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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Immigrants and Military Service; Hillary Clinton Under Fire
Aired November 12, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: It's Veterans Day.
So, there's something really important that I think we should talk about. You know, I always say in this show and in my conversations with Lou that it's not about the immigrants. It's about immigration, immigration, a policy. That's what we in this country somehow have to fix, especially -- You ready? -- especially if the immigrants in particular are willing to give their lives for this country, die for the United States of America.
On this Veterans Day, here are the facts. And these are important. More than 100 immigrants have gone to Iraq or Afghanistan and gotten killed as part of the U.S. military. That's important. Thousands more are there fighting for our country right now, in fact, tens of thousands we now learn. And the president has signed an order that gives those guys something called the fast track, which essentially says this.
Look, if you're willing to fight for America, you should be treated like an American, those people. It's like an exception. Well, most people would agree with that, right?
Not William Gheen. He's joining us right now. He's the president of Americans For Legal Immigration.
Let me read to you, Mr. Gheen, what the president actually said. Let's put that up, if we can.
If somebody is willing to risk their lives for our country -- quote -- "They ought to be full participants in our country."
Where is he wrong?
WILLIAM GHEEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE: Well, immigrants in the military are fine. But trying to stick illegal aliens in the military, come on, Rick. They have shown a disregard for our territorial jurisdiction and our borders.
SANCHEZ: Well, that's what we're talking about. We're talking about what you would call illegal aliens. Those are the ones the president is talking about.
(CROSSTALK) GHEEN: All right. Well, you called them immigrants, and I wish you would stop insulting immigrants by comparing them to illegal aliens. It's very rude to call them that, because immigrants have done things the right way. Illegal aliens have broken many laws.
SANCHEZ: Well, actually, I will tell you where you're wrong. Most of the people who are in your words illegal aliens or illegal immigrants actually came to the United States legally and then tried to process their papers after they were here or allowed their visa to expire.
So, they actually came into the country legally to begin with. And that's about half the people that you call illegal aliens. Answer that, sir.
GHEEN: Well, right at that point, they become legally termed illegal aliens. And it is affront and anti-immigrant to try to compare them to America's law-abiding immigrants.
SANCHEZ: So, you're saying, a soldier goes to Iraq, either dies or is there willing to die for his country, and still we shouldn't make an exception?
Hold your answer, because we have got a report that we prepared. I want you and our viewers to watch this. And then we will talk about it a little bit more on the other side.
Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands now following one immigrant who fought in Iraq and just took the citizenship oath.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty-five-year- old U.S. Army Sergeant Darwin Phillips saw combat in Iraq wearing an American uniform, but he has never seen the inside of an American voting booth, because he is a foreigner.
DARWIN PHILLIPS, NEW U.S. CITIZEN: I believe deeply about this country and what it stands for. I'm willing to put my life to defend this country.
That I will support and defend...
ROWLANDS: Until this ceremony last week, Phillips was not an American citizen. This is the payback the U.S. government gives Sergeant Phillips and other immigrants willing to put their lives on the line for America, a fast track to citizenship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALES AND FEMALE: And justice for all.
ROWLANDS: At this ceremony, Sergeant Phillips was one of 36 so- called green card troops representing 17 different countries that became citizens of the country they had already been defending. Darwin Phillips came to the U.S. 15 years ago from the Philippines. His wife, Nicole, and three sons are already U.S. citizens.
NICOLE PHILLIPS, WIFE OF DARWIN PHILLIPS: It makes me so proud of him and of all his accomplishments and his dedication to everything that he does every day for our country.
ROWLANDS: Because of his service, Sergeant Phillips was allowed to move through the citizenship process faster than someone not in the military, saving him an estimated year-and-a-half. He also didn't have to pay the $600 plus in filing fees. Immigration officials say these soldiers do get preferential treatment, but it's not a free ride.
TOM PAAR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: They fill out the same forms. They do everything. But we just -- as we say, we have a special agency and organization in Nebraska that handles these applications and handles them very quickly.
ROWLANDS (on camera): Is it fair for you to get different treatment just because you're in the military?
D. PHILLIPS: We serve the military knowing that this is what we want. So, you know, sacrificing our -- putting our life on the line even before we're citizens, bearing arms.
This is it right here.
ROWLANDS (voice-over): Darwin Phillips says taking the oath of citizenship fulfills a dream he's had since coming to America. He's looking forward to voting for president next year and if he's sent into harm's way again, he will be defending a country that is his.
D. PHILLIPS: Now I'm truly part of America. And it's wonderful.
ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Las Vegas, Nevada.
SANCHEZ: All right.
So, Bill, you would tell this guy -- he comes back to the United States -- hey, thanks for doing your job; thanks for sacrificing your life; now get out of the country; you're deported? You would say that to him?
GHEEN: No. No. I would say, if he's an illegal alien, he shouldn't be in the military anyway, for three important reasons.
One, it's ridiculous to think that illegal aliens are going to defend our borders and our states against invasion, Rick. Two, we already have a problem where forces trained by the U.S. military, such as Las Zetas, which controls the border more than the Border Patrol, were trained by the American military at Fort Benning, South Carolina. Now they're importing drugs and illegal aliens.
SANCHEZ: Well, hold on a minute. I want to go back to number one. I just started thinking about what you just said.
It's ridiculous to think that an illegal alien would defend our country.
GHEEN: Defend our borders.
SANCHEZ: You just had one.
SANCHEZ: We just had one on the air who did just that.
GHEEN: That's an illegal -- you said that guy is an illegal alien in the military?
SANCHEZ: He is. He's an illegal alien in the military.
GHEEN: He needs to be arrested and detained as soon as possible and put back in his home country.
You think that training these people with arms and demolitions is a good idea? You have got 60 percent of the people in Mexico that feel that the United States shouldn't even control the Southwest United States, and you're going to train them in arms and explosives? Bet the French are glad they didn't do that before the illegal aliens started burning half the country over the last two years, Rick.
SANCHEZ: So, man, you just hate these guys. You just want them -- I mean, you want them punished altogether.
GHEEN: There's no hate. The truth is not hate.
SANCHEZ: This guy is not -- he's a decent American. He's married. He has got a lovely family. He loves this country and he's willing to give his life for his country, just like...
SANCHEZ: ... already have.
GHEEN: You just lost this debate. The DREAM Act, which would have allowed military service to turn into citizenship, didn't even get off the ground. And Rasmussen polls reports that only 22 percent of the public supported that measure.
GHEEN: And 68 opposed it.
We have had this conversation. We have won. We have won it.
SANCHEZ: But you know what? If all you want to do is tell me that you're right because there's a majority of people who agree with you, man, I can go back in history and tell you about majorities that agreed with a lot of things that we have gotten rid of because they were wrong, though. They were wrong.
GHEEN: Why don't you do this in American history? Go back and read about how it is the people of this country that run this country, Rick. Why don't you study that? And let's reflect the will of the American majority.
SANCHEZ: What does that have to do with anything? The will of the majority was to defend slavery as well.
SANCHEZ: I mean, that was wrong.
GHEEN: No. What -- Rick, you're playing the race card. You're trying to be the Al Sharpton of illegal immigration.
SANCHEZ: I'm not playing the race card.
GHEEN: We have already got Geraldo doing this projection racism thing. We don't need that.
SANCHEZ: William, with all due respect -- and I like you and I like the fact that you come on our show, and we always have good, decent, respectable arguments.
GHEEN: I even wore the blue shirt. I wore the blue shirt you like, Rick.
SANCHEZ: Here's the point that I'm trying to make. These guys who go and defend their country are decent Americans. They're not here to hurt the United States in any which way. Would you not agree with that?
GHEEN: If they're an illegal American, they're not American and they're not decent. They have broken the laws, and they're illegal aliens.
SANCHEZ: All right. All right. We will continue the conversation at another time.
My thanks to you, William Gheen, for coming on and talking to that.
By the way, most of the polls show that even conservatives on this one disagree with you and agree with the president on this policy. We will come back and we will talk again.
How about Senator Hillary Clinton? Hillary uses planted questions at a town hall meeting. Now, how Clintonesque is that? We're back in 60 seconds. Count us down.
SANCHEZ: These days,there is no shortage of attacks on Hillary Clinton. You know that, right?
The latest accusation is that Clinton's campaign staff is planting questions in the audience. Let me show you what happened. This is at a recent campaign forum in Iowa.
Play it, Will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURIEL GALLO-CHASANOFF, GRINNELL COLLEGE STUDENT: As a young person, I'm worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How did you plan to combat climate change?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you should be worried. And I find, as I travel around Iowa, that it's usually young people who ask me about global warming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Well, apparently, the young people asked because the young people were told to ask. And you couldn't see it because it was off camera, but some are saying that she actually winked when she was addressing the question.
Critics say planting questions like this is dishonest.
Conservative blogger and radio host Ed Morrissey agrees with that. He's political director of Blog Talk Radio. And he's good enough to join us now.
I take it -- and, look, this is vintage Clintonian. Let's face it. The Clintons are masters at this type of thing. You know, it's a certain Machiavellianness involved in something like this.
But let me stop my self there and say, don't all politicians do this?
ED MORRISSEY, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, BLOG TALK RADIO: Well, we certainly don't know if all politicians are doing it. We certainly know that Hillary Clinton's team has done it.
And I would say that it may not even be Clintonian, because I think that Bill probably would have been able to get away with it, and Hillary did not.
SANCHEZ: What do you mean by that?
SANCHEZ: They both do it, but he would get away with it and she wouldn't? What are you trying to say?
MORRISSEY: Well, I think he's smoother than she is.
MORRISSEY: And I think that she's having a real struggle appearing authentic on the stump.
And I think this is a great example of why. She's coming across as very stiff and very unauthentic. And this type of thing certainly does not help.
SANCHEZ: Well, it's funny. Conservatives used to blame him. They used to call him slick Willy because he was too slick. And now you're blaming her because she's not slick enough? You can't have it both ways, Mr. Morrissey.
MORRISSEY: There should be some happy middle.
No, Rick, the thing is, is that when you set up these Q&A sessions, it's there no give the impression that the candidate knows what the issues are, knows what he or she is talking about, has command of these issues at their fingertips. That's what the Q&A at these live events is supposed to communicate.
SANCHEZ: I agree with you. Listen, I agree with you. I think you're right. And I also think you're right on the point about the fact that he was much better at this type of thing than she is. I think most people can see that.
But let me ask you this. The Bush administration, we have heard reports they stack the audience with people who will only agree with them. They got agents in the parking lot pulling people away if they have bumper stickers for Democrats. This goes both ways, doesn't it, Ed?
MORRISSEY: Well, I will tell you something. That is an issue. I think it is a somewhat different issue. I think that there's a concern there that you don't have a town hall situation that gets out of hand. But it's a different situation if you're planting questions.
MORRISSEY: I will tell you though that it's an awful like the FEMA press conference from a couple of weeks ago, the fake press conference.
MORRISSEY: I mean, that's in the same category.
So, I think that, if you want to look at the Bush administration or the executive branch for an analogue to what happened at Grinnell University with Hillary Clinton, that would be the appropriate analogue.
But planting questions in order to make your candidate look smarter, that's just...
SANCHEZ: I'm with you.
Let me ask you one quick question, yes or no. She is saying she didn't even know the question had been planted. Do you buy that? Yes or no.
MORRISSEY: No. No.
SANCHEZ: No. I thought you might say that.
MORRISSEY: Why would you plant a question that the candidate wasn't prepared to answer? She had to know that that question was going to come up.
SANCHEZ: It's a good answer.
Ed Morrissey, good man. Thanks for being with us. I appreciate the conversation.
MORRISSEY: Thank you, sir.
SANCHEZ: Thursday on CNN, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here, the Democratic presidential candidates face off in Las Vegas. CNN's Wolf Blitzer is going to moderate the debate. He's going to be joined by John Roberts and Campbell Brown.
I was doing some digging today and I found something that really made me furious. This is the thing I was just talking to Lou Dobbs about. I'm wondering if it's going to make you furious as well. It's a Web site we found that literally glorifies killers. And it's run by kids. But the Web site master page allows them to put it on.
You know that kid who shot up a school last week out in Finland? He may have visited this Web site. We're bringing this out in the open.
Also, U.S. televangelists, some of them drive Rolls-Royces. They wear $2,000 suits. They live in million-dollar mansions. Oh, and did we mention the private jets? Is that what Jesus would do? Is that what Jesus would do? We are going to take this one head on.
Also, robbers hit an armed truck, and then the shoot-out begins. Stand by for an amazing new story and pictures of course.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back. This is OUT IN THE OPEN. I'm Rick Sanchez.
Remember last week when a social outcast in Finland went to a school and killed eight people? Well, tonight we have discovered that he was communicating with a kid right here in the United States. They were talking to each other.
That's not really the real shocker. That's going to happen, right? Here's what really got me. As we started digging this afternoon here in our newsroom, we found out that these kids may have visited the same Web site and shared a mutual fascination with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? Remember them, the teens who killed 12 of their Columbine, Colorado, classmates back in 1999?
So, I went to the computer and lo and behold, this is what I found. Look at this. This is what kids are going to. It's a tribute to the Columbine killers. And there are at least 200 people who subscribe to this group Web site. They go in there and they talk to each other. They see these two kids in Colorado who killed all these people as heroes.
Jim Acosta has details now. He's been looking into this disturbing Web page as well that seems to glorify these student killers.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Finland, an 18- year-old teen, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, guns down eight people at a school outside Helsinki, after he leaves a warning of the campus attack in a posting on YouTube.
Another clip even shows Auvinen taking practice shots in the woods. Three weeks earlier in Pennsylvania, police find a stunning stockpile of weapons in the home of 14-year-old Dillon Cossey, who investigators say was planning his own school shooting. Even though the two teens lived on separate continents they apparently found a way to connect online.
Cossey's lawyer, J. David Farrell, confirmed his client exchanged messages over the Internet with Auvinen roughly one month before the rampage in Finland.
(on camera): So, it looks like, from what you can tell, this was some online chatting.
J. DAVID FARRELL, ATTORNEY FOR DILLON COSSEY: Online chatting by young people who unfortunately were drawn to violent Web sites.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Not just any violent Web site. The two teens shared a passion for Internet tributes glorifying Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
(on camera): Like many, many young people they access these Web sites.
FARRELL: Surely, that was one of the common interests the they had. And, like many, many young people, they accessed these Web site about Columbine.
ACOSTA: But Farrell insists there were never any discussions between them about carrying out school shootings.
FARRELL: I have a high degree of faith in my client telling me that there will be no such discussions indicating any specifics in terms of weaponry or planning or plotting behavior of any type.
ACOSTA: Chatting online is not likely to result to any new charges for Cossey, who is now in juvenile detention. But the Pennsylvania prosecutor who handled the 14-year-old's case warns, the Columbine connection should worry parents.
BRUCE CASTOR, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: There's a whole cadre of people who look up to Klebold and Harris. And I'm suspecting that Dillon was one of them, but also this kid in Finland was one of them, part of this subgroup that lionized the Columbine killers.
ACOSTA: And authorities in Pennsylvania and in Finland are now examining the computers that belonged to both of these teenagers to find out if there is anything more to those online chats -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: I will tell you, thanks a lot, Jim. We certainly appreciate it.
The thing that really got us when we started looking into this was this thing. Look at this. This is that Web site that we were telling you about. It's on MySpace.
And we contacted have MySpace, by the way, and they do have something to say about this. But there is a Web site here that they have. They say they're not going to edit it. They try not to.
But look at this. In memory of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, right? And then they have some kind of flag here for them, almost as if they're running with something there like in his hand on the little figurine, so to speak. And they go on to give this whole detail. They talk about -- they have 200 -- right here, it says, in the United States, they have 205 members that are members of this organization.
And then they have people who go on and post. Show them, Will, if you can, some of the posts that we found as we were looking today. This is a Web site that is a tribute to killers. And your kids could be at home right now getting on this thing. This is what's so crazy about this.
"They died for what they believed in, and in my book that's hero worthy," writes one of the posts into this Web site.
This is crazy. There's another one that we have for you, as a matter of fact as well. Go ahead and put that one up. Do you have it? Number two, this was on September 16. "They were martyrs. Whether or not you agree with them or what they did, you owe respect, owe respect to Eric and Dylan, because they had the guts to stand up and say, no more."
Is that nuts?
Let's bring in somebody who is really important to this story. I mean, we had to reach out to Darrell Scott. He is the father of Columbine victim Rachel Scott.
I know it's been a long time, but we still offer our condolences to you, sir.
DARRELL SCOTT, FATHER OF COLUMBINE VICTIM: Thank you, Rick.
SANCHEZ: What do you think of this? This is nuts, the idea that there are kids with a Web site honoring the people who killed your daughter.
SCOTT: The irony is these two boys who were corresponding from Finland and the United States, their names are Eric and Dillon.
SANCHEZ: You're kidding?
SCOTT: The young man in -- no. The young man in Finland, his name is Pekka-Eric. And the young man in the States is Dillon.
SANCHEZ: It's funny. I hadn't put that together because I paid more attention to the Pekka part. I wonder. It may not really even be his name.
Here's some of the video now that we have got of his prep before going to the school and killing the eight people.
What do you think -- what could possibly attract children to something like this? Have you been able to put your hands on this?
SCOTT: Well, we have the largest school assembly program in America. This year, we spoke to around two million young people in schools.
And we have 30 full-time speakers. Next year, it will be close to three million. It's a program called Rachel's Challenge. And we run into these young people every once in a while who have idolized Eric and Dylan. And in fact a young girl e-mailed us last week who at one time was a part of that group. And today her life has been touched and changed by Rachel's story. And she's now actually going online and trying to encourage young people who are caught up in all that to change their ways. But there's a lot of similarities that you can find in what a number of these school shooters have done and said. I will give you one example.
SCOTT: This young man's manifesto is full of things like natural selection, which he had an obsession with.
SCOTT: Eric Harris had a T-shirt on the day he killed my daughter that said natural selection.
And I believe one of the other United States shooters had a T- shirt on.
SANCHEZ: It's like a cult following, what they started. I was reading some of these posts today. And just like you said, their expressions, their idioms, all the words that they had used have suddenly become like immortalized by these kids.
SCOTT: Well, they talk about being godlike. They talk about the rest of us being scum.
And the young man also says, don't blame my music, my movies, my heroes or my books. Then he turns right around and tells us that he loves violent movies, violent music, violent role models, and violent books.
SANCHEZ: That's just wrong.
And here's what is wrong, as well, I think, all right? We contacted MySpace. And they say, look, we allow ourselves to be edited but we don't go in there and try and take anything down unless it's deadly or dangerous or poses a serious threat to somebody.
I think this is the kind of thing that can pose a threat. Do you not think so as well?
I think it's an absurd misinterpretation of the First Amendment. And the founders of our nation and Fisher Ames, the man who wrote the wording for the First Amendment, would have never agreed to have freedom of speech if it meant that people were going to be influenced to take others' lives.
SANCHEZ: Well, I will tell you, you have paid the ultimate price. You have lost your daughter. You should be heard on something like this. We're going to keep talking to you and we are going to put the pressure on MySpace. We will be reaching out again to them tomorrow and asking them why that Web page that we just put up a little while ago still exists, if it's drawing the attention of kids who are too young to know the difference between in many cases right and wrong.
Darrell Scott, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.
SCOTT: Thank you, Rick.
SANCHEZ: The Bible says, the love of money is at the root of all evil, Timothy 6:10, right? So, why are many of the people preaching to us driving Rolls-Royces and sitting on gold and marble toilets? A $23,000 toilet. Think about that. How Christlike is that?
We will be back in just a little bit. That's just wrong.
SANCHEZ: Want pictures? We have got pictures.
Here they are, starting in Cooper City, Florida. That's in Broward County, by the way, just above Miami. Manhunt today after two men tried to rob an armored truck in a gas station. These are incredible pictures that we were watching throughout the day.
There's the armored truck, as a matter of fact. Police say that one of the gunmen tried to wrestle a bag of cash from the guard. In the struggle, the guard was then wounded. The gunmen fled, pursued by a Brink's worker who was assigned to try and tail the armored truck at the time. The Brink's employee and the gunmen then traded gunfire. One of the gunmen was wounded and police found the other a little bit later on.
Well, this is the story that we're going to be addressing in the next part of our newscast. They rake in millions of dollars. They don't pay taxes, for the most part. And now a U.S. senator wants televangelists in this country to bring their finances out in the open. You know who we're talking about, right?
Say hallelujah, as somebody finally puts the pressure on some of these guys in 60 seconds. Show them, Jeff. That's exactly when you'll hear it.
SANCHEZ: Now, this next story is -- it makes me angry. I'm sure it makes you angry as well when you hear these stories. You can almost call it a protective racket. And I'm talking about televangelists. That's right. The ones who rake in billions of dollars a year on donations because they're nonprofit ministries. They don't even have to declare any of the stuff.
The men of the cloth don't have to tell anybody just how much they make or even how they spend it. They don't even have to pay taxes. And now, a Senate panel is investigating a money trail that leads straight into the pocketbooks of several of these televangelists.
We're talking about lavish lifestyles here -- Rolls Royce, $2,000 suits. And that's just the tip of the unChrist-like personal greed involved in some of these churches.
Ole Anthony is the president of the Trinity Foundation. He's investigated televangelists for 20 years now.
You know, it's amazing. I mean, I'm a Christian and I certainly believe in doing everything you can. And it doesn't mean that these guys are not allowed to have a nice suit and a nice house and a nice car. But when you start talking about a Rolls Royce and a million -- several million dollar home and private Lear jets and $23,000 toilet, I mean, that's just over the pail, isn't it?
OLE ANTHONY, PRESIDENT, TRINITY FOUNDATION: It's unbelievable. Somehow the church in America has been hijacked by greed. And it's very, very sad because it's a testimony on how we are not caring for the poor in our country.
SANCHEZ: I just think -- and this is me and this is the part that makes me crazy. When I think of Jesus Christ and I think of the way we as Christians in many cases worship today, we are so unlike him, so unlike him in so many ways.
Would Jesus do any of these things? Would Jesus drive a Bentley? Would Jesus wear a $2,000 suit? I mean, would Jesus buy a toilet worth $23,000?
ANTHONY: Well, how about would he live in a $12.5 million mansion? Or drive -- I mean, fly a citation 10 jet or get plastic surgery for the man and woman so that they would appear nice on television? It's a travesty and it's -- as I said, we are not caring for the poor. The poor and the needy are who Christ called us to meet their need, not to become greedy money grubbers.
SANCHEZ: You looked into this. I mean, here's a couple of the names that are being investigated now by the Senate. And they're asking them to come clean and say, look, how much you got and what are you doing?
There's one of them right there, Benny Hinn. Another one is Creflo Dollar. Another one is Kenneth Copeland, Bishop Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer, Randy White. Who are these people? Tell us about them.
ANTHONY: Well, Benny Hinn is someone that I've met personally with. He made me a promise he was going to reform. He was going to stop living in mansions and driving expensive cars. He said that we have to reexamine our calling because some of the ancient saints lived in caves.
Now he's -- I mean, it's far worse now. He's got a $12.5 million mansion on the pacific coast.
SANCHEZ: Oh, my God.
ANTHONY: And he doesn't even have a church. It's his parsonage.
SANCHEZ: You know it's amazing.
ANTHONY: Randy and Paula White, you know, they just got a divorce. They probably argued over who had the best plastic surgery. It's a sham.
SANCHEZ: And they say that they have a right to be prosperous and that's exactly what Jesus would have wanted us all to do. They make it sound like it's wrong to not have money or not spend it.
You know, we're going to stay on this. I was talking to my staff earlier today, and we say that this is an important story that America needs to hear about. There's little ladies out there who are giving their dollars to these guys, and they're using it like this, and they should be able to spend it but not like this. It just seems wrong.
Ole Anthony, you're good to bring us this information. We're going to call you back. Is that cool?
ANTHONY: That's great.
SANCHEZ: I appreciate it, man.
ANTHONY: Can I --
SANCHEZ: Go ahead. You want to finish up? Go ahead.
ANTHONY: Well, most -- there are many, many people in America that have been turned away from God by these men. And could I just say what I think God would say to these people?
ANTHONY: He would say, "Oh, stop it and rebellious child as my love no longer the power to melt your heart. Have you been driven away by those who claim to know me but were filled with hypocrisy and greed and drunk with the stench of a death faith? Let the dead bury the dead, but ignorance reproduce itself until it's weary of its own offspring. This is between you and me."
SANCHEZ: This is --
ANTHONY: "The longer resists my spirit without suffering pain. Come back. All is forgiven."
SANCHEZ: You know, it's not every day that we let somebody quote that kind of scripture here on this show. But you know what, I'm glad we did. I think it was the right time. Thanks again for being with us. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
ANTHONY: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: And welcome back. As we roll along, one set of penalties for African-Americans, another one for whites. And in the end we all may end up paying.
Tonight, what if 20,000 crack dealers are let out of prison? It could happen. And it has everything to do with racism. We'll explain.
How's a soccer game turn into a nationwide riot? This is why.
And so is this. Here, wildlife is paying a heavy price. Massive oil spills from the San Francisco bay to the Black Sea.
Also, Iraq war vets coming home scarred for life by the tens of thousands. Tonight, a new study reveals how many will end up on the streets. It's a call to action for all of us, and we bring it OUT IN THE OPEN.
We have a developing story for you tonight. It's the shocking news about the sudden death of the mother of hip-hop star Kanye West. The Los Angeles County coroner's office says that Donda West died this past Saturday in Los Angeles from what maybe complications from surgery?
When now earlier today, West's publicist told CNN and other news organizations that she had undergone a cosmetic surgery. Some type of procedure, unknown in origin. The publicist backed off that statement late this afternoon when we talked to them.
We do know that West's mother had been thinking about having surgery but now, this thing is getting a little unclear.
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DR. ANDRE ABOLIAN, COSMETIC SURGEON: She was interested in some kind of medical procedures, and we had discussed that in order for her to go through with the procedures of which she was a good candidate before she needed what's called a medical clearance, which is just about anybody over the age of 40 is required to have.
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SANCHEZ: We want to do more on this today. You know why? Because regardless of what happened to Donda West, this story is a reminder about the risk of any type of surgery like this. A lot of people think, oh, it's a little cosmetic procedure. No, it's not. It's much more than that.
Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is joining us now on tonight's "Vital Signs" to talk about this. I guess we'll start with just some raw numbers. How often does this kind of thing happen, where it turns fatal as a result of someone going in for one of these little procedures as they call them?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what, Rick, there aren't great numbers about how many die from plastic surgery. But I can tell you that the Food and Drug Administration says that some studies show that as many as 100 people out of every 100,000 who get lipo end up dying from the procedure. Now, that's the high end. But still, other studies put it at more like maybe 20 out of 100,000 or maybe 3 out of 100,000. But the bottom line is that whatever procedure it is, it is surgery. And shows like "The Swan" and "Extreme Makeover," which are very popular, have kind of mainstreamed these surgeries.
COHEN: And sometimes they make it seem like you're just getting your nails done, but there are risks. There are anesthesia risks. You could get an infection. You could get a blood clot. Surgical risks are real.
SANCHEZ: So I bet you, it's really important for people to know if they're going to do something like this that there are things you need to study first, like who's this doctor, for example. Like for example, what would you say are the most important things that people need to do before they go in for this kind of procedure?
COHEN: Right. If somebody said to me, I'm thinking about having a cosmetic procedure, I would tell them that there are certain things that they need to look for.
First of all, make sure the surgeon is board certified. Make sure you don't have, you know, any old doctor doing your cosmetic surgery. Also, proper pre-operative evaluation is a must. You have to tell your doctor every condition that you have, every drug that you're taking. That is so crucial.
Also, when it's an outpatient procedure, as many of them are these days, make sure that the facility is accredited and licensed. And, Rick, it's so important for people to remember, surgery has risks, and it's cosmetic. You don't need to be doing this. You can take the risk if you want to, but you don't have to do it.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Speaking of greed before vanity now. I think they're both somewhere in the bible, aren't they? Thanks so much. Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate it.
SANCHEZ: Hey, this is unbelievable. A cop shoots a soccer fan and then an entire country erupts in rioting. Take a look at these pictures.
It's amazing. We're going to tell you where this is. Hang on. 60 seconds. That's how long it's going to take us before we come back.
SANCHEZ: One of the most amazing stories that happened worldwide over the last 24 hours was in Italy. It started as a soccer match. How do you go from a soccer match to riots all over the country?
Well, this is it. A police officer apparently shot a soccer fan. It didn't go over well. After the game, look what started going on in the streets. This is it right here.
Italy, riots breaking out all over the country. Fires on the streets. Clashes with police. Violence started after police tried to break up a brawl between some rival groups of fans. One officer fired warning shots, and one shot hit the bystander in the neck and killed him.
Then the news spread. The riots began. And the officer, by the way, who fired the shot is under investigation for possible manslaughter.
Here's the question. Should we open the prison gates to nearly 20,000 people who are in there as crack offenders would be let out? We got a judge who says we really need to examine this, and he was part of the organization during the Reagan era who got this started.
Then, a veteran's incredible odyssey on this Veterans Day from Afghanistan to Iraq to now living in the streets of America. One fourth of the homeless in this country are veterans, and we're going to be looking into that. Stay with us.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I want to show you something now, by way of examples as in a show and tell. Did you know there's a possibility that some 20,000 offenders could be let out of prison? They apparently were involved in crack cocaine, but there's a real injustice when it comes to crack cocaine.
This is something that started back in the 1980s. In fact, Jeff, I want to show them by giving them this example. All right. You see this right here? This is exactly how much crack cocaine you have to be caught with to get five years in prison. See that right there? OK. Pop it up and down.
There's five. Five of these little sugar tablet packages thing. All right. Now, how much cocaine, not crack, but how much cocaine do you have to be caught with to spend the same amount of time in prison? Five years. There it is. See that?
Look at the difference. You know how many of these there are? It's 100 times more. This is 500 of these. Now, that's important. That means you sell crack, just a little bit of crack, you're going to do hard time. You sell cocaine, you've got to do a lot of it to do hard time.
And here's what it breaks down from a racial standpoint interest as well. And this is important. All right. Who is it who's being busted for crack? African-Americans. The people who are crack offenders in prisons in the United States, 82 percent African- American, black.
Who is it who's getting busted for cocaine, you know, the powder cocaine? They're both cocaine, by the way. Eighty percent white. So white guys who are doing cocaine are getting a minimal sentence. Black guys who are doing crack are getting a very big sentence. You saw the difference, five to one. That's a big difference.
Now, somebody is going to be telling Congress tomorrow that this ought to change, and that is Federal Justice Reggie White. Pardon me. Reggie. Here's my conversation, Walton, here's my conversation with him.
SANCHEZ: Your Honor, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.
JUDGE REGGIE WALTON, U.S. DISTRICT COURT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: No problem.
SANCHEZ: I can't see how anybody can look at these statistics and not come away thinking that this is racist. Do you agree?
WALTON: Well, I don't think that the policy was enacted for racist reasons. Obviously, the impact has racial implications. So --
SANCHEZ: Racial implications because it looks like --
WALTON: Because --
SANCHEZ: Go ahead.
WALTON: Because there are significant disproportionate number of African-Americans who are affected by the disparity between crack and powder.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Most of the people who use crack are African- Americans. Most people who use cocaine are not African-Americans. They are white, and you got a slap on the wrist if you use cocaine, whites. And you get the books thrown at you if you use crack, and you happen to be black. I mean, on its face, that doesn't look right.
WALTON: Well, I think the perception is not a good perception. And I think as a result of that, there has been, you know, an outcry in the African-American community about the unfairness of the disparity.
SANCHEZ: You're going to be talking to Congress about this tomorrow. And I guess, let me just ask you, I mean, these guys are not known for having a lot of intestinal fortitude. Do you think they have the guts to act on this thing?
WALTON: Well, I'm not going to comment on whether they have the internal fortitude to make the right decision. But one has to hope that when they look at the statistics that they will see the disparity and understanding the unfairness of the disparity will take the appropriate action to address it.
I mean, one of the realities is that as a result of the disparity, I know in the District of Columbia, there are a lot of jurors who are apprehensive and in fact reluctant about serving as jurors. And we've had situations where jurors have refused to convict even though the evidence was overwhelming because they know of the disparity.
So I think just from the standpoint of a law enforcement --
SANCHEZ: Wait. Did you just say that jurors, because they think there are racist overtones to the sentence themselves, will let a guy walk scott-free?
WALTON: I don't know if they necessarily sometimes walk, but a jury may be hung...
WALTON: ... and the decision not reached because some jurors are refusing to convict even though the evidence is overwhelming.
SANCHEZ: All right. So if they make a decision, if they have the guts or the intestinal fortitude as you and I were mentioning a little while ago, to say this isn't right. And we need to bring down the crack sentence or penalties to the level where they are for cocaine so that white people and black people essentially have the same kind of justice. If they do this, there might have to be a retroactive measure taken, which means people have already served more than they should have served so they're going to let a lot of people out of prisons.
In fact, the numbers we got, I believe, are somewhere in the vicinity of, what? Correct me if I'm wrong, 20,000 potential?
WALTON: It's a little less than that. Somewhere around 19,500.
SANCHEZ: That's an awful lot of people.
WALTON: It is a lot of people, but all of those individuals would not be coming out for release at the same time. It's estimated that we're probably talking about 4,000 per year.
SANCHEZ: Thanks, Your Honor, for being with us. It's -- (CROSSTALK)
WALTON: Glad to be with you.
SANCHEZ: We appreciate it.
SANCHEZ: And we do thank Judge Reggie Walton for helping us out there. My mistake when I said White.
Now, he joined the Navy three days before 9/11 then served in Afghanistan and Iraq. And now like many veterans, he's living on the streets, homeless. It's our Veterans Day special. Stay with us.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back to OUT IN THE OPEN. I'm Rick Sanchez. Let's start with Wall Street. The Dow fell 55 points. The Nasdaq lost 14. S&P lost -- pardon me, Nasdaq, 44. S&P, 14.
No joy on Broadway, run up to the holiday season. Strike by Stagehands. It's closed the vast majority of Broadway theaters of late, for the third day now in a row. So far, the new negotiations are scheduled between the union and the theater productions.
And get ready for a nightmare of long lines and waits at airports all over the country. Air Transport Association predicts the beginning of Friday, 27 million people hitting the roads. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
SANCHEZ: It is a sad irony that I have to report this to you on Veterans Day, but a quarter of all of the homeless people in our country are now veterans who've served their country. I went out today to find out what they had to say.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): Thousands of proud veterans marched through the streets of New York. Each one has an amazing story. But Hussam's story really got to me.
HUSSAM ELGOARAMY, HOMELESS VETERAN: I joined the military when I was 18, and I went. I put on a uniform to fight for this country thinking that I was going to be OK when I got out.
SANCHEZ (on camera): Yes.
ELGOARAMY: See, I'm half Egyptian. So it was real tough for me going overseas, you know. But being an American, I know I had a duty to my country.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): We found Hussam Elgoaramy through a substance abuse organization. Samaritan Village helps troubled veterans. A Navy interpreter, he survived the horrors of war in Afghanistan and in Iraq. But he came back scarred by what he saw.
ELGOARAMY: When I came back home, I was getting nightmares. I was waking up out of my bed in cold sweats, you know, hearing explosions and being called traitor in my head. You know, it was just crazy.
SANCHEZ: Before long, Hussam was living on the streets.
ELGOARAMY: When you're sleeping in a park and you just think about the times when you were in boot camp having three meals a day, how proud you were wearing the uniform, and you can't even get change from somebody to get a hot meal, sir. That's rock bottom to me.
SANCHEZ: Why didn't he get help? Get a job? He did. He tried, anyway. It didn't work.
ELGOARAMY: When I came back, I had nowhere to go. And I had nothing to put on my resume except dodging bullets. You know, being 18, I had no job experience. So I just kept drinking because that's all I knew how to do. And I lost everything, sir.
SANCHEZ: Hussam is now back to looking for a job and trying to reconnect with his family. And he has a message for all of us.
SANCHEZ (on camera): Your feelings are hurt?
ELGOARAMY: Yes, sir. I don't think I've -- I don't think any veteran should be on the street. I don't think anybody that put that uniform on should be on the street.
SANCHEZ: We've got to help these guys. We'll tell you how. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: We just got a reaction from MySpace. Go to CNN.com/Rick and you can read it. Thanks so much for being with us. Hasta manana. Here's Larry.
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