Aired on April 1, 2002

Guests on this program were:

  Giselle Fernandez
Barney Frank
Sally Pipes
Jay Mohr


Panel Discussion

Bill: That was abrupt.

[ Laughter ]

Welcome to "Politically Incorrect." Let me tell you who's on our show tonight.
Giselle Fernandez is here.
I'm always glad to see your pretty face.
I see you on the back of a bus every time I'm in traffic.

Giselle: Lucky you.

Bill: You're on the KTLA morning news, and you're an esteemed journalist.
Thank you for coming back.
Barney Frank from Massachusetts' fourth district.
How many terms in Congress now?

Barney: Eleven.

Bill: eleven terms.
Always the answer to "Who's the smartest guy in Congress?" That's my answer, Barney Frank.
Thank you for coming.
Sally Pipes, you are the president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute for Policy Studies.
I don't know what that means, but I assume you're funneling arms to the contras.
No, I'm kidding about that.

[ Laughter ]

Sally: From my homeland in Canada.

Bill: And Jay Mohr, I think most of America knows you as a spot-on comic actor.
But you're also a big sports nut.
And your new series, "More Sports," premieres on ESPN in prime time tomorrow night, and then it'll be on late night Mondays.
Give a hand to this panel, ladies and gentlemen.

[ Applause ]

Well, we were off all last week on a little vacation, but obviously, things in the Middle East did not take a vacation.
So let's talk about that.
And what I want to ask tonight is the fact that, here in America, I think we have to come to grips with the fact that whatever we see in Israel, going on now, is going to come here.
We haven't learned that lesson yet, I don't think, about terrorism.
But we should have after September 11th.
Because it went on there for a long time, it came here.
And this, what is going on in Israel, is going to come here, too.
And I'm talking about suicide bombers.
I'm talking about people with something strapped on to them, blowing stuff up to scare a civilian population.
Now, why don't we get real about this now and decide --

Jay: How? How do you get real about it? How do you prepare for it?

Giselle: Make sure that the I.N.S. doesn't send visas approvals after the fact.
We make sure that we tighten all of our security systems in our airports --

Jay: You lost me when you were relying on the I.N.S.

Bill: Yeah.

Sally: Well, we need to get rid of the I.N.S.

Giselle: We have to make sure that all of our efforts are completely targeted at breaking the infrastructure of whatever terrorist networks are out there every place --

[ Talking over each other ]

Bill: But we can't even get the airport stuff done.

Sally: Well, now that the government is running the airport security, it's even worse.
So we've got a long way to go.
There's going be --
I am convinced there's going to be --

Jay: Be your own federal air marshal.
That's what I say, Bill.
Listen, be your own --
you want flights to be safe? Be your own federal air marshal.
Take a pen on, and if a guy jumps up, stab him in his [ bleep ] throat.

[ Laughter and applause ]

And you know what? Do you know what? Maybe he was just food poisoned or something.
But you don't act like that on an airplane.
I got a little overzealous, representative.

Barney: No, I know there are people who believe the pen is mightier than the sword --

[ Laughter ]

But I think you're putting too much faith in it.
In fact, there's no one answer.
We are working on this, and it's very difficult.
It has been here.
It was here on September 11th.
Look, the critical fact on September 11th was, if you had mature adults, including some intelligent ones ready to kill themselves, it's a very serious problem.
Most police officers will tell you, our criminal justice system works on deterrents.
You can't physically, and this is a real problem in a free society, it's very hard physically to prevent all these things.
Once you've got people ready to kill themselves, it's kind of hard to deter somebody who's gonna kill himself.
So what it's meant is a whole series of changes.
That's why we have to have more electronic surveillance.
It bothers people, because you've got to do more actual physical prevention.
It's why, with regard to airports, we used to think that the way to prevent bombs on airplanes was to make sure no bag got on the plane unless the person got on with it.
Now, we're gonna spend several hundred million dollars to put machines in every airport so that all the bags go through machines to do bomb detection.

Giselle: That's what has to happen.

Barney: And it costs a lot of money, and it's gonna slow you down 'cause everybody's bags have to go through that machine.

[ Talking over each other ]

Jay: I mean, if we had to bare bones it, the suicide bombings back and forth between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
You don't see Mexican-Americans going, "Hey, the Louisiana purchase." Boom! And like blowing themselves up.

Bill: That's a good point.

Jay: And this is how you rectify it.
The first time there's a suicide bomb, we've actually had the World Trade Center bombing.
And George Bush said, "You're either with us or without us." And you know what? I waited my entire life to hear a president say that, and it made me proud to hear a man say, "You're either with us or you're out."
[ Applause ]

You may or may not agree, but I got news for you.
I got news for you.
If a suicide bomber goes to Cape Manaleenee and pulls the string and 20 people died, we're not taking pot shots.
It is parking lot time, baby.

[ Talking over each other ]

Barney: There's not suicide bombings back and forth between the Israelis and Arabs.
There are not Israeli suicide bombers.
They've got military responses.
We did do that after September 11th.
We did engage a very effective, serious retaliation.
Nobody's doubting our right to do it.
It's just hard to do.
And here's the hard part.
In a free society, when deterrence becomes less of a factor, in a free society, how do you maintain freedom and still give law enforcement the ability to do more? And we've got to give law enforcement the ability to do more.

Jay: Deterrence is, if you do it, you no longer have a place to live because it's gone.

Barney: You can't deter suicide people --
They don't care.
By the very nature of the case --

Bill: Wait a second.

[ Talking over each other ]

Giselle: The defense minister of Israel spoke on television this evening, and he said --

Jay: Oh, shut up.

[ Laughter ]

Giselle: --
You can't go after the suicide bomber with tanks and military.
That is true.
But you can break down their infrastructure.

[ Talking over each other ]

We have cells they talk about here.
We're training kids here.
We have people training kids here that, in the name of God, they're gonna sacrifice their life.
And they grow up hoping for that moment when they can kill themselves.

Jay: That's the craziest thing I've ever heard.

[ Talking over each other ]

Sally: We have schools in the Middle East --

Jay: Would you say that on national television?

Giselle: What?

Jay: That we have terrorist cells in the United States.

Giselle: "Good morning America," yes.

Jay: Okay.
"Good morning America."
[ Laughter ]

Do they book comics? Maybe the kids need to be lightened up a little.

Barney: That's a bit of a problem, though, for your theory that if there's a terrorist being trained in country, we blow up the country.

Bill: But wait a second.
You said you cannot deter.
In other Arab countries where they also have the problem of suicide bombers and terrorism against their own people and their own leaders, they have deterrence.
Jordan does a thing where, if the suicide bomber blows something up, they will go and kill your whole family.

Giselle: That's a deterrent.

Bill: So, you can deter a suicide bomber.
I'm not saying we should do that, I'm just putting it on the table.

[ Talking over each other ]

Let's put that on the table --

[ Applause ]

Jay: What about all the suicide bombers that are orphans?

Giselle: I think Congressman Frank brings up a very good point, and I think that point is, he goes, "Look, it's gonna take time.
It's gonna take a reallocation of priorities and funding." And we sit there and go, "But it'll cause delays." Yes, it'll cause delays.
And it'll cause some annoyances, yes.
And you know what? If you want to stay alive and deter these wackos, that's what we have to do.

Bill: We don't have time.
Do we?

Sally: No, we do not have time.
I am convinced --

Jay: She knows.

Sally: I know that something terrible is going to happen in the not-too-distant future.
And because we are a democracy, I think people --
September 11th was seven months ago.
People are getting complacent.

[ Talking over each other ]

Barney: What is it that you propose we should do tomorrow?

Bill: Okay.
I could tell you what.

Barney: If we wanted to do something tomorrow, what should we do?

Sally: Well, I think that we got to shut these cells.
We've got to do more --

[ Talking over each other ]

Sally: With the FBI and the CIA, they must --
I mean, that's what we pay them for, is to search these things out.

Bill: How about, like Israel, we stop pretending at the airport that the little old lady from Pasadena and the male teenager from Yemen are equally likely to blow up the plane.

Jay: We don't, Bill.

Bill: We do that.
We totally do that.

[ Applause ]

Israel doesn't because they don't have the luxury to make that --

Barney: And, in fact, are searching young males who --

Bill: At the airport, it's random.
That is our policy.

Jay: When I'm on tour, I have a first class, one-way ticket.

Sally: I'm always searched.

Jay: When I'm on tour, I have a first class, one-way ticket to each city.
And that's how they decided to strip search me, because my ticket is one-way.
That's the only reason.

Giselle: We have to stop worrying about being politically correct.
That's the problem.

Barney: Wear clean underwear and get over it.

Jay: I don't wear underwear, come on.
You remember.

Barney: But the point is, we are trying to do something.
You say, "Let's do something right away." Yes, airport security has been increased.
It's a lot easier to talk about it.
You say, "Tell the FBI or the CIA to catch them." This isn't "Law and Order" where, in an hour, the good guys are going to get the bad guys.

[ Talking over each other ]

Barney: It's a complicated world.
There are very sophisticated people out there.
Law enforcement is trying, but people have these unrealistic expectations.

Giselle: When is the last time El Al blew up? It doesn't happen.

Bill: Right.

[ Talking over each other ]

Barney: Are we really saying that Israel has solved the problem of suicide bombers?

Bill: No.

Jay: What show am I on?

Bill: On their airplanes.

[ Talking over each other ]

Jay: --
More sports on ESPN.

Bill: All right.
I gotta take a commercial.

[ Applause ]

Bill: Well, the new Fortune 500 list of the biggest companies in the world came out today, and, for the first time, not oil, not gas --
Wal-Mart, number one.

[ Cheers ]

The largest company in the world.
Wal-Mart today said they're doing so well, they're thinking of opening a second register.

[ Laughter ]

Bill: Well, today the Netherlands legalized euthanasia.
Very brave, because it is still against the law in every other country in the world, although here in America, it's certainly not uncommon for your HMO to go tell you to drop dead.

[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ]

Bill: Okay, now we were talking about how we should fight terrorism.
I think we were talking short range.
Let's talk long range here for a minute.
Now, last week I thought President Bush made a step forward, a good step forward, increased foreign aid $5 billion.
Wouldn't we do a lot to stop future terrorism by taking that massive tax cut that went mostly to the wealthiest 1% --

Jay: No.

Bill: --
Revoke it and give it to the people in the world --
half the world lives on less than $2 a day.
We, of course, find new ways to stuff food into food we're already eating.

[ Light laughter ]

Giselle: Yes.

Bill: I always say, if they can find a way to put a chocolate swirl in the cheese, in the crust in the pizza --

[ Laughter ]

Giselle: And make it no calories and no fat.

Bill: Because I want to stuff that into the turkey at Thanksgiving --

[ Laughter ]

But I don't wanna do it unless there's chocolate in the cheese, in the crust, before it goes in the turkey.

Sally: You need to buy the turdurken.
It's a combination of turkey, chicken and duck.

Jay: The turdurken, wow.

[ Light laughter ]

Bill: So if we were to revoke this tax cut for the wealthy and give the money to the people who are dying and --

Jay: I have to say --
whenever we are talking about the tax cut and people say it's for the wealthy, I think there's a real miscommunication going on between the speaker and the listener.
It's simple mathematics, if you make $1 million, the tax break if it's, just say, what, 10% across the board, a guy making $30,000 gets, you know, $3,000, and the guy making $1 million is gonna get --

Barney: But it wasn't for the tax cut.
The fact is that the hardest tax on people who are working, making $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 a year, is the Social Security payroll tax.
Every penny that they make is taxed.
The Bush tax cut didn't give them 1 cent of tax reduction.
It did make reductions for people who make more than $300,000 a year.
It also says if Bill Gates dies and leaves all his money to his kids, they don't pay any tax at all on his stakes.
So the tax, it's not across the board.
A tax cut that helps people who are paid Social Security tax, making $60,000, $70,000, and paying every penny in tax, that'd be one thing, but that's not the tax cut.
We got the composition of that tax cut did help a number of people.
And I say, Bill, we ought to undo some of the tax cuts, not primarily to give it to people overseas in the first interest, but here.
All the things we were talking about in fighting terrorism, the CIA and the FBI aren't volunteering.

Bill: Yeah.

Barney: All those people have to get paid.
And we've gotta spend several hundred billion dollars more than we thought we did on September 11th just to fight terrorism here at home.

Sally: Absolutely.

Sally: But I'm for --
I'm for not just a tax cut --

[ Applause ]

Jay: He is the smartest guy in Congress.

Bill: He is the smartest guy.

Sally: I'm for increasing the tax cut.
I'm for further tax cuts.
What we really need to do is reduce spending in this country.
We have all these funds, Amtrak is a government program, we give subsidies to people growing farm crops, we cut spending --

Jay: Yeah, but the farmers are growing weed for the guys on Amtrak.

Bill: Yeah.

[ Everyone talking ]

Bill: You make a good point.

Giselle: The idea of the tax cut is to generate the economy.
Right now the economy is doing far better than anybody ever thought possible and instead of taking it and giving it back to generate a better economy when it's doing it on its own, we might as well take that money and really give it to the areas that we need to secure our security.

Bill: Yeah.

Sally: But you know what? If we cut spending, we cut all these government programs, we had a tax cut, more and more people will start businesses.
The economy will be even better in America.

Barney: Hypothetically.
That was the argument of 20 years ago.
It's always the more you cut, the more you have.
The fact is though, since September 11th, we've committed to spend about $200 billion on the war in Afghanistan, on increasing security at the airports.
We're gonna buy these machines now to check the baggage because of the suicide bombings.
You know, you can't just forget what we were just talking about.
That's gonna cost us hundreds of millions of dollars.
We're gonna have to protect the water supply.
We've got to deal with the public health emergency for anthrax.
To have cut taxes before September 11th, they thought it was a mistake.
But whether you thought it was right or not, we now are committed to spend an additional $300 billion, and either it comes out onto the deficit or it comes out of other programs.
You're right.
Medicare, no prescription drug program for the elderly, cutback on environmental cleanup --
these are the Bush ways of paying for it.

Sally: Although there are a million programs that could be cut --

Jay: I don't mind being taxed if I know --
precisely what you just said.
If I know that's where my tax money's going, I'm completely fine with that.

Bill: But that's never gonna happen.

[ Everyone talking ]

Barney: You're not gonna have precision.
But in general, I'm gonna tell you, George Bush is --
we talked about doing a prescription drug program for older people, that's --

Bill: But George Bush's father lost his job because the Ronald Reagan tax cuts strangled the economy so bad, which is exactly like this cut, that George Bush had to go back on his word.
Remember --
"Read my lips --
no new taxes"? I mean, he got into office and he found out, "You know what? I am gonna have to raise taxes." You'd think his son would've learned something from that.

[ Applause ]

Sally: No, but, Ronald Reagan, by his tax cuts, made the economy so great that it gave us the great years that we've had.

Giselle: And then we paid for it in a major way and it wasn't good.

Sally: Well, you know, look at all the foreign aid.
Look at the foreign aid.
We are supporting regimes with our tax dollars all over the world and these regimes are not supportive of America.
They hate America.

Barney: Which ones are you talking about?

Sally: All the foreign aid programs that --

Barney: You have a great aversion of specifics.

[ Laughter ]

Which countries are you talking about?

Sally: Well, whether we give foreign aid to Afghanistan.
Whether we send --

[ Everyone talking ]

Barney: Let's talk specifically.
We were not helping Afghanistan under the Taliban.
Now, I hope we're gonna send money to Afghanistan.
I hope we don't make the mistake of having overthrown the Taliban, which was a very good thing, and then pull back out so they start shooting each other and there's more trouble for us.
Yeah, we're gonna spend more in Afghanistan.

[ Everyone talking ]

Barney: I asked you for an example, you said Afghanistan.

Sally: Well, Central America.
There are all kinds of countries all over the world that get foreign aid from us and --

Barney: Which ones? Name the countries and how much do you think is involved?

Sally: Guatemala, it's billions and billions of dollars.
Whether it's Guatemala --

Jay: We're always reading about that Guatemalan regime.

[ Light laughter ]

When will the madness stop in Guatemala?

Barney: Most of the foreign aid goes to a very small number of countries.
There were not billions going in foreign aid to countries --

[ Everyone talking ]

Giselle: --
To aid the countries that have turned out to be our greatest enemies, like Afghanistan, like Russia.
Talking about those loose nukes, we wonder why did that happen.
Because we didn't send more money to make sure.

Barney: I have to defend the Portuguese.
That's the largest group in my district.

Bill: Right.

[ Talking over each other ]

Barney: You can tangle around with everyone else, but leave way to the Portuguese, please.

Jay: I love the Portuguese, I just think it's the Canadians we hate.

Sally: I'm Canadian.
Excuse me?

Jay: Right.

Bill: I'll say this on another show.
We'll take a break.

[ Applause ]

Bill: All right.
We were talking about big money.
Today is opening day in baseball.
You got a sports show.
Congress held hearings about this.
I've screamed about this for years.
I think baseball is more preordained than wrestling.
Because the people with the big money win.
Here's my solution.

Sally: What about the Dodgers? The Dodgers?

Jay: You're Canadian.
What are you talking about?

Sally: Well, we have the Jays and the Expos, but --

Bill: Right.
Here's my --
the Expos have a payroll of about $30 million.
The Yankees --

Sally: Canadian or U.S.? That makes a big difference.

Bill: U.S.

Jay: She's right.

Bill: The Yankees have a payroll of about $110 million.

Jay: You know where most of that money goes, Bill Maher?

Bill: Could you let me just get out --

[ Laughter ]

Jay: I'm sorry.

Bill: --
My proposition?

Jay: It's the one thing I wish I could change about myself was interrupting.
And I apologize.

Bill: I say that payroll should be factored into the standings.
For every $10 million on your payroll, you start opening day, today, that many games behind.
So the Yankees are minus 11 because their payroll is $110 million.
The Orioles, in their division, have a payroll of $70 million.
The Orioles are four games ahead of the Yankees without playing one game.
Let them deal with it that way.

Jay: I can assure you the Orioles starting a $70 million payroll is twice as offensive, considering how bad they are, as the Yankees bigger payroll.

[ Laughter ]

Bill: So they should start four ahead.

Jay: No, they should just quit.

[ Laughter ]

If you have a $70 million payroll in a stadium, just because of the stadium, a la Wrigley, will bring in $3 million through the turnstiles alone --

Sally: This is affirmative action for baseball.
I'm ashamed of you.

Bill: Affirmative action for baseball?

Sally: If you read Kurt Vonnegut, "Welcome to the Monkey House," he had the government create the handicap for general.
And he goes around, and he says, "You're going to be handicapped by starting at minus ten games.
You're a good baseball hitter, so you're gonna have a bat that weighs three times as much as the next guy.
You're a good runner, you're gonna run with sand bags."

Giselle: Just because you have the most money and you spend the most, doesn't mean you have the winning team.
Look at the Dodgers.
They spend so much money, and we do nothing.

Bill: That's a red herring.

Sally: No, that's reality.

Barney: I don't want to not say anything at all, so let me just say as long as none of the money comes from the public, they can spend whatever they want, however they want.
I'm against that.
That's outrageous.

[ Talking over each other ]

Bill: We're talking about that fact that on opening day, the Expos and the Pirates and plenty of other teams are out of it already.

Sally: Well, they can move to a different city.
The owner should say, "I'm taking my team and going somewhere else."
[ Talking over each other ]

Jay: Expos --
case in point.
The new owner of the Expos had a bad TV contract.
So he decided, "Hey, you know what? I don't need a TV contract." So he's an idiot.
He's gonna lose money because the only time you can find an Expos game is on the radio in French because the owner's a jackass.

[ Light laughter ]

That's not to say to baseball, that's a guy that bought a team.

Sally: Jay, listen.

Bill: Gotta take a break.
We'll be back.

[ Applause ]

Bill: Well, opening day.
All I can say is you're right.
The American pastime is greed.
They should even the field for baseball.

[ Applause ]

Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher


Executive Producers
Bill Maher
Nancy Geller
Jerry Nachman
Marilyn Willson

Co-Executive Producer
Kevin Hamburger

Sheila Griffiths

Created By
Bill Maher

Directed By
Michael Dimich

Writing Supervised By
Billy Martin

Kevin Bleyer
Brian Jacobsmeyer
Bill Kelley
Bill Maher
Billy Martin
Jerry Nachman
Ned Rice
Danny Vermont
Eric Weinberg

Coordinating Producer
Joy Dolce

Associate Director
Bob Staley

Stage Manager
Patrick Whitney

John Cramer

Executive in Charge of Production
John Fisher

Brad Grey
Bernie Brillstein
Marc Gurvitz

© 2002 Follow Up Productions

  Return to Giselle's Electric Library