Glenn Beck: 31 year old in charge of ruining capitalism

Glenn: But first I want to spend some time on GM, and sometimes there's a story that is so good that you just have to read it verbatim. Usually you don't say that coming out of the New York Times, but this story is so good that I have to read it verbatim. Dateline Washington. It's not every 31 year old in a first government job that finds himself dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism, but that in short is a job description for Brian Deese, a not quite graduate of Yale Law School.

Hold on just a second. I've just got to start at the beginning. Not every 31 year old 31 year old in the first government job that find himself dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism, but that in short is the job description of Brian Deese, a not quite graduate of the Yale Law School. Huh. Brian Deese had never set foot in an automotive assembly plant until he took his nearly unseen role in the remaking of the American automotive industry, nor for that matter had he given much thought to what and I would an industry that had been in decline ever since he was born. A bit laconic and looking every bit just out of the graduate school student adjusting to life in the West Wing, he's got this beard that appears and disappears, says Steven Rattner, one of the leaders of President Obama's automotive task force. Mr. Deese was thrown into the auto industry's maelstrom as soon as the election night parties ended. There was a time between November 4th and mid February when I was the only full time member of the auto task force, said Mr. Deese, a guy again who hasn't graduated from Yale Law School... yet. Mr. Deese, a special assistant to the president for economic policy, acknowledged recently as he hurried between his desk at the White House and the treasury building next door, it's been a little scary, end quote. But now according to those who have joined him in the middle of his crash course about the automaker's downward spiral, he has emerged as one of the most influential voices in what may become President Obama's biggest experiment yet in federal economic intervention. I believe that is worth repeating that last sentence. But now according to those who have joined him, who have joined him in the middle of his crash course about the automaker's downward spiral, he, the guy who hasn't yet graduated from Yale Law School, it's his first ever government job, he at 31, in his first job, has been rewriting the rules of American capitalism. That guy has now emerged as one of the most influential voices in what may become President Obama's biggest experiment yet in federal economic intervention. While far more prominent members of the administration are making the big decisions about Detroit, it is Mr. Deese who is narrowing their options. A month ago when the administration was divided whether to support Fiat's bid to take over much of Chrysler, it was Mr. Deese who spoke out strongly against simply letting the company go into liquidation, according to several people who were present for the debate. Brian gasps both the economics and the politics. Hold on just a second. Wait just a second. Brian grasps both the economics and the politics about as quickly as I've seen anyone do, says Lawrence H. Summers, head of the economic council who is not known for being patient whenever he believes analysis is sub par or disagrees with his own. And there he was in the Roosevelt Room speaking up vigorously to make the point that the costs we were going to incur giving Fiat a chance were no greater than some of the hidden costs of liquidation. Mr. Deese was not the only one favoring the Fiat deal, but his lengthy memo on how liquidation would increase Medicaid costs, unemployment insurance, and municipal bankruptcies ended the debate. The administration supported this deal. It became a reality yesterday. A federal judge is now handling the high speed bankruptcy proceeding. They approved the sale. Chrysler's best assets would go to the Italian carmaker. Mr. Deese's role is unusual for someone who is neither a formally trained economist as well as not being a business school graduate. I'd like to point out that he also hasn't graduated from law school. They don't point that out. They say he is not a business school graduate and he has never spent much time flipping through the endless studies about the future of the American and Japanese auto industries. He's wait a minute, hang on just a second. That's a really cavalier way of putting it. Can you imagine if I were appointed on the president's economic council? Do you think the New York Times would just describe me as someone who also never spent much time flipping through the endless studies? Usually you get into a story like this and, okay, there's the meat of it. This never ends. He lives a dual life these days. He starts the day at a desk wedged outside of Mr. Summers' office. Where he can hear what young members of the economic team have come to know as "the Summers bellow." From there he can make it quickly to the press office to help devise explanations for why the taxpayers are spending more than $50 billion on what polls show is a very unpopular bailout for the auto industry. So not only is he devising the plans, he's devising the explanations as well. Several times a day he speed walks to the treasury, taking the shortcut to the tunnel under the colonnade near the kitchens. The other day he talked about how sharply perceptions of the industry's futures changed after Mr. Obama's elections. At the first meeting with Rick Wagoner, he said, referring to GM's recently deposed chief executive, they were in a very different place. He said publicly that bankruptcy was not a viable option. It's been a long process to be able to get everyone to look at the options differently. Is it Mr. Deese, the guy who hasn't graduated from college yet? Is it Mr. Deese who's not formally trained in the economics, nor a business school graduate, nor someone who has spent much time flipping through the endless studies about the future of American and Japanese auto industries that changed the president's mind? In fact, from before Inauguration Day few in Obama's circle saw any other choice. Every time Mr. Deese ran the numbers on GM and Chrysler, he came back with the now obvious conclusion that neither was a viable business and that their plans to revive themselves did not address the erosion of their revenues. But it took the support of Mr. Rattner and Ron Bloom, senior advisors to the tax force charged with restructuring the automobile industry to help turn Mr. Deese's positions into policy. So the guy with the least amount of experience that hasn't gone to college yet and finished anything doesn't have any formal training on economics, hasn't spent the endless time flipping through, he was the guy who said, let them fail while no one on the senior team saw it. And yet he did. He was the quick functioning he was quickly functioning as the top economic policy staffer through the campaign, Mr. Sperling said. He could blend the policies' needs and the political needs seamlessly. He resumed policy work in the White House. He found himself stuck in Chicago, unable to fly to Washington with his dog and as the economic crisis deepened, finally one night he decided just to get into his car with his dog and drive to Washington. I slept in the parking lot of the GM plant in Ohio. The plant opened during GM's heyday in the mid 1960s where the Pontiac G5 is produced. Under the plan that Mr. Deese worked on when he arrived in Washington, Pontiac will disappear. I guess it was prophetic, he said, shaking his head. Is this not insanity? We have somebody who doesn't know what the hell they are doing rewriting the laws of American capitalism. Can you imagine how the New York Times would treat someone making global warming policy that didn't spend time flipping through the endless studies? We have people in congress not reading bills. We have people in congress making decisions that have never run a business! Why is no one asking how is America going to get her $100 billion back? Is it because we know?

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.