Guest: Arsalan Iftikhar, Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Max Kellerman
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Well, a lot of stories in our stack tonight, including Osama bin Laden and cocaine, a party mom having sex with teenage boys, plus face transplants in Finland. Beat that.
Joining me now, making his third appearance here on THE SITUATION, second as a panelist, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and, making her first appearance since Friday, the great Rachel Maddow.
Thank you both.
RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: First up, it’s the shuttle situation. Two-and-a-half years after the Columbia disaster and two weeks after its scheduled launch, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off this morning at 10:39 a.m. It went off without—only the slightest hitch, a small piece of debris that was seen flying off the left side of the ship. NASA officials were duly exuberant, but also concerned, as was everyone watching, because it’s really dangerous, even in 2005. I’m glad that we did this, getting on the horse again after two-and-a-half years.
On the other hand, I hate to say this on the day it launches. It’s really expensive. I looked at the numbers today; $16.2 billion, NASA’s budget this year. To give you some perspective on that, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a total of $6 billion this year, a little less—a little more than one-third NASA’s budget.
You know, there’s got to be good reason to be doing this. I’m not saying there isn’t. I’m just saying I haven’t heard of it. AL SHARPTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, I, in principle, agree with you. I think space exploration is important. But I also think we have to deal with priorities.
And I think that, when we spend such little on certain things on Earth and spend such a large amount of money like this, one wonders whether or not we can’t find more of a balance. But I do pray that they have a safe journey. And I hope that all of this space exploration leads to some good things for people on Earth.
CARLSON: Well, I think everyone, of course, is praying for their safe return and is impressed as Americans that we’re able to do this and that we’re bold enough to do it after the disaster of two—and-a-half years ago. But what’s the rationale exactly?
MADDOW: Well, I think—the reason that—I mean, I share your—your sentiments on this in terms of, well, you know, what are we spending our money on? Sixteen billion dollars seems like a lot. But, on the other hand, we don’t spend enough money in this country on basic science, on basic research and development. We’re really falling behind on technology, both at the high level and in terms of basic science education. And something like a big—a big scientific project like space exploration just drive our scientific inquiry. It does make us better at science in this country.
SHARPTON: I agree with that.
MADDOW: And so, is that worth $16 billion? I don’t know. Is there another way to achieve that? Maybe. But, right now, it’s the only...
CARLSON: Well, I know. But, I mean, look, there’s a limited amount of money.
CARLSON: I mean, just to put it in some perspective, we’re spending $302 million this year on all border construction, all border construction, Canada and Mexico, in the entire country. A shuttle launch can cost twice that, $600 million.
SHARPTON: But we don’t spend enough on infrastructure redevelopment in the country.
I mean, what I’m saying is, I think the problem is that we don’t have the right priorities. If we had the right priorities, I think the money would be more plentiful than it is. Yes, money is tight, but you then have some expenditures, particularly under this administration, that acts like money isn’t tight at all, when they spend money on very unnecessary things.
CARLSON: Right. Well, the question is, what are those things?
CARLSON: I just threw up it. And you said it was necessary.
CARLSON: So, maybe in the next one, you can tell me what is unnecessary.
A situation in Georgia Monday saw black people wearing KKK costumes. Amazing. Amazingly weird. It was the 59th anniversary of an unsolved lynching in Monroe, Georgia. And activists reenacted the crime, which was the dragging of two black couples from their cars and their bloody murders by a mob. Two hundred people, including Jesse Jackson, watched the scene. It was intended to spur the prosecution of anyone alive who might have been involved.
The case is considering—considered the last mass public lynching in U.S. history.
I completely sympathize with the desire to bring people to justice, even after 60 years. I mean, Idi Amin died in his bed. So did Pol Pot. You know, I applaud efforts to bring anyone to justice for any crime, especially one this serious. On the other hand, you have got to wonder, if there are not specific people they’re targeting, if there isn’t something sort of unhealthy about reenacting something this ugly. SHARPTON: No, I think it’s healthy. I think we need to remind people how ugly the history has been and the history of unresolved lynchings like this.
So, 59 years later, not only is it a reenactment to show what happened, but it also reminds us of what did not happen in 59 years.
SHARPTON: The only thing I raise—and I supported Tyrone Brooks, the Georgia legislator that did this, along with others—is that, let’s not act as though we don’t still have racial violence. I mean, we’re dealing again with Howard Beach right now and police brutality right now. So, we shouldn’t get comfortable that all of these things are a thing of the past. We’ve gone from people that wore hoods now to people who are unhooded who are just as dangerous.
CARLSON: But hold on. Let’s—let’s—let’s be real. Racial violence is hardly the number one killer of black Americans. It’s not even in the top 100 causes. And so, I wonder if energy, while I applaud the notion of bringing people to justice, but if energy wouldn’t be better spent attacking the root causes of things like AIDS or poverty. SHARPTON: Well, of course we should attack AIDS and poverty. But you might have made that argument 60 years ago, that more blacks were dying of heart attacks than lynching. Does lynching—does that make lynching less of a priority?
CARLSON: No, but there were lynchings 60 years ago, and there aren’t now.
SHARPTON: I fail to see your point, Tucker.
Well, and there is racial violence now. What I’m saying is that you don’t compare the numbers to justify something blatant that was allowed to continue because it neglected the judicial process, which is why they were right to reenact it.
MADDOW: Fifty-nine years ago, it was 12 to 15 people who committed this. They shot—they shot these people hundreds of times...
MADDOW: ... in broad daylight east of Atlanta. They were never prosecuted. There was an investigation. There are 55 people named in the FBI file. They never got anywhere with the investigation. They never brought anybody up on charges. There’s no statute of limitations on murder. You can’t say that that shouldn’t be investigated.
CARLSON: I—I—I couldn’t agree more.
CARLSON: It’s what I led by saying.
CARLSON: And, in fact, I think there were actually a couple hundred people who were there at the event.
MADDOW: That’s right.
CARLSON: Right. OK.
MADDOW: And we wouldn’t be covering it unless they had reenacted it.
SHARPTON: And there’s more than a couple hundred people watching us tonight that need to know about it.
CARLSON: Well, we certainly hope there are more than a couple hundred people watching.
CARLSON: Well, the terrorism situation...
SHARPTON: Well, they know Rachel and I are on. So...
CARLSON: According to “The New York Post,” Osama bin Laden tried a year after 9/11 to purchase cocaine in bulk that he planned to poison and distribute here in the U.S. in order to kill coke heads. The paper says That drug lords he patronized ultimately decided this was a bad business deal. This afternoon, the DEA called out “The Post” and denied the story completely.
Elsewhere, Tony Blair of Britain called out the world when he referred to 9/11 as a wakeup call, after which much of the world turned and over went back to sleep.
I think what—you know, if al Qaeda hits us again, it’s going to be in a much less tricky, diabolical way than poisoning the cocaine supply. Tony Blair said something today that I was thought was fascinating. He described it as obscene, the contention that the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan caused the recent London bombings. He got up and said, these people hate us for reasons that have nothing to do with Iraq and Afghanistan, and we need to fight them continuously and not back down. Here’s my point. If Bush had gotten up and said that, he would have been attacked by people in the United States and Great Britain as inflexible and crazy and denying reality. These words, just, when Tony Blair says it, people sort of nod, in a sense.
MADDOW: Go ahead.
SHARPTON: Well, I mean, I think that I would attack it.
I think, first of all, Tony Blair, nor George Bush knows what are the real motives of these that are terrorists. And I think that it is an inflexible position for him to take. I also think this whole report by “The New York Post”—I mean, I’m the last person in the United States or abroad that would defend “The New York Post.” I think that someone ought to ask them...
CARLSON: And I’m the first, let me just say.
SHARPTON: I know you are.
SHARPTON: And that’s why I said it looking directly at you.
And I—I would say, if “The New York Post” has this information, why don’t they tell us where bin Laden is, since they know what he’s doing?
SHARPTON: I mean, why tell us what he was going to do? Since you have his information, tell us where he is, Mr. “The New York Post” or Ms. “The New York Post.” I’m sure they’re watching you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Probably mister.
MADDOW: Listen, the Tony Blair story, what Tony Blair said was that 9/11, we all woke up, but then we rolled back over went back to sleep. And I think that that’s a mischaracterization of what’s happened and what has gone wrong in the whole war on terrorism, which we’re not supposed to call a war on terrorism anymore. Now it’s a war on ideology or something.
But the idea is that, frankly, what happened is, we all woke up. Everybody is paying attention. Everybody in the Western world is concerned about terrorism. But we’ve been diverted by Tony Blair and George Bush into something that has nothing to do with the war on terror, which is overthrowing the government of a country totally unrelated to al Qaeda...
MADDOW: ... and occupying that country.
If we had spent $300 billion fighting al Qaeda, we’d be in a much better situation than if we had gone to war in Iraq. And it is a problem.
SHARPTON: Well, we may have had bin Laden.
I mean, part of what he calls going to sleep is we went after the people that didn’t come after us. Maybe he was asleep and George Bush was asleep. One guy hits and you go after another guy that didn’t hit you. Who is sleepwalking?
CARLSON: Yes, I—these are points that I wish maybe Democrats in the Congress had made at the time. I actually agree with you. But I didn’t...
SHARPTON: I wish Democrats running for president would have...
CARLSON: But I didn’t hear that at the time. And I—I wish we had.
MADDOW: Everybody who was for the war was wrong, Democrat or Republican.
CARLSON: There are cool moms and then there’s Silvia Ann Johnson, whose would-be coolness literally was a crime.
Mrs. Johnson, a 40-year-old from Colorado, has pleaded guilty to nine felony and two misdemeanor charges that arose from parties she threw for high school kids in 2003 and 2004. At the parties, Johnson not only bought booze for the underage boys. She also had sex with five of them. And now she’s facing 58 years in prison, Reverend Al Sharpton. Now, you have made a career defending the unpopular, people who, you know, are - - are subjected to judicial—to prosecutorial overreach. And I want to know if you’re going to defend Mrs. Johnson here.
SHARPTON: I’ve made...
CARLSON: All she did was have sex with these kids. She didn’t do anything bad to them. And she’s facing 60 years in prison. SHARPTON: I have made a career of defending the inpopular—unpopular, not the insane.
SHARPTON: That is insane.
SHARPTON: And unjustifiable. And I’m not going to allow to you even remotely act like I’ve ever defended anything like that in my life.
CARLSON: I was giving you an opportunity to begin defending the coolest mom in America.
SHARPTON: I will—I will make history for you. I defend the prosecutor in this case.
MADDOW: But she did do something other than have sex with these boys. She gave them meth. I mean, it wasn’t just that she was—but I’m surprised that, you know...
CARLSON: Wait. If she gave them meth, why isn’t she being charged with giving them meth?
MADDOW: She’s been charged with nine felonies.
CARLSON: No. She’s been charged only with sex-related felonies.
She’s not been charged with giving them drugs.
MADDOW: They—but that was a prosecutorial decision. They made the decision to drop the drug distribution felonies, in exchange for the other felonies.
CARLSON: But it’s an interesting decision, because having sex with a 17-year-old boy is entirely different, it seems to me, from giving crystal meth. One is wrong. The other is horrifying. So, why not charge her with giving them drugs, if she, indeed did that?
MADDOW: She’s—listen, the woman has been charged with nine felonies. If you want to try to make it 18 felonies instead, great. Pour the gravy on. The prosecution has made a decision here. I’m just surprised—whenever this—whenever this story comes up and it’s the teacher version, instead of the mom version, your take on it is always, oh, those boys, they’re happy to have a teacher like that having sex with them. Now it’s a mom and, all of a sudden, it’s this horrible thing.
CARLSON: No. Actually, my position is almost unchanged. I think she’s a pretty cool mom, actually.
MADDOW: A pretty cool mom for...
MADDOW: ... having sex with a...
CARLSON: No, I mean, I think it’s wrong. But 60 years in prison? Get some perspective. And she didn’t pull someone off the street and rape him. She’s not making other people...
SHARPTON: No, she invited them into the house to a party.
CARLSON: No, but she’s not—look, these are—some of these are 17-year-old boys. She’s not making other people afraid to go out at night. I’m not saying she ought not to be punished. I’m merely saying get a little perspective. Violent criminals, the ones who attack strangers, are the ones who cause society to disintegrate, not Mrs. Johnson, who is clearly just a little batty.
MADDOW: So you’re the one who would defend her, not...
CARLSON: Yes. But I was giving the Reverend Al an opportunity.
SHARPTON: You have a new career now.
MADDOW: I was just going to say.
SHARPTON: You defend the insane. I will defend the unpopular.
CARLSON: To join the bandwagon.
CARLSON: All right.
Please stick around.
CARLSON: There’s still a lot more ahead on THE SITUATION.
CARLSON (voice-over): Out of Africa, why the Sudan crisis is being overshadowed by Tom, Brad and Michael.
Scandal in the record biz. Are deejays cashing in on J.Lo’s singing career?
A nip/tuck miracle, how doctors are putting a whole new face on the future of plastic surgery.
Plus, an extraordinary feat. We’ll tell you how this guy nailed the title “Toeminator.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s the way it goes.
CARLSON: It’s all ahead on THE SITUATION.
CARLSON: So, which would you rather hear me talk about on this show, Tom Cruise’s latest public meltdown or the genocide in Darfur? Exactly, says one angry columnist.
We’ll explain. “Op Ed Op Ed” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Time for “Op Ed Op Ed.” We spent the day perusing America’s editorial pages. And we plucked out three of the most interesting op-eds, to which the three of us will respond in 20-second increments.
First up, the governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, writes a piece
in “The Boston Globe” today. He describes himself as pro-life. He has
been described as pro-choice. But he writes a piece describing why he
vetoed legislation concerning the morning-after contraceptive pill—quote
“The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception. The drug
it authorizes would also terminate life after conception. I pledged that I
would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to
· facilitate it.”
There’s a case to be made, in addition to this, that there was no parental consent needed, which I think is enough to make him want to veto the bill. But the point is, how can you be morally—how can you be neutral on this? If Romney says he’s opposed to abortion and he believes it’s wrong, how can he in good conscience not work to change abortion law? If you think abortion is the taking of a life and you sit back and don’t challenge the laws allowing it, what does that say about you? SHARPTON: Well, I disagree with his position. I think people have the right to choose over their own bodies.
I agree with you that he’s being consistent in his views. But I think that I disagree that we should be legislating the choice of women in any way, shape or form. And I think that that’s what he’s doing. And I think that the people in Massachusetts ought to respond to that. MADDOW: Mitt Romney ran in a pro-choice state as a pro-life governor. And he said, I’m pro-life. These are my personal views, but I won’t change the abortion laws because I recognize most people in Massachusetts want abortion to be safe and legal in this state. So, that’s what he said. And now he’s facing—OK, he’s vetoed the emergency contraception law. Mitt Romney is my least favorite fake moderate Republican in the country because of the way he does stuff like this. He writes this heartfelt op-ed saying, well, we want to reduce the number of abortions in this country. Can’t we all just get along about this issue? Well, emergency contraception will reduce the number of abortions in this country. But he’s saying it’s the same thing.
CARLSON: Well, wait a second. You’re telling half the story. You’re telling half the story. His point is, it—this contraception pill works after contraception, and, then, by his definition, it’s the taking of a fertilized egg, an embryo, life. So, I mean, that makes it a little different than just a birth control pill.
MADDOW: But if he wants to say—listen, if he wants to say that the
the—the—the two-day-old embryo and the surgical abortion at the
end of the first trimester are the same thing morally and there’s no
distinction for him, he ought to be making that case and not just trying to
· say he’s reducing the number of abortions.
CARLSON: Well, I actually—I actually agree with you. He ought to make the case directly and then act on it.
SHARPTON: And the parental consent, he did not make as part of his case, which would have...
CARLSON: Well, not enough.
MADDOW: He is fake moderate.
CARLSON: All right.
Nick Kristof of “The New York Times” questions how he can criticize President Bush’s indifference to what’s happening in Darfur and not attack the press in the same breath—quote—“Diane Sawyer traveled to Africa this year to interview Brad Pitt, underscoring the point that the networks are willing to devote resources to cover the African stories that they consider more important than genocide. If only Michael Jackson’s trial had been held in Darfur.”
You know, this is partly true, partly ridiculous. The ridiculous part is, the news media, President Bush, you, you, me, we’re not responsible for genocide in Africa or anywhere else. We’re not—the people who are responsible for genocide are the ones committing it, right?
SHARPTON: But who is responsible for not covering it?
CARLSON: But that’s very different than being responsible for committing it. I mean, you can’t lay the moral burden at the feet of us or of the president. I mean, it’s the people doing it who are responsible. SHARPTON: No, but I think you can lay the—the moral burden at the feet of those that allow it to go on in the darkness and that there would have been more of an outrage and an international response had they been covering it, rather than just waiting on a Brad Pitt or someone else to go. And you know for years, we tried to deal with this. I went several years ago to Sudan. As I told you, you know the Eddie Harris documentary is getting ready to be shown in Harlem April 4. We couldn’t get anyone to deal with this. So, I think that there is a point here. Why do we decide Brad Pitt going is more important than millions of people dying, millions of people being sold into—sold into slavery? I think that we have to question the editorial decisions.
CARLSON: Well, that’s—I mean, I—that was the second half. I agree with that part.
MADDOW: I think that the—there is a moral question about ignoring something like this when you know it’s happening. And that’s the question. Are we, as a country, ignoring it?
I mean, we all saw “Hotel Rwanda” and felt awful about the fact that the Rwandan genocide was never covered. The same thing is happening in Darfur. It’s different circumstances, but it’s happening again. And we’re ignoring it. And the question is, will we learn from our mistakes? Will some brave network executive make a decision to take the glory over the fame on this...
MADDOW: ... and actually do the right thing?
CARLSON: And, of course, the answer—and the answer, as you know...
SHARPTON: And the American media was more upset with Condoleezza and the NBC reporter getting tousled there than the fact that people have been killed. That’s why this documentary Harris did is so important to me. CARLSON: Well, no, I don’t think they’re more upset, but it definitely...
SHARPTON: Well, they certainly gave it a lot more attention.
CARLSON: For the day.
CARLSON: Kathleen Parker in “The Orlando Sentinel” writes too many bracelets on the arms of children protesting various causes. She writes—quote—“There are now so many bracelets, causes and colors, that all meaning has been sacrificed to the gods of commodification. It’s not enough to care quietly or to commit private acts of conscience. You have to erect a billboard on your forearm.” She writes, “I’m still waiting for the invisible bracelet to raise awareness about the problem of awareness bracelets.”
CARLSON: I totally agree with that. I mean, look, there’s nothing wrong with this, except when it implicates children. You shouldn’t enlist kids into your cause. Kids don’t understand politics or any sort of activism, and you shouldn’t pull them into it, willingly or not. SHARPTON: But, I mean, who determines when a kid decides they want to make a political statement? I started in civil rights when I was 12 years old.
CARLSON: And look what happened.
SHARPTON: And look what happened. Look what—I’m on THE SITUATION.
SHARPTON: I mean—so, I mean, I don’t think that anyone has the right to determine that a kid may not know why they’re wearing an arm—
I’d rather see kids wearing a billboard on their wrist than being apathetic and totally uninvolved.
CARLSON: Not me.
SHARPTON: I disagree with that.
CARLSON: I’d rather have them read comic books.
MADDOW: I think that kids can do whatever they want in this case.
But it does bug me that—awareness. I think that awareness campaigns often take away from real activism, because it makes people feel like they’re doing something, when they’re not actually doing it. I mean, if you’re not actively freeing Tibet at that moment, I don’t want to be told to do so on your bumper sticker.
MADDOW: I have to say.
CARLSON: Yes. Give 10 percent of your income. Then come back and talk to me about it.
CARLSON: All right, coming up, a talk show host under fire after calling Islam—quote—“a terrorist organization” that’s at war with America. The legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations joins me after the break to voice his profound displeasure. Plus, many Americans live with facial disfigurement caused by burns, disease or birth defects. But is it—a face transplant really the best solution? I’ll face off with the Outsider when THE SITUATION rolls on.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
On Monday a Washington, D.C., radio host said America is at war with a terrorist organization named on Islam. WMAL host Michael Graham says Muslim leaders haven’t done enough to condemn terrorist attacks. Michael Graham’s station says he’s done nothing wrong. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on the station to reprimand him. Joining me now, Arsalan Iftikhar. He’s legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Arsalan, thanks a lot for joining us.
Let me—I just want to read for our viewers who have not seen it some of what Michael Graham said.
ARSALAN IFTIKHAR, LEGAL DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC
CARLSON: Quote: “If the Boy Scouts of America had 1,000 Scout troops and 10 of them practiced suicide bombings, then the BSA would be considered a terrorist organization. If the BSA refused to kick out those 10 troops, that would make the case even stronger.”
It’s not a perfect metaphor or analogy, but it seems it’s not totally off, is it?
IFTIKHAR: Well, I think that it’s a completely disingenuous analogy, Tucker.
I think something that is very important to keep in mind is that one of the world’s great monotheistic faiths, it’s been around for 1,400 years, that is adhered to by 1.2 billion people in the world. Seven million American Muslims practice it. And to make a simplistic, sophomoric analogy, such as the one Mr. Graham made, is something that really is not conducive to the world that we live in today.
CARLSON: Well, I think—I think you’re right. I mean, I think it’s simplistic. You’re right. And I know many decent Muslims who hate terrorism. And I’m sure you’re among them. And I—nobody is, I think, saying Islam itself is a bad religion. However...
IFTIKHAR: That’s what Mr. Graham is saying.
CARLSON: Hold on.
Here’s the point. I think that the idea is that contemporary Islam, within the bounds of contemporary Islam are a lot of people who identify with terrorism. I just want to read you some findings from a new Pew poll, May 2005. In Morocco, 56 percent of people asked say suicide bombing is OK, same in Lebanon and Jordan.
In Lebanon, every Muslim asked said he disliked Jews; 99 percent of Jordanians said the same thing. Osama bin Laden, popular throughout the Islamic world, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. These are pro-terror attitudes that are the majority view in a lot of the Islamic world. That’s the point.
IFTIKHAR: Well, the distinction to make here, Tucker, is that these are not the views of Islamic scholars, the people who know about Islam as a faith.
Now, to cast a guilty suspicious or—and a blanket generalization on an entire faith, I’m glad that you actually mentioned the Pew study, because the Pew Foundation actually came out with a report today, which, counter to Mr. Graham’s racist and idiotic remarks, show that the...
CARLSON: Wait. Wait. Wait. Just hold on. There’s nothing racist about what he said. He implicated no race. He cast dispersions on a religion, on a system of belief.
IFTIKHAR: Tucker, it’s the moral equivalent of saying that all Italians are part of the mafia. All Irish are part of the IRA. CARLSON: Well, talk about a weak analogy. He attacked a system of belief that’s ascribed to by people of all different kinds of races. It’s not a racist statement that he made. Anyway.
IFTIKHAR: Well, but you have to understand that he cast a blanket generalization on something that he absolutely has no knowledge of. And although the First Amendment protects it, it’s important that, you know, as we continue on in the post-9/11 world, especially with the ongoing war in Iraq, his statements are doing nothing but endangering the national security of the U.S.
IFTIKHAR: ... because—because the extremists who do see this...
CARLSON: They make people mad. I understand that.
CARLSON: But here’s the point. Here’s my question that no one has answered yet.
CARLSON: And that is, why aren’t Muslim leaders making a bigger effort to expel from their ranks extremists? I want to give you a very specific example.
Earlier this month, 170 Muslim scholars meet in Amman, Jordan, from 40 countries. “The Reality of Islam and Its Role in Contemporary Society” was the name of the conference. They concluded at the end that: “We are not able to call anybody an apostate who ascribes to the five pillars of Islam.”
In other words, even if you’re espousing terror, even if you’re pro-Osama bin Laden, even if you want to destroy Israel, even if you’re a suicide bomber, we can’t kick you out of our faith as long as you say Allah is our God; Muhammad is his messenger.
IFTIKHAR: Well, that’s actually not true. If you look at the statements of leading scholars worldwide...
CARLSON: I can read it to you. Yes, that is true. IFTIKHAR: Well, I’m going give you examples, also, Tucker, if you will give me a second.
For example, if you look at Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the—one of the most famous Muslim scholars in Cairo, Egypt, he has said unequivocally that people who commit suicide bombings and—and acts of terror are completely outside the bounds of Islam.
To follow, after the London bombings, the 500 major imams in Great Britain issued a very, very strict fatwa, or religious decree, stating that we condemn terrorism in all of its forms, that anyone who purports to commit these acts in the name of Islam is not only acting outside the scope of Islam, but is an—an enemy to all of humanity.
CARLSON: Good. Well, those—those—those are words I hope ring from the rooftops. And I hope to hear them emerge from the lips of many more people. And I’m glad to hear you say that.
Arsalan Iftikhar, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
IFTIKHAR: Tucker, any time. Thanks.
Coming up, what’s better than a scandal about Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez? Let me think. Nothing, in fact.
Find out the tawdry details when Rachel, the Reverend Al and I roll on next.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SITUATION. Sitting in tonight for Isaac Hayes, I’m Tucker Carlson.
Our story pile is larger than ever. So let’s get right back into it with the Reverend Al Sharpton and Rachel Maddow. OK, so, when the Nazis took over Germany, a lot of pastors collaborated. But a lot didn’t. And a lot died for their refusal to collaborate. You are not seeing something similar going on in the Middle East today. Where are the imams who are taking in Anne Frank?
MADDOW: You’re making a Nazi analogy out of it?
CARLSON: Yes, I am.
CARLSON: With Al Qaeda, and I gladly. And I never do it, but in this case, I will make a Nazi analogy, because I believe it’s effective. MADDOW: Because they have a state-supported program to murder people by the millions systematically in a state program?
CARLSON: I think it’s actually even scarier than that, because it is not—because it’s not state-supported in a systematic way, it’s harder to locate and exterminate.
MADDOW: And so therefore a Nazi analogy is totally inappropriate.
CARLSON: And I say that as someone who never makes Nazi analogies.
But to Al Qaeda, I will.
MADDOW: That’s incredible.
SHARPTON: I think you...
CARLSON: It’s incredible to compare the Nazis to Al Qaeda or vice versa?
MADDOW: Yes, it is. It’s incredible to make a Nazi analogy at all, because you said you’d never do it. And...
CARLSON: Yes, I did.
MADDOW: This is not a state—this is the...
CARLSON: I can’t believe...
MADDOW: ... being applied to the murder of people by the millions.
CARLSON: I’m not saying it’s a perfect analogy.
MADDOW: This is a bad thing.
CARLSON: Morally, it’s a perfect analogy. In its details, it’s not perfect, as no analogy is.
But I can’t believe you’re surprised that I’m comparing the Nazis to Al Qaeda. Is that really—that upsets you?
MADDOW: I’m surprised, a, because you said you wouldn’t do it, b, because it’s totally wrong.
CARLSON: I make an exception for Al Qaeda.
MADDOW: And you can condemn Al Qaeda...
CARLSON: Call me radical, but don’t call them Nazis.
MADDOW: ... without saying that, listen, an elected government used the machinery of the state to—I mean, come on. This is ridiculous. You’re going to regret having said this, Tucker.
CARLSON: I think it’s bizarre that you’re getting upset about this. And I will say only that I was saying, in the face of evil, how people behave is telling. It’s interesting.
CARLSON: And in the face of the evil that spread over Europe in the ‘30s, some people resisted. And I’m saying I want to see that same resistance going on in the Middle East. Merely my point. SHARPTON: I think the shifting the burden from the outrageous and biased statements of the radio disc jockey that said Islam is a terrorist organization or—the issue is not if enough people—if Islam are doing the right thing, and maybe they should.
The issue is what he said. And that is offensive and wrong. Do you know that—we started the show talking about lynchings—they used to lynch blacks after church on Sunday.
SHARPTON: So would I be right to say white Christianity is a bunch of racist lynchers? I mean, it’s absurd. No one would allow me to say that and get away with it on the air without a reprimand.
CARLSON: But you would...
SHARPTON: I think it’s just as outrageous for her to say that.
CARLSON: But would you expect other Christian preachers to do things like start the NAACP? They did.
SHARPTON: What I get has nothing to do with justifying what I said. He came on the show to talk about what this disc jockey said. And he should be reprimanded for it. You beat him up. I’m not helping, Tucker. You’re wrong. I’m with her on the—on both sides of this question. CARLSON: I’m confused. I’m merely saying I wish there were more outrage in the Middle East about terrorism.
SHARPTON: And I wish there was more outrage from you about what this guy said. I mean, I think that we can challenge people morally about what they said, if we are outraged, as well. White people go over the line. CARLSON: I don’t think the remarks of a talk radio show host in Washington are comparable to the actions of Al Qaeda. SHARPTON: I don’t, either. But I think, though, that we cannot sit around and say such irresponsible things and act like it doesn’t mean anything, because people are not doing what they should do.
CARLSON: Fair enough.
Well, in a related situation, a brand-new poll from the Pew Center has some surprising things to say about Americans’ attitude about Islam and Muslim Americans. The percentage of Americans who say Islam is more likely than other Americans to encourage violence has dropped to 36 percent. Two years ago, it was 44 percent.
More than half those surveyed say they have a favorable opinion of Muslim Americans, roughly the same as in 2003. The Pew survey was began on July 7th, the day of the first London bombings.
Americans, really nice people. You’ve haven’t seen, you know, a whole outbreak of vicious hate crimes. There have been some. But you haven’t seen tens of thousands. You haven’t seen Muslims driven from this country. This says something nice, I think, about Americans. The interesting thing in here about this poll was liberal Democrats, much more likely to have a favorable view of Islam than conservative Republicans, which is striking concerning that conservative Islam, orthodox Islam, abhors things that liberals in the United States hold dear.
MADDOW: I think that has something to do with the fact that liberals and conservatives tend to pay attention to different media in this country. Because I think that you’ve seen is—you consistently, when you talk about examples of moderate Muslims condemning terrorism, you constantly bring up the point that you think that moderates haven’t done enough to do that.
MADDOW: But other countervailing examples have been put to you, both by me, by the previous guests. And you tend to play those down. I think, also, in conservative media, examples of moderate Muslims condemning terrorism get played down. But they don’t everywhere. And there are examples out there that do make an impact. And liberals are more likely to hear them.
CARLSON: I’m sure that’s right. But it doesn’t answer the question of why.
SHARPTON: Well, I think there’s a more probable answer. I think conservatives have a different view of everybody more than liberals do. So I mean, if you went across the board, you’d probably have a more negative view by conservatives...
CARLSON: They are mean to Al Qaeda, those right-wingers.
SHARPTON: They’re mean to a lot of people.
MADDOW: They’re not paying attention to the...
SHARPTON: None of us are sympathizers of Al Qaeda, but I mean, I think there’s a difference between Al Qaeda and Muslims. Again... CARLSON: And no one is saying there isn’t. No one is saying there isn’t.
SHARPTON: I think the inference...
CARLSON: I am not saying that.
SHARPTON: ... the inference, though, of that disc jockey and others of your colleagues on the right-wing...
CARLSON: My colleagues in the right...
SHARPTON: ... clearly don’t make the distinction.
CARLSON: Then t the next meeting, I will bring that up.
MADDOW: Thank you. Can we come? Can you bring...
CARLSON: You are welcome to join me.
Next situation, should we pay and should they go? A liberal D.C. think-tank says it would cost $41 billion a year to forcibly remove most of the estimated 10 million illegal immigrants currently living here. That’s more than the annual budget of the Department of Homeland Security, and it’s also a really silly study.
No one is suggesting you forcibly deport every illegal immigrant in this country. No one. And I keep a track of the anti-immigration rhetoric. No one’s saying that.
In fact, there’s a not-very-expensive way to rid the country of illegal immigrants. And that’s to force employers not to hire them, to crack down on employers who are giving jobs to people who have no legal right to be here. That doesn’t cost much at all.
MADDOW: Well, what about Newt Gingrich, who wants to run for president in 2008, maybe, who says that we should seal the borders and deport everybody in the country who is here illegally within 72 hours? Does that not count as wanting to round them up and send them back? CARLSON: No, no, no. Newt—well, unless I’m misunderstanding what Newt Gingrich said, he is saying that, once we apprehend somebody sneaking into the country, we deport that person immediately. This study suggested it would cost x number of billions of dollars to deport people already living here, and he is not saying that.
SHARPTON: So this study says $41 billion, and what Newt is saying is only going to cost $39 billion. I mean...
CARLSON: None of it’s going to happen. The point is, if you can take a serious stand against illegal immigration, without rounding up every person that’s already living here, no one—that’s ridiculous. MADDOW: The Center for American Progress, though, has called the bluff of the right on this and changed the debate. Because now people have to qualify and say, “OK, I don’t want to round up everybody right now and send them back,” whereas that has been the shorthand for what people have been saying about immigration.
CARLSON: Where’s the left on this? Where is labor on this? Illegal immigration maybe is good in some ways, but it drives down wages. There’s no question. And it hurts the working poor in this country. Why isn’t the left interested...
SHARPTON: I think a lot of labor has said that. But I think where they part company is where you deal with the human rights of people and how they’re handled. And I don’t think that you can divorce the fact that we’re raising a lot of moral issues in the question of immigration. I don’t think anyone is saying that illegal immigration is great for the American worker. But it’s how you handle them, and how you deal with them, and how you deal with immigration from certain parts of the world as opposed to others. There’s a different standard at the Canadian border than the Mexican border. That’s the problem.
CARLSON: Well, that is true. And far fewer people coming across from Canada, too.
SHARPTON: That we know of.
CARLSON: Next up, a scandalous situation. One of the giants in the music business has been caught singing a familiar tune. Sony-BMG admits some of its employees bribed radio stations to play songs by Jennifer Lopez and Celine Dion, among others.
The company agreed to pay $10 million to charity to settle the charges. It could turn out to be the biggest payola scandal since the 1950s.
I don’t think it’s a scandal at all. You know, supermarkets take money for product placement. Everyone takes money for product placement. What’s wrong with a private company paying a radio station to play its music? This is just Eliot Spitzer, who wants to be governor of New York...
MADDOW: Oh, come on.
CARLSON: I’m serious. No, it is. It’s another opportunity for Eliot Spitzer to have yet another press conference. I’m totally with Sony on this.
MADDOW: That analogy is so unbelievably wrong, I can’t even believe you made it. The supermarkets are not...
CARLSON: ... you’re getting upset, it must be totally right. That’s why you’re getting all excited about it.
MADDOW: No. Supermarkets are not federally owned, are not owned by the American people.
CARLSON: I’m sorry.
MADDOW: Supermarkets are privately owned. The federal airwaves...
CARLSON: Radio stations are not federally owned, sorry.
MADDOW: The federal airwaves are the property of the American people.
CARLSON: I thought you worked at a radio station.
SHARPTON: It’s federally regulated.
MADDOW: I do. The federal airwaves are the property of the American people and are federally regulated. Therefore, you can’t bribe people to put certain merchandise on the channels.
CARLSON: So you think the federal government ought to control the content of the airwaves? That’s what you’re saying. MADDOW: No, the federal government ought to prevent there from being bribery that controls the content on our airwaves.
SHARPTON: That’s it.
CARLSON: Well, why?
MADDOW: That’s why the FCC’s there.
CARLSON: Hold on. You’re both paid, and you’ve done radio. You are both paid when you go on radio to say certain things. Why is that any different?
SHARPTON: No, but if you use the federally regulated airways to take bribes where someone cuts a good record and can’t get on the air because they didn’t pay, and someone else cuts a record that may not be as good and they get a number-one record because they paid, that is against the interest of the people that the FCC is supposed to protect. CARLSON: Who’s to say what’s good? It’s an entirely subjective measure. Why should the federal government decide what’s better? SHARPTON: It’s not objective, if you’re doing it because somebody gave you 10 bow ties to get on the TV show.
CARLSON: Then why should it be allowed for to you to take money to go on a radio station and give the left-wing point of view?
SHARPTON: Because that is paying for service. That is not...
CARLSON: Why is this not paying for service?
SHARPTON: What would be wrong is if I bribed you to get on the show, not if I got paid to do your show.
CARLSON: But the word bribe is meaningless. They’re paying to pay a certain record. Why is that a bribe?
SHARPTON: That is not meaningless. How do you say a bribe is meaningless?
CARLSON: I just don’t know why that’s a bribe. I’m paying you to play records.
SHARPTON: Because if somebody doesn’t pay you—the object is not paying the talent. The talent is paying the host. You’ve turned this whole thing around. You’re dealing with payola backwards. CARLSON: Ah. That’s where you’re wrong, Reverend Sharpton. I believe you have turned this all around.
SHARPTON: How have I turned this around?
CARLSON: I’ve actually lost track.
MADDOW: “I don’t know. I just wanted to say that.”
SHARPTON: I know you have.
CARLSON: All right.
SHARPTON: Because this is your way out in this...
CARLSON: On that note, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow, thank you both very much.
SHARPTON: We’ve managed to confuse Tucker Carlson.
CARLSON: Yes, I’m pro-payola, on that happy note.
Still ahead, Arab spokescelebrity, Ricky Martin, steps in on day one of his goodwill campaign. Find out why nobody’s forgiving the “Vida Loca” on the “Cutting Room Floor.” The Bush administration...
CARLSON: Time again to welcome the “Outsider,” a man from outside the world of news, seduced so completely by the luster and sex appeal of cable TV, that he puts what’s left of his reputation on the line as devil’s advocate to me.
Here is, fresh from a trip to his bling polisher, ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host, Max Kellerman—Max?
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO HOST: Can I nip a little controversy in the bud before we start?
CARLSON: You may.
KELLERMAN: As a Jewish man, Nazis, Al Qaeda, moral equivalency.
CARLSON: Thank you.
KELLERMAN: You’re welcome.
CARLSON: That was my feeling.
Max, as you know, words matter, especially in Washington, D.C., where the Bush administration has changed the way its representatives refer to what has been known as the global war on terror.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, among others, now talks about the, quote, “global struggle against violent extremist.” Administration officials say the phrase “global war on terror” doesn’t work anymore because it refers only to the military campaign, which I sort of agree with.
Here the problem. Extremism is far too broad to mean anything. Extremism simply is commitment, a deep commitment to beliefs. Martin Luther King was an extremist. Mother Teresa was an extremist. Lance Armstrong is an extremist.
We’re not fighting a war against extremism. We’re fighting a war against a diseased and very specific branch of Islam. And we should say that.
KELLERMAN: Islamic fundamentalists.
CARLSON: That’s right.
KELLERMAN: However, there is a diplomatic issue that needs to be dealt with. For instance, your guest today said that—it was amazing some of this information coming out of the Middle East, how they couldn’t get a person in Lebanon to say that they liked Jews.
CARLSON: Not one.
KELLERMAN: No, which was once a very enlightened place in the Middle East. If there’s that kind of ignorance, and if it’s running that rampant, and extremism is that rampant in the Middle East, then you do have to kind of be diplomatic. You have to be forceful, but also try not to fan the flames and make an already bad situation worse.
CARLSON: But to say that we’re fighting or we’re struggling, in the words of this new formulation, against extremism is wrong. We’re extremists. We’re extremists on behalf of liberty, of freedom, of democracy. I mean, we have an extreme commitment to the values of this country.
KELLERMAN: Actually, our politics are very center. I mean, the difference between Republicans and Democrats, in fact, it’s not a huge difference.
Fascists in the ‘30s, Communists during the Cold War, those were extremists, people who took an ideology all the way right or all the way left. These are extremists because they essentially have an apocalyptic view of the future. They’re religious literalists. That’s very different than what we are.
CARLSON: I just think we should be much more specific, say, jihadis.
KELLERMAN: Fine, I’m with you.
CARLSON: I like that.
All right, Max, very few of us human beings can achieve your facial hair. But are chances may now be slightly better. A surgeon in Finland plans to lead a team that will undertake a shocking medical procedure that could give me your beard, the face transplant.
It’s hoped that the bold procedure will one day help people with facial disfigurement, caused by burns, trauma, disease, or birth defects. Today, plastic surgery has not been able to restore facial expression, like raised eyebrows or lopsided grins, and the aesthetic outcome has been disappointing, at best, and terrible.
I picked this topic because I want to see how you could possibly argue against helping people with facial deformities. How could you—I mean, what’s your case?
KELLERMAN: If it’s corrective surgery, that’s one thing. If it’s cosmetic—look, in extreme cases like, for instance, our executive producer, Bill Wolfe (ph)...
KELLERMAN: ... it’s warranted. I mean, because, sometimes, you can’t just can’t look at...
CARLSON: Yes, I agree.
KELLERMAN: But if it’s cosmetic, I don’t like fake anything. People, even nose jobs, the whole thing. To me, it always looks weird. You always use the word “creepy.” That’s how it looks to me. I don’t like it. And this is just going to make things worse. Also, the old Tucker Carlson “diversion of funds” argument, right?
KELLERMAN: They can’t cure cancer, but they can take your face and transplant it? I mean, come on. Let’s focus on what’s important here. CARLSON: Yes. But for people who have faces that are so repugnant, so horrifying, the kind of faces that make children cry and crack glass...
KELLERMAN: Bill Wolfe (ph), once again.
CARLSON: This is the—exactly right. This is the kind of step forward that could liberate them, that could change their lives, that could bring joy to people whose existences are bleak.
KELLERMAN: You know, we were promised a lot of things as kids. The jet pack, the flying car...
KELLERMAN: This face transplant was way down there on the list. And I want my jet pack before we talk about face transplants, OK?
CARLSON: So it’s a matter of priorities?
CARLSON: You get your jet pack, we can have our face transplants.
KELLERMAN: Fine. Deal.
CARLSON: All right. That’s a fair deal.
Max Kellerman, thank you.
KELLERMAN: Thank you.
CARLSON: Coming up, not all toe-curling experiences are created equal. Some you keep between consenting adults, others you talk about on the “Cutting Room Floor.” That’s next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. It’s time for dessert, in the “Cutting Room Floor,” where we sweep up all the odds-and-ends of news we couldn’t pack in and bring to you.
Willie Geist is here for that.
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: Hello, Tucker. I’d like to point out, right off the top, Mick Jagger turned 62 years old today. And he’s cooler than you and me put together.
CARLSON: He’s older.
GEIST: Well, he is. Than you and me put together? Yes, about.
But I will say that—science eludes him. I mean, anonymous sex and constant drug use apparently is the way to go in life.
CARLSON: Preserved us both, like formaldehyde.
GEIST: Absolutely. Go ahead.
CARLSON: All right.
Last night, we told you that Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin had mysteriously declared himself a spokesman for the Arab world. While speaking at an Arab Youth Conference with his new, self-proclaimed role yesterday, Martin wore a scarf with the words “Jerusalem is Ours” written on it in Arabic. Pro-Israel groups were furious, and Martin quickly apologized, explaining he didn’t know what the words meant or really anything else.
GEIST: OK. If you’re going to be the spokesman—and apparently, he’s going to be—you’re going to want to go ahead and learn the language for which you are the spokesperson, right? I am surprised he doesn’t know more about the Middle East, coming from Puerto Rico.
CARLSON: Useful. Learn the language.
GEIST: But you know what? He’s winning, because it’s publicity.
CARLSON: Yes, that’s true, actually.
Well, how do you know your love life isn’t going very well? Usually a pretty good indication, when your friends have to rent a billboard to land you a date. A Utah man named Lance—just Lance—is getting some romantic help from his co-workers who were advertising his attributes on a sign along Interstate 15. The 31-year-old didn’t know about the billboard until he saw it while driving in to work one day.
GEIST: OK, there’s something else going on here. This guy, he played basketball at BYU, got his MBA from Harvard. I think we’re missing something.
CARLSON: He loves kids.
GEIST: Yes, the fine print on the billboard says, “Loves to kick puppies on the weekend” or something.
CARLSON: Or something.
GEIST: “Restraining orders out” on this guy.
CARLSON: No, no totally. I mean, there’s something wrong.
GEIST: There’s more here.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
What our next story lacks in hygiene, it makes up for in pure sporting excitement. The 12th Annual World Toe Wrestling Championships were held in England over the weekend. Competitors locked their big toes on a rack, and then the referee says, “Toes away,” and the battle is on. Paul “The Toeminator” Beech dominated again this year, continuing his dynastic run for the ranks of competitive toe wrestling.
GEIST: Wow. Congratulations to “The Toeminator.” But I have so many problems with that. I’ll start with the fungus, the general lack of sanitation. I’ll show you my feet sometime. You would not want to toe-wrestle me.
CARLSON: No one cares.
GEIST: OK, fair enough. And then the other thing is the whole men touching their feet together. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something uncomfortable about this.
CARLSON: Well, let me put it this way: In every way, this is the perfect British sport.
GEIST: It is. Only the British, 12 years running. You won’t see it here.
CARLSON: That’s exactly right. What happens when you live on an island.
I don’t know for a fact that Steven Knight is the single dumbest person in San Antonio, Texas, but he’s got to be right near the top of that list. Knight called the police yesterday to report that his marijuana had been stolen.
CARLSON: No kidding. When police arrived at Knight’s apartment, they found several pot plants growing under lamps and four grams of harvested pot. Knight called the cops to say three men had broken in to his home, tied him up with Christmas lights, and stolen his dope. GEIST: Wow. This guy is no genius, you’re right. Now, the obvious thing here is smoking weed makes you dumb.
CARLSON: Yes, that is the guess.
GEIST: But I’d like to go a little deeper, read into the story. He was hog-tied with Christmas lights.
GEIST: There’s something there. And I think the lesson is, never leave your Christmas lights up year around. It’s tacky and dangerous, it turns out.
CARLSON: Yes, it is late July, though it could be one of those Christmas in July celebrations.
GEIST: It could be.
CARLSON: So popular in San Antonio.
GEIST: Just take them down, take Santa off the roof, the whole thing.
CARLSON: Almost as a safety measure.
GEIST: ... just pull it out. I need that out by year end.
CARLSON: I think that’s fair. By New Year’s, perfect.
Well, Anna Nicole Smith is a spout of entertainment that just never turns off. Our friends at “Extra” were fortunate enough to catch up with the buxom blonde at an event for her Trim Spa Weight Loss Program. She was in rare form, even by her remarkable lofty standards. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA NICOLE SMITH, MODEL/REALITY TV SHOW STAR: ... means the world to me. There’s just so many people here just so inspired by me. And I am just like in awe. You know me, anything goes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything goes?
SMITH: Anything goes with Anna Nicole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: She is so high.
CARLSON: I’ve never seen anybody that high ever! And I went to college.
GEIST: Let me ask you this about the Trim Spa: Is it 100 percent crystal meth or just a sprinkling? Good gracious!
CARLSON: I bet you she is the most effective spokesmodel, spokes-unit for Trim Spa, or whatever it’s called, ever.
GEIST: We just put her on. They just got a plug.
CARLSON: I want some of that.
GEIST: You think she’s dangerous, but it pays to have Anna Nicole Smith on the payroll.
CARLSON: Willie Geist, thank you. And that’s it for THE SITUATION tonight. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you tomorrow night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Up next, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” with Joe Scarborough—Joe?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: All right. Thanks a lot, Tucker. Greatly appreciated.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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