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tv   Q A  CSPAN  January 24, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EST

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violations in our own -- >> at think you just pointed the way toward a response to that. that would be to take a look at the peron sanctions act. with the terrorism nexus, legislation could be modeled along the lines of the sanctions act that was specifically sanctioned the chinese violators that are engaged in that activity. >> and along those lines, under the enron sanctions act and the legislation we passed last year, by all accounts there are chinese firms that ought to be sanctioned. they have not been. do you have thoughts on the actions taken by these chinese companies? in iran in helping them to overcome the sanctions imposed by other companies?
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>> here you really have to get the oversight of the administration. there are not doing the job. they're not doing the job. >> we sanction individuals chinese enterprises, but essentially they are all controlled by the state. essentially what we should be doing is making about sanctions that go beyond just the individual enterprise because essentially what we are doing is going after the pinkie when we should be going after the head. >> and in the remaining seconds how, and that specific issue, do we do after the head? >> it would be putting sanctions on goods from countries that do involve in certain prohibitive behavior. this is going to be very difficult for the united states to do. we don't up to now ave had the will to do it. when it comes to things like iran sanctions were selling arms to the taliban we have to think about our priorities. >> thank you. >> safety very much, mr. deutch, they do, panelists, for excellent testimony. thank you to the mbers who
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participated did it take you to the audience. the briefing is now [captioning performed by national captioning institute] "washington journ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> we will look at president obama's efforts to restore regulation. also, a look at u.s.-china relations on "washington journal." later, a look at the democratic implications of the aging of the u.s. population with richard jackson of the center for strategic and international studies. that is live at 7:00 eastern here on c-span. >> we provide coverage of politics, public affairs,
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nonfiction books, and american history. it is all available on television, radio, online, and on social media network of sites and find our content any time through the cspan video library and we take cspan on the road with our digital bus local content vehicle, bringing our content to your neighborhood the cspan networks now available in more than 1 million homes created by cable and provided as a public service. >> this week on "q &a" our guest is christopher hichens. he is the author of over a dozen books. his most recent is his memoir," hitch22." he was diagnosed with cancer last month. he joins us from his home in washington, d.c. >> i just checked and i have
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interviewed you 20 times since 1983. this is one of the hardest. because you have not been well. what is your current status of your cancer? >> i have a tumor in my esophagus which has spread to my live notes. nodes and part of my long and it is stage four. there is no stage five. it concentrates the mind a bit. i have some wonderful oncologist working with me. we are on the verge of a number of new treatments which may apply to me. i apologize that my voice is a little husky today. that is the situation.
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i have to practice staying alive and preparing to die at the same time. which, as my more says, is what one has to do all the time. you're never more than one breath away. it is a bit more of vivid to me. doctors in the morning and lawyers in the afternoon then why did you decide to take us for that journey in your writing? >> i was wondering whether wanted to or not. i was pressed to do it. i tried to do it in a way that it was not a parade of yellow ribbon type of journalism. i have been told that people have identified with it to some degree.
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if you have 11 -- if you had a lemon, make lemonade is the other explanation. everyone has to do this at one point or another. either survive or die off, something like this. it is something we were born to do. as an extension of when i was hit with it, i thought i should keep up the narrative. this is very much a part of my life. >i have been lucky. i have been able to write about some exciting new developments in the field on college to which i hope will surely become more available to more people. at my age, there are achievements i can see better
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just out of my reach. my constitution is very good and my vital signs are excellent. everything from my letter to my blood pressure is superb. if i can hang on, i intend to try. >> you just had your gall bladder removed. >> i had a very bad episode a couple of weeks ago. i crashed. as my doctor said. i had a melt down in my bone marrow. that can happen in chemotherapy. i was in terrible i have lost the gallbladder. i am hanging on.
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>> what has this done to the old head? >> the worst of the initial treatment is what's called chemo-brain. you feel foggd in the head. -- iught by can't read, thought if i can't read, i would not have a persuasive reason to live. i did not want to give in to despair. turns out the chemo-brain is transitory. i am quite lucid, at least in my own opinion. i could write a column today if i was lucky. and that's and strong coffee. i can certainly it read. and converse. the pending was to spread in that direction, i probably would feel that was the end. >> what has been the reaction from other people to your
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condition?
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they are trying to assure me that my life does not waste time. i am 62 in april. believe me, that has been encouraging. i have learned something from it.
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if someone has someone in mind, they can write to maker that has been a terrific help to me. i am not particularly a vulnerable person. this has been very moving for me and very confirming. >> has any of your professional enemies come to you during this time? >> rivals or people that take the opposite view, they have been very nice. i have had newspaper columns written about me. there was an editorial in the times of london. i felt like i was reading my obituary. i thought it was nice, but it gave me a creepy feeling of being premature. i do not know how many personal
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enemies i have. the number of people that have written to me saying that they hope that i suffer now and forever after i had died, i would say that was small. >> go back for a moment. it was quite a series of events. i have your more in my hands. -- your memoir in my hands. did you have any premonition at all about death? >> no, i had a free gift from a gallery in london that publishes a magazine for subscribers about its upcoming tax -- exhibitions. there was a photograph that included me.
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and they put the word "late" next to my name. the late christopher hitchens. they probably thought i was going to sue. they said that they would withdraw. i told them to send as many as they have. it makes a wonderful small introduction to my memoir is called a prologue of premonitions. at that stage, i had no idea. >> but you went on the daily show with john stuart right around the time that you found out. >> i went on that show the day that i was diagnosed. >> did you know at the time?
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>> yes, i was told that morning. i was feeling very ill. i had to be taken to the hospital. i thought i was having a heart attack. they said that it was not my heart. they said that i could discharge myself if i wanted, but they recommended i stayed for observation. they said that the next stop should be the oncologist because there was probably a tumor in my esophagus but it had spread. i decided to discharge myself because i wanted to do the jon stewart show. i managed to do both of the shows. i have just had the sentence read to me. >> let's was just a little bit of the show so that people can see. when they see this, you know that you have a real problem. >> yes, i have never seen it.
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>> i have a bloody mary to start the day to ward off depression. it worked for 10 years. it concentrated my mind. there will one day be -- that unsealed the memory a bit. there is no choice of leaving now, is there? >> i do not think that people should be able to decide for you. i am very impressed that someone that has lived it, you have not taken it easy on this body. but you do not look like [beep], but you should. [laughter] >> there is crying inside.
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[laughter] >> it is seedy. >> i am beginning to see that. >> as i saw it, you look like you had a sense of creamer and you work fairly normal. what was your head telling you? >> i did what it took to do the show. it was only the dinner after that that i felt that i could not carry on any more -- anymore. i was violently sick. >> due to have any indication that something was going wrong? >> no, i had nothing but very good annual checkups.
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>> your father died of esophageal cancer. >> he did. >> did that penetrate? >> it was in the book. but i used to smoke very heavily. i was afraid it was going to be in the lung. the thing about esophageal cancer is you can have it for quite a while. it is very hard to detect. unless you have an upper gi almost every month and you are looking for it, you are likely to miss it. you do not see it until metastasizes. you could feel it in the lymph node on my neck. that is not a good song. >> he began what kind of treatment? >> treatment of chemotherapy,
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which made me lose all my hair. it is growing back with the new chemical i am trying, slightly. it made me lose a lot of weight and may be very tired. it was immeasurably reduced. >> where did you have this done? >> in bethesda. >> that started what month last year? >> july. >> and it ended when? >> it is still going on. thanks to a wonderful doctor, he did the human genome project. it was a marvelous scientific achievement. we became friends that way. we became friendly debaters and he took an interest in my case
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and he was trying to look for a more perfect identifiable match. today is friday the 14th. on monday, i hope to try that. if my bone marrow is recovered enough, that involves 6 million -- 6 billion dna matches. that is set up against 6 billion dna matches of my blood. it is actually the -- absolutely amazing that is worthy project is for finding out where the genome will be applied to individuals and their predicaments.
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it will be commonplace. there is a terrible lack of funding. people can write their congressman. there is the attempt to do this. i would like to become more than i am. >> you touch your chemical treatment at nia? >> no, i had tests there. that was in bethesda. the consult with a panel of like-minded experts. they work out a protocol for me and adjust it every few weeks.
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>> you wrote about a woman that came up to you when you were signing books. she starts off -- >> shall i tell? >> yes. >> i was signing books and there was a long line and a woman at the front comes to me. she does not have a book. she said that a cousin of hers has cancer and i said that i was sorry. she said that it was in the liver and i said that it was awful. she said that it got much worse.
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she din said that he was a homosexual and i was not going to say, "of course." she said he was in great pain and had incontinence. i was beginning to run out of things to say. i told her i knew exactly what it she was going through. i asked if she would treat me like that if i was well. i think that, as patients, we need to reciprocate. some people to make a huge
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parade of their condition. i tried to write about it in other contexts. i wrote about the national day of prayer. i have written about treatments. >> you wrote in the prologue of your book, "hitch 22," i personally want to do death in the active and passive in to be there to look it in the eye and be doing something when it comes for me. what does that mean? >> i want to be conscious for it. ideally, i would like to be making a speech about it. or making love or sitting with friends.
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or to conceivably try to be with people gathered around and try to make a decent fare well. i have had cause to reconsider that. if this cancer does not go into remission, it is a very unpleasant way to die. >> why? >> well, it is like choking in your own puke. it can be preceded by a lot of humiliations. the sentence includes that you be tortured before you die. i now feel a slight bravado. i would like to be awake and
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looking at people if i am lucky, in talking to them. i am not so sure that i would insist on it. it might be as well to slip away in a narcotic stupor. it might be. something about that may sound very old fashioned. as i say, it is part of life. i want to get as much out of it as i can. >> how much, during this time, have you talked about this thing with your wife? >> she has been a mainstay for me. she does things that i do not like to do. she looks up every conceivable ramification of treatment. she tirelessly looks for new doctors and avenues. we talk about losing and when i
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am gone. my determination is that i am not going to die of it now. this is a possibility. i say that i will do everything i can to be an experimental subject for other things that did not work for me. until you have done something for timidity, you should be ashamed to die. that would be doing something for humanity. i would be willing to do it. >> in the middle of all this, a couple of weeks ago, you debated tony blair in toronto. >> i carried on with this and other questions.
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>> i wanted to point out you making a point. >> watch that. >> you do not want religion taught to children in school, imposed on me by violence, if any of these things. you are fine by me. [applause] i would prefer not even to know what it is that you do in that church of yours. [laughter] in fact, if you force it on my attention, i would see it as a breach of that pact. and have your own bloody christmas. do your slaughtering. do not delete the genitals of your children. -- to do not harm the genitals of your children. has this pact ever been honored
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by the other side? of course not. i will share this with you. if i believe that there was a savior or prophet sent by god that loved me, if i believed that and possessed the means of grace and hope of glory, i think that i might be happy. why doesn't it make him happy? -- them happy? [laughter] they will not be happy until you believe it to. why is that? because that is what the holy books tell them. >> why did you do that debate? when was it? >> thanksgiving.
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>> what condition were you in? >> i kind my treatment -- i kind mine treatment -- timed my treatment. it was a huge event. a lot of money went into fixing it up and getting there and getting security. i never like to cancel any way, but i could not do that. i was physically all right and mentally quite alert. that was the first time blair had been in a debate since he was prime minister. >> you were taking -- tell us your position. >> i have debated many since i've been sick.
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blair was involved in catholicism. i wanted to debate about that. what i wanted to concede was that the evils that people like myself speak about we talk about religion, his co-thinkers would say that it was done in the name of. i said that you have to stop that. the holy books are supposed to be the word of god for these people. it is a cop to say it is in the name of. you have to face the responsibility. in fact, when we were asked one question, to say what would be the strongest point made by the other, he said that he agreed that i was right. the problem is, there is scriptural authority.
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that is my best memory. i opened with a long quotation from a cardinal. it was a very wicked quotation. i wanted to know whether the catholic church was the one true church. it was quite strange. he did not come up to fight me on that. you could not tell that he was catholic at all. he could have been a very weak christian socialist liberal. it basically says the christianity is ok because it makes people do good works and give money to charity. no one denies that it is true but it has nothing to do with the rubble-the relevance of the trees of the matter. -- the relevance of the truth of the matter.
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so, it was an interesting debate. excuse me. sorry, brian. [coughing] i will just have a sip, here. >> the first interview i ever conducted with you was on november 7, 1983. >> i remember it was winter. >> a call-in show. i just want to run one minute 24 seconds and we will talk about it. >> when journalists lose their credibility based upon their past performance, the american people are speaking out now. i feel that without no type of checks and balances on
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journalists, they are doing exactly what this tournament is doing here. he reports on all the faults, but does not take a deep enough look at the positive aspects of what a free press really is. >> i get set up with this question of what, actually. how do you presume to know that the american people are speaking? to the extent that you can speak for them, you can only know it for reading a free press and watching a free tv. the papers are reporting the facts that are unpopular with the administration and the harm with which this is done, they it is true that it is probably on reagan's side on this one. you're going to end up not knowing very much about what is going on.
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do not prevent me or anyone else from reading them. >> you can see how times have changed from that clip. there you were, on our set, smoking. >> i was doing that until quite late on 3 >> i cannot remember -- >> the whole studio look like chernobyl. >> i appreciate you calling me david on that show. >> it was the name of a very distinguished los angeles times journalist. >> it is fun to go back to that time. in those days, there was a lot of bravado about smoking and drinking. for the first show we did, i went with you to a bar and you
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had a cigarette. did your father smoke? >> my father was a pipe smoker. reasonably thought she was a reasonably consistent drinker, too. i cannot help but think that is what contributed to it. we do not talk about his death, my brother and i. i know that it was lowered down and went up -- where mine is. >> is yours and operable? >> it cannot be cut out. it has spread. it is too near my lungs and my heart to be properly created. it has to be chemo and were
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targeted gene therapy. i always knew that there was a risk in the bohemian life. i decided to take because weather is an illusion or not, i don't think it is. it helped my concentration. it stopped me being bored and sought other people being boring. it would make me want to prolong the conversation to enhance the moment. if i was asked if i would do it again, the answer is probably yes. i would have quit earlier in order to get away with the whole thing is -- the whole thing. >> it is not nice for my children to hear. it would be hypocritical for me to say that i would never touch the stuff i had known. i did know. everyone knows.
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i decided that all of life was a wager and i would take this winter. i cannot make it come out any other way. i almost did not even regret it. it is just impossible for me to think of life without wine and other things you and the company. and keeping me reading and traveling in energizing me. -- and energizing me. >> what has bored you? >> it is a vice. it is one of the deadly sins. i am too prone to it. i get easily tired of committee meetings.
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i do not have to do many of those. or waiting in line. i am a very impatient person. i am very happy by myself if i have something to read or something to write about. it adds an edge, it doesn't dull it. >> during this time of your illness, have you had a lot of pain? >> yes, especially before i found out it was the gall bladder, not the side effects. i was getting worried. i told the doctors that i am living from pill to pill. i surely should not be taking this much morphine or coating --
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or codeine. i would like to think that the gall bladder was the cause of that. it was quite manageable. it became unbearable. >> how many days ago the to have your gall bladder out? >> ted, i think. -- ten, think. >> do you feel better because of it? >> not yet. the anaesthetic takes a while to wear off. i could not have done this yesterday. >> really? >> i absolutely cannot. i could not get out of bed. >> about 36 years ago, a columnist from "newsweek" had leukemia and wrote about.
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have you gone back and looked at any of his columns? no. >> he told the story. i think he may have had bone marrow transplants. he took us all the way through the process. how much more are we going to hear from you about your situation? >> i hope all lot -- i hope a lot. i think that the main thing is to emphasize the extraordinary innovations that are becoming available based on our new knowledge of our genetic makeup. so, as these treatments are applicable to me, some of them are.
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i am hoping to write in some detail and color people that they may not -- inform people of christmas that the men i know about. -- and poor people -- informed people of treatments they may not know about. this is precisely to see if i can participate in pushing back boundaries. >> have you lost interest in certain things in the world? >> no. >> not at all? >> no. >> as you sit here today, what would be your number one interest of things going on in the world. >> right now? >> right now. >> looking at today's paper,
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which is the first thing i do every day, still, i suppose it would have to be one version or another of the confrontation with confrontationjihad. in particular -- confrontation with islamic jihad. where the whole threat seems to have been amped up. there is a man murdered in cold blood on the grounds that he opposes blasphemy. even though he has not committed blasphemy. anyone who is muslim is entitled to kill him.
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it used to be bad enough, on conviction, you could face a death sentence. that was warranted by the koran. now, permission for anybody to appoint himself and executioner on the spot and the agent of religion and murder anyone they like is fantastically dangerous. we decide to invest ourselves in the idea that there are moderates to be found who will send this off. i do not think there is a prayer. >> what about this process of having to face this illness?
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the reason i ask, when you went off there, some people give that up when they are faced with this situation. what has changed? what about this process has surprised you? your process of becoming ill and they tell you that you have stage four esophageal cancer. are you surprised about 80 of this last six months -- are you surprised about this last six months? >> i think that the more of a person -- i think that the more of a person of age 60 has to face that. it has not been all that surprising. it is a commonplace thing. i do not sit around asking myself, "why me?"
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i would not even say why not. it is a commonplace thing. it is almost laughably predictable. the interesting thing about it is the treatments that were unknown until recently. >> there are many examples that we hear from friends with a doctor will say some very straightforward and crew that things and make life very uncomfortable. there was a reporter in this town that told me one day that the doctor called him and said, "guess what, you have the big c." i could not believe that that happened.
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>> that is a bit crass. >> what marx was to give the medical profession and -- what marks would you give the medical profession? >> they have not pronounced my chances, which i decided not to do it first until it occurred to me that it would be very useful for accounting purposes to have a rough idea. one has to plan for once loved ones. i would like to have a guess. they do not like being asked because they do not really know. the best answer i got was that if you took a thousand people of my age, state of health and gender, 1000, half would be dead in one year.
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of the remaining half, some could live more than a year and some could live for quite a few years. they cannot do any better than that. >> what is your reaction to people like me? we come to your apartment 3 want to sit down and talk to you. we want to hear your story. are you surprised at that? >> a little bit, yes. i was. a lot of it has been because of my stance on religion. a large number of people have asked me if it changes my attitude to the supernatural. i said that i really do not see why it should. i do not find it a certain
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question. i spent my life deciding that there is not redemption or salvation. there is no supervising force. if i was to tell you that i have a malignancy in my esophagus, and that changes everything, you think that the main effect would have been on my iq. it is a logical. -- is a logical -- it is illogical. even the nice people that have been praying for me. they are not only praying for my recovery, they are praying for my reconciliation with religion. i proposed a trade-off. what if we secularists stop going to hospitals and walking around the wards and asking if
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people are religious when they are extremists. you would feel much better. all of that nonsense they taught you pretty can still have every chance to give it up. experience the life of a free thinking person. do not believe in mythology per live-apology. we do not do that. i do not resent it at all because i like the opportunity for the argument. a lot of it has to do with that. i do not letter myself as a public figure. -- flatter myself as a public figure. >> the book that we did in 1993. i want to get your reaction. >> for me, it has always been the first eight.
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this it was a way of getting out of bed in the morning. in this country, where people like to be non churchmen to when the candy -- nonjudgmental when they can be, one would not be doing one's job. >> is it still a good idea to a people? >> since it is not really unavoidable -- not really avoidable, i turn it into and advantage. -- i turn it into an advantage. since it is coupled with the injunction to love of god that you are supposed to fear, there is something very honest in
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contrast to find someone who is completely unbearable. it is bound to -- it is a bit like i call. it is a good servant, but it is a bad master. i have a complete hate for henry kissinger. it enables me to penetrate this fog in which he is shrouded. it does not eat away at me. it does not keep me awake at night. it does not fill me with bile, but i do think there is such a thing as evil and the world and it is sometimes personified. there is no obligation to be ambivalent, there. >> have you changed your mind at all about mother teresa? >> why would i change my mind about her?
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i could not exactly a her because she was a prophetic figure, but i detested the influence that she had. i could tell you why in a sentence if you want. the very reason is that we know what the cure for poverty is. give women some control over their reproduction cycle. get them off the animal routine. the breathing machine. -- of the breeding machine. the population will decline sharply. it would never fail. mother teresa spent her entire life opposing everything that works. she opposed birth control and
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abortion, which she called a murder -- which she called murder. that is basically it. the reputation of said to that she got is nonsense. -- the reputation that she got is nonsense. she would bless them in return. it goes on her whole effect was entirely retrograde. the book has been looked at by every step in the world.
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if half of what i say is true about her, then none of what is commonly believed about her is true. but i am used to this now. people need a complete solution. >> what would to do with henry kissinger-what would you do with henry kissinger called to and try to bury the hatchet after all these years? >> i know that it could not happen. he has made it a condition when he appears on television programs that he be asked about the book. never mind me, there is no reason to like me. i know that i needled him.
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he lied about vietnam and chile and bangladesh. we have other people in that part of history who tried to make some sort of restitution -- sort of retribution. they were sort of sorry. we have some evidence that we think we should share with you, they say. kissinger has never said a word of self criticism. he gets very petulant and angry and spoiled and ugly when he is criticized. i would be fascinated to meet him.
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>> we do not have much time. >> do not say that. [laughter] >> i will be the judge of that. >> if you knew that there was a certain amount of time left, six months, a year, what ever? is there anything that you want to do? >> what they do not tell you is what kind of months these will be. >> what have you not done? >> before this man died, he had done a lot of traveling and he kept up his interest in human rights and international policy. then he got word that it was back and he made -- that is what i need to know.
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the great loss is the inability to travel. i got to toronto. that was not hard. i have been to california. a private plane was sent to me to go to montana and i finally got to see little bighorn. the wonderful national park. i have three american states and visited. >> which one? >> the dakotas and wisconsin. someone said to me, "are you afraid you will not see england again?" >> i was. i would have to be told that i was on a camel holiday. >> we are out of time. the best way to end it is to
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say that i will see you in a couple of years. >> absolutely. >> thank you very much. >> it is brian, isn't it? >> for a dvd copy of this program call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org. q&a programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> up next, your calls and questions live on "washington journal."
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later today, the house gavels for general speeches. they will return at 2:00 p.m. for a measure that will cut all non-security spending for fiscal year 2008 levels. this morning on "washington journal," a look at president obama's reason executive order to impose balance. also, a look at u.s.-china relations with francisco sanchez, chinese undersecretary for international trade. and later, look at the democratic tempered -- implications of the u.s. population with richard jackson of the center for

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