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Wednesday, January 5, 2005
Parchments
Stars, money & the tsunami
"In the aftermath of 9/11 there was a celebrity driven TV telethon, and now there will be another telethon raising money for those hurt by the tsunami. And once again our pal George Clooney will be involved. You may remember that Clooney objected to my insistence that if celebrities ask for money, they have a moral obligation to see that the donations go where they're supposed to go. So now we're back in the same spot--a telethon will raise millions, and the Factor will be watching to see if the money gets to the tsunami victims. I don't expect the celebrities to audit the books, but if problems are brought to their attention, they must help solve those problems. The American people are the most generous in the world, but it is our job here to make sure you are not taken advantage of. We want the telethon to be a big success, and we applaud the time and generosity of Clooney and the other stars. But with power comes responsibility."
Demonizing Gonzales
Guest: Barbara Comstock, fmr. Justice Dept. official

The Factor feels the liberal media continue to bash Alberto Gonzales, President Bush's nominee as Attorney General, often portraying him as favoring the torture of terror suspects. Barbara Comstock, a former official at the Justice Department, defended Gonzales and the department's policies on torture. "We do not in any way condone torture and will not," Comstock told The Factor. "But in 1987 the Reagan administration said it would not provide Geneva Convention privileges to terrorists. Congress supported it, and the New York Times and Washington Post endorsed that concept. The 9/11 Commission also agreed that lawful combatant status not be given to Al Qaeda." The Factor contended that Gonzales has become a scapegoat. "These attacks on Gonzales are attacks on Bush. We think Gonzales will be approved."
Tsunami relief efforts continue
Guest: Fox News contributor Dick Morris

People and governments around the world have donated some $3 billion to tsunami relief. Fox News contributor Dick Morris put the tragedy in historical perspective: "The last time 150,000 were killed in a disaster was at Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Morris claimed US aid efforts could have a side benefit of improving America's image in Muslim nations such as Indonesia. "This is a real effort to show people the compassion and generosity of the American people. It is very important that the aid gets there, and that the United States be perceived in Indonesia as one of the leading countries that is helping them."
More on the AARP
Guest: Quentin Hardy, Senior Editor, Forbes Magazine

There are more accusations against AARP, the organization that says it is dedicated to improving the lives of America's elders. The Wall Street Journal called the AARP a "left wing outfit" that "seeks to scare granny" about a plan that would allow people to put some of their retirement money in private accounts. AARP officials refused an invitation to appear on The Factor, but Quentin Hardy of Forbes Magazine defended the organization's point of view. "What the AARP says about investment makes sense. They say people should think of Social Security as a base with no risk, and invest on top of that." The Factor contended that partial privatization of Social Security could lead to greater wealth and freedom. "Isn't there more freedom associated with private investment than having the government do it?" And Hardy concluded with a suggestion politicians so far won't put on the table: "What neither side wants to talk about is that we should raise the retirement age. Why should we be paying for people to live in retirement for twenty or thirty years?"
Bill Moyers retires
Guest: Author Bob Kohn

Longtime host and producer Bill Moyers has retired from PBS, but not before taking some parting shots at the Fox News Channel. "Moyers really despises the competition," explained author Bob Kohn. "The mainstream had a monopoly of setting the news agenda for thirty years, and now they see the trends--network ratings are going down, subscriptions at the New York Times are going down, while Fox News and talk radio are gaining." The Factor put forth another rationale. "This is personal with Moyers. He finds it morally offensive to hear points of view with which he disagrees. Guys like Moyers are really totalitarian."
Parents under siege
Guests: Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown & Congressman Dan Lungren

The Attorney General of California has ruled that a teen can leave school to obtain an abortion or drug counseling--and the school has no authority to inform parents. Former California Attorney General Dan Lungren called the ruling outrageous. "In California you can't have a tattoo or go to a tanning parlor if you're under fourteen without your parents' permission, but you can have an abortion, or be counseled to have an abortion. Something's crazy about that." Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown defended the policy. "This is probably viewed differently in California than other parts of the country. If a woman's old enough to get pregnant, the right to privacy has to be protected." The Factor portrayed this as one more attempt by government to take over roles once reserved for parents: "This looks to me like the secular state saying we know best, and you parents are going to listen to us."
Bias & free speech
Guest: Author David Bernstein

In America if someone says something deemed offensive that person can be condemned as a bigot or racist. However, up to now, here in the United States, this is not illegal. In his new book "You Can't Say That." author David Bernstein says this is changing. "Activist groups are trying to use laws to suppress freedom of expression," Bernstein told The Factor. "This is something that is new to the United States, but in Canada and Europe they have laws saying that if you criticize homosexuality you're engaging in hate speech." Bernstein suggested America is on the dangerous road to speech restrictions. "It's getting worse and worse. There was a time when liberals supported freedom of speech, but now law professors are telling their students that hate speech laws are constitutional and desirable."
Book Mentions
Check out the books mentioned during this show.
Journalistic Fraud: How The New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted
by Bob Kohn

Read more...
You Can't Say That!: The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws
by David Bernstein

Read more...
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