Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is in over his head, and a recent string of train derailments has shown that he can’t handle the job. Plus, the FBI has a new way of getting their hands on your personal data, without having to go through the court system. Instead of getting warrants, they are just buying your data from the companies that are already tracking your every move. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is over his head. And we’ve been saying this so long, haven’t we? He, the string of, of, of derailments now after the airline disaster. I don’t know what it takes. And I think of the word derailment, it’s almost a metaphor for Buttigieg right now. I don’t, here’s what bothers me about it. Obama tried to solve this problem. He knew that we were a century behind in technology dealing with breaking systems on trains. So he said, let’s put this in place. And he had it working, and then Trump comes in, does away with it. But five years later, almost five years later, Buttigieg has done nothing. He’s done nothing, even though the previous administration laid out what the problem was and said, this is a big problem.

Farron Cousins: And, you know, three or four days after that big derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, he goes on cable news, they talk to him, they do a whole interview with him. Not once do they mention that train derailment. Not once did they mention the big toxic cloud over that city. And this was days after it happened. He had not yet made a public statement about it. And, and that was actually, The Nation did a phenomenal article talking about how this guy doesn’t get it. He had to be forced publicly and shamed into finally even addressing that this thing happened.

Mike Papantonio: Why, why is the media and why is this Democratic party protecting him? I mean, is it, you know, if the first result, the first thought you have, well, he’s gay. Nobody wants to attack him because he’s gay. The truth is, there are hundreds of gay politicians and, and people in bureaucracy that could do this job very competently. So it’s not that. I mean, you have to call it out what it is. You can’t just get hung up on the fact that he’s gay. Well, he is gay. Okay. Big deal. There are plenty of gay people that would do a fantastic job with what he’s doing, but it’s like, it’s like, it’s like non speak that you hear the politicians, it’s non speak that the, that the media is just so afraid to talk about this. He’s an incompetent boob. He needs to be gone, man.

Farron Cousins: Well, it reminds me a lot, you know, when, when we would criticize Hillary Clinton, whenever she did something wrong, people would say, well, you’re being sexist.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: This is, no. Well, you’re ignoring the actual argument here.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: But what we have seen in just, I mean, just the last 12 months, forget the last 24 months that he’s been in office, the last 12 months, we have seen them break up the rail worker strike, that part of it was about this issue.

Mike Papantonio: Good point.

Farron Cousins: We have seen the massive meltdown in the entire airline industry over Christmas and, and Thanksgiving.

Mike Papantonio: The administration, with this administration, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Yeah. With him as transportation, we, we saw the supply chain fiasco, you know, that’s all under his leadership. He may not have caused the problems and I’ve, I’ve, I’ve said that he didn’t cause the problems. But he is not equipped, he does not have the, the wherewithal to address these crises, these multiple crises that his office has faced. If this were somebody from the Trump administration.

Mike Papantonio: Oh my God, it’d be.

Farron Cousins: We would’ve been doing segments on it every day.

Mike Papantonio: Absolutely.

Farron Cousins: Everybody in the left would have.

Mike Papantonio: Absolutely.

Farron Cousins: Calling for his resignation. And I think we should be at that point. He can’t do the job.

Mike Papantonio: The, okay, so the, so what we hear is, oh, well, it’s the CEOs of the company. The CEOs of the airline company, the CEOs of the rail company. No. It’s his job to make sure they do their job. He’s been here for more than four years now and he, I mean, it, it just is not happening. It’s just, it’s just not happening. You know, here, here’s the problem. The problem, I said four years. That’s not, that’s not accurate.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: It’s three, it’s three, three and a half, three and a half years. So, but the point being, he was here, here’s what I was trying to get to. He was here when we had a Democratic House, Democratic Senate, Democratic president. And he had already been told by a Democrat, a Democratic president, Obama.

Farron Cousins: Merkley.

Mike Papantonio: Well.

Farron Cousins: And, and Merkley in the Senate sent him.

Mike Papantonio: Right. Right. He had been told, this is a problem, so deal with it. Don’t go on vacation, or wherever the hell he disappears to, deal with it. I just think they need to get rid of him. I just think he’s a, he’s, he’s a disaster. And it’s like, you know, I’m tired of hearing gee whizz, it’s not his fault. It’s the CEO’s company. That’s, that is a ridiculous argument when you consider that his job is to regulate.

Farron Cousins: Well, and look, the CEOs, their hands are not clean. But we talk about that all the time.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: We’re, we’re well aware of that. Trump, yeah, he repealed the Obama era rule, which was already not very good.

Mike Papantonio: It was a, it was at least in the right direction, Farron.

Farron Cousins: It, it was, which was a lot what we saw under Obama. It wasn’t quite where it should have been, but it was a good step forward.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. He was trying, he was trying. We had a president who was trying to fix the problem.

Farron Cousins: Right. But, but we had, during the Obama, the early years, we had so many train derailments that they started to refer to them as bomb trains.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: There was a great reporter that I worked with at DeSmog blog, Justin Mikulka, he was writing about trained derailments and explosions nearly every day. And, and that’s why Obama finally put that rule in place because we knew how dangerous they were. We’re using the breaking system that we used.

Mike Papantonio: A hundred years ago.

Farron Cousins: During the Civil War.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: I mean, same system.

Mike Papantonio: And they have, they have a replacement that’s used all over the world.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: They use it in Asia, they use it in Europe. It’s an electric pneumatic system. Isn’t that kind of how you describe it?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Yeah. The brakes.

Mike Papantonio: It’s electric.

Farron Cousins: All the, all the cars it runs.

Mike Papantonio: Right, it’s electric pneumatic. The industry knows about it. They know how to, how to make the adjustments and put it on ours. It’s used as I say, all over the world except here. And this numb nut has been here, let me correct it again, only three years. Not, not four or five, like I said.

Farron Cousins: And, and that’s the big issue. You can spread the blame. If you wanna say the CEOs, we know what they did. We know what Trump did.

Mike Papantonio: Sure. They’re dirty operators.

Farron Cousins: But he also knew what they did. News, knows what they do. He could have solved this problem. He could have put it in motion to get back to where we had been under Obama. He failed to do it. He failed to take action on the airliners. He let them do what they’re doing, you know, failed us on the supply chain. Just failures across the board. There’s not a single accomplishment this man has done.

Mike Papantonio: Why is corporate media giving him a free ride, in your opinion? Why? I, I’m, I’m interested to know. Am I just so far off on the fact, I just think they’re afraid to criticize him because he’s gay?

Farron Cousins: I, I think they’re afraid to criticize him because they think he’s gonna be the 2024 Democratic nominee.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, good lord. Let’s hope not for the Democrats because I’d love to see some Democrats win.

Mike Papantonio: The FBI has a new way of getting their hands on personal data without having to go through the court system. Instead of getting warrants, they’re simply buying your data from companies that are already tracking you every move you make. There is no, you know, there’s no privacy. Okay. But I think at this point, society has gotten to the point where they say, I’m okay with that. You know my opinion, people don’t care about it. I think they don’t care that big brother is tracking them. Maybe that’s just like, maybe that was a sixties and seventies thing. Maybe it was only boomers who really cared about the fact that, that people were tracking them. I say that, but then I see the Generation Z, they’re kind of responding to some of this.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Z the younger folks, definitely.

Mike Papantonio: It’s that in between that I wonder about.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. The millennials and the Xers, they’re just, ah, nothing matters.

Mike Papantonio: Ah, no big deal.

Farron Cousins: But this is so funny, especially, you know, when we pair this to the FTC Musk, did you violate user service data? And then the FBI’s saying, well, we’re just buying it. You know, we’re the ones actually taking your data.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: We’re the, and we don’t even have to go through the courts anymore because that was too exhaustive. It cost us too much money. So instead we take that money and we go to Twitter, or we go to Facebook and Google and we say, hey, um, we wanna buy the location data, just like advertisers do. They buy our data from these companies. And the FBI thought, well, that’s an easier way. We don’t have to go to court and justify why we need this persons data.

Mike Papantonio: Well, they have to get around it. You see, Carpenter versus the US is a Supreme Court decision. And in that decision, the Supreme Court said, hell no. You can’t just follow data. If you follow data, it’s just like, it’s without a warrant. We’re not gonna let you do that. So, the CIA, FBI says, well, we don’t even have to do that. We’re just gonna go to Facebook and Twitter and we’re gonna buy all of it. If we wanna know where you are at any given moment, it’s easy to do. We can do it without a warrant. And apparently they, you know, the Supreme Court’s gonna have to deal with this at some point. But based on the decision in Carpenter, I don’t know it’s gonna go all that well.

Farron Cousins: Well, and it’s very terrifying too for the people who think, oh, it doesn’t matter if they have my data, I’m doing nothing wrong. Okay. But what happens when your data shows that you were in a location where they just found a body.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: You know, they just had a robbery. Suddenly the FBI bought your data and said, well, wait a minute, we can link up Mr. Smith here to this building.

Mike Papantonio: He was in the room next door.

Farron Cousins: And then it does create a world of problems for you.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.