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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Surge in Violence in Afghanistan; God and Politics; Massive Cartel Bust; China's Cyber Threat
Aired June 24, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Thank you, Wolf.
Tonight, stunning charges that the nation's largest immigration law firm improperly helped corporate America hire foreign workers and not American workers. We'll have that special report.
And outrage after Bush administration officials and communist China join forces to fight a state's efforts to ban dangerous imports. We'll have complete coverage.
And new evidence that Mexico's war against the drug cartels is spreading across our border, drug cartels may have a hit list of American citizens. We'll have all of that, all of the days and much more from an independent perspective straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Tuesday, June 24th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
New evidence tonight the war in Afghanistan is escalating, and our troops are facing what could be a long and difficult campaign. A top U.S. general in Afghanistan today said attacks in the eastern part of the country have risen by 40 percent from a year ago.
Meanwhile, the war in Iraq is at a pivotal point after a big reduction in attacks and the end of the surge. The Pentagon says attacks in Iraq have fallen by at least 40 percent since the surge began last year. Jamie McIntyre has our report from the Pentagon -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Lou, when the new U.S. commander took over in Afghanistan, he predicted this summer could be worse than last. It turns out, he was right.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): On a supply route just south of the Afghan capital Kabul, smoke billows for trucks torched by attackers on motorcycle. At least one person was killed and some 40 trucks carrying food, water, and fuel, damaged or destroyed. It's just the latest evidence of a dramatic increase in Taliban fueled-violence. A 40 percent over the same period last year, according to the top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
MAJ. GEN. JEFFREY SCHLOESSER, U.S. COMMANDER, AFGHANISTAN: They're burning schools and in fact they have attacked 43 in our sector ever since school started here in Afghanistan in late March. They're also killing teachers and they're killing the students.
MCINTYRE: While the U.S. says the attacks are increasingly aimed at intimidation, the upward spiral of violence is taking a greater toll on the U.S. and its NATO allies. For the second month in a row the death toll for NATO troops in Afghanistan, which includes U.S. has eclipsed the American death count in Iraq, and the U.S. has well over twice as many troops in Iraq while the latest report to Congress claims in Iraq all violence indicators are down between 40 percent to 80 percent. In Afghanistan the trends are clearly headed the opposite way as CNN Nic Robertson witnesses firsthand when a NATO airport in Kandahar came under Taliban rocket attack.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We heard an explanation and then a burst of -- a big pillow of smoke rose up which very quickly burst into flames. There were some big flames coming up that are still burning now, almost an hour later.
MCINTYRE: There has been fierce fighting around Kandahar since this month's jail break in which some 400 Taliban prisoners were freed. Over the past two days, NATO and Afghan forces claim to have killed more than 60 militants in counter attacks.
MCINTYRE: The Taliban's tenacity underscores that the U.S. is going to have to make good on its pledge to send as many at 10,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year, something that senior Army leaders tell CNN will be next to impossible unless continued progress in Iraq makes further troop draw downs there a reality -- Lou.
DOBBS: Jamie, who is supplying those armaments, the rockets that are being fired by the Taliban and our troops in Afghanistan?
MCINTYRE: Well there are various lines of supply that are going into there. Some of them are coming in through Pakistan. Some are coming from Iran. Some are arms that are purchased on the black market. But there's no shortage of small arms in Afghanistan or even in Iraq for that matter.
DOBBS: All right, Jamie. Thank you very much -- Jamie McIntyre reporting from the Pentagon.
The number of our troops in Afghanistan is now at the highest level of the entire war. In January of 2002, a few months after the beginning of that war, there were just over 4,000 of our troops in Afghanistan. Now, there are 33,000 of our troops there including 3,000 Marines who are due to leave the country later this year. Four hundred and forty-eight of our troops have been killed in the war in Afghanistan; 18 of them this month.
Rising anger on Capitol Hill over allegations of a cover-up by a U.S. diplomat in a contract to supply ammunition to Afghan security forces. Congressmen want to know whether the top American diplomat in Albania approved the plan to remove evidence that communist China made the ammunition. Oversight Committee Chairman Congressman Henry Waxman says a Miami arms company called AEY bought the ammunition in Albania and shipped it to Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), OVERSIGHT CHAIRMAN: The AEY contract shows that the procurement process at the Department of Defense is dysfunctional. There was no apparent need for the contract. No effective vetting of the company's qualifications and no adequate oversight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: AEY bought the ammunition for the Afghan security forces under an Army contract even though U.S. law bans any trade in Chinese weaponry. As the war in Afghanistan escalates, insurgents in Iraq are also continuing to attack our troops. A bomb today killed two of our soldiers in Baghdad.
Two Americans also were killed who work for the U.S. government; 22 of our troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month; 4,106 of our troops killed since the war began; 30,275 of our troops have been wounded; 13,458 of them seriously.
New violence today in another Middle East conflict, the fight between Israelis and Palestinians, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza broke a five-day truce and fired rockets and mortars into a southern Israeli town. Two Israelis were wounded in the attack. So far there has been no military response from Israel. The attacks followed the killing of two Palestinian terrorists in an Israeli raid on the West Bank.
A major security scare today at Israel's busiest airport during the departure ceremony for French President Sarkozy. Bodyguards were ushering President Sarkozy and his wife into their aircraft in a hurry after a shot was fired at Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. The security guards were rushing Israel President and Prime Minister as well into their cars.
It turned out that an Israeli policeman fired the shot when he committed suicide. The policeman was at least 100 yards from the French president's plane.
Turning to the presidential race in this country, religion and politics again a top issue on the campaign trail today. An influential evangelical leader, Dr. James Dobson, accused Senator Obama of distorting the bible and having what he called a "fruitcake interpretation of our Constitution". The criticism comes as Senator Obama tries to win the support of evangelicals. Bill Schneider has our report.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, is using his radio broadcast this week to respond to something Barack Obama said two years ago when he gave a speech about ways to bridge the divide between religious and secular Americans. Obama called on secular Americans to show greater respect for religious values.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square.
SCHNEIDER: He also called on evangelical leaders to define their agenda in terms of common values.
OBAMA: Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal rather than religion-specific values.
SCHNEIDER: Dobson's response?
JAMES DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: "What he's trying to say here is unless everybody agrees we have no right to fight for what we believe. I thank God that that's not what the Constitution says."
SCHNEIDER: Take abortion. The public is sharply divided on the issue. Obama advised abortion opponents...
OBAMA: I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths including those with no faith at all.
SCHNEIDER: Dobson's response? That's nonsense.
DOBSON: "What the senator is saying there in essence is that I can't seek to pass legislation, for example, that bans partial birth abortion because there are people in the culture who don't see that as a moral issue. And if I can't get everyone to agree with me, it is undemocratic to try to pass legislation that I find offensive to the scripture. Now that is a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."
SCHNEIDER: That's why we have elections, Dobson argues, to fight for our values. Obama believes elections should be more about finding common ground.
SCHNEIDER: Now Obama told CNN today there's no theological work being done in that speech in terms of the bible. He added, I think you'll see that he, meaning Dobson, was making stuff up. Maybe, he said, for his own purposes. Lou, this is a dispute over values, and values are much harder to compromise than interests -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well it looks like they're all in play here, values and interests. What is your professional analysis of the Dobson statement? Is what he's saying valid or not?
SCHNEIDER: Well he's making a strong point that there are questions of right and wrong from his point of view, and you're just not going to be able to talk about that in the universal language. He believes there are fundamental differences between his evangelical voters and secular voters and he simply doesn't -- he doesn't want to respond to the idea, to the invocation from Obama that he has to speak in universal language. His view is there is no universal language when it comes to right and wrong.
DOBBS: Well is there or isn't there?
SCHNEIDER: Well, I'm not a theologian. I really can't answer that.
DOBBS: Well, you're a secularist then.
SCHNEIDER: There are some universal values, however. I think they're talking really about different things. He wants to talk about the abortion issue specifically. And Obama is saying let's find issues on which we can all speak in terms of the same values.
DOBBS: OK. Thank you very much, Bill Schneider.
Well still ahead here, more on the presidential campaign, also new charges that corporate America is breaking our laws hiring foreign workers instead of middle class Americans.
And rising evidence the Bush administration is putting so-called free trade with communist China ahead of the safety and well-being of American consumers.
Mexican drug cartels planning to escalate their drug war in this country. We'll have all of those reports here next. Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Well a rare victory for Mexican federal troops in their battle against warring drug cartels. Mexican soldiers this weekend captured 10 drug cartel members and arrested dozens of other suspects. The troops also seized rifles, handguns, ammunition, and drugs. Casey Wian has our report.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mexican federal troops say they captured at least 10 alleged members of the Tijuana based Arriana Felix (ph) drug cartel during a raid Saturday at a child's christening party. All together 61 people were arrested including the band and three Tijuana municipal police officers.
Soldiers also seized 5,000 rounds of ammunition, an assortment of weapons, a pound of methamphetamine, and federal law enforcement uniforms. It's the latest example of a brutal drug war pitting Mexican cartels against each other and at least 2,500 federal troops all along the U.S. border.
PAUL ROSENZWEIG, DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: These drug cartels kill with impunity, killing not only members of competing cartels, but also the police and military who are attempting to protect Mexican citizens from crime. Neither this criminal phenomenon nor the violence that follows recognizes borders.
WIAN: Arizona is not waiting for the federal government to solve the problem. This week, Governor Janet Napolitano announced eight signed agreements with her counterpart from the neighboring Mexican state of Sonora to share intelligence and jointly fight drug and weapons traffickers.
GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO (D), ARIZONA: If you're taking weapons south into Mexico, using weapons purchased in Arizona to commit crimes in Sonora or if you're a fugitive from Sonora in Arizona or a fugitive from Arizona in Sonora, your risk of apprehension and prosecution are going to increase.
WIAN: All four border governors and some members of Congress are requesting that President Bush extend the National Guard's tour of duty on the border, which is scheduled to end next month, but so far the president has refused to extend the Guard's deployment.
WIAN: The Mexican government says more than 4,200 people, including at least 450 law enforcement officers have been killed in drug cartel violence during the past 18 months. The U.S. DEA is now investigating reports that a hit list found in Juarez just across the border from El Paso contains the names of between 15 and 20 Americans, including one police officer -- Lou.
DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much -- Casey Wian reporting.
Well in this country today federal agents arrested 26 members of the violent Salvadoran drug gang MS-13. The raids in North Carolina part of a joint operation between the United States and El Salvador. The FBI says MS-13 has as many as 10,000 members operating in 42 states, also considered one of the most dangerous street gangs in this country. The FBI also says drug trafficking, gun running, robbery, and murder are all hallmarks of the MS-13 organization.
Well turning now to another threat to our safety in this country, the Maryland State Legislature proposing a measure to ban a dangerous chemical widely used in plastic products. In response the federal government warned communist China about that proposed ban in Maryland, a ban that would apply to some Chinese imports as it turns out. Now the U.S. government says it was all a big mistake. Kitty Pilgrim has our report.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Maryland lawmaker introduces legislation in his state to ban Bisphenol A or BPA, a toxic chemical found in plastic. That proposed ban included products shipped from China. U.S. government officials alerted the Chinese. Maryland delegate James Hubbard says he was suddenly hit by trade complaints from the Chinese government. JAMES HUBBARD (D), MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY: They went through a lot of four pages of narrative as to why they oppose the bill to prohibit foliates (ph) and Bisphenol A in the state of Maryland. It had never been prohibited anywhere else in the country. Why would Maryland want to do this? It's a barrier to trade.
PILGRIM: The U.S. Trade Representative's office said China was notified by accident. They say under WTO the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology must notify China of any new laws enacted concerned its products. But this was not a law, it was legislation still working its way through the Maryland Assembly.
Delegate Hubbard received a letter from the USTR blaming the Commerce Department. Quote, "we learned several weeks ago that our notifications had inadvertently included certain state legislative proposals." But the National Institute of Standards and Technology says it was no accident. They forwarded the pending legislation on purpose, in compliance with WTO rules. Consumer groups applaud Maryland for its proposing the BPA ban, saying this isn't unusual.
LORI WALLACH, PUBLIC CITIZEN: The bottom line is the WTO and other trade rules get used as a backdoor way to salvage non-trade domestic health and safety laws that have to do with the health of our kids.
PILGRIM: Chinese officials actually thank the U.S. government for the tip-off writing, "We appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on the notified regulation proposed by the state of Maryland."
Kitty Pilgrim, CNN, New York.
DOBBS: Well, BPA is widely used in water bottles and infant bottles, compact discs and medical devices. The Centers for Disease Control scientists detected BPA in 93 percent of people they tested, indicating widespread exposure in this country; the National Institutes of Health warning that BPA could cause neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children at current exposure levels.
Canada has already declared BPA to be a hazardous material. In spite of all of that, the U.S. FDA stands by its decades old approval of bottles that contain BPA as safe. The FDA cites two studies both funded -- you guessed it -- by the plastics industry.
Our poll question tonight: Do you believe states have the right to protect their residents from dangerous products? Yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have those results for you here later in the broadcast.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission tonight is recalling another dangerous product imported from communist China. Wal-Mart recalling 39,000 of its "Hip Charm" key chains because of dangerous lead levels. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says consumers should stop using the key chains immediately, the "Hip Charm" key chains.
Coming up here next, more evidence of computer hacking by communist China. Congressmen Thaddeus McCotter and Zach Wamp join me. We'll be talking about China's assault on U.S. government computers, imagine.
And accusations that one of the biggest law firms helped U.S. corporations hire cheap foreign labor, breaking the law and allowing them to hire foreign labor instead of middle class Americans. We'll have that special report next. Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Coming up, does Senator Obama need to give church a rest? He's caught up in a new controversy over religion. We'll be talking about the role of religion in this presidential campaign next.
DOBBS: More evidence tonight that communist China's cyber espionage is a much larger threat to this country than many had expected or admitted. More members of Congress now say that Chinese hackers have breached security on their computer systems. China has also downloaded huge amounts of data from Pentagon computers. Lisa Sylvester has our report.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Congressmen Frank Wolf, Chris Smith and Mark Kirk have all acknowledged that their congressional computers have been infiltrated. Sensitive information copied from their office computers. Now other lawmakers are quietly admitting their information systems have also been compromised. Representative Frank Wolf said the members are reluctant to be identified, but he says ignoring the problem won't make it go away.
REP. FRANK WOLF (R), VIRGINIA: Our adversaries already know we're vulnerable. Pretending that we are not vulnerable is a mistake.
SYLVESTER: The hackers who tapped into Wolf's computers were traced back to a Chinese Internet address. Cyber security experts are concerned about the sheer volume of Chinese high tech espionage.
SAMI SAYDJARI, CYBER DEFENSE AGENCY: They want access to our computers so that they can manipulate those computers in a time of war. They want to know what we know because it gives them an advantage in many, many different areas.
SYLVESTER: Congress is trying to close the cyber gap by having members and their staff upgrade passwords and by increasing firewall protection. Representative Zoe Lofgren on the House Administration Committee says many intrusions have been prevented but adds the problem is not isolated to Congress. REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D), CALIFORNIA: Frankly, the House of Representatives has much more robust cyber security than the Department of Homeland Security. That's kind of a chilling thought, but unfortunately it is true.
SYLVESTER: Even the Department of Defense is vulnerable. The commander of the U.S. Air Force cyber command has said that hackers in China have downloaded 10 to 20 terabytes from the DOD unclassified networks, equivalent to half of the information in the library of Congress. The Chinese government has repeatedly denied the accusations.
SYLVESTER: And in the words of Congresswoman Lofgren, she said dealing with cyber security on Capitol Hill is a never-ending drama. Hackers get new tools and they try to get new defenses but it is a constant battle trying to stay a step ahead -- Lou.
DOBBS: All right, thank you very much Lisa -- Lisa Sylvester from Washington.
Well, as we've reported here, literally for years, there are more than 3,500 communist Chinese front companies operating in this country with the specific purpose of targeting sensitive American intelligence and information technology. Cyber attacks against U.S. military networks soared by 55 percent last year.
The Pentagon now reports three million cyber attacks each and every day. Joining me now two outspoken critics of U.S. policy on China, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, also investigating the Chinese hacking of Congressional computers -- good to have you with us Congressman -- and Congressman Zach Wamp a member of the Appropriations Committee who believes the country, this country should lift the ban on offshore oil drilling before Cuba and China get to work and tap valuable resources off our shores -- good to have you with us, Congressman.
REP. ZACH WAMP (R) TENNESSEE: Thank you sir...
DOBBS: Let's start with, first, the fact that there are 3,500 front companies operating in this country, 3,500 we know of. Why is there no reaction on the part of the United States government to their presence and to their activities?
REP. THADDEUS MCCOTTER (R), MICHIGAN: Well, Lou, the problem quite simply is they care more about money than the sovereignty and liberty of the United States citizens. What we're starting to see repeatedly from communist China is their belief in engaging in unrestricted warfare upon the United States.
That includes economic, strategic informational and every means available to help gain (INAUDIBLE) over the United States. What we have to do is the people who were elected to keep America the greatest nation on the face of the earth is remember that we are the party of (INAUDIBLE) liberator (INAUDIBLE) the appeaser and deal with these threats. In the footage that you earlier ran you heard every excuse in the book about how Congress has to defend itself from cyber attacks, but you heard not one single thing about the fact that these attacks are being perpetrated by a nuclear arm communist dictatorship known as the People's Republic of China.
DOBBS: Well, as you gentlemen know, this broadcast I believe may be the only one on television in this country that still refers to China as communist. We have had people ask us, Congressman, why we refer to China as a communist country. Our response is because it is a communist country. What is the deal in Washington where people don't even want to acknowledge that?
WAMP: Lou, I was in Shanghai in January and their responsibility is grossly lacking from the environment to responsibility on trade, a million issues, but I think that we're playing defense with China because everybody in Washington through one administration after the other thinks that we somehow have to suck up to them because they're such a big market, potentially, for us.
But we're swimming way upstream and we're getting slaughtered and I don't think we should have the trade agreements we have with them until they respect human rights and individual liberty because you can't have free trade without free people and it takes responsibility. They want free markets without any responsibility.
MCCOTTER: Lou, if I can...
MCCOTTER: ... your remark about communist China, I refer to them as communist China and I have had Republicans take umbrage and they say to me well they're not really communists. And I said then why are there 73.4 million card-carrying communists in the People's Republic of China that would contradict you? If someone walked into your room and said I'm a Democrat, you wouldn't say Democrats don't exist anymore.
The reality is they don't call it communist China because they want to continue to operate under the myth that unconstructive appeasement is somehow going to take our relationship between the two nations to a more sublime level, and the reality is it's only going to continue to injure the United States of America.
DOBBS: Hence $1.6 trillion in foreign reserves held by China at this moment. Let me ask you gentlemen to listen to our Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on the issue of the relationship with China during the so-called strategic dialogue with China last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: I don't see why Chinese officials can't say something about the dollar weakness. Everybody else seems to say it around the world. And I always make the same point that we have -- every economy has ups and downs. We're going through a tougher period right now. But we're doing -- I think, the right thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Could either of you gentlemen enumerate, Congressman Wamp, let's start with you. I mean could either of you enumerate one thing that this administration and this treasury department is doing correctly when it comes to U.S. economic policy?
REP. ZACH WAMP (R), TENNESSEE: No, I talked to Vice President Cheney about it during the one manipulation and frankly, they have a whole different culture there. They don't respect intellectual property. Their attitude is what is mine is mine and what is yours is mine and we see that with information. They think if the information, if they can get to it, they're going to claim it anywhere in the world. It's a huge cultural difference. There's no honor, really. When I ask them about the environment because we're talking about global warming, yet they're a developing nation, one fourth of the world's population, they said this. You had your industrial revolution. Now we're having ours. But at what expense to the rest of the world? They ignore that, so there's a huge breakdown between their way of life and ours.
DOBBS: You might say, Congressmen, that it's less a matter of honor that we have greater honor and they have greater intelligence and political will than we do.
Congressman McCotter, the attacks on the U.S. congress, cyber attacks on our Pentagon, why in the world can't the most advanced technological nation in the world stop this?
REP. THADDEUS MCCOTTER (R), MICHIGAN: I think the first problem, again, Lou, is we have to make sure we point out the culprit is the people's liberation army. They have an informational warfare division that is designed to do precisely this.
I would agree that the United States has to defend its cyber security. We have also seen instances with companies that have provided cyber defenses to the United States that the Chinese communists have tried to buy them.
One of the big issues that you've been on and other people have to watch is the sovereign wealth fund issue. The sovereign wealth fund is simply a euphemism for foreign government and when a communist government comes in and buys free market assets and entities in the United States, that's called socialism and it makes the private sector smaller.
My largest concern about this is when you talk about the United States being able to do things, they have to wake up. Just as the Soviet Union was a strategic threat and rival model of governance to the United States for the greatest generation, communist China for this generation is a strategic threat and rival model of governance especially to a developing world, and as a free people, we have to wake up to the threat.
DOBBS: Well said, Congressman, if I may say. Congressman McCotter, thank you very much. Congressman Wamp, thank you very much. Gentlemen, good to have you us with. Come back soon.
MCCOTTER: Thank you, Lou.
VAMP: Thanks Lou.
DOBBS: Up next, Senator Obama is under fire because he's talking religion again. Didn't his mother tell him not to do that? We'll tell you what independent voters need to know about religion, politics, and these presidential candidates.
And disturbing new evidence tonight of corporate America's efforts to hire foreign workers instead of middle-class Americans.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: Welcome back. The federal government is conducting an inquiry into one of the nation's largest immigration law firms. The labor department now says it put Fragoman, Del Ray, Bernsen and Loewy on notice, that's a law firm, for helping corporations hiring cheap foreign labor instead of middle class Americans.
Bill Tucker has our report.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The law firm of Fragomen, Del Ray, Bernsen and Loewy is a very big and respected immigration law firm. Its client list includes General Electric, IBM, and other fortune 500 countries. On its website, Fragomen describes itself as "the leading provider of corporate immigration services and solutions and leading the way in global corporate immigration."
The firm can also add all guest worker visa filings by the firm on behalf of its corporate clients are now being audited by the Department of Labor, labor making this announcement. "The department has information indicating that at least in some cases the firm improperly instructed clients who filed permanent labor certification applications to contact their attorney before hiring apparently qualified U.S. workers."
A spokesman explains that the department has the legal responsibility to make ensure that foreign workers are not hired to fill jobs where qualified, able and willing U.S. workers are available.
What prompted the audit was concern that the law firm was improperly involving itself in hiring decisions. The law firm declined comment. But network engineer David Huber is commenting. He answered this ad in a Chicago newspaper for a job with a software company last year. The ad didn't put him in touch with the company. It put him in touch with Fragomen.
DAVID HUBER, NETWORK ENGINEER: I found it really strange that somebody who worked at an immigration law firm would be the attention to person in a newspaper ad placed by a high tech internet company.
TUCKER: Huber was not offered a job.
TUCKER: But he said a couple months after submitting his resume, he was conducted by a representative of and Indian outsourcing firm who offered him a job doing work through them for the same company at 40 percent of the pay that he would have expected for somebody of his experience and background.
And Lou, I got off the phone with the lawyers just before I came out here, the attorneys that represent Fragomen and they insist their client has done nothing wrong, that they don't tell their clients who to hire or who not to hire. They simply were there to give them legal advice in guiding them through the system that's been set up by the Department of Labor.
DOBBS: An immigration law firm after immigration law firm after immigration law firm in this country all set up to do what?
TUCKER: To guide them through the system of the Department of Labor.
DOBBS: What a bunch of beauties they are, too. So the labor department discovered this practice was going on some years after the rest of the country figured out that this is a problem among a number of law firms in this country where Fragomen all of the boys and girls, I assume, are guilty of it or not. I mean what is taking the labor department so long to awaken to this reality?
TUCKER: I don't know, Lou. I did speak with the labor department. They are saying, by the way, this doesn't mean they did anything wrong. We're just auditing them. We're looking to see what they're doing because we think they might be doing something wrong.
DOBBS: But the lawyers for the lawyers say they're not doing anything wrong.
TUCKER: Lawyers --
DOBBS: It's good when you have the lawyers for the lawyers. Unbelievable. How about just doing the right thing? Forget about the lawful thing. How about the right thing? It would help even a lot of law firms who are representing law firms. Thank you, Bill Tucker.
Well, the H-1B visa program is at least one of ten guest worker programs in this country. I know you're thinking George Bush wants a guest worker program. No one apparently has ever had the guts to tell him there are currently ten guest worker programs administered by the U.S. government.
There's a limit of 65,000 regular H1-B visas offered each year. An additional 25,000 are set aside for high technology workers with advanced degrees, bringing the total number of H1-B visas to 85,000. However, there is a truth that goes beyond the number. The number of H1-B visas approved is actually much higher. The H1-B program is meant to bring "the brightest and best foreign workers into the country." But only 11 percent of those visas go to highly skilled workers.
And according to the latest numbers, 8 of the top 10 companies who apply for those H1-B visas, well, they go to Indian outsourcing firms. The H1-Bs are now issued on a three-year basis but that of course can be extended to six years and no government agency monitors those workers to make sure they leave the United States when those temporary visas expire at the end of say, six years. How temporary is that? a good question.
Up next here, god and politics. Religion on the campaign trail again. Senator Obama talking from the pulpit, here we go. He's got the bible and everything working.
And your government at work. What congress hasn't accomplished this term. We'll have a special report on another do nothing congress.
We'll be right back.
DOBBS: Joining me now, three of my favorite radio talk show hosts. In Washington, D.C., Chris Plante, WMAL, Chris, good to have you with us; in North Carolina, Warren Ballentine, Syndication One, Warren good to have you with us; and here in the New York studios, Joe Madison, XM Radio. Joe, good to have you here.
Let's start with Dr. James Dobson and Senator Barack Obama. He went back, rather Dr. Dobson, and found a speech from Senator Obama in 2006 saying, and well, let's hear what he had to say about translating concerns into universal rather than religion specific values.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: What he's trying to say here is unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe. I thank God that that's not what the constitution says.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: What's going on here?
JOE MADISON, XM RADIO: Bull.
DOBBS: OK. We've got Joe's record answer on the record.
Warren, your turn.
MADISON: That's an incomplete word.
DOBBS: I was afraid you were going to finish the word.
MADISON: I was thinking about it. Have my Imus moment.
WARREN BALLENTINE, SYNDICATION ONE: I tell you what, Lou, I'm in agreeance with my good friend Joe Madison there. I think it's a bunch of crap. And to be honest with you, Lou, we all interpret the bible in different ways. Constitutional law is based on interpretation. I think he's trying to make headlines here. That's all I think is going on.
DOBBS: Chris, I'm going to hope you come up with something besides a four-letter word.
CHRIS PLANTE, WMAL IN WASHINGTON: I've got to say the idea that Dr. Dobson and Senator Obama have different views of biblical interpretation should come as no surprise. They come from different traditions. Barack Obama comes from 20 years in the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a very politically charged, religious environment with a very different point of view and Barack Obama took a shot at Dr. Dobson in that speech a couple years ago. Dr. Dobson wanted to come back and set the record straight. This is what happens when you mix religion with politics and Barack Obama is doing a lot of that.
MADISON: And I also think that evangelicals are on the margin of this political season, and Dobson is trying to figure a way of how they can get their value, what we called wedge issues four years ago, back into the political discourse. So this is a way to rally the troops to see if they can impact the presidential election.
PLANTE: And the Democrats certainly don't play any wedge issues in the course of presidential campaigns. I know this is a tag Democrats like to attach to Republicans, but let's look at the Democratic primaries and the use of race and of gender and of class when John Edwards was in it and everything else that the Democrats have brought to it.
MADISON: What part of the discussion didn't you understand? I said four years ago. The wedge issues were there. My god. Now anybody -- I wasn't talking about the primary season, and we certainly have had enough discussions about that. I don't disagree with you, but I was talking about the last presidential cycle. That's what I was referring to. And that's undeniable what the wedge issues were because we saw them played out in Ohio.
BALLENTINE: Lou, let me say this. I think both parties splay it. The Democrats play it and the Republicans play it.
DOBBS: No reason being honest.
BALLENTINE: I think it's funny, very laughable that we're arguing about wedge issues when everybody plays this game because they want to get the votes.
DOBBS: Here is a game I found interesting. McCain adviser Charlie Black, if we could put up this full screen, telling a Fortune Magazine that another terrorist attack on the United States' soil "would certainly be a big advantage to him," referring to McCain. McCain came out and apologized for the next day from that. What's your reaction?
BALLENTINE: This is my take on all this. Lou, you know if you're married or you have a fiancee and you have pillow talk where your guy friend tells you a secret and you're not supposed to reveal it but during pillow talk you tell your wife or fiancee. Charlie Black gave up the pillow talk on John McCain. There's no way this man with 35 years of experience, top adviser to McCain, there's no way that this conversation didn't take place in the McCain camp. Did McCain instigate it? I don't know. I know the conversation took place, that's why it was the pillow talk leaked to the reporter in the magazine.
PLANTE: This was pillow talk that Hillary Clinton articulated last year during the campaign in New Hampshire, saying virtually the same thing. I think it's acknowledged that the Republicans are stronger on national security, on terrorism, on fighting terrorism. It's a weak area for the Democrats. I would like to see the transcript of the reporter prying this out of Charlie Black. It was a foolish thing to say. He shouldn't have said it, but the fact remains that Democrats and Republicans agree that this is an issue that favors the Republicans and to the disfavor of the Democrats.
MADISON: It's the most un-American thing I ever heard. Wait a minute. I'm not being funny. I'm in New York. If there was a terrorist attack right now, we would all come together like we did in 9/11. It was un-American to say something like that. Now, has that discussion taken place in barber shops and beauty shops and around the water cooler? Of course it has, but when terrorists attack the United States of America, let me tell you, it's not partisan, and it's not liberal, and it's not Democrat, and it's not racial. It's all of it.
PLANTE: I will embrace that. And I appreciate your saying that. But the political reality, separate and aside from that, is still that John McCain is stronger on national defense, his background to be commander in chief, much greater background than what Barack Obama has as a first term senator. The reality is the political reality, separate and aside, regardless of the inappropriateness of the comment, and I agree with you on that, certainly, is that the situation and issue on that front favors the Republicans.
BALLENTINE: I think you're wrong there. Everybody is talking about John McCain's experience. You can't equate military experience with foreign policy experience. When you talk about experience for commander in chief, look, I'm a lawyer by trade. When I got out of law school, I was trained to be an attorney, but I wasn't ready for a murder case. I had to get experience on the job.
PLANTE: Being a community organizer does not train you to be commander in chief.
DOBBS: I think you're all right, to be honest. And Warren, we're going to forgive you being a lawyer part. Warren, thank you very much, Chris, thank you, Joe, as always, thank you.
Up at the top of the hour, the Election Center and Campbell Brown. Campbell, what are you working on?
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there Lou. At the top of the hour, with voters getting angrier every time they pull up to the pump, we're going to drill them to see if either John McCain or Barack Obama can really do anything to lower gas prices. We'll look at both of their proposals.
And we're also going to talk about whether Obama's outreach to the religious right an survive, an evangelical leader's accusation that the senator is distorting the bible, a follow up to your conversation.
Plus, a controversy that may be coming to your state, imposing the death penalty for a crime that isn't murder. We're going to talk about that as well. We'll see you at the top of the hour.
DOBBS: And welcome back, Campbell.
BROWN: Thank you.
DOBBS: Up next, is congress deliberately delaying legislative business to see who wins the white house in November? We'll have that when we come back. Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: This congress doesn't have many more work days left in this year. And there's rising speculation that some lawmakers are delaying work on key legislation until the next president is elected.
Louise Schiavone has our report.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With an unpopular war still under way in Iraq, the economy sinking, and the news about energy seemingly worse by the day, both congressional insiders and outside analysts say work time and legislative opportunities are slipping away.
THOMAS MANN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: At the end of this session before the 4th of July recess, and then as we move close to the election, you're going to see more legislative battles designed to play into the campaign than you're going to see new law being written.
SCHIAVONE: With no action yet on any of the 12 appropriation bills that pay for government operations of all kinds, Republicans are accusing Democrats of playing for time.
REP. ADAM PUTNAM (R), FLORIDA: The Democratic leadership is gambling the future of America on Barack Obama presidency and so they're playing a waiting game. They're deliberately delaying the business before the congress to see who wins the White House. SCHIAVONE: Enacted into law so far this year, a defense authorization bill, a bipartisan economic stimulus bill, a farm bill, a highway jobs bill and legislation to suspend additions to the strategic petroleum reserve. The house has approved but the senate has not yet energy legislation and a bill to stabilize the housing market. Democrats blame the white house.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: The administration that rushed very quickly to bail out Bear Sterns and yet has been unwilling to help folks hurting out there because of the housing slump.
SCHIAVONE: Also awaiting senate action, foreign surveillance legislation, an Iraq war funding bill, which also includes more aid for returning GIs, extended unemployment assistance and help for flood victims.
SCHIAVONE: Well, after these loose ends are tied up, there's little expectation that much more will be accomplished. Much of the summer will be spent in recess, and there is some thought that when Congress returns from summer vacation and the party conventions in September, the main thing all of these incumbents will want to do is go home and ask voters to keep them and their jobs.
DOBBS: Jobs they're doing so brilliantly. Thank you very much, Louise Schiavone. And we should point out the senate did pass the mortgage -- the $300 billion mortgage rescue.
SCHIAVONE: Actually what they did was they passed a procedural hurdle. They voted to set up a final vote.
DOBBS: Right. Got it. Thank you.
New poll numbers show that Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of congress's job performance. I can't understand why. Can you? An AP- Ipsos finding 72 percent of Americans disapprove of the job congress is doing. Only 23 percent of the poll says congress is doing a good job. It's even worse than George Bush's ratings. The numbers even worse, by the way, on an NBC "Wall Street Journal" poll conducted earlier this month. 79 percent of those polled say congress is doing a poor job. Only 13 percent said they approve of the job congress is doing.
Up next, senators under fire for receiving sweetheart mortgage deals even as middle class families struggle to save their homes. We'll have that report for you next and a great deal more.
Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Senator Chris Dodd says the controversy over the special deal he received on his own mortgages won't affect his ability to lead congress' efforts to solve the housing crisis. Dodd is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and Senator Kent Conrad chairman of the budget committee. Each receiving special interest rates as part of a V.I.P. program at Countrywide Financial. Dodd insists he received no preferential treatment. Countrywide, of course, one of the principal lenders at the center of housing crisis, the subprime mortgage scandal raising questions about other senators and their mortgages. Politico.com asking 100 senators about for information about their mortgage loans. 77 percent of the senators responding, 28 senators say they have no mortgages at all. By the way, that's less than the percentage of Americans who own their homes outright. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 35 percent of all Americans report they have no mortgages at all.
Well, tonight's poll results -- 99 percent of you say states have the right to protect their residents from dangerous products. That's our poll result, and let's take a moment to look at some of your thoughts.
Susan in Florida wrote in to say: "Lou, I was furious about Nielsen hiring H-1B workers instead of Americans. I live near the headquarters in Florida and people here need work. I can see that it's all about the money and not what's best for the country. Thanks for being a voice for the little guy."
And Jennifer in California: "Lou, I have been watching your show for the past few months and you have inspired me to go from being a Republican to Independent. You speak the truth. Keep up the good work. I hope America will start listening so we won't have to elect stupid people."
It may be too late, but welcome aboard.
Paul in California wrote in about the salmonella outbreak and the FDA failures. He writes: "Wrong, Lou. The FDA shouldn't be sent a tomato farm, the unemployment line seems like a far more appropriate destination."
I accept your correction.
And Elizabeth in New York: "Lou, I don't believe for one moment that the FDA does not know where the tomatoes came from. If they can tells us where the safe ones are, they should be smart enough to know where the bad ones were grown. I have my own idea of where that is but there are too many 'deals in process' to tell the truth to we the people."
Let's hope not.
Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com. We appreciate hearing from you.
Remember to join me on the radio Monday through Friday for "The Lou Dobbs Show." Tomorrow morning, Gordon Chang joins us from China ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games. And Gabor Steingart, author of the "War for Wealth" also joining us. Go to loudobbsradio.com to get all the local listings for "The Lou Dobbs Show" on the radio.
Please join us and we thank you for being with us here tonight. Join us tomorrow. For all of us, good night from New York.
The "ELECTION CENTER" with Campbell Brown begins right now -- Campbell.