Senator Mike Lee: "Heaven help us all" if President can use drones on US soil

Joining in the filibuster effort were a handful of other supporters in the GOP, interestingly they were mostly the new guard. The new guard consists of those who actually value the founding principles of this country and it’s founding documents, namely the Constitution. Senator Mike Lee is part of that new guard and talked about the filibuster, Holder, and battle for the soul of the GOP on radio today.

Read the transcript of the interview below:

GLENN: Sitting right behind Ted Cruz was Senator Mike Lee who is on the phone with us now. Senator, how are you, sir?

LEE: Doing great. It's good to be with you, Glenn.

GLENN: Is that the most incredible? You were ‑‑ I mean, I was watching your face sitting next to Ted Cruz. Your mouth was open, part of it just like, oh, my gosh. Is this the most incredible thing you've heard?

LEE: Yeah. But, you know, Ted's always great. Ted always is able to get to the heart of the issue.

GLENN: No, no, no. I mean ‑‑

LEE: ‑‑ very, very quickly.

GLENN: I didn't mean from Ted. I mean from the attorney general.

PAT: That he can't pin down whether or not it's constitutional.

LEE: I was ‑‑ I was shocked. When Ted gave him what I thought was a very clear hypothetical, a very clear opportunity for him to say, "Yeah, that would be unconstitutional, that would fall outside of all kinds of constitutional boundaries," and he didn't. You know, he eventually got there sort of, but only after a lot of prodding and even then it wasn't entirely certain what he was saying or why he was being so difficult to get there.

GLENN: Senator, is this, the drone business, you know, having the president issue an order to kill somebody, you know, with a drone without a warrant and without a trial, is there any ‑‑ is there any use to the Constitution at all if the president has claimed this ability and executes it?

LEE: Well, certainly not on a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil. I mean, one can fathom circumstances in which an individual engaged in an act of war against the United States outside the United States might become the casualty of an act of war by the United States defending itself. But what Cruz was talking about here was an American citizen on U.S. soil sitting in a cafe with a friend and so, yeah, one cannot conceive of a scenario in which that would be appropriate or constitutional.

GLENN: But the question is, is there any use for the Con ‑‑ does this president, is there ‑‑ is the Constitution and the constitutional republic as we know it of no use if the president can claim this power? Which he seems to be doing.

LEE: Yeah. Look, if the president can claim this power, if the president in fact were to utilize this power and to utilize it in the manner that was discussed yesterday at the hearing, yeah, heaven help us all. I mean, one would wonder what would be left of any of us. If your question is, is there anything left that's intact in the Constitution today? Certainly, yes, there is. But in order for that to remain the case, we've got to continue to stand up and we've got to continue to identify problems when we see them. And we've got to identify them early become ‑‑ before they become bigger problems.

GLENN: Right.

LEE: So that when we see something like this, when we see statements by this administration, reckless statements suggesting vast, vast power by the chief executive to snuff out human life without the due process of law, we've got to have people who are willing to stand up and say, no, that is not okay.

GLENN: So are you surprised? Because TheBlaze is putting together a slide show of the websites last night. We have ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and the New York Times. None of them at 12:05 had anything at all on the front page about Rand Paul and the stand against the drones. None of them had that. Huffington Post did, TheBlaze did, the Drudge Report did. Even MSNBC had this as the lead. But the mainstream media had nothing. Are the ‑‑ A, is the mainstream media, are they so disconnected from anything at all anymore that they don't recognize what's happening with the drones; and B, are the American people even there anymore?

LEE: Yeah, Glenn, I can't figure out whether they're really smart or whether they're really dumb for not airing this. I tend to lean, of course, toward the conclusion that they're really dumb because the American people are concerned about this. This is an issue for many, many tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans and so they shouldn't be ignoring it. To the extent they continue to ignore this issue, they do so at their own peril.

The only argument for saying maybe they're really smart is if they really are that focused on protecting incumbent Democrats in congress or in the White House that they don't want to report it.

GLENN: Well, let me go ‑‑

LEE: They know that this is an issue where Republicans are standing up for individual liberties and Democrats are standing on the sidelines and trying to ignore it.

GLENN: That's another thing. That is truly remarkable to me. I mean, some of us, I mean, I have come to the party awfully darn late on some of the things like the PATRIOT Act. I asked for sunsets the whole time, but I actually believed that people in congress were more like me and more like you, that we were all decent and we were just trying to do the right thing and we would never ‑‑ you know, we'd never do things without warrants, et cetera, et cetera. What a fool. What a fool to give people in power that kind of power. However, the Democrats have been the ones the whole time that have been saying, "We stand up for the individual and this grotesque growth of power," and one ‑‑ wasn't it one yesterday? One stood up and joined your ranks on the floor of the Senate last night.

LEE: Well, no, we ‑‑ by the end of the evening, we had quite a few members of the Senate. But you're exactly right: We had only one Democrat who joined us and that was Ron Wyden of Oregon. Ron is a man of principle. Ron stands by the principles of the Constitution and especially when it comes to matters of individual liberty. I was thrilled to have him join us and I hope his willingness to join us will be a signal to others that will cause others on the other side of the aisle to join us as well.

GLENN: For anybody who doesn't believe that drones ‑‑ you know, I guess, I guess ‑‑ I was trying to drive in this morning and thinking what the hell is wrong with Americans? How can they not understand what this means? And I thought to myself, okay, let me put myself in the reverse shoes. That I have friends who are very, very big Barack Obama supporters and I know one of them is coming into ‑‑ one of them is coming into town today. He's my photographer, George Lange. He's darn near a Communist. I mean, he's a ‑‑ but he's a great guy. Oh, I've already ‑‑ nevermind. So he's coming into town, and I know I'm going to have the conversation with him, and he's most likely going to say, "I didn't know about it." But then when we talk about it, he'll say ‑‑ I'm guessing here ‑‑ "He'll never do that. The president will never do that. He wouldn't do it." How do you convince people that this does matter?

LEE: Well, first of all, to the extent they become aware of it, people will come to that conclusion on their own because when they hear about it, when they hear it discussed, when they discuss it with others, they will come to that conclusion on their own. But they have to hear about it first, which is exactly why it's so troubling that so many of these mainstream news media outlets were just showing nothing but radio silence on this issue.

But this, Glenn, is why you're seeing such a shift away from the mainstream news media. This is why you're seeing the ratings of some of these outlets dipping on the broadcast media side while simultaneously you've got ratings of Fox News doing well, you've got TheBlaze doing really well because people are realizing that there are other sources of information and they're coming to those sources because they realize they can get the truth from those sources and it won't be filtered in such a way as to protect one party and hurt the other.

STU: Senator, I heard Rand Paul over and over again through this filibuster say things to the effect of, "I just hope the president comes here and says what I think is in his heart, that it is not constitutional to kill Americans that are noncombatants on American soil." He said things like this over and over again in an effort to be cordial and keep the debate as civilized as possible. But if it were true that it was in his heart, wouldn't this be a really easy process? I mean, this is not a high hurdle you've set for this guy to clear.

LEE: Yeah, that's right. I really don't know why he didn't come forward because I think Rand Paul is right. I think the president probably does know that in his heart. I don't know. It may be that some of his political advisors were telling him that this wouldn't be a big deal, he didn't need to bother himself with something so trivial, perhaps that the Republicans would look foolish if the filibuster continued at what happened, it wouldn't surprise me.

GLENN: You are being a good, loyal, decent member of the Senate and also of your faith, Mike.

STU: (Laughing.)

GLENN: Stop it. In the heart of hearts, this president will absolutely use a drone on American citizens who he deems is a threat to not the Constitution but to what he believes America should be.

PAT: No comment on that.

GLENN: No comment. Okay.

STU: Very well advised.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: You're very smart for not responding to that.

PAT: Doing the right thing there.

GLENN: Mike, I wish you the best of luck. And is Brennan going to be confirmed?

LEE: You know, I suspect he will be confirmed. But at the end of this process we will see that a lot more attention has been brought during this confirmation process.

GLENN: Are you going to go ‑‑

LEE: With an issue that a lot of Americans ought to be concerned about. And I'm very happy with that.

GLENN: Are you going to vote for Brennan?

LEE: No, I'm not.

GLENN: Do you understand ‑‑ because you are a very strong constitutionalist. Do you understand Rand Paul's stance on this of, he says "I'm standing on the Constitution, I totally disagree with him but I have to do it because of constitutional reasons"? Do you believe that?

STU: His justification for voting for Hagel essentially.

GLENN: Yeah. Which, he's going to vote for, he's going to vote for ‑‑

STU: We don't know this yet.

GLENN: He said it to us on the air. Do you understand his constitutional objection?

LEE: I don't, to be perfectly honest. You mean that part with regard to not voting no?

GLENN: Yes.

LEE: I don't share ‑‑

PAT: I don't either.

LEE: I don't share that view. I respect Rand a lot and we agree on most things on the Constitution but we don't share that view in common. I don't think there's anything that requires me to vote yes for a nominee that I don't want to support.

GLENN: Thank you, Mike. I appreciate it.

PAT: I agree with him.

LEE: Thank you.

GLENN: God bless.

PAT: I've never seen anything in it that requires you to go ahead and approve every single person he nominates.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?