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Lou Dobbs Tonight

More Troops?; Investigating Rangel; Obama's Czars; ACORN Investigations

Aired October 07, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Thank you, Wolf.

Eight years in Afghanistan as of today, a divided presidential administration, a divided American public and President Obama now faces very tough choices. Will the president escalate this war? Is victory possible? Should America fight on? Should our troops be brought home?

Also tonight, a World War I memorial on federal government land, a cross standing for 75 years in the California desert. Some now say that violates the separation of church and state. They want that cross taken down. It's now up to the Supreme Court.

And ACORN feeling the pressure, the left wing activist group facing a number of investigations, the list of alleged crimes grows. Will ACORN survive? Should it?

And tonight another White House czar controversy, there are questions being raised now about the food safety czar. Will he be forced to step down?

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT; news, debate and analysis for Wednesday, October 7th. Live from New York, Mr. Independent Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. A difficult milestone in Afghanistan -- the United States launched the invasion of Afghanistan eight years ago, today, October 7, 2001, less than a month later, after September 11. The war has now cost the lives of almost (INAUDIBLE) of our servicemen and women. Thousands more have been wounded and wounded seriously.

The numbers continue to rise and this year has been the deadliest of the war. According to the latest CNN opinion polls, the majority of Americans do not think we should be fighting this war. And it is now up to President Obama. Does he escalate this war by sending in more forces? Is there a middle ground short of withdrawal, an option that the president has already rejected? What ever new strategy the president ultimately decides upon, it needs to happen and soon. Ed Henry has our report.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Part of the presidency handing out math and science medals quickly gave way to the life and death part of the job on the eighth anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan.


HENRY: The president convened his national security team a third time in recent days. And top aides say he's adamant about coming up with a new plan before deciding on troops levels.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Until the president's review of this early in the administration, there hadn't been a strategy, a coordinated strategy to deal with Afghanistan in this very dangerous region of the world for many, many years and that's what the president is intent on getting around.

HENRY: Top aides reveal the president has now received the document from General Stanley McChrystal, officially asking for up to 40,000 more U.S. troops and the president could start reviewing that resource request as soon as Friday at his fourth strategy session.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is a test of any president. This is the sort of dilemma that presidents face when they have to make decisions about war and peace.

HENRY: Presidential historian Robert Dallek was recently invited to a small dinner with Mr. Obama and says he warned Afghanistan could wind up consuming him the way Vietnam consumed Lyndon Johnson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a president who wants to do some very important things, major things on the domestic side. They will be more difficult to achieve if the country is distracted by preoccupation with a war in Afghanistan.

HENRY: Press secretary Robert Gibbs insists the president is not worried about Afghanistan overshadowing the rest of his agenda.

GIBBS: This is not a test for one person. This is not a test for one entity. This is a test for our country to adequately address and correctly address the extremist threat that emanates from Afghanistan and Pakistan.


HENRY: Now Robert Gibbs perhaps trying to relieve some pressure on the president. But he alone will decide and this is a monumental decision that advisers expect Mr. Obama to announce to the American people as early as later this month. Lou.

DOBBS: Ed, obviously the president has now ruled out withdrawal even though the majority apparently, according to the most recent polls of Americans believe that that is an appropriate course. When will we have a decision from this president and has the White House laid out articulated a process that the president will follow to reach that conclusion?

HENRY: The process that they have laid out is that he, today, about a half hour ago wrapped up his third strategy session on this. It lasted almost three hours in the White House Situation Room. He has got a fourth one this coming Friday, a fifth one next week. They have left the door open to maybe another strategy session, but it could wrap up next week and then the president is going to make a decision. And we expect that it will be by the end of this month, early November at the latest is what my sources inside and outside the White House are suggesting. So the process is bringing together this big group of people -- that includes everyone from Vice President Biden who is pushing a much different plan than General McChrystal to General McChrystal himself who has been joining by secure video conference, Lou.

DOBBS: All right, Ed, thank you very much.

HENRY: Thanks Lou.

DOBBS: Ed Henry from the White House.

As of today, 791 of our troops have been killed in Afghanistan; 4,198 wounded; 2,510 of our troops have been seriously wounded; and this has been the deadliest year of this conflict yet. The past weekend, eight of our troops were killed when Taliban insurgents attacked two remote outposts.

The 65,000 troops serving in this country, in Afghanistan, are only a fraction of the troops that we have deployed globally. There are 125,000 troops serving now in Iraq; more than three million people serving our military around the world; 2.3 million of them in uniform; 700,000 civilians. Nearly half a million military personnel are serving the nation overseas; they're in more than 60 countries; 66,000 of them are in Germany; 43,000 in Japan; 30,000 stationed in South Korea.

And I have a few opinions about these troops and about whether to bring them home. I hope you'll go to where there is a petition awaiting your consideration. I hope you will consider well.

And turning now to the showdown over health care in Congress, the Congressional Budget Office tonight says the Senate Finance Committee plan, the so-called Baucus-Obama or Obama-Baucus plan will cost more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says this plan would cover 94 percent of all Americans and would not cover illegal immigrants. The Congressional Budget Office also says the plan will cut the deficit by $80 billion. Senator Max Baucus said his plan would cost roughly $900 billion. And the Senate Finance Committee could vote on this plan as soon as tomorrow.

Meanwhile, some Senate Republicans are calling for the legislation to be posted online before any vote for the public and for members of Congress to read before that vote. At least eight moderate Democrats are said to be backing such a resolution. It would require any bill to be made public for 72 hours before any vote could take place.

Approval ratings, well approval ratings if you can call them that for Congress continue to fall. A new Gallup poll finds only 21 percent of all Americans believe Congress is doing a good job. That is down significantly. It was 31 percent last month, 39 percent back in March. Some of those polled believe that Congress has not achieved enough and they cited the contentious health care debate for their low esteem and opinion of Congress.

There may be good reasons why Americans dislike Congress so much. When Democrats took over the House in 2006 and when President Obama was elected last year, our lawmakers promised a four to five day workweek. According to Politico, it turns they are not working all that hard. In fact, they are hardly working. Members usually show up now for votes on Tuesday afternoons and then they go back to their districts after they work Thursday, 2.5 day workweek -- the Democratic leadership arguing that lawmakers should not have to stay in Washington if their work is done. Ironically Congress has held one vote on Friday since it returned this fall and that to approve a budget increase for themselves.

House Republicans are, again, calling for Congressman Charlie Rangel to step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Democrats blocking a motion that would have forced the New York City Democrat to step aside until an ethics investigation could be completed. Mr. Rangel allegedly failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets and he admits he did not pay taxes on income from rental property that he owns as well. Brianna Keilar has our report.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republicans' third attempt in a year to bump the Democratic chairman of the House Tax Writing Committee from his powerful perch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will be a 15 minute vote.

KEILAR: It failed, but they made their point. Keeping a spotlight on Charles Rangel's acknowledged failure to pay taxes on $75,000 he earned renting out his beach house in the Dominican Republic and there are several other alleged ethics related violations.

REP. JOHN CARTER (R), TEXAS: Representative Rangel acknowledged his failure to pay -- fail to publicly disclose at least $500,000 in cash assets, tens of thousands of dollars in investment income and his ownership of two pieces of property in New Jersey.

KEILAR: Rangel has called some of the violations mistakes. As the Ethics Committee continues its year-long investigation, Rangel continues to defend his post on the committee that's instrumental in drafting legislation on important issues like health care reform and climate change.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You continue to serve (INAUDIBLE) investigation?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY), WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN: Yes, I can. The way it works in the House is that when allegations are made and referred to the Ethics Committee, what is normally done is members wait until the Ethics Committee it completes its investigation and its report.

KEILAR: Rangel has the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Speaker Pelosi, do you still support Chairman Rangel?

KEILAR: And her deputy Steny Hoyer says Democrats are awaiting the Ethics Committee's finding.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER: Prior to that, any actions with reference to Chairman Rangel would be premature.

KEILAR: But as Republicans keep up their steady drum beat against Rangel, political analyst Stephen Hess says he has become a liability for Democrats.

STEPHEN HESS, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: These charges are serious. They're -- and they keep adding more charges. So they are going to have to be met and dealt with and voted upon. They can't be swept under the table.


KEILAR: So how big of a liability is Rangel for Democrats? Well Hess says he's actually a minor one and a manageable one, but it still gives Republicans a political opportunity, Lou. And we did just run into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this evening in the halls of Congress and she basically gushed about Rangel saying that he is a tremendous asset for Democrats.

DOBBS: And one wonders if there aren't some critics of the Republican Party saying if there is such a liability here on the part of Chairman Rangel, why not leave him in office until the midterm elections.

KEILAR: Well and certainly sources I've spoke to, Lou, have said either way here it works for them. If he goes, that is a win for them. And if he stays, it's something they can continue to hit Democrats on, so you do have a point there.

DOBBS: All right, Brianna, thank you very much -- excellent report -- Brianna Keilar from Washington.

New pressure on left wing activist group ACORN facing a number of investigations -- we'll have the latest for you.

And President Obama sends the attorney general and education secretary to Chicago. The attorney general says what they found is not a racial issue. It's not a Chicago issue. Will they be able to do anything to make a difference?

And another czar controversy, questions being raised about the president's food safety czar. Critics say his work at the FDA actually made food less safe, also extraordinary comments by Congressman Barney Frank, the Massachusetts congressman comparing the debate over immigration to the holocaust. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: We've reported extensively on the more than 30 czars in the Obama administration. Many of those czars appointed to policymaking positions without being vetted or confirmed by the Senate. So far Van Jones, the green job czar so-called was forced to resign over controversial statements that he had made and now there are calls for the school's safety czar, Kevin Jennings, to step down as well. And there are serious questions being raised about whether the latest czar is qualified to oversee food safety. Louise Schiavone has our report.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Taylor is a Washington insider with experience at the Food and Drug Administration going all the way back to 1976 when he started as a lawyer there. He's back and drawing some flak in his new capacity as senior food safety adviser to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

JAYDEE HANSON, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY: We have real serious food safety issues that you know Mike Taylor is qualified to deal with. But, there are other people that don't carry the baggage that he does.

SCHIAVONE: In the early 90's Taylor was on duty at the FDA as deputy commissioner for policy when the Monsanto Company secured approval for a genetically modified growth hormone for cows. Critics charged it made milk dangerous. The FDA argued that could not be proven and eventually Taylor moved out of government into Monsanto where he became vice president of public policy. Now that Taylor is back at the FDA, critics question whether it's appropriate for him to be in a position where he might be called upon to evaluate the impact of (INAUDIBLE) growth hormones.

DIANA ZUCKERMAN, NAT'L RESEARCH CTR. FOR WOMEN AND FAMILIES: There's a growing body of research showing that when you fool around with hormones, it can cause various cancers, not all cancers, but some cancers, and it can have other kinds of detrimental effects on human health.

SCHIAVONE: The FDA says the commissioner has full faith and trust in Michael Taylor, a one time food safety official at the Agriculture Department who before this appointment was a university research professor. Supporters say he's carried the flag for food safety.

SARAH KLEIN, CTR. FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: We've never actually seen any evidence that Mr. Taylor's time with the industry a brief period has had an effect on his ability to think critically about the issues that affect consumers or his ability to act decisively to protect public health.

SCHIAVONE: Food safety group insiders say this appointment recognizes his political support and service on food policy issues during the Obama campaign and transition.


SCHIAVONE: But Lou, others note that there is still an opening at the FDA for a deputy commissioner for food safety and that the position of adviser might just be the administration's way of testing out the reaction to Taylor for that spot. A source at the FDA tells us that as soon as the deputy commissioner slot is filled, Taylor's current position will disappear. Lou.

DOBBS: Louise, thank you very much -- Louise Schiavone from Washington.

Turning now to the alarming crime situation in Chicago -- it now has the attention of the Obama administration -- Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan went to Chicago to meet with the city's mayor, Richard Daley. That group talking about a number of ways the federal government might help combat youth violence. Seventy young people have been killed on the way to or from school since the fall of 2000. The attorney general says there's a lot of work obviously to be done.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: There are no quick fixes. This will not happen overnight. Our approach will need to involve not just law enforcement, but also faith-based organizations, the business community and social service groups. Every citizen has to be a part of the solution. We will need a combination of prevention, intervention and targeted enforcement.


DOBBS: That meeting, in the wake of the beating death of a 16- year-old honor student on his way home. It was caught on this video and it sparked outrage all across the country. Already this year, 36 high school students in Chicago have been killed in school-related violence.

Up next, a religious monument on public land honoring our veterans -- the Supreme Court will decide whether it stays up or is torn down. Separation of church and state is the subject of our "Face Off" debate tonight, and the left wing activist group ACORN facing new investigations and a loss of federal funds, clear signs ACORN is crumbling, some controversial comments by Congressman Barney Frank who actually compared the debate over illegal immigration to the holocaust. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: The left wing activist group ACORN is under rising pressure from local, state and federal authorities. ACORN is under investigation in at least 10 states, there are a number of calls for federal investigations. ACORN has been dropped by the Internal Revenue Service, the Census Bureau, other federal agencies are following suit. Federal funds for ACORN are simply drying up -- Ines Ferre with our report.


INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A $1 million grant for ACORN frozen. The money awarded by FEMA in early September was supposed to go to ACORN for fire safety and prevention in low income areas across the country. But a congressional vote to cut off ACORN funding put a stop to that. Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter questions why ACORN was awarded the money.

SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: ACORN getting a fire grant, when there are fire departments, volunteer fire departments, other fire departments all around the country who are facing tough times. It just doesn't pass the smell test.

FERRE: In response ACORN says "Senator Vitter knows ACORN's track record on helping communities prevent tragedy, which is why our fire prevention work in low income communities is important." FEMA says ACORN was awarded the money based on a peer review grant process meaning fire fighting professionals advocated for the organization. A similar grant was given in 2007. The funds have been frozen at a time when ACORN is under intense scrutiny. Louisiana's attorney general is investigating ACORN's finances.

JAMES "BUDDY" CALDWELL (D), LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL: And what we are after is the truth, we got plenty to do down here, believe me. And what we want to do is determine if we can clear somebody, if we can implicate somebody or a combination of both and do what's healthy for the country, which is to monitor and do the right thing.

FERRE: ACORN has two Louisiana office buildings up for sale including its former headquarters. When asked about reports of layoffs across its organization, ACORN responded by saying it can't comment on personnel matters, but did say "the barrage of conservative attacks against ACORN's work serving low and moderate income communities has added to the already difficult financial environment facing all non-profits. ACORN has thrived for nearly 40 years and we are taking the needed steps to ensure that we can serve communities for the next 40."


FERRE: But surviving for another 40 years may be difficult. Aside from the numerous investigations, organizations are trying to distance themselves from ACORN. For example, Bank of America recently said it's suspending its commitments until it's satisfied that all of ACORN's issues have been resolved. And it gave the organization at least $2 million in grants between October 2007 and June of this year, Lou.

DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much Ines -- Ines Ferre.

Well I'll have a few thoughts about ACORN, all the issues of the day including Afghanistan. Please join me on the radio Monday through Friday for "The Lou Dobbs Show" 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each afternoon on WOR 710 radio in New York. And go to as we explore the question, should President Obama be bringing the troops home. There's also a petition there for your consideration. I hope you will consider it. And also get the local listings for the show in your area. And subscribe to our free daily Podcast and you can follow me on on loudobbsnews -- that's on

Shocking new comments tonight from Congressman Barney Frank on illegal immigration policy in this country and the holocaust.


REP. BARNEY Frank (D), MASSACHUSETTS: (INAUDIBLE) the grandchild of four parents who were lucky to get out of Russia (INAUDIBLE) if America had the kind of immigration policy that some people would like today my whole family obviously would have been wiped out in the Holocaust.


DOBBS: That video posted on a number of Web sites tonight. We were unable to reach Congressman Frank for comment or explanation of his remarks.

Well calls from all around the world to replace the dollar as the world's currency, what would that mean for the United States and why is the United Nations committed to precisely that and Mexico tourism in trouble, drug cartel violence simply scaring tourists away. We'll have that story.

And should a War Memorial on federal land be taken down? That cross has stood for 75 years. Does that monument to our veterans violate the separation of church and state? That is the subject of our "Face Off" debate, next.


ANNOUNCER: Here again, Mr. Independent Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: The Supreme Court today heard arguments on the constitutionality of religious monuments on public land or monuments that could be perceived as religious. At issue is this World War I memorial in the form of a cross on the Mojave Desert. It's currently covered now with plywood, as you see there, by order of a federal court.

That monument was erected on the Mojave Desert peak 75 years ago to honor veterans of the Great War as it was then known. Should the monument be taken down? Should it stand? That is the subject of our "Face Off" debate tonight and joining me Kelly Shackelford -- he's the chief counsel of the Liberty Legal Institute -- good to have you with us.

KELLY SHACKELFORD: Thanks for having me.

DOBBS: ... and Liberty filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of veterans' groups trying to preserve the monument and Reverend Barry Lynn -- he's the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State -- good to have you with us.

REV. BARRY LYNN: Nice to be here.

DOBBS: Well this -- the Supreme Court took up the case today. It concentrated on the 2004 transfer of land with the memorial on it to the Veterans of Foreign Affairs. It seems the issue of the First Amendment is at least going to be moved a little bit to the side by the Supreme Court in the minds of many. What do you think, reverend?

LYNN: I think it was a sham transaction. Congress decided it was going to transfer one acre. Just happened to be the one acre with the cross on it out of 1.6 million acres in the Mojave National Reserve.

DOBBS: You don't think it's a coincidence?

LYNN: Not a coincidence. I'd call it a scam and I'd say if most people did it in the private enterprise world, they would be in jail by now. This was an effort by congress, which as you know, frequently doesn't like to solve real problems, but decides to intervene in this matter which was before the courts and should remain there without the cross on federal ground.

SHACKELFORD: That couldn't be more wrong. It was put up 75 years ago by World War I veterans who had seen their buddies die in action. They put up a cross to say we want to remember those who gave their life. There was a plaque there. It said for the dead of all wars. It said the VFW post. When the order came to tear it down, it was considered appalling. The reason congress did this is someone came forward and said I'll give you five acres of my own private owned land in the federal preserve, if you will just give this one acre back to the VFW who put it up in the first place.

LYNN: Of course the VFW put it up, in a sense, illegally. Someone in 1934 put it up. I'm not questioning his motives, but he had no authority to do it. Many years later, a Buddhist says look, this is a place where we can honor religious view in the United States. I want to put up a shrine here. The park service said not only can you not put it up, but if you try to put it up, we will arrest you. The truth of the matter, they said to the fellow with the cross, we want you to take this down as well. He wouldn't do it. This is why it's important for people, whether they revere the cross --

DOBBS: Take it down?

LYNN: He thought he had some --

DOBBS: What year? What year?

LYNN: It was probably in the 1970s, this first notice.

DOBBS: He had the guts back then?

LYNN: Here's the problem, the VFW didn't keep it up from 1934 until now. The national park service says there's no historic value to this placement of a cross. It's only religious.

SHACKELFORD: What happened was it was put p by the veterans, the last living world war I veteran turned to his best friend and said, I'm about to die. Will you take care of this memorial? Henry watched it and took care of that memorial for 25 years. Yes, there were vandals that knocked it down. He put it up. That's what's under attack. They are trying to save a veterans memorial. The idea that a veteran's memorial is covered in a box of plywood --

DOBBS: What would you like to see?

SHACKELFORD: What we really like to see on behalf of all the veterans groups that we represent, the American Legion, the VFW and Purple Heart, is a ruling that says look, our veterans memorials all across the country, they have religious imagery, whether it's a cross, Star of David, that's true, all across the country. We don't tear them down, bulldoze those and sandblast.

LYNN: Nobody is talking about pulling down anything including those crosses that were donated by other countries that now sit in Arlington Cemetery. The truth is Americans do put on their individual headstones any one of 39 symbols. We have represented veterans of different religious faiths to get those symbols Arlington Cemetery. Let me finish. They are there along with some larger crosses donated by other countries. That's a cemetery. This is a public park and a public park is not the place for this.

DOBBS: In addition, let's take a look at the Washington monument, if we may, here. The capstone, as you know, are we going to see this or -- there we are. The capstone of the 555 foot high monument praise the lord in Latin, laus deo. Let's look at a dollar bill for example. In here, it says, if we may see the dollar bill. I'm told it's coming. In god we trust. And we can go to of course the Supreme Court, we could go to any number of other federal institutions on federal land that say -- make reference to god.

LYNN: You are right about this.

DOBBS: Where does it end?

LYNN: They have a historical instance. Nobody wants to take and I certainly don't want to take that symbol of Moses as a law giver out of the United States Supreme Court. It has a historic function. This cross was placed -- I'm not trying to disparage in any way the gentleman who put this up originally but my point is, he didn't have the authority to do it. It's federal land. It still is seen as federal land. If you drove through the Mojave Desert right now, it looks certainly like every other piece of the desert owned by the federal government. It looks like the government has embraced Christianity over your faith if you happen to be a non-Christian.

DOBBS: How hard -- let me ask you think -- I'm a member of the American legion here. So I better get that straight forward. How hard does one have to stretch to reach to that cross and see in it, primarily first, a religious symbol that is denominational in any way rather than honoring the veterans of World War I, which is the reason it was put up.

LYNN: I don't think you have to stretch very far. This is a central symbol the majority faith in our country. One of the reasons -- one of the few issues of substance that came up during the Supreme Court debate is when the gentleman arguing for the man to have it reviewed said you don't see in Jewish cemeteries crosses. It represents Christians and the Christian fallen. That's why the war veterans are on our side of this, not Kelly's side. This should include the 29% of Americans today who serve in this country who do not say we are not Christians. If we want to find a symbol that encompasses everything, great. It's not the Latin cross from 1934.

SHACKELFORD: This is an attempt to ignore history. The reason the American Legion, the VFW, these are groups with all religions and no religion at all. They are all on the same side, all of these major groups. Why? If you look to the World War I symbol that was used all over the world, it was the lone Latin cross. That was the symbol that was used. That's why these World War I veterans put it up. It was to represent all war dead. It's what the sign says.

LYNN: You can't see the sign. Let's say you could see the sign. The truth is, in the 1930s and 1940s --

DOBBS: How many do you think have seen the cross? How many people?

LYNN: Obviously millions of people have driven through the Mojave Reserve since 1934 and they all see it because it's right on the side of the road. You can't miss it.

SHACKELFORD: What Barry is saying the implications. Let's think about it. If you have to tear down a seven foot cross in the middle of 1.6 million acres of desert. What do you have to do about a 24 foot cross in Arlington Memorial Cemetery seen my millions of people. He's talking the headstones that have mostly crosses but some others, in addition to the headstones, there's a huge cross that overpowers all of those other little crosses.

LYNN: It doesn't. It's right in the middle of a cemetery with all these other symbols. See what happens if his side wins. The federal government can sell anything or lease the top step of the Supreme Court to some group that wants to put Jesus and the manger up for November and December. We cannot have federal property sold or rented to religious groups to make a religious statement. We have thousands of churches. It's a central symbol. Absolutely. I think the average person sees it that way.

DOBBS: We are out of time. We have to rely on the Supreme Court to resolve this. I was hoping you guys would have done it.

LYNN: In another minute, we would have.

SHACKELFORD: I think we are going to win on this and it will be hard fought in other places for long to come.

DOBBS: All right. Just so the fight is worth it. That's my only question. I wish I could rely on you for the answer. Thank you both. We appreciate it.

Up next, the fate of the dollar. The in god we trust thing again. Why some countries are moving to drop the dollar. I wonder if it has anything to do with that religious reference. Now, it's all about being the world's reserve currents. I'll be talking with four of the country's best economic thinkers.

And Mexico trying to protect tourists. They need a lot of help from the United States. We'll tell you why, here next.


DOBBS: Well, California and Mexican officials joined forces trying to boost tourism in Mexico. Police officers in San Diego training their counter parts in Baja, Mexico to protect them from drug cartel violence. All to rebuild the Mexican tourism industry. Casey Wian has the story.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Baja, California's once booming tourism industry has been hammered over the past two years by the U.S. recession, the swine flu scare, and rampant drug cartel violence. Business has slowed so much that this month, the famed Rosarito Beach Hotel offered ocean view rooms for $19.25 a night. Now, officials on both sides of the border are trying to persuade tourists that Baja is safe. The mayors of San Diego and three Baja California cities announced they are forming a police task force to create a 50 mile safe corridor for tourists.

MAYOR JERRY SANDERS, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: When you look at it, we're really one community. Our goal is to make things as safe as possible for tourists who travel to Tijuana, Baja.

WIAN: Hugo Torres is co-owner of the Rosarito Hotel and the city's mayor.

MAYOR HUGO TORRES, ROSARITO, BAJA CALIFORNIA: If people see what's happening, they will change the perception they have. Some people in California believe it's very dangerous. They are not.

WIAN: That perception is fueled by the reality more than 1500 people have died in drug cartel violence in Baja California in less than three years. 26 police officers have been killed this year alone. The mayor of Tijuana, just across the border of San Diego, addressed concerns about corruption and links to drug cartels among local police officers.

MAYOR JORGE RAMOS, TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA: In Tijuana, we have fired 438 police officers. Now, this second part we are building is to have the support and cooperation of the San Diego police.

WIAN: That cooperation includes training for Mexican police officers. Mexican officials maintain tourists have nothing to fear. Drug cartels have not hurt tourists in two years.


WIAN: Still, the U.S. state department maintains a travel alert for northern Mexico. Tijuana is among the cities that experienced daytime shootouts as well as criminals following and harassing U.S. tourists.

DOBBS: Sounds like they have a little work to do.

WIAN: Absolutely.

DOBBS: All right. Thank you.

Up next, the world's oil producing nations. Are they getting ready to dump the U.S. dollar in the oil markets? The United Nations wants the reserve currency for the world to be anything but the dollar. We'll have more on that. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Well the volatile dollar rose against the euro today for the first time in four days. The weak dollar one reason oil producing nations along with emerging markets such as China and India could be behind a move to dump the dollar as the world's reserve currency. Joining me, David Andelman. He is editor of the World Policy Journal. Good to have you here. Marc Chandler, he's head of global currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman and Adam Lerrick, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, professor of economics, good to have you with us and Allen Sinai, CEO, chief global economist at Decision Economics, good to have you all with us.

The dollar, I think I'm safe is calling it volatile, the independent reporting this week as I'm sure each of you know, there's a fine effort among the Arab oil producing states, Russia, China to dump the dollar and create a new reserve for the oil markets, in particular. Any truth to that, David?

DAVID ANDELMAN, "WORLD POLICY JOURNAL": I cannot see this ever happening. It would take not only each of the countries that hold vast reserves of dollar securities, it would take down the entire structure of the economic structure of the world. The world runs on the dollar. There's no question about that. Changing that system -- look, we did it after the gold standard, right. It was a much simpler, easier time. We are on crack cocaine with the dollar, right. If we take the world of it, the withdrawal pains would be colossal.

DOBBS: The United Nations is calling for precisely that.

ANDELMAN: The United Nations calls for lots of things as you well know. Last time we were on we talked about that.

DOBBS: The last time you were here, you were defending the United Nations. We know how David is trading on the dollar. How about you?

MARC CHANDLER, BROWN BROTHERS HARRIMAN: I agree. Every country mentioned in the story, it's been denied. Saudi's, the Japanese, the French denied it, OPEC has denied it. It's very unlikely. This kind of stories continue to circulate every so often, every few years, especially when the dollar is weak. It's hardly a secret the world looks for an alternative for the dollar. There's not much of an alternative.

DOBBS: What does this administration have to stand on a dollar? How much -- what is your assessment? Do you agree with Marc and David on the prospects here?

PROF. ADAM LERRICK, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: I disagree with them long term. First, every administration for 20 years has said we have a strong dollar policy. The fact is we have no dollar policy. We don't have a strong or weak dollar policy. The U.S. government hasn't intervened to support the dollar. The Federal Reserve pays no attention what so ever when it sets monetary policy. That means we have no dollar policy.

DOBBS: As our viewers are listening and this is the smartest audience in broadcasting listening to you. Why is there a discussion about the dollar? It's dull. It is boring. What is the import? Allen?

ALLEN SINAI, DECISION ECONOMICS: Well, a declining dollar is a sign of a declining country in terms of economic power and wealth and its prospects. For ordinary Americans, it means things would cost more if the dollar keeps going down. Things we buy overseas, things we buy at home, the purchasing power goes down.

DOBBS: Everything we are buying these days is imported.

SINAI: It's a big deal. I happen to agree more with my colleague on the right, the gentleman across the way.

DOBBS: Must be a matter of proximity.

SINAI: Right, left, center. It's inevitable the countries that make payments in dollars, it's inevitable they will make payments in another fashion. Conspiracy theories aside, on a horizon, dollars will not be used solely to pay oil proceed debts. Those countries can't afford to keep doing that.

DOBBS: In time.

SINAI: In time.

DOBBS: Let me ask you this, with the dollar in decline, following what Allen said, we are a nation in decline. We have the potential to -- we still have our destiny in our hands. Can we change, first of all, the nature of the economy, the strength, resilience of the economy? Be at parody trading with partners around the world. Can we somehow reignite within the economy invasion and vigor and vitality that will create a stronger, not weaker middle class, a stronger and let me say, more equitable apportionment in the national income between wage earners and investors and corporations. Can we get there?

ANDELMAN: We have to get off the debt trap and off the treadmill. If we can do that --

DOBBS: It's a tax increase?

ANDELMAN: God forbid a tax increase. No, not a tax increase. We have to stop believing other countries are going to bail us out by financing our happen bit, if you will. It's what we have been doing for the last 30, 40 years.

CHANDLER: I say we haven't lost the innovative edge. I don't know -- the company is IBM. I don't think manufacturing in the U.S. -- in fact, before the recession, manufacturing in the U.S. was never larger. We were producing more goods but working less man hours. We replaced people with machines. This is productivity. This is the key to American success.

DOBBS: The last nine Nobel Prize winners were American.

CHANDLER: Why is America in decline? We are in a recession. It's horrible. Yes, unemployment is rising. We have economic problems and a big budget deficit. Is this America declining? I don't think so. Japan's economy is weak. Does it mean they are on the rise?

DOBBS: I want to believe. I want to believe.

LERRICK: I think there's a much more simpler issue when talking about the dollar. There's a deal that was done, which is the Chinese give us television sets in exchange for paper we print up. The Europeans and the Indians lend us money at very low interest rates but the counter part, our responsibility is we have to have sound economic policies to support a sound currency. We haven't lived up to our part of the bargain.

DOBBS: You get the last word.

SINAI: Asia is going to go faster than we will. We are going to grow up, but not as fast. South Korea as 300 billion. We have 65 billion. They do not have the same deficit to GDP ratios we have. When you look at Washington's policy, we have a benign view on currencies. We are not doing the right thing with regard to the policy in Washington. To me, it's hands down. The dollar goes down. Investors need to get ready for that.

DOBBS: Thank you for providing a contrast of perspectives. I'm going to go with the brightest outlook. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

We are beginning a new featured series of reports called the Lou Dobbs financial report in this broadcast. Tonight, we are going to start with good news on the economy. Google is going to boost their hiring. Google CEO saying the advertising recession is over. Mortgage applications, by the way, surged last week, speaking of good news. Applications jumping more than 16% as home buyers took advantage of low interest rates. Burger King trying to revamp their image. Burger King planning to redesign their 12,000 locations worldwide, with among other things TV screen menus and red chandeliers. Jay Leno's ratings on NBC. This is the bad news at least for Jay Leno. The ratings continue to plunge. He's gone from 18 million viewers to 4.5 million since he started his new prime time slot just three weeks ago. Meanwhile a sex and blackmail scandal appears to be boosting his former rivals ratings, David Letterman's "Late Show" continued to beat Conan O'Brien's show.

Up at the top of the hour here, Campbell Brown. Campbell?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there Lou. Tonight we are covering breaking news. Two earthquakes in the south pacific followed by a tsunami advisory that's being issued now for Hawaii. We'll have the latest in a moment.

Also, a follow up to our special investigation involving male marines who say their breast cancers were caused by toxic water in Camp Lejeune. We have updates on that just ahead.

How would you change your life, if you survived a heroine plane crash? Tonight, the survivors of miracle on the Hudson talk about what their lives have been like since that incredible landing. Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you. We'll be right back, stay with us.


DOBBS: A reminder to go to to get my opinion on the issues of the day, including whether or not we should bring our troops home from overseas.

Thanks for joining us here. For all of us, good night from New York.

Up next, Campbell Brown.