Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  May 27, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT

7:00 am
republican senator john barrasso will talk about medicare. later, historian and author douglas brinkley ♪ ♪ host: good morning. it is friday, may 27, 2011. you're looking at pictures of the world war ii memorial in the nation's capital. we will spend the final hour of the program there on this memorial day weekend. the president is this expected to sign the extension to the patriot act. he is that the g-8 summit today and he will be traveling to missouri this weekend. our question to you is about a supreme court decision that
7:01 am
upholds arizona's law the sanctions employers that hire illegal aliens. we'll ask you whether or not you would like to see your state impose a similar sanctions. several states are having it. here are our phone numbers. a careful as you dial that, independents. good friday morning to you. as we began our conversation with you about the workers law that was upheld by the supreme court, we are joined by adam lipstak, who covers the court for "the new york times." would you tell us about the
7:02 am
heart of the law? guest: arizona added on much harsher penalties to the wind the federal law already has four businesses that hire illegal workers. the question was whether those harder penalties, which business calls the business death penalty, were consistent with the federal law. immigration is thought to be a federal concern, not by the state. host: who were the petitioners on either side of this? guest: it was the chamber of commerce, so you had business interests, but it was also civil liberties groups. after all, a business that is in
7:03 am
fear of losing its license might ere on the side of not hiring someone. host: who wrote the majority opinion? guest: the majority opinion was from the chief justice, john roberts. host: what were some of his arguments in the fighting? guest: so long as the two laws complement each other, states are allowed to regulate this sort of stuff. congress, moreover, said we do not want anyone to do anything conflicting with what we have except through licensing. much of the argument was about what the word "licensing" meant. the chief justice was in the direction of all kinds of license. justice breyer kind of mocked that in dissent.
7:04 am
host: some of the response to this -- people are suggesting is narrow and limited in its scope. what's your interpretation based on your reading? guest: my sense is that if other states want to follow arizona's lead in the area of harsh penalties, they can do that. if they want to make up their own definition of what is an illegal worker and do something different from the federal government, they probably cannot do that. what arizona did certainly serves as a model for other states. host: tea leaf readers are looking to if it signals the court -- the law that allows people to be pulled over and their status checked by
7:05 am
authorities. guest: the ninth circuit has blocked enforcement of that law, the much more harsh law. it's fairly likely that either that appeal or a later one in the same case will reach the court pretty soon. i wouldn't read too much into yesterday's decision about what it would do in that second case. it involves different issues. as i said before, the current case concerned the word "licensing." that's not the problem in the later case, which has some constitutional fourth amendment issues. i would not read too much into it. i think it remains an open question. host: this was a five-three ruling. why? >> justice kagan recused
7:06 am
herself. chances are, hadji participated, she would have joined the other three liberals. host: the obama administration joined forces with those who are opposed to the arizona law. am i correct? guest: that is right. host: the secretary of homeland security was governor of the state when the law was signed into place. guest: that is exactly right. she found herself on both sides of the issue. host: thank you for your reporting this morning. adam liptak of "the new york times" and this is what this story looks like. you can find it online. thank you. let's go to your phone calls. our question for you is whether or not you think that a worker sanction law is the appropriate
7:07 am
way to deter illegal immigration and whether or not you would like to see your states enact such a law. in "the washington post" this morning, this is robert burns story this morning. host: let's hear some of your comments, beginning with the fort worth, texas. let's begin with john, a democrat. caller: thank you for having me on. i'm against that law and similar laws. i live in texas.
7:08 am
38% of our city's population is hispanic. i am a small business employer myself. it is not always easy to determine the citizenship status of a potential employee. to punish me, for several, an honest businessman who tries to provide a good service to my customers -- to do something that punitive to me that could be a simple mistake or even unintentional -- i think that is unamerican. all of these laws -- and i hope texas does not go the way of arizona. think it would be devastating to our state's economy. one of the reasons we have fare
7:09 am
better is that we do have a great labour force. host: the arizona law requires employers to use the federal government's e-verify system. do you have any experience with that? guest: no, i do not. i do not even know how you resposubscribe to that. host: carl, a republican. good morning. caller: they are coming here to do jobs that americans will do -- i think that is crazy. i was an iron worker for 27 years. eventually, i was replaced by illegal aliens. host: how do you know that the person was a legal? caller: i was working there. i could see with my own eyes. i talked to the kids. i taught them how to do the trade. that kind of work pays pretty
7:10 am
good money. surely, there are americans out here that are unemployed and legal residents that could be doing that kind of work and would love to do that kind of work can make that kind of money. the thing it boils down to -- these democrats want to stay in power, pure and simple. they know that these people are going to vote democrat. i remember when clinton nationalized all those illegal aliens that were here. some of them turned out to be felons, criminals, but yet he gave them citizenship to get their votes. that's not american. host: the open boat elan said journal constitution" -- "the atlanta journal constitution."
7:11 am
> host: asking whether or not after the supreme court is of holding the arizona worker sanction law which would sanction and employers that illegal -- that hire illegal workers. fred, an independent. caller: yes, i agree with this
7:12 am
law. on top of that, they say the americans do not want these jobs. i'm telling you that they do want these jobs. they are trying to go to this new, diverse world they keep talking about. you all keep saying that -- these senators represent the states. they should do what the states want. if not, you might as well say states did not have any rights in this government. senators.tate our government has turned into an all-powerful government that does not represent the people anymore. that's all i want to say. host: robert is a democrat in wilton, conn. good morning. good morning.
7:13 am
thanks for being with us. caller: i'm troubled by some of the comments i'm hearing this morning to immigration is a very complex issue. to hold employers responsible for a broken system at all ends of our government, it's not fair to them. secondly, i cannot avoid but think that -- i have to think that this is grounded in xenophobia. this is not far off from the more, well known arizona law -- the stop and frisk. if you are suspected of being illegal -- what is wrong? we are a nation of immigrants. we are all immigrants.
7:14 am
tuesday go them because of hard economic times or -- to scapegoat them because of hard economic times are the complex and of their skin through various government actions -- i would do that as unamerican. i disagree strongly with what the supreme court decided. that is what i have to send. thank you. host: thank you, robert. jim, a republican. you are on. caller: i could not disagree more with the last caller. the tradition of our country is a stimulating those who come here, cutting the apron strings of the old world. i'm of german descent. only 6 million germans were ever allowed to come to america.
7:15 am
the migration was halted. only 5 million italians were ever allowed to come and then immigration was halted. i also want to say most of the meatpacking plants that i started working in here -- i worked as a roofer until i was pushed out of my job by illegal aliens. i have no voice. most of the industries across pennsylvania, the backbone of america, was billed by the germans. the german work ethic gave the ability for the hispanics to come here in the first place. just imagine, hypothetically, if there were 15 million starving for black and white people that broken to mexico and demanded amnesty, free medical coverage for their children, demanded
7:16 am
english-language signs in stores and schools, and waved american flags and the streets -- they would be driven out by the mexican military believe nothing to be ashamed of. we have every right to demand that today's immigrants be held to the same standards that those at ellis island were held to. thank you for c-span. host: one of our twitter followers writes -- here is more from the arizona website.
7:17 am
host: back to you and the phone calls. this is long beach, new york. joe is an independent. good morning. caller: good morning. i will tell you what is unamerican. there are 21 million americans out of work and we have a government that wants to bring in an interest is illegal aliens to come here -- bring in illegal aliens. this is memorial day weekend.
7:18 am
go down to ground zero and a salute the building is coming up. the steel comes from china. to they're bringing illegals steal the rest of your jobs. you want to keep them in power? we have to get out every incumbent until we get a government that represents the working men and women of america and they look out for our jobs, our paychecks, and our well-being, and not people from foreign countries that are breaking our immigration laws and coming here illegally -- not through ellis island. these people are here illegally. we need to look out for the american worker. thank you. host: thank you, joe. on twitter -- "washington times" steven dinan
7:19 am
has a view in a front-page story -- he writes -- host: next is a call from bridgeport, conn. good morning to stored, a democrat -- good morning to stewart, a democrat. caller: based on my experience practicing in front of the immigration courts in hartford -- my complaint about the system is that they are -- is that there are a large number of state laws that are violated by employers that hire illegals. that includes the unemployment laws. that includes the state minimum- wage laws.
7:20 am
review criminalize the active hiring these people so that you can -- if you criminalize the active hiring these people so you can have greater profits by paying them $2 per hour instead of the minimum wage, i think you would find a very chilling affect on the whole problem of the legal immigrants. they're here for jobs in march measure. take -- they are here for jobs in large measure. you take away the jobs and you will not have a problem with them. we also do not have any enforcement. i started practicing immigration law in 1979. i can tell you that it is the least funded section of the justice department of all the departments. there's no computerization. they need to put in mainframe
7:21 am
computers. they do not know who is here, when they got here, if they're still here, or if they left. the left hand does not have any idea of what the right hand is doing. the fact that they have a tall in-- they have a total indifference to the whole subject. host: thank you for your experience in working with the course. a little more from the arizona newspapers about this.
7:22 am
host: back to phone calls. next up is boston. this is a phone call from jerome, who is a republican. good morning. caller: out of chicago -- they have a practice of hiring these people. a lot of these companies are hiring these people because of the tax purposes. they get the taxes back at the end of the year and this is why they hire them. the company i used to work for that hired me -- i know that these people do not get lower pay than i get. then you go over to coast arica, where one of the illegals work
7:23 am
for my company, she has a better home then me and knew. -- me and you. this is why the country is so broke. they are not forced to spend their money here. they're sending it back. host: jerome from boston. on twitter -- "financial times" has a story about the ruling yesterday. below it is a separate story. let me have our camera go in on it, please.
7:24 am
host: we are asking you whether or not you would like to see a loss similar to the arizona law -- see a law similar to the arizona law imposed in your state. an independent, you are on the air. good morning. caller: hello? host: go ahead. caller: i would just like to say that our federal government has failed us tremendously on the border control.
7:25 am
the jobs that are being stolen and the medicaid and the services that are taken should be controlled by the federal government's and it is not. the corporations have taken over this country. the reason that they hired illegal aliens is the bottom line. they make more money. if i have to pay more prices to get rid of this problem, i do not mind. i will pay whatever i have got to pay, but i want the united states borders to be secure. when mexicans come through, so can al-qaeda, so can the taliban, so can anybody else. it's not just a spanish problem.
7:26 am
it is also a security problem. i think something needs to be done. if the federal government will not act -- and i think the states taking it upon themselves is well beyond due. host: a democrat in california, good morning. caller: i live in orange county, have livedan d i here all my life as a carpenter. 22 years in the field, i worked in all phases of construction. it is just as hot as in the fields with vegetables. i think what they really need to do is e-verify. i taught carpentry for 17 years, 11 of them in a high school, and
7:27 am
seven of them in a union as an apprentice instructor. i watched them come through the high school programs. you cannot check their i.d.'s. in the union, i know they were illegal. some of them, about 30% -- some of them in that 30% of illegal immigrants, i knew they were not legal because they had no i .d., but there were three or four that had zero education. could not even at 25 and 45. i had to teach them carpentry. even our unions are accepting. they're not doing the e-verify
7:28 am
on their members coming in. that's taking away from our veterans that are coming back and our high school veterans and high-school dropouts to be able to find jobs that pay good. a good carpenter out here pays $45 per hour. it now pays about $8 an hour. how can you live in california with eight dollars per hour. host: you believe the e-verify system is a way to go. caller: absolutely. do the e-verify. when you talk about the welfare and all this and section eight and all that -- that's not going to the illegal parents.
7:29 am
that's going to the illegal children that we pay for their medication and everything to be bought in america. we also paid for their education and medication legally. host: thank you for your call. west palm beach, a republican. good morning. caller: i used to have a landscaping business and i basically got ran out of the business because i could not compete with illegal labor. it is a felony to hire people that are illegal. if someone in the united states -- american people are hiring these people and that is a felony. they have never enforced the law in 20 years. last year, there was a nursery that got caught with 128 people with the same social security number. i think someone could pick that up. the federal government is collecting $80 billion a year in
7:30 am
fica taxes they know they will never have to pay up. the federal government is making money. there's no one to enforce the rules. there's nobody to arrest the people that are hiring them, i.e., americans are hiring these people. we have two schools that are almost all hispanic. it costs $43 million per year to educate them, give them free breakfast, free lunch, free day care. we had five illegal aliens still at a construction site in three years ago -- host: beyond the list of problems, what's your prescription for the solution? caller: if you hire illegal aliens, you go to jail. you go to jail for 10 years. if you have illegal aliens that are not certified -- like last year when these five got killed on a construction site. you cannot blame them because we are hiring them. call the i.n.s., the fbi.
7:31 am
they are not mexicans higher reading the mexicans. american's hiring the mexicans. host: here is a tweet. another phone call from florida. this time it is clear water. the caller is an independent. good morning. caller: good morning. travel and a major highway in florida. you go into any new housing or commercial building development and there are illegals during construction, roofing, road construction, road repair. these are good paying jobs. two or three of every four people on the project is illegal.
7:32 am
the federal government looks the other way. unemployment in florida is 15%. there are literally thousands and thousands of illegals in florida doing good paying jobs because they cannot file for unemployment. they cannot file workers' comp claims. they work for less than what anyone else will work for. if they get hurt or sick, they go to the emergency room and the taxpayer picks up the bill. host: thank you for your call this morning. covering the court for "usa today" -- joan writes --
7:33 am
we're asking you whether or not, after the ruling, would you like to see a similar law imposed on your states? the next call is from canton, illinois, a democrat. good morning. caller: good morning. i own to the largest landscaping
7:34 am
business in illinois at one time. i was put out of business because the competition was hiring illegals. unemployment checks being sent back to mexico -- they do not contribute to our national debt. i contacted all the agencies concerning what happened to me and i got the runaround and no one would do an investigation. the best thing the people can do, anyone under 30, anyone who was unemployed, anyone who was graduated, should force anybody they're going to vote for to take a stand on finding employers who hire illegals. illinois is definitely a state that needs this law, definitely. it is so outlandish. you can see them on street corners, everything. people have to do something
7:35 am
about it and stop it. thank you. host: thank you, robert. virginia, good morning to dave, republican. you are on the air. caller: i have one comment. i've been out of work for over two years. i have a son that is 17 years old. i cannot even afford to get them health insurance. i would like to know -- these people do background checks for your credit, your past employment, a bunch of different things. i could get turned down for that job and they could probably get that job. what background do they have to check on? that's what i do not understand. for the same job, i could get turned down because my credit rating was down 200 points since
7:36 am
i lost my job. host: what would you like to see done about the immigration issue? caller: i would like to see them and forced the laws -- them enforce the laws. i am not prejudiced. i cannot get a job because of the situation. are these people getting checked? i doubt it. host: you find yourself in a circular situation. caller: yes, it's unbelievable. i have been out of work for two years. host: what kind of work do you do? caller: i retired because of my wife's health. i desperately need a job. my retirement is just not making it. i used to do construction, but i worked for the airlines previously to that. host: a tweet --
7:37 am
arizona is in the news for another reason. sarah palin has purchased a house there. here's a story about her in "the wall street journal" questioning her presidential aspirations. a related story in "the new york times" today, national page. host: next is a telephone call from welling, oklahoma. good morning to mike, an
7:38 am
independent. good morning. caller: good morning. if you remember, a couple of years before arizona passed its law, we made the news and oklahoma with one of the strictest laws against hiring illegals. in our area, we have some of the largest merger is in the country -- largest nurseries in the country. interestingly enough, they are all in business. jobs were taken by legal worker s and also just regular americans. everybody is working well. the nurseries are booming. did not hurt a thing. thank you. host: i want to tell you about some interesting programming we have coming up this weekend. the next seven or eight months, we will be on the road visiting eight local communities in the southeastern part of the united
7:39 am
states. we will be looking at the literary life and local history. our special focus is tampa, florida. look at the history and literary life of this gulf coast city of its also the place where the 2012 republican national convention will take place. let's show you a clip of the mayor of tampa. >> within the city limits, there's about 380,000 people. within our television market, we are the 13th largest in the country. that stretches down to sarasota. tampa is a working city. it's a poort city. we have a great research university here. tourism is one economic driver. we have agriculture. hillsborough county is the
7:40 am
largest producer of tropical fish in the country. we have our industrial and business environment in the downtown area. not only is it our origins, which obviously, florida -- the spanish came and tracked through florida, oftentimes losing their lives in the process. the native americans were here already pre we have a long, colorful history, long before many people think of america being settled. many of the journeys throughout florida started here in the tampa bay. they thought there was gold here. obviously, there is not prevented not stop them from coming. we've been influenced from many different cultures. our predominant m&a group has been cuba's, italians, spanish, not to mention americans of african descent who came here unwillingly. the mix in this community is
7:41 am
unlike any i've ever lived in. host: the mayor of tampa talking about his city's roots. american history tv and book tv. you can find more on our web page. the next stop is savannah. later on, charleston, charlotte, and other places in the southeast. the next telephone call, as we talk about arizonas worker law -- would you like to see a similar measure in your state? next is a brooklyn, angelo, a democrat. hello. caller: thank you. i would hope the new york would bring in a law like this. i have been listening to some of your callers and some of the things i'm concerned about -- they say hispanic. is it mexico, a dominican, cuba
7:42 am
-- there have been a lot of chinese. new york is very diverse. the other thing i do not understand is that it is illegal. i do not understand what the rest of the discussion is. also, to do the jobs that americans will not do, what about putting our teens in school work programs so they can work, as well, and also learned some stability and responsibility, so when they get older, they know a little bit more of what to expect and the work force. thank you. host: thank you. lots of presidential politics and the news. let me show you the page in "the washington post" today that captures a lot of this bid newt gingrich and a story -- captures a lot of this. newt gingrich and a story -- a number of items.
7:43 am
finally, former senator rick santorum of pennsylvania will officially enter the race on june 6. back to your telephone calls. next up is los angeles, abby, republican, good morning. caller: good morning. we have to admire people's work ethics. thank goodness the illegals here are not like the gypsies in europe. when i went to the kingdom of jordan, i realize that every little boy had a job. it reminded me of the 1950's in america. what i find with the illegals here -- kids do not have that role model. they do not see their big brother working. they see a foreigner working.
7:44 am
they do not think, "i can do that." they do not think of gardening. they do not think of delivering newspapers or cleaning houses. the role model is lost. they just play games. host: thank you for your call. we are running out of time. john, an independent, good morning. caller: good morning. i have a couple issues. yes, florida will get that law, but i will light the united states to get -- i would like the united states to get the mexican law. i'm glad that gov. scott in governor walker will support them. everyone says we will not support them. every year about the wetback operation? it can be done. host: "the washington post"
7:45 am
lead today -- "cia will search bin laden complex." also, we mentioned congress extended the patriot act. the president is at the g-8 summit right now. "the washington post" says he has directed aides to have the bill signed by auto-pen. from japan, a japanese professor offers assessment that the meltdown began five hours after the earthquake. about 11 hours later, all of the uranium fuel was at the bottom of the injured containment -- inner containment.
7:46 am
host: and we have pensacola, florida. james, an independent. good morning. please hit the mute button on your tv. caller: yes, i will do that. what i would like to explain, first and foremost, is that the driver's licenses in all 50 states are not uniform. in florida, are driver's license number starts with the first letter of our last name and then it has a series of three numbers, then a dash, then a series of three numbers, then a dash, and then two years from our birth date. host: with all the details,
7:47 am
what's the point? caller: a lot of states use social security numbers in the driver's license. i believe missouri uses a social security number. host: where are you going with this? what do you want to have happen? caller: i would like all 50 governors to come to some unification or get all the drivers licenses -- either use the social security number, which i disagree with, or use the florida system. the last two numbers and your year.eirth host: the point is that you want to use these four wr work.
7:48 am
caller: it would make everything uniform. illegal aliens should have to go through the i.n.s. ports of entry. if they do not, they should not be able to be granted when they have children in america -- are immediately granted citizenship. host: thank you. we will be talking about another supreme court decision on california prisons and with our next guests. our second guest at the table this morning will be senator from wyoming, vice chairman of the conference in the senate, senator john barrasso. we will be talking about republican priorities with him. as we go to a break, a reminder that we will be talking about world war ii as we enter this memorial day weekend. we'll be live from the world war ii memorial in washington, d.c.
7:49 am
we will be right back. ♪ ♪ >> the c-span video library makes it easy to fall campaign 2012. click on the tabs and get instant access to events from announced and potential presidential candidates. the peabody award winning c-span video library is washington, your way. >> there are three days of book tv programming this holiday weekend. panels on feminism and favorite books of 2011. activist and filmmaker michael moore on his upcoming memoir. and on "afterwards" janny scott
7:50 am
on "a singular woman." >> this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, "the washington post" journalists on watergate and the fallout for president nixon. the foreign policy of president reagan did we will visit fort myer, virginia to learn more about the old guard and its role in military and presidential burials. get the complete schedule at c- >> over the three-day memorial day weekend, commencement addresses from across the country. leaders from politics, business, an entertainment offering their advice to the graduating class of 2011.
7:51 am
at 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern memorial day weekend on c-span. >> "washington journal" continues. host: let me introduce to you kara gotsch, the director of advocacy for the sentencing project our goal with her is to discuss the implications of another supreme court ruling. this one dealing with california's overcrowd prisons. what did the supreme court say? guest: in a 5-4 ruling, the supreme court upheld the population cap that courts in california put on the california prison system because of the severe overcrowding and how that was contributing to the efficient health care, both medical and mental health, and was contributing to at least one prisoner dying a week. host: was the scope of the
7:52 am
population in the california prisons? give us a sense of how crowded they are. guest: they are significantly crowded. they have a population between 140,000 to 150,000. the capacity is over 80% -- for 80,000 prisoners. they are significantly over capacity. that means they have tripled bunking, quadruple bunking. people are housed in areas that were not designed to house prisoners. that includes gymnasiums and cafeterias. there's very little room to move around. it is very tight in california prisons. host: by justices in the majority. which justice wrote the opinion? guest: justice kennedy. host: on what grounds?
7:53 am
guest: the conditions in the california prisons had been extremely poor and unconstitutional for many years. the original suit -- there were two suits that were combined pre one had to do with mental health care. the other had to do with medical care. the first one was filed 20 years ago. 12 years ago, california federal district court found that conditions for mental health care were unconstitutional. the state was given many opportunities to improve the conditions. there were attempts to improve it by the state. they were simply not successful. the federal courts in california event with found -- in california eventually found that because of the significant overcrowding, it made it nearly impossible for the conditions for mental health treatment and to maintain adequate medical
7:54 am
treatment -- it was nearly impossible to meet those standards because overcrowding was so severe. host: so the constitutional provision is against cruel and unusual punishment. guest: yes, the eighth amendment. host: what is california's response? how much time do they have? guest: they have two years to address this. they can address the overcrowding in many ways. they can reduce the prison population by what the california governor would like to do, transfer state prisoners to county jails. there is money the legislature would need to provide in order to do that. they can transfer prisoners out of state, or they could build new prisons. i think most people understand that california has a significant budget crisis. they are facing a $9 billion deficit. building new prisons is probably out of the question. there is an opportunity for
7:55 am
california to do sentencing reform. my organization believes this is an opportune time to advance more sentencing policy and institute a more reasonable parole policy. host: does this ruling have implications for states other than california? guest: no. host: what is the situation in states other than california? it's a unique in its overcrowded situation? guest: california has the largest state prison population in the country. by and large, yes, the situation is extreme. the conditions are pretty unique. a long history of litigation regarding the conditions there is pretty unique. that said, many states across the country and also the federal bureau of prisons are significantly over crowded. that can contribute to many dangerous conditions, both for the prisoners that live there
7:56 am
and for the staff that have to work in those facilities. host: you spent your professional life emerged in these issues. what's the public sentiment about prisoners and their treatment these days in this country? guest: it is shifting. there is some appreciation that presents -- that prisons have not been effective as we would like them to be. obviously, they are a huge investment. unfortunately, the reality is that when people come out of prison, they're likely returning -- like the lead of them returning is quite high. they are not accomplishing the rehabilitation components of incarceration. host: in terms of cost, you can see on a screen that it is estimated by "usa today" that california spends $48,000 per year to imprison a low-level drug offenders. californians, of course, we
7:57 am
would like to hear from you. this is also a larger debate about how we sentence people in this country and how we operate our penitentiary system. we have our phone numbers on the screen. we can also take your comments by e-mail and by twitter. we welcome your calls. if you are interested in this topic, and the libertarian magazine has just an issue on incarceration in the united states. "criminal injustice: inside america's national disgrace" is the headline. let me show one charge. this is a look at the size of the population in prison. prisoners per 100,000 people. the united states far outranks any other country in the amount of people we incarcerate. per 100,000, about 750 people.
7:58 am
closest to us is russia that has 575. south africa, 325. can you talk about the philosophy in the united states to send more people to jail? guest: the building be in our prison systems has taken place over the last 30 years. part of that corresponds with the war on drugs. because of the very punitive penalties that have been instituted both at the federal level and in states across the country -- for, in many circumstances, very low level drug offenses, we've had a significant increase. it is now over half a million incarcerated for drug offenses. the increased sentences and penalties for drug offenses has a lot to do with the significant
7:59 am
growth in the prison population. up until the early 1980's, the rate of incarceration was pretty flat and certainly was not as high as it is now. host: are they convicted under federal laws for drug use? guest: both. most people in prison for drug offenses are held in state facilities but about half of the federal bureau of prisons, which is about 200,000 prisoners -- about half of the population is there for drug offenses. host: with so many states having severe budget problems, are other states rethinking their approach to incarceration? guest: absolutely, and it is something i'm very contenencourd by. lawmakers have become much more thoughtful and innovative on criminal justice matters.
8:00 am
we have before the first time upon a decline in state prison populations which should be celebrated quite frankly. states are implementing a diversion for low-level offenders and are expanding good time credits for prisoners who have been incarcerated. the desire for lawmakers is to cut the very cost of correction. what we know for the last few decades is that there are more effective ways to address particular low-level non-violent offenses through alternative incarceration. host: this is what the project web site looks like. there are marking the 20th anniversary. tell me about your group. guest: the sentencing project has been around for 25 years. we are probably best known for our reports and our focus on
8:01 am
some debts and perform, reducing reliance on incarceration as a form of punishment, and reducing racial disparity. it is funded by primarily by foundations and individual donors. host: yew has put your career in this area. how did you get started? guest: i have been an advocate for reform or elimination of the death penalty and a prison work was the next step for me. i focused a long time working to advance both improving conditions of confinement and reducing reliance of incarceration. host: a lot of editorial comment as you might imagine this week. usa today takes this position -- below deck, the washington post --
8:02 am
it continues in that this morning's newspaper, the financial times lead editorial is about this -- in today's washington post -- we would like to hear what you think about this, beginning with a call from allentown, pennsylvania. go ahead, please. are you there? blood me move on. i will use a tweet -- let me move on. i will use a tweet. guest: in california, california has a significant hispanic population. it is fair to say that they probably have a larger proportion of people who are in
8:03 am
their present population undocumented than most states do. it is a larger proportion than in most states have. honestly, that issue of how to handle undocumented prisoners is being considered and potential deportation is being considered by lawmakers. host: david is an independent. go ahead, please. caller: from illinois, how many people -- when you lose your job or whatever and they call it a does she know dad, how many people are going to prison because they cannot pay their child support? guest: i don't know the exact
8:04 am
figures. the criminal penalties associated with failing to pay support probably differs. i would imagine in most places of those are misdemeanor offenses rather than felony offenses. for misdemeanor offenses, incarceration is not always required. you are probably spending up to a year in jail. i don't know. a completely depends on the state. host: next is a call from los angeles board richard is a republican. you are on the air. caller: thank you for taking my call. i listening to this and everybody needs to know that california is probably one of the most liberal states in the whole country, and they worry about prisoners who have violated the law, people who have come up into this country illegally either because of human trucking, drugs, gangs.
8:05 am
-- human trafficking, drugs, or gangs. they want to take care of their health care and do all these beautiful things to these criminals. then they want to release these prisoners into society with these diversion classes. they are still breaking the law when they are doing the diversions and what have you. i am concerned about that. the first people who have to be taken out of those prisons are the people who are legally here. if you could comment on that, i would appreciate it. guest: thank you for your call. the conditions in california prisons are extreme and unconstitutional and were
8:06 am
resulting in unnecessary death and injury to prisoners. i understand people's concerns that prisoners -- perhaps there are concerns that they are getting better treatment than people in the public, but i can ensure you that that is not the case. conditions in prisons have to be constitutional and save because it is to society's benefit and the public safety interest that we provide safe facilities for the prisoners and for the staff that work there and provide services while they are incarcerated so once they are released -- 95% of the people incarcerated will be released one day. we do not want them to recidivate. because there is a lack of adequate programming such as drug treatment services, education, employment training in prison, people come out of prison and do not have the
8:07 am
skills and the opportunity that they need to get their lives back on track, and that often results in recidivism. that is unfortunate. how california chooses to enforce this task is entirely up to the state. the caller thinks that undocumented prisoner should be deported. that is very much a possibility. that might happen. however, that is not going to address the full scope of this problem which is over 30,000 people have to somehow be eliminated from this prison population. the majority of people in california's prisons are not undocumented. host: we are looking at some black-and-white photographs provided by the associated press. we are going to take a telephone call from pennsylvania. a democrat, good morning.
8:08 am
caller: i think this whole presenting this is so atrocious, that we have such a high population and a lot of young people just get into some kind of trouble over drugs or alcohol and get their cells into the lives into theeir system. it is a terrible waste. it reminds me back in england when they used to put debtors out in boats to let them starve to death. we ought to be able to solve this problem. host: this chart looks at the united states, people under correctional supervision in the unit states. you can see a sharp increase
8:09 am
from 1980 forward. guest: i think that reality of our mass incarceration in this country is really in result of politics. it has nothing to do with policy or sound policy, unfortunately. the reason why we have so many people incarcerated in this country is not because we have so many evil people, compared to other countries. policymakers, lawmakers believe that they are tough on crime, they passed a laws that lock people up for many, many years, says they are more likely to win elections. that is the sad fact of it. it is politics that often push these sentencing laws. host: if you want to take a look at the prison population, these
8:10 am
charts look at federal prisons by offensive category. drugs is the blue part. violent, green. property is the purple. other is the yellow. let's go back to telephone calls . dwayne, independent, co-head, please. caller: you guys have talked about a lot of what was going to talk about. maybe they should changed the laws regarding the minor laws reflecting sending for a minor drug charges. maybe they should also change the laws regarding higher offenses like murder, rape, and things like that where they are not as a lenient on those bureaucrat.
8:11 am
probation is just a way for the people who have been affected by the minor charges to pay for the state. guest: one benefit of alternatives to incarceration such as probation or supervision, community correctional programs, drug treatment programs, -- as opposed -- if an individual is non-filing, the benefit of keeping them in the community is that they can still often keep thatir job, earn a salary, allows them to pay restitution to victims and pay for any of their fees and that the accord might impose. wants to send someone to prison, it is very difficult -- once you send someone to prison, it is very difficult for that person to meet their obligations.
8:12 am
host: we will move on to pennsylvania, jim is a republican. you are on the airport caller: i just want to make a comment about the california releasing all of these people. ask people in central texas about a convicted murderer. they pulled him. he got out and he killed again. thank you. guest: i think it is important to remember that the supreme court has not ordered that violent offenders be released. california has complete discretion in the way they enforce this task. if there are people that they choose to release, it is in their interest and in the public safety interest to make sure those people are not likely to commit new offenses and they're not going to cause problems. i think we have to keep in mind that most people who go to
8:13 am
prison will one day be released. the vast majority of people will be released. california is facing a situation where many prisoners will have to be released earlier than they otherwise might be. it is important to keep in context that sentences and now are much longer than they were 30 years ago, and because of that, people who are incarcerated have aged out of their crime-prone years. the risk is significantly reduced when they are in their 30's and 40's. host: a twitter respondent is picking up on this scheme. jodie tom tweets -- is that correct regarding
8:14 am
recidivism? guest: the national average of recidivism is somewhere in the 40's. of 40% of people being released from incarceration, within three years, will likely return to prison. host: the next call, pa., phil is a democrat. caller: gruden showed today. we have 141% overrated capacity in federal prisons. do you see this supreme court case of filtering over into that system? the other think i don't think people understand with criminal aliens is they still have to serve their sentence for committing another crime in the united states before they are deported. you do not send them back until they complete their sentence here that they have been sentenced for.
8:15 am
host: our caller is familiar with your organization, though we are not. caller: we are the union there represents a federal prison employees nationwide. we have about 104 local unions across the country. frankly, i have worked with kara on prison industry issues. our organization has supported good time changes, things like that, where inmates can get out early. we have just seen an explosion of inmates in the federal system. host: our federal prison workers all unionized? caller: yes. host: are some of the private contractors? caller: we have about 14 private prisons in the system. they are not unionized, but they
8:16 am
cost more money than the federal system. host: hominid are there -- how many are there? caller: 24,000 correctional workers. host: what is the average salary? caller: we started with a gs5, step one. we top out at about $54,000 a year. host: think you for your call. guest: i think the point that he raises is important. the situation in california should be a warning for states and the federal government who is facing significant overcrowding. the federal bureau of prisons is .bout 35% over capacity abroa the recently retired director has testified numerous times before congress and the
8:17 am
sentencing commission about the crisis and the federal bureau of prisons, that they are significantly overcrowded which has caused concerns about dangerous conditions for both prisoners and staff. therefore, the result needs to be -- the focus i believe needs to be at looking at ways to reduce the population, and one way to do that is to reevaluate the effectiveness of long sentences, particularly mandatory sentences for low level of fences. host: this york asks -- -- this viewer aks -- guest: there is a member of private prison in companies throughout the country. i think often lawmakers believe
8:18 am
that if they invest or if a contract with private prison companies they are going to save money. the reality is there is no evidence. government studies have looked at cost comparisons between publicly run facilities and privately run facilities, and there are no cost savings, and if there are, they are minimal. private prisons do not have the expertise or the experience to house hire security inmates. most of their experience is with their low-level prisoners, so those kinds of -- housing those prisoners tend to be less expensive and less difficult. it is not necessarily a fair comparison. host: this week -- -- tweet -- guest: i think that probably is
8:19 am
unlikely. often, politics and political and cancellations fuel decisions and the area. given the history of california and its extreme has a tense and servingor parole poeleople life sentences and that they would issue a policy like that. host: frank is an independent. good morning. caller: would be the impact on our present population if we legalize marijuana and had a regulated by the alcohol, tobacco, and firearms? also, is it true that the cost about the same to send someone to an ivy league school than it does to send them to prison? host: in california, a low-level drug offender in prison for one year, $48,000, which is about the cost for the ivy league
8:20 am
tuition. guest: sending someone to prison for a year is very expensive. as far as the questions regarding people serving time for marijuana, certainly decriminalizing use of marijuana would have a significant impact on arrests and policing. probably our prison population would not decline to the extent that some would hope. most people who go to prison for the use of marijuana or simple possession of marijuana do not enter the prison system. they are incarcerated at a local jail, there are often serving misdemeanor offenses. host: let's take a telephone call from north carolina. caller: hello.
8:21 am
i can see there are a lot of things that have been left out of the conversation. the young lady who is speaking about sentencing end parole -- i really think people are leaving out the situation -- i guess somebody should of asked about jaycee dugard, about how she feels about letting sex offenders and so-called low level criminals out. i think the dugard family would probably like to make a comment about something like that. we also have to realize that there are prisons that are really under construction in california, and they want to build, and they have the space, but unfortunately, somehow the state is putting an lot of red tape on that. you can see that mrs. gotsch is part of a big group of people
8:22 am
who probably do not like the present system and they want to sort of do away with that. if that is what she wants to do, that is fine. her and her elves can probably let us know where they are, and we can make sure -- if they live from people who were recently released from the present system. they can just live with the people that they supposedly advocate for and think they are such wonderful citizens. i personally do not want to have anything to do with that -- host: we will stop at that point. guest: first of all, regarding the sex offenders, low-level, it is not my impression that that is under consideration or if anyone consider someone convicted -- committed of a
8:23 am
violent sex offense is low-level or non-filing, so they are not likely to be released. i do believe there is a place for prisons in this country. they should be used particularly for people who are violent and are significant threats to public safety. i think, however, prisons are overused and there are ways to punish individuals who commit crimes in other ways that would be much more effective in reducing rates of recidivism and protecting public. host: there is a great deal available on the internet on news sites after the supreme court ruling on this case this week. you can also find the sentencing project online. thank you for being here. our final hour this morning will be live from the world war ii
8:24 am
memorial from washington, d.c. we will take a break and we will be right back with senator john barrasso from wyoming. ♪ >> now available, c-span possess of the congressional directory. new and returning house and senate members. and information on the white house, supreme court justices, and governors. order online at >> over the three-day memorial day weekend, commencement addresses from across the country. all offering their advice and
8:25 am
insights to the graduating class of 2011. memorial day weekend on c-span. >> and this june, the balance between security and liberty, the difficulties of a climate change treaty and the limits of international law. your questions for eric posner. he will take your calls, e- mails, and tweets. >> follow c-span's washington journal on twitter. you can also tweet your questions to our guests. do not miss any updates from "washington journal." start your twitter account today. >> "washington journal"
8:26 am
continues. host: we are very pleased to welcome back to our table on this friday morning, john barrasso from wyoming. he is the number two guy in the senate republicans and also a doctor. we are going to be talking to him about the legislative and political situation in the senate and congress as a whole predicting two for being here. that mr. with the peace in the financial times this morning -- let me start with the peace in the peninsula times this morning. -- the financial times said this morning. we are not hearing anything out of the biden talks. guest: we need to focus on the deck, the amount of money that this country owes a. 40 cents of every dollar that we spent last year was borrowed money. a lot of it was from overseas.
8:27 am
significant amounts from china. since you started introducing meet a couple of minutes ago, we have borrowed another $2 million. for every minute that we talk, we are borrowing over $4 million a day. it is irresponsible and unsustainable. i think we need a balanced budget amendment in the constitution. i am from wyoming. the state of wyoming balances its budget every year, and washington needs to take that lesson and live within the means of the country. host: "the daily collar" an on- line news organization has a story today about a new mason- dixon poll, suggesting the the large majority of the public backs an amendment to the
8:28 am
constitution requiring a balanced budget. is there one in the mix right now? guest: there is right now, co- sponsored by every member of the republican senate. that is something that has to pass the house and the senate and get out to the states. it is not something that will happen overnight because each of the states have to make their decision, yes or no. for the long term interest of the country, it is critical. the chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff says the biggest threat to our nation is our debt. unless we can get that under control long term, not just the deficit, but that amount gets dumped right on top of the debt. host: senate had a vote that failed - - what was the meaning
8:29 am
of the vote that happened this week? guest: the president's budget got zero votes, not one democrat in the senate voted for the president's budget. it is one that the economists called dishonest because it is not realistic. it has been two years since the democrats have had a budget on the floor of the senate. where is the president's budget? where is the democrats' budget? paul ryan got 40 votes on his board all of those votes -- democrats did not vote for any of the four. where is your budget? host: we are going to open our phone lines in a few minutes on federal spending, the role of debt on our society, and what you think the prescription should be. the phone lines are beneath me on the screen.
8:30 am
we have different numbers this week so please pay attention when you are dialing into. you can also send us an e-mail at the address on our screen. senator, let me ask you your position about taxes. this seems to be a group in the republican party that i think an increase in taxes is a line in the sand guest: we have to get spending under control and it has to be a bigger part of the debate. i continue to meet with people to try to find the best ways to do debt. -- to do that. we need to get spending under control. last year, we brought in $2.20 trillion, and the country spent $3.70 trillion. that is what is breaking are
8:31 am
back. it is the spending. if you look at what is happening in greece, i told the president personally that it is just a coming attraction of what is going to happen in the united states. host: senator tom coburn of oklahoma announced this week he was taking a hiatus. he is our guest on our " newsmakers" program this week. here is one of his comments during the interview. >> tell me why it is ok for the senate not to have a budget. the majority leader does not want the votes because it is hard political vote, and the minority leader does not want the votes because it is a hard vote.
8:32 am
guest: he is right. where is the budget? host: both sides of the aisle. neither leader want this because of politics guest: politics is always a part of everything and washington. the american people want a balanced budget. if they believe we need a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, that says to me we need to balance the budget this year as well. there have been so many programs and promises made over the years that we need to deal with that. you mentioned the ryan budget as one issue, and a big part of that discussion was medicare. i practiced medicine for 25 years in wyoming. my mother is on medicare. we need to save and strengthen medicare. it is the biggest part of our long-term debt. the question is how do you do
8:33 am
it. i continue to look for solutions. there is a bipartisan group -- they are looking for solutions on medicare. anybody who denies that medicare is a big problem and needs to be fixed -- they can use all the scare tactics and politics that they wanted. at the bottom line is you are either involved in trying to find a long-term solution long term about the medicare expenses to continue to come, or use a bankruptcy is ok, and there are people taking that task, to do nothing. you are talking about bankruptcy. medicare is going to be broke five years sooner than they thought it would be. this is in spite of the fact
8:34 am
that president obama got his health care law passed. it takes $500 billion from our seniors on medicare, not to save its but to start a new program for other people. so, if i were on medicare now, i would say you have to reform it and save its for the people who are on it now and protect it for the next generation. host: i am wondering if you support the rights plan as a tenement reform? guest: that is part of it. it is something that has been around for a dozen years. a former democrat senator from louisiana had that as a part of his proposals in 1999. it is not a brand-new idea. the plan also says people can stay on the traditional medicare as another option. i'd like to give people choices.
8:35 am
that is what i found as a practicing physician. what american people want is the care that they need from the doctor that they want at a cost that they can afford. the cost of medicine is now even with the obama health care law worse than when it was before the law. it is harder and harder to find doctors especially if you are on medicare because of all of the restrictions and cost controls, this rationing panel whose goal is to limit what they pay to doctors. even the aarp has made some statements about shortages of primary-care doctors. these are not my numbers. these are coming from the aarp. so, if we do not fix medicare, no matter what they say in washington -- that senior who's
8:36 am
a doctor is retired who then called around to try to find another doctor, they are going to have a heck of a time finding doctors. they want the care they need from the doctor they want. host: one interesting read on this this morning is in the wall street journal -- this chart is the growing medicare burdened, the share of gdp in from 2010 to 2018. you can see the current path. without any correction at all, you conceive the trajectory for this boy. it suggests in this article -- without any correction at all, you can see the trajectory for this. the author writes that --
8:37 am
host: so the health care of law already has changes in trajectories and will reduce the benefit. i am wondering about this concept of saving medicare as we
8:38 am
know it. guest: it is on the path to change. doctors are not going to see these patients. we already have a shortage coming. medicare patients are having a harder and harder time finding doctors because if they keep the law as assigned, the doctors are supposed to know even though they are getting paid less, they are going to get paid lower than medicaid. one of the hospitals in wyoming said if they limit it so much, they are going to stop doing the procedure that they do at the hospital. nobody in the community is going to be able to get a given service as a senior. that is the tragedy of all of this. the president can do his numbers and his charts, but we are talking about people wanting to get care. medicare is going to be paying
8:39 am
doctors less than medicaid. half of the doctors in this country do not take medicaid patients. if you have a shortage of providers -- the health-care law did not do much for a lot of physicians and nurses. who is going to be there to care for patients especially when they put medicaid patients least likely to be seen by the doctor, and doctors are continuing to look for ways to get out of medicare? the ama did a study and it sought even higher numbers of doctors are unwilling to see physicians and patients on medicare. according to a recent survey, 60% of physicians are looking for ways to opt out of medicare because of these cuts. you take 60% of doctors in the
8:40 am
country opting out of patience on medicare? how does that help a senior get the care that they need from the doctor they want at a price they can afford? whether washington is paying or not. i am talking about real people needing care. host: we are talking about medicare because it is a major component of the budget debate. what do you think the lessons are from the special election where medicare became a special focus of the debate between the two candidates? guest: so many editorials written about that. at the bottom line is i support the paul ryan approach voted for. you can scare people in this country by being irresponsible, which is what i believe the scare tactics of the advertisements and did it by projecting the fact that we have a problem with medicare by ignore that and putting their
8:41 am
head in the sand. the bottom line is we have to do something, because doing nothing bankruptcy medicare. host: do you think any of them will have hesitation watching what happened in new york as they support major reforms to medicare? guest: the voting was after that election. i voted for the ryan plan. we stood by an approach that is a responsible approach. there are other approaches. obviously, that failed. the root reality of it is medicare is going to be bankrupt in 13 years. it is going to get worse because when medicare was signed into law in 1965, men were living into their mid '60s and '70s. here we are now and the life expectancy is 78 for a man and
8:42 am
81 for a woman. you are going to have more and more people coming on, fewer doctors to take care of them. the law cuts $5 billion from our seniors in medicare to start a new government program that is going to make it harder for seniors to get care. host: good morning, doug. caller: i love the fast-spoken voice. you are like our savior. this is not something that does happen overnight. this is something that has been going on for 30 years. the reagan came out and said the skerries words are "we are from the government and we are here to help." rush limbaugh made a statement saying that the plan was to
8:43 am
dismantle this new deal. i suggest -- as a citizen and a guy that is getting up to worked in the rain, i am flabbergasted that this has become such an urgent issue. that is my comment. host: why is it urgent all of a sudden or has it been urgent for a while? guest: they have been over- spending. i think it became more urgent because of a couple of things. the president and his health care law took $5 billion out of medicare to start a whole new government program for someone else. then this report that came out last week that said we were wrong. medicare is going to be broke five years sooner than we thought, 13 years from today. what we have to do long-term to save medicare?
8:44 am
the next show starting at 9:00 at the world war ii memorial -- for this whole generation, they are on medicare. they have concerns when i talk to them. we need to save medicare for the people who are on it now and we need to strengthen it so is there for the next generation. host: tom is an independent. caller: you refer to the president's budget as dishonest. who are you to call the president of the united states a lawyer? the population of the united states is over 300 million. the population of william and is less than 1 million. to equate the federal budget -- the population of wyoming is less than 1 million.
8:45 am
thank you very much. guest: let me correct it. the economist referred to the president's budget as dishonest. you talk about wyoming, and we balance our budget every year. i think a lot of states balance their budgets every year. families balance their budgets every year. it is the only responsible thing to do for a family and four states, and washington ought to do the same thing. we are in a lot of trouble because we have spent more than what we have taken in it. it is an american issue for the government in washington. from the end of world war ii until today, every dollar that has come in in taxes, we have spent about $1.17.
8:46 am
last year, 40 cents of it was borrowed. we cannot continue to do that. for a country to remain a free and strong nation and a leading nation, you cannot owe have that kind of money to foreign powers like china, so i and going to continue to advocate as a do on the floor of the senate for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. host: the next call is from florida. good morning, matthew. caller: i am starting medical school in the fall to become a physician, and you guys have covered the challenges ahead. i want to bring up an issue that house republicans have in a bill to days ago that included an amendment banning funding of programs including abortion techniques. i do not want to become a
8:47 am
physician to perform abortions, but i can see a scenario in the future or if a patient requires an abortion to save her life and the health coverage they need is covered, how am i going to be confident that i am going to have the proper training to be there for my patient in the future? we republicans wanted it rationing care, but the house republicans' two days ago were getting in the way of doctors and their patients. i wanted to know if dr. barrasso would fight that issue. host: it is interesting that a young man in parking on medical school is washington -- is
8:48 am
watching the debate so closely in washington. do you have any hesitation about your career choice? caller: no, because you do not become a physician to do it for money. you see what is going on in washington and realize what you have to do to become a physician and what that entails. seeing how both parties kick it around like a political football, it is really bothersome because you want to do the best for your patient. both sides are getting in the way. host: we should tell people that the senator was an advocate for positions himself before coming to the senate. senator and doctor, your response to the caller? guest: we want the best and brightest to go into medicine to be there to provide care for their patients. i was the speaker a year or so
8:49 am
ago at georgetown university at their medical school commencement. i am delighted to see young people continue to want to go into medicine. it is going to be a different type of medicine. he raised a point about the amendment in the house. i have been saying for many, many years that no one should become a doctor and their patients, not an insurance company bureaucrat, not a washington bureaucrat, no one. i am going to continue to advocate for that position, but i am happy that he has decided to go into medicine. host: "the washington post," the economy page -- you are a supporter of the number of republican job plans. what is it that you think will turn this economy into more jobs? guest: i think, number one, fundamentally, we need to make
8:50 am
it easier and cheaper for the private sector to create jobs in this country. the regulations and rules that come out of washington, i think, right now are making it harder and more expensive for the private sector to create jobs in our country. i look at the pain at the pump that families are experiencing. there are rules and regulations coming out of washington, specifically at the environmental protection agency, with issues of carbon dioxide and emissions -- congress defeated cap and trade, or what i call it as cap and tax. now we are seeing administration go with rules and regulations that limit the cost of energy more expensive. you go point by point of what comes out of washington, and
8:51 am
that think the health care law with all the mandate and expenses -- i am talking about the people out there worrying about what it is going to cost to provide insurance for the people who work for them. it is getting harder and more expensive to hire people. it is interesting because this administration -- 3 million waivers have been granted for 3 million individuals and families from the health-care law. half of those waivers, 1.5 million get their insurance through a union health plans. these are the same unions that lobbied for the obama health care law whose web site says hey we won, and then they are turning around and saying, oh my gosh, now we are seeing what it's a pelosi said. we found out what is in it and we do not want it to apply to us. we do not want to live under
8:52 am
these mandates or we have to provide each individual with thousands of dollars of coverage this year. she has been handing out waivers. those are the things making it harder to create jobs in america, and that is why i think washington makes it worse, not better. host: texas, a democrat. caller: i make about $32,000. i am retired and i have a supplement. i pay over $3,000 a year for that which is pretty good compared to other people because i was a federal employee. if i had to pay another $6,000 for my supplement or whatever they are coming up with the ryan proposal, i could not do it because it would devastate me. the other thing is republicans are talking about abortion,
8:53 am
abortion, abortion. i do not have a problem. i do not like abortion myself, but what would you cut low- income women and children from millions of dollars to help them out if they have to have babies? i think what you need to do is you need to put taxes back on the table for the rich, you need to cut those subsidies to oil companies, and until you do that, i cannot believe you are really serious about fixing the deficit. guest: i think she makes a good point about the fact that she is paying $3,000 a year, and she is living on medicare, has a supplement, and it cannot afford the additional expenses that may,. she has been paying into medicare her whole life. absolutely. people have been paying into it and over the course of their lives they pay about $110,000.
8:54 am
what we are seeing though is people living a lot longer -- on average, people are taking out about $300,000. if you are bringing in this much and spending this much, that cannot continue long term. it is breaking the system, and that is what we have right now. fundamentally, we have to get the cost of care down. carolina is 100% right -- 100% right.lyn is what we are finding out is it is making care and the cost more expensive. that, to me, is one of the big broken promises of the obama health care law. host: here is an e-mail with a different point of view.
8:55 am
guest: well, she is right. they paid different amounts. if you have a shortage of doctors in the country and you look at it and say who is going to be seen when their offices or fall, that is the worry about getting patients with medicare to be able to find a doctor. susan, you just read an article from today's wall street journal or washington post that said under medicare rates, these hospitals cannot afford to keep their doors open. it is under the cost of keeping your office open with paying for malpractice insurance, rent, all the people to fill all the paperwork, people to answer the
8:56 am
phone. when the reimbursement is less than the cost of keeping your doors open, people are going to say i cannot continue to do this, and a number of hospitals -- they are predicting that about 15% of doctors or hospitals will not be able to continue. host: a related comment from ohio -- guest: it says that doctors at this point -- their offices are full. the health-care law failed to address the need for additional providers, to train more people to take care of our growing population. with how many doctors there are in the country, a nurse practitioners, everyone who takes care of patients, the shortages are going to get worse as we live longer and the population continues to grow.
8:57 am
host: here is another one. host: younger people buying into the program. guest: she is right about this group of baby boomers. now they are entering medicare at about 4 million a year. that is the question. biden and at what price because adjustments are going to be needed -- host: the good morning, george. caller: good morning, susan, and i thank you, senator, for your service. i have a couple of questions for
8:58 am
you. first of all, we have a surplus in the wyoming, about $6 billion in surplus. we are paving roads so many times they are about 3 feet tall. if we had the wyoming gas commission heading royalties from the federal lands, we have oil wells that are out in the gulf for 30 years. we could balance the budget tomorrow if we went after that oil and went after that natural gas. we have something like $80 trillion sitting in the oil wells but is not being pumped out because we need to take the semi tractor trailers and convert them to natural gas. i have a question for you. when clinton and mr. newt gingrich got together, they balance the budget and left a
8:59 am
surplus. that was before you came into office. within 10 years, with the republican congress, we spent $12 trillion on two wars and tax breaks. i do environmental consulting work. the oil disasters, the bp banking disaster, you have to have some kind of government oversight. you go to the president and convert all of the postal trucks to natural gas -- 60% of all of our liquid fuel -- host: you have to go with your question really quick. guest: i get a disability check for diabetes. i wish you guys would go back and reassess how much the pharmacies could charge --
9:00 am
host: george, i am going to stop you. converting federal vehicles to natural gas. guest: there is a lot of natural gas out there. we have to find ways to use the natural gas -- we need to make energy as clean as we can and do it in ways that do not raise the costs for american families. we needed all, at the oil, the gas. we need all the energy. host: second question on means testing. guest: means testing is an important thing, because the president says we want to tax millionaires and billionaires. the question is -- and this gets to an earlier one -- when delegates goes on medicare, should keep paying the same -- when bill gates goes on medicare, should he be paying the same thing as the lady from
9:01 am
texas? should somebody with the means like bill gates pay it the same for medicare like our caller from texas with a $32,000 a year? i raised that specific issue with the president in a face-to- face meeting at the white house, and the president didn't answer. we need to hear from him his thoughts on that. host: we appreciate you being one of the senators who comes on regularly to take calls from the audience. guest: thanks, susan. host: have a good memorial weekend. we will be live from the national mall in washington, d.c., with the world war ii memorial. you have a good weekend, too. host: on your screen is the national war the war ii memorial -- national world war ii memorial. it was dedicated in 2004 by
9:02 am
president george w. bush. on this memorial day eve, we will discuss and look at the world war ii memorial and discuss as well world war ii on the last hour of "washington journal." we are joined by american historian douglas brinkley, who is one of many books is "world war ii memorial: a grateful nation remembers." thank you for being with us on a hot friday morning. what did it take us some years after world war ii to build and dedicate this monument? guest: remember, world war ii consumed our country. we lost 400,000 americans, many, many more wounded physically and psychologically. se gi's comee
9:03 am
home and want to get back to normal, drink coca-cola, go to the movies, be part of the healing of the country. in the 1950's and 1960's, as you did not have or ii veterans standing up, and we had the controversial vietnam war dividing the nation. that was not a good war. suddenly, by 1984, and ronald reagan, i believe was the catalyst -- he went to normandy and talked about the u.s. army's second rangers climbing the cliffs and getting shot down. all over america in the 1980's, people recognized they had war heroes in the neighborhood. everybody said to stand up, on and on. it created a wave, a notion -- where is our world war ii memorial? many americans, not least of
9:04 am
which is senator bob dole of kansas, stood up to make this happen. host: let's talk about the design. who designed it? why are there 56 of these all about? guest: the architect was frederick st. laurent, and it came from a pool of 400 excellent designs picked it right behind me, it's as the virgin islands, the philippines, puerto rico. alaska and hawaii were not states, so you get those later in the 1950's. all of our territories, and also, washington, d.c. gets 1. it is 56, and on top of all our 56 -- are 56 oak reeds but all round. 56 in all. host: at the end or two end pieces. guest: this is it the atlantic,
9:05 am
and the other side is the pacific. our great commander-in-chief franklin roosevelt -- words are car from both sides. in addition to that, if you go over to the pacific side, you see quotations from the great walter lord carved, douglas macarthur. you get people out of the atlantic. in between, there is a lot of efforts made to include women in the story, the rosy the river story -- rosie the riveter story. norfolk, detroit, a san diego, the airplanes that henry ford built up in dearborn area. it is trying to encompass the entire war experience. host: doug brinkley is our guest, a well-known american historian. we are at the world war ii memorial on the national mall, talking about the memorial as well as world war ii.
9:06 am
we want to get your participation as well. we set aside our third line this morning for world war ii veterans. about 16 million people were in uniform during world war ii. according to the veterans administration, about 2 million veterans still survivor from world war ii. we would love to hear from you and get your perspective. doug brinkley, before we got started, there were some school kids yelling at us and having a little bit of fun. you made a sort of an aside comment that this memorial has lost so much of its meaning.
9:07 am
what did you mean? guest: unfortunately, memorial day has been a day for barbequeing and a day off and set of remember why you and i are here today, trying to remind people of the cost of freedom. we're talking about world war ii, but all wars. max cleland will be at the american bebattlefield commission . as a going over to normandy, where money has been put in it for coastal erosion of a cliff, to make sure that the cemetery's properly taken care of. we have to reclaim the holiday, just like president's day, for what the original meaning was not go any kind of programming -- for with the original meaning was. any kind of programming that can show us the cost of our
9:08 am
freedom, what our ancestors did for us. host: overall, do you know with a cost of world war ii was? guest: well, the cost was our freedom to read it hitl -- while well --, the cost was our freedom. if hitler had developed the a- bomb before we did. after all, pearl harbor -- we were bombed at pearl harbor. the germans declared war on the united states. this was not a war chores like the mexican-american war -- this was not a war of choice like the mexican-american war. and the technology, even things we are doing with c-span right now, some of the technology of the film and cable transmissions, the electronic journalism world started changing. everything changed in world war
9:09 am
ii. development was intense in so many different area. what about the economic cost? guest: i think it is a small estimate. keep in mind, industrial mobilization -- say a factory in connecticut making women's blouses, suddenly making parachutes. a company that would make horns suddenly was making a ship of valves. that was the miracle of the world war, the way our country pull together and everybody chipped in with the war effort. we do have a great world war ii memorial across from rosenthal's ghraib photographs of -- great photograph of iwo jima.
9:10 am
but that is for the marines. this is america's world war ii memorial. we were all in it together, working to get rid of japanese warlords in german fascism. host: doug brinkley, is there a national world war ii museum? guest: there is in new orleans that started out as a d-day museum but has branched out to be much more than that. enter higgins started building those landing crafts and if you look at a movie like "saving private ryan," they open up and about 35 men would rush to shore. new orleans was another one of these chubs, and the dream started by steven ambrose -- stephen ambrose, my late friend,
9:11 am
historian. if you care about the world war, go to this memorial, and then bring your kids to new orleans for the national museum. at the holocaust museum. oh, it is just remarkable, in the 1990's, when elie weisel, who wrote "night" and other incredible stories of survival, and he was at auschwitz, and walter cronkite watched it as a q&a. it is mandatory to visit the holocaust museum to understand that side of the world war. host: utah for a long time at the university of new orleans and now teaching at rice university. what are you in d.c. today? guest: i am working on a book on walter cronkite. i'm interviewing people from roger mudd, les moonves, bob
9:12 am
woodward. i member to my book out in the spring of 2012 -- i am bringing my book out in the spring of 2012. host: first call, lee and connecticut. caller: how are you doing? host: good. caller: when are we going to learn the truth about the start of world war ii? roosevelt wanted to be a war hero like his cousin teddy, and he knew about the bombing of pearl harbor at least two weeks in advance, but he was pushing us to get into a war. also, with all the communists you had in his government, we abandoned our troops in the philippines and sent all the aid to the russians. why did we do that? host: all right, thank you, lee. doug brinkley. guest: here on memorial day weekend, we want to thank franklin roosevelt for the
9:13 am
extraordinary job he did as commander-in-chief, picking people like george marshall to dwight eisenhower, bradley, patton, this incredible group of leaders that he surrounded himself -- military leaders he surrounded himself by. the caller is dealing in the back door to more theory, debunked by -- back door to war era, did not by scholars. this wacky notion that -- debunked by scholars. this wacky notion that roosevelt, who love our navy is a much, allowed it to be destroyed to bring the country to war. it is similar to the obama birth certificate or things that come out of jfk's assassination. there was missives, intelligence missives, saying that there was unusual japanese
9:14 am
behavior going on. people don't realize that the president gets all sorts of information every day, and history is so much in retrospect that you say, "why did you notice this, why didn't you notice that?" that does not mean we do not debate the issue of how we got into war, to say that roosevelt was some kind of a scoundrel that allowed at the armada to be bombed in pearl harbor is kind of reprehensible. host: what happened on september was the and onwhat interim period like and what was the attitude of the american people? guest: there was a lot of isolationist sentiment. famously, charles lindbergh and henry ford were opposed to intervention. there was this sense we got hoodwinked into world war i and now we were getting into another dirty european civil war. roosevelt was constantly doing
9:15 am
what every one trying to help our l.a. great britain out -- there was a series of events that occurred, but go back and read the great freedom speech of franklin roosevelt, or the atlantic charter agreement between churchill and roosevelt up in newfoundland -- he said the cornerstone of the alliance is giving aid to britain at the right time. there is a whole group of the events that occurred leading up to pearl harbor. we did have an understanding of just how evil the third reich in germany was, and how dangerous japan's militarism had become. by the time pearl harbor came around, roosevelt and the country were ready to act. but roosevelt had to educate the public to get ready for the big board. host: september 1, 1939, is the day that nazi germany invaded poland. william i. ohio.
9:16 am
good morning, william. william, you with us? caller: can you hear me? host: we sure can. caller: ok, i visited about five years ago the memorial. beautiful. it is all inspiring. -- awe inspiring. i am sad come in a way, that many of the fellows i would like to have all of them visit, but they are gone. their lives are gone, finished. i will be 87 in october. the thing about the memorial is it took so long to get it builtit but -- get it built, but that is the way things go. i was in the norman invasion, first wave. ipad capt., navy capt. it -- i
9:17 am
had a captain, navy captain, that was on board. i was 19 at the time, and i suppose that is why they figured you want somebody real young. i got up on the bridge, and the captain asked me if i would stand on that little platform attached to the bridge. i had an eye view of the whole thing. i saw them all lined up, i saw all the different types of landing craft lineup, a first wave, and we went in on omaha beach. that changed my whole life, that one day in my life still imprinted. i can see it right now, the beach, probably like a football field to get to the hill. we had these two ramps, one on
9:18 am
each side, and they told these ramps on. and the infantry, we had about 130 on board, and they ran on the beach. maybe half of them did not make it. it was a terrible sight. anyway, on that beach, it took quite a while, all morning -- in fact, we worried we might even get pushed off, because they cannot go forward. but they finally broke through to my left way down on the beach, and tthey got up to the top, and the boys were able to move on up. by late afternoon, things were pretty well, as far as the beach was concern, under control. so the view i see right now -- i
9:19 am
am watching the tv, and i viewed it, and it is a beautiful sight, actually, memorable point. host: william, we thank you very much for calling in and sharing your story with us. that's your dog brinkley has -- let's hear what doug brinkley has -- guest: i also want to thank you for your service, and it is important that you record your memories, to get it down and have something specific about normandy. the actual idea for this memorial came from somebody from your state, ohio, a man named roger bergeron, who had been a veteran at the battle of the bulge, and as i mentioned earlier, the iwo jima memorial, as wonderful as it was, was the marines memorial. what about other people who served in uniform during the second world war? with a congressperson from ohio,
9:20 am
italy started -- it really started. one thing led to another, and we have a lot of different people at different times. tom hanks got very involved after "saving private ryan" to bring the public consciousness to the need for this. it has always been a bit of a struggle, and this wonderful area behind us is a reflecting pool, which is getting the revamping. i think in time for the martin luther king memorial which will be coming up, but also, 2013, august, will be 50 years of martin luther king's famous "i have a dream" moment. host: that is the world war ii memorial and a lincoln monument. guest: and there was concern that you were taking up space, cluttering up the mall.
9:21 am
nobody says that anymore, because you come here and see the capitol, the monument, and wonderful fountain system here surrounding it. there is an incredible waterworks operation going on in order to get this incredibly wonderful reflecting place. to spend any time here with these school kids and think about the fact that world war is quite moving, and its roots are back in ohio, a jerusalem county, ohio, where mr. durbin is from. host: about 2 million a world war ii vets still survive. the veterans administration predicts that in 2015, 85,000 vets will survive, and 2025, only 20,000 vets will still be alive. our next call is from a vet, frank in washington state br. caller: hi. host: please go ahead, sir.
9:22 am
caller: i am 86 years old. i was on about five different islands, went in on the invasion. i was on a seaplane basin. i came back stateside a couple of years later. i got to get an address to a friend. he got to ride back to see the memorial, and i got a friend out and maybe if i could get a chance to do that, i would sure love to come back and see that. host: all right, thank you, frank. do you know anything about this a free ride? guest: i don't know about the free ride. this weekend, rolling thunder is coming, vietnam war vets using
9:23 am
this to celebrate memorial day weekend. i want to emphasize that when we started this idea of this memorial, one of the other concerns was that we were losing about 1100 world war ii veterans a week. people were dying off on a regular basis. the idea was that there needed -- we needed to capture the voices of people like -- people like tom brokaw with "the greatest generation" and stephen ambrose with the book on d-day. there was this idea of people, like the people calling in today, and make sure you get your reminiscence recorded at a local library or something. it is like imagining we get that tape recordings of people at gettysburg -- we could have that tape recordings of people at gettysburg. people are dying off in that generation, in their 80s and 90s now, and at this point we are looking at will war ii -- world war ii veterans as survivors of
9:24 am
that generation. host: that caller talked about his experience in the pacific theater. it seems in many ways that your it seems to get a block of the press. -- europe seems to get the bulk of the price. guest: fdr's first objective was to win europe. only in recent years has it wore a scholarship caught up -- war scholarship caught up, not the least being that we are a western civilization, judeo- christian society. many americans had a background of dutch ancestry, or german or english. there was a priority to win the war in europe. it has an apartment in the past years, including this past year -- has been heartening in the
9:25 am
past years, including this past the pacific." there have been novels like norman mailer's "the naked and sehe dead," vonnegut' "slaughterhouse," "from here to eternity." i mentioned elie weisel. some of these memoirs and novels are as powerful as any history someone like myself could write. the problem with what war ii is that it is losing some of the trauma. -- the drama. interpreting the second world war is a challenge, because it is so all encompassing. this memorial tries to do it in a fitting way that brings everybody in and it has been
9:26 am
very successful in its inclusiveness. host: this is "washington journal" on c-span and we are live at the world war ii memorial. dr. brinkley, well-known historian, is joining us for this hour. our next call is from robin in oregon. caller: my question is about the merchant marines. are they included in the memorial? can you give us back out on in them? thank you. guest: merchant marines, yes. anybody who served in the war efforts -- again, it is not just for soldiers. a memorial is for a generation that came together. it is not able, when you are seeing a look around, to give any kind of historical depth to the role of the merchant marines in the world war, but it is
9:27 am
reflected on here. if you have a member of your family who was one of the merchant marines and he wanted to, to bring your grandchildren or friends to think about it, this would be reflective place, a place of prayer. you are not going to get world war ii history by coming to walk around this memorial. you are coming to pause imminent and contemplate the sacrifice of everybody in the second world war -- pause a minute and contemplate the sacrifice of everybody in the second world war. host: next to this flag is ua pow/mia flag. guest: everything is mentioned on that particular part of the memorial. host: they came to liberate, not to conquer. where does that come from? guest: it is the famous saying of world war ii, when " we are liberators, not conquerors."
9:28 am
it was the thrust of what eisenhower and pac-10 and marshall believed, that it was important -- and patton and marshall believe, that it was important to believe that we will liberating europe, liberating japan. the united states has had an influence in japan and germany. we demilitarized those countries. if you go, you see american bases all over. we did not conquer, but we did it demilitarizing japan and germany after world war ii. host: the commander in the pacific was -- guest: you mean -- host: who was our supreme commander ? guest: to eisenhower was the supreme commander for our allied forces. host: next call for dr.
9:29 am
brinkley, william, a veteran -- doug brinkley, william, a veteran. caller: i served in world war ii. my story is much different than what i am hearing. i have a copy of the history of might unit -- my unit. but it does not tell the story that i know. i live it every day, and the outfit that i went to, i never hear on holidays, but other units within the series before and after i hear. the outfit that i was with when i got there, the first thing i
9:30 am
heard was that the outfit was going to be in new guinea five years after the war. i don't know if i should go along with the rest of it, but also i have been hearing good stories, but being a person of color in those days, you had two armies. one, you did not get on -- host: william, if you could, please turn down of the volume of new tv and very quickly tell us where you served in world war ii, ok? caller: yes, sir. i left under the bridge and there was a submarine that was
9:31 am
ahead. i don't know whether he went with us are not -- or not. but we bypassed and went to the canal, and i landed in the army day. this outfit was the first american unit. from the bay to another bay, and to -- host: you know what, william, we will have to leave it there. we appreciate you calling in. doug brinkley. guest: a couple comments. we tried to do at the memorial is remind people of everybody's service. there were african-american units in the world war and we
9:32 am
-- only now people now beginning to understand their service. medgar evers, who went into the civil rights uni -- movement. in worldamericans' role war ii is starting to get scholarly attention and it is long overdue. host: were african-americans in combat -- guest: very much in combat. we are talking v for victory. they had to come back after fighting, say, germany, and come back to alabama and south carolina and a face the jim crow system. one of the great things and dwight eisenhower did during world war ii -- he said, look,
9:33 am
we are all americans. there was a lot of racism in the american military in the second world war, but there were also a lot of courageous people within the military saying no more. you would be amazed at how many african-american service men and women in the world war fought with the civil-rights movement. host: every one of the veterans all in this morning recounted his experience in detail. guest: the reason i mention these oral histories -- there is the sameying, the fog of war. it is impossible to have one version of world war ii. it is possible to have millions of russians, because there was some much -- happening. -- millions of a version, because there was so much happening.
9:34 am
we just lost the last a veteran of the second world war and then that will be distant history. collecting primary source material from people like a few of our callers. host: it is about 90 degrees out here and doug brinkley is doing yeoman's service for us on c- span. jim in ohio. caller: good morning, gentlemen. my dad was a world war ii navy vet and served in the pacific. i am a vietnam vet. i have not got back to see the memorial is yet. my father passed away bomb before it was billed. but my question is -- my father passed away long before it was built. but my question is, on the columns, the transcript of fdr's december 8 speech he gave before congress is on there, and it was edited -- the last four words
9:35 am
have been added off of the speech. is that correct? guest: it is not on that column behind me. most of the engravings are very truncated in very short-term -- very short to go around, but the point you raised has been made by some people, that they thought there should have been an extra line. i am not a designer of the memorial, so i don't know why that happened, but it did. host: we do want to point out this book, though, dug up brinkley, the author -- >doug brinkley, the author. very much a coffee table book, hundreds of the photographs, etc. guest: we work on this with john eisenhower, and he is the son of and white eisenhower. then, of course, we had incredible contributions from some of our best historians.
9:36 am
host: how many books have you written altogether? guest: i don't count them anymore. the one i am working on right now, cronkite -- he is a typical example of a journalist in world war ii, there for the battle of the bulge, therefore normandy -- there for normandy, there for the nuremberg trials. a good friend of his was killed in the second world war just trying to cover the story there. host: next call for doug brinkley, tom in north carolina. caller: i was in the pacific, 32nd infantry division. i went all the way up to quite a few lennings in new guinea. i think six.
9:37 am
some were d1, some d2 and 3. i was also down in the philippines, manila, when the war ended. yet, but i was in manila. i cannot recall where the hell i was, but i was over there for three years, and we did not have any phone calls to call home. we had v-day letters, so we did not have it very easy. thank you very much. host: thank you for sharing your experience. guest: i find that the letters some of the most moving documents. and your caller -- thank you for your service -- talks about communication being tough.
9:38 am
there is a saying, historians read other people's mail. i read some stories from the second world war. each person before the d-day mission basically wrote a death note home -- "fix the barn" -- because they were basically being sent on a suicide mission, and yet you cannot tell anybody what emthe mission was because it would give away the plan. if anybody has letters at home from -- if you are a veteran or a member of a family that has them in a shoebox of something, look to the smithsonian institute or world war ii to donate them. we are constantly trying to make sure those letters are not turnout. hos -- not thrown out. host: jack in new jersey. caller: good morning.
9:39 am
let me know when i am to talk. host: jack, you are on the air and we are listening to you. caller: i was in the u.s. merchant marine in world war ii. i know we got a raw deal. we were not recognized as veterans until 1988. i might say that our casualty rate was higher than any service. over 10,000 of our men got killed. i have had decorations -- gorbachev was in, and medvedev of russia awarded us. we made a very dangerous runs towards the black sea, romania,
9:40 am
supplying soviet services and military. if it wasn't for us, i don't think we would and have one of the war, because the soviet union played a big part in it also. we got a raw deal -- white, one more thing. we have two bills in the house and senate, to get just compensation. we were denied gi bill of rights. our lives may have been changed if we did get some benefits now, those two bills -- if we did get some benefits. those two bills are right now in congress and we hope the people of the united states call their congressmen and senators to support the bill. host: thank you for calling in. guest: the caller is absolutely correct. the merchant marines did get a bit of a raw deal.
9:41 am
they were not in the gi bill, and they should have been. i want to restress that this memorial day, we of not forgotten the merchant marines. i believe it began in it 17 70's, the founding of our country, and it is included with the marines and army and navy, on and on. the merchant marines are represented here. i agree with the color that they have been short shrifted in history, and a lot of scholars have overlooked how risky it was. they were an extraordinarily important group in our victory, particularly in europe. host: jack mentioned the soviet union that the russians lost 20 million people. guest: isn't underplayed a story in the united states, how -- it is an under played story in the
9:42 am
united states, how important the russian role was. joe stalin, one of the thugs of history, was at one point "time's" man of the year. oliver stone has an upcoming history of what was going on during the war. a lot of scholars don't focus on the role russia play in supporting the advance. -- thwarting the advance. do you know how many japanese were killed? guest: if i get something off, i will get emails. with the hiroshima and nagasaki, and the killing of civilians, should those civilians in considered wartime casualties areor not?
9:43 am
it becomes a controversial subject. the fact of the matter is a man a-et who drop one of the bombs -- he is living in ohio, and meeting him was interesting, because this man who had a role of dropping the bomb on hiroshima was just shopping and grocery stores and nobody knew. that is something about the world war ii generation, that a lot of these great heroes are a round us all the time. i talked to a lot of veterans who said that in the 1950's and 1960's, they were booed and hissed. by the 1980's, people were cheering them. our country has done a great turnaround in honoring these minimum of the second world war. this is kind of the main place that helped with the turnaround. host: on memorial day weekend, we are live at the national war
9:44 am
ii morrow, opened in 2004 to the public -- the national world war ii memorial, opened in 2004 to the public. you are on with his s andtor -- historian doug brinkley. caller: let me say that your objective the and frankness make you an american icon, cultural hero. i have a hard question and an easy question. i am pro-military, but when they dropped the bomb, were there any apprehensions or regrets after a, just based on the fact that citizens were killed? my last, easy question, how does it feel being in houston? i only said that because i used to be there and i walked through rice university all the time and i loved it. i will take that answer off the air and thank you for listening. guest: i do teach at rice and i
9:45 am
teach classes on dropping the bomb on hiroshima and nagasaki. students are very divided. the pro-truman view, and he said he did not lose any sleep, that he saved american lives, and he would have had to invade japan and that his view that anything at his disposal to win the war was essential. remember, russia, the soviet union, was starting to be seen as an enemy, and they were moving in joining us in japan . critics of hiroshima-nagasaki say, why did you drop it on -- didn't you drop it on a fly speck island in the pacific and tell the japanese to watch it? they would have seen the mushroom cloud. there are some people who say that hiroshima was okay but
9:46 am
nagasaki wasn't. this is hotly debated, as well it should be. keep in mind, though, the only time the united states had a monopoly on nuclear weapons, any country who had a monopoly, the west 45 -- the u.s. had from 1935-1949. then at -- 1945-1949. then the soviet union added and the cold war was on full blast. host: what was the darkest part of the 1945-1949 period? guest: there are many. when the soldiers started realizing what happened at buchenwald at auschwitz and the frustration that we could not have done something sooner. to be talking about the bottom rung of evil, when you talked about what was going on at auschwitz, using human skin as
9:47 am
lampshades, biological experiments, just massive murder and genocide. on one hand, we felt so good, we won, we beat germany and japan. to realize that humanity to be so ghastly and evil, just how we dicked the nazi regime was, as i say, if you ever visit those cans, you recognize that it teaches you -- those camps, you recognize that it teaches you just how essential the war was b. anybody who says we should not have been involved in the world war does not know what they're talking about. eisenhower wrote a letter taking full responsibility -- it could have leaked out, the great armada, the allied invasion. things could have gone terribly wrong. it is easy now to say, what a
9:48 am
great american, british, canadian,, but the truth of the matter was, we didn't know. that was the turning point, because it stars the liberation, the battle of normandy, of europe. we had to go to the battle -- and was a larger march to berlin. used -- the battle of the polls, and it was a larger march to -- battle of the bulge, and it was eight longer march to berlin. and that we were able to successfully test an atomic weapon in new mexico and dropped over hiroshima. it was clear that american technology and the industrial mobilization that won the war. it is important to stress here that we are honoring not just the soldiers and fallen heroes, but the american people, because people were working 12 hours a day making, manufacturing,
9:49 am
working on assembly lines in detroit or chicago, our heroes, too. we had to have the home front effort to win the second world war. host: about 10 minutes left in "washington journal" this morning. matt in wisconsin. caller: good morning. hello? host: please go ahead. caller: i am talking as hard as i can. host: sir, i apologize. we are having a little trouble hearing you. we are going to move on to texas. charles in texas, you are on the air. caller: what you want me to say? i can tell you a lot. i was in hiroshima 30 days
9:50 am
after the bomb, i was on my way to japan. we were not killed. god bless harry truman, and to hell with the rest of the world. host: 30 days after the bomb. guest: were you worried at all about radiation? caller: there was nothing standing but a few little brick pieces -- [unintelligible] guest: were you worried about your health? caller: that is just a bunch of baloney -- guest: i was just wondering, one of the things that interested -- again, thank you for your service -- to see if the soldiers who went into the stands had any negative of the tax from radiation from going
9:51 am
into nagasaki, a horsham, in the first wave after the bomb went off -- nagasaki, hiroshima, in the first right after the bomb went off. anyway, thank you it must've been a powerful thing to walk into that city and see what the power of the atom unleashed. host: do you know how many pow's were held by the japanese and the germans? guest: well, again, i don't want to give a wrong figure, but the book "slaughterhouse five" by kurt vonnegut, who was in dresden -- dresden just got wiped out. go in withjob was to a will bear out and take all the -- wheelbarrow and take all the bodies and build a mass graves
9:52 am
with them. it ruined his life. he was haunted his whole life by seeing that amount of carnage. host: next call for doug brinkley is with fred in texas. caller: thank you, c-span, for great program, and mr. brinkley, you are a very knowledgeable inarticulate historian. -- and particu -- and articulate historian. i remember as a youth following veterans to the local cemetery, where there were speeches and gun salutes. i knew as a teenager that these men had given their lives unselfishly for democracy, and it is important that we remember that. my neighbor is an 87-year-old veteran, who was a goner for 36
9:53 am
missions over germany. -- gunner for 36 missions over germany could it took me awhile to get him to sit over coffee and relate his experiences, because they are true heroes and they don't talk about it. but to do missions at night over germany, watching some of the other planes go down -- these are true heroes, and we should always remember that they fought for our freedom and democracy. it is important that this memorial be a tribute to them. thank you very much. guest: that was beautifully said, and really, what this is is about a saving of our democracy. i was listening to some of the broadcasts of edward r. murrow with the cbs news, and he used to go on some of these planes at
9:54 am
would broadcast while on a bombing mission, actually, or standing on a rooftop in london during the blitz. bringing that drama on to the radios -- people would listen to eric sevareid, murrow, and you listen to that and you realize how lucky we were in the united states that people pulled together. if it had not been for the moving of the assembly lines, the model t, radio and television -- we just developed that in the 1940's -- the world had never seen a center like the united states for engineering and technological innovation. you took that, and what our caller just said, the selflessness of the so many americans wanted to protect
9:55 am
their way of life, and the combination of it is the defining moment of recent history, the way the united states pulled together as a country and put everything they had into defeating the truly evil forms of government, the nazi third reich and the japanese warlords. we can argue the nuances of the second world war, but there is no arguing that the marci is the best form of government, and defeating -- that democracy is the best form of government, and defeating fascism in the second world war was an extraordinary achievement. in this book, a great mural painter was in cincinnati and got the word of pearl harbor, and quit his tour, went back to kansas city, did a whole series of paintings of the horros ors
9:56 am
the japanese military and rallied poets like archibald macleish, robert frost, people from every walk of life, it didn't matter. can-doism of the second world war was remarkable, and our country had that for a while. even after the war, with the marshall plan, the berlin blockade, the building of nato, eisenhower with the interstate highway system, kennedy -- we are at the 50th anniversary of the kennedy moon speech. we feel today, standing here, that our country has lost some of its can-doism, become a polarize the nation instead of working on big things together. why this memorial reminds you is that it is not republican,
9:57 am
democrat, liberal or conservative, is american. when you come here, you go to a cathedral where you are saying a prayer off remembrances for every american, not dividing them by race or nationality or political affiliation. host: in 1971, decoration day was a three-day holiday. -- was established as a three-day holiday. you are on the air with historian doug brinkley. caller: 101st cavalry reconnaissance group. it is a long story. we had a tough time, but the war was supposed to have been over, and yet they had refused to surrender. we found ourselves, the 101st cavalry reconnaissance -- we
9:58 am
were billetted on one side of the street, and on the other side of the street was the ss and three ss generals who were negotiating with the general, and our outstanding commanding officers -- col mclellan at west point. they finally agreed and signed, at the officer came up to me and said, "george, you are the only guy. you have got to cook a meal for these guys." i replied to the captain, "over these mountains are my grandparents, dying of hunger." "george, you have got to do this." so i cook a nice meal, and i
9:59 am
presented it, and i stood in front of the three germans -- they were good soldiers. there were on the wrong side, but there were admirable soldiers. host: george, thank you, we are almost out of time it again, the detail we are getting in his story 60 years later. guest: well, that is why i keep going back to saying that world history -- keep in mind that when we are looking at the history at where we are at today, this was paid for by the taxpayers, it was bipartisan. two former senators, bob dole, republican of kansas, george mcgovern, it democrat of south dakota, both alive, but world war ii vets, stepped up and started lobbying for this. it it


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on