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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Money, Jobs & Hypocrisy; WikiLeaks Posts Secret Iraq War Documents; Desert Dust-Up; Fighting Foreclosure; Remembering John Lennon; Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning
Aired October 22, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: politicians who say they're against big government spending, who say big government spending doesn't create jobs, that is, until they ask for some of that big government spending to create jobs. We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.
Also "Up Close": fighting foreclosure. But if you think you're going to be dealing with your bank, think again. We will show you a side of the housing crisis you might not know about, what some are calling foreclosure factories. These are outfits that are hired to process thousands and thousands of foreclosures, and critics say they're giving homeowners a raw deal.
And later; Anderson's exclusive conversation with Yoko Ono about her love for John Lennon and how their world and really the entire music world changed almost the moment they met.
We begin, though, as we always do, "Keeping Them Honest."
Tonight, it's hypocrisy, plain and simple, politicians who rail against government spending and are campaigning against it right now, then turn around and say, show me the money. What they're railing against and mooching from, as you will see, is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It's better known as the stimulus.
You have probably seen the road signs, $814 billion, a lot of money, no doubt, about a third for tax cuts, a third for aid to states, and a third for spending projects like highways and bridges and -- and other stuff.
Now, we have already documented some of the waste and some of the silly projects paid for by the act. Still, the bottom line, when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office looked at it last year, they estimated that as many as 1.6 million people are working, thanks to the Recovery Act.
But an awful lot of lawmakers, mainly Republicans, disagreed from the get-go. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It does not create jobs. The stimulus package was supposed to create jobs.
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: The last stimulus bill didn't create one new job.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: This plan is a disaster, and it's not fair to the American people.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Government spending doesn't create good jobs. That's why I fought and voted against the Bush Wall Street bailout, the failed Pelosi trillion-dollar stimulus.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I think the stimulus was a -- was a big mistake. I think we can, you know, fairly safely declare it now a failure.
REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: The stimulus was excessive spending that did not meet the intended targets.
BROWN: The first stimulus bill didn't work.
SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: Unfortunately, the current stimulus bill, I believe, does little, if anything, to actually stimulate the economy.
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: This bill, as it's presently headed toward passage, is a colossal mistake.
MCCAIN: It does not create jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It didn't create one new job?
BROWN: That's correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: A failure, a big mistake, didn't create one new job -- lawmakers who opposed the Recovery Act, and many are campaigning right now on their opposition to it, which is absolutely, perfectly, totally legitimate. That's called democracy.
But there is another word for what I'm about to show you, and that's called hypocrisy. I've got a stack of papers right here. The non -- the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity dug up these -- these letters from these very same lawmakers who hate the stimulus who are also pleading for a piece of it.
For example, here's Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking for stimulus money to rebuild I-94 -- quote -- "This project will promote economic prosperity, while alleviating safety concerns along Interstate 94."
"MnDot," she writes -- that's the Minnesota Department of Transportation -- "estimates that the project would directly produce 1,407 new jobs per year, while indirectly producing 1,563 a year. That's her own words. But wait a minute. Didn't she just bitterly oppose the Recovery Act? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: Government spending doesn't create good jobs. That's why I fought and voted against the Bush Wall Street bailout, the failed Pelosi trillion-dollar stimulus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And you know what? She's not alone as well. Here's another one from Tennessee -- Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, also to Secretary LaHood, also for highway spending, saying -- quote -- "This transportation project would provide both short-term and long- term benefits to this economically disadvantaged and distressed section of rural Tennessee."
So -- so, Senator, I mean, which is it, both short and long-term benefits, or --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOHMERT: This bill, as it's presently headed toward passage, is a colossal mistake for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And there's Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas, who you heard calling the Recovery Act a disaster a short time ago. Now listen to him say, "give me, give me". I mean, he's applying for a Recovery Act broadband grant, saying -- quote -- "It is my understanding that the East Texas area would benefit greatly from more broadband infrastructure funded in part by this grant."
Big government, bad; money from big government, yes, please. And it's big names as well.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who says the stimulus was a big mistake, well, here's what he wrote as well: "In short, supporting Appalachians railroads has the potential to attract industry, create jobs, and move through areas underserved by national highways."
Now, several Democrats who voted against the Recovery Act also are seeking money from it, but the vast majority are Republicans. And, again, the issue is not denouncing a government program. It's denouncing it out of one side of your mouth while pleading for a piece of the action out of the other.
A lot to talk about tonight -- something that affects all of us, so, with us: Ari Melber of Politico and "The Nation" magazine; also Will Cain of "The National Review."
Thanks for joining us.
ARI MELBER, "THE NATION": Thank you.
WILL CAIN, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Thank you, Sanjay. GUPTA: Ari, I mean, let me get right to it. You know, people hear this sort of thing, and they're sort of dipping into conversations like this. Is this just another example of the -- of the kind of double-talk, I guess, from politicians that -- that voters are -- are -- are sick and tired of?
MELBER: It is, and I think that's one part of the problem.
Of course, there's a little bit of a reversal here. Usually, we talk about people not practicing what they preach. Here, the problem really is that a lot of Republicans are not preaching what they practice.
They have every right to go in and try to get this money for their districts. You had Senator McConnell up on the screen earlier. He asked for $20 million to get a bridge built near Madison coming out of his state. That makes sense.
But what he shouldn't do is then go along and pretend that it doesn't create jobs. Obviously, if you spend $20 million building a bridge, you are going to have to hire people to do it, and that does create jobs. And, in the case of infrastructure, it also solves some problems that we have seen leading up even before the recession.
GUPTA: And that -- and that sort of gets to the point.
I mean, Will -- Will, how can Republicans justify voting against the stimulus, and then going out to try and get stimulus money for their districts? What -- what message is that sending?
CAIN: Yes. You guys have got me here in an unenviable position.
Look, as distasteful as stimulus was and as -- and as much opposed to it as I am, I can understand how some Republicans find themselves in this situation.
The stimulus money will come out of everyone's pockets, Republicans and Democrats. It will be taxed to everybody, or it will be put on the nation's credit card, and everyone's portion of the debt will be raised.
So, now you can understand why some politicians and some constituents would say, you have already voted to take a dollar out of my pocket. I guess I might as well ask for a few pennies back.
GUPTA: Well, yes, the thing is, though, I guess the question is, is the act doing what it's supposed to be doing? I mean these Republicans are now sending letters from their offices saying the stimulus would add jobs and grow the economies in their districts.
I mean, so, it's not just, you know, take -- I mean, they're -- they're -- they seem to be touting the benefits as well to their constituents. Is -- is that disingenuous? I mean, it sounds a little bit like it to me. CAIN: You know, it's not some coming -- seeing of the light of Republicans, and, all of a sudden, we now think stimulus is this great program.
And, Sanjay, you're focusing in on the hypocrisy. And that's a fair, fair point. But -- but here's the deal. When you find two positions that don't jibe with each other, you ask yourself, which one of these is not true?
CAIN: And I think Republicans' initial opposition to the stimulus is the ones they really believe.
But you can't very well now, trying to get money back to your district if it's already going to be taken from your district, write in to the Department of Transportation and say, hey, you know, I think the stimulus is kind of a bunch of B.S., but can I get a little bit of it back?
GUPTA: Yes and I guess that makes sense when you put it like that. And people tend to like their -- their congressman, their Congress representatives, even if they don't like Congress specifically.
I mean, Ari, supporters of the stimulus argued that the bill was free of earmarks, for example, but the Center for Public Integrity -- we were just showing those papers -- report that legislators from both parties still found ways to direct stimulus funds to their pet projects.
Now, the report said something quite -- I -- I think you may have seen this -- that a practice known among lobbyists as letter-marking has been controversial for years. "The letter-marking following passage of the stimulus law, nonetheless, created a system of political pressure that has been less transparent than if lawmakers had attached their earmarks to the legislative language, which would have allowed the public to see who pushed for what project."
That's what the spending experts are sort of saying on this. Democrats and Republicans, again, alike were sending in these letters, trying to pile on the pork. It seems like either -- both parties may have lost a little bit of credibility here, not being transparent and still -- still essentially asking for their -- their pet projects to be funded.
MELBER: I think that's right.
There's really two issues here. Number one is the idea that we're shifting from earmarks to letter-marks, which sounds like the same old --
MELBER: -- Washington problem. You rebrand it, instead of actually dealing with the underlying concern, which is that you inefficiently have pork, which is designed more for people's re- election than for picking the best projects. And that's something I think both parties have a problem with.
The second issue, though, is a little different. And that is the transparency.
MELBER: These letters are not necessarily binding, because they're going to administrative agencies that have the final decision, which is different than -- than the earmark.
But many of these members of Congress did not release these letters. We only have them because, as you said, Sanjay, the Center for Public Integrity released them, and some news organizations are now paying good attention to them.
MELBER: And so, that's a real problem.
I think all of these letters, unless they have something legitimately classified in them, should actually be released.
MELBER: That's the kind of transparency we need for this much money being spent.
GUPTA: And I think people would appreciate that who -- you know, obviously -- we're talking about a lot of money here.
Will -- you heard some of the -- the -- the stats I gave regarding what the CBO has said, the impact of this, the stimulus, has been. I mean, do you think the stimulus is -- is it working? Is it accomplishing the goals that it set out to accomplish?
CAIN: No, Sanjay.
I mean, first of all, the promises were that unemployment would drop -- would not drop below, what, was it nine percent or something like that? Then it was shifted to jobs saved or created.
And now we're playing games about whether or not any single job has been created. The bottom line is stimulus money has to come from somewhere. It can't come out of thin air. That means it has to be pulled out of the economy.
So, when you are saying you're creating a new job, you're pulling money out of the private sector that could be creating other jobs.
GUPTA: All right. This is obviously something relevant to everyone back home, and we're going to talk much more about it.
So, Will and Ari, stick around.
We've got some breaking news as well. The Pentagon is now in the urgent and potentially lifesaving process of reaching out to Iraqis who may have cooperated with American forces, an important story here. They were named in a massive batch of military documents released by WikiLeaks.
And that's not all the documents reveal.
So, for the latest on what's in them and what kind of damage they could potentially do and how the administration is handling this, we're turning right to our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence.
Chris, as you're -- and there's a lot of documents, I think close to 400,000, I read. I know you're starting to read them. Have -- has anything sort of struck you the most as you pore through them?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, "starting to read" is the key phrase there, Sanjay.
One thing that jumps out is WikiLeaks claims that well over 100,000 Iraqis were killed in the war. That's tens of thousands more than what the U.S. military is estimating. It also goes into great detail, some very interesting facts about how some of those deaths occurred, including the fact that the military consulted lawyers in certain instances.
And take a look at this. Back in 2007, an Apache helicopter targeted two Iraqi men which it thought may have been firing mortars. Well, the men made surrendering motions. But take a look at what the report says. "Crazyhorse 18 cleared to engage dump truck. Lawyer states they cannot surrender to aircraft and are still valid targets."
The Apache later shoots Hellfire missiles and kills both men.
And -- and another part, critics really attacked President Bush for overhyping Iran's role --
LAWRENCE: -- in -- in Iraq, but, when you look at this report, it details multiple cases of aggressive moves by Iranian forces. In fact, in one instance, a U.S. patrol was almost ambushed by the Iranians.
Again, just going back to the report here, "The Iranians to the northwest of the column started to engage the patrol; the entire column was under fire and returned fire as they conducted U-turns to leave the area."
That patrol says that they were fired on almost constantly by the Iranian forces as they drove back to their checkpoint well inside the Iraqi border. And then, just a few years later, it puts a new spin on a story that we maybe thought we knew, the case of the three American hikers.
We call them the three Iranian hikers. But it's -- really should be maybe the so-called Iranian hikers, because, according to this report, the three Americans were well inside the Iraqi border. And the only reason they ended up in Iran was because the Iranian forces took them, seized them on the Iraqi side and took them over the border.
Chris, I mean, this is -- this is -- I mean, some of this is brand-new stuff, obviously. I know that you're going through these documents. I had not heard -- obviously and most people had not heard anything along those lines.
And, back in July -- for people who don't know, WikiLeaks, which a lot of people have heard of now, but they came under fire for releasing, I think, 76,000 pages worth of documents related to the war in Afghanistan. It was controversial, obviously a lot of emotion stirred up by these. How is the Pentagon handling this differently this time?
LAWRENCE: The big difference is, the Pentagon got caught totally by surprise by the fact that WikiLeaks included names in that Afghanistan report, so they really had to scramble to find those people and try to identify where they were, and to make sure they were not in any danger.
This time, the Pentagon went ahead and started looking at hundreds of thousands of documents before this release. But it turns out they didn't have to, because, from what we have seen -- and, again, obviously haven't gone through all of the documents -- but WikiLeaks has redacted a lot of the names this time.
So, that's a huge difference.
And the last big difference is this. Back in July, with those Afghanistan documents, the U.S. has about 100,000 American troops actively involved in combat --
LAWRENCE: -- in Afghanistan.
In Iraq, you're talking about fewer than 50,000, and they're not involved in daily combat, so much less danger to U.S. troops in Iraq compared to Afghanistan.
GUPTA: And, again, redacting those names because of concerns of danger or violence against the Iraqis that -- that are named in this -- in these reports.
LAWRENCE: Exactly, and the criticism that WikiLeaks took after putting those names in the Afghanistan release. GUPTA: All right, Chris Lawrence, I know you have got a lot of reading to do there, but fascinating stuff, and hopefully we will be able to check in with you again.
Let us know what you think on this as well. Log into the live chat; it's up and running, AC360.com.
Up next: She's telling him to man up, and he's telling her to do the same thing. What's happening in Vegas sure isn't staying there. A pivotal campaign, it's turning ugly, and now President Obama is wading into the battle. We've got a live report from Nevada.
And later: a little-known side of the housing crisis. There are outfits hired to process thousands and thousands of foreclosures. They're called foreclosure factories, and some say they're throwing transparency and accountability and due -- due process, throwing it all right out the window. They can speed up foreclosure and they can take your home.
GUPTA: Big names and some high stakes on the campaign trail today.
Sarah Palin unexpectedly dropped in on a Tea Party rally in Phoenix. She told the crowd, ripping on the whole Alaska-Russia thing, she said this. She said "I can see November 2nd from my house."
Earlier this week, she stumped for Sharron Angle as well in Nevada. And, tonight, President Obama is there campaigning for her opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It's a tight race there. It's also turning pretty ugly.
Ed Henry is in Las Vegas. And Ed, as I understand it, the word of the day now officially I guess, man up? Is that -- is that right, Ed?
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, I suspect that phrase might have a slightly different meaning normally in -- in the City of Sin.
But this time, it's all about a political brawl.
This is basically Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, fighting for his political life. He is getting all over the Republican, Sharron Angle. She is a -- kind of a Tea Party favorite. And -- and he has gone after her for saying that unemployed people are spoiled.
She recently spoke to some Hispanic students and said, "You look a little Asian to me," something Reid jumped all over. She's fighting fire with fire. She's got a tough TV ad going after Reid for living in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, having a condo there back in Washington; that he's out of touch with Nevada. She's also been all over him about the economic crisis -- crisis that has devastated this state. This is sort of the foreclosure capital of the world. And she's basically saying, in pretty blunt terms, it's time to take responsibility, Harry Reid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARRON ANGLE (R), NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Man up, Harry Reid. You need to understand that we have a problem with Social Security.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: People in Nevada know me. From the street to the ring to the Senate chambers, I have never had to prove my manhood to anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And Ed, you are traveling there --
HENRY: And he's referring to fact that --
GUPTA: Go ahead, Ed.
HENRY: -- he was a boxer before, so he's saying, back in the ring.
HENRY: And, look, you know, the last time a majority leader faced this much trouble was Tom Daschle in 2004. He went down -- the Democrats trying to make sure that doesn't repeat itself six years later.
GUPTA: Yes, the majority -- he was the majority leader at that time as well.
You are there traveling with President Obama. Las Vegas always has stars in town, but the political billing really seems to be stacking up, as we mentioned. Why so much focus on Nevada?
HENRY: Because -- two reasons. Number one, the symbolic -- symbolic value for Republicans to take out another Senate majority leader, that's huge. The president, that's why, in part, he came here.
Secondly, every single Senate race is -- is basically the one that could determine who controls that chamber. There are so many that are too close -- too close to call. This is just one of them. And that's why the president was here.
A couple of days ago, Vice President Biden was here. And we just learned that first lady Michelle Obama, she is coming on November 1st, one day before the election. Look, if -- if Senator Reid was not in trouble, you wouldn't have this much star power. They're coming out because the White House is very nervous.
GUPTA: There are some indicators, for sure. I mean, and Reid has held -- held that Senate seat since 1986. We're not used to seeing this kind of race in Nevada. And it is -- it is really tight. I mean, you mentioned Tom Daschle earlier. What -- what does this mean for Democrats, what's happening?
HENRY: What it means is that they are very much on the defensive. Maybe that's a no-brainer in some ways. We've known that for some time, but I think it's gotten more dramatic in just the last few days, especially as we're learning what President Obama's calendar is going to be like next weekend, the final weekend of this long midterm campaign, where so much is at stake.
He's going to places like Pennsylvania, Connecticut, where there are big Senate battles. But those are states that he did very well in, in 2008. Democrats shouldn't have to be defending it so hard.
But the biggest one of all is the fact that, next Saturday, a week from tomorrow, the president's going home to Chicago. He's trying to save his own Senate seat --
HENRY: -- from Illinois, something Democrats probably should have locked down long ago.
It just shows that, rather than the president spending this valuable time in the final days picking up Republican seats, trying to knock them out, he's playing a lot of defense -- Sanjay.
GUPTA: We are fully into it. There's no question about it.
Ed Henry thanks so much out there in Nevada.
Back with us right now, our political panel, on the left, Ari Melber, and on the right, Will Cain.
Ari, you just heard, "Man up," I guess is becoming a trendy political catchphrase this season. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Hey, politicians who are in office today, you, some of you, need to man up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to repeal health care reform and let insurance companies go back to their worst abuses, Congressman, then you ought to repeal your own first and man up.
REP. KENDRICK MEEK (D-FL), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: He needs to man up and leader up and -- and run his own race.
RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Run a race as a man. Stand up and be a man.
ANGLE: Man up, Harry Reid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: So, I mean, I don't know what to make of that, I mean, Sharron Angle -- Sharron Angle obviously at the end using "Man up" against Senator Harry Reid at that debate.
What do you make of this -- this choice of words?
MELBER: Well, we often have a real masculine, cowboy quality to American politics.
One thing I like is seeing this many women in the ring. Some of them are using that language. You know, whether you say someone doesn't have the cojones to get the job done --
MELBER: -- or they don't have the ovaries to get the job done, obviously, at the end of the day, you're trying to go at a personal and character quality of the opponent. That's what we're seeing.
In the case of Angle and Harry Reid, she is trying to take the -- the really drastic economic problems in Nevada and -- and pin them to him. And, as Ed Henry -- Henry said, it's the foreclosure capital. You have got one out of 79 homes being foreclosed upon a month in Nevada. That's the highest rate in the country.
And, you know, unemployment in Nevada is 14 percent, also the highest rate in the nation.
So, you can see why someone running against Harry Reid would try to pin him that way.
Having said that, what you hear punching back, you mentioned also briefly Angle's comment that people who are unemployed are spoiled for a couple of hundred dollars a month in unemployment benefits. That didn't play well. She backed off that at the debate recently.
And I think that's the flip side of this problem for her, is, it's tough talk, but if you talk about getting tough on these problems and helping people out with a little bit of money, that's a place where she's come up short. She's actually had to back down from some of that rhetoric.
And -- and -- and, you know, Will, I mean, I -- I have been listening to these debates, along with a lot of people. And, I mean the language seems to have changed a bit. I mean, you said you would be surprised if Nevada voters focus on one-liners or charm in this race, because the candidates have polar opposite --
CAIN: Right. GUPTA: -- of views on policy and the role of government.
I mean, is this -- is this entertainment, or is this instructive in -- in -- in some way, what's happening right now?
CAIN: You know, Sanjay, I think, at most, it's an entertaining diversion, because, as you just said, the -- these candidates -- I recognize that things like personality and charm and a pretty smile play a role in voters' minds, but it won't in this election.
And that's not just because these two candidates lack most of those characteristics. It's, rather, because you could not have two candidates that are farther on the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. There will be no excuse for a fiscal conservative to look over and check the box for Harry Reid because he's a nice guy.
And, if you think Social Security, Medicare, stimulus are as American as apple pie, there's no amount of charm that's going to make you check the box for Sharron Angle.
GUPTA: You know -- you know, one thing you said, Will, I think, before as well is that what happened with Senator Brown might be a great prognosticator for what's happening all across the country. I mean, what does what's happening in Nevada right now mean for Democrats, do you think?
CAIN: Well, I mean, I think it's a total judgment on the past two years the Democratic Party has taken this country.
You know, I don't have a crystal ball for what will happen in Nevada, but, as you just suggested, the best we can do is look at a Northeastern state like Massachusetts that has no history of bringing Republican senators in, and voted for Scott Brown.
I think taking the Senate Majority Leader out, for a candidate as marginal as Sharron Angle, suggests the country is not in step with the Democratic policies.
GUPTA: All right.
Ari Melber, Will Cain, thanks so much, a fascinating discussion, obviously something I think a lot of people around the country should pay attention to.
And, up next, we're going to tell you about the law firm behind the yacht -- what some are calling a foreclosure factory, and you're going to meet the man who went up against it fighting for his home.
Also we're going to take you to where a typhoon is blowing right now to try and predict where it's going next.
Stay with us.
GUPTA: In "Up Close" tonight, the foreclosure crisis in America. You know, it's bad enough that millions of Americans face the prospect of losing their homes due to any number of reasons, such as financial trouble or loss of a job.
But compounding that pain is the possibility that faulty documents have been used to try and remove Americans from their homes. The situation has become chaotic.
What's come to the attention of federal and state officials is a process known as robo-signing. That's what some banks and law firms hired by them are accused of doing, by allegedly morphing into foreclosure mills. They're suspected of having employees sign thousands of foreclosure documents every month without even reviewing them. Some major banks have halted foreclosures while they can review their paperwork.
But that's not any consolation, really, to lots of homeowners out there facing foreclosure.
Here's CNN's Drew Griffin.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the first thing you need to remember about this story. A yacht named "Misunderstood".
(on camera): And how big is that boat?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That one's 130.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The second thing you need to remember is the term "foreclosure mill" that made buying yachts like this possible.
Attorney Chris Immel represents homeowners being foreclosed.
(on camera): They really are mills. It's like a factory, a bankruptcy factory, a foreclosure factory.
CHRIS IMMEL, ATTORNEY, ICE LEGAL: Right. The amount of process, their mill is the printer, printing off document after document after document and just having people sign them.
GRIFFIN: Do they even care? They're not even looking.
IMMEL: No. Apparently not. I mean some of these people are making very good livings doing this.
GRIFFIN: Can we see your house?
TONY LOUZADO, IN FORECLOSURE: Yes, sure.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Tony Louzado is like a lot of Americans. He moved into his modest townhouse six years ago. His payment -- $1,500 a month. Then a series of tragic turns: his young son needed heart surgery. His mortgage payments began rising. He began to fall behind. And suddenly, the part-time firefighter, physical therapist, and worried dad was being foreclosed on.
(on camera): Was foreclosure even on your radar?
LOUZADO: No, I'm a prideful man. I'm a person that, I take pride in paying all my bills.
GRIFFIN: And he thought he could work his way out of it until he began calling his bank and realizing, he says, no one wanted to listen.
That's because it turns out the bank wasn't handling the loan. It had already been turned over to the law firm of someone named David Stern, a law firm Florida's attorney general says is the largest foreclosure mill in the state.
Tony Louzado's lawyer.
JOSE FUNICA, TONY LOUZADO'S ATTORNEY: In my opinion, these are hired guns. These are -- banks want these nonperforming loans off their bottom line. And what do they do? They go out and hire a foreclosure mill who just tries to push it through as fast as possible.
GRIFFIN: So fast, Florida's A.G. says Stern's firm has been submitting false documents, even making some up just to speed up the foreclosure process.
This is David Stern, pictured on the back of a yacht, the photos given to us by a private eye involved in a long-running dispute with him. The state has opened a civil investigation against several firms, including David Stern's.
Repeated calls to Stern's office have not been returned. But he did tell "The New York Times" there has not been submission of fraudulent documents, and that the investigation is politically motivated. "We have done nothing wrong," he told the "Times", "and are going to cooperate fully."
Over the phone, Stern's lawyer told CNN this.
JEFFREY TEW, DAVID STERN'S ATTORNEY (via telephone): I can tell you now that no misconduct is occurring at the David Stern law firm, and the firm works very diligently to make sure that all the processing is done correctly.
GRIFFIN: But in depositions for a lawsuit against the firm, Stern's employees admitted under oath they were signing foreclosure documents so fast they barely had time to even see who the homeowner was, which brings us back to that yacht and David Stern.
His firm handled tens of thousands of foreclosures every month. If you want to know how diligently his firm reviewed foreclosures, take a look at what one of his processors said under oath.
(on camera): How much time do you spend examining each document before you sign them? She says "Very little."
Question, "Do you read the document?"
IMMEL: Right. And --
GRIFFIN: She doesn't even know what she's signing, really.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): One of Stern's employees says the attorney's fees for uncontested foreclosures is anywhere from $1,200 to $1,600. And in a foreclosure mill, time is money.
IMMEL: Right. They're being paid to serve -- to take the foreclosure through the process as quickly as possible. The servicers actually rate them based on how quickly they do move through the process.
GRIFFIN: And how much money are they making, these foreclosure mills?
IMMEL: Well, Stern has been very successful in doing that, as an attorney. He's been -- he's worth millions.
GRIFFIN (on camera): You can't really see his house, of course, from the street. But you can view it from the water, Ft. Lauderdale Canal where the first thing you spot is his yacht.
(voice-over): Talking to "The New York Times," Stern denies reports he considered naming the yacht "Su Casa is Mi Casa" so it's simply "Misunderstood". Now he's under investigation.
Foreclosures remain frozen. His firm has shed dozens of employee and the once flamboyant attorney is not returning CNN's calls. But he's still better off than Tony Louzado, who's given up trying to keep his home.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Fort Lauderdale.
GUPTA: I tell you it's amazing. The number of homeowners facing foreclosure is growing rapidly. Morgan Stanley reports that 3.1 million loans -- think about that -- are now in foreclosure across the country. In 2009 that figure was under 3 million, according to Realty Track, it's an online market of foreclosed homes. All of that has more than doubled the amount in 2007.
Still ahead, the "Big 360 Interview", part three of Anderson's exclusive interview with Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow. Tonight she talks about the intensity of their relationship and also life with the other Beatles. But first Joe Johns has a "360 Bulletin" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sanjay, a powerful typhoon that's ravaged southern Asia is headed towards China. Earlier today it battered parts of Taiwan, triggering mudslide that's trapped hundreds of people in their cars. At least seven people have been killed there. About two dozen others are missing. This is the very same storm that left 11 people dead in the Philippines.
Take a look at this photograph. It's a 13-inch bite mark from a giant shark that attacked and killed a 19-year-old California college student today. He was boogie boarding with friends off the Santa Barbara coast when the attack occurred. The shark was said to be 14- to 20-feet long.
And Haiti is battling an outbreak of cholera. The disease has killed more than 150 people; 1,500 others have been sickened. The outbreak is centered north of Port-au-Prince, and Haitian officials are trying to prevent it from spreading. And Sanjay, we all know while we were there earlier this year, this wasn't entirely unexpected.
GUPTA: Yes, but you're right, Joe, but it's still so hard to believe. I was thinking I know you've been there, I was there. A million people still displaced, Joe, ten months later. Thirteen hundred camps around the country.
People gave so much money for this cause: $5 billion around the world. Only a fraction of it has gotten there. You're right, Joe. We're seeing the consequences of it now.
Joe, I mean cholera -- 138 people died within two days, to give you an idea of just how profound this is; 138 people within two days. It's now over 150 people.
And in case you're curious, they haven't had cholera in Haiti in over 50 years. So it's not like this is something that happens all the time there. This is a result of the earthquake. It can be treated with hydration salts, with saline and things like that. But you have to get that treat to people. Too many people are dying still. Can't believe it's almost a year after this earthquake.
Up next, we'll have Anderson's exclusive interview with Yoko Ono. She opens up intimately about her private life with John Lennon and their feelings about each other. She also tells Anderson about her early relationship with Paul, Ringo and George.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOKO ONO, JOHN LENNON'S WIDOW: They were very polite people. I think polite just for John's sake, you know? They didn't want to be mean to me or something like that. So their meanness did not really express itself except once in a while.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) GUPTA: All this week we've been bringing you Anderson's exclusive, in-depth interview with Yoko Ono. Now, Ono doesn't give too many interviews, so this was a rare window into her life with John Lennon, who would have turned 70 years old this month. That's right, 70. It's hard to believe. In December, it will be 30 years since Lennon was murdered.
As a couple, Ono and Lennon, they were inseparable. And tonight you'll hear Ono talk about the strange feelings she had days before he died.
It's also well known that the couple's closeness caused some friction within the Beatles. Paul McCartney famously made his thought known. Just ahead, you're going to hear what Ono responded to this when he was asked about this all those decades ago.
But first, what she told Anderson about the intense bond that drew John and her together.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I read in an article -- it was the "Playboy" interview that you guys had done in 1980 shortly before John's birthday.
COOPER: And there's so many great quotes in it and so many wonderful things that he says about you. I just want to read one of them. He says, "When I fell in love with Yoko, I knew, my God, this is different from anything I've ever known. This is something other. This is more than hit record, more than gold, more than everything." And he called you his goddess of love, "the fulfillment of my whole life."
ONO: That was very sweet; it was very poetic. He was a poet.
Anyway, so, well, yes, we were very much into each other. And I got a lot of energy from him, I must say, and I learned -- learning a whole different world, which was very exciting.
COOPER: When he turned 40, the last year of his life, and in one of the interviews I read, he was so excited about turning 40. He talked about it as the way when you turn 21, you kind of ask yourself, wow, what's going to happen next? And he said what's different about turning 40 as opposed when he turned 21 is that you two were together and that that made all the difference.
ONO: Yes, well, you know, I think he was very wise about that. I think that all of us know, as people in the press or, you know, always being filmed and photographed or something like that, I'm sure you do, too. But when all that is over, when you go back home, at night, you know, you're alone, or you're not alone, but that makes a big difference. You know? Your private life is really very important for you. You know, all of us, you know. So he was saying, listen, I've got all this, and you know, I conquered the world or whatever, but once when I'm at home, I like to be with you. I like, you know, to have this situation.
COOPER: When you think of him, are there particular moments or a particular time that you think of?
ONO: Well, it's very difficult, because it was so -- well, from the beginning it was totally intense and never stopped, because you know that he passed away here. So I mean that was big. That was really big.
And, well, at the weekend, because Monday was when it happened. But on the weekend, I literally -- I really felt that the air was going, "ahh," like this.
ONO: And I was looking at him through that, "ahh," air. You know? I said, "John, are you all right?" Because John was playing "Walking on Thin Ice" over and over and over again, all night, and all day. And I was thinking, why is he doing that? Why is he doing that? And it was a very strange weekend.
COOPER: So you felt something was sort of in the air?
ONO: Oh, I know that there was something. I know that there was a whole different dimension of the air that was around us.
COOPER: That's interesting. I lost a brother to suicide when he was 23 and I was 21. And I remember in the day of it, I remember feeling almost that sort of the city had stopped. I mean it happened --
ONO: Yes, so you felt it too, you know. It's -- I'm sure that there are many people who felt it. It was like a message from the universe or something. It was -- they were trying to tell us something, and I didn't know what it was. I thought that all these strange powers coming around him to protect him. But, well, they couldn't protect him now probably.
COOPER: Do you think about -- you know, the other thing I was thinking about, you know, is when somebody -- my brother killed himself and when somebody dies violently, it's sometimes hard to remember the way they lived. You end up thinking about the way their life ended.
At least in my case, that's what I do. Do -- are you able to think about the way John lived his life rather than how it ended?
ONO: Well, I do think about all aspects of our lives together. And, of course, how he went, how he passed away is -- I mean, I never -- I would never forget it. But I try to sort of block my mind from it in a way.
COOPER: One of the other quotes I read, John said, "When I met Yoko is like when you meet your first woman. You leave the guys at the bar. You don't go play football anymore. Once I found the woman, the boys became of no interest whatsoever, other than being old school friends." Of course, the boys he were talking about in this case were the Beatles.
ONO: Well, I think that's very normal. Even now, you know, in our society, guys are guys, you know. They're grouping themselves and being sort of macho, you know? There's that side of men, of course.
COOPER: Paul McCartney famously said about you, and I quote, "I understand he wants to be with her but why does he have to be with her all the time?"
ONO: I know, all the time. It was like that.
COOPER: What do you think he -- what do you think he didn't understand, though, about your relationship?
ONO: I -- well, I don't blame him so much, because it might have been very difficult for him to understand that his partner was not his partner anymore. I mean, that's a very classic situation, isn't it?
COOPER: The other thing I was curious about, is you said in an interview once, that you met John, you went to bed with him, and then you suddenly woke up with three in-laws standing there.
ONO: I know. Why did I say that?
COOPER: Well you're talking about the Beatles.
ONO: Yes, I know. Well, now, looking back, I think, well, I shouldn't have said that. I -- so --
COOPER: Did it feel like that at the time, though?
ONO: Yes, of course. But not really. I'll tell you, you know, not in the way that the world is thinking.
Actually, they were very polite people. I think polite just for John's sake, you know. They didn't want to be mean to me or something like that, so their meanness did not really express itself except once in a while.
COOPER: Every year at New Year's Eve, as a lifelong New Yorker I never used to go to Times Square during New Year's Eve, but now because I broadcast there for the ball drop, I go. And one of the most -- one of the great moments is where they play "Imagine."
ONO: I know. It always chokes me up, really.
COOPER: It's an extraordinary moment. To feel like the whole city is sort of singing it, it's really a magical moment.
ONO: The message hopefully will go down well.
COOPER: What do you think it is about the Beatles that people still are so passionate about?
ONO: Well, you know, because their songs are really good. And the reason why they're really good is because they -- they're songs that can really communicate to people all over the world. You know, instead of sort of like high art. It's not high art; it's just communicated so well. And it could be sung well. It could be sung by people, too, and be remembered by people because of that.
COOPER: You remain incredibly optimistic and excited.
ONO: Well, optimism is not the word for me. Optimism sounds like, you know, it's not really good, but you're just being optimistic. No. I think I'm being real. I'm being practical.
GUPTA: And coming up, cleaning clothing and going green. How a business was born after the birth of a child. It's tonight's "One Simple Thing".
GUPTA: Well, these days you can find a lot of items labeled organic or eco-friendly. The green movement has even hit the dry cleaning industry. Take a look in tonight's "One Simple Thing" report.
Here's Deborah Feyerick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kind of busy, right?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When David Kistner's wife Effie, became pregnant, life changed in a way he never imagined. The pregnancy actually helped him start a brand-new business.
DAVID KISTNER, OWNER, GREEN APPLE CLEANERS: She's the absolute reason why I did it. I would never have thought about why is dry cleaning bad.
FEYERICK: David was an airline consultant back in 2002 when his wife became pregnant with twins, Evan and Michael, now seven.
KISTNER: We were first-time parents and we read everything we can get our hands on. I read all the guy books and she read all the girl books. One of the guy books said don't let your wife wear dry- cleaned clothes. After research I found out, sure enough, it's because of the PERC.
FEYERICK: PERC is perchloroethylene, a colorless, toxic chemical used by most of the 35,000 dry cleaners in the U.S. It can cause headaches, it's also been linked to liver and kidney damage and the EPA says it's a potential carcinogen.
When David couldn't find a greener cleaner in New York City he started his own, Green Apple Cleaners, cleaning without PERC.
KISTNER: For 220 pounds of CO2.
FEYERICK: They use two methods. Recycled carbon dioxide where clothes go in a vacuum chamber with gas and liquid co2 which dissolve dirt and wet cleaning using cold water, mild soap and high tech washing machine that spins slowly to reduce wear and tear.
EFFIE KISTNER, DAVID KISTNER'S WIFE: It's just great not to worry about the clothes you wear. The boys can have the luxury of wearing clean clothes as well. They're children, so it's good to protect them from PERC and other chemicals.
FEYERICK: But for some consumers, the drawback is still price. At Green Apple in Manhattan it costs $2.75 to clean a shirt, at the competition down the street, $2; a blouse, $8.25 at Green Apple, $4 at the competition.
But they have found a niche market willing to pay. Now five- store strong, franchise drop off shops are the next step to grow.
D. KISTNER: You can franchise a drop store from Green Apple. We don't need to know anything about dry cleaning. What you do need to know about is how to take care of customers.
FEYERICK: The clothes will be picked up, shipped and cleaned at a plant in New Jersey. This year the company which grosses $5 million expects to make a profit for the first time. Not bad for the cleaner, which has brought green to New York dry cleaning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gives us oxygen.
E. KISTNER: Bringing up children, they are a lot more aware on how bad pollution is and complaining about people littering. They're just very aware and very passionate about it.
FEYERICK: Similar to the passion that drove their dad to create the green business just before they were born.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN.
GUPTA: And we have much more of AC 360 when we come back.