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Nuclear Reversal; Bush and Blair; Milk in Danger?; Invasive Species Damage; GM Announces Layoffs; Europe and Religion; Military Procurement Scandal

Aired June 7, 2005 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, is our nation's milk supply safe? Hundreds of thousands of Americans could be killed if terrorists succeed in poisoning our milk supply.

General Motors announces massive job cuts. Our automobile industry is under siege. Can U.S. car companies survive the onslaught?

And non-indigenous plant and animal species are invading the country, threatening our environment and costing the United States billions of dollars each year. We'll have a special report.

Our top story tonight, a major reversal by North Korea and its nuclear standoff with the United States. North Korea now says it will return to six-country talks about its escalating nuclear weapons program after a year's absence. It was only four months ago that Pyongyang threatened to turn U.S. military bases into "a sea of fire" if the United States attacked North Korea.

Dana Bash at the White House with the report.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Lou, it's a diplomatic breakthrough that has the White House certainly breathing a sigh of relief. The Bush administration has been trying very hard to get North Korea back to those six-party talks, even over the last couple of days, letting some mixed messages get out about whether or not the U.S. was ready to just give up on the talks altogether and instead go to the United Nations and pursue sanctions.

But North Korean diplomats did tell U.S. officials yesterday in New York that they would agree to restart these talks over their nuclear program. But they did not say when. We are hearing, though, from China, from its ambassador to the U.N., that perhaps they would take place in the next few weeks in Beijing.

It is certainly important for the White House after a year of no diplomatic discussion at all over North Korea's nuclear program, but it is increasingly concerned. The White House is very concerned that over the past year North Korea really developed and stepped up its production of nuclear material, perhaps even making more nuclear weapons. But it is important to note, Lou, that these were negotiations over negotiations, if you will. That it is still very much an open question of what will come of these talks when they happen. Again, we expect that perhaps in the next several weeks. The U.S. has made it clear that they did not offer any new incentives, no new proposals in order to get North Korea back to the table.


DOBBS: Dana, thank you. Dana Bash from the White House.

President Bush and his closest foreign ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, today met at the White House. The war in Iraq among the top issues.

Bill Schneider has our report.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well Lou, you could call this the summit of the survivors. Both leaders survived their reelection efforts, despite voter backlash against the war in Iraq.

Blair came to Washington looking for payback from Bush, specifically on the issue of Africa. That's always been high on his agenda. He didn't get everything he wanted from Bush, but he got some additional commitment of aid and debt forgiveness.

But the Iraq issue was the elephant in the room, the issue that the two leaders could not ignore. Here's what they had to say about Iraq.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our strategy is clear. We're training Iraqi forces so they can take the fight to the enemy, so they can defend their country. And then our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.



TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: On the Middle East and the Middle East peace process, of course we had a discussion about this. I would just like to emphasize, again, the vital necessity of making sure that democracy succeeds in Iraq.

Our troops work together very, very closely there. And I would like to pay tribute not just to the bravery of the British troops that work there, and other coalition troops, but to the United States forces that do such a magnificent job there, and often in very, very difficult circumstances. And yet it is absolutely vital for the security not just of that country and of that region, but of the world that we succeed in Iraq.


SCHNEIDER: Now, voters in both the United States and Britain are losing confidence in this Iraq policy. In May, both -- most Americans said it was not worth going to war in Iraq. And in April, by 2-1, the British said they did not support the war in Iraq.

Now, one question that emerged in this press conference was concerning a memo. In the summer of 2002, a foreign ministry official in Britain wrote a memo to the Blair government reporting on what a British intelligence official concluded after he visited Washington.

The memo said, "Military action was now seen as inevitable. The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." This was eight months before the war in Iraq.

Bush and Blair today both denied that the U.S. was already determined to go to war or that the facts were being manipulated. Bush even hinted that the memo was leaked in the heat of the British political campaign for political reasons.


BUSH: Somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to go -- to use military force to deal with Saddam. There's nothing farther from the truth.

My conversations with the prime minister was, how can we do this peacefully? What could we do? And in this meeting, you know, evidently it took place in London, happened before we even went to the United Nations -- or I went to the United Nations. And so it's - look, both of us didn't want to use our military.


SCHNEIDER: This raises the question, was that memo from the summer of 2002 incorrect or fraudulent? What we're faced here with is two conflicting accounts.


DOBBS: Bill Schneider. Thank you very much.


DOBBS: On Capitol Hill today, another of President Bush's judicial nominees is tonight headed for a final confirmation vote. The Senate is expected to confirm Justice Janice Rogers Brown tomorrow to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats had delayed her confirmation for two years.

Ed Henry reports from Capitol Hill.


ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Lou. A big victory for President Bush in his effort to reshape some of the most influential courts in America. In this case, as you mentioned, the Senate voted to end this two-year filibuster of Janice Rogers Brown. She got 65 votes, five more than she needed to actually break the filibuster.

There will be more debate tomorrow on Brown. But now that she's cleared this hurdle, the way has been paved for her to face a confirmation vote Wednesday about 5:00 p.m.

Then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist hopes to move to a procedural vote on William Prior, yet another one of President Bush's stalled judicial nominees.

What's at stake here is the president is basically trying to tip the balance on some of these key courts in the so-called culture wars on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage. That's why this affects people all across the country. And that's why it's not just an arcane procedural debate about filibusters, and that's also why it made for a very fiery debate on the Senate floor today.

Here's Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Jeff Sessions.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Again, what does Janice Rogers Brown want to be nominated for, dictator, or grand exalted ruler? Please.



SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: He said this: did she want to be a grand exalted ruler? Was that some reference to the Ku Klux Klan?

This African-American, from my home state of Alabama, who left as a teenager, I'm sure one reason -- to go to California. One reason she left was for discrimination and segregation that existed in rural Alabama where she grew up at that time. The daughter of sharecroppers, to have it suggested that somehow her ideas are consistent with the Ku Klux Klan is really offensive to me.


HENRY: I mentioned at the top that this was a political victory for the president.

Also, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist feeling pretty good about all of this. As you know, he's taken some lumps over the fact that he was cut out of that filibuster deal. He also got beaten up a little bit about losing the initial vote over John Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Frist now feeling good that he's making some progress on some of these judicial nominations, but at this point the Bolton nomination is still stalled.


DOBBS: And we thank you, Ed Henry, from Capitol Hill.

A top-level urgent meeting today between the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Academy of Sciences. At issue, the terrorist threat to our nation's milk supply. The federal government is urging the National Academy of Sciences to not release its new report on bioterrorism because, it says, that report could teach terrorists how to carry out the poisoning of our milk supply.

Jeanne Meserve reports from Washington.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Terrorists could buy botulism toxin or make it, the paper theorizes. If they then poured it into a milk tank on a farm or truck, the paper says 100,000 gallons of milk could be contaminated.

Some of the toxin would survive pasteurization. And large numbers of people, including children, would drink it and die before the problem was discovered.

The National Academy of Sciences posted the paper, which included specifics about dosages and casualties, on a password-protected part of a Web site used by reporters. When the Department of Health and Human Services got wind that it was going to be published in the National Academy journal, Assistant Secretary Stewart Simonson wrote the academy asking them not to publish, saying, "The article is a roadmap for terrorists, and publication is not in the interests of the United States."

RICHARD FALKENRATH, SECURITY ANALYST: The government has a responsibility not to simplify mass casualty terrorism. And so when it has an opportunity to delay the release of information that would assist very particular mass casualty terrorist attacks, that, I think, is an appropriate action for them.

MESERVE: The academy pulled the article from its Web site and this afternoon is meeting with Health and Human Services before making a next step. The cat is already out of the bag, however.

Before it was pulled, the paper was downloaded from the academy Web site, and Professor Wein has published its broad outlines in an op-ed in "The New York Times."


MESERVE: Experts say milk, like so many other parts of the food supply, is vulnerable. Professor Wein makes some specific suggestions on how to make it safer, including improving pasteurization to eliminate more toxins and testing milk trucks for toxins before they unload, just the way they're tested now for residues of antibiotics, and making voluntary milk safety measures mandatory.

And Lou, let me tell you that what we've told you about this scenario is nothing like the sort of specific detail that has the government so upset.

DOBBS: Absolutely. And very important to point out, Jeanne.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, is famous for having said he does not understand why terrorists have not attacked our food supply, Jeanne.

Precisely, what is the Health and Human Services Department doing to deal with that still very large threat?

MESERVE: Well, actually, this is -- a number of different departments within the federal government have some play in this -- the Food and Drug Administration actually more than any other. We're going to be talking with them in some more detail tomorrow about some of the specific things they've been doing.

Richard Falkenrath, who we interviewed this afternoon, who is a former Department of Homeland Security official, insists that this is one area where vulnerabilities are recognized. He says that money is being spent to try and address some of the things that are apparently of concern.

DOBBS: Jeanne Meserve from Washington. Thank you.

MESERVE: You bet.

DOBBS: Still ahead, American troops launch a new offensive against insurgents and terrorists in Iraq. We will have exclusive video.

And scathing criticism of top Pentagon officials tonight. A huge scandal widening over a multibillion-dollar defense contract with Boeing.


DOBBS: Insurgents today killed 14 Iraqis in a series of coordinated bomb attacks in the town of Hawija near Kirkuk. Thirty- nine other people were wounded in the attacks.

Those attacks targeted Iraqi army checkpoints in and around Hawija. Most of the dead were Iraqi civilians. The Iraqi army defused a fourth bomb before it exploded.

An American soldier was killed today in a joint U.S.-Iraqi offensive in northwestern Iraq. About 600 American soldiers and 200 Iraqi troops are taking part in that offensive in the town of Tal Afar. The troops have killed three suspected insurgents; 28 others have been captured. Tal Afar is close to the Syrian border. Iraqi insurgents and foreign terrorists are using Syria as a base to launch attacks in Iraq.

Damning criticism of the Pentagon tonight in a scandal over a multibillion-dollar contract for Boeing refueling aircraft. They Pentagon's inspector general declared top defense officials failed to secure the best deal for taxpayers. Supporters of the deal originally said the contract would save the Pentagon millions of dollars in development costs that could be spent on other military projects.

Jamie McIntyre reports.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Pentagon's inspector general concludes that in 2001, the Air Force was so anxious to replace its aging fleet of KC-135 refueling planes, that officials basically ignored the rules and tried to strike a sweetheart deal with Boeing.

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The problems associated with the contract lease represent the most significant defense procurement mismanagement in contemporary history.

MCINTYRE: Congress eventually killed the plan to convert 100 Boeing 767 airliners to tankers and lease them for 10 years at a cost of $23.5 billion. The inspector general's report uncovered internal emails from as far back as 2002 showing many Pentagon officials thought the deal was a boondoggle.

One deputy in the Pentagon Comptroller's Office wrote, "Since we all know this is just a bailout for Boeing, why don't we just bite the bullet and do what we did when we were bailing Douglas out on the KC- 10s? We didn't need those aircraft either, but we didn't screw the taxpayer in the process."

The Pentagon report concluded when the Air Force struck the deal with Boeing in 2001, it had neither identified nor funded any urgent need to replace the old KC-135s.

(on camera): Many parts of the 256-page report were blacked out at the insistence of the White House, prompting critics in Congress to question whether that was an effort to shield a top administration official who may have pushed for the deal. The White House called the redactions a "jurisdictional matter," and rejected any suggestion it was an attempt to hide wrongdoing.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


DOBBS: Whistleblower Tommy Hook is recovering tonight from a severe beating that left him hospitalized. Hook is a former internal auditor at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Hook was scheduled to testify later this month before a congressional committee investigating financial improprieties and management failures at the atomic laboratory, which is run by the University of California. Hook's wife and his attorney say the assault Sunday is an effort to silence Hook.

Coming up next, our automobile industry is under siege. Tonight, tens of thousands of job cuts at one of the nation's oldest carmakers. We'll have a special report. And stealing Hollywood, one production at a time. How foreign countries are luring one of our most valued industries out of the country.


DOBBS: No good news from the world's number one automaker. General Motors today announced plans to cut 25,000 jobs over the next three years. Seventeen percent of its American workforce will lose their jobs. While foreign carmakers continue to increase their market share, the second oldest U.S. carmaker is slashing jobs and cutting back production.

Christine Romans reports.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every time a car rolls off the General Motors assembly line in the United States, the company loses $1,100. That brutal math will cost 25,000 GM employees their jobs. And it's got GM chief Rick Wagoner, like so many other CEOs, looking East for cheaper components made by cheaper labor.

RICK WAGONER, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS: We're reenergizing our global sourcing efforts.

ROMANS: Translation...

PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Clearly, it's his strategy to move his car-making capabilities to China, where he can do better. Rather than address the problems here at home, he's just running off to where he can find some cheap labor in a favorable currency environment.

ROMANS: Indeed, today's terrible news for American workers is good for the Chinese.

MICHAEL BEE, BOYD WATTERSON ASSET MANAGEMENT: In GM's case, the average worker in this country is getting about $54. And then in China, it's about $5.50 per hour. Even though the average worker in China makes about $100 a month, GM is paying them $200 a week.

ROMANS: That lure of cheaper Chinese wages has decimated the U.S. manufacturing employment base. And these 25,000 workers are just the latest.

Three million manufacturing jobs have been lost over the last five years. And many fear even more blood-letting. After these cuts, GM will still be dramatically larger than its foreign competitors in this country, who are consistently eating away GM's market share.


ROMANS: That old axiom -- as goes GM, so goes the economy -- may be outdated, but even today, more than a million people's livelihoods are directly tied to GM. Dealers, retirees, parts makers, and the steel workers, all of those people feeling it today, certainly. Twenty-five thousand jobs lost at GM. That -- that hurts.

DOBBS: And it's clear that if Rick Wagoner has his way, the CEO intends to move more of those jobs offshore.

ROMANS: That's what he says.

DOBBS: Christine, thank you. Christine Romans.

While U.S. carmakers say they have to turn overseas in order to make a profit, foreign carmakers continue to claim more of the U.S. market share. Toyota, Honda and Nissan now control more than 30 percent of the richest automobile market in the world, the American market.

Toyota and Nissan have expanded their share of the American market for eight straight months, in fact. Last month alone, Nissan sales rose more than 15 percent, setting a new record for monthly gains. Toyota's sales rose 8 percent. Meanwhile, General Motors and Ford sales fell 5 percent and 3 percent respectively.

Our quote of the day tonight comes from none other than General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner. As we heard in Christine's report, Wagoner outlined one of GM's cost-cutting strategies as follows -- and we quote -- "First, we are reenergizing our global sourcing efforts. While we've had an effective approach in purchasing for a number of years, our move to a global product development system, accompanied by the emergence of excellent supply capability and lower-cost markets, provide us with some real cost-savings opportunities."

If not concise, at least the result is clear. More outsourcing at General Motors.

That brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. Do you believe foreign carmakers will overtake American carmakers? Yes, in less than three years, yes, in less than 10, yes in less than 20, or no?

Please cast your vote at Results coming up later.

Another important American industry is also suffering job losses. Hollywood film and television productions exported to Canada. The reason, the Canadian government is increasing subsidies that give Canadian production companies an advantage over American companies.

American labor unions say foreign subsidies have already wiped out tens of thousands of jobs in this country.

Casey Wian has the story from Los Angeles.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're on "The Wrong Coast."

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "The Wrong Coast" began as an American produced and written TV show, a clay puppet satirical comedy poking fun at entertainment news shows. But it wound up in Canada. The original American producers say they were frozen out of the show because the Canadian government offers huge financial incentives to lure productions away from the United States.

Now the producers have a $20 million claim against the Canadian government, alleging it put them out of work in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

BOB UNDERWOOD, TV WRITER-PRODUCER: This is not outsourcing to India, where people are getting a lot less money. This is outsourcing to Canada, where people are getting the kinds of salaries that Americans would be happy to have. But those salaries are being underwritten by the Canadian government with the express intent of destroying the job market, or destroying a big piece of it.

WIAN: Canadian film subsidies can cut production labor costs by as much as 40 percent. Hollywood labor unions say that's wiped out more than 20,000 American jobs and is a $10 billion-a-year drain on the U.S. economy.

Emmy winning visual effects producer Tim McHugh is a leader of Hollywood's effort to stop so-called runaway production which started in Canada in the late 1990s.

TIM MCHUGH, FILM & TV ACTION COMMITTEE: They were the first out of the gate. They developed the model. Since that time, up to 21 other nations, I believe, are subsidizing in one way or another.

Now my friends who are producers and production managers say the studios tell them, "Budget the show for Canada, budget the show for Australia, budget the show for Eastern Europe. Don't bother budgeting for America. They're not interested in making a film here."

WIAN: So "Chicago" was shot in Toronto, and the Civil War film "Cold Mountain" was made in Romania.

(on camera): McHugh's group is raising money to petition the Bush administration to take action against foreign film subsidies that destroy U.S. jobs. And several states are fighting back with tax breaks of their own in an attempt to keep TV and film jobs at home.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


DOBBS: During the presidential campaign, there was a lot of speculation and discussion about the relative intelligence of the two candidates. According to their college transcripts from Yale, both John Kerry and George Bush were mediocre students, posting gentlemanly Ds, in fact.

John Kerry received four Ds in his freshman year at Yale, including one in political science. Kerry managed to graduate with a solid C average.

President Bush, for his part, earned one D while he was at Yale. That was in astronomy. President Bush managed to best Senator Kerry's overall average, but only by a point, 77-76.

Good work, gentlemen.

Coming up next, the fight to stop the Minuteman Project's expansion into Texas. We'll tell you why one state senator says he doesn't want so-called vigilantes in his state.

Also ahead, God and politics. I'll be talking with a world-renown theologian who warns the decline of Christianity in Europe could lead to serious, serious consequences for the United States.

And thousands of invasive foreign animal and plant species are wreaking havoc on our environment, causing billions of dollars in damage. We'll have that report and I'll be talking with a leading scientist about these invasive species and the result on our ecological system, next.


DOBBS: The Minuteman Project, which calls itself the nation's largest Neighborhood Watch program, has announced plans to begin patrolling the Texas border with Mexico beginning in October.

The Minutemen successfully patrolled the busiest stretch of the Arizona border with Mexico in April without incident, and with great success. In spite of that, Texas State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa introduced a resolution that would have blocked the Minuteman Project from expanding into Texas. In a statement, Senator Hinojosa said -- quote -- "I have faith in our law enforcement agencies to do their job. The last thing they need is interference from untrained individuals, who could ultimately pose serious danger to citizens and immigrants along the border region."

Texas State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa joins us tonight from Austin. Good to have you with us.


DOBBS: Why, Senator, are you concerned, addressing as you did the idea that Governor Perry should actually stop the Minutemen?

HINOJOSA: Lou, first of all, the border area with Mexico is very urbanized in Texas. I don't think that the Minutemen could tell the difference between a citizen and an illegal alien, where 85 percent of the people, citizens along the border are of Hispanic descent.

Second of all, our Neighborhood Watches are very successful. They know the area. They know the community. And they're very familiar. When they suspect anything suspicious or a suspicious person, they report it and cooperate with law enforcement.

We don't need outside people coming into the area. They can come and visit, be tourists and spend money, but I don't see what they're going to do down there to help in any way to try and stem the flow of illegal aliens into our country.

DOBBS: Well, as you know, the State Department has put out, Senator, a warning to all Americans along the border, both Texas residents and tourists, to avoid the Mexican border and the border area in Texas, among other parts of the Southwest, because of the rampant violence. The Minutemen, for example, along the busiest stretch of illegal immigration, that is the Arizona border, did a superb job.

Why are you concerned?

HINOJOSA: Well, first of all, the Minutemen are not trained to deal with illegal aliens. Second of all, if you look at the area in Arizona where they patrolled, it was open area, a lot of public land.

In Texas, most of the land along the border is owned by private folks. There are ranches that are owned by private individuals. They will be trespassing.

Let me also add that the violence that has taken place along the border is on the Mexican side of the border. It's the drug cartels who are fighting for turf. It has not impacted the U.S. side.

DOBBS: Right.

HINOJOSA: I'll agree -- I'll agree that we need to strengthen security along the border and tighten immigration control at the border, but this is not the way to do it.

DOBBS: Well you know, while you say you've got great faith in our law enforcement agencies, the Texas border, like the Arizona border, the New Mexico border, the California border, is absolutely porous. Illegal aliens are raging across the border unimpeded, basically.

If one takes the typical historical ratio, if one illegal alien is apprehended by the Border Patrol, that means that three others have crossed successfully.

Why would you not welcome volunteers that would perform the Neighborhood Watch?

President Bush himself, with the Freedom Corps, invites volunteerism. It's a great tradition in this country. We have volunteer fire departments. We have Neighborhood Watch. Why -- why -- I don't quite understand why you're so concerned.

HINOJOSA: Well, vigilance does not equal vigilante. Let me tell you, Neighborhood Watches are made up of local citizens, local communities that take care of this issue. We don't need people coming in from the outside. I want to also point out that President Bush also supports the law enforcement. He's increased Border Patrol agents. He's increased the number of Customs...

DOBBS: Oh, Senator, come on. Two hundred Border Patrol agents in this year's budget? That is a joke. It is laughable. And I can't believe you would even raise the issue. It's -- that is an absolute travesty, if you're seriously interested in border security.

HINOJOSA: Well, I agree, that we need more money. We need more Border Patrol agents along the border -- not only on the southern border with Mexico, but in Canada. You know, I must remind people that the terrorists came in through Canada, not the Mexican border. But we need to find a way to control immigration for our country.


DOBBS: But Senator, just as you point that out, we've also had the arrest of a number of terror suspects that have crossed the southern border. And in point of fact, I want to turn to Governor Perry, who said, basically -- and if I can quote this, I want to get your reaction -- responding to our request for a comment today, he said, "as you know, I did not invite the Minuteman Project to Texas, nor do I or any other elected official have the authority to prevent law-abiding citizens from traveling to and from or within the state. With that said, I fully understand and can appreciate the frustration that many Texans and others across the nation have with illegal immigration and its potential impact on our national security. The federal government can and must do more to close the door to illegal immigration."

Governor Perry is basically saying that this problem has to be dealt with.

HINOJOSA: I agree with that statement. There is nothing wrong with that statement.

DOBBS: Then how would you suggest, sir, that if you're concerned that border -- the Border Patrol can do an effective job, but our borders are porous, and that the Minutemen, who demonstrated great success in Arizona, demonstrated great success, why would there be a problem?

HINOJOSA: Well, there's two things. I would question the success in Arizona. They just moved the migration of illegal aliens to other parts of the border. Number two, you know, we have, besides the Border Patrol, we have the National Guard, which are located in the local communities. And again, I must emphasize, that our local Neighborhood Watch people are doing a great job and increasing their vigilance and trying to look out for anything suspicious, and report any character that is -- that doesn't belong.

DOBBS: Are you suggesting that we should call out the National Guard, then?

HINOJOSA: Well, I'm suggesting the National Guard should be able to help along the border, yes.

DOBBS: Well I think that's, you know, that is an idea that has been put forward by the Immigration Caucus in Congress. It is one that is receiving great study and would be helpful in the short term.

HINOJOSA: Keep in mind, Lou, that the National Guard, they live in the communities that they patrol.

DOBBS: Well, yes, they do. But they live within communities within a state, and are often called for duty not only in other parts of the state from which they live, but unfortunately also called to duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

HINOJOSA: And they're well trained.

DOBBS: I'm sorry?

HINOJOSA: And they're well trained compared to the Minutemen.

DOBBS: They are well trained, and like the Minutemen, Americans. And after all, it is our nation's borders.

Senator, we thank you for being with us.

HINOJOSA: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Coming up next here, the rejection of religion and spirituality in Europe, and how one of the leading, leading theologians and intellectuals says it may impact the U.S. culture and society as well.

Next, George Weigel, to talk about his fascinating new book, "The Cube and the Cathedral."

And then, kudzu, Asian beetles, thousands of other invasive species simply devastating parts of this country. One leading scientist will be here to tell us how the government is beginning, only beginning, to try to control these invaders. Stay with us.


DOBBS: My next guest can hardly be surprised that both France and the Netherlands rejected the European constitution -- a constitution, he says, that is sadly bereft of not even a slight nod to 1,500 years of Christianity in Europe.

Renowned theologian and biographer of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel maintains that Europe is in an ominous spiritual and demographic decline. And he says the United States faces much the same in the way of social and cultural threats.

George Weigel is the author of the highly-acclaimed new book "The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America and Politics Without God", joining us tonight from Washington.

Good to have you with us.

GEORGE WEIGEL, AUTHOR: Thanks, Lou. Good to be here.

DOBBS: George, let's -- I would like to do something, because the numbers are really very, to me, are stunning. If we could put up -- and forgive me for doing this -- a chart that shows the number of people in various countries and the way in which they describe religion as important to their lives.

In the United States, 62 percent of us say that religion is important in our lives. And then look at France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. Italy, surprising, not because it's twice as much as Spain, but rather because of being the seat of the Vatican and Catholicism, is not even higher.

These trends -- obviously you're focused on. And you're shocked by the constitution.

Tell us why.

WEIGEL: The European constitution that was just rejected in France and the Netherlands, commits a deliberate act of historical amnesia by wiping out 1,500 years of Christian history from the sources of European civilization.

That's bad enough historically. But it was done in aid of, I think, a future project, And that is creating a kind of secular -- dramatically secular, thoroughly secular -- public space in the new European Union.

Why is that bad news? It's bad news because this kind of vacuous secularism has created, over the past three generations in Europe, an enormous demographic problem. Europe is depopulating itself in numbers not seen since the Black Death in the 14th century.

DOBBS: And when you say depopulating, George, you're talking about simply a refusal to reproduce in most of the developed -- in most of the Western states of Europe?

WEIGEL: Here's the statistic, Lou, that I think brings this home for a lot us in the United States who haven't been paying much attention to this. It's bad enough that Spain will lose approximately 25 percent of its population by 2050; or that Germany, by that time, will lose the equivalent in population of the former East Germany.

What really brings it home is to think that by 2050, 60 percent of Italians will not know, from personal experience, what a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle or a cousin is.

This kind of de-population, this willful refusal to create the human future, in the most elemental sense of creating the human future, seems to me to suggest a great cultural crisis, indeed, a great spiritual crisis.

You can't explain this simply, politically, economically, sociologically. Something is hollow in the European soul, and it's threatening the great project of a free, secure, peaceful and prosperous Europe.

DOBBS: Peaceful, free, prosperous -- almost word-for-word what President Bush said today in his joint press conference with Tony Blair.

But what you're really describing is a Europe that is imploding demographically. And in terms of its spirituality, absolutely leaving behind its history.

You point to the implications -- to this country.

What do you believe is the linkage between what we are witnessing in Europe, which the Europeans may consider themselves to be in denial, and the United States' future?

WEIGEL: Well, there are two real issues for those of us on this side of the Atlantic, at least in the practical order. Europe, depopulating this way, is going to be in fiscal and social crisis in the next 20 years, because it simply isn't going to be able to pay for its health care and pension systems.

That kind of social chaos could lead to real economic meltdown, which is not good for anybody, and particularly for the rest of the developed world. There's also a security issue here, and that is that the demographic vacuum in Europe is not going to remain unfilled. It's going to be filled by immigration. And as those immigrants largely come from the Islamic world, the threat of their becoming radicalized in the process, as we've seen happen in Germany, France and now in Britain, where for the first time, in the most recent British election, you had block voting by Muslim voters under the instruction of radical imams in east London madrassas.

That's how George Galloway got reelected to Parliament. This is really bad news from a security point of view.

But there's one other thing that I think we need to recognize. We grew out of Europe. America is Europe transplanted. The death of the roots of our own civilizational achievement can't be good for us, especially if some of those problems we see -- this kind of vacuous secularism and high culture, an inability to think beyond my own immediate pleasures -- if that takes hold in our own country, then we're going to be in the same sort of trouble 50, 70, 100 years down, that Europe is in today.

DOBBS: George Weigel, obviously, we need far more time. We appreciate the time you've given us here this evening. We hope you'll come back.

WEIGEL: I'd like that, Lou. Thank you.

DOBBS: Thank you, George.

Coming up at the top of the hour here on CNN, ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Anderson with a preview.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Lou, thanks very much.

Yes, tonight on 360, good-bye Mrs. Robinson. Anne Bancroft, the actress, has passed away. A look at her life on and off the big screen.

Plus, kidnapping and homicide. Two men accused in the disappearance of an American student in Aruba. Find out why prosecutors think they may have solved this mystery -- for the search is still on for Natalee Holloway. Also tonight, putting the physical back into education. A year- round school that helps kids shed extra pounds while they learn. Is it the right answer for your overweight child?

That and more at the top of the hour.


DOBBS: Thanks, Anderson.

Coming up next here, invasion of foreign species disrupting our ecology. The federal government is spending billions of dollars to try to stop the invasion. The head of the Invasive Species Program at the U.S. Geological Survey is our guest here, next.


DOBBS: Tonight, foreign species of plants and animals are invading our country and overtaking many native species. The invasion is costing us billions of dollars each year. Some 50,000 foreign species are now in this country. They pose a threat not only to our environment, but to the public health as well.

Karen Schaler reports.


KAREN SCHALER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This snakehead fish looks innocent enough in a tank, but when it grows up into this, owners have dumped these predators into open water where they immediately prey on native fish.

STEVE MINKKINEN, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE: Once a species is introduced, it can be impossible to eradicate it. So you know, it's a reason for us to really be concerned about the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

SCHALER: Minkkinen has studied the snakehead ever since this ferocious fish first showed up right outside the nation's capital. Across the country, there are about 5,000 alien species wreaking havoc on our environment.

SEN. CARL LEVIN, (D) MICHIGAN: We have to deal with it. We have a global economy now. There's more and more of these species coming in.

SCHALER: Senator Levin has introduced legislation targeting aquatic invaders. In the Great Lakes, zebra mussels are sucking nutrients out of the water and clogging water intake pipes.

Another nightmare? The Asian carp. Weighing up to 100 pounds, it eats half of its body weight every day, devastating the local ecosystem.

In Louisiana, 20 million nutria are destroying thousands of acres of wetland, eating marsh grasses right down to the roots. In New York, 7,000 trees have been cut down, thanks to an infestation of Asian long-horn beetles brought here in wood crates from China.

SUSAN HASELTINE, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: We need to put more focus on detecting the species as they arrive at our shores.

SCHALER: All told, invasive species are costing this country big time, $138 billion every year. The government spent more than $1 billion last year on the effort. The key is early intervention.

LORI WILLIAMS, NAT'L INVASIVE SPECIES COUNCIL: If it's an acre or two of an invasive species versus, you know, 4 to 5 million acres, it's a totally different ballgame, and as we get more knowledgeable and get the public more involved in it...

SCHALER: The goal is to recognize these invasive species early and attack the problem before the problem attacks us.


SCHALER (on camera): And facing the greatest risk right now are threatened and endangered species. Almost half have been placed on the list. They're there because of the impact they've suffered from alien species.


DOBBS: Karen, thank you very much. Karen Schaler, from Washington.

One group is trying to tackle this crippling problem before invasive plants and animals can cause even more damage. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA are meeting right now in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Sharon Gross, the Invasive Species Program coordinator for the USGS joins us from Fort Collins. She says more than 100 million acres of land in this country have been affected by these invasive plants.

Good to have you with us.


DOBBS: Sharon, this is the -- the scale of this problem -- there are anecdotal reports, sort of passing reports from time to time, whether it be the Salvinia molesta, or whether it be the snakeheads, but in total, the impact of these invasive species is crushing, isn't it?

GROSS: The impact is pretty severe. And much of it we have yet to really accumulate and really get a handle on how much of the impact we have. In many cases we have what's called a lag period.

These species come in. It takes several years for them to become established, and then take off and cause the problems, which is why you heard earlier, early detection, getting them when they first get here, trying to figure out which species are going to cause the problems, is such a critical component of our programs.

DOBBS: The Asian carp, in the southern waters, they -- the snakeheads in the waters around the nation's capital -- these are some of the ugliest and most photogenic examples of the problem.

But the -- deciding which one of the various invasive species, whether it be plant, or animal, or fish, how do you decide which to put as your number one public enemy?

GROSS: Well, one of the things that we're actually doing here in Fort Collins this week is we're working with NASA scientists and other scientists, trying to take the science, the information, that we have on these invasive species, and put it with some high technology computing, and other types of technology, to try to create what we call forecasting, and predictive models -- which species are going to move where, which species are going to move the most quickly.

It allows us to be able to give information then to the land managers so that they can decide and help prioritize which species are going to be the biggest problems for them, because a land manager at a national park, or in a national wildlife refuge -- they've got hundreds of invasive species to deal with. They can't control them all, so they have to try to figure out which ones might cause the greatest problems. And trying to congeal this information into a decision support system or a decision support model is what we're really trying to do.

DOBBS: Is it fair to say at this point that the United States government has not responded to the invasion?

GROSS: No. Actually, I think the government over the past decade has kind of congealed its effort and has been working very hard to coordinate the efforts. There's the National Invasive Species Council that is made up of bureau or cabinet-level officials. And their goal is to try to make sure that all of the agencies are working together on priority species, so that we're not working on one species in one agency and another in another. We're really trying to coordinate our efforts to get the best use of the government money.

DOBBS: Are we winning or losing?

GROSS: I think we're holding our own right now. I don't think we're losing. I believe that we are starting to make some ground. This effort towards early detection, trying to identify the problem species as soon as they get here as opposed to waiting until they have become fully established and causing problems.

Other efforts are also focused on preventing them, trying to identify problem species that are not here yet, but species that we know are causing problems in other places, and we want to try to keep them from becoming established.

DOBBS: Sharon Gross, we thank you for being here.

GROSS: Thank you.

DOBBS: Still ahead, we'll have the results of tonight's poll, and we'll tell you what's ahead tomorrow. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight, 94 percent of you say foreign carmakers will overtake American carmakers. More than half say that will happen in less than three years. Only 6 percent of you say U.S. carmakers will remain on top.

Thanks for being with us. Please join us here tomorrow. Our special report, "Living Dangerously," population growth exploding along our coasts while our oceans are becoming increasingly dangerous. A leading marine toxicologist joins us.

And, dozens of American hospitals closing under the strain of our immigration crisis. The author of an important new report joins us.

And "Time" magazine columnist Joe Klein on his new column on the politics of sanity, the politics of passion, and why he has called me surprisingly passionate. Please be with us.

Thanks for being here tonight.

ANDERSON COOPER 360 starts right now.




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