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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Troop Cuts in Iraq?; Iraq Amnesty; Illegal Licenses

Aired June 26, 2006 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, President Bush insists the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General George Casey, will influence the decision on when our troops can be withdrawn from Iraq. But are politics influencing the timing and scale of any U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq?
Our complete coverage begins now.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Monday, June 26th.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

President Bush today tried to dampen speculation the United States will begin withdrawing large numbers of our troops from Iraq in September. And Mr. Bush again declared that conditions on the ground will determine whether our troops can be withdrawn. The president said General George Casey will make the recommendation on any troop withdrawals, but sources tell CNN that General Casey is considering reducing our strength in Iraq by up to 10,000 troops from the current level of 127,000.

Suzanne Malveaux reports tonight from the White House on the escalating political battle over possible troop cuts. Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon on what exactly the U.S. military is considering about the future of our troops in Iraq. And Arwa Damon reports from Baghdad tonight on the Iraqi prime minister's new reconciliation plan that would give amnesty to some Iraqi prisoners.

We begin with Suzanne Malveaux at the White House -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, Iraq really is the number one issue for American voters. Republicans, Democrats and the White House, they all know this. So each group is becoming more aggressive in trying to shape this debate as we get much closer to the congressional midterm elections.


MALVEAUX (voice over): At the White House a violent overnight storm took out this 100-year-old American elm tree, but it's the political storm brewing over Iraq that has Washington all abluster.

Democrats are charging that a plan under consideration by the U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, to possibly pull out as many as 10,000 U.S. troops by as early as the fall is politically motivated.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: The September or October surprise, with the president and Republicans proclaiming victory and announcing troop redeployment just in time for the midterm elections.

MALVEAUX: The president categorically refuted the charge.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In terms of our troop presence there, that decision will be made by General Casey, as well as the sovereign government of Iraq, based upon conditions on the ground.

MALVEAUX: But Democrats are fuming over not one, but two bills that were shot down by Republicans last week which called for a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal. Republicans painted the Democrats' proposal as a move to cut and run. Both sides, nervous about the midterm election, are trying to gain the upper hand in the Iraq debate, with Democrats now arguing their proposals are in line with the Pentagon's and that it's Republican lawmakers who are out of step.

REID: It's clear that congressional Republicans stand alone in opposition to troop redeployments apart from the American people.

MALVEAUX: But a look at the substance of both Democratic plans show the bill offered by senators Jack Reed and Carl Levin, which calls for phased redeployment of troops by the end of 2006, is similar to General Casey's reported plan, which aims at pulling out two combat brigades by the end of the year.

But the White House says the Democratic plan was not sound.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What Senator Levin did not mention is conditions on the ground. What Senator Levin wanted to do was to get out.

MALVEAUX: The other Democratic proposal by senators John Kerry and Russ Feingold is substantially different than the Pentagon's. It calls for pulling out all U.S. troops by the summer of 2007. The Pentagon reportedly wants to phase out tens of thousand of troops by the end of next year, but does not have a hard deadline for complete withdrawal.

STU ROTHENBERG, POLITICAL ANALYST: They wanted a date certain complete withdrawal, and that's not we're talking about. We're talking about a very, very limited withdrawal based on circumstances on the ground are driving the decisions.


MALVEAUX: But, Lou, political analysts say that what makes even perhaps more difference here is not just withdrawing perhaps 10,000 troops by the end of this year, but really what does happen on the ground in Iraq. If there's are more bombings, more kidnappings, more beheadings, that that really may ultimately be the thing that impacts this administration's standing when it comes to Iraq in the very end -- Lou.

DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you.

Suzanne Malveaux from the White House.

The Pentagon publicly insisting it does not have a secret plan for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, but sources say the military does have a plan to cut troop strength in Iraq by two brigades if conditions allow.

Jamie McIntyre reports now from the Pentagon.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Pentagon insists there is no new plan for withdrawing American troops from Iraq, just the same old plan to gradually cut U.S. force levels by not replacing some troops as they rotate out later this year. And that plan comes with the same old caveats.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: As the Iraqi forces continue to take over bases in provinces and areas of responsibility and move into the lead, we expect that General Casey will come back and make a recommendation after he has had those discussions which he has not yet had.

MCINTYRE: CNN reported last week that what Casey has in mind to start is simply not replacing two brigades when they rotate out of Iraq later this year. That would cut U.S. troop levels by between 6,000 and 10,000 troops, with further reductions to come as conditions allow.

Three days later, "The New York Times" reported essentially the same thing, putting the initial troop cuts at about 7,000 and adding that another eight brigades, roughly 28,000 troops, might be cut in 2007. Casey's steadfastly refuses to share his private thinking, believing that, like any announcement of a timetable, would tie his hands.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, COMMANDER, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCES, IRAQ: I feel it would limit my flexibility. I think it would give the enemy a fixed timetable.

MCINTYRE: Casey says he hasn't yet talked troop cuts with the new Iraqi government. One reason he's reluctant to say anything publicly. But already Casey is working with Iraqis on what's been dubbed an unofficial roadmap to begin turning over to local control some of the 18 provinces in the relatively calm areas of Iraq, beginning with two in the north and two in the south.


MCINTYRE: Now, Lou, Iraqi officials have been much more open and optimistic about their hopes for U.S. troop withdrawals. Iraq's national security adviser said last week he expects most U.S. troops to be gone from Iraq by the end of 2007 and Iraq to be fully in control of its own country by the end of 2008. But, Lou, no one at the Pentagon will say if that's just wishful thinking.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much.

Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

In Iraq, insurgents today killed more than 20 people in two bomb attacks against crowded markets. One of those bombs exploded in Baquba, north of Baghdad, killing at least 18 people. The other bomb exploded in Hilla, south of Baghdad. Five people killed in that explosion.

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, today tried to address concerns that Iraq may release terrorist prisoners who've killed American troops. The ambassador said the United States will be able to influence decisions about who will be released, and he is confident U.S. interests will be protected. The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, announced the Amnesty proposal yesterday as part of a broad so-called national reconciliation plan.

Arwa Damon reports from Baghdad.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His national reconciliation plan is meant to be the blueprint for how the government is going to fulfill its promise of a secure and stable Iraq. But the prime minister provided very little details as to how his government was going to fulfill all of these challenges.

Now, the aspects that he did provide details on are causing some controversy. Amnesty for detainees, this is a process that has already begun. To date, some 2,500 Iraqi detainees have been released from prison. He says, though -- the prime minister says that only those who don't have blood on their hands, those who have not committed crimes of war, crimes against humanity, acts of violence, shed Iraqi blood.

He's also opening the door to insurgent and insurgent leaders. Now, this is a door that the government has opened before. It is all part of an effort to convince insurgents, nationalistic insurgents who believe that they are fighting an occupying force by fighting U.S. and Iraqi security forces to lay down their weapons and join this political process.

Now, this is one aspect of his reconciliation plan. The other is to deal with sectarian strife. In an effort to do that, the prime minister emphasizing the necessity of depoliticizing Iraq's military and Iraq's political institutions.

Now, for the Iraqi people, they have heard these words before. And they say that what they want to see from their government is action -- Lou.


DOBBS: Arwa Damon from Baghdad. President Bush today strongly criticized "The New York Times" and the "Los Angeles Times" for publishing stories about a secret government program to monitor the financial transactions of suspected terrorists. President Bush said those reports make it difficult for the United States to win the war on terror.


BUSH: The disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We're at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.


DOBBS: The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Pete King, went even further. Congressman King said the federal government should prosecute "The New York Times" for publishing the story. "The New York Times" said some of the government's arguments against publishing the story were "puzzling and half-hearted."

Still ahead here, our own government has signed free trade agreements with other countries that threaten our national sovereignty and the independence of our entire judicial system, including the U.S. Supreme Court. We'll have that special report.

Also tonight, how illegal aliens can apply for driver's licenses in the state of Maryland without being required to show any proof whatsoever of citizenship. We'll have that report.

And an authoritative new study on the link between global warming and industrial emission of greenhouse gases. Two leading climatologists who first warned about the impact of global warming join us here next.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, the government's refusal to enforce our national immigration laws, both at the border and within our country, and it stands clearly exposed.

We have first two reports tonight. First, Lisa Sylvester on Maryland's decision to give away driver's licenses in that state to all who apply. No proof of citizenship of any kind required. And Peter Viles on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's refusal to give President Bush more National Guard troops to deploy along the California border with Mexico.

We begin with Lisa Sylvester -- Lisa.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Maryland has been swamped with applications by foreign nationals and illegal aliens for new driver's licenses. So much so that the state has stopped taking appointments and began processing applications on a walk-in basis.


SYLVESTER (voice over): It's not quite 6:30 in the morning, and the lines have started. Some people sleeping in their vehicles overnight, waiting to get a driver's license.

In March, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration had a weekly average of 950 applications from foreign nationals, including illegal aliens. This month, the number has doubled to more than 2,000 a week.

A spokesman for the MBA says they have noticed the trend, but don't know what's driving it. But the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License points to Maryland's lax requirements.

AMANDA BROWN, COALITION FOR A SECURE DRIVER'S LICENSE: You don't have to have a Social Security card. You don't have to prove your legal presence in the country. So it's just easier.

SYLVESTER: Foreign and out-of-country documents translated into English can be used as a primary source of identification. Secondary acceptable documents include rent contracts and bank account statements.

Meantime, other states in the Northeast, including Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, have been tightening restrictions since the 9/11 attacks, leaving Maryland an enclave. In the South, illegal aliens flock to Tennessee, which issue driving certificates. But the state stopped that policy in February. The overflow to Maryland began mid- April.

JOHN KEELY, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: Well, I think what Maryland is experiencing is what has happened with other states that have done the same thing in terms of issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Tennessee experienced this a few years ago.

SYLVESTER: Maryland is one of only 11 states that does not require legal presence to get a driver's license. And until the policy changes, critics say it will continue to serve as a magnet for illegal aliens.


SYLVESTER: Congress passed the Real ID Act, which is set to take effect in May of 2008. That means states like Maryland will have to pass a new law to ensure only legal residents are allowed a driver's license -- Lou.

DOBBS: Only two more years to await the Real ID Act, part of an important element of security and our national security in the war on terrorism, as I recall.

SYLVESTER: Indeed, Lou. It's been how many years since the 9/11 attacks? And still, what we're seeing is that many states, Maryland included, still have an issue with a driver's license, where it's quite easy to get one. DOBBS: Thank you very much, Lisa.

Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

In California, Governor Schwarzenegger is rejecting the president's request to deploy more National Guard troops along the California border with Mexico. And this could be a crippling setback to the Bush administration's plan to put as many as 6,000 National Guardsman on the border this summer.

Peter Viles reports.


PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was reluctant when he ordered a thousand California National Guard troops to the Mexico border, and now the Bush administration knows just how reluctant, because Schwarzenegger flatly turned down a request to send another 1,500 California guardsmen to other border states.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: We cannot send now an additional 1,500 to Arizona or to New Mexico. I think that -- that the federal government has to look at the other states, especially also New Mexico and Arizona. They should contribute. And, you know, they should send the National Guard. So I think the whole country has to work together on this in order to make this happen.

VILES: Schwarzenegger says his Guard, numbering 20,000, would be stretched too thin if he sent 1,500 out of state, leaving California vulnerable to an earthquake or another catastrophic event.

JAMES GILCHRIST, MINUTEMAN CO-FOUNDER: This is not about California, this is about the United States of America. And it's not only the governor's obligation, but his duty to provide assistance to sister states when they're invaded.

VILES: Roughly 6,000 California guardsmen have been deployed overseas recently, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty-one have died. Another thousand were sent to the Gulf Coast last September after Hurricane Katrina.

Guard troops routinely fight wildfires and floods, but not in huge numbers. A major earthquake is the most often-cited event that would call for a large-scale Guard response in California. Given Schwarzenegger's refusal, it's not clear how the Guard will keep the White House promise of 6,000 troops on the border this summer. To date, California has pledged 1,000, Arizona 300, New Mexico 500, and Texas 2,300, for a total of only 4,100.

A Guard spokesperson in Washington set the Guard is working "with all the states and territories."


VILES: Still, the Guard in Washington says tonight it is still confident that it will meet its two goals on this project. One is to have 2,500 troops on the border by this Friday night, the other to have 6,000 troops on the border by the first of August. They say those goals, they're still confident they'll meet them -- Lou.

DOBBS: Pete, thank you very much.

Peter Viles from Los Angeles.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you believe that a significant number of our National Guard troops in Iraq should be redeployed to secure or national borders? Yes or no?

Cast your vote at We'll have those results, as we always do, later here in the broadcast.

Illegal immigration is the decisive issue in tomorrow's congressional primary held in Utah. Five-term incumbent Republican Congressman Chris Cannon faces a major challenge from John Jacob, a political novice who supports tougher border security and who outright opposes amnesty.

The latest poll of likely voters shows a statistical dead heat, 44 percent favoring Congressman Cannon versus 41 percent for Jacob. That's within the poll's margin of error. And Congressman Cannon supports a guest worker program and giving illegal aliens subsidized tuition at state colleges.

We'll be live in Utah tomorrow with full coverage of the primary and the impact nationally.

Coming up next, our national sovereignty is under attack, and some people are trying to simply give it away. Congress is given a secret international tribunal power over our nation's laws. It is the high price of what this administration likes to call free trade. A special report coming up.

And the amnesty agenda. I'll be joined by a syndicated columnist who describes my viewers as racists and xenophobes, at least some of them. Ruben Navarrette of "The San Diego Union-Tribune" joins us.

And the National Academy of Sciences. A report showing global warming is real. Humans partially responsible. I'll be joined by the scientists who first raised the alarm.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: We have reported to you the impact of so-called free trade agreements on our middle class families, working men and women in this country. We have reported to you over the years on the creation of a North American union without the approval of the American people nor the U.S. Congress.

Tonight, American democracy faces another unprecedented attack from the associates and advocates of so-called free trade. A provision of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, gives secret international tribunals extraordinary powers over the laws passed by our Congress and the power to negate America's national sovereignty.

Bill Tucker reports.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Canadian cattlemen are suing the United States government over its decision to ban Canadian beef because of mad cow disease. They want American taxpayers to pay them $300 million for lost business.

A tribe of Canadian Indians is challenging the U.S. state tobacco agreements, saying they're arbitrary and unfair to them as Canadian tobacco traders. These cases will not be decided in or by U.S. courts or judges, they will be decided by international tribunals established by NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

CHIEF JUSTICE RONALD GEORGE, CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT: With all due respect to Congress, who passed the law, probably did not realize the full ramifications of what they were enacting. It does provide foreign companies with greater rights than their American counterparts.

TUCKER: The rulings based not on U.S. law, but on the language of NAFTA as interpreted by three international lawyers who were appointed on a case-by-case basis.

BILL WARREN, FORUM ON DEMOCRACY AND TRADE: Do we want to use that model to make basic public policy decisions about whether or not we're going to protect a certain area in the Imperial Valley of California from gold mining, or whether or not Utah gets to ban gambling? Those seem to be fundamental issues that in my mind ought to be decided by democratic institutions and not by three anonymous international lawyers.

TUCKER: There's a constitutional issue as well. The Constitution prohibits Congress from delegating "essential attributes" of the judicial branch to tribunals or other such institutions.

PETER SPIRO, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: It's a very important question, and it's going to be -- it's going to be an even more important question going forward as we see the creation of more of these sorts of international tribunals.

TUCKER: Yet Congress is creating more of these types of agreements as fast as it can. The latest agreement is CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, giving companies in those countries the authority to challenge regulations and policies of our states and federal government.


TUCKER: And Congress is not done yet. They're now considering the Free Trade of Americas Agreement, the FTAA. It would essentially include all of the countries in North, Central, and South America, and include the Caribbean nations as well. One of those countries, Lou, is Venezuela, meaning that if it's passed, Venezuelan companies under the control of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will have the right to sue the U.S. government.

DOBBS: And over the next week you will be exploring as well, I understand, Bill, the impact of the World Trade Organization, every bit as deleterious to U.S. national sovereignty and our judicial system as anything put forward by NAFTA. It is remarkable and it is pretty clear that there is a very good constitutional challenge to each of these agreements based on exactly the issues that you raised in your report.

Thank you, Bill.

Bill Tucker.

Taking a look now at your thoughts.

Brian in Florida wrote in to say, "Hey, Lou, the Republicans should know all about cut and run. They cut from the middle class and poor in this country and run to the rich."

Rebecca in Virginia, "If the current administration is trying to scare America, then I would say they have succeeded. I'm scared of our own government. I can't wait for November."

Don in Virginia, "Lou, you say that the American middle class is under attack and the president and Congress are doing nothing. From where I'm sitting, they are the people leading the attack."

And Barbee in Utah, "Lou, I've come to the conclusion that the biggest threat to our national security is our government."

Barbara in Virginia, "Lou, with our failed education and constant government attacks on wages, is this not just the beginning of homegrown terrorists?"

Send us your thoughts at More of your thoughts are coming up here in just moments on this broadcast.

Next, the Earth is warmer than it's been in 400 years. That's the conclusion of the National Academy of Sciences. I'll be talking with the scientists who first raised the alarm on global warming.

And columnist Ruben Navarrette says this program's reports on illegal immigration and border security, in his judgment, pander to racists and xenophobes. We'll have a discussion.

And the threat to American democracy from within. Electronic voting machines, they can be rigged to erase your vote, so who's guarding the machines? You're not going to like the answers in our special report coming up next.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Parts of the eastern United States tonight are under flood watch after heavy weekend rains caused severe flooding. Washington D.C. hit with some of the worst flooding. Washed out roads, mudslides, railroads cancellations wreaking havoc, and with commuters who are just simply not able to get around.

Several federal buildings, including the U.S. Justice Department closed because of that flooding. The federal government told its nearly 300,000 employees to take unscheduled leave if they couldn't make it to work. My guess is a few took them up on that warning. A flash flood watch remains in effect until tomorrow.

The Pacific Northwest suffering through a record-shattering heat waves. Cities across Oregon and parts of Washington state experiencing triple-digit temperatures. A heat warning is in effect there through tomorrow evening. In China, flash flooding from heavy rains killed 18 people in the central Chinese province of Hunan over the weekend. Another 18 people are reported missing.

An authoritative report by the National Academy of Sciences says global warming is real. Industrial emissions of greenhouses gases are at least partially responsible. The National Academy of Sciences report concludes that our earth is the warmest it's been in at least 400 years, possibly the warmest in 2,000 years. The latest findings show Greenland's glaciers are melting faster than at any times since records have been kept, and so are the ice sheets of Antarctica.

Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, the chairman of the House Science Committee asked the National Academy of Sciences to review the evidence on global warming. The academy supported the conclusions of the scientists who first raised the alarm a decade ago. The issue of global warming is now before the highest court in the country as well. The Supreme Court today agreed to consider whether the Bush administration must regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Joining me now, the authors of the landmark 1998 report on global warming. Raymond Bradley, he's the director of climate systems research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Malcolm Hughes, director of the laboratory of tree ring research at the University of Arizona. And Michael Mann of Penn State University, the professor was supposed to be here as well. I'm not sure that he would appreciate the irony, but his plane was delayed into New York because of the weather.

It is good to have you gentlemen here, and our regrets and apologies to Michael Mann, whom we would love to have had here. Hopefully we can talk to him in the days upcoming.

Let me turn to you first, Professor Bradley. The idea that now there is no equivocation whatsoever -- manmade greenhouse gases contribute to at least in some measure to global warming. What can we do about it?

RAYMOND BRADLEY, CLIMATOLOGIST: Well there's a million things we can do individually. There's a lot -- probably the biggest thing we can do is try to minimize the amount of energy that we waste. We waste a tremendous amount of energy, inefficient inefficient -- by inefficient use, through driving cars that are not very efficient at using fuel, through inefficient heating of our houses and air conditioning and so on.

DOBBS: Are you surprised that no one is talking about conservation in the federal government? We've heard about alternative energy plans, but no one is investing in alternative energy companies. We have heard from Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, but no one has put conservation on the agenda.

BRADLEY: I know, and you know, I just got back from London, where it's like going to another planet on that side of the Atlantic. Everybody there is talking about conservation, everybody is thinking about ways they can make their companies more efficient, more competitive, and thinking of ways to save money.

DOBBS: Professor Hughes, the idea that now there is -- it seems to be the broadest possible consensus as best one can have this in any area among scientists, that mankind is at least partially responsible for warming. Give us the perspective as to how warm is it? We know that the ten of the last years have been the warmest ever recorded. But put it in some context for us as to how dire the situation is.

MALCOLM HUGHES, PALEOCLIMATOLOGIST: I think that the way to look at it is that it's warmer than what we expected had human beings not been putting excess gases into the atmosphere, changing the surface of the land and so on.

We cannot explain the temperature rise over the last 50 to 100 years in terms of natural variations in the natural climate system. We have done something different to it. And a part of that that concerns me most as a scientist is that we're moving into unknown territory and that the risks we're facing are difficult to quantify, difficult to understand, and therefore we ought to be taking a precautionary approach to the way we modify the world around us.

DOBBS: Professor, let's listen to what President Bush had to say about global warming during a news conference today. If we could listen to that, I'd ask you both to listen to this.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have said consistently that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technology necessary to enable us to achieve a couple of big objectives. One, be good stewards of the environment. Two, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil, for economic reasons and for national security reasons.


DOBBS: Well now that sounds pretty good, what do you think, professor? BRADLEY: It sounds very good. I wish he would suggest some ways of doing that through the legislative process. It won't happen just by voluntary activities, I don't think.

DOBBS: And Professor Hughes, when we talk about this planet of ours, no matter how much trouble we're in, it is the result of at least 100 to 150 years of impact on the part of mankind, can we really -- and let's get down to the basic issue. Can we really make enough of a difference whether it be through conservation, alternative energies, other adaptations that we can't even imagine right now, can we really turn the tide, if you will?

HUGHES: You rightly identified two slightly different but related issues. One of which is can we adapt? And the other is can we turn the tide? Human beings are amazingly adaptable and resourceful, and so many of us will be able to adapt, although there are many who will not be able to, those who have the fewest resources and the least flexibility. In terms of turning the system around, there's the old cliched analogy of turning around a tanker. There is an inertia in the system. If we're going to turn it around, my understanding from my colleagues who work on that question is we need to act quickly and at a fairly drastic level. So there are two aspects as turning the ship around, but there's also modifying ourselves -- our behavior toward that situation as it develops.

DOBBS: No matter what one's -- and it's odd to think of this in a political context, because we're talking about science, we're talking about something that is -- if there's anything that should be bipartisan, it is the well being of this planet, one would think, that would have little to do with liberal, conservative or whatever.

But the issue right now as to whether or not we can make a difference in the outcome, there is this hope from all quarters that this is a wonderful self-correcting mechanism, the ecology, the climate of this planet. Is there any basis for such hope?

BRADLEY: Yes, I think there is. But the U.S. is the biggest producer of greenhouse gases, and we have to take the lead on a global level to grasp the nettle and do something about it. And at least at the executive level, we haven't seen that leadership.

But it is happening at the state levels, at the level of cities and towns. Even individual companies are beginning to adapt. I was talking last week to the vice president of B.P., and he told me that since 1998, they had implemented the Kyoto standard within their company, and they had saved $1.8 billion since 1998. So that means they're more competitive, it means they're able to save money. And once that message gets out to other companies, I think we'll see a tidal wave of adaptation and change.

DOBBS: As Professor Bradley talks about that, I am struck by the fact that we've got -- in the latest energy legislation, $10 billion in incentives that a re going to oil companies to create alternative energy. That seems about as wrong-headed as it can be. It seems to me we ought to find someone to compete with big oil, no matter how responsible or irresponsible they are. It seems like that money should be going to seed innovation and alternatives, if you will, somewhere else? What are your thoughts?

HUGHES: We certainly need innovation and alternatives from wherever they come from. But my guess would be that those companies, whether they're in oil already or in other fields, also need to have a reasonable expectation of the regulatory environment in which they're going to work. Because at the moment, that seems to be about as unpredictable as the climate system. And that's one of the reasons why our federal government needs to take a grip on this situation, in terms of providing a clear lead, in a regulatory environment for companies, so they know where they're going when they seek to invest in alternatives.

DOBBS: Well you've got to be thrilled today with the Supreme Court today agreeing to take up the issue of the responsibilities of the federal government and its capacity to regulate carbon dioxide. At least we should have some clarity there. Whether it's the clarity that any of us would want, only the mystery of the law will be able to tell us. We thank you very much, Raymond Bradley thank you very much, and Malcolm Hughes, we hope you come back as we continue our coverage of this critically important issue.

Coming up next here, our democracy at risk, the electronic voting machines that are playing a critical part in our upcoming elections. Just about a third of those elections will be decided by electronic voting, although they're incredibly vulnerable to fraud, tampering, hacking and theft. We'll have that special report.

And I'll be talking with a syndicated columnist who says some viewers of this program are certifiable, and that I pander to xenophobes and racists. We'll be talking with Ruben Navarrette, and I actually have quite a few things to say to him. Stay with us.


DOBBS: President Bush today called upon Congress to extend the Voting Rights Act, a measure passed in 1965 to assist minorities in gaining access at the polls, particular in the southern states of this country. Congress is now debating whether or not to renew the measure, which is set to expire next year. One of the most contentious issues under discussion is a requirement to provide ballots in foreign languages. Those who favor extending the multilingual ballot requirement argue it protects minority voters. Opponents however point out naturalized citizens are required to learn English, so there should be no need for foreign language ballots and of course only U.S. citizens can vote, at least in most states.

In the upcoming midterm congressional elections, a little more than four months from now, a third of the nation will be casting ballots on electronic voting machines. Tonight, new questions about the extraordinary lack of security that results from the use of these machines. Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In San Diego county Patty Newton volunteered as an election worker in the June 6th primary. After her training class for electronic voting machines, she got the surprise of her life.

PATTI NEWTON, FORMER POLL WORKER: We were given slips of papers, had them stamped by one of the staff members and we were directed to drive across to the parking lot to pick up our voting machines and take them home. We all felt an ominous kind of responsibility. It was not something that we were told we would be doing.

PILGRIM: She stored the electronic voting machine here, on the floor of her garage for seven days until the election. According to Vote Trust USA, states with so-called sleepovers for electronics voting machines are California, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Florida, but certain counties in other states do it also. Voter activists say while millions have been spent buying the machines, counties don't have the budgets for storing them or delivering them on election day.

SUSAN PYNCHON, FLORIDA FAIR ELECTIONS COALITION: Each jurisdiction has been given money through the Help America Vote Act to purchase the machines, but many of these jurisdictions are strapped when it comes to trying to maintain them, already, and to have this some huge delivery charge on top of that, that money comes directly out of the local taxpayers' pockets.

PILGRIM: In Florida the Volusia County Department of Elections manual makes it official, "Pick up the voting equipment and ballots at your designated pick-up site prior to the day of the election. As soon as the items are picked up, they must be stored in a secure place." But on March 5th in Dallas County, a 14-pound electronic voting machine was stolen from the home of an election judge. Today the Dallas sheriff's office told us the voting machine has still not been recovered.


PILGRIM: Now, voter activists say this simply reinforces the argument that the only real way to make sure that the machines haven't been tampered with is to have a paper trail record of the machine on election day, so if there are any questions the machine can be audited. Lou?

DOBBS: So often I say, what in the world are we thinking about in this country?

PILGRIM: It's pretty mind-boggling when you start to look at this, that these machines would be in private homes.

DOBBS: What are the companies that make and run and maintain these machines saying?

PILGRIM: They basically made the sale and say they should be secured. But, the definition of secured, as we have just proven is a little bit nebulous.

DOBBS: I think nebulous is a very kind word for it. I mean, this is enough to scare the dickens out of anybody.

PILGRIM: Yes DOBBS: Kitty thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.

Coming up at the top of the hour, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, what are you working on?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much Lou, a major California port shut down by a bomb threat. We'll have the latest for you on that.

Also the brewing battle here in Washington over the war in Iraq. Are troop reductions being timed for political reasons? I'll speak with the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad.

Also on fire in an election year, the Senate now on the verge of possibly passing a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

Plus, prosecuting the press, should "The New York Times" face legal trouble for reporting on a top secret program. We have an interview with the executive editor of "The New York Times," that's coming up live.

And could the immigration issue take its first Republican victim, a veteran U.S. congressman from Utah, fighting for his political life tonight, because he stands with the president on immigration reform. We'll go out to Utah. This is a story you'll see only here on CNN. Your viewers will want to see this.

DOBBS: Absolutely, thank you very much, Wolf Blitzer.

Still ahead, we'll have more on your thoughts on the war on terror, the war on drugs, you remember the war on drugs, and the government's war on the middle class. You're probably experiencing it. Then I'll be talking with a syndicated columnist, who says when it comes to illegal immigration, I pander to racists on this broadcast. He'll be here to explain himself. Stay with us for that and a great deal more.


DOBBS: Our illegal immigration and border security crisis, among the most urgent and important issues facing this nation. Ten days ago I told about 1,000 Hispanic journalists, meeting in southern Florida, that we can't reform immigration unless we control immigration. That we can't control immigration unless we control our borders.

Now, you might think that is straightforward logic and uncontroversial, but one of the journalists at the convention says I was stirring up, in effect, racial hatred. Ruben Navarrette of "The San Diego Union-Tribune" wrote in his column "you pander to racists and xenophobes. You seem like a pretty good guy, but some of your viewers are certifiable." Ruben Navarrette joins us tonight from San Diego. Ruben, glad to have you here.

Let's start with the idea that the viewers are certificate at this broadcast. What did you mean by that? RUBEN NAVARRETTE, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: Well, I mean this Lou. Every time I appear on your show, and I have several times in the last several years, I always go back to my e-mail and I get some of the most foul and racist e-mails that I can imagine. And then people go on in the emails to try to ensure me there's no racism in this debate.

It's interesting, because so much what I get, so much of what Latino journalists around the country get, Republican, Democrat, it really doesn't matter, are these kind of vile, racist e-mails and people try to turn around and assume or argue that really this is just a neutral debate. It's really about people who are here illegally, and race has no part on it. Let me say that I don't think the whole debate is about racism, but anybody that says there's no racism in this debate is kidding themselves.

DOBBS: What percentage of your email would you say would be racist inspired.

NAVARRETTE: I'd say I get about 500 e-mails a week. The column runs in 200 newspapers, I get about 500 a week. I would say that about 5 percent overall of the e-mails, of the whole, are racist or have some sort of racial tinge to them.

DOBBS: This is week in and week out?

NAVARRETTE: Absolutely, sir. The main thrust seems to be this assumption that because my last name is Navarrette or Gonzales or Gomez or Rodriguez or whatever, that somehow by virtue of that fact alone, I want an open border so I can bring in my relatives. This is what people say. They say it very bluntly. They say it over and over again.

DOBBS: Ruben, they assume that, or do they just read your column?

NAVARRETTE: They just say it. It's interesting because if they read my column, they would know I'm for closed border, I'm for security. My dad is a retired cop. I know all about law and order. I don't support unconditional amnesty. But it really doesn't matter Lou, because even Linda Chavez, who's a very conservative Republican, she's been getting the go back to Mexico stuff, too. It really is amazing.

DOBBS: That is amazing, and I think we can be thankful, the experience on this broadcast, as you and I have discussed, I think this audience is, I think the brightest in all of television. I would say that you couldn't even come to a, the idea of racism in our e- mail, primarily is the way in which our viewers and we communicate, I would say it's just about nonexistent. But you said, speaking of racism, you said in one of your columns that the English debate in the Senate bill is really about racism. Here we go again. Why is it racist to insist on English as the language?

NAVARRETTE: Here's why. If the argument had been about the fact that we need to have English as a national language for the good of the immigrants, I would be all for it. I'm against bilingual education because I think that people have the responsibility to learn, not for my own good or your own good, but for their own good. The debate though in the Senate is really about making other people feel comfortable about a particular ethnic group and showing that that ethnic group is loyally American.

We saw this movie before, 100 years ago, it was about German immigrants in central Pennsylvania. The first language wars were over the Germans. It's always the same thing, it comes down to a loyalty oath. You have Latinos going off to fight and die in Iraq, and elsewhere. They shouldn't have their loyalty called into question this way.

DOBBS: I don't think we should also project across a population of somewhere between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens in this country. It's intellectually and illogically inconsistent to suggest that because we have about 37,000, an estimated 37,000 illegal aliens serving in the United States military, that that should somehow be projected across a population of illegal aliens, any more than it would be to suggest that it's right, in my opinion, I think it's terribly wrong that our military is made up of 1.4 million wonderful young men and women, primary serving their nation to project that means there's shared burden and shared sacrifice across what will soon be 300 million of us in this country. Don't you agree?

NAVARRETTE: What I find unnerving is one minute the Senate was talking about immigration reform, and more power to them, but then suddenly they shift the language. I think they should have the language debate, but they should have it apart form the immigration debate. Or otherwise people might get the idea that people are not concerned about the border, but rather who's coming across, what those people are like and how they behave once they get here.

DOBBS: Well, I don't see why one should exclude any of the considerations, in point of fact, of border security from any part of this discussion. I agree with you, the coupling of border security with the immigration issue is unnecessary. To me it's unconscionable. I would like to know from you, if you believe it, I think it's unconscionable that we do not have control of our borders north and south and control of our ports so we can assure the American people, almost five years after September 11, that only damned idiots in Congress and in this administration would assume that the American people are so stupid as not to notice.

NAVARRETTE: I agree with you, but it is completely logical in one regard and you yourself put your finger on this. Corporations, employers, members of Congress and both parties who want to keep the status quo going, that's the reason we have this kind of porous borders, also because Americans keep hiring these folks.

DOBBS: And we're out of time, but I want to ask you the last question, you said we pander, that I pander on this broadcast to xenophobes and racists. How so?

NAVARRETTE: Because you should take on a more deliberate, more nuanced view of this, instead of going for simple solutions in many cases, build a wall, put down the army, it'll all go away. Also, this idea of legal versus illegal immigration, on the one hand you've said you support legal immigration, on the other hand it concerns you that if you grant this kind of legalization to people who are here illegally, they might bring legal relatives in.

DOBBS: Let me help you.

NAVARRETTE: What's the problem Lou, they're here legally.

DOBBS: If it not been for Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation putting forward a report at the behest of Senator Sessions, this idiotic group of people that passed this legislation would have laid open the opportunity for 100 million more immigrants into this country. They scaled it back to 60. They hadn't even read the legislation, Ruben. You know that.

NAVARRETTE: Yes, I think you had the GAO put it at 40 million. Whatever it is, if we have no problem with legal immigrants, let's live up to that. Let's not complain about people that are coming in legally.

DOBBS: Now you're asking us to squander our judgment and national sovereignty and let Vicente Fox decide who comes in and how many come in. That we'll have to pick up on the next run.

NAVARRETTE: I'm asking you to consistent, Lou.

DOBBS: Don't worry, partner, I am. Thank you for being here.

A reminder now to vote in our poll. Do you believe a significant number of National Guard troops in Iraq should be redeployed to secure our borders? Please cast your vote at, yes or no.

We'll have your results upcoming and your thoughts on the war on our middle class. Stay with us.


The results of our poll, 89 percent of you say a significant number of our National Guard troops in Iraq should be redeployed to secure our national borders. A quick look now at some of your thoughts.

Dave in Nebraska, "I don't know why everybody is all up in arms about the NSA's wiretapping. It's nice to know someone in government listens to me." There's a thought.

And Karen in California, "If the 'War on Terror' is as successful as the 'War on Drugs' than we are really in trouble."

Everett in Oklahoma, "Lou, which war will end first? The war on the middle class or the war on terrorism?"

Daniel in Florida, "Lou I don't understand all of the dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration. Over the past five years I've seen reduced wages, reduced medical benefits, lost pension and been laid off. What's the problem?"

Send us your thoughts at Each of you whose email is read here receives a copy of my book, "Exporting America." We thank you for being with us. Please join us here tomorrow when among our guests will be Congressman Tom Tancredo. For all of us here, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer, Wolf.