Glenn: Mitch McConnell and John McCain involved in "shameless grab of power" in Patriot Act battle

Below is a transcript of Glenn's opening monologue from Monday's TV show

I want to tell you about the dog-and-pony show that is continuing now in Washington DC as the progressives, make no mistake, progressives in both parties, are fighting to make sure they can continue to collect as much of your own personal data as possible all in the name of security, of course, the Republicans, John McCain, a progressive himself, fighting for extensions of the sections in the Patriot Act that expired last night.

Three sections are done for, temporarily anyway: Section 215, the lone wolf provision, and the roving wiretap provision. Each part is important, but section 215 is the most critical because it is what the government has used to justify the bulk data collection on millions of innocent citizens.

The wording in that section is vague. It gives the government power to use all relevant information to stop terrorist attacks, and the government has interpreted relevant to mean anything and everything on anybody. Rand Paul has set himself apart from the progressive Republicans giving voice to the cause of liberty on this. He is receiving the usual flak for it. I asked him about it on radio earlier today, and here’s what he said:

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Glenn: Do you actually believe they’ve actually stopped collecting information today?

Sen. Paul: You’ve got to be careful how they parse their words. They might have stopped one program, but they’ve probably got ten others doing the same thing. They have an executive order called 12333. Under that executive order, we really don’t know everything they’re doing, but they’re doing bulk collection under that. They may well be doing more bulk collection of data under that then they are doing under the phone collection program.

They also told us and informed us that in the previous Patriot Act there’s a provision in there saying that they can continue any investigation that was already ongoing. So, my guess is that since the bulk collection investigation, so-called investigation, was collecting everyone’s records, they could simply say well, we started doing that before, so that’s an ongoing investigation.

So, are they stopping it? I don’t know. I mean, that’s the whole problem with trust here on this. The president’s number one man over there, Clapper, lied to us and told us the program didn’t even exist, and now we’re supposed to accept that they’re telling us the world will end and the sky will fall if it ends. We’re doing it now. We’re shutting it down. I don’t know. There’s a certain lack of trust I have for this administration.

I have a lack of trust for any administration. The establishment Republicans who first claimed they had nothing to do with the Patriot Act are now clamoring to defend it, and they’re defending it to the teeth and warning that we are going to open ourselves up to attack if we don’t pass this. Mitch McConnell accused Senator Paul of demagoguery and disinformation.

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Sen. McConnell: We shouldn’t be disarming unilaterally as our enemies grow more sophisticated and aggressive. And we certainly should not be doing so based on a campaign of demagoguery and disinformation launched in the wake of the unlawful actions of Edward Snowden, who was last seen in Russia.

Oh my goodness. Now, McCain told reporters that Senator Paul places “a higher priority on his fundraising and his ambitions than on the security of the nation.” But does the fight even matter? The Second Court of Appeals recently ruled that the vaguely worded section 215 doesn’t authorize the government to unleash mass data collection in the first place. But they’re doing it.

So, here’s Congress arguing for a new bill. This one’s called the USA Freedom Act. Now, the passage may or may not be directed at the NSA bulk collection, the data collection, but may I first start with the names of the ultra-PC bills, the Patriot Act, the USA Freedom Act? I personally think we should give names to these bills ourselves that probably have more accurate names, like the Trading Freedom for Despotism Act or Take Your Freedom and Shove it up Your Act Act.

Despite some opposition, it is expected to pass in a day or two. Proponents will claim it will end bulk data collection but keep other key security provisions in place. But remember, section 215 led to the NSA’s bulk collection thanks to a few vaguely worded sentences and dirtbags in Washington.

Does anybody believe that a bill that keeps almost every government data collection tool in place is going to change anything? They’ve just built a massive million-square-foot facility in Utah solely dedicated for mass data collection. The government will not give up this much power easily. This is going to be a long, drawn-out battle over probably several sessions of Congress and the next president.

But DC politics has reduced this to a ridiculous fight about security. Of course they want to make it about your security because if you’re afraid of an imminent terrorist attack or something happening in your security, all the dummies around you will hand their freedom much more readily. History has proven this time and time again.

When America entered World War I, Woodrow Wilson immediately labeled German-Americans enemy aliens, and the progressives rounded them all up. FDR did the same thing with the Japanese-Americans. The progressives rounded them all up in World War II. One month after 9/11, with a nation still reeling, the Patriot Act was rushed into being. No politician would dare stand against something called the Patriot Act just a couple of weeks after 9/11.

By the way, does anybody know where the Patriot Act—how did they have such an amazing bill, huge bill, all ready to go just a couple of weeks after 9/11? They must’ve been very sleepy. No, the Patriot Act was written prior to 9/11. It was on the shelf waiting to be dusted off. That is what led to the hyper-surveillance state that we’re now living under, not 9/11, politicians writing it in advance. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes because gee, what else do you think they have just waiting on the shelf? It’s not an elf, I bet.

We cannot afford to keep electing the same spineless politicians who trade bits of freedoms in the name of our perceived comforts.

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Sen. McConnell: We’re left with option two, the House-passed bill. It’s certainly not ideal, but along with votes on some modest amendments that attempt to ensure the program can actually work as promised, it’s now the only realistic way forward.

Which pretty much puts me against it. This is a premise we cannot accept blindly. The only realistic way forward is to go back to our principles. We had this debate over 200 years ago. Everybody knows the phrase taxation without representation is tyranny, but do you know where that came from?

Do you know the man behind the phrase? His name is James Otis, Jr. He was born in Massachusetts, a colonial. He went to Harvard. He became a lawyer, and at the time, the colonists, our Founding Fathers, were subject to the whims of what the king called writs of assistance. What writs of assistance, they were kind of like our warrants, except anybody could write them.

Basically the British authorities had power to go into anybody’s house at any time for any reason. There wasn’t such a thing as probable cause. For nearly five hours, Otis argued against these writs in court on behalf of dozens of colonists who were baselessly accused of smuggling. They would have their homes searched and ravaged, and even if nothing was found, the government wasn’t responsible for any of the damage.

Otis lost the case, but his challenge to authority inspired some young men, including a guy named John Adams. Adams later said of Otis’s speech, “The child independence was then and there born.” Otis ignited what eventually became the American Revolution. It was his battle against these writs, these warrantless searches, that laid the foundation not only for the Fourth Amendment which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, but arguably for the entire revolution.

Our right of privacy is a cornerstone of the American foundation. Why on earth would a people so easily give this up? For security? Mitch McConnell said that if the Patriot Act lapsed even one day, we’ll be in danger from ISIS and other terrors. I for one am really tired of this argument because I know if the John McCains and the Mitch McConnells of the world, if they actually believed that we were in danger from terrorists and they believed it was their job to stop it, they would’ve done simple things like secured our borders first.

This is nothing more than a shameless grab of power. Yes, we are in danger, but they are only orchestrating more power for themselves. My question for Washington is if the Patriot Act makes us so secure, why did the Boston bombing happen? We should have been able to hear those phone calls. Hey, why do we worry about what Hillary Clinton did in her 501(c)(3)? Why do we care? She erased her hard drive. Don’t we have all of that data collection?

Why did Benghazi happen? Why don’t we know about the phone calls and the emails that happened the day after? Shouldn’t those have been stopped? How am I supposed to feel safe when the very government claiming they’re using all of the necessary tools to keep us safe will not look into a single radical mosque but will monitor Aunt Judy’s phone call discussing important deviled egg recipes?

How am I supposed to feel safe when the director of the National Intelligence Agency says the Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular—Muslim Brotherhood? How could I trust our CIA Director, John Brennan, who says ISIS is not Islamic when Islamic is the first “I” in ISIS?

What is comforting in any way about our administration running guns through Benghazi to Syrian rebels or how our own government, John McCain included, met and posed for pictures with the free Syrian Army who we later found out was working with the radical groups called ISIS? And the same people that told us yesterday that we can’t live a day without this were exactly the same people who lied to us just a couple of years ago and said this technology doesn’t exist, and it’s outrageous that you would even ask us if we would use technology like that. Of course, we don’t use that.

Our government is incompetent. Our government is corrupt. Our government, on a charitable day, is misguided. By the way, a story we reported on radio today, the government just ran an internal investigation to see if they could get weapons onto airplanes now. You know, they’re frisking everybody. We’ve used all of this great technology. We’ve got the best people on the job, so they tried to smuggle 70 knives, fake bombs, and items like that on board. They only managed to get through 67 out of 70 times.

So thanks, federal government, for your offer to have me trade my freedom for some of your yummy security, but I think we’ll pass. No thanks.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

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.