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Lou Dobbs Tonight
Obama's big Government; Spending Binge; Sharpton v. Murdoch; Payback for Unions?; Free Speech Fight
Aired February 25, 2009 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, President Obama demanding top new laws to regulate Wall Street a day after calling for a big expansion in the role of government. But President Obama says he does not want a socialist economy.
And tonight the United Nations is threatening our sovereignty, our right to free speech with a so-called anti-blasphemy resolution that targets anyone who criticizes Islam. I'll be joined by author and "Vanity Fair" columnist Christopher Hitchens.
And tonight, the Supreme Court considering a case at the center of the battle to stop illegal aliens from stealing your identity, we'll have that special report.
And also the attorney general of the United States -- well, would like to interfere with your Second Amendment rights to help out Mexico. We'll have that story, all the day's news and much more, straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Wednesday, February 25th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. President Obama today called for sweeping new financial regulations to protect investors and consumers. The president's call coming one day after saying he wants to use the power of government to change this country. But President Obama insists he has no intention of creating a government-run economy. He says.
Many Democrats however are demanding a much bigger government role than the president says he wants. Congress today passed a massive new spending bill that Republicans say will advance a left wing agenda. Dan Lothian has our report from the White House.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was an economic sales pitch to Congress and the country. Identify the problem painted in very real terms, then offer solutions.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories, in our universities, in our fields and our factories.
LOTHIAN: The day after the president address to a joint session of Congress, the Obama administration is now moving to step two, get the stimulus money out the door as quickly as possible.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The tax cuts will soon move out in people's paychecks. The president announced just a few days ago with the governors in town a big chunk of money relating to Medicaid and health care to ensure that they're not having to make drastic cuts.
LOTHIAN: Watching over how all this money is spent is a team headed by Vice President Biden meeting at the White House for the first time in what will be a weekly gathering. Mr. Biden said he's willing to publicly embarrass governors and mayors who are inefficient and wasteful.
JOSEPH BIDEN, (D-DE) VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to go on television and say, you know, we gave so-and-so x amount of dollars and nothing's happening. Why hasn't it happened?
LOTHIAN: The banking industry was also in the administration's crosshairs.
OBAMA: Strong financial markets require clear rules of the road.
LOTHIAN: After metering with his economic team, the president asked key congressional Democrats and Republicans to write tough new legislation to prevent another financial meltdown.
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), FINANCIAL SERVICES CHMN.: We're not simply relying on hope to keep them from repeating that behavior.
REP. SPENCER BACHUS (R), ALABAMA: At the end of the day, we want to restore public confidence in our financial system and our banks.
LOTHIAN: White House officials tell CNN that the president in the budget that he'll release tomorrow will include $634 billion over 10 years for health care reserve fund. It will help to pay for overhauling the health care system, and will be paid for by trimming tax breaks for the wealthy. Lou.
DOBBS: All right, Dan, thank you very much -- Dan Lothian from the White House. Well, as Dan just reported, President Obama's ordered Vice President Biden to lead what he called a tough, unprecedented oversight effort of the so-called recovery plan. President Obama said he chose the vice president because, quote, "no one messes with Joe", end quote. But it seems the vice president himself was in a complete mess when the CBS "Early Show" asked him for the address of the Web site about that plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: By the way, do you know the Web site?
BIDEN: You know, I'm embarrassed, do you know the Web site number? You know I should have it in front of me and I don't. I'm actually embarrassed. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. I'm going to call your office directly and get it later.
BIDEN: It is Recovery.gov, Recovery.gov.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Recovery...
BIDEN: ... .gov...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that up and running already?
BIDEN: That's up and running.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, thank you, Mr. Vice President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: The vice president is no stranger to gaffes, of course, but you wouldn't know that from the national liberal media, which is doing its level best to ignore them. One wonders what would have happened with Dan Quayle, for example, had it been a different era, a different time and a similar press.
Well, new questions tonight about the Democratically-led Congress' huge spending -- spending binge and its outright agenda of liberalism. The House of Representatives today passing a massive increase in federal spending for the fiscal year that ends in October. As Dana Bash now reports, earmarks and pork barrel spending accounting for only part of the increase.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Less than 24 hours after President Obama urged Congress to make tough choices to lower the deficit, his fellow Democrats in Congress moved to increase government spending.
REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: For health care projects, for education projects, all very important to get our economy moving again.
BASH: The $410 billion spending bill funds the government for the rest of this year with $31 billion more than last year. Republicans accused Democrats of living in a parallel universe.
REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: American families and small businesses are making sacrifices across this country and cutting expenses due to tough economic times. Yet this Democratic majority continues to spend like there's no problem at all.
BASH: Democrats insist they're mostly trying to make up for cuts under President Bush that hurt the needy. For example, a program that feeds poor women and infants would get $6.9 billion, a 21 percent increase. But Democrats are also giving generous increases for everything from the Agricultural Department to Amtrak and Congress is even giving its own budget a 10 percent increase to $4.4 billion, well above inflation.
That includes $40 million more to finish the Capitol Visitor Center. And even though Republicans are blasting the bill, they're getting eight million more taxpayer dollars to keep Senate Republican aides from being fired in the wake of GOP losses in November's election. And then there are those pet projects -- $7.7 billion in earmarks.
The House Democrat in charge of spending decisions is bringing tens of millions back to his Wisconsin district, including $1.9 million for a new building at the University of Wisconsin. He defended congressional earmarks.
REP. DAVID OBEY (D), WISCONSIN: The fact is, without the earmarking process, the White House and its anonymous bureaucrats would make every single spending decision in government.
BASH: Now, Republicans, for the most part, are not nearly as open in defending the earmark process as you just heard there from that Democrat, but it is important to note that nearly half of the -- about 8,500 earmarks in this bill are actually coming from Republicans. Lou.
DOBBS: Half of them, what are the dollar terms? What's the percentage in dollar terms?
BYRNES: Well, it's seven -- you can help me with the math here, it's $7.7 billion. It's actually about between 40 and 45 percent are coming from Republicans. So you can probably do the quicker math than I can, but it's -- that's the math there.
DOBBS: About 40 percent is that what you're saying?
BASH: Yeah, between 40 and 50 percent. You got it.
DOBBS: OK, Dana, thank you very much. I thought President Obama said there would be no more earmarks under this pork barrel stuff and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid said no more of that?
BASH: Well, you know, it's interesting, he demanded no earmarks, Lou, you remember, in the stimulus package...
DOBBS: Well he's very tough, I remember that part. He's very tough and means business...
DOBBS: And Joe Biden's very tough and he means business. So I'm trying to figure out how Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are so much tougher than Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Help me out.
BASH: Well, on this particular bill and, in fact, in the regular spending bills in the future, the White House has really not answered the question about whether or not the president will tolerate earmarks again. He was very clear...
DOBBS: Did you say "tolerate"? Did you say "tolerate?"
BASH: Correct, correct or even sign this bill. He has not -- they've been -- for the past three days the White House spokesman has been asked various questions on it and he really hasn't answered the question.
DOBBS: Hasn't answered the question. Well, we'll make a side bet I suppose at some point on this there on Capitol Hill and over at 1600 Pennsylvania. Thanks very much, Dana Bash, appreciate it.
BASH: Thank you.
DOBBS: As the president focuses on his ambitious agenda, our enemies overseas are launching new challenges against the United States and American interests. Iran today declared it has sharply increased its efforts to enrich uranium -- enriched uranium, of course, necessary for nuclear weapons manufacturing. This as Iranian officials say they've successfully tested Iran's first nuclear power plant. The plant is expected to be operational later this year.
New evidence tonight that North Korea is preparing to test a long-range ballistic missile that could reach the United States, South Korea says the test could take place within a matter of days. And reports saying the missile could have the range to strike Hawaii or Alaska, possibly even our western continental coast. Analysts say North Korea is also trying to develop a nuclear warhead for its missiles.
Coming up next here the mother of newborn octuplets in California may not be allowed to keep her children.
And the Reverend Al Sharpton goes to Washington, escalating his battle against Rupert Murdoch. We'll have that report.
And Attorney General Eric Holder tonight threatening your Second Amendment rights to help out the government of Mexico, we'll tell you all about why the Constitution is of lesser importance than the government of Mexico. But did we already know that? That story's next.
DOBBS: Nadya Suleman, the mother of those newborn octuplets, says the hospital may not allow her to take her children. Talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw who interviewed Suleman, says she may have to prove she can handle all those 14 children. In the interview, Dr. Phil asked Suleman if the newborns were being brought home at the expense of her other six children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADYA SULEMAN, MOTHER OF OCTUPLETS: I believe you expand your love. You don't cut yourself into pieces. But with the turn of events, the 14, no human, no two people, no two couples could even give them or provide for them their emotional, psychological and physical needs. You have to embrace and expect help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Embrace and expect help, well Suleman who is unemployed, is already on welfare so she doesn't have to work too hard to learn how to accept help. I have an idea though. And I'm surprised at Dr. Phil not offering up a Dr. Lou solution, which is why don't they make the doctor who implanted those embryos, take care of all those children? What do you think of that -- anyway.
Well, turning to other matters of considerable importance in the -- certainly in the (INAUDIBLE) state, the fight between Reverend Al Sharpton and News Corporation President Rupert Murdoch prompted by a controversy over a "New York Post" cartoon has moved to Washington. Reverend Sharpton saying that the cartoon is racially insensitive, despite an apology by Rupert Murdoch, Al Sharpton is now demanding that the FCC to review the policies that allow Murdoch to operate multiple media outlets in a single market. Ines Ferre has our report.
INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Al Sharpton is after Rupert Murdoch's media empire. The activist met with FCC officials Wednesday. He wants a review of News Corporation's waver allowing it to own various broadcast and newspaper properties in the same market.
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: The public is not served when you have one train of thought, one business entity controlling public opinion with multiple ownership.
FERRE: The meeting comes on the heels of Sharpton's outrage over a cartoon published in Murdoch's "New York Post" last week that he considered racist. Murdoch himself has apologized for the cartoon. In an interview on LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, Sharpton said his appeal to the FCC and the cartoon are separate issues.
DOBBS: If they're independent of it, that's terrific, but you can understand how someone, again with my limited intelligence, would have conflated those things since they all occurred within three days of each other.
SHARPTON: Yes and I would also understand how someone with your exceptional intelligence would say whether or not one has a political motive or not, you do have to follow the statutory requirements for a waiver.
FERRE: But Ron Christie, a Republican strategist, says Sharpton's trip to Washington amounts to political grandstanding.
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think this providing him with an opportunity to strike back at Mr. Murdoch in a very public and perhaps a very embarrassing way. FERRE: There's already bad blood between the "New York Post" and Sharpton. Last June, he was accused in a front-page story of bullying terrified CEOs into writing checks for his organization for good PR and to avoid being boycotted. A concern Sharpton says was unfounded. Sharpton hopes the FCC and the Obama administration would minimize Murdoch's media power.
SHARPTON: This cartoon came out a week ago today. We're already meeting with FCC commissioner. We've already had two apologies -- or at least one and a half, so just give us another week. There's no telling what we'll get done.
FERRE: News Corporation and the FCC had no comment.
FERRE: And Sharpton says the cartoon wasn't discussed in the meeting today, but he has admitted that the cartoon was what prompted him and his team to look into News Corp and approach the FCC.
DOBBS: But he has backed off the First Amendment and has said that he is no longer interested in the firing of the cartoonist or the editor of "The Post." and maintains steadfastly this is a separate issue.
FERRE: Yeah, he's saying that this is a separate issue and he says that they should be reprimanded. So what that means, then, that's up to interpretation.
DOBBS: Absolutely and shall we give it an interpretation? I think that I'll add a little interpretation here. I think what Reverend Sharpton is saying is that the firing -- I think he understood that that's really an impingement on the spirit of the First Amendment and having understood that, he's going to pursue his interest in other ways, which goes to the issue of media ownership. Whether that would have any persuasive force with this new FCC, I can't imagine, but we shall see what we shall see. Thanks very much, Ines.
Coming up here next, Kellogg's may be having some second thoughts about getting all upset about Michael Phelps, that endorsement deal that they withdrew is starting to look like a business mistake.
And it looks like business as usual in Washington. Big unions could be the beneficiary. We'll tell you all about that here next.
DOBBS: Well, many of the country's labor unions among the largest donors to the Obama presidential campaign. Now it appears the president's returning the favor. President Obama has signed an executive order that encourages federal construction projects be given to unions. Bill Tucker has our report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventeen days after being sworn into office, President Obama signed an executive order encouraging the use of union contractors and union workers on large federal construction projects. It's not a requirement, but it does reflect the desire of the president of the United States of America. Unions could not be happier.
JACOB HAY, LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA: Well project labor agreements are a tried and true way to get things done in the construction industry. They guarantee that workers who work on construction projects are paid fair wages with good benefits.
TUCKER: While the unions like to point to projects like the Hoover Dam or Disney World as examples of large-scale projects, successfully using project labor agreements, opponents like the National Right to Work Committee point to the example of Boston's Big Dig, citing PLAs for the reason the project is years overdue with a budget that swelled from nearly $3 billion to $15 billion.
Opponents to project labor agreements object to them. Saying they effectively cut out nonunion companies from bidding and participating in the projects. Not because they forbid nonunion contractors from playing, but because of the cost they impose. They note that all workers, union or not, working under a PLA must pay union dues and 84 percent of construction workers are not union members.
And all contractors, union or not, must pay into the unions health and pension funds for the workers they have on the job. Opponents call PLAs a blatant payback to the unions from the president.
STEFAN GLEASON, NAT'L RIGHT TO WORK LEGAL DEFENSE FOUNDATION: Last year, they spent -- organized labor spent over $1 billion on political activities to elect mostly left-wing Democrats and President Obama and state and local officials and yeah, they want something for that money.
TUCKER: Wages are not an issue. All federal projects require that prevailing wages be paid.
TUCKER: Now, project labor agreements are something of a political football. They were banned during Bush Sr.'s administration, OK'd in the Clinton administration, banned again during Bush's years in office and now they're back again. One construction official I spoke with today simply asked if PLAs are such a good idea, well then why aren't they in widespread use, because they're not. Lou.
DOBBS: Well there's a lot of stuff that's a good idea that isn't in widespread use. I'm not sure I'm persuaded by that argument. But I am persuaded by the fact that 84 percent of the workers are not union, but everybody has to -- has to pay into the union?
TUCKER: If you're in a project governed under a PLA, you have to pay union dues. You don't have to join the union.
TUCKER: But you do have to pay the union dues and if you're a contractor...
DOBBS: So this is a massive windfall for organized labor...
DOBBS: ... at taxpayer expense.
DOBBS: Which in effect whether labor -- whether union labor or not, the taxpayer is picking up the bill.
DOBBS: Well, this isn't -- this isn't fiscal responsibility. Didn't we just have a summit about that? My goodness, what's going on? He asks, tongue in cheek. Thank you very much, Bill Tucker, appreciate it.
Well, Kellogg's tonight might be rethinking its decision to have canceled its endorsement deal with Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps who was photographed at a party with a marijuana bong. Bano (ph), a company that monitors corporate band reputations reports that in the month of October Kellogg's was the ninth ranked company in the nation by branding.
Kellogg's stayed in the top 10 throughout the salmonella scare and the peanut product recall. But when it dropped Michael Phelps, Kellogg's rating, its brand rating, plunged. Today, Kellogg's ranks -- are you ready -- number 86. Bano (ph) has tens of thousands of users who rate a corporation based on customer service, environmental and community service. Kellogg's, well they decided not to return our call inquiring about well Michael Phelps and bongs and endorsement deals.
Up next the federal government cracking down on a violent Mexican drug cartel in the United States, but refusing still to secure our borders and our ports, also Attorney General Eric Holder, well he -- turns out he wants to continue his assault on the Second Amendment to help out his friends apparently in the Mexican government.
And the United Nations is at it again. Well it seems that our sovereignty isn't too important to them either. They're trying to muzzle our First Amendment rights, but then again they're not alone in that effort, are they? We'll be right back.
DOBBS: There is a major effort taking place to curb free speech in this country, irrespective of our Constitution, our Bill of Rights. And free speech advocates say the United Nations has come down on precisely the wrong side. The United Nations has adopted what it calls a resolution combating defamation of religions. The United Nations now wants to make that anti-blasphemy resolution binding on member nations, including, of course, our own. That would make it a crime in the United States if the United Nations were to have its way, to criticize religion, in particular, Islam. Kitty Pilgrim has our report.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.N. General Assembly is considering a binding resolution urging member states to make it a crime to criticize Islam.
FLOYD ABRAMS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: What they would do would be to make it illegal to put out a movie or write a book or a poem which somebody could say was defamatory of Islam.
PILGRIM: The so-called anti-blasphemy resolution would call on governments to pass their own laws to determine what can be said about religion in public. The resolution urges states to provide, within their respective legal and constitutional systems, adequate protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religion.
But the U.S. says the concept of defamation of religion has another meaning. While appearing in name to promote tolerance, the implementation of this concept actually fosters intolerance and has served to justify restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms. Even talking about the influence of Islam on terrorism could be called criminal under this resolution, if adopted by an individual country.
FRANK GAFFNEY, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: You are entitled to say that in America, but not if the U.N. has its way. They would criminalize that kind of practice and they're trying to do it elsewhere around the world.
PILGRIM: A group of 57 organizations of Islamic countries, the largest bloc at the United Nations, has been pushing it out of concern it says over anti-Islamic behavior, saying "this resolution is a major step toward sensitizing the international community on the serious impact of defamation of religions."
Last December, the General Assembly passed it as a nonbinding resolution. And this year a binding resolution is expected to be introduced as early as March. Human rights activists say its influence is already being felt.
PAULA SCHRIEFER, FREEDOM HOUSE: There have been a number of prominent cases, most recently in India, for instance, the editor of a newspaper was charged for reprinting an article that had initially been printed in the U.K.
PILGRIM: While the article mentioned the three major religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the editor was arrested for, quote, hurting the religious feelings of Muslims. (END VIDEOTAPE)
PILGRIM: Now, essentially what this resolution would do is to urge countries to pass laws in their country, which would be unconstitutional until the United States, and basically violate the spirit of many western judicial systems. Lou.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, a couple questions. One is, of those 57 nations supporting this resolution, how many of them are democracies?
PILGRIM: I couldn't tell you, but many of them are Islamic countries. Pakistan has led the charge on this and has -- tabled --
DOBBS: So they're not democracies and they're fascinated with their own precepts of what would constitution a way to run a nation. Not like ours. Is there any discussion perhaps simply if the United Nations insists on doing this, bulldozing the building, getting it out of the way, and letting them find another place to live?
PILGRIM: It wasn't really discussed in my discussions today, Lou.
DOBBS: Perhaps we can raise that as an alternative to impinging on our constitutional liberties. Kitty Pilgrim, thank you very much, appreciate it, from the united nations. What a place.
Joining me now with more on the U.N. effort to stifle free speech, to squelch it really, is Christopher Hitchens, "Vanity Fair" columnist, author of "God Is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything." Christopher, I have to say, first, welcome. Great to have you back with us. Secondly, how dare these people attempt such a thing?
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, AUTHOR, "GOD IS NOT GREAT": Well, first, thank you for having me back. Second, look, the claim of Islam is that it is the last and final revelation from god. It's quite a big claim to make. You don't need another book after the Koran. You don't need any more evidence, any more argument. It's all done for you. Now, that's okay if you want to claim that. But now they want to say if you have any difficulty with this idea, if you have any doubts about it, you're not allowed to express them. Because if you do, you are insulting us. You're making us feel hurt. Now, just imagine those two claims put together. One, fantastically, and the other fantastic claim that you can't challenge. That is to tall terrorism defined. It's a rape and butchery of the first amendment of the constitution.
DOBBS: It's also being joined, though, Christopher, by a lot of nations that are not Islamic. And there seems to be a strong move forward and it's already, point of fact, been proved at this level by the United Nations. I have to say that we're reaching a point in the United States where we've got a group of people who will go around clucking saying, oh, yes, this will be just fine, irrespective of our constitutional rights. Because there's some -- you know, we have Americans now -- there's a movement afoot in this country for high- bound orthodoxy of all sorts of extreme, politically, religiously, in which people say, to heck with the counsel Tuesday there are higher orders at issue here.
HITCHENS: You're quite right about that. When Rushdie was sentenced to death by a theocrat for writing a novel, the -- many other religious figures joined in Khomeini, not exactly endorsing the fatwa, but saying the problem was blasphemy. The problem was not the destruction of free speech, free expression, but the hurt feelings of the religious. This is a common problem. In Britain, there's a blasphemy law that only protects Christians. For example, big source of Muslim grievance. When you clear away all these discrepancies, there's one overwhelm thing that's happening. And it's this. There are Muslims who are prepared to use violence at the drop of a hat if a cartoon is published in Denmark, if the pope makes an off the cuff remark, a stupid one in my opinion, about the crusades, they go straight to violence. But yet you cannot criticize them for being violent, less you be accused of blasphemy.
DOBBS: It is -- well, Islam, of course, Christianity, whatever it may be. The United Nations is getting a bit burdensome, it seems to me, to anyone who's interested in freedom. Whether it be through the world trade organization, whether it be all sorts of institutions, organization, ranging in issue from global warming to anti-blasphemy.
DOBBS: This is becoming a totalitarian, authoritarian organization. Effort to control -- seemingly to me at least, nothing more than an effort to control what?
HITCHENS: Nothing to do with its remit, either, which is settlement of disputes among member states by peaceful means. Of course, nothing to do with that at all. Remember, thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt, all member states, or applicants for membership of the U.N., were not compelling, but were strongly urged to sign the universal declaration of human rights, which among other things froths freedom of expression. The countries that refuse code still join. Remember, they were then, the Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia. Those were countries who said we'd rather not think of universal human rights. Universal human rights exist whether religion recognizes them or not. We have to stand up for this. We better start standing up for this now.
DOBBS: Over the course of the last several days, to my knowledge, I've been the only one in the national -- put it this way -- electronic media that has challenged Sharpton on the issue of the first amendment, seeking the intervention of the federal government on "The New York Post" because of a cartoon that was lame, as I've said, insensitive, and, I thought, demonstration of bad judgment, but not racist. Where in the world has the national liberal media been on that issue?
HITCHENS: It was a very crummy cartoon, I have to say.
DOBBS: Absolutely. HITCHENS: But I can't imagine what they would do. It wasn't -- another crime, by the way, it wasn't funny. I mean, can we just say that that's also --
DOBBS: I started out with lame.
HITCHENS: Extreme -- being unfunny is a fantastic failure in a cartoonist.
DOBBS: -- people's heads, everything time they don't perform --
HITCHENS: The federal government has no competency in these solicited for this. Scroll back, I've been to Friday prayers -- organized chanting of death to America, death to Britain, death to Israel. Its head of state is a member of the U.N. That's fine by me. But don't let them tell me that only those who criticize them are being --
DOBBS: I have to say that my patience is ending primarily with the United Nations. It's arrogant enough to think it should leave us subservient to its collective will. Always good to have you here.
We want to know what you think. Our poll question tonight is, do you believe the United Nations restriction on freedom of speech in the United States should be tolerated? Yes or no? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here later.
Up next, the Supreme Court case that centers on illegal aliens and identity theft.
Also, a new threat to your second amendment rights to own, to bear arms. This time, well, let's say, again, from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
And hundreds of arrests in a major anti-drug operation. We'll tell you what the feds were after.
Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: New evidence tonight that deadly violence from Mexico's warring drug cartels has been out of control and spilled across the U.S. border. The secretary reporting what we have confirmed here extensively. More than 6,000 people killed in drug violence in the last two years. More than 6,000 in the last year alone. Nearly 2,000 of those deaths in the border city of Juarez alone. 1,000 people have already been murdered so far this year. Mexican drug cartels operating now in at least 230 American cities. The justice department today announced it had dealt what it called a crushing blow to one cartel, the Sena Loa cartel in this country. Federal agents arresting hundreds across this country. Still, many officials say the federal government isn't doing anything near enough. Casey Wian has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From California to Maryland, the Justice Department announced it has arrested 755 people with links to the notorious drug cartel.
MICHELE LEONHART, ACTING DEA ADMINISTRATOR: Due to their ruthless desire to expand and the successful efforts of law enforcement to curtail them, the cartel has violently lashed out and is responsible for much of the upsurge in violence taking place today in Mexico.
WIAN: The 21-month operation also netted 12,000 kilos of cocaine, 16,000 pounds of marijuana, 1200 pounds of meth, more than 1 million ecstasy pills, plus $59 million in cash, 169 weapons, as well as vehicles, aircraft and boats.
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The sad reality of what happens when these cartels are allowed to infiltrate our communities can be seen in every big city and small town in the United States of America.
WIAN: Hours earlier, homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano responded to questions about cartel violence spreading to the United States.
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I believe that Mexico right now has issues of violence that are of a different degree and level than we've ever seen before. I believe this is going to require more than the department of homeland security, so that -- from the national security adviser to the attorney general and others about how we within the United States -- make sure we're doing all we can in a coordinated way to support the president of Mexico.
WIAN: Napolitano says her top priority is to stop the flow of American guns and cash to Mexico. Texas Governor Rick Perry wants the federal government to do more.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: We obviously with very concerned that the federal government has not been funding the effort of border security when -- this is an eight-year running battle for me, asking the federal government to -- to do their part.
WIAN: Specifically, Perry wants 1,000 additional trained boots on the ground, either military or homeland security personnel, to slow the spread of drug cartel violence.
WIAN: But Mexico's attorney general says that's not really necessary. He told "The Dallas Morning News" he does not see a role for the U.S. military in fighting drug cartel, saying the problem on the U.S. side of the border does not call for that. He added that Mexico has enough institutional capabilities to deal with the drug cartel war. Lou.
DOBBS: Yet more -- the latest survey that I've seen, Casey, more than half of the Mexican citizens surveyed say they don't believe their government is winning this war against the cartels. WIAN: It's hard to say that they're winning by any measure, Lou, with deaths mounting daily, with drugs continuing to flow across the border, with police officials fleeing across the border for their own safety. The drug war seems to be going very badly for the Mexican government.
DOBBS: I mean, let's be very, very clear here. Both sides, the United States government and the Mexican government, do not want to impede in any way the flow of either human capital or commerce across that border and they're willing to accept high levels of collateral damage. Through both of their commercial greed and outright corruption. Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian from Los Angeles.
The attorney general of the United States wants to interfere with our second amendment rights. But we knew that he did. But this time what's different is attorney general Eric Holder wants to help out the government of Mexico by crushing your second amendment rights. Telling reporters Mexico's concerned about what it says is the number of assault weapons entering Mexico from the United States. Holder said the United States has a responsibility to take action.
HOLDER: As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun related changes that we would like to make and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons.
DOBBS: That's your attorney general talking about selling out the second amendment and your rights for the benefit of the benefit of Mexico. At least that's what he's saying. There are strong concern among gun owners. By the way, just folks who like to believe their constitution is still operative, that the Obama administration will try to weaken our second amendment rights to own and bear arms and I believe that's what you just heard the attorney general say in that videotape.
Well, Attorney General Holder tonight is also facing strong criticism on another issue. This, after he went to the prison camp for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay Monday. Holder refused to allow any reporters or photographers to accompany him on that trip, even though president Obama has made closing that camp one of his top priorities. So much for what is supposed to be a new era of transparency that was promised by president Obama.
Up next, the legal battle over a law to protect you from identity theft.
DOBBS: The Supreme Court today heard arguments in a closely watched case about an illegal alien accused of identity theft. The high court considering tough new federal that requires mandatory sentences for people who use stolen social security numbers.
Joining me now two attorneys involved in the case. Richard Butler who represents a group that filed a brief in defense of the government. And Lois Thompson, representing MALDEF and the U.S. Hispanic chamber of commerce. Thank you both for being with us.
Lois, you wrote an amicus brief in favor of this person on behalf of MALDEF. It seems Justice Ginsburg and a number of the other justices were favoring their position. What is your view on the position?
LOIS THOMPSON, ATTORNEY: The position I think is a very simple one. Which is that we have a situation where an individual who obtained a social security number that he did not know belonged to anybody else, was arrested for that violation, the misuse of documents in terms of the social security administration and in terms of his entry in the United States. On top of that, he was -- and he pled guilty to both of those charges. But he was also charged with aggravated identity theft. And we say that unless you actually know that you're using the identification of another person, that that statute does not reach you.
DOBBS: And, Russell Butler, I'm going to ask you the same thing. The response of the justices, are you heartened or are you disappointed by their line of questioning, their response today?
RUSSELL BUTLER, MARYLAND CRIME VICTIMS RESOURCE CTR.: Well, I think it's a mixed bag. I think the questions to both counsel raise questions. That's what the court needs to do. My concern is the defendant knows that it's somebody else's I.D. the defendant knows it's not his. It's another. It's another person. And the consequences to victims is aggravated if you just -- more than just using the I.D. you know if I'm an elderly person and I'm relying on social security and all of a sudden somebody starts having income under that number, they're going to terminate my benefits. I may not be able to pay for my rent. My mortgage. My medical bills. You know, so the consequences to victims are extreme. And how do you prove that somebody knew it was another? He knew it wasn't his. He shouldn't have had it. And it can have devastating economic consequences --
DOBBS: Lois, how do you respond to that?
THOMPSON: Well, I think that first of all we have to remember that what we're looking at here is the prosecution of an individual for a series of violations. Again, he admitted the basic violations. And we've got a circumstance where you can have two people working side by side, two twin brothers in a factory, and each of them obtained information including their social security numbers. One of them has a completely made up number. One of them has my number. Why should one of them have two more years in jail and the other not? As it happen, under the underlying statutes there is protection for victims. There is a way to get restitution. Is there really is here --
DOBBS: -- restitution -- I'm sorry, I'm just curious, how does one get restitution from an illegal alien?
THOMPSON: If a court can order that money be paid and what we're talking about here is also a statute that is much broader. It doesn't reach just illegal aliens, but under the interpretation -- DOBBS: But that is the case in point, is it not? This is a person --
THOMPSON: Although, again, the important point here is that there is absolutely no showing that any harm was done to the individual whose identity we still don't even know, whose social security number apparently was used --
DOBBS: But the law says knowingly transfers -- can we put that up? Knowingly transfers, possesses or uses without lawful authority a means of identification of another person. As you know, Lois, this is a massive industry in this country, document theft, identity theft, and fraud, particularly in connection with human smuggling.
THOMPSON: Now, again, the language that you just put up, our argument is that you have to know that you're using the means of identification of another person. The government is saying all you have to do is use a means of identification. We say that's not so. Certainly, we recognize that there are enormous issues with respect to identity theft. This is --
DOBBS: Let me ask -- let me ask you -- Lois is saying a means of identification is not sufficient, even though that is precisely the language of the law, a means of identification. What's your response?
BUTLER: I think you have to show that it is another human being, another person and being. Not somebody who's dead, but somebody here who has the arm. Congress enacted this law because there are lots of Americans who are suffering the consequences of identity theft. That deals with credit. Think about taxes. Somebody's -- all of a sudden you get the bill from the IRS. Didn't earn this income. So they're making it sound like, well, you know, there's no harm to victims. There's no consequences. There's serious consequences to victims. That's why congress adopted these identity thefts. You look at the congressional record --
DOBBS: You're losing me. I don't understand something. If it says, a means of identification of another person, why doesn't that mean "a means of identification of another person"? Doesn't require another knowledge of a person at all? At least in the statute?
BUTLER: We can talk about all the grammar arguments --
DOBBS: I'm not talking about grammar, I'm talking about words. That is meaning. It says "means of identification." Is that irrelevant to the Supreme Court and the law here?
BUTLER: No, I don't think it's irrelevant at all. Could be a social security number, could be a driver's license number. It could be a -- lots of identifying information. Could be a name. And the problem is, you can use these --
DOBBS: Do you win? Or does Lois win?
BUTLER: There are nine votes. It takes five to win.
DOBBS: That wasn't really the answer. I could do math up to that level. How about you, Lois, take a shot?
THOMPSON: I'm hopeful we'll win. Let me stress, the issue is knowingly use the identification of another person. Critical here is knowingly.
DOBBS: All right, we thank you both. Russell Butler, Lois Thompson.
Coming up next, tonight's poll results.
DOBBS: Tonight's poll result, 98 percent of you say the restriction of freedom of speech in the United States should not be tolerated. And I'm thinking about bulldozers, but that's an amendment.
Time now for one e-mail.
Patty in Maryland said, "Just as prohibition did not stop the sale of illegal alcohol, registering guns will not stop the sale of black market fire arms. The registering of guns will not cut back the violence caused by people who use them for crime."
Send us your thoughts to loudobbs.com.
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