Trump, as always, was the target.

He called Trump the worst president in American history.

"The fates are Yuge," he shouted.

The speech ended as informally as it had begun. And Sanders' trance over the audience evaporated, replaced by that suction energy. Everyone rushed closer and closer to the man as Neil Young's "Keep on Rockin in the Free World" blared. Sanders leaned into the podium and said, "If anyone wants to form a line, we can do some selfies."

Photo by Sean Ryan

It was like meeting Jesus for some of the people.

There he was, at El Malecón. No stage lights, no makeup, no stylist behind the curtain. Just him and his ideas and his erratic hand commotion.

Then a man holding a baby leaned in for a photo. He and Sanders chatted. And, I kid you not, the whole time the baby is staring at Bernie Sanders like he's the image of God, looking right up at him, with this glow, this understanding.

Bernie, if you're reading this, I'd like to suggest that — if this election doesn't work for you — you could be the next Pope.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Monday, Harvard Law professor and lawyer on President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team Alan Dershowitz explains the history of impeachment and its process, why the framers did not include abuse of power as criteria for a Constitutional impeachment, why the Democrats are framing their case the way they are, and what to look for in the upcoming Senate trial.

Dershowitz argued that "abuse of power" -- one of two articles of impeachment against Trump approved by House Democrats last month -- is not an impeachable act.

"There are two articles of impeachment. The second is 'obstruction of Congress.' That's just a false accusation," said Dershowitz. "But they also charge him, in the Ukraine matter, with abuse of power. But abuse of power was discussed by the framers (of the U.S. Constitution) ... the framers refused to include abuse of power because it was too broad, too open-ended.

"In the words of James Madison, the father of our Constitution, it would lead presidents to serve at the will of Congress. And that's exactly what the framers didn't want, which is why they were very specific and said a president can be impeached only for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," he added.

"What's alleged against President Trump is not criminal," added Dershowitz. "If they had criminal issues to allege, you can be sure they would have done it. If they could establish bribery or treason, they would have done it already. But they didn't do it. They instead used this concept of abuse of power, which is so broad and general ... any president could be charged with it."

Watch the video below to hear more details:



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