Glenn Beck: Government accountability



Comeback America


by David Walker

GLENN: David Walker, he was the comptroller general of the United States. He was the CEO of the U.S. Government Accountability Office. I love that, accountability. He is a nonpartisan, he's worked under Republicans, Democrats. He is the guy who really understands how the books are kept in Washington. We had a conversation on TV last night and we've got about, we've got under five years to convince the world that we're not insane. We have about five years to reverse the spending and get ourselves under control, less than five years. It's up to the Chinese. Anytime they say, nah, we're done, we're done. Less than five years. That's what we're facing.

How bad is it? Really bad. Can it be solved? Yes. And as I'm talking to David Walker last night, he's got a book called Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility, he brought to my attention the same exact thing that I think most Americans understand and we talked about yesterday. One of the things that we must do. David walker is with me now. Hi, David.

WALKER: Glenn, great to be back with you.

GLENN: The thing that we were talking about last night was the gerrymandering.

WALKER: That's correct. I mean, basically in all but two states in the United States, the state legislatures basically draw districts to protect their party, to protect incumbents. That results in a polarized House of Representatives which

GLENN: Explain wait, wait. Explain, because I don't know if people you know, people hear gerrymandering and I wrote about it in the book Common Sense. And I showed the pictures.

WALKER: Right.

GLENN: I don't think people really understand the average person, what that means and how that affects things.

WALKER: Well, what it means is that now with sophisticated computer modeling and with all kinds of data, state legislatures can end up drawing really weird looking congressional districts that can span hundreds of miles which you've shown in your book Common Sense in order to make sure that their party will win the seat in order to protect incumbents. And of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives, all but about 60, you know if a Democrat or Republican's going to win before the race is even won.

GLENN: Right.

WALKER: Absent some major national event. By the way, we may have seen one last night.

GLENN: Oh, I think we did.

WALKER: All right.

GLENN: This is what keeps people like Barney Frank in office.

WALKER: It's what keeps people that are far to the left of center.

GLENN: Yep.

WALKER: And far to the right of center in office, right?

GLENN: Exactly.

WALKER: And this country is in the sensible center. It's center right. That's where it is. That's where deals are done. The problem is that who represents us, that's not where they are. They are disproportionately on the polls and that's why we don't get anything done. By the way, last night, Glenn, was not about a Republican victory. It was a victory for independents and a victory for we the people.

GLENN: David, let me ask you this. I said last night on the show this is we the people, us against the machine. This is a machine that has been created under the guise of our Constitution. They have just created this machine that keeps incumbents in, keeps corruption going, keeps the spending going. It has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats. It has everything to do with just power.

WALKER: It does. And it has to do with what do we need to do to save the republic and to try to make sure that our future will be better than our past. I mean, we need dramatic policy operational and political reforms, and all those are laid out in the back Come Back America.

GLENN: Just give me a couple of them. One of them is redistricting. Can that even be done?

WALKER: It can be done without a constitutional amendment. States can do it themselves. And some have already done it. California, by the way, has just decided to do redistricting. If you want to accelerate it, you could try to do it through a constitutional process. So it has been done, it can be done, but we need to accelerate it.

GLENN: Okay. What are some of the other things that you think, if you had three things Americans should demand right now.

WALKER: On the political side or overall?

GLENN: Overall.

WALKER: Oh, overall. First we have to reimpose tough statutory budget controls. We had them in place from 1990 to 2002. When they expired in 2002, things have been out of control. We've got to reimpose them. Once we turn the corner on the economy and start getting unemployment down. We've got to do that. By the way, last night, which hasn't been widely reported, the White House and the Democratic leadership agreed to form a fiscal future commission that will report back at the end of 2010 and will be guaranteed a vote in congress. That's in the book. It's something I've been arguing for for a while.

GLENN: I don't believe it.

WALKER: They did.

GLENN: No, I know. I know they did. I don't believe their intent is pure. David, you and I disagree on one thing.

WALKER: Yes, sir.

GLENN: You think that this is just incompetence and greed, et cetera, et cetera. I contend that no one can be this irresponsible, this greedy, this incompetent. This is gross negligence that is criminal. And if and I don't think that it's all just gross negligence. I think this is, part of it is intentional on those on the uber, uber left.

WALKER: Well, my view is it's not criminal, but it is gross negligence. And what we have are fiduciary breaches. You know, our elected representatives have a fiduciary responsibility to the people to do what's right for today and tomorrow. They are breaching their responsibility.

GLENN: If this exact stuff that you warned against when you were in the system and you're saying stop it, stop it, stop it from both the Republicans and the Democrats, if this stuff were happening in the private sector, would those people go to jail?

WALKER: They would be wiring wide stripe suits with numbers on them.

GLENN: Then why is it not criminal because the laws are

WALKER: Because there's not a law that says they can't do it. You know some of the other things that we need, you know, Glenn, is that we need some constitutional amendments. How about a limit as to how much debt as a percentage the economy we can take on? There's absolutely no limit to the nation's credit card that we have right now. We need that, too.

GLENN: This is the kind of thing, though, David, that was the '94 Republican revolution which is the laws that apply to the citizens need to apply to those in Washington. Why do we not have financial laws that apply? The same things that we have to abide by, they have to.

WALKER: Well, there's a lot of double standards and it's wrong and it needs to change. But again the key is what do we need to do to get back to the basic principles and values under which this country was founded? What do we need to do to be able to have a more representative democracy? How can we end up starting to make tough choices with regard to spending, with regard to our budget practices and tax policies so that our future will be better than our past? It's tough work but we need to get started now before the Chinese lose patience with us.

GLENN: All right. So David Walker was the chief bean counter, if you will, for the United States government. For how many years, David?

WALKER: About ten years I was the chief auditor.

GLENN: And so you know where all the bodies are buried, all the things that are there. How long before I mean, because the Chinese aren't stupid. They are our bank. Just like anybody else. You have a revolving loan. You go to your bank and you say, hey, I've got to refinance this. If you're a company that is out of control, eventually your bank says, I just can't keep doing this; you're out of control." How long do you think the bank, China, has left in them before they say, you know, guys, you can't do this.

WALKER: Less than five years. Less than five years. I think that we must demonstrate within the next couple of years that we are going to take steps to start putting our financial house in order. And we need to make progress towards doing that. Not just words. Actions. There's a chance that this fiscal future commission can get that done. I hope they put the right type of people on it. I hope they engage representative groups of the American people around the country with the facts, the truth, and the tough choices. People need to be held accountable for what not only they do but what they fail to do and hopefully this will help assure that that happens.

GLENN: If they asked you, would you go on it?

WALKER: If I was asked, I would serve because I think I've got a background that's well qualified for it, plus I've been in 46 states talking to the people in the last four years. I think I've got pretty good sense about where they are.

GLENN: The death, possible death of healthcare where they were saying, you know, we're going to save Medicare and Medicaid and by expanding it, et cetera, et cetera, this is a very hopeful sign, don't you think?

WALKER: Well, there's only several there's only a couple of ways that healthcare reform's going to happen. One, is the house was to pass the exact same that the Senate passed, it wouldn't then they could send it to the president. Or if they could end up getting, you know, a Republican to switch, then they could end up getting the 60 votes that they need. That's an if. My view is we need healthcare reform but we need to control costs first. You can't add on a wing to a house that's structurally unsound and headed for foreclosure. That's what people are talking about doing now.

GLENN: You just said you've been in 40 plus states in the last couple of years. If they just jam this healthcare bill through by either, you know, bribing another politician or by just jamming it through by voting for the, voting for the Senate bill, would do you think the response of the American people would be?

WALKER: Outrage. Look, I think if they tried to push this through on a straight party line vote, what you would see is that you would see outrage among the public and you would also see large portions of the bill repealed in the future. There are things in here that you could get bipartisan support for. Insurance reforms, modest expansions of Medicaid. Those kinds of things you could get bipartisan support. But building a wing onto a house that's structurally unsound and headed for foreclosure, making more promises when we have $38 trillion of unfunded promises is not something that will last.

GLENN: David Walker, the author of the book Come Back America, we'll talk to you again, David.

WALKER: Great to talk to you.

GLENN: You bet, bye bye.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.