Three Things You Need to Know - November 27, 2017

The Digital Currency Revolution

We live in an age of technological disruption. It’s everywhere. Transportation, space flight, manufacturing, retail… everything’s about to change. Some of the changes are happening where you’d least expect it. Even the way we spend, save and invest. Money and currency is going through its own technological revolution, and digital currency is the way of the future.

Bitcoin surged past 9,000 over the weekend. As of right now it’s at 9,750 and moving towards 10,000 per coin faster than analysts and algorithms can keep track of it. It took just seven days for this digital currency to go from 8,000 to 9,000. Coinbase, the largest bitcoin exchange in the US, added over 100,000 accounts JUST IN THE LAST WEEK. All these stats are unprecedented, and they’re only from the past seven days.

In January Bitcoin was at about a 1,000 dollars per coin. It went on to hit EIGHT different 1,000-point milestones this year alone. We’re looking at a 900% increase.

These stats are just for Bitcoin, but all digital currencies are now at all-time highs. Ethereum, Litecoin… they’re all climbing. Now I’m not telling you how to invest your money, and all this could come crashing down any minute. BUT, this appears to be more than just a fad. The technology behind digital currencies is changing the way people are banking all over the world. Blockchain technology is opening up possibilities that were simply unavailable LITERALLY just a few months ago. People with no access to banks can now invest, trade, and spend anonymously, AND they can do it from the comfort of their own personal handheld device. Don’t like banks and bankers? Blockchain and digital currency enables you to be your own. Whether you live in Manhattan or a village in Liberia.

This is all new technology, and - like everything new and startup - it comes with risk. Invest in only what you don’t mind losing immediately. Treat it like going to Vegas, because all of this could take a serious nosedive at any given moment. But change is occurring. Disruption is happening whether we like it or not. Transportation, space flight, manufacturing, retail, and now currency. The time to prepare is now.

The Pelosi Disconnect

Which matters more – principles or power?

It’s easy to say “principles,” when you’re not in power. But for those who are in power, how many can actually say, backed up by their actions, that principles come first?

Is it better to have power, in order to accomplish some really important things for the good of the country, even if it means you violate some principles along the way? A lot of Republicans and Democrats would answer yes.

A year after the presidential election, this continues to be the disturbing trend in America, this win-at-all-cost attitude. We’re leaking principles Left and Right trying to play king of the mountain.

We have an 88-year-old Democrat from Michigan, John Conyers Jr., the longest-serving member of Congress, who gets to secretly settle a sexual harassment complaint, with taxpayer money, and the worst consequence he may face is stepping down from the House Judiciary Committee (which he did yesterday). A second woman has also accused him of sexual harassment.

A couple Democrats have called for him to resign from Congress, but so far Conyers says he won’t. In fact, he plans to fight the sexual harassment allegations against him and regain his spot on the Judiciary Committee. Why? Because winning – power – is more important than principles.

Then we have House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Meet the Press yesterday, awkwardly defending Conyers because he’s an “icon.” I’m not sure being an icon is the best defense to use here.

She also said Conyers deserves “due process.” That’s true – due process is vital. I’m just trying to figure out why “due process” is appropriate in Conyers’ case, while accusers in other cases seem to be taken at their word.

Pelosi went on to say that you can’t equate the Al Franken and Roy Moore sexual harassment allegations. Why is she defending Conyers and Franken? Because power matters more than principles.

What matters most? I’ve been focusing on that question a lot lately. Our principles certainly matter, because they form the bedrock that our free society is built on. When that bedrock of principles fractures, the whole thing crumbles. And we’re feeling the effects of those fractures now.

The Girl Scouts Just Jumped the Shark

You’re a bad parent.

How do I know?

You insisted that your daughter hug her grandma and grandpop when they came over for Thanksgiving dinner.

Bad parent!

Did you know that you are teaching your daughter that she “owes” people physical affection? She will grow up thinking she owes anyone and everyone a hug…or more!

First she’s hugging grandma and then she’s on the streets selling herself!

That’s the ridiculous advice from the leaders of the Girl Scouts, anyway.

They wrote a post over the weekend titled “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays.”

They continue: “Have you ever insisted, “Uncle just got here—go give him a big hug!” or “Auntie gave you that nice toy, go give her a kiss,” when you were worried your child might not offer affection on her own? If yes, you might want to reconsider the urge to do that in the future. Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she “owes” another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.”

In light of the Hollywood sexual harassment claims, the Girl Scouts are trying to get you to start a conversation about consent with your children. It’s up to you to take their advice or not. Every family dynamic is different, but as a parent, it is up to you to decide whether little Tina is just being rude to Uncle Tom by not saying hello and hugging him or your child is uncomfortable for some reason.

If you choose to take the Girl Scouts advice, consider the other side, also. You are making hugging family members and close friends a taboo act and creating fake hysteria about your child’s affection with loved ones.

I have my own advice for the Girl Scouts. Let the parents decide and stick to what you do best. And by that I mean make cookies.

MORE 3 THINGS

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

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The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!