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Lou Dobbs Tonight
Economic Recovery Coming; Pakistan on the Brink; Dangerous Menace; Craigslist Controversy
Aired May 05, 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: Good evening everybody.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke today confirmed what we've been reporting here for months now. The economy will begin to recover this year. This is the Federal Reserve chairman's most optimistic assessment of the economy since this recession began almost a year and a half ago.
Also, health officials in Texas tonight reporting the first death of a U.S. citizen with swine flu; she is the second person to have died in the United States in this outbreak.
And dramatic video of a pirate attack on an American cargo ship off the coast of East Africa. The Somali pirates fired rocket- propelled grenades at the U.S. ship, "The Liberty Sun".
And tonight we'll be telling you about another astonishing report from the Department of Homeland Security. The very same department that linked returning war veterans with extremist groups. And I'll have a few thoughts to share with you about the agency, the extremism, and radicalization branch of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division.
We begin tonight with new optimism about the prospects for economic recovery. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke today told Congress that the economy is stabilizing and will begin to rebound later this year. Bernanke cited evidence of improvements in consumer confidence, the housing market, and consumer spending. But the Federal Reserve chairman said the recovery will be slow, and he was cautious. Lisa Sylvester has our report.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke offered glimmers of optimism, telling a joint congressional panel that he expects the economy to grow again later this year.
BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: One can never predict anything with certainty, but I think we're in far better shape today than we were in September and October.
SYLVESTER: Signs of a comeback? California is one of the state's battered by the housing crisis. Prices there are no longer free falling and are beginning to stabilize. Sales of new and existing homes and condos in the state were up more than 47 percent in March compared to a year earlier, according to MDA Data Quick. The real estate analysis company says sales are being driven by first-time home buyers and investors. And while foreclosures are likely to continue, there are signs a bottom may be near.
ANDREW LEPAGE, MDA DATA QUICK: Where price is down 30 percent, 40 percent or more from the peak in these western markets, you typically see sales doing really well. In some cases, we have communities in inland California with record sales for the month recently.
SYLVESTER: Nationally, construction spending after five months of decline had an unexpected uptick. And in the stock market, take a look at this chart. While the markets were down just a bit today, overall the markets have been steadily climbing. The S&P index erased its year-to-date losses. No one says we're out of the woods completely, but talk of another great depression has been replaced by hope.
BERNIE MCGINN, MCGINN INVESTMENT MAN.: People are now looking past the current slowdown and they're looking at the recovery. And that's why you're seeing the stock market act like it is, because people are getting less pessimistic or more optimistic.
SYLVESTER: Economists, investors, and policymakers are all waiting for tomorrow. That's when the results of the stress tests are to be released. And that will shed some lights on which of the banks that may need government aid if the recession were to worsen. Lou?
DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much. Some good news to begin with this evening. Thank you.
Americans tonight remain strongly focused on the economic direction of the country. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 55 percent of Americans believe the economy is the most important issue. A majority of Americans are now optimistic about what will happen to the economy. And more than 60 percent say economic conditions will be good one year from now.
That poll reflects rising optimism about the economy over the past seven months. In point of fact, we were amongst the first to predict that there would not be a depression in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: There won't be a depression in this country -- end of discussion. There will not be.
I've said it on this show and I've invited everybody to join me in economic policy. There will be no depression. But we've got to begin, it seems, to think real terms about the future of this country.
I've said throughout, there will be no depression and that economic recovery will begin in the latter part of this year. (END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Well, as you've just heard and seen, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke today confirmed that forecast for the timetable for recovery. Let's hope he is right.
Well, President Obama is preparing for high-level meetings at the White House tomorrow with the presidents of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. One of the most important issues will be Pakistan's efforts to contain the rising influence of the Taliban in Pakistan. There are new concerns that the Taliban could take control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Jill Dougherty has our report.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Under severe strains at home, the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan brace for make-or-break talks with President Barack Obama in Washington. On the offensive to prove they can stand up to the Taliban.
PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan is the closest neighbor of Pakistan, the closest brotherly, sisterly relationship with Pakistan. We are like conjoined twins. We are not -- we are not separable. We are one. We are together. We will live together. We will -- we will die together, but we will not die. We will continue living together.
DOUGHERTY: But on Capitol Hill, questions are growing.
REP. GARY ACKERMAN (D), NEW YORK: Let me be blunt. Pakistan's pants are on fire.
DOUGHERTY: Some lawmakers fear Pakistan could collapse, leaving its nuclear weapons in terrorists' hands. The top diplomat to the region says it's not that bad, yet.
RICHARD HOLBROOKE, SPECIAL REP. AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN: We should not allow comments about the -- about how serious the issue is to be confused with predictions of a collapse. We do not think Pakistan is a failed state.
DOUGHERTY: The administration is pushing for emergency money for the region, including $500 million for the Pakistani military to fight an advancing Taliban. And it wants to triple civilian aid to Pakistan, $1.5 billion a year for the next five years. But Congress wants accountability, regular reports from the White House on how Pakistan is fighting terrorists. Pakistan's president tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer he's done a lot already.
PRES. AZIF ALI ZARDARI, PAKISTAN: I'm not here to point fingers at anybody. I'm here to get more support for democracy, get more support for the war effort, and show them my record.
(END VIDEOTAPE) DOUGHERTY: A senior administration official calls this unprecedented, bringing together the presidents of the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. But no one here is predicting exactly what they will accomplish. In fact, one official says, this is not precooked, this is a work in progress. Lou?
DOBBS: Jill, thank you very much -- Jill Dougherty from the White House.
President Obama today focused on the Middle East and U.S. efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. President Obama met with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the White House. The issue of Iran's rising nuclear ambitions on the agenda. Israeli news reports today say White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, reportedly said that it will be easier for the world to confront Iran if Israel makes progress in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Obama administration sources tonight tell CNN that it is unlikely there will be any criminal charges brought against Bush administration officials who authorized harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists. Last month President Obama said those Bush administration officials could be prosecuted if the Justice Department decided prosecutions were warranted. Sources tell us tonight that the officials responsible for justifying the interrogation policies committed serious lapses of judgment, that those officials could be disciplined by State Bar Associations.
A published report today saying a company owned by the nephew of powerful Congressman John Murtha received $4 million in defense contracts, contracts without any competitive bids. Congressman Murtha is the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. His nephew, Robert Murtha, is the owner of Murtech Incorporated, an engineering and logistics company. "The Washington Post" reported there is no evidence that the congressman steered government funds to Murtech.
Health officials in Texas tonight reporting the first death of a U.S. citizen with swine flu.
And dramatic new video of a pirate attack on a U.S. ship off the coast of East Africa.
DOBBS: Health officials in Texas today reported the first death of a U.S. citizen who contracted swine flu. The woman also said -- the woman also had what are called underlying health conditions. This is the second death to be reported in this country from the swine flu virus. A Mexican toddler died in a hospital in Houston last month. The Centers for Disease Control says the number of cases in the United States has now jumped to more than 400, spread across 38 states.
Meanwhile, communist China has intensified its efforts to stop the spread of swine flu, even though China has confirmed only one case, that of a Mexican visitor. A Mexican airliner today picked up 70 Mexican citizens who had been quarantined in China. Mexican government officials have strongly criticized Beijing for what they called China's quote "discriminatory policies against Mexican citizens."
The Obama administration is becoming increasingly concerned about communist China's rising influence in Latin America. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Beijing's expanding role in the western hemisphere disturbing. Clinton also expressed concern about Iran's efforts to expand its influence in the region. Ines Ferre with our report.
INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): LOU DOBBS TONIGHT has been reporting on China and Iran's growing influence in Latin America for years. The issue is only now causing some movement in Washington. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern over Iran's new embassy in Nicaragua and inroads made by Tehran and Beijing in the southern hemisphere.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: If you look at the gains, particularly in Latin America that Iran is making and China is making, it's quite disturbing.
FERRE: With cash from U.S. consumers in hand, China is looking to exploit Latin America's national resources, trade between the southern continent and Beijing increased tenfold between 2000 and 2007 to over $100 billion. Still below the 560 billion between the U.S. and Latin America last year. In April of this year, though, China became Brazil's biggest trade partner, with imports and exports, according to the Brazilian government, totaling $3.2 billion, overtaking the U.S.' at 2.8 billion. And with a willing partner in Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Iran is gaining its own foothold in the region. Peter Hakim is president of the policy group Inter-American Dialogue, whose members come primarily from the U.S. and Latin America.
PETER HAKIM, INTER-AMERICAN DIALOGUE: The fact is, though, with Venezuela now essentially searching for friends like Iran and developing a certain anti-American alliance in Latin America, the door has been opened to several other countries.
FERRE: Ray Walser is with the conservative Heritage Foundation.
RAY WALSER, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Trade relations with the likes of Hugo Chavez, I think, are rather disturbing. It's also been, there's considerable concern that this could be the gateway for Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
FERRE: Concerns over state-sponsored terrorism and Ahmadinejad's anti-Semitic comments led Brazilian protests over a scheduled visit by the Iranian leader. Ahmadinejad canceled the trip with no explanation.
FERRE: And some experts we spoke with feel the economic downturn is making it easier for countries like China and Iran to gain even more influence in the region and blame the U.S. for any economic ills. Lou?
DOBBS: Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Ines Ferre.
Well the Pentagon today saying that communist China is stepping up its challenge to U.S. naval power in the Pacific Ocean. Military officials saying two Chinese fishing trips came dangerously close, to within 30 yards, of a U.S. naval ship in international waters off China last week. It was the fifth such incident in recent months.
In March, Chinese ships came within just feet of the U.S. surveillance ship "Impeccable". Our sailors turned their fire hoses on those Chinese ships and sailors. Chinese vessels have been harassing U.S. ships in waters that China says are part of its so- called exclusive economic zone, but which the United States determined to be international waters. Last month China flaunted its rising naval power in a review of its fleet. The review included destroyers, nuclear submarines, and amphibious assault ships.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, has no doubt that China is modernizing its military to challenge directly the United States and U.S. interests. Admiral Mullen this week said China is quote "developing capabilities that are very maritime and air focused and in many ways are focused on us."
The Obama administration appears to be ignoring, however, communist China's military buildup and is focusing instead on U.S. political and economic ties with Beijing. National Security Council official Jeffrey Bader last week declared that the Obama administration quote "has no instinct to impose first-world models of development on China."
On a visit to Asia earlier this year, Secretary of State Clinton said the global financial crisis and security issues are more important than the issue of human rights in U.S. relations with China.
New evidence today of the escalating pirate threat off the coast of East Africa. A crew member on the "Liberty Sun", an American cargo ship, taking this dramatic video of pirates attacking the ship. The video was shown to a U.S. Senate subcommittee today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't like that one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're firing into the (INAUDIBLE) room. You're firing into the (INAUDIBLE) room. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: The pirates fired their rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at the "Liberty Sun", as you see and hear there, but the attack was unsuccessful and the pirates fled.
A rising backlash against the Web site Craigslist tonight. It is a Web site featuring sex ads and sexy photos leaked online in a smear campaign against Miss California.
DOBBS: Controversy tonight over the Web site Craigslist and a furious debate over rights and responsibilities. The site has millions of postings for everything from apartments to used furniture and jobs. It also has ads, for sex. A group of attorneys general now wants Craigslist to remove those sex ads. Some of those sex ads have had deadly consequences. Louise Schiavone has our report.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man in Boston is accused of murder and has become known as the alleged Craigslist killer. So is this teenager in New York. Both have pled not guilty. What they have in common is an alleged connection to their victims through sexually oriented advertising on the virtual superstore of personal ads called Craigslist.
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, ATTORNEY GENERAL, CONNECTICUT: Craigslist has pimping and pornography and prostitution in plain sight. And that is a betrayal of trust to its millions of consumers who advertise on the site, as well as others who have access, including children.
SCHIAVONE: And the pressure is on from attorneys general across the nation for Craigslist to clean up its act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prostitution is illegal. They're thumbing their nose at the system and it's time they step up and take responsibility.
SCHIAVONE: Attorneys general from Missouri, Connecticut, and Illinois met with Craigslist lawyers in New York with three requests. Take down the erotic services section. Scour the site for buzz words suggesting sexual services. And hire more people to evaluate ads on other parts of the site. But this First Amendment lawyer warns there is a free speech issue at play.
JOAN LUKEY, ATTORNEY, ROPES & GRAY: I think that perhaps Craigslist would have a pretty good argument that it's the First Amendment, by which it's being motivated, even though it may be even at the same time, the profit margin is increased.
SCHIAVONE: One advertising analyst estimates the site's total revenue last year was $81 million, principally through real estate ads in New York and job recruitment ads in 18 cities. He says erotic services are not a big earner for the site, but do attract people to it.
Craigslist tells CNN quote "the legal issues here are very complex, but the law is crystal clear that Craigslist has broad immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. There are also important First Amendment issues at stake", end quote.
SCHIAVONE: Lou, Craigslist also tells us it's made progress following its agreement with the attorneys general last fall to step up site surveillance and donate money earned from erotic ads to charity. But the attorneys general are not satisfied and they say they are prepared to change laws and to prosecute if necessary. Lou?
DOBBS: (INAUDIBLE) says she believes the kidnappers took her son to Mexico. Briant Rodriguez was kidnapped from his home in San Bernardino, California.
DOBBS: His mother and siblings were bound, their home was ransacked and officials continue to search for the boy tonight. They've also alerted the Border Patrol. Investigators have not yet determined why the Rodriguez family was targeted in the first place. There's been no request for ransom.
There is grave concern in Chicago tonight over the continued increase in deadly attacks on school-aged children. The latest killing, a 15-year-old boy who was murdered over the weekend. Alex Arellano (ph) was found beaten, burned, and shot to death. Investigators are still searching for suspects. Alex is the 34th school-aged murder victim so far this year.
This continues a disturbing trend. Last school year, Chicago public schools reported 27 murders. In 2007, there were 31. These numbers have surged since 2006, when Chicago public schools reported seven killings. Parents and officials blaming everything from gangs to insufficient quote "outreach programs."
Some other stories we're following across the country tonight. The Maine legislature has approved a bill to allow same-sex marriage. That bill still faces votes in the state House and Senate before it goes to the governor of Maine. Governor John Baldacci is a Democrat and remains undecided we're told on that issue. If the bill were to pass, Maine would become the fifth state to allow same-sex marriages assuming the governor signs it into law. The other four states are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Iowa.
In Washington, D.C., the City Council there has agreed to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside our nation's capital. The U.S. Congress has jurisdiction over D.C.'s laws and has 30 days to review them. If Congress does nothing, the bill will become law automatically. In California, a new spokeswoman against same-sex marriage is under fire for posing in semi-nude photographs. Miss California, Carrie Prejean, says photos of her modeling swimsuits and lingerie were posted on a Web site in an apparent effort to mock her faith. She has been subjected, she says, to intolerant and offensive attacks because of her belief and statements during the Miss Universe contest that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Pageant officials say Prejean breached her contract by keeping those photos secret and that she could be stripped of her Miss California title.
And some amazing new pictures today in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where a CNN IReporter caught this rotating wall cloud. The wall cloud, also known as a mesocyclone is the part of a storm in which a tornado could form. They can be as large as 10 miles in diameter and up to 50,000 feet high. Only about 20 percent of these storms will ultimately produce tornadoes.
Another incredible blunder by the Department of Homeland Security, the very same department that linked war veterans with extremist groups. And the Pentagon scared New Yorkers and spent more than $300,000 doing it on photos you will never see.
DOBBS: Another controversial report and more damage control from the Department of Homeland Security, the same department that issued a report suggesting returning war veterans were susceptible to extremist groups. Also issuing what it calls the quote "domestic extremism lexicon", end quote. It's like a dictionary with definitions for various extremists or terrorist groups and some definitions. Here's an entry.
Anti-immigration extremism -- the Department of Homeland Security's definition -- people who are quote "highly critical of the U.S. government's response to illegal immigration and oppose government programs that are designed to extend rights to illegal aliens, such as driver's licenses and in-state tuition."
Here's another one -- single-issue extremist groups. According to the DHS dictionary, there are individuals who focus on a single cause, such as animal rights or the environment. They are also described as special interest extremists.
And this -- anti-technology extremism. Also referred to as Ned- Luddites. These apparently are individuals who are opposed to technology. A DHS spokesperson today told us the dictionary was not authorized, that it was recalled shortly after it was let out and state and local law enforcement officials have been told to ignore it.
Joining me now Congressman Pete King, ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee. Congressman, great to see you. Thanks for being here.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Your reaction to this document. KING: Lou, actually, it's very distressing. You and I can have a lot of fun with this, we could show you ridiculous it is how off- target it is, but the reality is that the department of homeland security is supposed to be defending us against another attack from Islamic terrorism, yet it appears to be the gang that can't shoot straight.
And also to me, it's missing its purpose. You went through all those different definitions of different type of extremists. Nowhere in that dictionary do you see the term "Islamic extremist." The department was set up primarily to protect us from another terrorist attack from Islamic terrorists, and yet they talk about everything but that. Any time they word "terrorist" since Secretary Napolitano took over was several weeks ago when they said the returning veterans and anti-illegal immigration organizations could be terrorists.
So this is really wrong and the fact that it's happened twice now shows that the department is really off control. There's a tremendous lack of discipline here.
DOBBS: My reaction is two things. One, this document could have been produced by someone in china or it could have been produced in the Nixon administration. This is the kind of egregiously offensive product coming from the agency. I mean, I can't even pronounce -- I can't even string the words together that make up this agency. What is going on with this agency? We're also told, by the way, that some of the people in the agency are offended because their work has not been supported.
KING: Yeah, well, too bad for them. The fact is that this, I believe, is a unit that's gotten out of control. By the way, the civil rights unit within the department of homeland security had been opposed to a number of these findings they made, and yet this unit was still able to get this report released. This is something in all seriousness, secretary Napolitano has to address. This seems to be a rogue element in the department, or at least I hope it is. I hope this is not a reflective thinking of the department.
And Lou, what you said is really important. I'm maybe more willing than you are to accept a strong federal role when it involves going after terrorists. But other than that, we need to be very, very careful of having the federal government getting involved in thought control. I mean, I really don't want the federal government to be determining whether or not a person who feels certain ways about the environment or about animals or about certain religious issues should be considered an extremist. That to me is a type of thought control, mind control, which is very dangerous.
I think the department should be set up to target specific terrorist groups that are affiliated with overseas groups who are intending to bring violence to our country. Not people who may have used, that are out of the mainstream by liberal standards or conservative standards or anyone else. We have to -- we cannot allow a department such as this to really try to impinge on free will and free thought. DOBBS: Congressman, I assure you, I'm as prepared as you to use the federal racehorses to protect the American people at any time. The idea that this department has again committed what looks to be like -- it's beyond political correctness. This is a, to me, it appears to be absolutely agenda driven and with the complicit if acquiescent approval of Janet Napolitano. Is she not to be held responsible for what is a poorly guided, misguided agency?
KING: You're absolutely right. She called me two weeks ago to say they made a mistake on the first report. Now we have the second report. This is back to back. I think she has to produce very, very quickly. Because this is serious. You could have a department that has no real power going off on its own. Okay, maybe it's a waste of money, but no real harm done to the country. You have a department like this, which has real power, making these types of mistakes.
DOBBS: Congressman, this is the same secretary of homeland security who said she didn't want to use the word "terrorism." She had replaced it with the expression man-caused disaster. This is the same secretary of the department of homeland security who told Canadian television that terrorists of September 11th had crossed over the Canadian border. At what point is there accountability?
KING: It has to be very soon. And you're right. She said we cannot call al Qaeda terrorists, we cannot call Bin Laden a terrorist, but it's okay to call a person who opposes illegal immigration a potential terrorist or a returning veteran a potential terrorist or to put out this dictionary where the department is going through its analysis of what kind of thought control we should have. No, Janet Napolitano is running some real risks here and she is going to have to be held accountable very soon. We have a committee hearing coming up in the next week and we're going to really go after it very much.
DOBBS: Congressman King, thanks for being here.
KING: Lou, thank you, as always.
DOBBS: We'd like to know what you think about all of this. Our poll question is, do you believe the department of homeland security has lost all touch with reality? Yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll bring you the results here later.
Another government controversy tonight following that Air Force One flyover, the flyover sent terrified New Yorkers running for cover. It cost taxpayers $328,000. And the Pentagon said it was a training mission and a photo mission. Now we're told we will never see those pictures. Jeanne Meserve reports.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It looked like Air Force One flying low every Manhattan with F-16s in pursuit and it sent some New Yorkers into the streets and into a panic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the problem? You have got to tell me. What is going on, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a -- a falling, an aircraft, a big aircraft, kind of like 9/11.
MESERVE: It turned out to be a photo op, but where are the photos, the White House press secretary was asked.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know where those are.
MESERVE: The White House press office says there are no plans to make the photographs public. There is nothing wrong with the previous photos, so we're going to use them. Remember that declaration of a new era of openness?
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over.
MESERVE: So why exactly doesn't that apply to the photos? An advocate for government disclosure says it should, saying it is silly and absurd to withhold them.
PATRICE MCDERMOTT, OPENTHEGOVERNMENT.ORG: These are public records. These photograph, videos, or whatever they have are public records because they were done on government time using government resources and government personnel.
MESERVE: And back in New York, the news reignited public outrage over the incident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't seem right. If we spent the money to have these photos taken, they should be available for the public to see.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're still worried about their image and they don't want to be seen in a bad light.
MESERVE: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said today he would take another look at releasing the photos, but it hasn't happened yet. And a White House inquiry into the flyover should be done in a few days, but no word with on whether the report, like the photos, will be made public.
DOBBS: Let's see if I've got this right. The Obama administration approves the release of photos of torture and the release of top-secret memos on interrogations, harsh interrogations, but doesn't want to release these photos of a flyover of New York?
MESERVE: It would appear to be a contradiction. The White House emphasized today that President Obama has said that this flyover was a mistake, that it shouldn't have happened, that it wasn't necessary. And they're going to get answers, they say, in this inquiry. DOBBS: All right. I hope that the American people also have the same opportunity. Thank you very much, Jeanne Meserve, as always.
New accusations that the media went overboard with its coverage of the swine flu.
And concerns about a new program that pays kids to report drug crimes.
DOBBS: Mexican drug cartels appear to be sending President Obama a message written on bundles of marijuana being smuggled from Mexico into Texas. The drugs, discovered after a truck driver led police on a high-speed car chase through Texas, some of those bundles were clearly marked. There you see it; Obama, USA, and Calderon, Mexico. Police confiscated about 800 pounds of marijuana in those bundles. Investigators are questioning the truck driver.
Officials in Suffolk County, New York, have introduced a controversial new program, trying to keep drugs out of schools and away from schoolchildren. The county is offering students hundreds of dollars to text in to authorities tips about drug dealers trying to sell them drugs. But as Bill Tucker now reports, there are serious concerns about the safety of those students who turn in drug dealers.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heroin overdoses in Suffolk County, New York, doubled from 2000 to 2007. Fighting back, the Suffolk county police are now offering $500 to high school students for tips by text that result in the arrest and conviction of drug dealers. Posters advertising the program have been distributed to 58 local high schools. Reaction to the program in the community, mixed. The New York civil liberties union argues the program has no place in schools.
DONNA LIEBERMAN, NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: Isn't there something a little odd about a promise of anonymity when you send in a text message and a reward. How do you reward an anonymous tipster? And are the kids really going to be protected?
TUCKER: Which is very close to what's on the minds of kids. What happens if you turn snitch and get found out? With millions of hits on YouTube for the song "Snitch," the kids are clearly aware of the threat. The program in Suffolk County is part of a national one by a group, Crime Stoppers USA, which has been around since 1976. According to the group, there are roughly 500 active crime stopper programs in the country today.
THOMAS KERN, CHMN., CRIME STOPPERS USA: At what point do we start teaching kids to be responsible for and taking responsibility for providing information on dangers that would pertain to their family, their school, their community. You know, where you're basically just giving them the ability to do the right thing. TUCKER: National chairman Tom Kern says the crime stopper program in Laredo, Texas, schools has generated more than 4,000 actionable tips.
TUCKER: The program in Suffolk County is just under way and the police there say they've received 20 tips so far, but made no arrests as of yet, Lou.
DOBBS: This is one of those programs, you wonder whether it would be smart to tell people what the numbers are or how effective it's being, because that should be apparent in the number of arrests and conviction. I hear language like 4,000 actionable tips or whatever it was, and I say, you know, that sounds like bureaucratic language for no arrests, no conviction.
TUCKER: Not true. According to Tom Kerns, who I interviewed this afternoon, half a million people in the history of the program have been arrested and convicted as a result of this program.
DOBBS: Well, I'm glad we got that out there. Half a million?
DOBBS: It so works?
TUCKER: It does work.
DOBBS: And the New York Civil Liberties Union think it's a little odd. What would they like to do with those drug dealers on school grounds around the world? Do they have a solution?
TUCKER: They want to see outreach programs. They want to seek counseling programs.
DOBBS: Good for them. Counsel a drug dealer. What a good idea. Thanks a lot Bill Tucker.
New evidence tonight that more Americans support gun ownership rights, but that support is divided amongst men and women. According to the pew center research center, 45 percent of those surveyed say protecting gun rights is now more important than controlling gun ownership. That survey showing a significant shift in support, but men support gun rights far more strongly than do women. 57 of men supporting gun rights compared to only a third of women.
Up at the top of the hour, "NO BIAS, NO BULL," Roland Martin in for Campbell Brown.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey Lou. Tonight, an incredible story out of a small Texas town. Police officers there are accused of highway robbery, stopping black and Latino drivers and seizing money and jewelry. Police say they're just following the law, but how is this even possible? Our own Gary Tuchman had been looking into this and he'll be here with the story.
Also, the first face transplant on an American patient. She came forward just a few hours ago. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will have the latest on the surgery and tell us what's ahead for her.
Plus, Elizabeth Edwards, she talks about her husband cheating on her, but not everyone seems sympathetic. We'll dig deeper into that and take your calls, all at the top of the hour. Lou?
DOBBS: Roland, thank you.
The United Kingdom has released a new list of people that are banned from entering the country and an American radio talk show host is high on the list.
DOBBS: The United Kingdom has released a list of people it has banned from entering the country. American radio talk show host Michael Savage is one of 16 people the British say are named and shamed by their government. The government accusing the conservative host of expressing what they call extreme views that could lead to violence in Britain. The national media has reported that aspect of the story, of course, here all across the country, but I can just about guarantee you that the national media is not reporting repeating the language used by home secretary Jackie Smith when they issued the ban on travel for these 16 people. She said in a preface, that, quote, coming to this country is a privilege. If you can't live by the rules we live by, the standards and the values that we live we live by, we should exclude you from this country. And what's more, now we will make public those people we have exclude excluded. Can you possibly imagine government officials in this country saying the same thing as the British secretary?
Joining me now, three of the best talk show hosts in the country, and they can travel to London at will. In Denver, from KHOW, Peter Boyles, in Washington from WPGC, Guy Lambert. And here in New York, from WOR, Dr. Joy Browne, thank you all for being here.
I want to start, Joy, if I may, it is a painful experience watching Oprah and Elizabeth Edwards talking about her book, the marital affair of her husband. What in the world is going on?
JOY BROWNE, WOR IN NEW YORK: It seems to me there are only two possibilities because we know Elizabeth Edwards is a political wife. There are a lot of people who think she was really the brains of that outfit. She was really the ambition of it. I think you have to look at it in one or two ways. This was really her way of getting some power through her husband, at which point she supposedly knew about the affair for at least a year before the campaign. So yes, she lied to the American public. She wasn't running for office and this was her meal ticket. Or she was a political wife in which she was subjugated. I think today she was one angry woman. There are a lot of people who think if John Edwards had not been in the race Hillary would be president today. A lot of women are not supportive of Elizabeth Edwards. DOBBS: I appreciate it. I'm struggling to figure out what is going on there. To carry that across in a national book tour. It's amazing.
Guy, let me turn to you. Michael Savage being banned by the British government because they think he might promote violence there, what's your reaction?
GUY LAMBERT, WPGC IN WASHINGTON: Plain and simple, thank god we live in America. You know, this is really interesting. You're now put into a position where what you say can be literally banned to enter a country, it makes me proud to be an American, plain and simple. If you look at the language expressed in this newly released memo, it says he can possibly spur hatred. I'm curious to see where that hatred could come from. It says he can possibly spur violence. I'm interested to see who could be violence once this man enters the country.
DOBBS: You know the British are far more violent than the Americans. They're notorious for that.
LAMBERT: I guess the question is, Lou, how long before you and I are banned from Britain as well because we're talking about it.
DOBBS: As long as we have our first amendment rights here, we're going to be OK. I live Britain and the British, but my golly. I would love to see them grasp onto the Magna Carta and think about the first amendment.
Peter let's turn to if we may this crazy stuff emanating from the department of homeland security, this agency talking about creating a dictionary of -- a lexicon of extremism, a report suggesting that our returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are susceptible to becoming extremists. They actually used the word terrorist.
PETER BOYLES, KHOW IN DENVER: Compare and contrast that to the British that we were just talking about. It's really not that dissimilar. When Darth Vader strikes down Obe Wan, he says I will be more powerful now in my death. Michael Savage has gone up in stock in Great Britain probably about 500 percent. He now becomes the forbidden fruit. It's the next-man theory. Who's the next man they won't like. Janet Napolitano, twice a week you have to water her like a plant. I don't know what she's thinking, why she has a job. Don't kid yourself, they go into school libraries, take books out. It's frightening stuff.
It's the kind of thing that Jefferson warned us about.
We're going to be back with our talk show hosts in just a moment and we're going to figure out exactly what lies next for the course of something called the censorship doctrine as we refer to it here. Numbers.
DOBBS: We're back with our panel. I want to go to Guy Lambert. Your thoughts on the department of homeland security issue because this gets worse and worse and worse for Janet Napolitano.
LAMBERT: Well I guess the million dollar question is what is President Obama thinking about all of this. Is he sitting in the oval office, watching this play in day in and day out wondering, wow, I wonder what she's going to do today? I wonder whose tracks I'm going to have to cover today. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next several days and several weeks for that matter.
BOYLES: She's starting to resemble Mrs. Potato Head. She's walking around looking for Mr. Potato Head walking next to her. She's ridiculous and an embarrassment, but she isn't really any different from Jackie Smith. They're cut from the same politically correct cloth. Be very careful of these people.
BROWNE: Would you feel different about them if they were men?
BOYLES: I would say the same thing.
BROWNE: Is there a certain amount of hostility?
BOYLES: I used to call the homeland security secretary, I used to call him Skelator who ran the Bush administration.
BROWNE: Isn't there a certain comfort in knowing an agency that has so much power that a lot of us worry about, speaking of America as opposed to other country, so maybe having a stupid person in charge of an incredibly powerful agency may make some sense?
BOYLES: No. Please.
DOBBS: What's frightening about that is this government has gotten so incompetent that one might seek refuge in competence in leadership, given the power that they could wield. The woman goes to Canada and informs the Canadians that September 11 terrorists crossed their border with the United States. She says that she will not use the word terror. Man-caused disaster. The woman is out of control and she is creating an atmosphere in a woefully organized department of homeland security in my opinion that is frightening indeed. When grown people in the United States can produce documents like the Department of Homeland Security has produced on the lexicon of extremism --
BROWNE: That was a scary thing.
DOBBS: And suggesting that returning veterans, for crying out loud, are likely recruits for extremisms, what in the world are we doing here?
LAMBERT: That had to anger lot of people by far, Lou.
BROWNE: There is something here --
DOBBS: I'm sorry, I'm going to have to interrupt you. We're out of time. BROWNE: We are?
DOBBS: If you can say it in 11 words.
BROWNE: OK. Veterans have problems with violence and domestic violence. It needs to be looked at.
DOBBS: The woman should be fired and the idiots who produced the reports and insulted our veterans should be fired, every one of them. Thank you very much Joy. Peter, good to have you with us. Guy, thank you so much gentlemen.
LAMBERT: Lou, always a pleasure.
DOBBS: Results of our poll, 94 percent of you say the department of homeland security has lost all touch with reality. Except for the empathetic Dr. Joy Browne.
A reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Friday for the Lou Dobbs Show on WOR 710 radio in New York. And we appreciate it. Go to loudobbsradio.com for the listings in your area.
"NO BIAS, NO BULL" starts right now. In for Campbell Brown, Roland Martin.