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tv   Washington Journal Bill Bennett  CSPAN  December 24, 2018 3:33am-4:05am EST

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announcer: the government shutdown will continue past the christmas holiday. as the senate and house have ended their sessions, no legislative business scheduled in either body until next thursday. as always, watch live house coverage on c-span, and the senate on c-span2. announcer: a live view of the u.s. capitol. the government is shut down. day 2 of the shutdown.
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joining us is bill bennett, former drugs are an cabinet secretary and the author of "the true saint nicholas: why it matters to christmas." thank you for being with us. first, this shutdown. why did it happen? guest: because of a disagreement within the president and chuck schumer and nancy pelosi. as nancy pelosi reminded the president and that famous oval office talk, article i says that congress does the funding. the president made not a campaign promise, but the central campaign promise he would build the wall. they are at loggerheads and we will sue it happens. host: you are an expert on the federal government. $5 billion. how much of a wall? guest: about 240 miles. it is a continuation of what has
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already been done. i think it makes sense. this president, whatever one thinks of him, i have to admire him to keep his promises and away we have not seen before. host: the resignation of general mattis and the first defense secretary to resign in protest because he opposes the president's stance on syria? guest: i think he is a very good man. obviously he is an excellent general. the president had great pride in the fact he was coming on. i think he is a sober and thoughtful guy. i think it hurts, but the president can make an excellent replacement. arkansas forn of doing excellent job. i was rereading some things early on in the administration. critics said they were too many generals. we were talking about general
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kelly and general flynn and general mattis. he was over-generaling the government. now there is one less general, but he is obviously not being praised for it. host: did you ever have private disagreements with ronald reagan or george h.w. bush? guest:. yes i presented it to them as a disagreement. i can tell you about one of them. it was ronald reagan over the situation involving judge ginsburg. not ruth bader ginsburg, but the other ginsburg. there were some questions whether he should be named. i called the president. it was just people did not know quite what to do. it came out that judge ginsburg, a very good man that he is still on the court. he admitted to smoking marijuana
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while a law professor with students. smoking marijuana when you are young in the 1960's, one can perhaps waive your hand on that. as a law professor i thought it was a real problem. i called the white house and spoke to the chief of staff, howard baker. they carried the message forward. there were some other things there were disagreements on. i often was able to get right to the president to express it. host: do you think this president accepts disagreements? guest: yes, no i think c starts with a presumption he is right. he is just more forward about it. i have spoken to the president on one or two occasions, raised questions and issues. yes, there is a lot of self-confidence in this president. again, he has very strong views on things. but this notion you could not
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talk to him with a different point of view, i don't think it is right. i am not a close advisor but i know people who do speak with him and they say he is open to ideas but begins with a strong presumption in favor of his own. host: bill bennett our guest is bill bennett. this is what number book? guest: five. host: why saint nicholas? west: i thought needed to remember were saint nicholas came from. he was born in asia minor. his parents died when he was young. they left him some money. this unmanned took pity on a poor family. gave them small bags of gold through an open window at night. they felt into stockings. there we are. that's around the year 300. faithhe story of a man of
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who suffered for his faith. this was during the roman occupation, the roman dictatorship if you will. he was imprisoned, tortured. he ministered to others while tortured. he was adopted by lots of people. sailors on the sea but was responsible for calming storms. children love saint nicholas. his fame travels all over the world. americarope, ultimately where he is discovered by a number of american notables, including washington irving. moore. -- clement moore. he gains a little late and
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becomes anglicized to santa claus. then he is finally discovered in the form was familiar to us by macy's and coca-cola. that is where the story ends, but it's a wonderful story of faith. host: let me share some excerpts from the book. by the end of the 16th century, he had been banished from religious life but he cannot be driven out of people's hearts and imaginations. he was much too beloved for that to happen. when he lost his audit place in churches, he moved into homes where he had legions of fans, especially among children. he became a hero of the heart. by the mid-20th century, along route was complete. he had almost completely disappeared in the united states. in his place, santa claus had come to town. is a distinctlaus
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and distant relative of saint nicholas. you brought up the conflict. i hate to divide potential audiences, but he was thriving and then martin luther came along and said we don't like these icons, these stained-glass which thehese saints traditional catholics are worshiping and trying to. they smashed all that stuff. i thought -- they thought that was the end of nicholas. he retreated into homes, hearts and hearth. host: you begin in lower manhattan at a greek orthodox church. guest: yes, that is right. there are many such churches around the country. one interesting thing i found is a legend about his bones. that there was a kind of oil coming out of his bones, manna
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that had healing powers. it went on the internet and it's still out there. you can buy a vial of a quarter of announce that is reputed to be the oil from his bones for only $2500. i don't recommend that. i only recommend the book. host: glen, good morning on the democrats line with secretary bill bennett. caller: i want to ask you a question. -- whyd president trump was president trump elected? guest: the country was ready for a change, for a big change. a lot of people felt they were not being served. their interests were not being addressed. call.ded an answered
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there were a lot of people that disagree with barack obama on principle. sense thatgeneral washington was not being responsive to the needs of people. i think that is why he was elected. host: amy from georgia, democrats like. caller: good morning. i want to say that i remember mr. bennett from the 1980's. the war on drugs. it did a lot of damage in my community. people lost their fathers, brothers, some of them their mothers. watching you today i was reminded of something i learned as a college student. is a place of bigotry, cruelty, greed, lack of compassion. it is far more costly then passion, empathy, and a hopeful view of our country.
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you are a representative of policies that put in place cruelty, bigotry. host: how so? guest: -- caller: i am looking at mr. bennett and thinking there is a straight line that can be drawn , the reagan policy to trump. guest: i don't agree at all with what amy said. that the war on drugs destroyed many lives. in the 1980's this was our most successful effort historically against drugs. if you want to do a body count, crack cocaine, heroin, fentanyl. you will see the names of 45,000 to 50,000 people at the vietnam memorial. more people than that die every year from the current drug
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evidence -- epidemic. but we did was push back very hard on this drug issue. for the first time in a very long time we got the numbers down. the numbers went down by about 50%. the number of people using illegal drugs. we went after the supply which means the price went up. emergency room admissions were down. many people think they were too tough on drugs, but not nearly as tough as the drugs were on the victims. i am proud of the work we did. there was a movie made called "traffic" which was a pretty good movie and accurate in some ways. i heard the guy who made the movie did it so he could send a message to me about how harsh this war was. there were harsh elements in this. we went after the bad guys hard. when we took office, there were
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leaders.or cartel i said we will get them and take them down. with the help of the colombian help ofnt and forceful the united states military, including delta force, we did take them down. we also did dramatic increases in counseling, education, and treatment. we pushed on all fronts and i'm proud of the work we did. we got the numbers down, which needs to happen now by the way. host: looking at the legacy of george h.w. bush who passed away, there is this. in "the washington post" "the federal drug control budget was around $5 billion. when he left office it was over $12 billion. this was the sharpest escalation in the history of the drug war and locked the country into a
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strategy of punishment, deterrence and intolerance. it did little to alleviate addiction or help the flow of -- hault the flow of drugs to american shores. while we remember bush as a gentle soul, from them for his role in fermenting a drug war that harmed millions of citizens, particularly in communities of color." guest: wrong, ill-informed and ignorant. what are yousaid doing to address this problem in the inner cities? that is the first lace we went. i want to 130 communities in that effort. we went the public housing and we heard the same story over and over. can you do something about this plague of drugs? i noticed counseling was popular mainly by women and children. most of the men who were hanging around public housing where they're not as husbands or caring fathers, but as predators.
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work indid some tough those communities but when i went to these communities the complaint was always the same. intellectuals were saying why don't we legalize drugs and make them more accessible? people in the communities were saying can you get this play off of our streets? can you stop people from selling these things to our children? it is a very contentious issue, but if you look at the body count, it went down during our time we were in charge of this effort. i am proud of the work we did. host: our guest is bill bennett who served at the drugs are in the george h.w. bush and administration. virtues" came out when? guest: 1993. it got no advertising, no publicity and outsold. we could not find books.
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then it continued for quite a while. host: then you came on c-span and talked about it. guest: i sure did and my hair was a little different. host: justin from jasper, tennessee, republican line. caller: good morning. appreciate your sentiment of your book with saint nicholas. i believe the country could probably do better with some faith. i hope these people have some faith and can enjoy their possible week off with her family. i do believe the drug war is a complete failure. it has incarcerated way too many people. hopefully the country is turning a corner. alcohol is legal. we legalize everything, treat the people that want treatment. natural selection.
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people are going to overdose and kill themselves and that is just ance. pre-despond it name your choice and open up the prisons. we have ruined way more lives locking people up for marijuana than anything. host: thank you for the call. people don't go to jail for any numbers of significance for smoking a joint. host: what you think about the new criminal or foreign law? -- reform law? guest: i am concerned about people making a hard distinction between violent and nonviolent crimes, and making something like jug dealing a nonviolent crime. you may deal in cocaine or fentanyl and you may be a peaceful seller of it, but once against into the livestream -- bloodstream and communities it destroys. it is very violent.
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there are reasons there are a lot of people in prison. in almost all cases is because they are serious crimes. the result has been an increase in public safety that we have enjoyed for some 30 years. i think one should approach this cautiously. i agree with the president's instincts and ideas on this. there are reforms that need to occur, such as direct treatment in prison. the gentleman is wrong that it is a failure. it was a success in the late 1980's. we shall see with this other epidemic coming from the opioid crisis and this new, horrible drug sentinel -- fentanyl. if we throw up our hands and say people are going to die, that is not a responsible government response. you don't let people die like that. host: is marijuana a gateway drug? guest: there is no question it
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is a gateway drug. says when the boat is half underwater, don't get out fire hoses. i know the general sentiment. i know the public sentiment. while you have this crisis of drugs and opioids and fentanyl, to be legalizing marijuana, a gateway drug, is crazy. more young people are in treatment for marijuana than all other drugs combined. host: say that again. young people are in treatment for marijuana than all other drugs combined. i had another job. i was secretary of education. marijuana, clinically, beyond doubt, produces the capability for focus, attention and memory. the you think those are important for you a young person going to school? i think so.
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there is a professor of medicine and psychiatry at northwestern university. he said if i can design something in a laboratory to inhibit children's intellectual growth, i would design marijuana. host: it is now legal in many parts of the country. guest: i have been the colorado a number of times. years theyn 5, 6, 7 will want to put the genie back in the bottle. host: "there is one essential truth in the stories of nicholas goodness ofaus, the the gift offered with no expectation of anything return. despite secularization and commercialization, santa claus is a manifestation of nicholas's others. to give to --guest: these bags falling into stockings or shoes.
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he did this in the middle of the night because he wanted to remain anonymous. the third night the father was waiting and captured him and tackled him and saw it was nicholas. the irony is the guy who wanted mademain anonymous becomes the world's most famous gift giver. think about that when you're writing a little card tomorrow or the next day. maybe just don't sign it. just give the gift. how many of us do that? we want to get credit. host: diane in tennessee with bill bennett. good morning. 1980's i remember in the when president reagan was there saying just say no to drugs. i remember our community. drugs it our community in the 1980's.
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they had killing stand here. drug gangs were fighting against each other. my brother was in the military. if you want to stop these drugs, check the military, check those ships. my brother is dead and gone. the guy from agent orange. that stuff is coming through here with the rich and powerful people in the military. evil people in our government. guest: interesting. and aspect i did not mention was the military. i talked to colin powell about this. the military addressed the issue very effectively. they had a zero-tolerance policy, which is something we recommended for schools when i was secretary of education and director of drug policy. the military led the way on this. the military has an important role in this. i remember when i first got the job, u.s. about disagreements with the president.
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it was disagreements with other cabinet ministers. i wanted to go see each cabinet member, particularly the secretary of defense, and enlist their help. eyes, their years in their brains to see everything. i was getting a little resistance. host: dick cheney guest: yes, good for you. he was respectful and pleasant but said this is not my war. this is not the pentagon's thing. i said i don't want to be, i just need your intelligence capabilities. they were a little reluctant. i called the president and i said i have to see these guys. you have got to get me in there. he told the 20th of job. if you ever have difficulties, give me a call and i will straighten it out. he did. i called him on a couple of occasions. i remember another call.
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george walker bush called me on my birthday and said i'm sorry , but i was just a covenant house in new york. president, said, mr. i'm getting out in a few months and i look forward to having a couple of years. i will be dead by 25. -- i will be dead be drug-free. why should a young man's horizons be limited by 25? he said the streets, the drugs, they will get me. i will live past 25. i said this is what happens. the horizons in people's mind when they get into this disastrous situation. i remember how touched he was by it and he always supported me and never thing i asked for. louisiana. river, caller: how are you, mr.
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bennett? and the host. i appreciate your service, sir. i am a former drug addict. i started with marijuana. you are well educated in that area because i did a study when i was a college -- when i went to college. with a they call that? the coffee shops where you can get marijuana. the illiteracy rate went up 20% in five years. ner,s a marijuana begin it led me to do other drugs. i was a drug addict for 30 years. i am up in age now. better in ways i see the drug addiction in this country. i lost a lot of friends to addictions. i lost an ex that i have a
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daughter from from a heroin overdose. the night at donald trump was elected. it is a stepping stone. work.eciate your i am thankful every morning i wake up that we have a president, donald trump, that has common sense. he is a president that has to make tough love decisions and i appreciate your service. very minduana is a altering drug. guess he got me off of it? jesus christ. guest: faith-based communities often work on this effectively. if you polled the general public, most of the general public has not had this problem. if you pull people who had drug problems, they will tell you for
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that of doubt it is how it starts for a lot of people. not everyone who smokes marijuana moves on other drugs. we know that. but almost everyone, most people move on to other drugs started with marijuana. that is the case. i was talking to lawrence kudlow the other day, who still goes to meetings. these are meetings like alcoholics anonymous. he is very candid and open about it. he says the young people come and almost all of them have started with marijuana. interesting to think larry kudlow, national economic council, still goes on a weekly or monthly basis. host: we did an interview with him and he talks about his addiction to drugs and alcohol and how he was able to recover. the passing of george h.w. bush. son said he was
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the most influential one term president in history. too,: i said i thought so and i got an angry letter about john quincy adams. "america'story book, last best hope." maybe not as consequential, that was john adams. but you can make a case for georgia walker bush in terms of foreign policy. he was a pro, an expert, a great mentor. if i have a minute for a quick story, we were doing a drug event in houston. a gentleman came on the bus. secret service approved it. he apparently had been coaching girls softball in the same league where george herbert walker bush had coached.
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the said to the president, george, you have done really well. you have yourself a good job, president. this guy's name was george too. that is what i wanted to see you. i was wondering if you could spare me a few bucks. i had started spinning. the president of the united states that i had never seen this. pulls off $400. he said, thank you very much. things have not turned out as well for me as you and i really appreciate it. mr. president, does this happen a lot? you have to carry a lot of cash. it's a simple story. the effortlessness of it, the natural grace, the decency. i thought maybe i should carry more cash. host: bill bennett.
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the book is called ""the true saint nicholas: why he matters to christmas." merry christmas to >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning. we'll talk about u.s. healthcare policy with bloomberg government health reporter and then a discussion on the rise in automation and the future to have american workforce. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern this morning. join the discussion. >> the government shutdown will continue fast christmas holiday as the senate and house have ended their sessions. no legislative business scheduled in either body until next thursday. as always watch live coverage on
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the senate on c-span 2. the senate has put off until january consideration of a public lands package after a pair of lawmakers objected to the bill. here is a look at debate from the senate floor starting with the chair over the environment public works committee. mr. pre, i would ask unanimous consent on behalf of chairman hatch that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the lands package bill. i further ask consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. lee: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, reserving the right to object, we've got a bill here that we received at 10:00 this morning, 680 pages long. i've spent many hours reviewing it. this is a bill that came out of a committee on


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