Guests: Jonathan Alter, George Stroumboloupolous, Josh Gerstein, Max Kellerman, Scott Haltzman>
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Thanks a lot.
And thanks to you at home for tuning in. We always appreciate it.
Tonight, the war of words between the U.S. and Canada is escalating into a fever pitch. I‘ll talk with a Canadian talk show host who objects to comments made about his country on this very show.
Also, a leading Democrat is looking into whether President Bush ought to be impeached over domestic eavesdropping. Revelations that have rocked Washington, could it really happen?
Plus, THE SITUATION investigation into jihad on campuses. Are some of America‘s leading colleges harboring professors who promote deadly terrorist groups?
We begin tonight with the ongoing transit strike in New York. It left seven million people stranded today, causing historic traffic jams and leaving many businesses shuttered on one of the busiest days of the year.
It is the doing of the Transit Workers Union and its 33,000 employees, none of whom showed up for work this morning. Economists say that if the strike continues, it could have a devastating effect on the national economy.
For more on what‘s becoming a pretty dire situation, we go down to NBC‘s Michelle Franzen, who is standing by at the Brooklyn Bridge—
MICHELLE FRANZEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Tucker.
Millions of New Yorkers dealt with their evening commute, much like they did with their morning commute. And that was on foot. Let‘s give you a look at what it looks like this hour on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Still thousands of people heading across, this time back to Brooklyn, from their workday in Manhattan, as well as a back log of traffic. And that is because this transit strike is still on, despite the court imposing a $1 million a day fine on the union. And a city that had hoped that that would be enough incentive to get the transit workers back, at least to work, if not the negotiating table.
But at this hour, it looks like neither side—neither the MTA or the union is talking to one another.
Earlier today, though, Michael Bloomberg had said that the impact, the economic impact on this city is definitely taking its toll, just in the first day, on the first day. Four hundred million dollars it‘s estimated that it‘s costing the city each day.
And Mayor Bloomberg said on this first day of the strike, many of the retailers during this last holiday push couldn‘t even get into the city to open their doors.
I‘m Michelle Franzen in New York—Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks, Michelle. Of course, if any news breaks on that story within this hour, we‘ll bring it to you first.
On now to Washington, where the White House is continuing to defend its eavesdropping programs aimed at American citizens. The existence of the programs was originally reported by the “New York Times.”
According to “Newsweek‘s” Jonathan Alter, President Bush so desperate to quash that story, he called both the paper‘s publisher and its top editor into the Oval Office on December 6 and asked them not to publish.
Joining me now to discuss what happened, and what it means, Jonathan Alter.
Jonathan, thanks a lot for coming on.
JONATHAN ALTER, “NEWSWEEK”: Good to see you, Tucker.
CARLSON: So the president calls the publisher and the top editor of “The New York Times” in and says what?
ALTER: I wish I could tell you. I don‘t have an account, and I didn‘t put on Newsweek.com what transpired there. And I simply don‘t know. The “New York Times” is not commenting about it, but I did establish that the visit took place.
CARLSON: But it‘s your belief that the president was not concerned so much about national security, as he said yesterday in his news conference, but about the embarrassment that would occur when the story came to light?
ALTER: Yes, and it‘s been compounded today, because tape was discovered of the president saying, “We don‘t spy on American citizens without warrants.” He says that explicitly in this tape that surfaced. So he knew this story would cause him a lot of embarrassment.
We know it‘s not a big national security problem because all of the critics of the “New York Times,” of all of them, none have said, “Oh, this is a terrible threat to national security.” There‘s nothing about means of gathering intelligence or other sensitive material in that story.
ALTER: So for them to claim that it‘s this huge security breach, as he did in this press conference just doesn‘t stand the test...
CARLSON: I‘m not against it. I‘m for leaking. I‘m for leaking in every case. I think we have a right to know. I like knowing. We can make our own judgments; we‘re citizens of this country.
But don‘t you think there‘s a little bit of a double standard going on here? People reacted, partisan opponents to the president reacted with outrage when Valerie Plame‘s name was leaked. “We need to get to the bottom of this.” Investigation, special counsel, et cetera.
And then you‘ve seen silence in a couple of cases since then, this included, where information, secret information, that the administration says is central to national security has been leaked, and no one says boo.
ALTER: Well, I think the bigger double standard is a lot of conservatives, some of whom even think of themselves as libertarians, who this doesn‘t seem to bother. You know?
CARLSON: No, I think it‘s an entirely fair point, but—but just to the specific question of leaking, the White House is going up and saying, it‘s an outrage that the “New York Times” published this. To be clear, I am not on the administration‘s side on that. Good for the “New York Times” for publishing this.
But don‘t you think if you‘re going to hold news organizations to this standard, you ought to hold them to the standard?
ALTER: Well, I mean, fine. Let them have—let them have an investigation, you know, try to find out who the leaker is. Personally, I think it was patriotic of the person who leaked, because this is not—unlike the Plame case, where actually the stakes were not huge, you know, it was really a political intrigue case.
ALTER: Or a normal sort of scandal in Washington about sex or corruption or whatever it is.
ALTER: This one, Snoopgate, is about serious things. It‘s about the separation of powers. It‘s about security versus liberty. It‘s about whether the president violated the law. You know, he doesn‘t even claim that he was operating under the 1978 statute. In his press conference, he claimed that he was operating under some vague constitutional authority that doesn‘t exist.
CARLSON: And the congressional mandate.
ALTER: Where you can make up your own laws.
CARLSON: He said he got a congressional—a mandate from Congress after 9/11 when Congress voted to give the president, quote, “all necessary powers to prosecute the war on terror.”
ALTER: No, no, no. All necessary force.
CARLSON: Use all necessary force.
ALTER: That resolution—this was really ridiculous of the president to say, because every member of Congress who voted for him knows exactly what they voted for.
They voted for him to go into Afghanistan, go after the terrorists, do what was necessary to catch and kill the terrorists. They did not give him a blank check to do absolutely anything he wanted in the war on terror.
If they had done that, what would this whole John McCain thing be about with torture? It wouldn‘t matter, because the president could torture if thought that he needed to for national security. The Congress did not give the president the license to be a dictator on the question of...
CARLSON: Here‘s how the—here‘s how the White House responds to that. They say, A, this program has helped us stop at least one terrorist attack attempt to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.
B, here‘s what Dick Cheney said in Pakistan today. This has not been reported yet. “You know it‘s not an accident we haven‘t been hit in four years. I think there‘s a temptation for people to sit around and say, ‘Well, gee, that was a one-off affair; they didn‘t really mean it.‘ The bottom line is, we‘ve been very active, very aggressively defending the nation and using the tools at our disposal to do that.”
In other words, it‘s because of programs like this that we are terrorist incident-free.
ALTER: I think it‘s just great that they‘re doing this, and I‘m all for connecting the dots, eavesdropping on American citizens if they seem to be engaged in terrorist activity. All that is great.
The point, Tucker, is it can be done within the law.
ALTER: There‘s a law, 1978. It established a special court. You can call them in the middle of the night and get permission. In fact, you can do it after the fact. You can eavesdrop on American citizens, and then two days later, you can call up the FISA court and get retroactive approval to do it. There are no restrictions, really, on your ability to do it, so it‘s puzzling.
CARLSON: So why not do it?
ALTER: Why they would have to circumvent this law, actually violate the law, when only four times since 1979 has this court said no. It‘s not like they were being handcuffed.
ALTER: Or prevented from what they needed to do.
CARLSON: I think that‘s—if what you‘re saying is right, that you can do it after the fact, I think that‘s a really fair point and a good question to ask. Why violate the law gratuitously?
ALTER: And then the president says, “Well, it‘s a timing thing. We needed to do it right away.” The law allows him to do it right away. Why go around the law?
CARLSON: We‘re going to find out, because this is going to be the subject of hearings, as you know.
ALTER: Yes, it is.
CARLSON: Thank you very much, Jonathan Alter of “Newsweek.”
ALTER: Great to see you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Nice to see you.
Almost exactly seven years ago today, the House decided to impeach President Clinton. Now two Democrats, California Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, are exploring the possibility of impeaching President Bush for authorizing the NSA to spy on Americans.
Here to talk about that and other spy stories, Air America Radio host, Rachel Maddow—Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOUSE: Hi, Tucker. Nice to see you.
CARLSON: It‘s great—it‘s great to see you.
Barbara Boxer, and I am not in any way defending this NSA case, because Jon Alter, I thought, raised some pretty interesting points. I‘m not exactly sure what I think, to be totally honest with you. But I know what I think of Barbara Boxer‘s plan to impeach Bush.
She got this idea on a radio show she was appearing on with former White House counsel, John Dean, late of the Nixon administration, who said that this was impeachable defense. Barbara Boxer, John Dean, on the same radio show, complete freak show. And she says in a statement later, “I take very seriously Mr. Dean‘s comments.”
Is this where the Democratic leadership, is this where the Democratic senators go for legal advice? John Dean? Come on.
MADDOW: Tucker, I love that you said that you don‘t know how you feel about why she might want to impeach him, but you know that you hate that she wants to impeach him. A little bit of a—you‘re kind of tipping your cards here a little bit.
CARLSON: No, no, that‘s exactly the point.
CARLSON: I don‘t—that‘s exactly the point I‘m making. There are so many things we don‘t know about this...
CARLSON: ... that it‘s premature, to put it mildly, to be talking about impeachment. And to get the idea from John Dean on a radio show, and then, as a U.S. senator, throw it out there strikes me as ridiculous.
MADDOW: Well, she didn‘t endorse impeachment. What she did is she wrote a letter to some legal scholar saying, “Do you think this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors?” She said, “We need to be starting to talk about impeachment.”
She‘s not the only one either. And I don‘t actually think you can make this a Barbara Boxer question. I mean, people from the American Enterprise Institute, and Jonathan Turley, who‘s a really mainstream NBC legal analyst, have brought it up. And former Reagan administration officials have brought it up. A lot of people have been using the “I” word, because this seems like a clear case of the president breaking the law.
It‘s not very arcane. You know, Congress makes laws. When the president breaks them, what does Congress do? They‘re supposed to impeach him. It‘s not a very complicated, crazy Democratic wing-nut thing.
That said, Barbara Boxer is only asking the question. She hasn‘t said she wants to impeach him yet.
CARLSON: Well, that‘s an argument I‘m very familiar with, having heard it in great detail seven years ago. President Clinton broke a law. He was impeached for it.
How did that turn out for the Republican Party? Not very well in the end. Why? Because the crime for which he was impeached was not considered a crime by most Americans. And my political protection today is no matter how—what we learn about this in the end, the backlash will actually hurt the Democrats in this, because most Americans want the president to do whatever he can, including breaking laws, to protect them.
MADDOW: But you know, Tucker, it‘s one thing for there to have been a backlash against the Republicans after the impeachment of President Clinton because he lied about having sexual relations with an intern.
It‘s another thing for there to be an expected backlash for trying to impeach the president potentially in this case when what the president did was break the law to spy on Americans without warrants. That kind of seems more serious. I mean, if you want to try too compare the two impeachment cases.
CARLSON: No, it‘s—there‘s absolutely no question. There‘s absolutely no question it‘s more serious. My only point is, that I think most Americans, and I haven‘t seen polling on this, but I bet you 20 bucks I‘m right, most Americans don‘t care.
And if they believe—the president the White House can show that acts of terror were prevented because of this program, everyone is for it. I may be against it, you may be against it. But average people, totally for it.
MADDOW: I think people are starting to get creeped out about a big secretive, intrusive government that‘s looking at our medical records and our tax records and our financial records, and looking at our e-mails and looking at our phone calls and all of this stuff.
MADDOW: All under the guise of 9/11 gives us clearance to do it. Well, you know what? It‘s starting to wear a little bit thin, because we don‘t actually feel safer because of all this stuff.
CARLSON: We have been pretty safe, though.
Well, not only looking at our medical records and library cards, but also looking at political groups, especially those on the fringe, particularly those on the left: PETA, different environmental groups. It turns out the FBI has been taking a close look at all of these groups. It turns out, in fact, that most domestic terrorism, the overwhelming majority of domestic terrorism, committed by animal rights and environmental groups.
Here‘s what—here‘s what the ACLU is saying. The FBI should use its resources to investigate credible threats to national security, instead of spending time tracking innocent Americans who criticize government policy.
I completely agree with that. Following PETA around is a total waste of time. The FBI ought to be staking out radical mosques, but they don‘t. You know why? Or don‘t enough. Because of concerns that they‘re going to be sued by the ACLU for racial profiling.
That‘s the bottom line. They should be doing this but to different people.
MADDOW: But it‘s not like these two stories that we‘re talking about are unconnected. I mean, if the FBI wants to be staking out radical mosques, they can go get a warrant to do that and they can make a case for doing that.
CARLSON: You don‘t need a warrant to stake out a building.
MADDOW: Sure. But if you wanted to do—if you wanted to be tapping the phones of the people who were members of the mosque, calling people outside the country or something, you could get a FISA warrant to do that, right?
The problem is the administration is not getting warrants to do stuff.
They‘re just breaking the law and doing it. And don‘t you wonder...
CARLSON: Wait. Hold on. Just as a factual matter, I don‘t think there‘s any evidence that in this story, that the FBI has broken any law, in keeping these groups under surveillance.
MADDOW: Right, but connect the dots here. Connect these two stories. Don‘t you wonder why it is that, if what you just heard from Jonathan Alter is right, that they‘ve turned down—these courts have turned down warrants four times in 25 years, why on earth would you then go outside the law and circumvent that court? You‘re going to get whatever you want from it.
Maybe it‘s because what the FBI is doing with this domestic surveillance stuff, is they‘re surveilling the llama fur protests and the anti-war protests and stuff that they would be embarrassed to have to actually ask permission for.
CARLSON: But again, they don‘t need permission to watch people. You don‘t need permission in a public place to observe people. You don‘t need permission to use informants. You need permission to monitor electronic communications.
But again, the bottom line is I think they are looking at the wrong people. I mean, PETA, as annoying as they may be, as over the top as they may be, I don‘t think is a threat to national security. Islamic extremism is. And just think because of concerns about being accused of racial profiling, we‘re not surveilling the right people, and it‘s really troublesome.
CARLSON: I don‘t think anybody looking at these same stories as you tonight, I don‘t think most people are looking at this and thinking, you know, what we need is more surveillance. I think what we realize is that we‘ve got a surveillance system in this country that‘s run amuck and that isn‘t focusing on the right priorities. And the Bush administration has some weird ideas about how to spend its time and its money.
CARLSON: I think part of what you said is right. On the other hand, I would like to hear a good argument for why we haven‘t been attacked in the last four years. I think it says something. I don‘t know.
MADDOW: Maybe we can talk about it tomorrow.
CARLSON: Maybe we can. Rachel Maddow, I hope so. We‘ll see you then.
MADDOW: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: Still ahead, the war of words heats up between the U.S. And Canada. Why do our neighbors to the north hold such an enormous grudge against us? We‘ll try to get some answers in just a minute.
Plus, college professors moonlighting as terrorist sympathizers. There are a lot of them. Why are universities still allowing these radical teachers on their campuses? A SITUATION investigation, when we come back.
CARLSON: Still ahead, why is one prominent New York University employing an anti-American professor who is quoted as saying, quote, “The only true heroes are those who find ways to help defeat the U.S. military”? THE SITUATION investigates jihad on campus when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. I don‘t know what that music is.
What started as a spat over lumber tariffs has escalated into an international incident, or as close as you can get when Canada is involved. It all began a few weeks ago, when the U.S. government warned Canadian politicians to stop criticizing us. Canadians responded with vitriol and outrage.
And then THE SITUATION got involved. Unflattering comments about Canada I made on this show wound up in many Canadian papers this morning, accompanied by steaming headlines, all of which prompted us to ask, why are Canadians so angry? Is it the weather?
Joining us with answers tonight, George Stroumboulopoulos, host of “The Hour” on the CBC.
GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS, HOST, CBC‘s “THE HOUR”: How are you, Tucker?
CARLSON: I‘m great, George. Thanks a lot for joining us. That‘s the question, I guess. Why is Canada so angry at the United States? Here Canada floods our nation with Nelly Furtado albums. We don‘t complain at all. And yet Canada seems angry at us. It seems unfair.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I don‘t think you—I don‘t think you guys are in any position. You give us Britney Spears and you give us things like Ashlee Simpson, so I think it‘s even. Nelly actually rights her own stuff.
But here‘s what the deal is. It‘s not that you criticize us, Tucker. Everybody up here is cool with the criticism. It‘s the choice of words that you have. When you said we‘re like the retarded cousin, everybody said, “We don‘t even use that word ‘retarded‘ anymore.” So it was more like, Tucker, say what you want to say. Let‘s just find a better way to do it.
CARLSON: Well, that‘s—I mean, you know, I think that‘s a fair point, and my only point was most Americans are not very aware of Canada. I think most Americans like Canadians, but think of them as, you know, I don‘t mean not fully human, but not as people whose opinions you pay a lot of attention to.
Meanwhile, Canadians seem completely outraged at the United States. One of your members of parliament recently said, quote, “Damn Americans. I hate those bastards.”
The director of communications for your former prime minister called our president a moron.
The “Hill Times of Canada” publication in your country said in wake of 9/11, quote, “It was common to hear Canadians voice the opinion Americans had finally gotten what they deserved on 9/11.” There‘s a lot of hostility.
STROMBOLOPOULOS: No, no, no. Well, that last part was not indicative of the way most Canadians feel.
However, the things that you heard from the Canadian politicians, and only a few of them, were no different than what you heard from other Democrats or Republicans on many of the shows that you‘ve done in the past. They‘re just individual people.
The majority of Canadians and Americans are the way they are. They‘re not that interested in the fight. It‘s just each government likes to use their own little thing to take their own stand.
And the reason why the Canadian government—people got so freaked out here, was because the American ambassador got involved in our political campaign by just being a little too testy. And I think it‘s because the White House actually did take what the Canadian prime minister said seriously. So it means maybe they are actually listening.
CARLSON: In 1996, Canadians were asked to name the greatest all-time Canadian. Seventy-six percent of Canadians who responded said, quote, “No one comes to mind.”
When Canadians were asked to name their favorite song, it was from the Guess Who, “American Woman.”
Here‘s my point, George. There‘s an identity crisis in Canada. It‘s a country not sure who it is, and so it defines itself in opposition to its southern neighbor, the United States. Isn‘t it time Canada got its own culture?
STROMBOLOPOULOS: Yes, I think—I think there‘s certainly some argument to be made that there‘s some kind of inferiority complex with certain people in this country, but it is no longer the majority.
And actually the person who won the greatest Canadian search at the end of it all was a man named Tommy Douglas, who is actor Kiefer Sutherland‘s grandfather, who is the father of Medicare in Canada. So Canadians were pretty clear about where their values lie.
It‘s just like Pierre Trudeau once said about America, “When you sleep next to the elephant, when the elephant moves or twitches, we‘re bound to feel it.” We‘re separate animals; we‘re just bound to feel what you do. You‘ve got to remember, Tucker, here it‘s OK to be gay (ph).
CARLSON: Kiefer Sutherland‘s grandfather? Wait, now hold on, George.
I mean, I don‘t mean to...
STROMBOLOPOULOS: We‘re talking about one of the greatest politicians in Canada.
CARLSON: What about Gordon Lightfoot? What about Bachman Turner Overdrive, Alex Trebek, John Candy, all Canadians who moved south, admittedly. But you‘ve got to—and you choose Kiefer Sutherland‘s grandfather?
STROMBOLOPOULOS: You know what?
CARLSON: It‘s a judgment question.
STROMBOLOPOULOS: But his grandfather brought Medicare here, which is something you probably—guys could go probably for. But don‘t forget Norman Jewison and Neil Young, they came home. Because they realized it was time to be here.
The reality is, Tucker, the great thing about being a Canadian, is that you don‘t have to think about being a Canadian. You‘re just a citizen in the world. And you can live wherever you want, but you will always be a Canadian. And you know it in your heart.
We don‘t need to have some kind of overcompensating like the sports car to make up for some other deficiency. We‘re comfortable with who we are, in our own skin.
CARLSON: You‘re criticizing our manhood, George, but I‘m going to let it slide, because, like every Canadian I‘ve met, you‘re a genuinely nice guy. Thanks a lot for coming on.
STROMBOLOPOULOS: Hey, it‘s a pleasure. Anytime, Tucker.
Coming up, should kids be excused from dissecting frogs in biology class because it‘s gross? We‘ll debate that with “The Outsider,” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
College campuses are supposed to be a haven for free thinking. What if ideas being pushed aren‘t free at all but totalitarian and pro-jihad? My next guest investigated who‘s funding and who‘s teaching in our schools of higher learning. Here to tell us what he has found, Josh Gerstein, national reporter for the “New York Sun.” He joins us live tonight from Washington, D.C.
Josh, thanks a lot for coming on.
JOSH GERSTEIN, NATIONAL REPORTER, “NEW YORK SUN”: Sure, Tucker.
CARLSON: The most outrageous—the quote that sort of boils it down for me, anyway, is a quote from a Columbia University professor named Nicholas De Genova (ph), who called for a million Mogadishus, quote, and said—and I‘m quoting now—“The only true heroes are those who find ways to help defeat the U.S. military.”
He‘s still teaching at Columbia, in fact, a graduate class this coming semester on the metaphysics of anti-terrorism. Why is he still there? Is it common?
GERSTEIN: I think it is pretty common, Tucker. There‘s a lot of tolerance for anti-American world views on college campuses and particularly among the faculty. I think if you‘ve been on campuses recently, you know that, at least among undergraduates, the political opinion is probably pretty representative of that in the country as a whole. It might even be more conservative.
But the faculties still trend dramatically more liberal in their orientation, and that means naturally, the way these bell curves end up spreading out, you‘re going to get more sort of people that are at the fringes, if you will, especially on the liberal side. And so it‘s not terribly surprising to find Mr. De Genova (ph), or other people that may have what most would consider anti-American views teaching at even respectable colleges like Columbia.
CARLSON: Yes. And of course, the irony is there‘s nothing liberal about totalitarianism. And that‘s what these guys are apologizing for.
Tell me about Sami al-Arian, a Florida University professor who went on trial for, I think, aiding and abetting terrorists. He was a supporter of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He was acquitted. Is he going to get his job back, and should he?
GERSTEIN: Well, he hasn‘t been teaching for a few years. The main reason he hasn‘t been teaching is because he‘s been in a cell in Florida. He spent about two and a half years in detention down there, awaiting this trial.
And the issue is, he was mostly acquitted, or at least almost completely acquitted in this trial. Some charges, he was found explicitly not guilty. And on the other charges, there was a hung jury, but the interviews with the jurors say that most of the jury was in favor of acquitting him on those, as well.
So the question is, if the government decides not to bring another prosecution of him, and if they can‘t deport him, which is something else they‘re looking at doing, does he go back to teach at the University of South Florida, where he was a computer engineering professor? And there are people on that campus who want him back or at least think he should be given a chance to make the argument for why he should come back to campus.
CARLSON: Does the college have, or does any college, for that matter, have the courage to say these views are so repugnant, anti-western, anti-American, antithetical to the idea of the western university, no, we are not going to have you on campus? Does any college have the brass to do that?
GERSTEIN: Well, very rarely do you hear that expressed. Certainly, you don‘t hear it hardly at all at public universities, like the University of South Florida.
Part of that is because of the idea of tenure and academic freedom, that you should be able to say almost anything you want to say. Obviously, you can‘t sexually harass someone, you can‘t racially harass someone, but if you go beyond that, most people on the campuses say, well, you should ignore what professors say unless they do something outrageous.
CARLSON: But that‘s not—functionally that‘s not true. If you get up at any university and deny the Holocaust existed or call for a return to slavery or something disgusting like that, you‘re going to be—you‘re going to be forced out of your job. But when you attack the United States, people hide behind academic freedom.
GERSTEIN: Well, I think that‘s true, Tucker. You‘re right. There are some things you can get away with, and some things you can‘t get away with. And it does seem like you can get away with advocating for radical Palestinian causes. And it does seem like you can get away with certain other things that are anti-American.
Whereas like you say, if you made a comment that the Holocaust never happened, you‘d be drummed out. On the other hand...
CARLSON: And good.
GERSTEIN: ... you can make some other comments that may come close to that, and you can hang on, especially if you‘re on the right campus.
CARLSON: All right. Josh Gerstein of “The New York Sun,” whose pieces really have been cutting edge on this issue. Thanks a lot for joining us.
GERSTEIN: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: Still to come, a Chinese export that is certain to turn some heads, no pun intended. Organs from executed prisoners. People are buying them. We‘ll tell you who, next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. The Chinese philosopher and founder of Daoism, Lao Su, once said, “He who knows does not speak, and he who speaks does not know.” We‘re going to try to prove him wrong tonight. Joining me now live in our SITUATION studio, the Outsider, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO: I don‘t know. I don‘t know.
CARLSON: Very good. Very subtle, as always.
First up, a story that might have Lao Su turning over in his grave. A Chinese company is selling kidneys, livers and other organs from executed prisoners to foreign transplant patients. The price, about four grand for a kidney transplant. Asians pay half that, but one doctor said Western patients get the best quality organs. Executed prisoners are the main source of those organs, thousands of which are murdered every year by the Chinese government, resulting in transplants.
You know, it‘s hard, look, I have complete sympathy for people who need organ transplants, who will die if they don‘t get them. And I know it‘s unfashionable to criticize China‘s human rights policy, since they take all of our DVD players now.
KELLERMAN: You are on fire today! Talk about full of apple sauce.
CARLSON: I know, but I mean...
CARLSON: Look, I love Canadians and I love Chinese, but let‘s call it the way it is.
CARLSON: They are executing prisoners in order to harvest their organs. If we can‘t call that wrong, let‘s just give up.
KELLERMAN: Well, if the fact is that they are executing prisoners in order to harvest organs, clearly there‘s no defense of that, not even the devil‘s advocate could defend that, and I won‘t.
However, let‘s assume they are simply executing political prisoners, because they were doing that long before they were harvesting organs. Right? I am against the death penalty, and you are too, and I believe—I mean, the reason I am, at least, and I have heard you say this, and I will echo it here, the government shouldn‘t be in the business of murdering its own citizens, especially as a way to show how bad it is what they have done. It‘s so bad that we‘re going to—they committed a murder. That‘s so bad, we are going to murder them.
CARLSON: But as long as they are doing it...
KELLERMAN: As long as they are already dead, Tucker, the organs, it‘s, you know, you ever—did your mother say, don‘t waste the food?
CARLSON: Waste not, want not? Is that what you‘re saying? Because there are children starving in China?
KELLERMAN: Look at that liver! That‘s right, there‘s a good kidney in there.
CARLSON: That is so sick. There is a lot of evidence, and this has come to light many years ago, it‘s been going on all this time, and nobody says a word, that these executions are timed in order that the organs might reach the people who need them immediately. Some of them take place at military hospitals. All the transplants, in fact, take place at military hospitals. So presumably, they can be near the execution fields.
KELLERMAN: If that is, in fact, the case, there‘s a script in there somewhere. I mean, that‘s a really, you know, spine-tinglingly terrifying thought.
CARLSON: It‘s so barbaric. And I don‘t know, nicer people are aware of it.
Speaking of barbaric, back in the U.S., frogs will now be saved from future generations of high school students. Some of them, anyway. New Jersey legislature has passed a bill that requires all state school districts to offer alternatives to kids who oppose dissecting animals, either on moral grounds or just because they are squeamish. Alternatives for dissection include viewing the process by video.
OK. I am for this, believe it or not. This—typically, students who complain about anything ought to be quiet, as far as I am concerned. But dissecting frogs, it is kind of traumatic, it‘s unnecessary. I‘m actually not for killing frogs if you don‘t have to kill frogs. I think this is great. And you don‘t have to kill frogs.
KELLERMAN: Well, this is a related issue, because, in fact, in the case of frogs, they are actually killing the frogs in order for people to dissect them.
KELLERMAN: That much is clear. But—and they shouldn‘t be forced to do it. I always thought it was barbaric. Here‘s the defense of the whole situation.
KELLERMAN: You are ending one of the great moral dilemmas of modern American life. The dissection of frogs is one of the few times, it‘s really an opportunity for young kids, pre-teens, almost teenagers, to actually take a stand and say, you know what, I am not doing this because it‘s wrong. There are consequences. They are going to have to suffer. You had a guest on yesterday, who ripped down the Santa Claus.
KELLERMAN: Display, and he‘s going to have to pay the price, but he stood up for what is right. And as Americans, I think we admire that. And I think it‘s not a bad thing to have that little opportunity, that little window in your life, where a young person can actually stand up for what they believe in, say, no, I am not going to do this, I am going to pay the price.
CARLSON: No, no, that‘s exactly what you don‘t want. You don‘t want to turn little kids into annoying, loudmouthed activists at age 11. You don‘t want that.
KELLERMAN: They‘re not being activists. They‘re not being activists, and they are paying with their own grades. You know, they are actually—they are personally being penalized. They‘re not really—no one else is really brought into it, and in fact, I will say proudly, that when I was in junior high school or high school, whatever grade it was, ninth grade, I refused to dissect a frog.
CARLSON: And yet you became a boxing analyst.
KELLERMAN: Yeah, well, look...
CARLSON: You are so opposed to violence, the irony. Max Kellerman, it‘s great to have you back from Las Vegas.
KELLERMAN: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thank you.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, the first secret of being a happily married man, not to be married to one of these women. If you want to hear the rest of the tips that just might save your marriage, you‘ll have to stay tuned, and we‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. You probably don‘t need any advice from my next guest. Let‘s just say you know someone, a friend of a friend, say, whose marriage isn‘t as completely blissful as it might be. In that case, you might want to pay attention, you might learn something you can pass on to your, you know, friend.
Scott Haltzman is the author of the book, “The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife‘s Heart Forever.” He joins me live tonight from Boston. Dr. Haltzman thanks a lot for coming on.
DR. SCOTT HALTZMAN, AUTHOR, “THE SECRETS OF HAPPILY MARRIED MEN”:
Nice to be here, Tucker. How are you?
CARLSON: I‘m great. I want to put up on the screen, eight tips, making your wife happy. Make your marriage your job. Know your wife. Be home now. Expect conflict and deal with it. Learn to listen. Aim to please. And number seven, understand the truth about sex. Let‘s just stop right there. What is the truth about sex, Dr. Haltzman?
HALTZMAN: So you jumped right to the sex question.
CARLSON: Of course I did. Come on, it‘s a late-night show.
HALTZMAN: Well, one of the things, is that men are frequently labeled as being hungry for sex, and, in fact, my research shows that men tend to want to have sex in the relationship more than the women do, on average. But I think what happens is men unfairly get labeled as looking for sex to scratch some biological itch. And what I think women often don‘t appreciate is that sex is a way of getting an emotional connection for men. Actually physically, their bodies will feel more bonded to you, and their hearts and their minds will feel more bonded to you, through the act of sex, so it‘s not just a matter of a biological drive.
CARLSON: So your advice to wives is, submit, it‘s good for your relationship.
HALTZMAN: Well, actually, it is good for your relationship, and one of the myths is that a woman shouldn‘t be engaged in sex until she feels 100 percent on board, all the time. And I don‘t really think that‘s true of relationships. I think there are lots of things men do in relationships that they don‘t particularly care to do, at certain times.
HALTZMAN: And I think the same thing is true for women, that women may—they may, in fact, find that they enjoy sex more than they think they will, if they loosen up and allow themselves to bring sex to the table.
CARLSON: Yes, to do it, Dr. Haltzman, you are such a wise, wise man.
You also advocate for men in some cases keeping your feelings to yourself. You don‘t seem to be one of these people who believes men should take the Alan Alda approach and cry too much. Is that right?
HALTZMAN: I think one of the myths that we struggle with is that in order to have a good relationship, a man has to be in touch with his inner child, has to really kind of...
HALTZMAN: ... be able to express all his emotions, in some way that he can connect with his life.
Look, there‘s nothing wrong with men that are able to do that. I think Alan Alda is a great guy, I‘d love to be like him, but I am not. And if women have the expectation that all us guys are going to be like Alan Alda or Phil Donahue, then they are going to end up being really disappointed. Instead, I am saying, take advantage of the qualities that we have.
CARLSON: So put your inner child in time-out. Tell your wife you need sex more often than you are currently having it. This is great so far. What is the hardest thing men need to do in order to please their wives?
HALTZMAN: Well, I think the real struggle that men have, and I think people in relationships in general, but particularly men, is learning how to listen. The main complaint that I hear women describe to me is he just doesn‘t listen.
HALTZMAN: And we say as men, I listen, I listen, I listen all the time. I know exactly what you are saying. No. If your wife does not feel like she is being heard, then you are not doing a good job listening.
Now, for instance, Tucker, I noticed that when you talk with your guests, you gather just enough information to reach a conclusion, and then jump in with your observation.
HALTZMAN: That‘s the way I like to communicate, and I enjoy communicating with you that way. But I can tell you, that‘s not the way you want to communicate with your wife.
CARLSON: I get it all out of my system before I go home at night, thank God.
Now, if you could boil down to one thing what women want, obviously age-old question, hard to believe you could answer it on a cable show in 45 seconds, but who knows, maybe you can. What do they want?
HALTZMAN: I think women really need to know that they can trust you, and that you will be there for them. And when a woman knows that you have her interests at heart, that your primary motivation is to make her happy, when she reaches that point, she is able to relax, and then I find she is actually able to meet your needs as a husband.
CARLSON: I think that is—honestly, I think that is equally smart advice. And I think your book (INAUDIBLE) as well.
HALTZMAN: I think so. Thank you.
CARLSON: Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife‘s Heart Forever.” And I bet they work. Thanks a lot, Dr. Haltzman.
HALTZMAN: Great. Bye-bye, Tucker.
CARLSON: See you.
Coming up, last night we met the man who tore down this sick Christmas display in New York City. Tonight, we will meet a caller who thinks the hero ought to be locked. We‘ll check THE SITUATION voicemail next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. So many of you called today, smoke began to rise from our answering machine, setting off the sprinkler system. We have the situation under control now, ready to listen to your messages. First up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANONYMOUS: Your professor buddy is crazy. The media is not liberal. Come on, it‘s a big myth created by the Republicans back in the ‘80s. Now after a nice little generation, people actually believe it. It‘s a joke. There‘s no more liberal media than there‘s a war on Christmas and there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, you are half right. The Republicans have gotten a lot of mileage out of attacking the press as liberal, but the idea that the press is liberal is a myth, I don‘t think so. I work here. I can tell you, it‘s real. I‘ve worked in the press all my life, and it‘s definitely liberal, no question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUSTIN: This is Austin from South Carolina. That guy who went on that private property and tore down the Santa Claus needs to be in jail. If it was reversed, and somebody saw a regular, normal Santa Claus sitting on your private property and tore it down because you hated Christmas, you would want them in jail. You are a hypocrite, Tucker Carlson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: No, actually, I am not. That‘s the point. It was not a normal Santa Claus. It was an obscene Santa Claus, that was offensive to everyone else. You don‘t have a right to put pornography on your front door, nor do you have a right to put a Santa that scares the heck out of little kids in the neighborhood in your front yard. This guy may go to jail, and the beauty of this guy we had on last night, he is ready to go to jail. He is not hiding behind the ACLU. He says, I did it, I admit it, he told the cops he did it, and he‘s willing to take his lumps for it. That‘s why he is a hero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANONYMOUS: Hey, Tucker, if you don‘t know where Calgary, Alberta is, that shows how ignorant you are. So enough with the Canadian bashing and pick on the ignorant Americans like you, for a change, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I know where Calgary, Alberta is. I do. I was just laughing at the way Canadians always explain where they are from. They say, I‘m from Calgary, Alberta, BC, Canada, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way, right? They are always way too precise. How about just Calgary? I thought it was kind of amusing. By the way, I love Canadians. And I‘m not bashing, I‘m just trying to help. They‘re our little buddy. They need a little discipline sometimes, and I am the man to bring it to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY: I‘m Gregory Wright (ph), Sherman Oaks, California. You outdid your own this Monday, when you said you are a breed and multiply kind of guy. The countries and regions with the largest numbers of people and the highest birth rates are emiserated (ph), polluted hell holes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Which proves nothing, Gregory from Sherman Oaks. You are right, but there‘s not a causal relationship. Those countries also have terrible, corrupt, despotic governments. And in those countries, you are not going to convince me that children are the problem, because they are not. Children didn‘t turn those countries into hell holes; their leaders did.
Let me know what you are thinking. You can call 1-877-TCARLSON. That‘s 877-822-7576. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read our blog every day, tucker.msnbc.com.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, have you ever wondered what kind of training Santa puts himself through in preparation for his Christmas rounds? We‘ll let you in on St. Nick‘s fitness secrets when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor,” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.” We‘re joined by my personal favorite Canadian, Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, THE SITUATION: Thank you, Tucker. It‘s funny you should bring the Canadians up, because I now have a bone to pick. I went on the Internet and defended these people in the face of your outrageous comments.
GEIST: The thanks I get today, about 25 hate-filled e-mails with words I didn‘t know existed.
CARLSON: That‘s outrageous.
GEIST: So you know what? Now it‘s on, Canada. It is on. Meet me in the parking lot after school. Come alone. No weapons. Let‘s do this.
CARLSON: They won‘t bring a weapon. The irony is, I actually liked Gordon Lightfoot. You know what I mean? I‘ve been defending that guy for years. (INAUDIBLE) great tune.
Well, it appears the latest weapon in the war on terror is rapper Eminem. No, he‘s not taking up arms—well, actually, he probably is, but not in the war on terror. The advocacy group Human Rights Watch alleges Eminem‘s music was used to torture detainees at a secret prison in Afghanistan. One detainee claimed he was forced to listen to Eminem‘s song “Slim Shady” at loud volume for 20 days.
GEIST: “Slim Shady” is an annoying song. I like Eminem, but that is an annoying song.
Now, it‘s one thing when a critic tells you your music is bad, because that‘s sort of subjective. But when it‘s successfully used to elicit confessions, yeah, that‘s quantifiably says that your music is bad.
CARLSON: That‘s true. That‘s actually an objective measure of badness. That‘s not some critic beating up on you.
GEIST: Exactly. Now it‘s a fact.
CARLSON: Right. When the terrorists don‘t like you, you‘re bad.
Do you really think Santa gets that sculpted physique from sitting around deciding who has been naughty and who‘s been nice all year? Of course not. That‘s a lie. Turns out he‘s a fitness freak, actually. Here‘s some rare footage of Santa and his body doubles training in preparation for Christmas. The Santas worked out by tossing fruitcakes and hustling packages from the sleigh.
GEIST: Call me naive, I don‘t know what Santa does at your house, but he does not, as far as I know, he does not throw fruitcakes at mine when he comes down the chimney. He doesn‘t vandalize. He comes in and does his business.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
GEIST: And generally does not throw baked goods around the house.
CARLSON: It‘s kind of a threatening Santa on display here.
GEIST: I know. They‘re a little too thin, too, aren‘t they?
GEIST: We‘ll look into it.
CARLSON: Here‘s a man whose Christmas wish list apparently includes death. The infamous Spiderman struck again in Paris today. He climbed a 308-foot building with no ropes or any safety equipment of any kind. Spiderman reached the top of the building, where he was met by police officers. Spiderman has already scaled the world‘s tallest building, the 1,600-foot Taipei 101.
GEIST: Tucker, I bet that guy pays a hell of a premium on his life insurance.
CARLSON: That‘s amazing.
GEIST: Scaling buildings. Do you think he does windows? Mine are a mess. Look at that.
CARLSON: It‘s kind of impressive.
GEIST: It‘s totally impressive.
CARLSON: I like pointless displays of reckless machismo. I endorse it. As a libertarian, I‘m on your side, Spidey.
GEIST: I have a feeling, though, there is only one way his career is going to end.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
GEIST: And it won‘t be good.
CARLSON: If you‘re a moose looking to get out and about for a couple of days, Sioux Falls, South Dakota is a pretty good place to do it. It took Game and Wildlife officials there almost two days to catch this fellow. The pursuit of the moose even shut down an interstate highway for a time. The young bull was finally taken down with a tranquilizer dart just this afternoon.
GEIST: Boy, Sioux Falls Game and Wildlife, you guys are better than that. I know a lot of those guys. They are good guys, they are good game officials, but it should not take two days to bring down a moose in my opinion. I think go back, look at the film, and get better next time out.
CARLSON: You know, it‘s a big target, honestly.
GEIST: Two days to catch a moose.
CARLSON: No, it‘s not like shooting a squirrel with a bb gun.
CARLSON: As tempting as it may be to steal a penguin from the zoo and make it a Christmas present—and it is tempting—you probably should resist the urge. Toga, a 3-month-old jackass penguin—it‘s not a pejorative term, it really is a kind of penguin—was snatched from the Amazon World Zoo in southern England over the weekend. Toga‘s keeper warns the thief that Toga is vulnerable and must be returned immediately.
GEIST: Tucker, it‘s a tough call. Sure, it‘s wrong to steal, but what an adorable gift that is going to make for somebody. Isn‘t it?
CARLSON: That is actually...
GEIST: I mean, you talk about being a hero to your kids. They open up a penguin on Christmas Day, you‘re good.
CARLSON: I totally—what about your wife?
GEIST: A penguin for your wife?
CARLSON: Yeah, you can‘t go wrong. If you give her—sure, you know, they talk about a diamond tennis bracelet—you give her a penguin, you‘ve scored.
GEIST: For the woman who has everything.
GEIST: A penguin.
CARLSON: A penguin.
GEIST: All right, Tucker, see you tomorrow.
CARLSON: That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight. Thank you for watching.
See you back here tomorrow. Have a great night.
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