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Lou Dobbs Tonight

California Blazing; Cops' Rampage?; Hurricane Lobbyists

Aired September 29, 2005 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, hundreds of people are fleeing their homes in California as a huge wildfire is threatening the northwestern suburbs of Los Angeles. That fire is being fanned by strong Santa Ana winds. Firefighters have already saved thousands of homes from destruction, but at least one firefighter has been injured.

This latest natural disaster comes as residents of the Gulf Coast states continue to clean up from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and face new challenges as they begin to try to rebuild.

We begin with three reports tonight: Casey Wian, in Los Angeles, reporting on these escalating wildfires; Mary Snow, in New Orleans, reporting on shocking new charges against some New Orleans Police officers; and Lisa Sylvester, in Washington tonight, reports on the lobbyists trying to grab a share of the massive federal aid for hurricane victims for their corporate clients.

We begin with those California wildfires. Casey Wian in Los Angeles. Casey?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, you can see behind me the thick black smoke from those massive wildfires which have so far burned at least 17,000 acres of Southern California. Firefighters say they still only have contained, only about 5 percent of the fire has been contained. It was spread by dense brush, heavy winds and high temperatures.


WIAN (voice over): Three thousand firefighters fought the flames porch to porch and in the air, trying to preserve hundreds of multimillion-dollar homes in the hills northwest of the San Fernando Valley.

CAPT. MARK SAVAGE, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPT.: We've got many areas of concern, a lot of homes in the area. And really, the priority of firefighters is to obviously protect life and property and make a defense around some of these homes, because the fire behavior we had yesterday and what we had last night, we're not going top stop this fire until we get a break in the weather.

WIAN: They were unable to save at least one home and a handful of outbuildings. Local officials credited firefighters with saving 2,000 homes so far and were optimistic because winds have calmed. ZEV YAROSLAVSKY, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERVISOR: Weather is unpredictable in these parts, and everybody needs to be on guard. This is far from over at this time.

WIAN: Residents of several neighborhoods were under mandatory evacuation orders. Others were told to prepare to get out while the Red Cross set up shelters. Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina convinced some Angelinos, who in past wildfires have stayed to the last minute to try to save their homes, to flee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have clothes for two days, jewelry and valuables.

WIAN: Injuries have been limited to one firefighter hit by a large rock. He's OK.

Firefighters also fought three smaller Southern California blazes. It's a day local officials knew was coming. A wet winter created thick patches of underbrush in areas that hadn't burned for years. All it took was an unusually hot day, combined with dry desert winds, to fuel the out-of-control flames.

Firefighters have so far kept the fire from spreading south of the 101 Freeway. If it jumps that barrier, they say, there's nothing to stop it from burning to the Pacific Ocean.

MIKE BRYANT, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPT.: We're very pleased with our success. However, we are remaining vigilant in our contingency plans with evacuation and our work to keep the fire from coming into those communities.

WIAN: Still, it raises fears of a repeat of the wildfires that destroyed billions of dollars in property and burned tens of thousands of acres in Malibu and Laguna Beach during the mid 1990s.


WIAN: Now, firefighters are expecting a break from the weather tomorrow. Cooler ocean breezes and cooler temperatures are in the forecast. Authorities still have no idea how this fire was started.


DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian.

Earthquakes not the problem in California, obviously. But hundreds of small earthquakes are shaking communities in Idaho. Those earthquake clusters are rattling homes and businesses south of Cascade, Idaho, more than 50 times a day in fact. No one has been injured, but there have been reports of property damage, cracking plaster, shaking items off shelves and awakening Idahoans.

Seismologists say these earthquake clusters are fairly common in Idaho. They happen at least once a decade, but this number and this magnitude are unusual. Turning to the Gulf Coast now, there are shocking new charges tonight against some members of the New Orleans Police Department. Officials are investigating reports that a number of officers not only deserted their posts, but they also took part in a looting spree. Four officers have already been reassigned, one suspended. The investigation intensifying.

Mary Snow has our report from New Orleans.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Allegations of police joining looters in the free-for-all following Hurricane Katrina is the latest blow to the New Orleans Police Department. It says it's investigating as many as 12 of its own after seeing video broadcast by two local television stations.

Police say two separate incidents are being looked at. One includes claims from a hotel owner who says officers went on a four- day looting spree, stealing everything from Rolex watches to Adidas shoes, jewelry, a generator from a hospital, fans and weapons.

WARREN RILEY, ACTING SUPT., NEW ORLEANS POLICE DEPT.: There's zero tolerance for misconduct or unprofessionalism by any member this department. When allegations surface, there will be a complete and thorough investigation.

SNOW: Newly named Superintendent Warren Riley is only in his post two days. He took over for Eddie Compass, who stepped down Tuesday without saying why.

A spokesman for the department says the looting allegations did not play a role in the decision.

CAPT. MARLON DEFILLO, NEW ORLEANS POLICE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: No. He did not retire based on this, no. He retired because he felt it was the time to do so.

SNOW: And it comes at a time when the force is looking into 249 officers who could not be found following Katrina. Both the department and its unions say they believe most had a valid explanation.

DAVID BENELLI, POLICE ASSN. OF NEW ORLEANS: The number of officers that deserted their post, did not live up to their oath of office, there's going to be much, much fewer than that. But all I know is I have all the confidence in the world in the 1,500 officers that are still out there on the street.

SNOW: The department says it's conducting an internal investigation, not an external one, because it has confidence in its investigative unit to do the job.


SNOW: And the new acting superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department says tonight that he will be consulting with the city attorney to determine what disciplinary action should be taken. And with all these developments in such a short time, Lou, he also said that the department is not dysfunctional and that the city is safe.


DOBBS: Well, that may be, or it may not be. But reassigning officers charged with looting?

SNOW: They are very serious charges. And about 12 -- at least 12 officers are now under investigation for misconduct, and not all of them have yet been identified.

DOBBS: And any suggestion that the state attorney general or other authorities will be conducting an investigation rather than allowing it to -- this police department, which has frankly not performed with distinction in the worst test of its history, an external investigation will be taking part rather than an internal investigation?

SNOW: I did speak with the state attorney general's office, and they are saying at this point this is on the radar screen, that they have not gotten involved just yet. But that does not mean they won't in the future.

DOBBS: Mary Snow from New Orleans. Thank you.

Concern tonight is rising over how tens of billions of dollars in hurricane disaster aid, federal aid, will ultimately be spent. A stunning array of industries from oil firms to architects are fighting for hurricane disaster handouts -- for a piece of the pork, if you will. Their powerful lobbyists are now in full swarm.

Lisa Sylvester reports.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Katrina has given lobbyists an excuse to push for issues that have long been sitting on the back burner. The federal government could spend as much as $200 billion in hurricane-related relief -- quite a grab bag for various special interest groups.

STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: Sort of like, you know, distant relatives showing up on your doorstep after you win the lottery, lobbyists from every corner of the country are coming to get a piece of the action, to get a piece of the money that's being appropriated for disaster relief.

SYLVESTER: Oil lobbyists have renewed debate over drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. Architects want the federal government to pay for a two-year local property tax relief for businesses and residents. And farmers hurt by the summer's drought are looking for Katrina aid.

ROBERT RUSBULDT, IND. INSURANCE AGENTS & BROKERS OF AMERICA: Some of the legislation that has been kicking around in the Hill clearly has, in my opinion, some pork in it, things that should not be in there and are going to be of almost no value to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

SYLVESTER: And even the insurance industry is seeking to extend a terrorism law set to expire this year that many argue has no direct connection to Katrina. One of the largest aid packages to private groups could go to the airlines faced with rising gas prices.

JIM MAY, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: It is having a dramatic impact on our business. And as a result, we have suggested to Congress that they give us a one-year holiday on the 4.3 cent a gallon gas tax that we pay.

SYLVESTER: That tax holiday would cost $600 million.

LARRY NOBLE, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: When you're talking about the government bailing out an industry, you're talking about somebody paying for it. Who's going to pay for it? The taxpayer is going to pay for it.


SYLVESTER: And taxpayer groups will point out that even when the K Street lobbyists, which is where we are right now, when they and their friends, their special interest friends, have received tax breaks and benefits in the past several years, it has not necessarily translated into benefits for consumers. Take, for instance, the oil and gas industry. They're pushing really hard now for new drilling opportunities, for example, in ANWAR, but that won't do anything for gas prices in the short term.


DOBBS: It's remarkable what is going on with the lobbyists and the mindset in Washington, D.C. One of the senators for the state of Louisiana last night on this broadcast said he was a free trader when I asked him, isn't it unconscionable that the White House has rolled back the Davis-Bacon Act to eliminate prevailing wages from those doing reconstruction?

He said he was a free trader, and he said it with a straight face as he asked for $250 billion in taxpayer money.

I guess they're redefining things a bit. It's good to know one thing is still the same. Lobbyists in Washington are still motivated by self-interests.

Thank you very much. Lisa Sylvester.

Still ahead, the Senate confirms Judge Roberts as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Now senators prepare for a much tougher battle -- this one over another Supreme Court vacancy. We'll have a live report and analysis.

Tough questions today on Capitol Hill about withdrawing American troops from Iraq as five of our soldiers die in combat. We'll examine whether we're winning the war against insurgents and terrorists in Iraq. And an incredible assertion by supporters of illegal immigration in this country. We'll have that assertion and the facts next.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The Senate today voted by a big majority to confirm Judge John Roberts as the 17th chief justice of the United States. Senators voted in favor of Roberts 78 to 22.

President Bush is now expected to move quickly to announce his nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Suzanne Malveaux reports from the White House. Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, really it was smooth sailing for his pick for chief justice, John Roberts, at the White House today. As you mentioned before, of course, 78 to 22, makes him the 17th chief justice.

And the East Room ceremony marking that historic occasion. There it was -- John Roberts, with his wife, his two children, as well as six other Supreme Court justices. It was Senior Associate Justice John Paul Stevens who administered the oath, President Bush noting this very important historic occasion.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: During the confirmation hearings this month, members of the Senate and American people saw far more than the intellectual gifts and broad experience of Judge John Roberts. They witnessed as well the character of the man, his reverence for the Constitution and laws of our country, his impartiality and devotion to justice, his modesty and great personal decency.



JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Thank you very much for the conduct of the hearings, conducting them in a civil and dignified manner, as the president requested on the night of the nomination. I appreciate it very much.


MALVEAUX: Now, Lou, of course there are some people that say that may all change, that it may be a much more contentious battle the next time around. President Bush facing his next critical decision, who will replace Sandra Day O'Connor, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor?

President Bush vetting many candidates. There are Democrats who are pushing, and even some moderate Republicans who are pushing for a minority or for a woman. There are other conservative Republicans who want someone more in the model of the late Chief Justice Rehnquist.

All of that, of course -- and political observers say that it is much different this time around, that the president is potentially weakened because of the criticism of Hurricane Katrina, because of those high gas prices, because of the leadership, Republican leadership in Congress under scrutiny for charges of corruption, that the president may have to go with a consensus candidate. So, we will wait and see. We expect it to come as early as perhaps Monday.


DOBBS: I think I have to ask here, Suzanne, has the president done anything right in the last few months?

MALVEAUX: Oh, now that's an unfair question, Lou, for me. Not for me to judge, obviously.

DOBBS: Well, with that litany of problems, all of them accurate, there are also, we have to point out, a few things that the president is doing right.

Joining me now to give us his assessment of Chief Justice John Roberts, the likely candidates to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, our legal analyst, our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeff, how did you react, first, to the fact that 22 people managed to vote against Judge Roberts?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, you know, that litany of problems, I can't quarrel with it either. But it is hard to imagine how the nomination of John Roberts could have gone any better. I mean, in terms of how impressive he was, in terms of the overwhelming confirmation, it really was a homerun, to use the baseball metaphor that's been throughout his -- throughout his...

DOBBS: Judge Roberts has set the precedent.

TOOBIN: Right. And, you know, I think he's a tough act to follow for the president and for the next nominee.

DOBBS: My reaction today to his just -- this man is so eloquent, and it's remarkable, his simple statement as he addressed everyone after being sworn in.

TOOBIN: And again, off the cuff. You know, he had not -- in all of his public appearances, including his testimony, never had a note in front of him, never had a prepared text. That's very unusual in Washington, or anywhere else. Yet it was effortless.

And also today, I thought it was interesting the way he was talking about the separation of powers and how he thanked Justice Stevens before he thanked President Bush. He's now a member of the judiciary. He's no longer on the president's team.

We'll see. DOBBS: And I thought it was both gracious and wise of the president to point out the independence of the judiciary and to certainly salute that important element of our constitutional system.

Now we move ahead to less -- less civil matters, I think we can -- it's fair to say. And that's who will replace Sandra Day O'Connor.

TOOBIN: It's -- it appears to be even more wide open than the last selection. And it's likely to be so much more contentious, because the change in the court could be so much greater.

Chief Justice Rehnquist was conservative. It's unlikely John Roberts will vote differently than him in any substantial number of cases.

Sandra Day O'Connor was the key vote for affirmative action, for abortion rights. That could be very different.

DOBBS: Does it amuse you at all that people are referring to Sandra Day O'Connor now as a moderate? Before she retired she was referred to as a moderate conservative.

TOOBIN: That's right. Well, Democrats are trying to push her off to the left. They're trying to forget she was in the majority in Bush v. Gore, you know.

DOBBS: Yes. It's amazing to me to watch the national media fall into the language trap.

TOOBIN: Right. You would think...

DOBBS: They now hail her as a moderate.

TOOBIN: She's now the second coming of Thurgood Marshall. But she was hardly that on the bench. But we have no idea who will follow her.

DOBBS: Well, we're going to make certain that you give us that information as soon as you have it.

TOOBIN: As soon as I know.

DOBBS: Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much.

That brings us to our poll question tonight. Do you believe race or gender should be a determining factor for President Bush in choosing his next nominee for the Supreme Court, yes or no? Cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up.

Next here, alarming statements from open borders advocates. They say illegal aliens entering our country are seeking economic asylum, and they have a right to stay. We'll have a special report and a dangerous theory.

And two popular film stars, two completely different political platforms, Warren Beatty and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It couldn't get better in California. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, as our illegal alien crisis deepens, advocates of open borders are defending this crime wave on the grounds of something called economic asylum. There, I said it, economic asylum. They say illegal aliens have a right to break the law in their search for a better life and a higher standard of living -- a right. But economic asylum -- economic asylum is a misleading concept that will only further deepen our broken borders crisis and hurt living standards for all American citizens.

Christine Romans reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations. You're now citizens of the United States.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Last year, a half-million immigrants became American citizens. Nearly a million people earned their green card and became a legal permanent resident from Mexico, India, China, Vietnam and all over the world. Another 1.3 million came legally to work as nurses, in laboratories, on the farm. Another 620,000 are students.

But an estimated three million come illegally every year.

Advocates say they're seeking economic asylum, fleeing poverty, looking for a better life. But critics say it is not possible for everyone who wants to, to live in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we keep going at this rate, we're going to be at half a billion people in less than 50 years. And we're very concerned about that because that is not a sustainable level.

ROMANS: Mexico is the source of the most legal and illegal immigrants.

KC MCALPIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROENGLISH: There are 4.5 billion people in the world that have a lower average income, per capita income than the average Mexican. So, you know, we cannot begin to absorb all the people in the world that want to come here.

ROMANS: Two-and-a-half billion people live on less than $2 a day, a billion are without safe drinking water, 2.6 billion live without sanitation.

No shortage of people looking for a better life in this country. Our immigration system is supposed to regulate that. But with 20 million illegal aliens living in this country right now, critics say the system has failed. OTIS GRAHAM, DUKE UNIVERSITY: There's very little real anger at immigrants who are trying to solve personal problems. The anger is reserved for Americans. First, our politicians, but there are corporations, banks who are facilitating the illegality, the illegal population, making it easier for them to remain here in an illegal status in violation of the law.

So, I think we've got plenty of Americans to be angry at before we decide that the problem is with the immigrants. The problem is here.

ROMANS: He says 20 years of declining enforcement of immigration laws is essentially an open invitation.


ROMANS: And the blame lies first and foremost, critics say, with the federal government, our federal government, whose unwillingness or inability to secure America's borders has fostered this de facto policy of economic asylum in the United States.


DOBBS: Well, I tried to say that twice with varying levels of success. Economic asylum is an absurdity, as you point out. We can move so many countries into our immigration plan before Mexico. It's what, 4.5 billion people, in fact.

ROMANS: There are more people who come legally to this country than any other country in the world combined. So, there already is a way for legal immigration into this country. Unfortunately, it has been completely overwhelmed by illegal immigration, and critics say it is the federal government's fault.

DOBBS: And critics say -- let's be straightforward. There's no one else to blame. We have federal laws against illegal immigration. We have enforcement requirements and sanction requirements and penalties against those who hire them illegally. And next, I have to tell you about the nation's largest retail bank, Christine.

Thank you very much.

The nation's largest retail bank, that is Bank of America, is making a new attempt to profit from the rising number of Mexican citizens living in this country illegally. Bank of America is allowing millions of its Mexican customers to transfer money back to Mexico free of charge.

Bank of America says Mexican citizens using this service must have a checking account at the bank, but it does not require that those Mexican citizens show that they are citizens of the United States, certainly, or even legally here. To open up a checking account, all that is required, they need to show a matricula consular card issued by the Mexican government for its citizen in the United States. Money transfers to Mexico are expected, by the way, to soar past $20 billion this year, amounting to the number one revenue source for the nation of Mexico. More than its entire oil industry.

Coming up next here, Hollywood's smack down. In California's political arena, it's Beatty versus Schwarzenegger. We'll have that special report.

And "Exporting America". A new agreement that will save American companies billions of dollars, and it will cost American middle class workers thousands of jobs. That story and a great deal more coming right up.


DOBBS: Insurgents launched a new wave of bloody attacks in Iraq, killing five of our soldiers and more than 50 Iraqis today. The five Americans killed in Ramadi by a roadside bomb, those soldiers assigned to the 2nd Marine Division. Those Marines assigned to the 2nd Marine Division.

And in the city of Balad, at least 62 Iraqis were killed, 70 wounded in three car bomb attacks. Those bombs exploded in a 10- minute period in two separate locations in Balad.

That attack the worst in Iraq since a series of bombings in Baghdad two weeks ago, when 100 people were killed.

As the violence rages in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon's top generals faced a barrage of questions on Capitol Hill about the progress of the war. Senators on both sides of the aisle asked repeatedly about when our troops can begin coming home from Iraq.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: And your response to Senator Levin was that you are not planning on troop withdrawals because you want to see what happens in the next 75 days. Is that -- was that a correct...

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, U.S. ARMY: Senator, that's now how I would characterize my response.


CASEY: I said that condition-based reductions of coalition forces remains an integral part of our overall strategy. And I believe I did say to the senator that that still remains possible in 2006.

MCCAIN: Are you planning on troop withdrawals for next year?

CASEY: I just said that, Senator. Yes. I mean...

MCCAIN: Yes or no?

CASEY: Yes, Senator, I do believe that the possibility for troop -- for condition-based reductions of coalition forces still exists in 2006.


DOBBS: General Casey also told the senators that only one Iraqi battalion is now capable of independent combat operations without American support. That is a reduction of two battalions from the number given by the Pentagon in June.

Joining me now, to ask whether President Bush is right to assert that we have a plan to win the war, is General David Grange. General, when I hear a general of the rank of General Casey not give a U.S. senator with the standing of Senator John McCain a straight answer, it makes me nervous. How does it make you feel?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, in actuality it's not a question you can give a plain yes or no because it is condition based. I think there's a plan in place. In fact, I'd bet just about anything there's a plan in place. But again, that plan is going to be determined upon the conditions on the ground at that time in 2006.

DOBBS: You can understand why these senators, many Americans, are a little impatient with a Pentagon that talks about condition-based responses. It sounds a little as though the U.S. military and this administration does not have a determined outcome for what will happen and a timetable for it, whether announced publicly or not, that is to win the war. Are we winning this war? Can we answer that yes or no?

GRANGE: The answer is yes.

DOBBS: And how do we rationalize the loss of 2,000 American lives and the continued violence against Iraqi citizens, the death of our troops, and put that in some sort of context?

GRANGE: Because this type of war takes time and everybody's trying to push the time down to something that's very unreasonable, to include those that are fighting it. Whether it be the administration, Congress, or people overseas, there's false expectations to how long this type of fight will take to accomplish. It takes time.

DOBBS: Let's assume that all of us in America agree on one thing, that we're going to take this war, we're going to win it, and we're going to do so with a minimal loss of life, we're going to do it with the greatest assurance of success as the outcome. Do you think that's the policy and the direction that we're pursuing right now?

GRANGE: Well, I'm really amazed that the number of casualties are actually not higher. I mean, approaching 2,000 is a lot of casualties, but in this type of fight, in this type of country that you're covering down with porous borders I'm surprised actually it's not higher.

DOBBS: With porous borders -- it was interesting to hear the president talk about the need to secure those borders last week, something that he has not extended as a concern to this country's borders, even though he connects the global war on terror to Iraq and to this country, of course, that has already been attacked. Why are we not securing those borders, in your judgment?

GRANGE: There needs to be pressure put on the countries that surround Iraq. It's not enough pressure right now. I think maybe some more severe means must be used to do that. And that also -- I feel that same way about our own country.

DOBBS: General David Grange. We thank you very much, as always.

GRANGE: My pleasure.

DOBBS: Turning now to the mixture of politics and entertainment, where better than in California where Warren Beatty and Arnold Schwarzenegger are two of our country's most popular film stars and contesting politicians. These two men are fast becoming political rivals. They may one day, in fact, meet each other not in the box office, but at the ballot box.

Bill Schneider reports.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the Hollywood smack down. Senator Bullworth ...


SCHNEIDER: ... takes on the Terminator.


SCHNEIDER: After Warren Beatty criticized Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a commencement speech last spring, the governor called him names.

BEATTY: Arnold had his spokesman call me a crackpot. That was a mistake.

SCHNEIDER: Beatty fired back in a speech to the California Nurses Association.

BEATTY: A Schwarzenegger Republican is a Bush Republican who says that he is a Schwarzenegger Republican.

SCHNEIDER: The nurses were thrilled because the governor has called them names too.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Pay no attention to those voices over there. By the way, those are the special interests.

SCHNEIDER: After the governor started picking fights with public employees, his adversaries started calling him a rude name.

BEATTY: I'm not calling him a crackpot. I'm just calling him an old-fashioned politician.

SCHNEIDER: Worse, an out of touch politician. BEATTY: If he thinks that there are not two Americas, I call on him to talk with 170 nurses that you've sent to New Orleans and to Mississippi and to Texa ....

SCHNEIDER: Schwarzenegger is dismissive of Beatty.

SCHWARZENEGGER: You know, he does his thing and it's perfectly fine with me. He can do all the speeches that he wants.

SCHNEIDER: The governor told the Associated Press, "I just think that maybe he is jealous that I did jump in." Beatty apparently is not jumping in.

BEATTY: I've always preferred not to run for public office and I still prefer not to run for public office. Don't go there. I have a day job.

SCHNEIDER: Some Democrats are hoping another celebrity, movie director Rob Reiner, will jump into the race, but polls show that conventional Democratic politicians are stronger candidates than either Warren Beatty or Rob Reiner, says this Republican consultant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least for some Democratic voters the idea of a celebrity candidacy is wearing a little bit thin.

SCHNEIDER: In California no less.


SCHNEIDER: This just in -- a new poll released today by the Public Policy Institute of California shows Governor Schwarzenegger's job rating dropping to just 33 percent. That is worse than Ronald -- Ronald Reagan -- than President Bush's rating, which is now in California at 39 percent.

And as for the three initiatives that Governor Schwarzenegger put on the ballot for the special election he called in California this fall, right now, all of them are losing.

DOBBS: The reference to Ronald Reagan, just to put it -- to put that in context, Bill Schneider deals with not only the comprehensive view of a current, obviously, political situations but the broad sweep of political history in this country. And, as always, we thank you for doing so, Bill Schneider.


DOBBS: Still ahead, I'll be talking with a congressman who has a bold plan to challenge President Bush's call for a guest worker program for the millions of illegal aliens in this country.

Also ahead, a high-level Pentagon adviser warns the greatest challenge in our nation's history is the rise of China. Michael Pillsbury says anyone who says otherwise is a panda hugger. We'll be talking with him next, no panda hugger he.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: My next guest has no illusions about the ambitions of the world's fastest growing military and economic power. China, he says, is determined to overtake the United States as the world's superpower in the next several years, not several decades. Michael Pillsbury is a former Defense Department official, a scholar, a consultant to the Pentagon. He is the editor of two books based on Chinese writings, entitled "Chinese Views of Future Warfare" and "China Debates the Future Security Environment." Michael Pillsbury joins us now.

During the Reagan administration, Mike, you worked closely with the Pentagon. And I think people might be surprised to learn that you were an advocate of, in fact, improving their armaments and advancing their technology.

MICHAEL PILLSBURY, AUTHOR: Yes, I was quite the panda hugger in the '70s and '80s. President Reagan decided when I was his policy planning chief over in the Pentagon to sell six weapons systems to China, torpedoes for their submarines and to improve the jet fighters. China was a great partner in the Cold War.

DOBBS: In the contest against the Soviet Union.

PILLSBURY: That's right. I think it's not unfair to give China quite a bit of credit for helping bring down the Soviet Union.

DOBBS: And in your judgment, what was the deflection point -- the inflection point? What -- at what point did you decide that this country had turned in a direction that made them less of an ally and more of a threat?

PILLSBURY: Well, there were three shocks to me personally in 1989 and '90. I still recall them vividly.

The first was the use of force to kill the students in the Tiananmen Square. I had actually just been down to visit the students in may of '89 and talk with them. And as a former campus demonstrator, radical myself, I thought, of course, this would be solved peacefully and the students would all go home to enjoy their summer vacation.

The second shock is -- I guess because we had been so close in the Cold War against our common enemy, the second shock was when the Chinese defense minister today, back then, went to Moscow and signed a military relationship deal to buy many billions of dollars of Soviet weapons.

There was a third shock as well, the biggest one of all.

DOBBS: Which is?

PILLSBURY: Well, generals, PLA generals I had known and Chinese intelligence officials in the fall of '89, began to say our country's greatest foe is America.

DOBBS: Straightforwardly.

PILLSBURY: Yes, well they used allegorical. They would either talk about the hegemony, the old emperor, the dangers of a rising young emperor to an old emperor, but it was pretty clear what they meant. And, again, as intimate partners ...

DOBBS: Not to clear to everyone.


DOBBS: And as you focus on the potential threat of China and you watch in this country a refusal on the part of most academics, certainly, and so-called China hands, to deal with a strategy that is clearly articulated but not often translated nor interpreted for an American audience, how do you react?

PILLSBURY: Well, with some sympathy. I mean, I was there myself as a panda hugger as we now say, so I can see that others would still be optimistic that political reform is coming, that China can be a great partner of ours in the war on terror, that China in many ways has all the right things, that they want capitalism, they've increased their religious freedom. They have quite a positive story to tell. And so I'm quite sympathetic to those who still believe that story.

DOBBS: And what do you think the outcome is? Your sympathy with those panda huggers, we have a business establishment that is running up about a $700 billion debt each year, about $200 billion approximately this year will go into the coffers of the Chinese, their treasury. How do you feel?

PILLSBURY: Well, I think their problem is really one of what the lawyers call due diligence. Before you ...

DOBBS: Their problem, they being who?

PILLSBURY: The American businessmen, the American investors in China who see only the optimism, that this is going to all have a happy ending no matter what. And they need to do due diligence and talk to more China experts who are more on the pessimistic side. And some day there may even be a lawsuit against the investors who don't do this, who listen to only the optimistic voices.

DOBBS: Well, that's a wonderful point. Who do we sue in terms of administration policy, the U.S. government policy? Who do we hold accountable?

PILLSBURY: Well, of course, you can't. That's what national elections are for. You can't sue the federal government except for very limited things.

DOBBS: Well, maybe we ought to look into that and see if we can develop that.

PILLSBURY: But I would say I think the challenge of China is going to play out over many decades. It's not what you said in the beginning about just two or three years. This is going to be a two or three decades' process. And the Chinese themselves are very worried that America is going to harm them, cause great damage to them in the near term.

DOBBS: I suspect a little concern that more Americans like you will awaken to what panda hugging is all about. Michael Pillsbury, we thank you. We're out of time. We appreciate it.


DOBBS: Look forward to the new book.

A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight. Do you believe race and gender should be a determining factor for President Bush in choosing the next nominee for Supreme Court justice? Yes or no. Cast your vote please at We'll have the results coming right up.

Still ahead here, "Exporting America". Food -- Ford, rather, is demanding cheaper auto parts from its suppliers at a major cost to guess who? American middle class workers. We'll tell you about the beef that continues.

And controlling the weather, the creator of says it's something the U.S. government does everyday. We'll find out. Stay with us.


DOBBS: In "Exporting America" tonight, Ford is demanding cheaper auto parts from its suppliers. Executives say the move could save the company billions, but it will cost thousands of middle class American jobs.

Bill Tucker reports.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New cars are part of the American dream, but there is no glamour in making the parts that go to make up this dream car. It's a brutally competitive business. And Ford just ratcheted up that competition.

The four biggest American companies are Delphi, Visteon, Lear, and Johnson Controls. Delphi, the biggest, is on the verge of bankruptcy. The industry, in a fight to survive, pursues a strategy known as lowest-cost country, a strategy that results in building factories in countries paying workers less and less. The companies are behaving rationally, but American politicians in charge of policy are not.

ROB SCOTT, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: We have a national interest in producing goods here. The companies don't. The companies are looking to produce where the goods can be made most cheaply. We can change that equation if we change the policies that we have in place.

TUCKER: In ignoring policy, politicians make it impossible for the American workers with their middle class wages, and rights of sick pay, vacation and health care coverage to compete.

The United Auto Workers represents workers in many of the supplier shops. When called for a reaction to the news, the union had no comment. The future looks stark for manufacturing in America.

THOMAS PALLEY, ECONOMIST: I could see a future not too far away where Ford, GM, Boeing take the production offshore, take the assembly offshore, and then just ship back and use -- say they put a badge on their product, and then they use their sales and distribution networks to sell.


TUCKER: Which raises the disturbing question, if no one is here making it, who will be left here that can afford to buy it?


DOBBS: Let's get something very clear. The United Auto Workers Union, with this threat to thousands of American middle class jobs, had no comment?

TUCKER: They had no comment. They said we didn't call you back because we have nothing to contribute.

DOBBS: Nothing to contribute? That just about says...

TUCKER: It all.

DOBBS: Well, not quite all. But it puts it pretty clear the position of American organized labor. Thank you very much.

Tonight, a bold challenge to President Bush's call for a guest worker program for millions of illegal aliens. Congressman JD Hayworth of Arizona today introduced immigration reform legislation that would reject any type of guest worker program. He calls for enforcement first.

Earlier, I talked with the congressman about his proposal.


DOBBS: Congressman, the legislation you've introduced is remarkable in that you are taking on the White House on the issue of guest workers, first of all.

REP. JD HAYWORTH, (R) ARIZONA: Well, remarkable in a sense, but absolutely necessary because the bottom line is this. History has shown us that guest worker programs don't work. And if we go back to the big amnesty in 1986, we never saw enforcement of the sanctions. It did not stem the illegal invasion of this country.

So, from a common sense standpoint we have to have enforcement first. We have to close the loopholes. And then we can perhaps have a discussion about a guest worker program. DOBBS: And my gosh, the idea that the United States government would penalize employers who hire illegal aliens, you're prescribing raising the fines and exacting higher penalties against those employers. How do you think that's going to go with your colleagues on Capitol Hill?

HAYWORTH: Well, it needs to go over in a big way, because I will tell you, there's something else we do. We have provisions in the bill to have Immigration Customs and Enforcement and the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service talk to each other. Imagine that. Right now we have bureaucratic bottlenecks. We have some employers in good faith trying to verify the identity of workers, and essentially ICE turns it, or Social Security turns to an immigration lawyer saying oh, don't pursue this.

Look, we need to enforce the law. And the fact is there will be sanctions that will be raised in this legislation, but likewise we will free up the bureaucratic deadwood. And we will insist on governmental agencies doing their part as well.

DOBBS: You call this a national call to action as well as a legislative initiative. The fact is that this government has for now literally two decades ignored immigration laws, ignored the national need for border security. Do you believe there will be a response to your call for action?

HAYWORTH: I believe there will be a response, Lou. And if I may say so, I believe your telecast nightly has become a rallying point for information. I believe everyone tuning in tonight will call their member of Congress and say enforcement first. Let that be the rallying cry. That will change hearts and minds and if people feel the heat, they will see the light.

DOBBS: Congressman JD Hayworth. We thank you, and wish you luck.

HAYWORTH: Lou, thank you.


DOBBS: If they feel the heat, they will see the light. Words to live by.

Coming up next here, a radical new theory on what caused all of the destruction blamed on Hurricane Katrina. We will be talking with a former weatherman who said it was no natural disaster.

We'll have the results of the poll, a preview of tomorrow as well.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: My next guest tonight is making some remarkable assertions about the causes of our recent violent weather. He says we face the manmade threat of terrorist hurricanes. He says Katrina, for example, was created by the Japanese mafia using Russian-made technology. I'm joined now by former TV weatherman and operator of, Scott Stevens.

Scott, by any standard, this is about as outlandish an assertion as I've heard made recently. What has been the reaction?

SCOTT STEVENS, WEATHERWARS.INFO: Reaction has certainly been mixed. Some people have been familiar with the man's work that I referenced, which is Lieutenant Colonel Tom Bearden's material who was in the know through the '70s, and '80s, and '90s when this technology was first made aware to those in power. But the problem with this technology -- scalar waves -- is we don't really know who is doing it. One thing we do know is that it is being done.

DOBBS: Well, you say we do know that. What evidence do we have of any part of these assertions you're making?

STEVENS: OK. What we're looking at is a quote by Defense Secretary Cohen back in 1997 where he specifically stated that others, terrorists, were engaging in a type of eco-terrorism where they could alter the climate, set off earthquakes and volcanoes. So, that technology has been developed. The question we've all wondered was it deployed. And the Russians boasted they had in the past.

And what got my attention was viewing satellite imagery where the clouds and storm behavior was simply not natural.

DOBBS: In putting forward your theories, which are remarkable, what -- is there anything about Katrina, for example, any part of that storm that is a clue to what you're saying?

STEVENS: Well, getting a Category 5 in any location is an incredible achievement. And then to have back-to-back inside of a month is just astounding. But there was geometry, and once you learn that this technology is at work and study the signatures that result in the cloud cover, these hurricanes are replete with these odd signatures, these geometries. And they become more pronounced as they approached Category 4 and 5 status.

DOBBS: Let me ask you, we talked with NOAA, we've talked with Goddard Space Center and weather people, none of whom would talk to us on the record about you. Has any professional meteorologist, any group, assessed what you've done and said this makes sense or you're just as crazy as you can be?

STEVENS: No. I get encouragement. Actually there's both. There's those that assume straight up that it can't happen, and in scientific method you can't go into any discussion assuming that it's an impossibility. The only thing keeping us from doing it is our intention to do it.

DOBBS: Scott Stevens,, we thank you for being here. Intriguing assertion. Thank you, Scott.

The results now of our poll: 70 percent of you say race or gender should not be determining factors for President Bush in choosing his next nominee for the Supreme Court.

As of tonight, Judy Miller has spent 85 days in jail, more than 12 weeks in prison, for protecting her sources in the White House CIA leak case.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us tomorrow.

Coming up next, none other than ANDERSON COOPER 360.