Court rules NSA program overstepped their authority

There are over 4000,000 regulations on the books. It’s believed the average American commits three felonies a day. But don’t worry - there’s no way a corrupt federal government will target you! Thankfully, Americans had a small victory for freedom when a federal court ruled the NSA overstepped congressional authority with their collection of bulk phone data under the Patriot ACT. Senator Rand Paul joined Glenn on radio to discuss this huge step towards freedom and other news of the day.

Below is a rush transcript of this segment:

GLENN: Yesterday, the NSA, the Domestic Spying Program was deemed illegal by an appeals court. And we have Senator Rand Paul on the phone with us. Congratulations, Senator Paul. I know this is something you've been working tireless on. How are you, sir?

RAND: Yeah, Glenn, thanks.

You know, about a year ago, I sued the NSA and the president and Eric Holder on this. The Fourth Amendment is very explicit. It says you have to name the person. You have to name the things you want. You got to have probable cause, and then you have to ask a judge for permission. And one of the reasons we did that is, we didn't want to allow general warrants, where you can be rounded up because of your ethnicity, rounded up because of your religion, rounded up because of your political beliefs. It had to be individualized.

It was what John Adams said -- it was the spark that led to the American Revolution. When James Otis fought against these generalized warrants. So, yeah, it's a big deal for the court now to agree and say they're illegal. I really though want this to go to the Supreme Court. And I want the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality on whether or not a general warrant is constitutional or not.

GLENN: This is surprising to me. I don't know enough about the courts. You probably know much more. This is the second US Court of Appeals. And if I'm not mistaken, isn't there two appointees from Obama and one from Clinton. So this isn't like the Fifth Circuit Court. This is -- this is -- you know, the left is part of this court as well.

RAND: I'm not sure of the composition, because I think sometimes there's more judges than that. I think there's actually more judges in the appellate court than the three.

GLENN: I'm saying that the three-panel judge -- the three judges on the panel, Clinton-appointed judge and two Obama-appointed judges.

RAND: Yeah, that could well be on this. And there's more that could be picked. But these particular three, I think you're correct.

The ultimate question though is that: In order for it to be enforceable ruling across the country, it needs to come from the Supreme Court. My understanding is that this decision will be sent back to the lower court. It won't necessarily go to the Supreme Court. So we're still sort of working and fighting to get this to the Supreme Court level. Because there's a really important question here, and that's whether or not a warrant can have somebody's name Mr. Verizon. And I tell people in a tongue-in-cheek way in speeches that I don't know anybody named Mr. Verizon.

So can you put the name of a business and yet get hundreds of millions of individuals' records who do business with that particular business? And I think that's where the question is: Does the Fourth Amendment requirement to individualize, to put a person's name on it, does that qualify, or does this sound suspiciously like a general warrant?

GLENN: So there's really no teeth to this, is there? I mean, there was no injunction. They don't have to stop. This was just like, yep, that's against the law.

RAND: It will have an important ramification for this reason. They're saying that the Patriot Act, as passed, does not cover in a statutory way, does not give authority for this bulk collection of phone records. The reason this is interesting is, is that Senator Wyden and I have a bill to end the bulk collection. But we don't reauthorize any part of 215, and we don't acknowledge that 215 allows this. There's a competing version of this called the USA Freedom Act, and it would actually replace this and give new statutory authority. So there's actually a danger that the reform that lurks out there, if it passes, would actually give affirmative legal justification for this program. So I think everybody needs to really think long and hard about whether the reform that's out there will actually be good or bad. I think it's better just to tell the government they can't do bulk collection, rather than replacing it with something that may give new authority.

GLENN: Two questions. First, have you ever had to run to a trash can to vomit in it every time you hear something like the Patriot Act or the Freedom Act. I mean, it is so -- you know there's trouble whenever it comes out with the Everybody Likes Ice Cream Act, you know it's deadly.

RAND: Yeah, whatever the acronym is, the more benign sounding, the actually more dastardly it is the closer you read the text.

GLENN: Okay. So do you have any confidence at all -- I mean, Mitch McConnell, I'm sorry, but, you know, as we call him here, he's a turtle head. Because he looks like a turtle head. And I defy you to look at him and not laugh because he looks exactly like a turtle. You expect his head to go in past his shoulders. But that's a different story. Notice there's no laughter there. He's very smart.

STU: He's smart.

GLENN: So you -- Mitch McConnell is already trying to, you know, push a clean extension of the Patriot Act. He's not really on the side of -- of you on this. And of us.

RAND: There is a division within the Republican Party. There's also division in the country. But the interesting thing is, when you look at my numbers versus Hillary Clinton in purple states, the reason we're winning the independent vote is because I am for the right to privacy. I am for the Fourth Amendment. And we're getting a large segment of the youth vote and of the independent vote. So I don't know, I think the Republican Party needs to be open to our point of view.

GLENN: But they don't seem to be.

RAND: Well, up here, they're not. In Washington, they're not. But go out anywhere in Texas and go to a large crowd and ask them, do you think the government should be collecting all your phone records without a warrant without your name on it? And I'll bet you 75, 80 percent of Republicans -- I've been there. I've been to Lincoln Day dinners in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston. And when I give those lines, I get a rousing cheer and often a standing ovation saying, the government -- it's none of your damn business what you do on your phone or with your phone records. And so I think the people outside of Washington are different than people in Washington.

GLENN: I know that.

RAND: I'll give you another quick example. I had an amendment that said, no more American tax dollars through foreign aid to countries that persecute Christians. Countries that put Christians to death or put Christians in jail for life. For blasphemy. Interfaith marriage. Or apostasy. And I lost the vote 18-2. Eighteen people in Washington said we should continue it. Two said no. But if I poll that question anywhere in America, it's 99 percent of Americans say, hell, no, we shouldn't send our money to countries that persecute Christians.

GLENN: That's unbelievable. But that would include China as well. I mean, that is -- you want to talk about picking a fight, and God bless you for doing it, but that's a fight-picking question.

RAND: And here's the interesting thing, as rich as China is and as much as we have a trade deficit with them, we do send money to China. Not foreign aid. We send them economic development assistance. Because they really need some economic development over there.

GLENN: Yeah, don't they? Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill that would require congressional authorization on any deal the president would make with Iran. Is the House -- it's going over to the House. Will the House pass this, and does this have any teeth?

RAND: It's a big victory in this sense. The president for the last six months to a year is saying, we don't get any say. He's been he's going to send it directly to the UN. He's been saying, this is an agreement and there's no congressional authority at all. Well, when enough Democrats told him otherwise, all the Republicans were saying otherwise, but when enough Democrats got on board and he knew he would have his veto overturned, he changed his tune, support the bill, and it passed 99-1. Can it stop him? The only thing that can stop him, the only thing that can do anything to the president when you disagree with him is 67 votes. Because it takes 67 votes to overturn a veto. So some people are complaining whether this is disapproval or approval. The bottom line is, any scenario that you want to stop a president that disagrees with you on any piece of legislation or any kind of foreign agreement, it takes 67 votes. But the fact that this was 99-1, there is a chance that there could be 67 votes saying the deal with Iran is not a good deal. This is a good bipartisan way of getting to the next step. Which is, if we were to get rebuked with more than 67 votes, it would be the end of the presidency. He would get nothing done the rest of the year and he would be completely without any capacity to get anything done, which would be good for the country.

PAT: Why is that the case? Why would one vote like that, shut him down so badly?

RAND: I think it's because it's very, very rare that people don't vote in partisan lockstep. So I think if there were a vote that rebuked him. This one was a rebuke, but he changed his mind and said I'm for it. But if the Iranian deal comes forward and people have doubts -- and this is my biggest doubt is that the Iranians are not sincere, credible partners because they tweet out in English the opposite of what apparently the Americans say the agreement means. The other thing that concerns me is when the president's spokesman comes forward, Josh Earnest, comes forward and says, oh, well, it looks like -- yeah, they'll continue to probably be involved with terrorism after they sign this agreement. It makes you wonder, doesn't it, whether or not we're having a sincere two-party agreement here. But I think if that's shot down and the Democrats say this also, it really goes to the heart of whether the president really leads his party anymore.

GLENN: Let me talk to you a little about freedom of speech. And what happened here in Texas. The media was all for the cartoonists in France. And so was I. Even though I disagreed with the cartoons. I personally don't think we should be mocking each other's religion. Those were very offensive cartoons. But they have a right to do it. And so I stood by them. And I stand by them. Same thing with Pamela Geller. I don't necessarily agree with the cartoon contest. And I wouldn't have, you know, done that myself. But she has a right to do that.

The press is coming after Pamela Geller. And saying that, you know, she was just inciting hatred and that it was not freedom of speech. Any comment on that?

RAND: Well, you know, I like the pundits or the constitutional critics that say the First Amendment really isn't about easy speech. It's about speech you find despicable. It's about speech you find offensive. That's the hard thing to allow that to happen in a free society. And I agree with you. I think it doesn't serve any purpose. You can talk about the First Amendment without doing things that are really offensive to other people's religion. But in our country, that's part of one of our basic freedoms is the right to be wrong. The right to be offensive. And the right to say things that people find despicable. Now, you don't you have to pay for them. You don't have to have them in your building, if it's your building.

GLENN: It's the Westboro Baptist Church. It's the Westboro Baptist Church.

RAND: Exactly.

GLENN: I despise the Westboro Baptist Church. But they have a right to say what they want to say. I don't have to listen to them. I don't have I don't want to have them over for dinner. But they have a right to say it.

RAND: Yeah, and that's the hard part about the First Amendment. Because it's easy if I'm saying, hey, what a great guy Glenn Beck is. You love my First Amendment rights. But if I'm criticizing you, it's a little harder. But that's what the First Amendment is about.

GLENN: Right. Let me play a piece of audio here that we found in Al Sharpton. He said this a couple of days ago. This is extraordinarily disturbing to me because of the way we have militarized our police and the way these riots now are being coordinated by people like Al Sharpton. But I want you to listen to what he said when he was talking about the riots in the streets of Baltimore and how they're going to spread.

AL: -- all over the country, which is why we're going to do this march from here to Washington. We need the Justice Department to step in and take over policing in this country. In the 20th century, they had to fight states' rights and to get the right to vote. We're going to have to fight states' rights in terms of closing down police cases. Police must be held accountable.

GLENN: Okay. So here's what he said in case you couldn't understand him. He said. These things are going to happen all around the country. Because it is time we get the Justice Department to take over policing in America. We had to fight states' rights to get the right to vote. Now we need to fight states' rights on policing.

RAND: Well, the interesting thing is, there was a time in our history when, you know, the South was all white and African-Americans were mistreated. And there was a role for the federal government to get involved at one point. This now is not a racial problem because all the government in Baltimore was African-American. And the rioting also. So I don't think the federal government being involved -- I do think there's a problem in our criminal justice system. There's a problem -- we have -- and there's no silver bullet. There's a variety of problems. But there's no excuse for violence or rioting. And the primary thing you have to do in the early stages. You have to have security of people's, you know, person as well as their property. And then over time though, I do want to be part of the dialogue, because I'll tell you one quick story. And this story I think represents why some people and a lot of people in our society feel like they're not being treated fairly.

Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old black kid in the Bronx arrested and kept for three years in prison. He was accused of -- an illegal immigrant. Illegal alien. And he spent three years in jail and was never tried for his crime. Tried to commit suicide. Was kept in solitary confinement. You can see if you're his parents and his friends, you would think something is wrong in America. So that kind of stuff does need to be fixed, and it's part of the unease.

GLENN: Senator, I have to go. Thank you so much. I appreciate your time with us. Senator Rand Paul. You bet.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

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The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!