Glenn Beck: Iran unrest continues




Surrender Is Not an Option


By John Bolton

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GLENN: So, you know, I don't want this to sound wrong because I think if President Reagan were in the White House, we would have a much different stance on this and I think the outcome might even be different. I think Ronald Reagan would have said that the Mullahs and the Ayatollah over there, it's an evil empire and the people should rise up and grab their freedom while they can. But we don't have that as a president. We have a guy who's, you know, wishy‑washy at best it seems, and I can't for the life of me figure out what difference this is going to make unless it's a true revolution and the people actually take their power back.

BOLTON: Well, I think that's right. We are in a potential revolutionary situation in Iran, although I don't think things are going in the right direction from that perspective, at least as of now. But I think Obama is pursuing a policy that's fundamentally different than the kind of policy Reagan pursued against the Soviet Union, ultimately successfully. I think the right policy is a new government in Tehran and not just Mousavi versus Ahmadinejad but the overthrow of the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the creation of a truly representative government. That is not Obama's policy. Regime change is not Obama's policy. His policy is to try and negotiate with whomever ends up on top in Iran about their nuclear weapons program, and I think that's the fundamental reason he hasn't said very much at all. He torqued up his rhetoric a little bit over the weekend, probably more in response to domestic U.S. political pressure than anything else, but there is no evidence at all that his policy of trying to negotiate with the regime over the weapons program has changed one iota.

GLENN: Isn't this a result really of the Bush administration? I mean, it's always been my theory that Iraq was a secondary target. I mean, I believe that they actually believe that, you know, Iraq had the weapons of mass destruction, et cetera, et cetera, but really the idea was the head of the snake over there is Iran and if you could pop that by putting democracy on both sides of it, the people would rise up and they would take their country because they would see. They would say, oh, my gosh, look what's happening, and it would catch on and they would see that they could possibly rise up and take their country back. A, do you buy into that theory; and B, if so, isn't what's happening there now because of what we've done in the Middle East and George Bush's policy of regime change?

BOLTON: Well, you know, if anything the Iranians should have been very grateful to the Bush administration for having overthrown the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, thus for moving Iran's two biggest enemies. But obviously that wasn't on the Mullahs' mind. They have got their own agenda which includes dominance within the Islamic world, becoming a hegemonic power in the Persian Gulf and beyond. I think that the groundwork for what we're seeing in Iran today has been laid over a 30‑year period. This regime in Iran is not popular and I think the people there, for a variety of reasons, economic reasons, desire not to be oppressed by harsh Sharia law, ethnic dissatisfaction, that all of that put together left the Mullahs in a very weak position and this obviously stolen election was the spark that united it. Now, whether that will be enough to overturn the regime itself, I don't know. But the Iranians and particularly the young Iranians, population under 30's about 2/3, 70% of the total population. So that's a lot of people. They are educated, they are sophisticated, they know they could have a different life, they see what has happened in Iraq with the elections there. They see what's happened in Afghanistan, particularly the women, to see this new opportunity. And I think the evidence is all around. I think what they may not have counted on was the brutality of the Mullahs and the lack of outside support, particularly from the United States.

GLENN: What difference would it make if President Obama did what President Reagan did in Poland, which was, we're with you; we stand right beside you? We didn't go into Poland, at least overtly. We didn't go into Poland but I mean, we stood by them. What difference would that make?

BOLTON: Well, I think it would make an incredible difference, but I would stress that the support has to be more than rhetorical. You see our friends in Europe are much farther out front rhetorically than President Obama is but that's typical of the Europeans. They don't have any skin in this game and talk is what they do. That's what their leaders are expert in. I think to use your analogy of Reagan and Poland, we were providing support back then just as rudimentary as fax machines and primitive computers, but that was the Twitter of the 1980s. Reagan went beyond rhetorical support. We did provide concrete support for overtly and covertly for solidarity and did other things in Poland. That's what we should have been doing frankly during the Bush administration, quietly preparing for these circumstances. The fact is that the demonstrators, the people in Tehran and the other cities now are face to face with the Islamic revolutionary guards court. They are the people with t he weapons, they are fanatics, they are the ultimate defenders of the Islamic revolution. And assuming they hold together, and that is at least a question, although there's no evidence they are about to break apart that I can see. But assuming the revolutionary guards hold together, the people out in the streets of Tehran are badly outgunned and in a confrontation there isn't any question who will win.

GLENN: Do they have any guns? Do the people have a right to have a firearm over there?

BOLTON: I don't think there's a strong Second Amendment in Iran and, you know, I think ‑‑

GLENN: There's barely a strong Second Amendment here.

BOLTON: Well, that's a different story that's for sure but, you know, this is ‑‑ they are showing great courage by going out into the streets, and I think we saw how brutal the regime is prepared to be by the way it cracked down on the demonstrators on Saturday with depending on who you want to believe between 10 and perhaps as many as 150 killed. Let me just say when it comes to repression, what you saw on Saturday was nothing compared to what the revolutionary guards would be prepared to do. The Mullahs, the top Mullahs, the supreme leader see what's happening as a threat to the revolution itself, and since this is a theocratic government that believes in answers only to God and that actually only notice what God's will is, it's not deterred by outpourings of public sentiment to the contrary. So I hope people are not carried away by adrenaline here. The potential for a confrontation and conflict in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere I think is very real and it could be very bloody.

GLENN: What happens ‑‑ what do we do then?

BOLTON: Well, I ‑‑

GLENN: Would we even see the pictures at that point?

BOLTON: Well, you raise a very good point because the regime is shutting down sources of information, expelling and detaining Western reporters, interfering with communications. It appears to be a very sustained effort on their part to reduce visibility inside the country, and I think that's a predicate obviously for further repression, further arrests of dissident leaders and for violence in the streets. Had we been doing more over the past several years, then I think we might be in a position to do more in response to a further crackdown. Honestly I don't think we've got the foundations in place to do that, and I'll say again here we are almost 10 days after the election and President Obama has given zero evidence, zero evidence that he's prepared to rethink his policy of negotiating with the regime under whatever guise that might be in power. That I think is what's driving him and, you know, we'll see what happens over the course of this week but I think he in a way is proceeding on a theological basis that if only he can get around the negotiating table with the regime, he can talk them out of their nuclear weapons program. He needs to wake up to what's going on. But as I say, I don't see any evidence of that yet.

GLENN: What do you ‑‑ let me play devil's advocate. He would say, you know, the reason why we're in the trouble that we're in is because, you know, we have tried to dictate the terms and we're trying to meddle in everybody's business and let's just stay out of it. I think that would be his case is that, you know, we have nowhere ‑‑ we have no way of winning in this game and if we stand against these people, then we're just going to have more anti‑American rhetoric over there. I don't know how you could have any more. They already call us the Great Satan. But you would have more anti‑American sentiment, we would destroy the chance that we have to sit down at the negotiating table, and we should stay out of these things.

BOLTON: Well, let's take that argument as face value. That presumes that if we could ever get to a negotiating table, we could succeed in what the state's objective for the negotiations is which is to get Iran out of the nuclear weapons business. I see zero prospect that Iran is going to be chitchatted out of its nuclear weapons program, whether it's Mousavi or Ahmadinejad or anybody associated with the current regime. But I think the argument also betrays a more fundamental misperception of what the U.S. role could and should be.

As you point out, even though Obama's saying I'm not going to meddle, the Iranian leadership is accusing us of meddling. So facts aren't going to make a lot of difference here, and I think that if we were in a position where our president was saying, you know, we may not be able to offer much concretely or frankly anything concretely to support the dissidents, we want you to know that we are with you in spirit. And I think we've had testimony since the end of the Cold War from dissidents all over the former communist world that the fact that outsiders were with them gave them strength as they sat in prison cells and were being repressed across the board, that they didn't lose hope, that they knew outside people were with them in spirit and it gave them the strength to carry on under the most adverse conditions. You are seeing adverse conditions in Iran right now and our president's saying, well, you know, I still want to negotiate with the people who are doing the oppression.

GLENN: Let me see if you'll answer this one. Who is Barack Obama when it comes to the Middle East and these nasty regimes? I can't help but think, ambassador, that ‑‑ I mean, I have a lot of Jewish friends and a lot of them voted for Barack Obama and I look at them now and say, have you woken up yet? This guy is not a friend of Israel and he seems to be at least even playing footsy with some of the biggest enemies of Israel which happen to be the biggest enemies of America as well. Who is this guy on his Middle East policy? Do you know yet? Is he just a guy who is misguided or maybe, you know, give him the benefit of the doubt; maybe he's right, just going to take a totally different approach and try to be everybody's friend. Is he just misguided or is there something else?

BOLTON: No, I don't think so at all. I think he is no friend of Israel's. I think he sees that part of the world in terms of real moral equivalency. You know, you have the Israelis and they were victims of the Holocaust. So they have that on their side. Then you have the Palestinians. They are victims of the Israelis. So, you know, we're all kind of in this together. I think Israel's in for a tough year ahead as Obama applies pressure to them, and I think that a large part of his policy there and with respect to Iran really reflects his own naive view of his ability to change things simply because of who he is. It is truly a form of narcissism. I think it's less ideological than it is egotistical. I hope that introduction to brute reality will change the Obama attitude. He's a bright man, there's no doubt about that, and maybe a little education in the real world will have an effect. But I think he honestly believes that just by showing up, he can make a difference. I think that is laughable, but the level of confidence he displays in his own rhetorical and personal persuasion abilities are just unaccountable. Well, it's all on the table now in Iran. We'll see if he learns a lesson.

GLENN: Ambassador, thanks. Appreciate it.

BOLTON: Thank you.

GLENN: You bet, bye‑bye. Ambassador John Bolton.

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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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: 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 kryan@blazemedia.com

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.