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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Hoax Newspapers Declare Iraq War Over; Right Already Attacking Obama; Should U.S. Add Department of Peace?; Pink Slip Parties Latest on Wall Street
Aired November 13, 2008 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Extra, extra, read all about it! "The New York Times" declares the war in Iraq is over. But wait a second. This paper is dated July 4, 2009. Why this stunning post has some incensed and others cheering. Now, demands for a Department of Peace in the new administration, and that`s for real.
Then, the right ramps it up, hitting the Obama administration before Obama even takes the oath of office. I`ll show you how conservatives are laying the ground work for a prolonged media assault on the next administration.
And a lawsuit in Kentucky could finally end the KKK`s long reign of terror after a brutal attack.
Plus, a Dallas pastor tells his congregation to have sex every day for a week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I challenge you.
VELEZ MITCHELL: But what if you`ve got a headache? Those issues and lots more, tonight.
VELEZ MITCHELL: They are one of the most notorious hate groups in America, but their days may be numbered. The KKK facing a lawsuit in Kentucky that could drive them out of business nationwide forever. We hope.
Also, a Texas preacher telling his congregation to have sex for seven days in a row, starting this Sunday. Critics say it`s a publicity stunt. But could it be a dangerous one? We`re going to talk to Reverend Young himself and get the straight story.
But first, Barack Obama campaigned on the theme of change, especially when it comes to America`s Iraq war strategy. A consistent opponent of the war in Iraq, President-elect Obama campaigned on a phased troop withdrawal.
Well, it seems we`ve just jumped into the future, if that`s possible. Take a look at in this. This is "The New York Times," and we`re going to see it in a second, announcing the end of the Iraq war. It`s "The New York Times," right? Well, maybe not. Is it?
The paper is actually dated July 4, 2009, and it was handed out to hundreds of thousands of people. The liberal comedy group called the Yes Men claimed responsibility for this hoax, along with several other anti-war groups. It`s an effort to draw a picture of what they hope life may be like under an Obama administration.
Here`s my issue tonight. Yes, this is a hoax. But hopefully, it has more than a kernel of truth to it. It would be lovely one day to see a real headline that says war is over.
They called World War I the war to end all wars. Obviously it wasn`t. Now, let`s hope this war, based on the faulty premise of weapons of mass destruction is truly the war to end all wars, even though I know we need to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Now, I have some fabulous guests joining me who pulled all this off. But first, you have to take a look at this. This is -- it`s absolutely astounding. It looks just like the real "New York Times". Fourteen pages. I mean, can you tell the difference if you don`t see the tight shot? No. I`m looking at it. It just looks like the real "New York Times". It`s unbelievable.
Andy Bichlbaum, one of the leading members of the group Yes Men, pulled off this prank. And Steve Lambert, a senior fellow at the I-Beam Center for Art and Technology, who also played a part in pulling off this hoax.
First of all, let`s start with you, Andy. How did you pull this off? You prohibited more than a million copies of this faux paper with the help of thousands of volunteers. How did you do it?
ANDY BICHLBAUM, YES MEN: We wanted to do it. There`s a tremendous desire to see change happen, obviously. The election proves that.
And this was about showing how much change we really want and making people realize that the only way we will actually have change is if we continue to give Obama the mandate and the pressure and the support that he needs to accomplish the change that we elected him to do.
And so over a period of about eight months, we worked and worked and worked with hundreds of people by the end to make this happen. We worked with dozens of groups, people associated with dozens of groups. Small donations enabled it to be printed. Many, many writers. There were perhaps three dozen writers. Many people laid it out. Real writers from various area dailies helped.
And it was just a massive collaborative effort. A lot of work, but it`s also going to take a whole lot of the work to actually make the change happen we elected Obama to do.
VELEZ MITCHELL: I agree with you. And by the way, I`m keeping this one. Because this is obviously going to be a collector`s item. I promise you I will not sell it on eBay. I`m going to keep it for myself.
Steve Lambert, you`re one of the project organizers. What occurs to me when I look at this is, with the economy in meltdown, a lot of us have sort of forgotten about the war. I mean, it really knocked the war off the headlines. Is this your way of bringing the war in Iraq back to the headlines and the consciousness of people?
STEVE LAMBERT, SENIOR FELLOW, I-BEAM CENTER FOR ART AND TECHNOLOGY: Well, yes. And it`s a way to remind people that it is possible for this war to end. After eight years of ongoing war, the amount of stress that this puts on people, you know, it`s hard to imagine the war actually being ending -- being over and us being in a time of peace. And here it is, tangible in the form of this newspaper.
VELEZ MITCHELL: You know, I`m wondering if this could backfire, because in the last few years, anti-war protesters have really taken a lot of flack. People have accused people who are against the war, which includes myself, of being unpatriotic. Because we don`t support the war, they accuse us of not supporting the troops.
And this is a very, very can clever hoax, but it is a hoax. Do you think it might make the anti-war movement seem a little like, you know, the Merry Pranksters of the `60s?
BICHLBAUM: Nobody supports the war. It has incredibly low support at this point, and yet it continues.
I don`t think the challenge is to convince people that it`s a bad idea. The challenge is to realize that we can -- we can make a lot of change and not just in the matter of the war. We can have national health care like every other developed country on earth. We can have education. We can have the freedom to actually live our lives with a certain amount of leisure and a certain amount of assurance that we`re going to remain healthy that the rest of the developed world has.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, listen, we`ve got to go but I suggest one thing. Send a copy of this to President-elect Barack Obama. Make sure he gets a copy.
BICHLBAUM: Absolutely. Thank you.
VELEZ MITCHELL: All right. Thank you so much, gentlemen.
Meantime, in the real world, the Iraq war is still going on, and President-elect Obama will soon be making very tough decisions about it. You know, he`s in a tough spot. Obama has to please the anti-war base you just heard from that got him through the primaries, but he also has to make some very smart decisions to end the war responsibly so that we don`t leave total chaos behind.
Of course, everybody`s wondering will he keep Defense Secretary Robert Gates or opt for another candidate? But this isn`t the only decision that`s being carefully watched, especially by the right.
Many on the right seem poised to attack any Obama error. Some are already attacking him. Radio host Rush Limbaugh suggests that Obama may be responsible for the Dow tanking. A Facebook page is already popping up, calling for Obama`s impeachment. Hello, he`s not even the president yet!
I have one thing to say to the "impeach Obama" crowd. Excuse me. I`m due back on planet Earth.
Joining me now, Cheri Jacobus, Republican strategist and president of Capital Strategies P.R. and Zahra Buck, Democratic strategist and counsel for Capital Counsel. That`s a mouthful.
Cheri, you`re the Republican. How can anybody blame Barack Obama for the economic meltdown? Please make that argument, because I would love to hear it. Just out of curiosity.
CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don`t think anybody is blaming him for the economic meltdown. But you know, people do look at what presidents and presidents-elect do, and the Dow can go up and down. That`s part of the process.
In terms of Rush Limbaugh, I don`t think he`d done anything too horribly. He`s a good watchdog.
In terms of the -- that "impeach Obama" group, I think that`s pretty far out there, and I don`t think anybody would take that seriously.
But look, this is what we do in America. We like to hold our elected officials accountable. Good, healthy skepticism. We do it whether it`s Republicans in office or Democrats. And that`s who we are as Americans. I hope we always keep that skepticism. Sometimes there`s reason to be suspicious, not always. But skepticism is a good thing, and I think we`d like to hold onto that whether we have Obama in the White House or Bush or whoever it is.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, I understand what you`re saying. But skepticism is one thing. Starting a Facebook page that is dedicated to impeaching Obama, who hasn`t even taken office...
JACOBUS: That`s pretty far out there.
VELEZ MITCHELL: It`s ridiculous.
JACOBUS: Well, it is ridiculous, and I think most people understand that that is ridiculous. But some of the other scrutiny is appropriate, and healthy and useful. And I would be a little bit concerned if we started saying we`re not allowed to scrutinize our elected officials. That would be a bad day in America.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, I mean...
JACOBUS: Americans have a pretty good idea of what the ridiculous is and what the reasonable is. And anything (ph) on Obama at this point is ridiculous.
ZAHRA BUCK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Cheri, you certainly have to admit this is absolutely ridiculous.
VELEZ MITCHELL: But here`s the thing, Zahra Buck. That there are many, many, many bitter conservatives who are signing up to these Facebook pages. It`s not just one kook. I mean, there are -- there are enough people to make it almost a movement, and that is what scares me.
BUCK: I agree. But I mean, this country has shown on November 4, they`ve shown they`re not so far to the right. They are certainly in the middle. They are looking for change. They are looking for a positive message. People are looking for something that they can hold on to. And that`s exactly what President-elect Obama will deliver.
Right now it`s evident that a lot of people in the GOP, they`re taking a look at themselves again. They are revamping their efforts. But I think that they need to first look within before they start criticizing president-elect before he even takes office. As far as I know, the inauguration takes place on January 20.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Right. And of course, there are some like Sarah Palin who have been criticizing him all along and even after the election continues to criticize him. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: Well, I still am concerned about that association with Bill Ayers. And if he still wants to talk about it, I will. Because this is an unrepentant domestic terrorist who had campaigned to blow up -- to destroy our Pentagon our U.S. Capitol. That`s an association that still bothers me, and I think it`s still fair to talk about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: Cheri Jacobus, when is she going to let that go? It didn`t work.
JACOBUS: Well, first of all, you have to understand that nearly 50 million or close to 60 million, I think, voted for that ticket. So it does matter to some people.
Secondly, what you didn`t show in that interview, and I did watch the whole thing, when Wolf Blitzer was talking to her, he specifically asked her about it. So to present this as though Sarah Palin just on her own went out there and was bringing this up out of context is unfair and inaccurate.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, I think...
JACOBUS: She was asked about it.
VELEZ MITCHELL: She could have said let`s let that go. That`s ancient history.
JACOBUS: She was asked if she had changed her mind about it, and she hasn`t. She went on to say, "But we had our election and, yes, this is a concern of mine. However, I do want to work with this new president. I think there are areas we can work on."
So her full answer, if you put it in context, was really quite impressive. So to take little pieces out like that isn`t really fair and is kind of misleading to your viewers.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, let me just say this, Zahra Buck. We only have a couple of seconds. Some of the stuff on the Internet is actually hateful. Here`s a quote: Dems stole the election like they always do. God wanted McCain and Palin in the White House. That`s why they call it the White House. I mean, that is a racist comment.
BUCK: Yes. Sure, I mean, it shows in the polls you saw, in the waning days of the campaign season, you saw that the polls certainly shifted towards candidate Obama at that time, and now President-elect Obama. The American people have shown, time and time again, they`re looking for a positive message. They`re looking for something to absolutely wrap their arms around. They`re looking for a new change, and...
VELEZ MITCHELL: I agree with you.
BUCK: ... in the country. And so I think that that, you know, certainly was reflected on the election results on November 4.
JACOBUS: And we see this -- we see this -- we saw this after Bush was elected. You see just as much hateful rhetoric on the other side.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, let me just say this. We have to go. Thank you both. I hope we have a true spirit of bipartisanship. I hope that, on both sides, the ugly rhetoric dies down and goes away. It`s not working anymore.
Now, here`s the big issue tonight. The right is wrong and simply shouldn`t be attacking President-elect Obama`s plan for the future. Like finding a way to end the war in Iraq. Guess what? That`s not unpatriotic or Marxist. It`s common sense. So what about this? What about a Department of Peace?
And they are one of this nation`s most notorious hate groups. But the KKK could soon be toast. I`m going to tell you about a lawsuit in Kentucky that could put an end to decades of violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD DREYFUSS, ACTOR: My office sent to you spy satellite photos that showed that WMDs could be hidden in caves that you never responded to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We analyzed those photos, Mr. Vice President, and they are actually trenches, watering holes for cattle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: That is the movie "W.," talking about WMDs and the buildup to the war. But what would have happened if there had been a cabinet member from the Department of Peace in those discussions? Would we have gone to war with Iraq? Maybe not.
Back with our fabulous guests, Cheri Jacobus, Republican strategist and president of Capital Strategies P.R., and Zahra Buck, Democratic strategist and counsel for Capital Counsel. But we begin with one of the leaders of the campaign to get a Department of Peace, Wendy Green.
Wendy, of course, as we all know we have a Department of Defense, which prepares and executes war. So how would a Department of Peace work? What exactly would it do?
WENDY GREEN, CAMPAIGNING FOR DEPARTMENT OF PEACE: Well, a Department of Peace would be a cabinet-level position that would allow to us launch a strategic, scientifically-based approach to reducing and preventing violence in the United States as well as abroad.
VELEZ MITCHELL: So essentially, going back to that example we just used, if you were deciding whether or not to go to war with Iraq, you would have a cabinet member in there arguing the case that, hey, maybe war is not the answer?
GREEN: You would have a cabinet member in there saying here are some alternatives. Here are some things we haven`t tried yet. Here are ways that we can work with these people that may allow us the capacity to avoid this war. And if these things don`t work, now we still have the tools that we need, if we do, indeed, need to bring violence. But the focus is how do we resolve the conflict before it erupts into violence?
VELEZ MITCHELL: And Cheri Jacobus, you`re a Republican. Now that we have a Democratic president coming in and a Democratic Congress, this is actually a bill in Congress. Do you think it has a chance of passage, and would you support a Department of Peace?
JACOBUS: It has no chance of passage. I doubt it even gets a hearing. You`ll never get a committee markup. You don`t have bipartisan support. I`d be surprised if Nancy Pelosi, even though she`s pretty much on the far left, if she wanted to bring this up. It would embarrass the party. It would almost ensure that there would be a Republican majority.
We have a Department of Peace. It`s called the Pentagon. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. And if you start bringing in -- it`s my understanding that this ridiculous piece of legislation also would require that the secretary of peace be consulted by Department of Defense, State Department, the president, whomever, before the United States can engage in military exchanges. This is frightening and ridiculous, and to answer your question...
VELEZ MITCHELL: Why is peace ridiculous? Why is peace ridiculous? You bring up the idea of peace -- I mean, to me, war is ridiculous. It kills people.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Why is not, not killing people and having a peaceful resolution?
JACOBUS: I`m not suggesting that peace is ridiculous. What we`re suggesting is that the Department of Defense is the proper and proven entity for peace.
BUCK: I totally disagree.
VELEZ MITCHELL: OK. Let`s let Zahra jump in.
BUCK: I totally disagree. Let me start by saying, first of all, the days of cowboy diplomacy are over. And thank heavens for that. The reality is that Barack Obama will have his hands full in this new administration. And here`s why. We have to restore our credibility in the international community. We have to restore our diplomacy and our diplomatic efforts. And that all goes through the State Department. So it`s not just the Pentagon that has responsibility, as -- as Cheri has stated. It`s certainly the State Department.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Zahra, do you think we should have a Department of Peace?
BUCK: Actually, I do not. And here`s why, although I commend the efforts. I certainly believe that, if we restore our diplomatic efforts to the State Department, that that is where it is properly placed.
VELEZ MITCHELL: We only have -- we only have a couple of seconds. Look, we`ve had a State Department and a Pentagon and a Defense Department for eons, and we still wage war. The time has come...
VELEZ MITCHELL: Let Wendy Green make her argument. Wendy, make your argument.
GREEN: Something that actually might be very interesting to your viewers, is you look at the remarks that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recently been making. He has been, actually, the most articulate person in Washington today calling for an expansion of what he refers to as our soft power.
And the fact that our military, in fact, is being asked to do a job that is not their job, that they are not trained for and that we need to expand this capacity. He himself has called for new structures in the government.
Now, I`m not saying he supports a Department of Peace. Don`t misunderstand.
VELEZ MITCHELL: OK.
GREEN: But what`s important to recognize is the need he`s discussing is something that could be something that could be filled by the Department of Peace.
VELEZ MITCHELL: We have to end it there, but...
VELEZ MITCHELL: We`re out of time. But I have to say that peace and the discussion of a Department of Peace should no longer be ridiculous. That`s called evolution.
The U.S. Job market in the toilet. Millions out of work. So what`s the response? Party! We`ll explain in a second.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Word just in. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits is at a 25-year high: 1.25 million people are out of a job. With the auto industry and Wall Street in ruins, things are only going to get worse. So what do we do? Party!
Check this out. You`re seeing people lining up to get into a pink- slip party in New York City. It`s B.Y.O.R., as in bring your own resume.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I`m trying to be upbeat. You know, I can only -- I feel really bad, because there are so many people out there, and it just seems like the body count is just getting really high.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I don`t find something by the end of `08, there`s a good chance I`m going to have to pack up my family, sell the homestead and move on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t expect to find a real job here, or you know, but I just put my name out. Get my face in front of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: Wow. Scary stuff. Senior correspondent Richard Roth reported on this.
Richard, were these mostly Wall Streeters, professional types that, even when they`re unemployed, they can still afford to party a little bit? Like just buying a drink to drown their sorrows.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they were asked to give a $20 donation to the Ronald McDonald House. Some of them had just been recently laid off. They had funds. But there was desperation there.
Look, when you go into a bar in New York, there`s always desperation. But these people know that there`s a lot of other people that are unemployed. Could be up to 45,000 related to the financial industry. They`ve got their work cut out. They said the face time is still important.
And the organizers of the party say that it`s a more informal way to meet recruiters and talk in a -- rather than in a formal sit-down interview. Of course, it`s so loud, who knows how often you can hear the other person?
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, and you know, I think this is really fantastic from a psychological and an emotional perspective. Because when you get laid off or fired, you feel scared, you feel alone, you don`t think anybody can understand what you`re going through.
And here they are with a group of people who have the same experience. They share their experiences. They give each other tips. And they give each other hope, don`t you agree?
ROTH: I agree. I think that was the best thing to come out of it, that they feel they`re not alone, that they`re in this together. And who knows which one of our viewers may be next into the party pool.
They did parties like this, similar, after 9/11 and the Internet tech boom and bust, but this is the first time this was the Wall Street pink- slip party.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Now, recently here in New York, there was also a jobs fair at the Pierre Hotel. Basically, they had 200 jobs available. Thousands and thousands of people lined up. They were around the block. It was a wild scene, and for a lot of people, it was kind of reminiscent of those bread lines during the Great Depression. Some of these people were really desperate.
You`ve reported in the city for a long time. Have you ever seen anything like the conditions that exist right now?
ROTH: I don`t recall this type of anxiety and tension. That`s what`s new. I think other downturns, you felt, well, those are other people and it won`t affect my industry. It seems it hits everyone.
When you`ve got a mutual fund in your portfolio, like I do, which invested in big companies and it`s down 48 percent, you know, what happened? I didn`t invest in, you know, South African gold futures. So you don`t feel like you`re safe, you don`t feel like you`re protected.
The hotel industry should wish they had lines like that trying to check into hotels. Because that`s another sector that`s going to be hit as travelers don`t want to spend to go spend the night at a Marriott, maybe, down in Los Angeles. They`re going to stay home or something like that.
VELEZ MITCHELL: You know, Richard, thank you so much. You`re absolutely right. It`s kind of ironic, because those are the kinds of lines they would love to see for people going into the hotels. And it`s amazing that the people lining up are just there to get jobs, but the hotel industry hurting, just like everything else.
Thanks so much, Richard.
Sex is the superglue. Those are the words of a mega church pastor in Texas. He wants his flock to -- well, it sort of sounds like flock. We`ll explain, coming up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A group in our nation`s capital is broaching one of the biggest philosophical issues of all time; on the side of a bus of all places, questioning the existence of God. Some are furious; more in just a bit.
But first, an all-white jury has been selected to hear the civil case of Jordan Gruber versus the Imperial Klans of America. Gruber a five foot three inch 16-year-old was beaten up, spit on, doused with alcohol and knocked to the ground at a County Fair in 2006.
Now, with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center, he is fighting back in the courtroom, hoping to win damages large enough to put that white supremacy group out of business once and for all.
Mark Potok is director of the Intelligence Project -- I like that name -- at the Southern Poverty Law Center and Don Clark, my good buddy, former FBI Special Agent.
Mark, let`s start with you, do you really think you can shut the Imperial Klan down if you win this case?
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: I think what`s very likely to happen if we win is that the Imperial Klans of America will be forced to sell their compound, it`s a 15-acre piece of land in Dawson Springs, Kentucky and it`s a fairly important place. They throw a skinhead festival there every year; people of all stripes from the radical right come there. So yes, I think we`ll be able to damage them substantially.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Don Clark, the first time I heard about that compound where they have these rituals and this terrible thing apparently was cooked up in the compound before they went out and actually beat up on this kid. I thought, why hasn`t the government raided this in a criminal sense. Why do these compounds even exist in the 21st century?
DON CLARK, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, you know Jane, being in law enforcement, you think about those things also. But bear in mind and particular well groups that are American citizens and that are on this soil, the law enforcement just can`t go in there no matter how despicable these acts may be unless there are some evidence of a crime going to take place or that a crime has taken place.
And we went through this for years, in fact at one point in time, that there was also a consideration of kind of put in groups like the Ku Klux Klan under a crime watch so that we could take a look at them. Well, that didn`t go anywhere, because it started to step on rights.
So the bottom line is, unless they have some information, you just can`t barge in there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this is a civil case, Mark Potok, and apparently there is an all-white jury. Does that worry you a little bit?
POTOK: It doesn`t worry me in the least. You know, I think that the facts of the case are very good from where we sit. Basically, these guys were on a recruiting mission at a county fair when they beat Jordan Gruber up very badly indeed.
The fact that they were on essentially official business of the Klan, the fact that the leader of this group, Ron Edwards, had put them in this position without in any way reviewing their violent past and so on, I think makes a very good case for us.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what I thought was the most telling piece of information I read about this case is that one of the defendants, Edwards, the so-called imperial wizard, tattooed on his shaved head something negative and profane about the Southern Poverty Law Center. He must have a very big head to do that kind of a tattoo. Have you seen it?
POTOK: Yes as a matter of fact, when we went to take his deposition, he appeared with a freshly shaved head and F-SPLC except that he spelled out the F. So it was quite amazing to see this on the other side of his head he`s got "Death to Zog" tattoo, which Zog stands for Zionist Occupied Government.
So I don`t think that`s going to feel much good with the jury.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: These people are so scary -- they are so scary Don Clark and that`s probably why there is so much security at the courthouse, because they don`t know what crazy skinhead is going to do what when it comes to cases like this.
They are getting them though with the money, just like they got Al Capone finally on tax evasion. Is that the smart way to go?
CLARK: Well, I think you got to try to go both ways. I think law enforcement Jane, has to continue to develop information and if there`s intelligence out there, they`ve got to act upon it to keep people from getting hurt in the first place.
But then the second place is, I do agree with these civil movements because that will hopefully hit them where they`ll hurt in their pocketbooks and maybe minimize some of this. But I have to be very honest with you, Jane, this group has been going on for almost 150 years now. And here we are today, facing the same type of activities that they fought back 150 years ago.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s frightening, and what really scares me, is that they have 23 chapters in 17 states. These groups are very complex.
So let me ask you about this, Mark Potok because apparently there is a connection to those two knucklehead skinheads that were just excused of plotting to assassinate Barack Obama, although they seemed like basically so dumb that nobody really took them that seriously, but they were arrested and they are charged.
Correct me if I`m wrong here. According to you, the leader of the Imperial Klans of America has a son who runs a group called the Supreme White Alliance and that organization has a connection to those two skinheads who`s were just arrested.
POTOK: That`s right. Steve Edwards, the son of Ron Edwards heads this group which just began early this year, Supreme White Alliance. And, in fact, we have pictures of one of the two skinheads arrested in Tennessee in the alleged plot. A guy named Daniel Cowart, involved in an SWA party. As a matter of fact, it was a party held on Hitler`s birthday this spring in which this gang of skinheads was sitting around with a little cake with SWA in the middle. They were just supposed to celebrate as I said the birthday of Adolf Hitler.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And these are equal opportunity haters. I mean, they don`t just hate blacks or Hispanics, they hate Jews, they hate homosexuals, they hate everybody basically that is not one of them.
And here is what one of the defendants in the case had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think about being here today to defend yourself against these charges?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s a corrupt --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How so?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it`s a false testimony; they are using false accusations against us. I had to plea bargain into it, and once I don`t feel that I was actually guilty but I`m still having to do it. So I`m just here because the law makes me here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, Mark Potok, they are saying they are not guilty, and yet one of the people that you are suing actually had something tattooed on his forehead I mean, is that what somebody who is not guilty does?
POTOK: Well, I mean, look these two guys were convicted in a criminal court. So they can protest to the skies now that they are not guilty, but, in fact, the two of them served two years in prison. If they want to tell the world that they weren`t guilty after all it seems a little late for that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don Clark, has the election of America`s first African-American President kind of flushed out some of these hate groups brought them to the surface? I mean, instead of being off in some camp somewhere, they`ve been sort of become enraged and they`re coming out of the woodwork as it were?
CLARK: Yes, let`s face it Jane, there is still hatred out there and groups like this, they`d really drive upon activities such as what we just had in this country, where a black man becomes President of the United States, and clearly that`s going to fuel some of the fire.
But, Jane, that`s where law enforcement has to get in gear too. Because they have to really keep their antennas up. While they can`t spy on these people, but they have to keep their antennas up for information that maybe that a crime might be going to happen and try to make sure that it doesn`t happen.
So it`s all about prevention now to try to catch these people before they go beyond just beating up someone and until they really injure or kill someone.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely.
Listen, Mark Potok, good luck with your lawsuit. Keep us posted. It is so sad that we even have to report this. I mean, we`ve just had this historic turning point and elected an African-American President. You`d think that that would mark the end of all this, but it lingers. Let`s hope we can stamp it all out once and for all soon. Thank you both gentlemen.
Now, don`t forget, Nancy Grace up right after this at 8:00. She`s going to have the latest breaking developments in the Caylee Anthony case. You don`t want to miss that.
But up next, a mega church pastor in Dallas is preaching that seven days without sex makes one weak. This is a booting call to action, and I mean action. You`re going to hear about it from the man himself, coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. ED YOUNG, FELLOWSHIP CHURCH, TEXAS: I challenge you, I can`t make you, but I`m going to challenge you to have sex with your spouse for seven straight days beginning next Sunday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow! They say the Lord works in mysterious ways and I`ve got two stories that prove it.
First up, the Sex for Seven Days solution; a challenge mega-church Reverend Ed Young of Texas put forth to his congregation. Young wants to reclaim sex for married couples -- what a concept -- by telling couples to have more of it.
Ed Young is the senior pastor at the Fellowship Church.
Rev. Ed, sounds like you will have a very, very attentive congregation this Sunday. Please repeat once again exactly what you are suggesting.
REV. YOUNG: I am suggesting that the married couples in our church, we have some 20,000 people who will be here this weekend, I`m suggesting that they have sex -- that`s right -- for seven straight days. And my wife and I are looking forward to it, and it all begins this weekend.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, listen, I think that there`s -- I would have to call this a pearl in a pig sty. Because I agree that we need to encourage more intimacy. Like, if you would say, hey, you know what? Married couples need to be less superficial and worry only about where the kids are going and who is going to take out the garbage.
And we`ve got to connect again; we`ve got to look into each other`s eyes. We`ve got to allow our guard down; we`ve got to become more vulnerable, we`ve got to get real. We`ve got to be in a real, intimate relationship.
I would agree with you 100 percent. But I got to say, and I want to be sensitive about this.
REV. YOUNG: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because it`s a delicate issue. But I really feel I have the responsibility to say this, that to say that you should have sex.
REV. YOUNG: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think is dangerous, because sex is supposed to be an optional, voluntary activity between two consenting adults. And once you say you have to do it, that`s a dangerous concept, because there`s a word for when somebody has to have sex even if they don`t want to, and that word, we all know what it is, r-a-p-e.
REV. YOUNG: That`s right and I agree. I mean, it`s not in that vein. Obviously, people have the freedom to come to the Fellowship Church to do - - to do it when they feel led to do it.
But what I think is, if both a man and a woman would understand the power and superglue of sex, I think it`ll cause them to make some decisions to free up some time so they can do it, because I really believe since God invented sex that the best place to have sex is in the marriage bed. And if those people believe in God and have that relationship with them, then I think their sexual relationship can be also.
But too many couples as you just said, are spending too many times doing other things, too much time doing other things, good things, but not the best things. And hopefully this will give people an opportunity to reprioritize their lives and do this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen Pastor, I understand what you`re saying. But you have this 20,000-parishioner congregation. So that means there is probably something like 10,000 couples.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, now you`re telling them to have sex every day starting Sunday for the entire week. So you`re saying that basically there`s going to be approximately, what, 5,000 women.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or 10,000 women who are going to agree to have sex every day for a week and what happens when those women don`t want to have sex?
I mean, let`s put it this way, if a man took your direction and said, "I`m going to have sex with my wife whether she wants it or not, because this is something my pastor told me to do," you can actually be charged with a crime for forcing a woman to have sex against her will, even if you are married to her.
Are you concerned about the legal implications?
REV. YOUNG: I`m not concerned about the legal implications, because if people don`t understand, of course, the tone and the tenor of scripture and the way that we`re suggesting that people have sex for the next seven days then they shouldn`t be a part of it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, but, but -- listen, pastor. If they wanted to have sex, they would be having sex. So if you`re telling them have sex for the next seven days, essentially you`re saying whether you want to or not, have sex. And that means for some person in that equation it`s not going to be voluntary, otherwise they`d be doing it already.
REV. YOUNG: Yes, see, I don`t think they`re having as much sex as they should because of being over-stimulated, overcommitted and everything is kind of over the top. So what this is going to do, this is going to challenge the people to really make love together and to build time to do it.
And, you know, if they`re not having sex, hopefully they`ll talk about some of those things that are maybe keeping them from having the kind of sex regularly and creatively and lovingly that they should be having.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I`m looking at video of you and you`re obviously an attractive, charismatic guy, and you have a huge congregation but what`s going on with the toilet on stage? Or am I -- I don`t have the greatest eye sight. Can we show that again and there`s the toilet -- what`s the toilet for?
REV. YOUNG: Yes, well, basically, I was talking about the difference between toilet water and good water. And what`s happened, Jane, is we`ve allowed our culture to hijack sex from the church.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What does it have to do with the toilet?
YOUNG: Well, the toilet water is the kind of water that our culture is serving up to our young people that it`s not the really true sexual water I believe that God wants us to drink.
So I tried to use that illustration, that metaphor, if you will to say, hey too many of us are drinking toilet water as opposed to the great kind of water that God wants us to drink.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think I get it. Now tell me a little bit about yourself, this is a non-denominational Baptist church. Did you go to seminary school?
REV. YOUNG: I did, I went to seminary, the whole nine yards. And I grew up in a pastor`s home. But I had the opportunity to go to a lot of public schools and to be in a lot of different environments.
And my wife and I, for example, have been married for 26 years. We have four kids and we try to deal very openly Jane and honestly with the struggles that we`ve had in our marriage, and how we`ve had to say no to a lot of good things, to say yes to the best thing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen pastor, I thank you for engaging in this vigorous debate over this.
REV. YOUNG: No doubt.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think your heart is in the right place, and I would just make a suggestion.
REV. YOUNG: Ok.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`m just one human being. I`m not a reverend and I`m not a pastor and I never went to seminary school. But I would say before telling everybody to just have sex for seven days, --
REV. YOUNG: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you should do some intimacy workshops. Because what`s really missing from peoples lives is the intimacy. And it`s not just about wham, bam, thank you, ma`am.
REV. YOUNG: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s really about looking in the eyes and connecting in a way that is spiritual, emotional and profound and really having an intimate experience. And that doesn`t always happen with sex. But once you have the intimacy, then you can have the good sex.
REV. YOUNG: Well Jane, you know what we`re doing we are allowing the couples or suggesting for them, for the men and women to email us as they go through this seven-day period to talk about some of those things that you just described. And I think that is going to be the real take home from this deal.
It`s not just the sex, but it`s what surrounds it and what people talk about before they can jump into bed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well listen, send me a snapshot of you and your wife after seven days. I want to see that.
REV. YOUNG: That`s why I`m smiling right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, all right.
REV. YOUNG: All right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, congrats. All right thank you, pastor.
Now from too much God, we go to none at all. The American Humanist Association announced this week that it will soon run ads on the sides of buses in the nation`s capital that read "Why believe in God? Just be good for goodness` sake." So it`s why believe in God and just be good for goodness sake. The reasoning -- so that those who don`t believe in traditional religion won`t feel lonely during Christmas time.
Now Council Nedd is the national chairman of In God We Trust.
Thank you for joining us, Bishop. There are tons of holiday ads. Why can`t the atheists have ads, too?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re entitled to have ads, but I`d probably take great offense if they want to take Christmas. You don`t get any more of a Christian holiday than Christmas itself because that was the day that Christ was born.
Yeah, but I mean, what they`re saying is that the holidays have really become so commercialized that Jesus would probably be rolling, you know, around just in horror at the fact that the celebration of his birth has really become more about making money and getting gifts. And I think we need to really look at what we have turned our holidays into as a society.
And I want you to stay right there because giving you some food for thought. I want to hear your answer to that when we come right back after this short break.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There you go, it`s the controversial ad that says, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness` sake." And we are here and back with Bishop Council Nedd, who is the National Chairman of "In God We Trust."
Did you find it offensive? Does it hurt you some way to see that kind of ad?
COUNCIL NEDD, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, IN GOD WE TRUST: I do find it a bit offensive and in thinking about what you just said, is that I probably agree with you in that the holidays have become too secularized. It`s about shopping and it`s about buying gifts and about receiving gifts and these sorts of things. And it does bother me that Christmas has devolved into this.
Christmas is just that, a Christian event. It`s the day we celebrate the birth of our Christ.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why isn`t the church focusing more on the problems with the commercialism? We always see the church or church leaders come out and attack atheists for having these kinds of ads, but yet there is so much more to attack like the rampant commercialization of Christmas.
Why not take a stand on that, say, "Hey, You don`t have to buy your kid who has everything 15 more gifts when there are kids in Zimbabwe who are starving and don`t even have a grain -- literally a grain of food to eat. What kind of terrible message are you sending your kid? Think about the true spirit of the holidays and give to a charity instead of?"
NEDD: I hear what you`re saying and I don`t know you, I don`t know you very well and I hope I get to know you better.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good. Me, too.
NEDD: But I think, I don`t know a clergy person who -- I can`t think of a clergy person who doesn`t preach that very message around the holidays, but --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nobody`s getting it.
NEDD: That`s not a very exciting news story.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nobody`s getting it. The only reason we might shop less is because we`re in an economic crisis right now, but it has been going on for years.
NEDD: But that doesn`t mean that clergy and preachers aren`t preaching it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s good news.
I think what this ad was saying is that it`s like when they say faith without works is dead. It`s like don`t talk about the labels of what you believe in just do good things. And I think this holiday season all Americans really need to do something good and turn this holiday around.
NEDD: I hear what you`re saying, but for them to put out one message is fine, but what they`re really trying to do is sort of remove God from the fabric of American society. That`s why my group, In God We Trust, was established to sort of push back to be a counterbalance against this tide of sort of extreme god-hating segment of American society.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you. We have to go, we`re out of time, but we`re talking real and we want you to come back tomorrow for some more real "ISSUES." Same time, same channel.