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tv   Happening Now  FOX News  November 12, 2010 11:00am-1:00pm EST

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>> here's something you want to know. with flu season already underway, folks should you wipe or dry your hands every time you use a public restroom? according to recent dryer the air-dryer is not the best bet. thoroughly drying your hands on the paper towels get them best chance walking out of the loo germ-free. go with the paper towel. have a great weekend. see you next time. >> "happening now" begins now. jon: and hello, happy friday. i'm jon scott. thank you for joining us. lots happening on this friday morning. patti ann: i'm patti ann browne in for jenna lee. we're in the fox newsroom. al qaeda appointing a new terror chief. jon: a new report tapped this man, al-adel. his name means the sword of the just. he is supposed to become al qaeda's new chief of
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international operations. his role? to spearhead the terror group's war against the west. catherine herridge joins us live from washington. who is this guy. >> reporter: he is well-known to u.s. investigators. he is on the fbi most wanted terrorist list for wanted in bombings of u.s. embassies in tanzania and kenya in 1998. they killed and wounded thousands of people, mostly african muslims. he was reported to be under quote, house arrest in iran with a group of senior al qaeda members including one of bin laden's sons. iran never publicly acknowledged adel and others being in iran. this led to speculation the arrest was really code for giving the men shelter and some sort of protection after 9/11 when they fled afghanistan, jon. jon: and supposedly he is reported to be planning a certain kind of attack? >> reporter: "the london telegraph" was to report that al-adel will take on the key leadership position where he would spearhead
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operations aimed directly at the west. we already know based on fox's own reporting al qaeda has a significant shift on small-scale attacks similar to mumbai, india in 2008 when commandos stormed the main train station and jewish community center and a hotel over three-day period taking hostages. this is style of attack is seen most likely to succeed then the big 9/11 attacks. jon: how will he mesh with bin laden and such? >> reporter: what we know from our reporting that al qaeda created a overlapping structure when it comes to the operational position. typically al qaeda members like alhadel who hold the positions as one counter terrorism official put to me don't have a long life expectancy. they may hold the position for 12 months or less, jon. jon: catherine herridge in washington for us. thank you. >> reporter: you're welcome. patti ann: lawmakers usually
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use lame-duck sessions of congress to try to pass tame legislation but democrats have one more opportunity to exercise their majority in the house. so this year we could see some more controversial bills coming up for a vote. james rosen is live in washington with more on this, hi, james. >> reporter: good morning. that sound you're hearing over the partisan din is the clatter of two simultaneously ticking clocks on the federal government's ability to continue operating without funding. the other on the dwindling lifespan of the bush era tax cuts and yet as pressing as those two matters are they are not the only items the lame-duck congress may wind up tackling. let's look at few others. sources tell fox news the outgoing democratic majority led by speaker nancy pelosi may make perennial so the nondiscrimination act. nancy pelosi the house speaker has mused about taking up the dream act. this allows some illegal aliens under 18 to avoid deportation. they could seek to retie
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social security payments to rises in the cost of living. known sometimes by cola, the cost of living act. there are two items, excuse me we already mentioned continuing resolution or spending bill which is needed by december 4th to keep uncle sam in business and bush-era tax cuts introduced in 2001 and 2003 and set to expire at year's end. that last item as we all know proved the most controversial as the white house sought to extend tax cuts only for individuals and families earning $250,000 a year or less even though a top white house aide signaled very clearly yesterday the president will accept extensions across the board, mr. obama himself in seoul, south korea, himself kept his emphasis on the middle class. >> my number one priority is making sure we make the middle class tax cuts permanent. that we give certainty to the 98% of americans who are affected by those tax breaks. i don't want to see their income taxes spike up.
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>> the president is playing games trying to act like the only one that cares for the middle class. there is not anybody who doesn't want the middle class to have this tax relief but we also need to have 800,000, 750,000 to 800,000 small businesses would be thrown into that extra tax that the president wants to charge. >> reporter: there will actually be two lame-duck sessions. each lasting a week. the first of them set to begin this coming monday. pattiable. patti ann: fox's james rosen in washington, thanks. >> thank you. jon: very sad news just breaking. authorities confirm now that human remains they found in north carolina do belong to 10-year-old zahra baker the little girl with cancer who disappeared weeks ago. harris has new details from the breaking news desk. >> reporter: in a report locally in hickory, north carolina, police plan to hold a news conference to discuss what they call knew evidence after they discovered the disabled north carolina's girl's
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missing remains. and again, that is a report coming out of that area. the sources close to the police department that we've been talking with at fox news channel is saying that the little girl suffered, this is really why her case is so nationally known, she suffered had a lot of limb and had a prosthetic leg due to bouts with cancer. she had moved to the united states with her father and stepmother. the father and stepmother have been since arrested not related to the case but in conjunction somehow with her disappearance. she disappeared, last seen on december 25th. and they have found remains and they do again, according to this report believe they are of 10-year-old zahra baker. a news conference is set for 4:00 p.m. today. we'll watch this case closely, jon. back to you. jon: so sad to hear that news. hair russ faulkner. thanks. patti ann: high-speed rail is hitting the brakes in the midwest. the federal government dumped millions of dollars into building the system.
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incoming governors in wisconsin and ohio are having second thoughts. mike tobin joins us live from the chicago newsroom with the story. hi, mike. >> reporter: hi, patti ann. governors-eexscott walker of wisconsin and john kasich of ohio telling the federal government thanks for the kind offer but we don't need your hundreds of millions in stimulus dollars. in wisconsin the money would go to build a rail line between madison and milwaukee. governor-elect walker says there is not a traffic problem between the two particular cities and it would cost u.s. taxpayers $810 million to build that rail line. then wisconsin taxpayers would be saddled with the operating cost he estimates between 7.5 million a year and 15 million a year. so. the governor-elect believes that money would be better spent on roads and bridges. >> we have roads and bridges all across the united states, we certainly have them in wisconsin, that need to be fixed. i would hope the new congress and the obama administration would give that a second look because
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that is much higher priority to get this state and ultimately our country working again. >> reporter: transportation secretary ray lahood sent letters to both of these governors elect telling them the money can not be diverted to road and bridge projects. it is specific for high-speed rail. politicians in other states are shooting up their hands eager to take the money. >> if their governor decides they don't want $800 million from the federal government to build fast trains, we're happy to take that. >> reporter: outgoing wisconsin governor jim doyle says canceling the project will cost the dairy state 400 jobs in the short term. patti ann? patti ann: mike tobin live in our chicago bureau, thanks. jon: a manhunt underway for one vicious thief. police want your help to track down a purse snatcher who dragged her victim alongside the suv she was driving. we have a detailed description of the perp for you plus how the victim is doing now. if it sound too good to be true it is right?
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maybe not. a flyer for target's after thanksgiving sale leaked deals that are incredible if they're real. the inside scoop on some black friday intrigue. we've got such a huge response to town hall usa segment on recommendations from the debt commission we're taking your questions again. what do you think of some of their proposals? like raising the retirement age, cutting some social security payments. adding a 15 cent a gallon gasoline tax. send us your questions and your thoughts. we will put them to our panel in the next hour. go to join the live chat and post on our blog. send us an e-mail and tweet. log on to
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jon: a "fox news alert". two suspicious packages have been found at mosques in france. france, as you know, has the largest islamic population in europe. white powder was supposedly
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found inside of these packages. people are investigating. the authorities are investigating the people who opened the packages have been quarantined for now. we'll continue to follow the story. get you more information as it becomes available. patti ann: happening now, door buster bargains that some say sound too good to be true. if the bargain website, got a is right, get ready for early morning feeding frenzy at target stores on black friday two weeks from today. according to a leaked circular the website says it got its hands on, they can get $3 toasters, coffee makers, flat screen hdtvs for under00 bucks and 12 megapixel cameras for as low as $79. target so far declined to comment. they would not be alone to offer crazy deals to lure in business shoppers. fox business network reporter adam shapiro joins us now with more on this thanks for being with us. >> my america sure to be here. i bet if your husband bought you a $3 toaster for
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christmas you would be a little get, he would get cold coffee in the morning? patti ann: divorce court. just kidding. actually we need a toaster. >> if you're listening a $3 toaster sounds good. target is saying they're not going to comment but getting all the publicity. not just $3 toaster or $89 billion ipod. the 8-gigabyte ipod, forgive me for just $79. free gift cards for every $100 you spend. also have sears saying they're going to be open on thanksgiving. sears for the first time in its 130-plus year history open on thanksgiving. wal-mart and target now offering free shipping up until december 20th on the thousands of upon thousands of items you can purchase online. the is getting very competitive. we're still two weeks away from thanksgiving. patti ann: yeah. >> i know where i'm going to be on the day after thanksgivinging with this kind of story. probably a target but we'll see. patti ann: i've done many of those actually. why the deep discounts? obviously the economy?
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>> it is the economy. depends which retail forecast you look at. citi came out with a forecast just this week that most of us are not really going to increase the amount we spend. in fact on the individual items we buy we're going to decrease how much we spend. for instance you're going to spend according to the citi forecast you will spend less on the people you love this year than last year. 78% of us aren't even going to travel. we're seeing already, predictions that people are going to come back. patti ann: all right, adam shapiro, fox business network. thanks. >> reporter: yeah. patti ann: jon? jon: patti ann a horrifying crime caught on tape. cameras were rolling in the parking lot of a wal-mart in grove city. police say the driver asked for directions before grabbing the victim's purse and then driving off. the victim dragged for at least 10 feet. she broke her shoulder trying to escape the purse straps. police are looking for a white female in her 30s or 40s. has a mead yum build and shoulder length curly blond
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hair. driving a dark-colored honda crv with ohio license platsz, missing cover on back spare tire. if you have any information, please call the police tip line, 614-277-1808, grove city, ohio. patti ann: president obama is moving on from what he called the democrats shellacking in the midterm. he is on a 10-day trip to asia increasing his focus on america's foreign policy a brand new poll sheds light on what americans think of that. also a construction worker in southern florida accidentally cut as gas line. flames shooting high in the air. we'll tell you what happened to him and what it means to nearby residents.
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patti ann: thousands of folks are without gas for heat, hot water and cooking
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on florida's gulf coast this after a construction worker operating a bulldozer severed a natural gas line, triggering a fiery explosion that left him badly burned. harris has gotten new information. she is at breaking news desk. hi, harris. >> this is more than a mess and inconvenience now. u.s. department of labor is getting involved in who was involved in this. this is work being done at something called the posen project. this is busy area. state road 82 colonial boulevard in fort myers. just opening up for the first time since the explosion happened. i want to give you the latest on the construction worker driving the bulldozer accidentally somehow severed the line that sent a plume of fire and smoke up into the air. 30-year-old mario santos of bonita springs. he is still in critical condition at this hour with burns over 50% of his body.
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teco peoples gas is in charge of getting natural gas back for cooking and hot water and those things that you mentioned, patti ann, for collier and lee counties down in florida. let me tell you what is being affected by all this. hospitals, schools, restaurants, hotels, natural gas service there cut for more than 8,000 residents and businesses and there is no word yet how long it will take to repair the line. but the big breaking news now that the u.s. department of labor is involved in the investigation to see exactly how this could have happened. back to you. patti ann: harris faulkner live at the breaking news desk, thanks. >> sure. jon: you know, traditionally presidents turn their attention to foreign policy when they're facing trouble at home. right after democrats took a big hit in the midterm election president obama left for a 10-day trip to asia. well now a new "pew research poll" shows more americans trust the president to take the lead on america's foreign policy than gop
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leaders. talk about that with kt mcfarland, former deputy assistant secretary of defense under president reagan. she is also a fox news national security analyst. when the going gets tough, the tough get out of country. that comes to mind. >> nixon did it. carter did it. clinton did it. likely for obama to do it. jon: during troublesome times at home. >> if you are in trouble at home and can't get congress to do what you want on domestic policy, taxes economy and immigration you look abroad. the president has a lot more latitude as commander-in-chief. i think what president obama will do continue to take foreign trips for sure but he will press for achievements because he didn't want to go to the polls in 2012 with nothing to show. he will look for treaties. one thing he will start with strategic arms reduction talks part two. he will try to push that through in the lame-duck session of congress. jon: what about iraq though? for instance there is some movement getting a
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functioning government in iraq. can he claim that as well? >> jon, look he campaigned on the argument that iraq was the bad war and that the surge was a lousy idea. and yet iraq is the one war look like it is turning out well. so i think he may claim it but i don't think people give him credit for it. it is not terribly credible. he will try to do okay, there is afghanistan. that is not likely to be a terribly great success in the time frame's he has got. what about china? we've seen in the trip taken to asia with china there are a lot of trade issues and currency issues may not end well. where does he go from there? i think what you will see the president will try to push through an israeli-palestinian peace agreement. he talked about it this week when he was in indonesia. mrs. clinton talked about it two days ago. so i think that that's where they head. jon: but you have divided palestinians. you have the palestinians in the west bank opposing the palestinians in gaza. how do you get a peace agreement when one side is bifurcated? >> it is even worse because
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israel is in the middle. if you think of a shape of a peanut shell you have the west bank on one side and gaza on the other. the israelies are negotiating but they're negotiating with the west bank palestinians. even if they found an agreement, fund way, i think it will be tough, even if they did they have the gaza strip palestinians controlled by hamas a terrorist organization, that is committed to the destruction of israel. jon: but every president since harry truman has been trying to get some kind of a peace agreement there. it seems like that is the one place -- >> one place it is tough. jon: where you will not get much progress. >> i was in the area two weeks ago. i was in the west bank in israel. it is clear that everybody knows what an agreement would look like and everybody seems to want it but they don't know how to get from here to there. that's why they all look to the united states for a bigger role. whether we can do it, we'll have to see. whatever agreement has, any prospect of being kept it will mean somebody has to guaranty that agreement and that probably means foreign troops. jon: kt mcfarland always good to talk to you.
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thanks. patti ann? patti ann: jon we could get a verdict any moment in the first civilian trial of a gitmo detainee? what does it mean in the prosecution of confessed mastermind of 9/11. khalid sheikh mohammad. and where will the feds eventually try him? we'll ask a former federal prosecutor. it is the first new test of the new congress. raising the government debt. likelihood of routine raise of that debt limit won't happen, coming up
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jon: some new information on those two suspicious packages sent to a turkish mosque in eastern france. police say that the powder involved is not anthrax but they are not saying much more than that apparently someone sent these packages along with a burned page from the koran and a note calling on muslims, to leave our land while there is still time, unquote. the group signed it, the movement for the liberation of europe. authorities say they have never heard of that group before. again, france has the highest islamic population in europe. there have been a lot of hackles raised over relations between the two groups there. we will continue to follow this story and as police develop more information, we'll bring it to you. also right now, a preview of one of the first major tests for the new congress. the battle over raising the
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government's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. take a look at the nation's debt, rising, dizzyingly fast. raising the debt limit, normally a routine task in washington but these days a lot of new republicans swept into office on tea party votes are threatening to block any lifting of the debt ceiling. our chief washington correspondent, jim angle is with us. jim, the u.s. hits the debt limit early next year. where do we stand on the debate as of right now? >> reporter: well it is very interesting, jon. senator-elect mike lee of utah makes clear he thinks the borrowing and spending has to stop and stop now. listen. >> well my intention is to vote against any effort to increase the national debt limit. our current limit is at about the $14.7 trillion. that is a lot of money. >> reporter: now conservative analysts agree on the need to cut spending but voting against raising the debt limit is not the best way to do it. >> not raising the debt limit means not paying the
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bill for past commitments. it could mean social security checks not going out. it could mean defaulting on the national debt. that's the kind of thing that would panic financial markets and do more harm than good. >> reporter: many republicans are determined to cut spending as well but agree borrowing can not be stopped cold in the space of a few months. >> well we have a trillion 1/2 deficit this year. i don't think we can balance the budget in one fiscal year. and so, you know, realistically i think you would have to have some increase in the debt. >> reporter: now he says republicans hope to do it over a three or four-year period, the shorter the better. but doing it all in one year would be eliminating one-third or more of the federal government in just the next few months. as desirable as that may sound to some conservatives that would be a tall order, jon. jon: so what's likely to happen then? >> reporter: one, many conservatives will emphasize
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the need to raise the debt limit the painful result of past spending practices not their intentions for the future. republicans in both the house and senate already proposed cutting $100 billion in spending. make no mistake, spending is going to be the major issue in the next congress, just as the tea parties wanted it to be. but many republicans don't want to take a chance on shutting down the government to do it. the last time that happened as you may remember was under newt gingrich. voters turned on republicans as a result and helped revive another democratic president in trouble, then, bill clinton. jon? jon: jim angle live in washington. thank you. >> reporter: you bet. patti ann: announcement could come any time regarding the trial of the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. u.s. attorney general eric holder is close to a decision where to try khalid sheikh mohammed and others. one year ago holder announced plans to hold the trial in the shadows of ground zero. those plans came to an bankrupt halt after public outcry. joining us now, fred tici, a
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former federal prosecutor. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me, patti ann. patti ann: first question obviously, civilian trial or military. opponents say khalid sheikh mohammed should not be granted the rights of u.s. citizens. they want them held as enemy combatants and tried in a military court. where does it stand? >> where is stands, a year ago i said he should not be tried in civilian court and a year ago now he says he is close to decision. any decision of we ain't going to try them there is wrong decision. i don't need to look any further south in the southern district of court going on in ghailani trial. judge caplan, i have too give judge caplan credit he up healed the law of constitution. he suppressed statement of a minor who was going to testify that he sold ghailani five to 12 crates of dynamite. what is the administration going to do when in the ghailani trial possibly we
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get an acquittal? you could have the same problem with khalid sheikh mohammed. patti ann: yeah to remind people. >> ga -- ghailani the first gitmo detainee brought to the united states for a civilian trial. >> correct. patti ann: if it is a criminal trial for ksm the neck question is obviously where? new york city prompted rage but any other site that is suggested prompts outrage as well. no one wants this trial in their backyard. where might it end up? >> you raise a great, well there is federal district court in guam, okay? let me answer your question. you raise a great point. the fact of the matter is if you try khalid sheikh mohammed in a federal district court, you afford him the rights of the constitution and you may get a judge willing to uphold the law as judge caplan was and suppress evidence and run the risk this guy will get acquitted. quite frankly the guy should be tried in a military tribunal. i understand why we're doing this but i have never understood and i asked the administration repeatedly to
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explain it to me, why do we, why risk an acquittal, why risk danger to the judiciary, why risk the danger to the united states marshal service for what? what is the upside potential of doing this? patti ann: in addition to that there are security concerns and cost concerns. >> correct. >> how difficult would it be to secure an area where the alleged 9/11 plotter is at trial? >> well you know what? i have tremendous, tremendous respect for the united states marshal service. i worked with them closely in all my years as a federal prosecutor. those men and women will do spectacular job of keeping judges safe, keeping jurors safe, quite frankly keeping khalid sheikh mohammed safe. the question is this. you also have security issues for all the people that live in and around the courtroom. patti ann: right. >> this guy is the member of an organization wants to set off bombs in airplanes, wants to blow up buildings and kill and slaughter americans. what better stage to do that than a federal trial in the district of new york. i don't think a decision going there if the attorney
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general makes the right decision. patti ann: it needs to be funded by congress and a lot of congress members say they will not vote to fund it. >> correct. patti ann: a lot of chapters to go in this story. fred, former federal prosecutor. thank you. >> thanks for having me, patti ann. jon: imagine this. you get opportunity to look through centuries much the vatican library most delicate and priceless work. now you can and don't need the white gloves. the vatican new exhibit allows you to flip through high quality fact sim lease of ancient documents. greg burke took a look at this. he is in rooem. why is this important, greg? >> reporter: the vatican is city full of secrets or seems to be. you can get into the vatican museums but other than that there is pretty tough. there is big wall around the city. one of the toughest places to get into is the vatican library which has a number of priceless treasures. it has been off limits to everybody except scholars. they seem however here to be trying to change that.
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>> the amazing thing about the new exhibit at the vatican is that you can actually leaf through the books that are on display. that's strange because the vatican library is just normally open to scholars and really established scholars get to see this. this book, a prayer book, more than 700 years old, nearly 700 years old. now it is just a very good facsimile. i can tell that because it doesn't smell like an old book but other than that it is quite impressive. jon, things are off to a good start. we visited twice this week. once before it opened and again today. today it was absolutely ja jam-packed mostly with students but a lot of other people as well. jon? jon: what is the most impressive thing you've seen on display? >> reporter: well, that's tough, that's a tough call. there are a lot of what they call illuminated manuscripts. before the printing press obviously books were put on parchment, hand-painted. many books, as if every page is a piece of artwork. i think the divine comedy,
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daunte's divine comedy is one impressive one. and some atlases as well. there are a whole lot of other things. it is pretty he can lek fix. -- eclectic. they have a pretty impressive coin collection from rome man times. jon: interesting stuff, greg burke live from rome. thank you. patti ann: senate majority leader harry reid is putting the dream act at the top of his to-do list. it allows illegal immigrants to aisle in this country under certain circumstances. will it become a dream for the lame-duck session of congress or a nightmare for the next leader? she has not said she is running but a new buk tour is saking sarah palin to iowa and a new reality show premiers this weekend. chris star waltz on what it all means
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patti ann: this is a "fox news alert". the man who hacked former alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate sarah palin's e-mail account has been sentenced.
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harris faulkner has the story at our breaking news desk. hi, harris. >> 20-year-old david kernell a 20-year-old former university of tennessee student. the nation is pouring out of the courtroom in tennessee. he is facing now a year restitution for that. could be a halfway house. the judge said that the prosecutors wanted 18 months in prison. he will not give that but give a year. it is up to the bureau of prisons to decide if he will do that year and one day behind bars or if he in fact will go to a halfway house. remember he hacked into sarah palin's private account. she and her daughter bristol testified in april that it caused the family distress. now david kernel a year and one day either behind bars or a halfway house. back to you. patti ann: harris faulkner, thanks. >> sure. jon: the senate majority leader says the dream act is a top priority of his during the lame-duck session of congress coming up. it would allow illegal
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immigrants to stay in the u.s. if they came here as children, if they're attending college or serving in the military. there are a few other qualifications as well. now reid tried to get the dream act passed back in september. republicans blocked it. can he do it now? what is it about this lame-duck session that might allow it? republican congressman steve king is a member of the judiciary committee, a ranking member of the submitt tee on immigration. harry reid wants to use opportunities available to him in the lame-duck session to get this thing passed. do you think it is possible? >> i think it is very unlikely harry reid could pull this off. he lost an effort on that last september. 54-43 was the vote when he needed cloture. i think it is a little harder for harry reid to do that now. one thing he might do is ask nancy pelosi to try to push this version of amnesty, the dream act through the house to stack it up to put a little pressure on the senate. then look for a way to try to get it passed. i don't think harry reid or
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nancy pelosi or even barack obama understand that the american people have said no. they have repudiated the 111th congress. they're no longer the legitimatized representatives of the american people. and large initiatives should not be advanced when lame-duck sessions. jon: well if this is a proposal that would allow people who were brought here as children, i mean there are the children of illegal immigrants essentially, they were brought here when they were under 16 years old. they're supposed to be of good moral character and so forth, what's the argument, what is the argument against easing their path to citizenship in your view? >> first, i would say that, being the children of illegals doesn't mean they are not illegal themselves. these children are illegal. and, they aren't anchor babies that were born here and received this practice of birthright citizenship. they came here illegally, whether it was in the first day of their life or the day before they were 16 years old or perhaps up to 35 by some provisions. we have drawn the line. it is against the law.
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the moral standard reflects the law. and so, but here's another moral position that i think we need to understand is that the dream act is a de facto scholarship for an illegal that if it were to be delivered by the department of homeland security, they would be compelled to have to deport those illegals. they would be handed this de facto scholarship to. sitting in the classroom next to some of them if the dream act passes will be inevitably, a widow or widower or a son or daughter of someone who lost their life in iraq or afghanistan defending our liberty and our freedom and they would be paying out of state tuition, if they chose to cross the state line to go to school for example, sitting next to someone in a classroom that received a de facto scholarship who was illegal and only, authorized to become an american citizen by virtue of this special amnesty program, this affirmative action program for illegals that is being pushed by harry reid. jon: congressman steve king, thank you very much. we'll hear from the other side of this issue in just a
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moment. patti ann? patti ann: a secret that has perplexed man for many years is solved. how cats can elegantly sip from a saucer without spilling a drop or getting their chins wet. it has been 35 years since the edmund fitzgerald went down in a fierce storm. none of the crew ever found. now a new look at an age-old mystery. ♪
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jon: we just told but the dream act that would allow an easier path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military in this country. we heard from the representative steve king who is opposed to getting that legislation through in the lame-duck session of congress. will there is another side. let's talk about it with lizette olmos, national communications director for league of united latin american citizens. lizette, there are plenty people fired up about the unemployment situation in this country. they say now is not the time to be bringing in more citizens from other places. we need to get jobs for our own people first. your response? >> yes. that is important, jobs is number one issue along with the economy. and a lot of the children that are here, we have millions of students that through no fault of their
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own have been brought by their parents and they have contributed to our economy. and someone like secretary of defense gates also supports the dream act. we feel this is something that has both democratic and republican support. jon: well it doesn't enjoy broad-based republican support or it would have passed congress. for that matter there are many democrats who are only saying that they would vote for this thing now because either they lost in the last election or they aren't running again. >> we have had meetings with various senators and both republicans and democrats, and republicans who have said they would come on board and support the dream act because it is the right thing to do. we've also have talked to various senators, such as senator reid who said that he would present the dream act in the lame-duck session and we feel at this time we can get it passed and the time is right. jon: there are those who say it is sort of a political ploy by democrats who are hoping to pick up more
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latino votes by getting this thing through or at least, voting for it in one house of congress and then using it as an issue against republicans the next time around. your take? >> well, we saw is that in the election, the latino vote is important and both the democrats and republicans catered to the latino vote. we saw a massive turnout of latino voters from the 2006 elections. we saw republican latinos getting elected by large latino voters, same thing with democratic candidates. so they both realize that they the vote is critical and that latinos are important and that they would support the dream act. jon: lizette olmos, from the league of united latin american citizens. thanks. >> thank you. patti ann: gordon lightfoot wrote a song about it, the sinking of the edmund fitzgerald on lake superior 35 years ago but to this day it remain as mystery why the ship and her crew were sent to their watery graves. lauren grind zones joins us
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now with some insights in this. >> we know what it is. it lies 540 feet below the surface of lake superior, from whitefish point, michigan. this once, greatest, largest fastest ship of freighters suddenly disappeared off radar in the middle of a horrendous storm. 90 mile-an-hour winds and 30 to 40 foot waves. what caused the ship to sink no one really understands. all the 429 crewmembers were gone. the last word was we're holding our own. here is what the shipwreck museum said about the sinking. take a look. >> we may never really know what put the final death blow to this ship but it didn't have time to even call for help. so the ship just disappeared off the radar. sailed into the headlines and history books. there is lays, 17 miles from our museum site. >> there are several theories. perhaps they hit unchartered
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shallow point in the lake. perhaps a big rogue wave, 70 feet high, maybe 100, we don't know. several theories are out there but no one really knows for sure. patti ann: they hold a memorial every year. this year's was different, why? >> it was different because on the night the edmund fitzgerald went down the minister at the mariner's church rang the billion 29 times for all the men aboard the fitzgerald. and that act, inspired a story which went national and it inspired gordon lightfoot to write the song about the edmund fitzgerald. the edmund fitzgerald went into legendary history. but the minister who gave the sermon is the minister's son who rang the bell. he use ad line from gordon lightfoot's song to comfort the families. does anyone know where the love of god goes when waves turn minutes into hours and hear is the answer to that question. >> when you ask where does the love of god go, short answer is, it doesn't go anywhere. because the love of god is everywhere at all times
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throughout all of creation, throughout all of eternity. >> and that question has been lingering over that tragedy for years and he brought the answer to those family members. patti ann: very interesting, very comforting. good speaker. lauren green. the edmund fitzgerald. jon? jon: researchers uncover the answer to a long, an age-old mystery really. how cats can drink from a bowl without getting their chins wet. researchers spent three years working on this feline feat. you didn't know that was a mystery, did you? they have found that cats have just the right kitty combination of fluid dynamicking gravity ratio. they're able to move milk from saucer to their mouth without spilling a drop. you could say their drinking technique is purr-fected. patti ann: but you wouldn't do that, jon. whoever said cats and dogs don't get along. if you haven't you haven't seen the video. cat taking over for k-9 mom
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nursing a orphan puppy. his mother died giving birth. his chances survival were slim until rabid the cat took over accepts him as one of her own. jon: a new twist to the story of the russian spy ring busted in the united states this past summer. reports out of russia say there is kremlin hit squad looking to kill the double agent who ratted out anna chapman, this woman and her fellow spies. we have a live report next. america's asking. we're taking your question on the debt commission's recommendations. they are causing outrage on the right and the left. harris is watching the live chat, anybody outraged there, right now, harris? >> outrage, fury, frustration, you come up with it and it applies here. mainly it means a whole lot of volume on the live chat right now. cool, positive contact. harris i love some of the ideas, especially individual tax reform and corporate tax. and, ronnie writes, stop taking our money we put into social security and pay us
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back exclamation point. lots of conversation going on right now. you can get in on the game. go to, click on the beautiful picture of jon and jenna and it will take you to our page. there is a clickable portion of that halfway down to get you into the live chat. get in there and we'll try to share some of your comments and questions right here on the program, "happening now", we're coming right back. which provided for their every financial need. [ thunder rumbling ] [ thunder crashing ] and then, in one blinding blink of an eye, their tree had gen its last. butith their raymond james finanal advisor, they had prepared for even the unthinkable. ♪ and they danced. see what a raymond james advisor can do for you.
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jon: it is high noon here on the east kao*es, hello to you -- coast, hello to you, i'm jon scott. i don't even know my own name and it's all new "happening now." patti ann: i'm patti ann browne. a fierce battle is underway over ballots. it is day three of counting all the write-in votes. so far lisa murkowski is getting most of those votes.
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live in juneau, alaska where the ballot are being counted, dan springer is there. >> reporter: the miller camp made allegations and they are filing another lawsuit today. >> reporter: this is the election that will not end and end up being decided by judges. the lawsuit you mentioned today will be in state court. that is going to be an effort to get the voter rolls to match that up against the votes that were cast at the precinct. the other issue was the allegation of voter fraud. that happened midday yesterday during the count as the count continued to look good for lisa murkowski, a strategist for joe miller came here and said they received numerous complaints of voter fraud and intimidation. his goal seemed to be he's going fishing. he could not produce any evidence, we kept asking him for that. i announced the creation of a miller campaign voter fraud hotline number. the counters kept stacking up the votes for lisa murkowski leaving miller and his
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supporters with very few options. >> we are going to fight this battle and we are not going to be stopped by the intimidation of the people running the state for decades. >> we remain confident that 98% of all the votes that have been cast as a write-in are being cast for lisa murkowski. that is positive for our campaign. it appears for the miller campaign it's become desperation time. >> reporter: floyd brown, that first speaker there, people might know him back from 1988 he was behind the willie horton ad that devastated the due kabg sis -- d u.k d another campaign. patti ann: could he really win this thing. >> reporter: that is if all the challenged ballots are being tossed out. 98% of the votes are being given to lisa murkowski. 8% are being challenged by the
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miller supporters here, the observers on the grounds that they are misspelled, or there is a come a or that they are adding lisa murkowski, republican. now miller's strategy is to get all those thrown out. if he does win he does have a chance. then if he gets all those thrown out then the courts ultimately have to go through and some of the ballots are actually spelled correctly. ultimately those you would think would be added to the lisa murkowski total and i think she still wins even in that scenario. patti ann: interesting, dan springer live in alaska, thanks. jon: in today's power play ask's former governor sarah palin is planning a tour of america's heartland. the former vice presidental candidate is promoting her new book kw-bg america by heart kw-bg kw-bg just in time for the holidays. some are wondering if her trip with stops in key primary states might h-ls be a preview of 2012. let's talk about it with chris
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stirewalt, fox news digital editor. >> reporter: any time you have sarah palin showing up anywhere in iowa or south carolina you are going to get a lot of people talking, because the question that is on every potential republican contender's mind this year, will she or won't she? jon: and if you had to guess, what would you say the answer to that question is. >> reporter: you would go broke betting on this one i think because honestly you might want to just take her at her word when she says that she is waiting to see, because if we learned anything from watching and conversation and listening to sarah palin since she sort of exploded onto the national stage, it's that she is unpredictable and you don't know what she's going to do. one thing we can take away from all of it, jon is this. she seemed to really enjoy the experience, just looking at it as an outsider, she seemed to really enjoy the experience of campaigning and being part of
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the fox team on election night. it really seemed like she was jazzed. it seemed like she was having a lot of fun. the other thing that i think is north worthy is is that since the election it's not like she's gone back to alaska or fallen out of the picture. she's been giving speaking engagements, she is going out across the country, a book tour and her reality show debuts this weekend. jon: right she has a reality show that is getting mixed reviews from people who have seen episodes. >> reporter: i will say this these reviews have helped her manage expectations, let's put it this way, i think a lot of people were expecting to see some reality show, when they hear reality show i think they were thinking of something sort of seed de. in fact it looks like this is a lot of outdoors kind of stuff and going around alaska doing adventure tourism kind of thing. so it will increase her profile and it's yet to be seen how that affects the perception of her as
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a potential candidate, but certainly we are hearing and seeing a lot of sarah palin these days. jon: that's what i want to do, go to ask and do an adventure tourism show. >> reporter: i'd like to see you in a kaoeu cayak. jon: thank you. patti ann: mr. obama makes a denial one day after his top advisers suggested the administration might be willing to accept an extension across the board. david axelrod's comments sent shock waves across washington and reached all the way to asia during the president's trip. mike emanuel is live at the white house. what did the president say today on the bush tax cut issue. >> reporter: david axelrod seemed to be signaling to the president's base by talking to huffington post that in order to continue the middle class tax cuts they would have to
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compromise, find a deal with republicans which seems to suggest, perhaps, a temporary extension for those making more than $250,000 a year. today the president was asked about that, here is what he had to say. >> that is the wrong interpretation, because i haven't had a conversation with republican, democratic leaders. here is the right interpretation. i want to make sure that taxes don't go up for middle class families starting on january 1st. that is my number one priority for those families and our economy. >> reporter: so the president clearly not wanting to negotiate from the position of a news conference in south korea or where he is now in japan. patti ann: can you read between the lines a bit, what is actually going on haoefrpblgts the bottom line, the president has -- the president has invited congressional leaders here to the white house next week, it may happen next thursday. he's going to sit down and talk to him. this is one of the top pry o*erts. now he's in gentleman -- top
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priorities. now he's in japan, he's done top economic activity. he doesn't want to come out and say this is what i have accepted before he sits with congressional leaders. it hurts his bargaining position. if he says okay i'll take a two year exemption on the tax cuts and the republicans say they want five years. if it is a longer deal than the president wants it may look like he loses in all this. clearly he does not want to put all of his cards on the table before he's even met with congressional leaders. patti ann: perhaps he could convey that to some of his spokes people. thanks. jon: the head of the republican party is facing a challenge. he says he will run against party chairman michael fiel. he revealed his plans today in an email in which urged chairman steele to step out of the limelight. he is the former head of michigan's republican party, he
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lost to steele two years ago in his own bid for the national chairmanship. patti ann: fox news is bringing you the story of an incredible political come back. be sure to turn in the rise, fall and future of conservatism. this heirs sunday night, 9:00pm eastern time on fox. jon: breaking right now a man accused of a murderous three-state stabbing free that had a lot of folks on edge during the summer has been ordered to stand trial. a michigan judge finds probable cause to try the israeli national for the attempted murder of a man near flint. five people were killed, nine injured in the stabbing free. harris has more. >> reporter: people are watching and all the states really across the country as cases begin to pileup, charges against him. jon, this is particularly important, this one in michigan, this is where according to
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police this death of frank killabrew is what made them know they were dealing with a serial killer. it may be some of the best evidence they have which may be why the judge says there is enough to hold this over, probable cause for trial. let me tell you what i'm talking about. when abuelazam was trying to flee the country he was caught in atlanta going on a flight home to israel. they got him. inside of his luggage were some blood-tainted shoes. dna testing has shown that is the blood of victim frank killebrew. police, prosecutors, family members say this may be the best case for a conviction in all of the killings and stabbings. one of the attacks in virginia, he is accused of using a hammer against a person. he's 34 years old, and attorneys have extradited him where they need to to be able to face charges, but michigan is
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especially important because that's where the bulk of the stabbings and the attacks happened. again, this one case could open the door wide open to adjudicate some of the other cases and charges. back to you. jon: harris faulkner, thanks. patti ann: new u.s. embassy as attacked in 1998 the bombings left hundreds of people dead. now there is a report that a man wanted in connection with those attacks may be working closely with the world's most wanted terrorist. we'll break down what that means for us next. nobody in my family ever had a heart attack. if anything, i thought i'd get hit by a bus, but not a heart. my doctor put me on an aspin regimen to help protect my life. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. check with your doctor because it can happen to anybody. to stay fit,ith your doctor you might also want to try lifting one of these. a unique sea salt added to over 40 campbell's condensed soups. helps us reduce sodium, but not flavor. so do a few lifts. campbell's.® it's amazing what soup can do.™
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patti ann: there is growing opposition to holding a terror trial only blocks from ground zero. new york governor-elect andrew cuomo saying the trial of khalid sheikh mohammed should be kept out of new york state. he says he is completely opposed to having the trial in new york and will fight to keep it out. the comment coming after attorney general eric holder saying the obama administration
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is close to making a decision on the location. jon: there is a possible change in al-qaida leadership. osama bin laden has appointed a new commander to lead the war against the west. he is known as sword of the just. he could be behind the recent scarce in european the mail bomb plot that was busted last month. who is this guy. let's talk about it with our homeland security analyst at the heritage foundation. is this gentleman a known quantity to western intelligence? >> reporter: yes, intelligence no, sir a bit about who he is. he's kind of a shadowy figure. they know the individual but they don't know at least publicly there is not a lot known about his background and history. jon: he advocated against something like the 9/11 attacks, he thought that you make a strike that big the u.s. is sure to fight back and they would lose their base of operations in afghanistan, which is exactly
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what happened, right? >> reporter: that's right. people kind of run around with their hair on fire about this. this is not a new strategy or particularly good. the al-qaida strategy was only another 9/11 or bigger was good enough. that became impossible. then it was, well we are going to run the americans into the sea in iraq, and that failed completely. and so now they've evolved onto a strategy, let's find somebody who can attack somebody at some place to show people we are still in the game. it's kind of like throw the spaghetti at the wall strategy and hope something sticks. and it hasn't worked very well either. the mumbai style attacks failed, the mail the bombs attack failed. some time somebody will get lucky and pull something out. what we are seeing now is an al-qaida that is desperate. the fact they've appointed a new leader that is not good either, they've appointed lots of guys to lead these operations.
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unlike osama you have to come out of the cave. when they find out about you then you get whacked. jon: isn't it true that he and osama bin laden crossed swords. he didn't agree with how osama bin laden was running the organization. >> reporter: we don't know a tremendous amount of the interplay inside there. you have to take some of this with a grain a salt. i don't think his appointment is necessarily a statement of strength on the part of osama bin laden. i think it's a statement of desperation. they are trying to show they are still in the game. this shows again why winning in afghanistan is so important to keep al-qaida out of there, to force the pakistanis to deal with them on that side of the border. finishing the job in iraq and afghanistan is so important. the reason why they went to yemen is because they've -- even had trouble operating out of pakistan. they tried to set up a new base operation.
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jon: and yemen has essentially no functioning government, same with somalia you're saying that that's why, you know, a country like afghanistan, which really didn't have a government before is fertile ground for a group like al-qaida. >> reporter: right, they are not the easiest places to operate from, so if you pay attention to them and you go after them you don't wind up with another afghanistan. the reason why we should be in yemen and somalia now operating on a limited way is so that we don't have to do what we're doing in afghanistan now in a big way later. these are problems if you let them fester you wind up with a 9/11. if you stay on top of them, then you have to be in the game 24-7. you can never be complacent, but it's a manageable threat. if we take our eye off the ball then this could be a real thing, but in we keep our eye on the ball then i think, you know, we can deal with this threat. jon: thank you. patti ann: a fight over your financial future and the future of social security. if nothing is done the system
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could go broke leaving nothing for our children and grandchildren. a look at the problems and possible solutions along with some tough political choices. also, new questions over a plan to allow mexicans living in one state to use an i tkeurbgs card issued by mexico. and a desperate search for a missing family. harris has more from the breaking news desk, harris. >> reporter: yes we've got that coming up. i'm also watching the live chat. when i come back i'll give you some information on what people are talking about, stay close. you could switch for great gas mileage or seats that ip and fold with one hand. you could switch for up to 600 highway miles on a single tank of gas. or the hundred-thousand le powertra warranty. over a thousand people a day are switching to chevy. they're not just trading in, they're trading up. qualified lessees can get low mileage lease on this 2011
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jon: in central ohio there is a search underway right now for a mother, her new children and a female friend, all four missing. the mother's drug found on a college campus. that prompted the entire campus to be locked down all night.
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harris is at the breaking news desk, harris. >> reporter: they've been talking to neighbors this morning to try to figure out what happened to 32-year-old tina herman and her two children and her friend. she worked at the nearby dairy queen and when she didn't show up for work one of her coworkers knocked on her door and that's when the search ensued. the campus was locked down because they found her car there. the lockdown has been lifted but the search for teen a her 13-year-old daughter, ten-year-old son and a 41-year-old woman friend is on. the sheriff's department in howard, ohio is not saying very much at this time, but, again, this video was taken just outside their home. it's just coming into fox news channel. these are the very first pictures to try to get an idea of what is going on in that area as they search for this woman and her kids. i'll stay on the story as it is breaking right now and bring you any details that i can find. jon: harris faulkner, thanks. patti ann: president obama said we are going to have to make
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some tough choices, does that mean social security will go on the chopping block? some members of the president's bipartisan debt commission suggests cuts in those benefits are necessary to bring down the country's spiralling debt. we have the former director of president bush's economic council and the author of social security, the unfinished work. he joins us now. let's take a look at the proposal from the two chairs of this debt commission. they say that we should increase the retirement age one month every two years starting in 2020, they also say we should increase the cap on taxable wages, eliminate the child tax credit and mortgage interest deduction, and decrease benefit growth for upper income workers. pretty drastic. what do you say? >> well, drastic is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. on the retirement age change in if i can i -- in particular i would argue that it was pretty
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gradual. they propose the social security age retirement grow once every two years. it wouldn't begin until the 2020s then it would take a full 48 hours after that for the retirement age to rise by even two years. and for perspective that is actually a slower rate of increase in the retirement age than we are going through right now put forth by the greenspan commission in 1987. it is rising from 65 to 67 over the span of 2000 to the 2020s. they are putting forth a slower rate increase in retirement to that point. patti ann: we had three workers supporting that and you predict it will drop to 2 by the 2030s. you have this projection on the number of social security beneficiaries. in 2008 there were 50 million but by the mid 2030s there will be more than 90 million. you say if there is no action
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from 2015 to 1237 taxpayer costs will skyrocket and the benefits will be cut 22% leaving a net loss for young generations of 4% of their wage income. go into that a little bit more for us. >> reporter: this is why action in the near term is so important. it's precisely because so many baby boomers are entering the retirement rolls that we will get a much better outcome if we do something in the near term rather than if we wait several years. by bipartisan consensus we're not going to pay someone $2,000 in january and cut them back to $1,600 in february. that is not going to happen. every year we have more and more people on the rolls and every year we have more and more politically invited benefits. if we acted today we could have a solution to avoid a tax increase. and we could actually about benefits continue to rise even relative to inflation going forward. if we wait a few years, just as
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much as five or ten years we won't have the options any more and we'll either have to tell workers that their taxes are going up or beneficiaries that their standards of living are going down. patti ann: in fact senator ken conrad a democrat of north dakota says if we don't address our trillion dollar deficit we face the real possibility of becoming a second-tier economic power. and yet simpson and b orbg wles both say that this proposal is in their words so extreme that it would probably be dead on arrival and it will have to be scaled back. what do you see actually happening here? >> well i think the main factor that we need to watch for is the degree of presidential leadership that we get over the next several weeks. clearly the cochairs have put something out there that is fairly controversial even among their own commission, and republicans of course are going to see some elements of these proposals that they like and some elements that they don't like. i don't think you'll see republicans venturing forward in
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great numbers to do the heavy lifting of getting commission recommendations through if the president isn't squarely behind it. we'll have to watch the degree to which president obama tries to help the cochairs get the full packaged recommendations through the commission and based on that whether he can get cooperation from congressional republicans. patti ann: the author of social security an unfinished work, thank you for joining us. jon: sounds like a james bond movie, a russian hit squad setting it sights on a traitor here in the united states. r*ubs says trees on is behind the betrayal of a russian spy ring that included this woman the notorious anna chapman. now the trader who evenings pokessed -- exposed her and her compadre ots could be a target for assassination. yesterday we put this question on our show page. where would you start making cuts from the federal budget? 52% of you said other choices.
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we're going to dive into the debate and answer your questions with our panel coming up. [ male announcer ] this is steven, a busy man.
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jon: a fox news alert and fannie mae and freddie mac have a new boss or at least a new nominee to be the boss. president obama is putting forward the name of joseph a. smith jr. he is the head of -- commissioner of banks in north carolina. he is nominated to be head of
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the federal housing finance agency, that's the group that is going to try to take apart and put back together again those two gigantic housing agencies that are quasi-federal agencies, fannie mae and freddie mac. overtaken by the government in september of 2008 when the whole mortgage mess hit the skids. joseph a. smith to be confirmed by the senate, he is president obama's nominee. we are learning more right now about the events leading up to this summer's spy swap with russia. a russian newspaper now says anna chapman and the others were actually double crossed by a russian intelligence officer who defected to the united states. now there's a report that a kremlin hit squad is after this guy. david lee miller joins us with this report of international intrigue. who is this double agent, and what do we know about him? this. >> reporter: not a great deal is being said about the identity
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of this guy. the russian newspaper says colonel sherbikov, they don't have a picture of him, but no doubt he's going to be remembered in the annals of spy history; he's the guy who double crossed red-headed anna chapman, possibly the most notorious spy in recent history. there you see her on the screen. she and nine others were arrested this summer. let me give you the back story and the timeline, this according to a russian newspaper. sherbikov arrived in the united states in the late june and only three days later the entire ring had been arrested. and what's especially intriguing here are the details surrounding one of the then-accused spies. his name, juan lazarro. he was being held behind bars here in new york city, and he was holding steadfast. he was claiming that was his name, he was not a russian spy, he said he was a peruvian citizen. and at some point we are cold
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sherbikov went to the prison, confronted the man, and that's when lazarro, apparently, confessed. but, you know, jon, there's still a couple inconsistencies here. one thing worth noting that a criminal complaint from this summer said that these ten spies -- actually 13 -- had been under surveillance for as long as ten years, nearly a decade, and lazarro, they had surveillance on him dating from 2002. so it's not really clear from this article why at the time of sherbikov's visit, what role he played in exposing them. jon: i'm sure the russian media are having a field day about owl of this, huh? -- all of this, huh? >> reporter: oh, yes, they are. officially, the russian government not saying anything, but one russian lawmaker who served in parliament did say -- let's bring up this quote now:
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>> reporter: so the bottom line, jon, this is essentially a confirmation of the story. the same russian newspaper is saying that the double agent is is being targeted for assassination because of his treason. no official response from russia's foreign ministry. jon: so presuming this guy is still in the united states, we could have a russian hit squad running around, right? >> reporter: it is possible. if, in fact, he's really a defector, that's pretty doubtful. i would expect he's got a whole new name and life and identity as the next chapter of this story unfolds. jon: going to be a weird one to watch. >> reporter: what does anna chapman think? jon: seems to be making a ton of money over in this moscow, didn't shesome. >> yeah. she's the cover story in a recent men's magazine, and she's now giving interviews, but she's exposing more of herself in the
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physical sense than in the literal sense. jon: okay. we can leave that to the imagination. david lee miller, thank you. for more on this developing story, check out our web site, patti ann: right now the durham, north carolina, city council is under fire. it's considering a plan that would let folks use a mexico-issued card as a legal form of identification. some fear this could open the door to fraud. harris is in the newsroom with more on this. hi, harris. >> reporter: yeah, patti anne, we're just getting word it's going to be a very busy weekend and already a busy friday for the durham council because they've got this vote coming up on monday. now, they knew this was coming, what they didn't anticipate were all the letters, e-mails, phone calls of people who do not like this resolution. it's intended to help police and other people in the community know that when someone who is latino gets stopped, they may not be from this country. however, they can have this
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mexico-issued id that says that they can be visiting or be here legally. but now there's even pushback among latinos in this north carolina community. a group that says people who are here in this country legally don't need a special id, this resolution sends the wrong message. that's an immigration group that is solely against this. some people in the country -- or, rather, in north carolina are against it because they say it could lead to fraud, voter fraud, access of benefits like health care that people are not really able to get if they don't have an id. now, i want to make it very clear, this identification does not say that they are legally here, it doesn't say that they are here with any special, for school or for anything. it's not a visa, it's just an id issued by the mexican goth that says that -- government that says that they are mexican citizens. the resolution to be voted on in durham on monday, the city council getting inundated right
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now. patti ann: harris faulkner, thank you. >> reporter: sure. jon: lots of questions coming in on reducing america's national debt. it is already huge, nearly $14 trillion. president obama's debt commission is releasing some recommendations on how to reduce that number. those proposals include gradually raising the retirement age in this country first to 48 by 2050 and then 69 by 2075, reducing the annual cost of living increase for social security benefits and boosting federal taxes on gasoline by an extra 15 cents a gallon. cutting defense spending is part of the proposal as well, specifically on equipment, research and on troops posted overseas. let's get to our panel now, brad blakeman was deputy assistant to president george w. bush. corey e lance is a former member of president obama's white house communications team, and bob o'brien is a writer for welcome to each of you.
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bob, let's start with you. carl davis in california says, i'd like to spearhead a 10% cut for all federal employees to reduce our budget. how can i get this started without just sending an e-mail to a local politician? the idea, i guess, is that people feel that federal salaries are out of control or at least that federal employees ought to feel some of the pain that folks in the private sector are feeling. >> yeah. and that's certainly a valid point. i mean, we've seen news this week that suggests that federal wages have risen -- talk about beyond the pace of inflation -- federal wages have risen by a triple-digit percentage just over the last several years. i don't think anybody else out there in the private sector can, can do that. one of the problems that carl's going to face in this initiative is you're basically asking the very people you're going to penalize to help implement something that's going to work against their interests. so great idea, i suspect,
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however, it's probably one that is going to find difficulty in finding some traction. jon: all right, brad, here's a related question. why can't the entire budget be cut by a certain percentage across the board, 10%? i mean, i know a lot of companies do that. they go to every department, they say, cut 2, 3, 4%. >> i think he's got it right on target. i tell you, if i were john boehner, i'd have my new committee chairs call in the bureaucracy heads and ask them, can you or can you not cut your budget unilaterally across the board 10%, and if you can't, there's something wrong with the leadership of those bureaucracies. they certainly can find the savings. every american needs to sacrifice in tough times, and it needs to start with government. jon: corey, here's a question from ed, why is there always talks of cuts to medicare and social security and no talks of cuts to medicaid or other swiet element programs -- entitlement
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programs? this your thoughts? >> primarily because many medicare is a federal program. but, look, let's just take a step back and look at this proposal on the table. first of all, we have to appreciate that this is not a plan, it's more of a menu. and as it says in the document, there are a number of things that should be considered. everything is on the table as we consider to look at how we can become more fiscally responsible for the long term. so let's just dial it down a bit, understand that this is something that's going to be considered over the long hall. but the thing -- long haul. but the thing that's most important is that members of congress as well as the president come back to town ready to exert leadership over this proposal to cherry pick what needs to be done in order to put us in good fiscal standing for the long term. jon: bob, here's a statement from gayle austin, she says 15-cent gas tax? they need to stop spending, not taking more of our money. there does seem to be a pretty widespread feeling that a lot of our viewers are saying, hey, cut
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spending, don't start boosting taxes. >> yeah. and that's certainly the underlying theme of all the proposals that was in the commission's report. if you look at something like the, like the mortgage benefits that they're talking about decreasing, that's effectively a tax on every homeowner. so everything that even seems like it's a good initiative aimed at drawing down the budget is effectively taking money out of people's pockets, and as the previous writer suggested, why don't we just take a look at doing across-the-board cuts rather than trying to take more money out of americans' wallets? jon: all right. lots of tough coises, and we've got -- choices and we've got more answers straight ahead. our town hall panel is coming right back. everybody has somebody to go heart healthy for. who's your somebody? eating campbell's healthy request can help.
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patti ann: let's get back to our town hall panel on cutting the national debt. brad blakeman was deputy assistant to president bush, corey is a former member of
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president obama's white house communications team, and bob o'brien is a writer for we have a statement from matt hurt. unfortunately, i think the recommendations made will have to be done in order to fix what the politicians have done provided they stop playing santa claus. why haven't all the perks that come from being in congress been put on the chopping block? >> well, i think a good number have, and if you take a look, again, at the proposal, it spreads the pain evenly. here's what you have, you have democrats and republicans both squawking about the fact that they want to protect the issues that are most important to them in this plan. quite frankly, they got it about right. so now is the opportunity for real leadership to come in. this is the president's commission. he's the one who's been making tough choices since the beginning of his administration. unfortunately, he's going to have to come in the again when he gets back and begin once again making tough choices associated with this. but the issues in congress are
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being dealt with as a part of this plan. patti ann: one person writes, i am very near retirement, but i believe the retirement age should be raised to 68 immediately and 70 by 2025. as a cpa it's my belief no retirement system, public or private, can afford to pay out such a rich retirement to folks who still have 30 or 40 years left toly. >> well, brian should know that any drastic changes to social security is not the answer. what we need to do is ramp up, all the economists agree, that changes cannot come overnight. our population is too great to absorb those types of changes, our economy cannot do it internally. so we need this gradual increase, and there's a lot of things we can do in freezing spending and freeze hiring. this is what government can do in order to tighten the belt, to make sure that seniors who paid into this system get every benefit they're entitled to in their retirement years in the here and now. what we need to do is look to
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the future and not become what i call mow mentarians living for the moment. great societies can only live and expand our society if we live for the moment blue but plan for the future. patti ann: all right. okay, we're going to let bob o'brien in. why should i not be irate in cutbacks to social security and medicare? i have been paying into these for over 50 years. i would be rich today if i had put that money into a mutual fund. >> yeah. and you can see the divergence on these issues. on one hand, the previous question basically said we should stop taking care of people as they hit the age of 65, and others are saying you're not going to come in and touch my benefits at this point. so we've got this chasm, this division, and as your previous quest suggested -- guest suggested, when both sides are equally angry, somebody's got something right. really one of the most difficult political initiatives is going to be trying to talk about cutting some of these entitlement benefits. patti ann: absolutely.
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>> it's tough to see how it's going to happen. patti ann: thank you so much bob, brad, and corey for joining us in our panel. jon: another war on the way? mideast terror organization hezbollah threatens new violence as the u.n. investigates a high-profile murder. we'll go live to reena ninan for an update next. you want some fiber one honeclusters? yeah. you must really care about him. what? you gave him fiber. this tastes way too good to be fiber. they're delicious crunchy clusters with sweet honey and half a day's worth of fiber. you care about my fiber? not really. [ male announcer ] fiber one. toi switched to a complete0, multivitamin with more. not really. only one a day women's 50+ advantage has gingko for memory and concentration plus support for bone and breast health. a great addition to my routine. [ female announcer ] one a day women's.
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patti. >>ing up on "america live", a prayer group, we have got the inside scoop on that. plus, an environmental activist with his own documentary, he's calling out the fakes and phonies within the global warming movement. why is he taking shots at them? you will hear from him live. and why the department of justice is forking over tens of millions of taxpayer dollars -- your money -- to cities and
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states who refuse to enforce immigration laws. all that and much more at the top of the hour. jon: tensions growing once again in the middle east. a united nations tribunal is expected to indict members of the group hezbollah for the murder of a lebanese prime minister. he was killed in a massive car bomb five years ago. the indictments raise fears that lebanon may be on the verge of a new round of bloodshed, possibly even civil war. reena ninan is live in jerusalem right now. >> reporter: hi, jon. that is certainly the sense in beirut. last night the leader of hezbollah has vowed to take violence to the streets yet again if his organization is fingered for the murder of the former lebanese prime minister. this is the aftermath of a roughly 1,000-pound explosive-laden car bomb that ripped through beirut in
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february 2005 assassinating then-lebanese former prime minister hariri and 22 others. almost six years later, the country may be ripped apart by chaos and civil war when the u.n.'s special tribunal tasked with finding the murderers named who it will indict. a verdict is expected at the end of this year or early next year. lebanon has a history of not being able to bring the murderers of politicians to justice. the fear is that the up.coming indictments -- upcoming indictments could lead to instability and unrest. hezbollah has tried actively to discredit the tribunal out of fear member of its organization might be named. in a rally last night, hezbollah's leader vowed to bring chaos and civil war back to the streets of lebanon if any member of his group would be arrested. any hand that will touch any of them will be cut off, he said. they have to know that very well.
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secretary of state hillary clinton has warned syria not to arm hezbollah, and she also said that these threats coming from hezbollah to use violence will not in any way stop the tribunal from moving forward. jon? jon: reena reena ninan live in jerusalem, thank you. patti ann: a leader of al-qaeda and a terrorist in the training. not in afghanistan or pakistan, on capitol hill. and the two were invited to our nation's capitol. an investigation by fox on what they were doing there.
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[music playing] jon: live in rockefeller center where it's beginning to look a lot like christmas. that is rocking around the rockefeller christmas tree.