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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Terri Schiavo Case to be Reviewed by Federal Appeals Court; Deadly Shooting in Minnesota Community; North America Talks Focus on Trade Issues; Europeans Rethink Arms Embargo to China; United Airlines May Cut Retirees' Pensions, Other Airlines May Follow
Aired March 22, 2005 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, the parents of Terri Schiavo are asking a federal appellate court to help keep their daughter alive. The Florida woman has now been without food and water for four days. Terri Schiavo's former legal guardian will be with us, as well as two medical ethicists. They'll be here to assess this tragic case.
A high school student's murder of nine people, including his grandfather, in one small Minnesota community that tonight is in shock. Police are now releasing new details about the killer's violent past. We'll have a live report for you.
And new pressure on President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox to address a critical issue at their summit meeting tomorrow. That issue is the Mexican government's blatant campaign encouraging citizens to cross our border illegally. We'll have that special report.
And tonight, a U.S. company that once promised to keep American jobs in this country is now exporting those jobs to a cheap foreign labor market. We'll have that story. Vietnamese workers now earning next to nothing will now be building furniture the company calls, quote, "uniquely American." That special report, "Exporting America," coming up tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS, for news, debate and opinion, tonight.
DOBBS: Good evening.
Terri Schiavo's life tonight rests in the hands of three federal appellate court judges. Schiavo's parents appealed to the court after a federal judge today rejected their request to restore their daughter's feeding tube.
Terri Schiavo's husband today asked the appellate court judges to take their time in considering their decision.
Bob Franken is outside Terri Schiavo's hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, with the report for us -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Lou, an indication that the appeals court judges are going to take action quickly. They have set a 6:30 deadline, within the half hour, for all briefs to be in. The initial decision will be whether they will overrule the lower court judge and come up with an order which would require the reconnection of the feeding tube. The lower court judge ruled that there was not significant proof that the lawsuit, the ultimate lawsuit would prevail.
- Meanwhile, the family, the parents and siblings of Terri Schiavo, who were on one side of this bitter emotional debate, made a visit to her again in her hospice room here and afterwards indications that the family is less concerned -- less and less concerned with the federal court action that has so dominated the story the last couple days than efforts in Tallahassee, Florida, the state capitol, to try and change the laws in ways that would make them be able to have standing in this case in the decisions about Terri Schiavo.
An emotional appeal from her mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO'S MOTHER: I understand that we only need one vote in the state senate to save my daughter. Please, senators, for the love of God, I'm begging you, don't let my daughter die of thirst.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: Of course, that just provides -- that provides emphasis to the contention that the judges must act quickly. The feeding tube was disconnected, Lou, on Friday. Most medical experts say that she could not last without the nutrition for more than a week or two -- Lou.
KING: Thank you very much, Bob Franken.
Tonight here we'll hear from three leading experts in the fields of medicine and medical ethics, including Jay Wolfson, who is Terri Schiavo's former state-appointed guardian, Dr. Joseph Fins, director of medical ethics at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, director of ethics at New York Medical College. They'll be joining us here tonight.
President Bush has been criticized for his unprecedented action in the Terri Schiavo case and his failure to take urgent action in other critical issues that face the country.
Tonight there is rising concern that the president will fail to address our nation's border and immigration crisis when he meets tomorrow with Mexican President Vicente Fox in Texas.
The White House now says the meeting, which will include Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, will focus primary on trade issues.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With 5,000 miles of common borders, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have a lot to talk about, but immigration is not on the official list.
The three leaders will focus chiefly on issues on which they agree, and members of Congress are seething. In a letter to Mexican President Vicente Fox and President Bush, House minority leaders Nancy Pelosi and others write, quote, "Now it is more important than ever that we address the gap between our immigration laws and reality," unquote.
The three leaders will talk trade, but some question the benefits of NAFTA.
KAREN HANSEN-KUHN, ALLIANCE FOR RESPONSIBLE TRADE: Over a million Mexicans have been thrown off their farms. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their jobs and poverty has worsened in Canada, as well. So we really think NAFTA ought to be reexamined.
PILGRIM: Contentious issues abound between the three countries. Border security has been so alarming, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice referred to it in a recent speech.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: but the terrorists are going to keep trying. They're going to keep trying on our southern border. They're going to keep trying on our northern border.
PILGRIM: Something President Fox denied.
VICENTE FOX, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO: We don't have any evidence or any indication either that terrorists from al Qaeda or from any other part of the world are coming into Mexico and going to the United States.
PILGRIM: President Fox has criticized the United States over a border fence near San Diego, and even said volunteer U.S. border patrol groups murder American illegal aliens.
Mexican drug trafficking is such a concern, the U.S. State Department put out a travel warning for the border in January. The problem not confined to the southern border: an enormous wave of Canadian border drug trafficking and violence has been mounting.
This month, four Canadian Mounties were shot to death searching for a marijuana drug ring.
PILGRIM: Now, the summit will likely deal with little of this. The topics will center around steps to improve trade between the three countries, and the other pressing issues, although they may be touched on, will not dominate the event, Lou.
DOBBS: An event that was originally to be a summit with Paul Martin of Canada, Vicente Fox of Mexico and the president on the issue of illegal immigration and immigration reform. Why the change? PILGRIM: It just seems that trade is going to dominate this, that they want to emphasize the positives, and the tensions have been so strong.
DOBBS: Will this administration, in your judgment, based on anything you've been able to learn in your reporting, change anything to deal with the chronic trade deficits that we run with both Canada and Mexico?
PILGRIM: I don't think it's going to be discussed in any substantive way at the summit. There really won't be time. It's just a few hours.
DOBBS: I can imagine some may call this more of a photo op than a summit. Kitty, thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight: "Do you believe President Bush and President Fox are truly interested in creating maximum border security or furthering already lax immigration enforcement?" Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results later here in this broadcast.
Separately tonight, the White House appears to have succeeded in pressuring Europe to maintain the ban against selling weapons to China. European leaders are now rethinking their original plan to lift a 15-year arms embargo against China. China is now pressuring Europe to reconsider.
David Ensor reports.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the European Union summit, there are signs the E.U. may put off lifting its arms embargo imposed on China after the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square.
French President Chirac's effort to end the embargo was set back last week when China's parliament passed a toughly worded law, calling for the use of force if Taiwan declared independence from mainland China.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice argued lifting the embargo now would send the wrong signal.
ADAM ERELI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: It's not the right time. The reasons for the embargo -- that led to the embargo haven't changed, and it would have security implications that we're concerned about.
ENSOR: Some in Congress have also warned European leaders that, if they sell arms to China, their relationship with Washington could suffer.
JAMES MULVENON, CENTER FOR INTELLIGENCE RESEARCH AND ANALYST: They were particularly fearful the U.S. Congress would threaten some of the military arms arrangements and other transfers that occurred between the United States and Europe, many of which outweighed any value of arms sales to China.
ENSOR: For example, the joint strike fighter, being developed by Lockheed Martin with British, Dutch and Norwegian contractors. Next year the U.S. is supposed to order $200 billion worth, thousands of the planes.
As the Europeans discussed lifting the embargo, sources say a U.S. intelligence delegation was sent to capitals to argue that China's recent military buildup and tensions over Taiwan should cause them to think twice.
PORTER GOSS, CIA DIRECTOR: Beijing's military modernization and military buildup could tilt the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: The weapons China is investing in include cruise missiles, submarines, long-range targets, acquisitions systems, specifically cutting edge satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles, the advance SU-30s and 35s.
ENSOR: French President Chirac is said to see ending the embargo on China and boosting trade as a way of counterbalancing U.S. power in the world.
E.U. officials argue that any sales would be tightly regulated to prevent leaks of sensitive technologies, but a formal decision to delay lifting the embargo would be warmly welcomed here in Washington -- Lou.
DOBBS: And David, tonight it appears that indeed the European Union will maintain that embargo. What is the reaction in Washington at the White House, among national security sources and others, to the fact that the United States, with $160 billion trade deficit with China, is, in effect, financing that military buildup almost single- handedly?
ENSOR: Well, that's an interesting question. Certainly the U.S. is going to be very happy if the Europeans decide officially not to go ahead with lifting their embargo right now. And as you pointed out, the fact that there is a trade deficit does mean the Chinese are doing very well financially and could afford to buy quite a few arms if it were to be lifted -- Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, David Ensor, for that report from Washington tonight.
China today trying to dispel rising criticism that it has refused to confront North Korea about North Korea's nuclear weapons program. China claims it pressured the North Korean premier visiting Beijing to return to six-way talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear program. China now says the North Korean official said his country will return to those talks "if conditions are right in the future." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repeatedly urged China during her weeklong visit to Asia to put far more pressure on North Korea to return to those talks. Tonight, the White House is considering the allowance of the sale of F-16 fighter jets to two countries it once banned from buying U.S. weapons. India and Pakistan, two of the world's most recent nuclear powers to emerge are now in the market for fighter jets. This could be the most controversial military contract in years and critical to saving thousands of American jobs, as Barbara Starr now reports.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): India and Pakistan, bitter military rivals, both now want to fight fighter aircraft. If they select the F-16, it could mean thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for Lockheed Martin and the American aerospace industry.
The U.S. had banned weapon sales to both India and Pakistan because both tested nuclear weapons. But now, senior Bush administration officials say the White House is actively considering rewarding these vital allies on the war on terror. Still, on her recent trip to the region, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was publicly cautious.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: The question of arm sales, including F-16s, has come up. As I've said, we are going to continue to have broad discussions about the security needs, about the defense needs.
STARR: India wants to buy 125 aircraft, an $8 to $10 billion dollar deal with several international contenders. Russia's MiG-29, Sweden's Gripen, and France's Mirage are all in the running.
As a result, Pakistan is renewing its longstanding request to buy at least two dozen F-16s. But to ensure regional stability, analysts say no U.S. aircraft would be sold with the capability to carry nuclear bombs.
JOEL JOHNSON, AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION: We'll wind up doing a lot of training, we'll wind up probably have been people in place on both sides. It may increase our ability to be a mediator. You're faced with the usual dilemma of, would you rather have the U.S. military in the middle, or would you rather have the French or the Swedes or the Russians?
STARR (on camera): If Lockheed Martin does not win this order, its F-16 production line could begin shutting down as early as this October. If it does win, keeping the industrial base together could help hold down the cost of future military aircraft.
Barbara Starr CNN, the Pentagon.
DOBBS: Coming up here next, why a 16-year-old high school student gunned down members of his family and some of his fellow students in a deadly rampage. And our government apparently has just discovered that cheap Chinese imports into this country just could be a threat to our most critical industries. We'll have that report for you and what they've decided to do about it, if anything, next.
DOBBS: Well, the United States government has not yet decided to do anything about the devastating trade deficits that this country has run now for 28 years. The U.S. government has announced it will enhance its so-called monitoring system for cheap Chinese textile imports into this country. One of the problems, however, is that those cheap Chinese imports have already flooded this country and have already devastated our textile industry.
Lisa Sylvester reports from Washington.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since January 1st, Chinese imports of textiles and apparel have been steamrollering the U.S. industry, a 1,000 percent increase in Chinese-made trousers and a 480 percent increase in cotton skirts. The surge of imports came after global textile quotas expired.
In response, the Commerce Department announced it will now release data on Chinese textile imports every two weeks instead of every seven to eight weeks. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez in a statement said, "This action demonstrates the commitment of the administration to put in place the tools necessary to enforce our trade agreements and level the playing field."
But the textile industry argues this is only a tiny step in the right direction.
AUGGIE TANTILLO, AMERICAN MANUFACTURING TRADE ACTION COALITION: To use an analogy, it's important to know the extent of the cancer within the body. But if you never take a remedy or no one takes steps to deal with the sickness, then all you're doing is standing by and watching the patient die.
SYLVESTER: The industry wants safeguards, quotas reimposed on China. U.S. textile workers say China has been grabbing market share not because U.S. companies are uncompetitive, but because the Chinese government artificially fixes its currency to boost exports and subsidizes its failing industries.
MARK LEVINSON, UNITE HERE: This is a crisis that the government really has to act now. The longer they wait, the more damage will be done.
SYLVESTER: Importers worry new quotas will hamper their business. But textile manufacturers argue, without them, tens of thousands of Americans will lose their jobs.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SYLVESTER: Unite Here, the union group for the textile and apparel workers, says in the first 60 days of this year more than 12,000 Americans have already lost their jobs, a direct result of the lifting of the quotas -- Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you very much. Lisa Sylvester from Washington.
We reported here that Vietnam is rapidly becoming a new center for American companies to export American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets. Tonight, we have for you the story of an American furniture maker that is now beginning to export highly-skilled American jobs to Vietnam. Stickley Furniture proudly calls its products "Made in America." Now some of those products will be made in Vietnam.
Mike Chinoy reports from Ho Chi Minh City.
MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chan Dinh was an Amerasian refugee. Bahai Vien fled Vietnam in a boat. Both ended up in Syracuse, New York, working with the Stickley Furniture Company, and both are now back in Vietnam, training local workers for this all- American firm's first big venture overseas.
CHAN DINH, STICKLEY FURNITURE CO. They believe in me, so that's why, you know, when they ask me, you know, to go here, I think I can help out a lot.
BAHAI VIEN, STICKLEY FURNITURE CO.: I feel proud. You know, I feel proud being a part of Stickley's family. I have the opportunity to come back in here and train. And I just feel proud.
CHINOY: With showrooms around the U.S., Stickley's 1,400 employees, including 180 Vietnamese-Americans, make what the company describes as uniquely American furniture. So when the firm decided to expand overseas, Vietnam was a natural destination. But Stickley, which hasn't laid anyone off in 30 years, says this $6 million factory isn't the typical outsourcing tale.
TOM SIEBERT, STICKLEY FURNITURE CO.: The number one strategic issue was to provide a source so Stickley could be competitive globally. So, yes, Stickley is widely known as a "Made in USA" company, but this is a broader -- this is, an addition, no layoffs.
CHINOY: But no job expansion in the U.S. either, because Vietnam offers highly-skilled craftsmen, able to do the labor-intensive work fine furniture requires for salaries of around $100 a month.
Stickley plans to start with 200 workers, but expects to hire more. The products made here initially all for export to the U.S.
(on camera): In just a few weeks, this now empty space will be humming with workers turning out furniture around the clock. A famous American brand convinced the label "Made in Vietnam" is the key to its future success.
Mine Chinoy, CNN, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
DOBBS: Stickley Furniture recently bought out one of the companies that we've profiled here in our feature series "Made in American." Stickley bought Madison Square Furniture of Hanover, Pennsylvania, with a promise that production would be moved to Syracuse, New York.
Instead, Stickley is exporting those jobs to its new facility in Vietnam. The 40 employees who handmade Madison Square's high-end furniture are now unemployed.
Former owner Mike Peterson summed up the impact our current trade policies have on American workers like those jobs at Madison Square Furniture, saying, "In this world of level playing fields for trade, we are the ones being leveled."
Coming up next, a high school massacre in Minnesota. Police have released new details about how that killer carried out the brutal attacks. The latest from Minnesota coming up next.
And a life-and-death battle for Terri Schiavo. I'll be joined by two medical ethicists and by Terri Schiavo's former legal state- appointed guardian.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Authorities in Minnesota tonight say 16-year-old Jeff Weise acted alone in the school shooting rampage that left 10 people dead. Five of those victims were students at the Red Lake Minnesota public high school. Tonight authorities say the shooter's motive is still unclear, but they say Weise posted messages on neo-Nazi Internet sites, expressing his admiration, among other things, for Adolph Hitler.
Sean Callebs reports tonight from Red Lake, Minnesota.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In northern Minnesota, a trail of tears at the Red Lake Indian Reservation. This small community, no more than 5,000, is coping with a mass killing.
DR. JOE CORSER, NORTH COUNTY REGIONAL HOSPITAL: I think everybody here understands what a huge tragedy this is for the Red Lake community. And all of us here work together with the Red Lake community on a regular basis. And many people in our community know a lot of the people from Red Lake.
CALLEBS: The suspect, 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise, apparently had a history of visiting neo-Nazi Web sites, and apparently went on a Nazi Web page where he dubbed himself the "angel of death." Then, with a handgun and shotgun, went on a shooting rampage. The FBI won't comment on Weise's alleged connection to Internet hate groups. Tribal leaders here say the community is devastated.
FLOYD JOURDAIN, RED LAKE TRIBAL CHIEF: We have never seen anything like this in the history of our tribe. And without doubt, this is the darkest days in the history of our people.
CALLEBS: The FBI says Weise apparently first killed his grandfather and his companion. The suspect's grandfather was a long- time reservation police officer.
The FBI says Weise took his grandfather's bullet-proof vest and guns and then went to Northern Minnesota High School. There he shot and killed seven and wounded many others. After exchanging gunfire with police, Weise apparently took his own life.
The FBI says there is videotape of Weise stalking the halls of the school, but say the tape and 911 calls are not being released at this time.
CALLEBS: And federal investigators also say this appears to be a well thought-out attack, but, Lou, the investigators also say that the suspect did not leave a suicide note or have a list of intended victims -- Lou.
DOBBS: Sean, thank you very much. Sean Callebs reporting from Red Lake, Minnesota.
Returning now to our top story of the evening, a life-or-death battle between the parents and husband of Terri Schiavo, with the actions of Congress and President Bush, that legal battle is now in federal court.
Joining me, Dr. David Fins. He's director of medical ethics at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. He says Congress overstepped its bounds in this case.
Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, he is director of ethics at New York Medical College and St. Vincent's Hospital, who says trying to settle a unique case like this through Congress is certainly not wise.
And from Tampa, Florida, Jay Wolfson. Jay Wolfson is the former guardian for Terri Schiavo, professor of public health and medicine at the University of South Florida, who says this matter is now obviously up to the courts to decide.
Let me turn to you, first, Jay. What is your expectation? Given that the issues are the right to life, the right to choose death in this instance, what is your expectation as to the outcome?
JAY WOLFSON, FMR. GUARDIAN FOR TERRI SCHIAVO: My crystal ball on this has not been very good, Lou, I have to tell you. And I think it's certainly in the hands of the court to determine whether or not the lower federal court acted properly in its interpretation of the rules and the facts in the case to determine that there was no reasonable prospect for success, which is part of their first job.
And then the three-panel judge will make a ruling. It will either be to send the case back for additional consideration, to reject the case entirely, or to say that they need to do something specific.
DOBBS: And we should point out that you have read nearly all of the documents filed in this case, as I understand it, in your role as the state-appointed guardian. The medical evidence before you, you have examined more closely than nearly anyone.
What is your assessment as to, A, her prognosis? And secondly, the proper course for the law to take here now that it has moved beyond an individual and family decision? What is the proper course in your best judgment?
WOLFSON: That's a tough question, Lou. You're dealing with Terri's family...
JAY WOLFSON, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA: That's a tough question, Lou. You're dealing with Terri's family, Mr. and Mrs. Schindler, who are loving, caring, very decent people. You're dealing with her husband who honestly and sincerely believes he's fulfilling her intentions.
And you're dealing with Florida laws, and rules of evidence, rules of civil prosecures and guardianship principles that were established over 15 years of bipartisan, political and legal interaction to create the law. And it was that body of evidence, that body of law and those rules that established a competent basis for clear and convincing evidence to establish that she was in a persistent vegetative state. And that Michael's expressions of her intentions were adequate.
But now we have something else happening. We haev the federal government intervening in the life of an individual, the life of a family. It could be any of us at any time, and it's distinctive. Something like this hasn't happened before, and part of it's political, part of it's incredibly emotional. I don't think it's easy for us to pass judgment on what might happen, and whether it's good or bad. The bottom line is is it going to have a useful effect for Terri Schiavo?
DOBBS: Your judgment?
WOLFSON: I hope so. I hope it will be to her benefit.
DOBBS: Dr. Fins, your best assessment? You have said here that you believe that Congress overstepped its bounds, and by definition, President Bush as well. As Jay Wolfson points out, the Florida courts, the Florida legal system has worked here. It has involved legal guardians, the intersession of Jeb Bush, the governor of the state of Florida, the president's brother. The conflict between the family and Michael Schiavo, her husband, how is this to be, in your best judgment, resolved in the interest of Terri Schiavo herself?
DR. JOSEPH FINS, DIRECTOR OF MEDICAL ETHICS: Well, I think Jay Wolfson, first of all, should be congratulated for his evenhanded approach to this. If perhaps someone like Jay Wolfson had been available early on as an ethics consultant, we wouldn't be here early on talking about this. And that is how most these cases are resolved on a day to day basis. This is a singular case, but this case is being repeated every day in every hospital across the country.
And I'm concerned that it sets bad precedent. And it also gives false hope to families who have patients who are -- loved ones who are in vegetative states, alleging that there's something to be done for them. And I think part of the problem here is it's raising false hopes and false expectations that will never be realized to the heartbreak of all.
DOBBS: For those patients who are in a, quote/unquote, persistent...
FINS: Permanent vegetative state.
DOBBS: In this instance, where we've now, after 15 years, 15 years since this -- the incipient event took place that lead to where we are today, we've got to do better than this as a society. We've got to do better than as a -- with the federal government and state government.
What do you gentlemen -- doctor, do you believe should be done?
DR. DANIEL SULMASY, DIRECTOR OF ETHICS: Well, I think I agree with Dr. Fins, first of all, that most cases don't get to this kind of level of animosity among family members. And that's part of the real tragedy of this case, the sort of level of animosity and the suffering. Your heart has to go out to the members of the family and to Terri -- and to Terri Schiavo at the sort of core -- core of this. I think that dr. Fins is right, that do things like having advanced directives, living wills, powers of attorney for healthcare, healthcare proxies may help to avoid these kinds of things.
DOBBS: Making clear your preferences should tragedy befall.
SULMASY: That's correct.
DOBBS: You, each member of your family, and in certain states it's absolutely critical, because otherwise there is no -- no mechanism to move forward to an intelligence, compassionate resolution.
FINS: And one of ironies, I think, I agree with Dr. Sulmacy, is that the very year the patient self determination act was passed, was the same year Terri Schiavo lost consciousness. So, she did not have the opportunity to be a recipient of the cultural landscape where advanced directives were part of every day practice. And she really -- this happened before America began to talk about this kind of advanced care planning. Maybe that's the silver lining to talk about these things ahead of time. DOBBS: Jay Wolfson, in examining the documents that you did, is it -- is it clear, is it settled in your mind what Terri Schiavo's wishes were?
WOLFSON: I spent the better part of a month with Terri every day, Lou. I held her hand. I put her face in my hands. I looked in her eyes. I tried so desperately to elicit a response that I could determine was consistent, was repetitive, as opposed to random. That's what I went in seeking to do, because we weigh in for life as opposed to death. And people say you want Terri die. I don't want Terri to die. I don't want my 97-year-old mother to die.
The evidence that was admitted to court -- the evidence that was in this case, was predicated on the Florida rules of evidence, and the Florida rules of civil procedure and the Florida guardianship laws. And those are similar to many other states. And you either believe Michael, and you believe the people who testified, his brother and his sister in-law or you don't. And if you don't believe what they're saying about her best interests, then nothing anybody says will ever change your mind. And her parents have said, and again they're wonderful people, that even if she had a living will, they would fight not to have it enforced.
DOBBS: And in the state of Texas, President Bush when governor, signed into law the futile care law, in which a direct mechanism is put forward that would involve a case just like Terri Schiavo's, and would lead to the resolution that she would be permitted to die.
FINS: Except what we have here is evidence of her wishes, so we're not declaring futility, so much as respecting what she wanted. And I think that's an important distinction. And I would be against withdrawing care on grounds of economic considerations, because...
DOBBS: Which is part of the Texas law, by the way.
FINS: Right. Because I think that the pool of money is essentially unlimited. We don't have a closed system where the benefits accrues back to people who don't have access to care, for example. So I think that -- that is over-going -- overstepping in the other direction. And I would be opposed to that provision.
SULMASY: And I'd actually disagree that the care for her is futile in a narrow, biomedical sense. I mean, they've proven they can keep her alive doing this, so that when that is established, that's it's not futile, that it actually does work, then you have to fall to the question of what's in her best interests? What are her wishes? And I think it ought to be...
FINS: And what are the goals of care. I mean, the goals are, you know, futility vis-a-vis nutrition, no. But as far as gaining consciousness and sentience, it is futile.
DOBBS: A difficult and tragic case for all of us to grapple with, to understand. One can only imagine the pain for all of Terri Schiavo's family members, and for all directly involved.
We thank you for being here, Dr. Sulmacy, Dr. Fins. Jay Wolfson, thank you very much.
WOLFSON: You're welcome. Thank you.
DOBBS: Coming up next here, why our government's failure to enforce our immigration laws led one community to declare a state of emergency.
And the "Assault on the Middle Class" in this country, why millions of seniors who work for decades to fund their pensions are do find those pensions absolutely worthless, thanks to, in many cases, corporate America. Stay with us.
COOPER: A county commission in Idaho is trying to fight what they call an invasion of illegal aliens. Commissioner Robert Vazquez (ph) asked the governor on behalf of the commission, the governor of Idaho to declare Canyon County, Idaho a disaster area, thereby qualifying for federal aid. The governor denied that request. Vazquez says, he wanted to reimburse area hospitals and police for costs associated with the invasion of illegal aliens to his county. Robert Vasquez joins us now from Boyce, Idaho.
Good to have you with us, commissioner.
ROBERT VASQUEZ, COMMISSIONER, CANYON COUNTY, IDAHO: Good to be here. Thank you very much, Mr. Dobbs.
DOBBS: The documents that you put forward, sent to the governor, very clear, talking about health issues, talking about crime and police issues, talking about all of the burdens that are resulting on the institutions of your county, your community in that county. What was his response?
VASQUEZ: The governor disagreed with my interpretation of what constitutes a disaster. He indicated that because the chairman had not issued the declaration, it was invalid.
DOBBS: But the other commissioners did vote on the matter?
VASQUEZ: That's correct. It's a three-member commission. Commissioner David Ferdinand and myself voted to send this forward and to establish a disaster declaration.
DOBBS: What, in your judgment, made you think this qualified as a disaster? What percentage of an increase in your hospital -- the burdens on your hospitals, your police, your health agencies resulted that would cause you to do this?
VASQUEZ: Well, we've had an approximately 780-some percent increase in expenditures on illegal aliens in the last five years. The percentage of funds that are expended for prisoners when they're brought into our county jail has also increased. We're spending about $34,000 over the last two years on 728 prisoners that were brought into our county jail. We've expended over $1 million in the catastrophic fund, over $333,000 from the county welfare funds. We cannot continue to absorb those costs. I don't know what else would constitute an emergency.
DOBBS: Have you had an opportunity to the talk with the governor, to talk with the state attorney general, Mr. Vasquez, about the burden that your county is suffering, and what the prospects are for some relief?
VASQUEZ: Yes. We've not had a direct sit-down mano-a-mano type conversation. I have on occasion discussed the issue with all of our elected officials, including Senator Craig.
DOBBS: Senator Craig, as you well know, is one of the people sponsoring the ag workers' bill that would basically give effectively amnesty for half a million migrant workers in this country. Is that part of what's attracting -- that is, agricultural work in your state -- attracting illegal aliens to your community, to your county?
VASQUEZ: Well, that would be the lure. I think agriculture is what brings them into the community, but they don't stay in agriculture. Certainly if that were the case, we would not have the influx of illegal aliens into the county. They would stay where they were, working in agriculture, and not moving into other job sectors.
DOBBS: What about the employers who are drawing, if you will, those illegal aliens into your community, forcing that burden on your taxpayers, your community? What about assessing, if you will, levying some sort of tax, or seeking to recover costs from those employers who are, A, breaking the law, but B, creating all of the problems that you are cataloging?
VASQUEZ: That would be the next step in my effort. I've billed Mexico $2 million, I've tried to have the county declared a disaster area. What we've done now is, we've contacted a law firm out of Illinois who is an expert in RICO statutes, and we're going to attempt to go after the employers of illegal aliens to try to stop this drain on jobs from Idahoans, and on our economy.
DOBBS: Mr. Vasquez, we appreciate your being here, and we wish you well.
VASQUEZ: Thank you very much, Mr. Dobbs.
DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight. The question is, Do you believe President Bush and President Fox are truly interested in creating maximum border security or furthering already lax immigration enforcement?
Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results for you here in just a few minutes.
And how the young and the old alike are teaming up against President Bush's plan for Social Security. That story is coming up next. Please stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: An unlikely alliance in the fight against the president's so-called Social Security reform. AARP and Rock the Vote are teaming up in an effort to educate younger workers about what the AARP calls the consequences of those private accounts.
Dana Bash reports from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At AARP, they draw battle plans against the president on Social Security.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we've had a lot of conversations about how we reach out to the 30- to 45-year-olds.
BASH: Thirty-five-year-olds, the AARP? You heard right. The granddaddy of seniors' groups is targeting younger people to oppose private accounts in Social Security with an edgy new $10 million ad campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, TV COMMERCIAL)
ANNOUNCER: So why dismantle Social Security?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: CEO Bill Novelli explains, the majority of AARP's 35 million members are already convinced. Younger workers, the president's target, are not.
BILL NOVELLI, CEO, AARP: Even though we are not well versed at communicating to younger people, we're going to do it.
BASH: With cross-generational help from youth-focused Rock the Vote. Wristbands, posters, buttons, "I Love Social Security" is the campaign, a unique role for Rock the Vote. They want young people skeptical about seeing any Social Security at all to think hard before backing private accounts.
HANS REIMER, WASHINGTON DIRECTOR, ROCK THE VOTE: They will be stuck with paying back a very large debt for their entire life in order to transition through these systems.
BASH: Together, Rock the Vote and AARP are working the grassroots, organizing town hall meetings for younger people, like this one in Michigan, with older people, like the longest-serving member of the House, John Dingell.
AARP worked with the White House to pass a prescription drug benefit for Medicare. As a result, 70,000 members resigned in protest. Conservative critics accuse AARP of fighting personal accounts to win back traditional Democratic support. They're trying to discredit the group.
CHARLIE JARVIS, CHAIRMAN, USA NEXT: They are our opponent. They are the largest left-liberal lobbying organization on this planet. BASH: For now, the president and his allies are trying a more diplomatic approach, like this appeal in New Mexico.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I want to say to our friends in AARP -- and they are my friends in AARP -- come to the table with us.
BASH (on camera): AARP says they'll work with the White House, but not until they give up private accounts. And listening to the president in the 20 states he's pitched his plan, he's not ready to do that, at least not yet.
Dana Bash, CNN, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
DOBBS: Taking a look at some of your thoughts, writing in about the failure of the U.S. government to protect our borders.
Kendra in Lakeland, Florida: "There are no illegal immigrants. They are illegal aliens. To call them immigrants is an insult to those people who have entered this country by legal means."
Chris, in Phoenix, Arizona: "Lou, we're spending a lot of money on Homeland Security to frisk grandmothers and teenagers, but roll out the welcome mat to anyone that makes it 30 miles north of the Mexican border."
Elizabeth Windsor in Massachusetts: "Lou, I am a single mother of two boys working three jobs to make sure I can insure health care, milk, gas, and heating oil. I work very hard to provide for my kids and qualify for no assistance from the government. Perhaps I should renounce my citizenship, leave the country and re-enter it illegally. Then my family could qualify for healthcare, food stamps, fuel assistance and education benefits!"
Travis Daniels in San Diego: "Has anybody thought about how strange it is that the president of one country wants the president of another country to allow his citizens to flee across the border? Most presidents would want their people to stay."
Glenda Boyd in Birmingham, Alabama: "How can we encourage respect for our laws on one hand, and facilitate people breaking our immigration laws on the other? This is insanity."
And Dan at Poy Sippi, Wisconsin: "Uncle Sam needs to see a psychiatrist as our conflicted policies on immigration seem to be symptomatic of schizophrenia!"
Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com. Each of you whose e-mail is red gets a copy of my book, "Exporting America."
Coming up next, hear our "Special Report" on the assault on this nation's middle class: why millions of Americans could be in danger of losing their pensions. That story's next; stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Taxpayers may soon find themselves picking up the tab for promises made and abandoned by corporate America. If they don't, millions of senior citizens may find themselves with worthless pensions.
Bill Tucker reports.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The pensions of 44 million Americans are potentially at risk. The agency that ensures those pensions is in danger of not having enough money to guarantee them. It's a complex problem with a simple bottom line.
BRADLEY BENT, EXEC. DIR., PBGC: Simply put, companies have over- promised and under-delivered. They have not adequately funded the pension promises they made to their workers and retirees.
TUCKER: Underfunded to the tune of $450 billion. One quarter of that belongs to companies which are likely to unload that are pension plan obligations because of financial difficulties, companies such as bankrupt United Airlines, which is negotiating handing off two of its pension plans to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, and that could mean its retires lose promised benefits.
DAVID JOHN, HERTIAGE FOUNDATION: You may have somebody who has played by the rules his entire career, and he wakes up one morning, after being told that his pension completely safe, to discover he will suffer a major decrease in his monthly income. These are the guys that are the real victims of this.
TUCKER: One of those guys is Ed Clark. For 37 years, he worked for United Airlines. He took an early retirement after being convinced by the company that it offered the best deal. He's now being told his pension income could be cut by a third to one half.
ED CLARK, UAL RETIREE: We might have to sell and downsize, might have to go out and get a part-time job, maybe driving a school bus. I don't know, but as far as getting back in the aviation industry, I don't think that's going to happen in my case, because they're outsourcing the jobs now to overseas companies.
TUCKER: The PBGC is supposed to be funded by the companies who participate.
TUCKER (on-camera): Now, United says its cuts are necessary to save the airline, but the fear is if United unloads its pensions, other airlines will following suit, driving PBGC into bankruptcy, forcing a taxpayer bailout, Lou. The companies would be off the hook, put the taxpayers on the hook, for what amounts to corporate irresponsibility.
DOBBS: It's the end of corporate responsibility in this country by all appearances, and as I've called several times for, we might as well nationalize this airline industry, because right now the taxpayers are paying for it and everyone should lift the veil from their eyes. The taxpayers are paying the way; it at least should be run well, and it would be that if we nationalized it.
Bill Tucker, thank you.
Still ahead here, we'll have the results of our poll tonight, a preview of what's ahead tomorrow. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Results of our poll, overwhelming. 98 percent of you say President Bush, President Fox, more interested in furthering already lax immigration enforcement.
Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. The author of the book, "The Purpose-Driven Life," Pastor Rick Warren, is my guest. Also, a leading U.S. Senator will be here to talk about our escalating energy crisis in this country. We hope you will be with us. For all of us here, we thank you for being with us tonight. Good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is coming up next.
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