Ryan: Trump and the Louisiana funhouse

Part 1

The police car sharked onto Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, strobing blue and red and white and wailing like a baby with a fever.

"I don't like it when they catch me," I said, slapping the dashboard. The same way President Trump slaps the dias at his rallies, glowering behind the decorous seal and the slanted glass teleprompters and the mayhem of a teenage nation.

This was outside Arcadia, Louisiana, about a potholed hour from Monroe, Louisiana, where we currently needed to be. Myself and fellow journalist Jade Byers, who needed a break from the story she'd just begun, an ethnography of Texas State Fair carneys.

Media check-in for the Keep America Great rally would end at 5:00 p.m and it was 4:00 p.m., and it wasn't the sort of occasion you could be late for, so in the afternoon pallor all I wanted was to keep driving, on and on and on past nowhere.

"Just slam the gas," said Jade, "ahead of that semi."

But life was no movie. Especially not in Louisiana, land of corruption and sky-high incarceration. And jail is awful. So we both shrugged, and I guided my white Subaru to the side of the bare grey highway.

We'd just been discussing the nature of justice. Was it a form of truth? Or an attempt to enforce it? I sensed that Louisiana was not just. Did you know that it has the highest murder rate in the nation? Later, Trump would bring this up, and, because Trump is a man of superlatives, it spun all the journalists into a fact-check scramble. Sure enough. Number One.

My mind had wandered, as usual. With a blink, I snapped back. This was no time for fanciful thoughts about justice.

The State Trooper pointed for me to get out of the car, then to the woody embankment 15 yards from the road. He pointed in that way that police could point but politicians are not supposed to because it sends the wrong message. Aggressive, capable of violence.

I loved it, every bit of it. Confrontation is lovely. So I strode to the cop in my white Birkenstocks and my stained white "Music for 18 Musicians" t-shirt and my white jeans, looking so much like a Millenial Big Lebowski.

The trooper had already started writing the ticket when he asked where we were going and why. His eyebrows sprouted when I told him I was a reporter for Blaze Media covering the Trump rally in Monroe, where, that very moment, Secret Service had begun letting the first round of rally-goers into the Monroe Civic Center.

"You work for Glenn Beck?" he asked. Then lowered his glasses and scoped me over again. "You're messin' with me."

At the sight of my press badge, he restrained a smile, as if fighting an eagerness to speak freely.

"I am not allowed to talk politics," he said, "being an guardian of the state and all."

Well I'd never heard anything like that and I suspected it was horseshit, so I smiled as he proceeded, unabashedly, to talk politics.
"Glennnnn-Beck," he said, ending with a "Hm." And, right on cue, "I listen to ole Glenn in the mornings, and Stu."

They're my bosses, I said. He liked that pretty well.

"You going to Shreveport too?" he asked. So I nodded and grinned and pretended to know what he was talking about. I smiled the way you smile when everyone around is speaking a language you've never heard and it's time to get going but nobody understands you.

Trump would mention Shreveport later. "I'm coming back here on Thursday, can you believe it?" he said. "I'm doing a double — I'm doing a double." Just six days after the Monroe rally, he would return to Louisiana, and so would I, this time with Jim Dale, an author and lifelong sailor.

Louisiana felt like a State Fair house-of-mirrors. Some kind of warp. Too much of yourself then none of you at all. A ghost following a helium-choked balloon. The homes seemed to rise from nothing, all shadows and grey shrub as if misshapen on purpose. And a wide shaggy green overtook the bare hills. Even the sky, the way it tilted, like a petri dish of glittery dark.

Much of America has untouched land and old-world buildings, but nowhere else I'd been left me feeling so indescribably odd. Not quite sad, but certainly not happy. Like when strangers in a dream know everything about you, and nobody acknowledges why or how.

*

The Trooper shifted in his tall shiny black boots. Was he still talking about Trump? Boy, I zoned out pretty hard. It was Wednesday and I could flip a coin for days.

"He sure has done a lot for the elections here," he concluded.

Then he gave me a rundown of the political situation in Louisiana. Explained how run-offs work, and why a Republican would be good for the roads and oceans or something, and how a majority was counted a little different in Louisiana. Something like that — I don't know. It was all so boring.

How long had we been standing there? Never in my life had I been so bored.

At the time, the big meme was "OK Boomer," which Generation Z used to disparage the Boomer Generation as part of a feud that popped up for no discernible reason, and which I hated because the joke was kind of mean and never funny yet all four generations kept repeating it and repeating it like big dumb squawking parrots. But in that moment, I understood it. And, may God forgive me, but I whispered that disrespectful phrase.

And I had to pretend to be interested, in case he got the urge to search my car. Whereupon he would find marijuana concentrate and sativa gummies. Paraphernalia. Not a ton. Not much, even. But enough. Some unopened beers, a flask. No guns, but a few knives. An ordinary amount of knives.

All of which would land me a night in the clink, no doubt.

And who had the time or the money for that. Not me, with a Trump rally to cover and a fiery career and a pregnant wife with our two dogs at home, waiting.

Then I felt rotten for getting bored while the guy was talking. The man risked his life every day just so he could protect the community. Never mind the exorbitant ticket. What was $300 when this guy risked everything every day?

You were supposed to listen to people when they trusted or admired you. To care. To give them a chance, no matter their rank or stature or political affiliation. Especially the police.

Before, in situations like these, I resorted to military-style salutes, gestures I had seen as a child in cartoons. However you were meant to signify honor. I was not a military type. But I felt a great reverence for them and their service and whatnot.

Turns out, that's not how they do it at all. The salute, the hard stomp down with the heel, the huge grunt, the serious face, the violent turns of the waist, the gibberish that sounded like military phrases.

So I didn't salute anymore, but that didn't make it any easier not to salute. Usually I boiled and boiled till all of a sudden I was shouting out a long-winded, hard-to-follow story. So I told him what it's like to work at Mercury Studios.

"We've got the Forrest Gump bench," I said. "For a while it was in the dining area and, one time, I saw an intern sitting on it, eating a burrito. We have the original Darth Vader mask, too. And Dorothy's shiny red shoes that were supposed to be silver."
His face spread in all four directions, like I was a child reciting Socrates.

"And the tree from Barney, you know, that dinosaur kids show? And JFK and Robocop and an Eric Clapton video and Guns 'N' Roses, all filmed there. And a few months ago Sean Spicer stopped by. Before all the Dancing with the Stars drama. Interesting people are constantly stopping by. Pat Boone told me that Elvis had stage fright. But, between you and me, I think Pat Boone has stage fright."

I don't care who you are, all of that is fascinating. So I yammered on about this election series and justice, ignoring the trooper's polite impatience. He'd stopped me so the least he could do was listen to my weird story.

Secretly, I wanted to rip the ticket from his gloved hand and wad it up and toss it into the grass below my feet. It was paper. I would litter. It would vanish and no harm done, anonymous among all the other garbage of Louisiana.

There are places where nothing is wasted. America is not one of them.

*

Jade slumped in the car, fidgeting. We'd never talked about it but I assumed she didn't like police all that much. I get it. Usually, when the police show up, someone's day is about to plummet. But I like them, personally. Which I made sure to tell the trooper again, as he blabbed about some recent mayoral election.

Then I laughed, because this situation had gotten pretty funny. There I was on the side of a highway named after former President Ronald Reagan, on my way to see current President Donald Trump, my hair dismantled by the violent wind of a passing semi-truck, as a Louisiana state trooper in a prim uniform gave me a civics lesson.

It was just barely November, and the cold had not descended. Not in the sunshine at least, all pale orange and soft still.

"Trump sure seems to be doing a lot of things right," said the state trooper. "Jobs, economy, all that. And as you know, he's a friend of the police."

Was that a wink? Best to wink back. WINK! A good one.

Oh great now my eye was twitching into rapidfire winks. Too many winks. Veering into sexual wink territory. Oh this will not end well. This will not end will. He will misread my winking and then what? Nothing good. But it stopped, thank God.

Then I spat out some crap about Trump and NATO, something that I'd heard someone at the studio say, something about the parameters of heroism and Milton What's-his-name.

Around us, the aroma of tree bark. Deciduous perfume. A piney landscape that rose out of mud. Forested swamp lined with rivers purging toward a fat, chubby delta. That was where freshwater meets the ocean. Or the other way around.

"Well anyway, here's your ticket, Mr. Ryan. You have a nice day." Then he, a real tough guy, smiled. That was pretty neat.

By habit, I was about to wink but stopped just in time.

Then, he paused, grabbed the ticket. Rip it, rip it, rip it. Be wild, my man. Rip. Rip.

But he just rewrote the station's telephone number, as if to say "Maybe things can change." Not justice. It could not change. Not for me, not in Louisiana. Not under God and all the angels that don't have a gender.

Plus, we all know I wasn't going to pay the ticket anyway. Better to just never return to Louisiana. Drive around it if need be. Fly over. And once the police car was out of view, I stomped on the gas pedal and we were lawless again. Like a comet, friend. A comet.

Welcome back to the election series. New installments are going to be Monday through Thursday leading up to the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

5 ways to protect your First Amendment rights. Number 4 will surprise you.

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Every day it seems Glenn covers another story revealing how people across the world at all levels of power DESPISE the fact that YOU have rights, and they are actively trying to curtail them. Recently, there has been a string of attacks against the rights outlined in the First Amendment: the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom of press, the freedom of assembly, and the freedom to petition.

As a refresher, the First Amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

This is powerful stuff, there is a good reason the Founding Fathers made it the FIRST Amendment. It's also the reason why power-hungry elites are attacking it. These attacks are designed to control the way you think, speak, and believe, vote, what you read, and who holds your representatives responsible. The First Amendment is our strongest weapon against tyrants, and they know it.

So what can you do about it? Hope that some wig in Washinton will eventually do something? We know how well that works. The best thing to do is to stay active, engage in the issues you care about, and exercise your rights.

So where to start? Here are a few things YOU can do to protect your First Amendment rights:

Religion

The best way to flex your Freedom of Religion is to—you guessed it—practice your faith. Become an active member in your place of worship, go to scripture studies, invite your friends to that late afternoon event, and walk the life. This can impact the way you spend money as well. Shop the businesses and brands that share your values, and don't shop at the ones that scorn them. Keeping the community alive and healthy is the best way to ensure that generations to come will be able to experience the freedom you enjoy.

Speech

Much like religion, the best way to protect your freedom of speech is... to speak. Engage your friends and family in polite, civil conversation. Stand up for what you believe in, and make your case to your peers. Just remember to keep it friendly. No one ever won an argument by shouting down their opponent. The civil exchange of ideas is the cornerstone of our republic, and a dialogue where the participants are well-informed, considerate, compassionate, and open-minded can have permanent impacts on all involved.

Press

Freedom of the Press seems a little tricky at first. Unless you work for the media, what are you supposed to do? Quit your job and go work for the local newspaper? The good news is that exercising this right is not nearly that difficult. In fact, you are currently doing it. The best thing you can do is to read from outlets that produce informative content. Want to know what Glenn consumes to stay informed every day? Sign up for Glenn's Morning Brief newsletter to get all the stories Glenn gets sent to his desk every day sent straight to your inbox.

Assembly

Anna Moneymaker / Staff | Getty Images

Freedom of assembly is one of the more impactful yet underutilized freedoms in the First Amendment. Peaceably assembling and protesting with like-minded individuals can hugely influence politicians and policies while simultaneously creating community and fellowship between attendees. It's understandable why more people don't turn out. We're all busy people with busy schedules, and flying out to D.C. for the weekend seems like a daunting task to many. Thankfully, you don't have to go out all the way to D.C. to make a difference. Gather some like-minded people in your town and bring awareness to issues that impact your community. Big change starts locally, and exercising your freedom to assemble can be the catalyst to lasting impact.

Petition

If you've been a long-time listener of Glenn, then you will have heard a few of his calls to action where he asks his audience to contact their representatives about a particular piece of policy. There is a good reason Glenn keeps on doing those: they work. Whether it's your local mayor or your senator, a call and an email go a long way. If you really want to make a change, convince your friends and family to reach out as well.

5 SHOCKING crimes the border crisis is bringing to YOUR backyard

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The crisis on the southern border has reached a boiling point following the controversial Supreme Court ruling that allowed the federal government to remove large portions of border security, triggering a movement of conservative governors defending Texas' right to protect its border.

We commonly hear about the border crisis through mainstream media as if it's an abstract issue that has little to no effect on our daily lives. However, for millions of Americans, the border crisis is in their backyard... literally... bringing crime up to their front doorstep—and it's coming to your doorstep soon.

These five stories paint a glimpse of the type of crime and cartel activity that is being enabled by the Biden administration's border policies.

Assault and robbery in Massachusetts

On January 15th, Lucas Vilaca Moreira Fontenelle was arrested in Milford, Massachusetts for armed robbery of a bodega along with two other illegals a few days earlier. This comes just one month after ICE detained Fontenelle for assault, but the city of Milford cut him free as part of their status as a sanctuary city.

Murder in New Your City

On January 6th, Moises Coronado chased down, beat, and fatally stabbed Dafren Canizalez while in a NYC shelter. Coronado illegally crossed the Texas border in November where he was detained before being released and making his way to New York.

Cartel trafficking in El Paso

Late last month U.S. Border Patrol agents operating in the El Paso region arrested a cartel "foot guide" that was responsible for trafficking dozens of illegal immigrants across the border. The foot guide is a member of the La Linea Cartel, an operation based out of Juarez, Mexico whose gang warfare contributed to the city's 1,000+ homicides in 2023 alone.

Human smuggling in Arizona

Last November, two teenagers were pulled over with five illegal immigrants in their car. The teens are being charged with human trafficking, and there is evidence that this was not their first trip. Authorities believe that these teens are the latest in a dangerous new trend of cartels using social media to pay teens to smuggle migrants across the border.

Cartel trespassing in Arizona

Late last December, an Arizona rancher reported that he has seen a disturbing rise of cartel activity on his land. According to the rancher, he has seen evidence of cartels fighting for control of routes that pass through his property. He has even seen cartel scouts and human smugglers several times.

5 organizations that provide MAPS to help illegal immigrants cross our border

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On last week's Glenn TV special, Glenn dove into exactly how migrants from around the world are ending up on our southern border. The most shocking discovery, which was first published by investigators with Muckraker, was that multiple organizations have been providing maps showing immigrants exactly how to cross Central America and Mexico into the waiting hands of the cartel, who smuggle them across our border.

Just who is encouraging these people to make this perilous journey? You will likely recognize a few. Below are FIVE organizations that facilitate the crisis on our southern border.

Click HERE to get access to all of Glenn's research about what's happening at the southern border from this week's Glenn TV special.

Doctors Without Borders

These maps from the Swiss humanitarian giant, Doctors Without Borders, give detailed routes from Central America to our border. The map also highlights places to find aid, food and shelter along the way.

Red Cross

This map distributed by the Red Cross highlights freight train routes. The back of the map advises migrants how to illegally board and ride freight trains across Mexico.

UN’s International Organization of Migration  

This map of consulates and commissions across Mexico was created and distributed by the International Organization of Migration, a part of the UN, to aid migrants on their journey towards the U.S. border.

Amigos Del Tren ("Friends of the Train")

This map advises immigrants on how to board and ride the "Train of Death," a freight train that runs through Mexico into the U.S. The map also gives travel time estimates and lists places to stay along the route. As the name "Train of Death" suggests, the route is as dangerous as it is illegal.

R4V (Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela)

This map specifically shows migrants from Ecuador how to leave the country and connect to Central America where they then proceed to the U.S. border. The map shows just how far south the migrant train really starts.

RECAP: Top 6 most SHOCKING moments from Davos 2024

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Glenn's warnings about the World Economic Forum's globalist agenda continue to be validated with each Davos meeting that passes, and 2024 was no exception. While Davos 2023 introduced startling topics like digital IDs, complete "climate transformations," and more, Davos 2024 hinged on the theme of combatting "mis and disinformation," even if it means sacrificing individual rights and national sovereignty to do so. Here is a recap of the top 6 speakers who set the tone for Davos 2024.

Klaus Schwab, Chairman and Founder of the World Economic Forum

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While attempting to appease fears that the World Economic Forum is not a "decision-making body," WEF founder Klaus Schwab admitted that participants are "trustees" of the world's future and make actionable commitments based on the topics discussed at Davos:

We must rediscover and embrace the narrative that has driven humanity since its inception: acting as trustees for a better future.
[...]
The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum is not a collective decision-making body, but its impact stems from the new insights gained through dialogue and interaction, and more importantly, from the commitments made by each participant to contribute more significantly in their respective areas of responsibility to solving our most pressing global issues.

Bill Gates, Founder and Former CEO of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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Bill Gates made his annual debut at the World Economic Forum, and he never fails to leave a trail of questionable statements, leaving one feeling on the precipice of a bad remake of an Orwellian novel. Since 2020, Gates has been one of the most outspoken proponents of pandemic-era restrictions and COVID-19 vaccine mandates — how convenient that he heads the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world.

Now that the pandemic is over, Gates is positioning himself as a leader for "global equity," and it's as cringy as it sounds. Last week at Davos, Gates posited that the developed world should be compelled to pay a portion of its GDP to the developing world. This is the same jargon the Left always espouses — "The 1% has to pay their fair share" — except on a global scale.

"Those who have the most — whether it's countries, companies, or individuals — should be pushed to be more generous."

A common theme at Davos 2024 is the belief that the developed "global North's" contribution to the global climate crises, has caused mass displacement and migration in the "global South." Surely political and economic corruption in the region have nothing to do with it...

To pay for these "climate crimes," Bill Gates says the developed "global North" is obligated to pay retributions to the global "developing South."

Emmanuel Macron, President of France

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President Macron echoed Bill Gates with similar globalist language. Macron made the bold claim that he, along with globalist leaders in the EU, have the authority to "circulate" the resources of the 27 member states towards projects and initiatives of their own determination:

Our continent has a lot of savings, but these savings are not circulating towards the right places, towards the right sectors. We can move forward, all 27 of us, we should.

Macron gives no credence to the national sovereignty of each of the 27 nations that comprise the EU. Rather, the EU globalist elites know how to distribute funds and resources better than the people in the nations themselves.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

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Ranking at the top of the EU globalist elites is Germany's Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission. During her Davos 2024 address, Von der Leyen pivoted from her typical climate alarmism talking points towards an even more pressing threat: "mis and disinformation."

For the global business community, the top concern for the next two years is not conflict or climate, it is disinformation and misinformation, followed closely by polarization within our societies.
[...]
Of course, like in all democracies, our freedom comes with risks. There will always be those who try to exploit our openness, both from inside and out. There will always be attempts to put us off track. For example, with disinformation and misinformation.

Disinformation and misinformation tackling this has been our focus since the very beginning of my mandate. With our Digital Services Act, we defined the responsibility of large internet platforms on the content they promote and propagate.

Apparently, the climate isn't the greatest existential threat facing civilization anymore. You are now the greatest existential threat if you dare speak your mind that's contrary to the globalists' narrative and "approved speech."

John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

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John Kerry has become America's poster child for the World Economic Forum. His political wizardry has somehow landed him the title of "Climate Czar" while traveling on a private jet to lecture you and me about the climate.

During Davos 2023, Kerry set a high bar for cringe-worthy statements after calling himself and the other Davos attendees "extraterrestrial" for their endeavors to save the planet. However, at Davos 2024, Kerry crosses the line from cringy to tyrannical.

Kerry completely disregards the electoral system that holds the United States together by claiming that the 2024 election outcome won't reverse the U.S.'s climate goals:

The US won't reverse clean energy transition regardless of election outcome.

Climate policy is determined by an elected official whose power is derived from the consent of the governed. The climate, according to Kerry, is too important to be held up by trivial processes like U.S. Presidential elections.

Javier Milei, President of Argentina

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Argentina's new President Milei was a beacon of liberty and freedom amid the Davos sea of collectivist, global elites. He did not mince words in his pointed defense of liberty. Milei argued that the collectivism promoted by the World Economic Forum is the single greatest threat to the West and the prosperity we have enjoyed through it. The end of collectivism, Milei argues, is poverty, slavery, and tyranny.

Here are the opening words of his powerful speech:

Today I'm here to tell you that the Western world is in danger. And it is in danger because those who are supposed to have to defend the values of the West are co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism and thereby to poverty.

Unfortunately, in recent decades, the main leaders of the Western world have abandoned the model of freedom for different versions of what we call collectivism. Some have been motivated by well-meaning individuals who are willing to help others, and others have been motivated by the wish to belong to a privileged caste.

We're here to tell you that collectivist experiments are never the solution to the problems that afflict the citizens of the world. Rather, they are the root cause. Do believe me: no one is in better place than us, Argentines, to testify to these two points.