updated 11/22/2005 4:36:43 PM ET 2005-11-22T21:36:43

Guests: Bob FitzGerald, Dawn Capp, Rick Ross, Lou Robin, John Urquhart

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, meltdown in Middle America.  General Motors gets rid of 30,000 workers across the United States.  Is it another example, friends, of Wall Street selling out Main Street? 

Then, should our troops get out of Iraq right now?  That‘s the hottest issue in Washington and across America.  And it‘s our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown.

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks a lot for being with me tonight.  I greatly appreciate it.  We‘re going to talk about those stories in a minute.

Plus, pit bulls, they are aggressive.  They‘re volatile.  But should they be banned or sterilized?  Well, San Francisco has just passed a new law.  And we are going to talk about it in a little bit, because it may be coming to your neighborhood soon.

And some say it‘s a dangerous cult.  And there are frightening allegations of child abuse and drug abuse.  It‘s an incredible story of families separated and in anguish.  And we will get to that in a little bit.             

But, first, meltdown in Middle America.  General Motors announced today that it‘s planning to slash 30,000 jobs and shut down a dozen plants in the heart of Middle America.  Now, these layouts strike right at the heart of this country, as I said, in plants in Oklahoma City and Lansing, Michigan, and my home town, actually, the place where I was born, Doraville, Georgia. 

And the announcements coming just three days before Thanksgiving and also on the heels of the reports that GM has lost $4 billion so far this year. 

With me now to talk about it, MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan and also CNBC‘s Jim Cramer.  He‘s the host, of course, of the hottest show in cable news, “Mad Money.” 

Pat Buchanan, let me start with you right now; 30,000 families going to be broken-hearted this Thanksgiving, because GM decides to cut their jobs.  Is this the America you were warning about 15 years ago, about free trade and the policies of the Republican Party kept moving forward, that this would eventually happen? 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  This is a direct result of Republican free trade policy that‘s been imposed for the last 20 years, Joe. 

We‘re seeing the de-industrialization of America, as General Motors throws its workers onto the American market and moves its plants abroad.  And this de-industrialization is brought about because we have created a global economy, where it makes economic sense to get rid of your workers who have high wages, who have pensions, who got health care, and go hire Chinese or Mexican workers at one-tenth the salary.  I think what we are seeing is...

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s exactly what has happened here, isn‘t it? 

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jim Cramer, these jobs are going and it doesn‘t matter what happens to GM over the next five years.  They will never come back to Middle America, will they?

JIM CRAMER, HOST, “MAD MONEY”:  Well, they might come back, but they will be in the form of a job from Toyota or from Nissan or guys who are growing.

I think that GM was just cataclysmically managed, one of the worst managed operations I have ever seen.  Even today, they are closing all these plants, but they are still paying an 8 percent dividend.  What, are they out of their minds?  How can they go to the unions and say, you got to sacrifice if they‘re not asking the shareholders to sacrifice.  That‘s ridiculous. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead, Pat. 

BUCHANAN:  Joe, let me just say this. 

Look, General Motors has been the most generous country—in America.  It‘s a priceless national asset.  It paid the highest wages.  It got the best health care benefits and it got everything else, pensions, better than any other company. 

You cannot force these companies to compete with companies, even in Japan, where they give benefits to exports and they discriminate against imports.  We need a policy of economic patriotism.  Globalism is economic treason against the American worker. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  How can you take General Motors?  They have done everything wrong in the book. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Jim, has every other American company done everything wrong? 

CRAMER:  No. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  A lot of companies have really adjusted to the new world.

BUCHANAN:  We got a $700 billion trade deficit.  That means that export of jobs, technology and sovereignty abroad.  It‘s because of the policies pursued by this administration. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  If that‘s the case, why is Caterpillar doing so great?  Why is John Deere going to report a good quarter?  Why is Boeing taking share worldwide?

BUCHANAN:  Boeing.  Let me tell you something.  We had 95 percent of the aircraft market until you let the Euro zone put together that Airbus.  They got 50 percent of the world market.  Lockheed is out of business.   McDonnell Douglas doesn‘t make passenger planes.  Boeing is in deep trouble. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  Boeing is in deep trouble?  Boeing is hitting the ball out of the park.

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  You got to check that, really, Pat.  Boeing is in great shape.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  One at a time, guys.

Jim.

BUCHANAN:  Jim, do you know anything about the history of how Airbus was created?  Twenty-five years of subsidies.

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  I think Airbus is a joke.  But even...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Hold on a second, guys.  I got to get in here. 

Jim, I want to ask this question.

CRAMER:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And respond to Pat.  But also let‘s look at the places where these plants shut down, Oklahoma city, Lansing, Michigan, Tennessee, Doraville, Georgia, Flint, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Ypsilanti, Portland.

Again, it looks like—the industrial Middle American background, it looks like it‘s being ripped apart tonight, that there‘s no future for manufacturing in Middle America.  Is that an overstatement? 

CRAMER:  I think it is an overstatement. 

I have to tell you something.  This is something that GM has to do.  They have no choice.  They had to downsize.  They are still acting as if they have 60 percent share.  They have 26 percent share, going to 20 percent.  At least they are finally owning up to their problems.  That‘s better than, say, the Bethlehem Steels of the world did it, where it just got too late. 

But they‘re not out of the woods.  They haven‘t cut the dividend.  And they got the Delphi.  If Delphi strikes, I‘m telling you, GM is going to be in even bigger trouble than now. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Joe, let me tell you this.

Look, two-thirds of our manufacturing workers from the Reagan era are gone from this country.  And we‘re supposed to have the finest manufacturing workers in the world.  And we do.  Why is that, if it‘s a level playing field?  It‘s not all over this world. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, we have General Motors, they lose 30,000 jobs here.  Ford fired 4,000 people a while back.  Delphi fired, how many, 24,000. 

BUCHANAN:  Delphi is going under. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hewlett-Packard, 15,000.  Something big is happening out there.  What is happening, guys? 

BUCHANAN:  GM is building plants in Brazil and Asia and the Third World because they can build cheaper there.  And it‘s a good bet, because you can come back into the United States with your cars for free.  It didn‘t used to be that way when we built this country. 

CRAMER:  GM couldn‘t figure it out. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  Some companies can.  Boeing did.  Honeywell did.  General Electric did.  Some of these companies figured it out, that you have got to be global.  Intel figured it out.  Microsoft figured it out. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Boeing is building tail sections in China.  And a lot of these companies are outsourcing their manufacturing to the Third World and bringing them back into the United States.  Why else, Jim, would there be two-thirds of our manufacturing workers gone? 

CRAMER:  I got to tell you, I think that some of our companies are doing incredibly well, Pat. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  I know they‘re doing well, because I got their stocks.

CRAMER:  I really don‘t want to put the hammer to them to say that they‘re—I think that Boeing has done a fabulous job for the American worker.  It‘s a great partnership.  I think Caterpillar has had great partnership.  Some of these companies have been really terrific. 

BUCHANAN:  But who killed McDonnell Douglas‘ air passenger service? 

Who killed Lockheed? 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  The Europeans did.  But we were able to preserve a great company in Boeing. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s keep this—Jim, I got to ask this, let‘s keep this—again, let‘s stay out of the weeds for a second here and talk again on the general issue of what‘s happening to American jobs, because, as I said, GM isn‘t the only company that‘s cutting jobs in Middle America. 

Take a look at this.  Auto parts supplier Delphi proposed slashing more than 20,000 jobs.  Computer company Hewlett-Packard announced its plan to cut more than 15,000 jobs.  Ford, of course, planned to eliminate about 4,000 jobs, as I said before.  And aerospace giant Lockheed Martin says it‘s going to cut about 1,000 jobs starting in January. 

Isn‘t it safe to say, Jim, even though there are the Caterpillars of the world and a couple other companies that are doing well, that, when it comes to blue-collar, working-class Americans, again, that built this country, chances are good they are not going to have a job like they had in the past in the next five years? 

CRAMER:  I‘m not going to disagree with that. 

You know, it‘s funny.  I don‘t think I‘m that opposite from Pat, in terms of, I know what the foreign competition did.  I wish that we had been able to somehow shut down Airbus, because Airbus is just exactly the opposite of what built America and what made America great. 

I‘m just saying that some of our—I just hate to ever say that our -

that some of our companies really need the government to help them, because so many of our companies have figured out ways to be able to beat this market.  Now, they are not hiring like they did for blue-collar, but there‘s still a lot of jobs being created in this country.  Bush is so under water, no one even—he can‘t even talk about it anymore.  But there‘s still a lot of jobs being created.

BUCHANAN:  Joe, look, we have got a $200 billion trade deficit with China?  Why.  They hold their currency down deliberately.  It‘s Hamiltonian economics.

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  Our interest rates are low because of the Chinese.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Go ahead, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, if you are the CEO of GM and you see that you are losing money, that you‘re getting raked out there on the market, don‘t you have—if you are talking to Wall Street, if really talking to your people, don‘t you have to fire these people?  Don‘t you have to cut back?  Don‘t you have to become more conservative?  Did they have any other choice?

BUCHANAN:  Well, first, I don‘t call it conservative. 

But you are exactly right.  They sacrificed the workers for the benefit of the corporate guys and for benefit the shareholders.  The global economy puts shareholders at war with workers.  It puts guys like me at war economically with me with working folks.  And, Joe, we shouldn‘t be.  That‘s not the old Republican politics or economics.

CRAMER:  I actually agree with that.  Pat, I agree with that a lot.

SCARBOROUGH:  You guys agree with something.

CRAMER:  You‘re right.  The shareholders are the winners and the worker are the losers. 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly. 

CRAMER:  I can‘t disagree with that. 

BUCHANAN:  Is that right, though? Is that right

SCARBOROUGH:  And so, what do we do about that, Jim, if we‘re concerned about what‘s happening in Middle America?  Remember the Reagan Democrats...

CRAMER:  You mean like me, yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... the ones that elected Reagan two times and elected Bill Clinton two times?  Like you.  Those Reagan Democrats that are still in Pittsburgh, that are still in Cleveland, that are still in the heart of what we called the old Rust Belt—there‘s nothing left to rust anymore—again, they are extinct now, aren‘t they?

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  Yes, they really are.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s about time to close the curtain.

CRAMER:  Right.  These people don‘t have the Electoral College votes.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jim, who betrayed them?  Who betrayed them? 

CRAMER:  Who betrayed them?

BUCHANAN:  The globalizers did.  The globalizers did, the free traders. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Joe...

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  I think the managements of these companies. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  General Motors management has got to get its head out of the sand.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, who did it, Jim? 

CRAMER:  I think the management of these companies, because the history changed for Ingersoll Rand and for Caterpillar and Deere.  They figured it out.  General Motors never figured it out.  Bethlehem Steel never figured it out.  Sayonara.  And I mean that literally. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Take a look at the money that is being made, Pat, by General Motors‘ top brass.

With bonuses and salaries, CEO Richard Wagoner made $4.6 million last year.  Chief financial officer John Devine pulled in almost $3 million, as did GM chairman Robert Lutz. 

Now, Pat, I—I don‘t usually talking about salaries, but while you are firing 30,000 people Thanksgiving week, it‘s kind of hard to justify that type of money, isn‘t it?

BUCHANAN:  Yes, Joe, it used to be that the top executives made 20 times what their workers do.  It‘s now in the neighborhood of 400 times, the great big executives, what their workers do.

Joe, I could draft—Hamilton did in four pages a report on manufacturers that we followed for 150 years, made us the greatest, most independent, self-sufficient nation on Earth.  And the free traders have thrown it out for a policy written by a bunch of scribblers who never ran a great country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Jim, what do we do with the CEOs‘ salaries?  I mean, obviously, it‘s up to the shareholders.

CRAMER:  I think that these guys—I can‘t believe that Devine, that CFO, he‘s making $3 million?  Wagoner making $4 million?  These guys should be ashamed. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  If I were them, I would be writing checks, individual checks to every single person.  How can they live with themselves?  I don‘t know how they can live with themselves. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Joe, something is wrong with the board of directors of these companies who are voting those kinds of salaries or tolerating that.  And, frankly, that‘s not terribly high, given what some of them are making. 

CRAMER:  Well, given what they are losing, they should be giving back $4 million each.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jim, what I want to know is, this Thanksgiving week, Jim Cramer, this Thanksgiving week, you have got 30,000 workers, 30,000 families.  You have got all these communities that are going to be ripped up. 

Is there any reason for these blue-collar workers, these working-class

men and women, who, let‘s face it, these are the people that helped us win

these type of people helped us win World War II. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER:  They built this country.

SCARBOROUGH:  Built this country.

Can you give them any reason to believe, right now, that their country has anything for them in the next five, 10 years, that there‘s a reason to believe that they can find another job out there?

CRAMER:  No, because this is—because we have a government that is from 1848.  It‘s Dickensian England.  And they‘re supposed to just go enjoy themselves.  It‘s like “Oliver Twist.”  Hey, it‘s their own darn fault. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, I will ask you the same thing.  Any reason to believe? 

BUCHANAN:  I will be honest.  Look, I know those guys in Weirton, West Virginia, those steelworkers.  They turned Clinton‘s picture to the wall and they voted for George Bush in 2000 and 2004.  I bet you go out to places like that now and they will say, we made a mistake again. 

CRAMER:  I agree with you, Pat.  I agree with you.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Jim Cramer, Pat Buchanan, thanks so much. 

Unfortunately, not a lot of good news out there. 

And, friends, you know, I don‘t want to overplay this, but the bottom line is, the news that was on the front page of all newspapers across America this morning what General Motors is doing and what Wall Street would say General Motors has to do, it‘s not a sign of the times.  It really is a milestone for Middle America. 

It‘s the end of an era.  And you have got a lot of people that are facing this Thanksgiving with absolutely no hope of—of things improving in the near term.  Boy, I‘ll tell you what.  Our thoughts and our prayers need to be with all of them this week and this weekend.  What a sad time. 

Now, coming up next, Washington is at war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The gentleman from Massachusetts will suspend. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The gentlemen will suspend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Congress is in an uproar over the question, is it time to yank U.S. troops out of Iraq?  Our all-star panel is going to tackle that one.

And, then on tape, a family tries to take their mother out of a mysterious religion.  Or is it a cult?

Coming up, you‘re going to see that disturbing video and find out why police are looking for new clues on what‘s going on behind closed doors. 

We are just getting started in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Allegations of child abuse, embezzlement, drug abuse.  You have got cult members dressing up, alleged cult members dressing up as a devil to scare children.  We are going to have that scary story and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The House will be in order.  The House will be in order.  The House will be in order.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, the House was definitely out of order on Friday night, as members viciously debated the idea of pulling our troops out of Iraq.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JEAN SCHMIDT ®, OHIO:  A few minutes ago, I received a call from Colonel Danny Bopp, Ohio Representative from the 88th District in the House of Representatives.  He asked me to send Congress a message, stay the course.  He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER ®, CALIFORNIA:   It‘s not about Mr. Murtha.  It‘s about the message that has been sent around the world, as evidenced by e-mails coming back in from our troops now, who think that the Congress is pulling the rug out from under the mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  By whom?

(CROSSTALK) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The gentleman will suspend.  The gentleman from Massachusetts will suspend.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The gentleman will suspend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, I don‘t miss that place.

All of this on the heels of decorated Marine veteran John Murtha calling for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.

With me now to talk about the issue, the debate and what it means are MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and Lawrence O‘Donnell.  He‘s the executive producer of NBC‘s “The West Wing.” 

Lawrence, I think we may actually disagree on this issue.  Even though we came from different political starting points, we usually see eye to eye.  But I thought that what happened on Friday night was very bad for the Democratic Party.  I thought it was an embarrassment, because everybody got behind what Murtha had said.  But when they had a chance to actually vote on an alternative to the Bush status quo, Democrats backed away. 

What was your take? 

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Joe, I think—I understand that perspective. 

And that‘s the perspective we all had when we were working in the Congress.  People don‘t care what the vote was.  If you focus on the vote, then you are going to look at it a certain way.  What really happened was, a giant brawl broke out on the floor of the House of Representatives about the Iraq war.  Should we stay?  How did we get there?  When can we get out?  That‘s a debate that the president doesn‘t want.  That‘s not helpful to where the president is trying to take this war.

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  And, so, it‘s the first big explosion in the Congress about this.  And it‘s not the last.  This is going to go on, on for the next couple of years. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

Lawrence, this is the question, though.  You say the president doesn‘t want the debate.  The question is, do the Democrats want the debate?  Because you look at what John Kerry was saying before in the last campaign.  He was against what the president was doing.  But, when you asked him, well, “What‘s your plan?” really didn‘t have a plan.  Democrats, the same thing. 

Murtha is one of the first people to step forward and say, let‘s get out of there. 

And so Republicans said, OK, you want to get out of Iraq, OK, well, let‘s take a vote on it.  And they backed off again. 

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  Right. 

Well, the Democrats don‘t want you to listen too carefully to the debate, that‘s for sure, Joe, because, other than Murtha, which is—

Murtha is basically saying, let‘s get out of there as soon as logistically possible.  He‘s kind of become the Gene McCarthy of this one in terms of the Vietnam get-out policy.  This one is much more complicated. 

And, so, what serves the Democrats is just that the argument is going on, just that people are yelling about this, because that‘s exactly what‘s happening out there in the country.  And the fact that there‘s a big kind of brawling argument about it legitimizes the way that people feel out in the country who are opposed to it and who are increasingly imposed to it and increasingly believe that it was a mistake to do it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, you have been opposed to this war from the very beginning.  But, just as a political adviser to the White House, do you tell them to stay engaged?  Do you tell them to try to smoke the Democrats out, to try to get them to start talking about what they would do in Iraq?  Because, for the life of me, I don‘t know what the policy is. 

I know their base wants them to get out tomorrow, like Congressman Murtha.  But it doesn‘t seem other Democrats are willing to take that line or give us an alternative. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, the politics of it—Republicans did well last week, after taking a pounding for a number of weeks.  It really destroyed the president‘s credibility on the war. 

But here‘s the situation now, Joe.  Let‘s take a look at what‘s going on, on in Iraq.  The McCain option, 10,000 more troops, is dead.  It didn‘t get any echo at all.  Stay the course, the president‘s option, that was voted against by 79 senators, who said we need an exit strategy; 40 senators said, we need an exit strategy with a timetable.  That‘s where we‘re going.  We‘re on the way out of Iraq. 

Now, the Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, what‘s the Democrats‘ position? 

BUCHANAN:  Democrats do not want to be branded cut and run.  Their position is, we would like an exit strategy from the president with set timetables and set conditions that have to be met. 

We want a move out of Iraq.  That‘s their position.  The Republicans aren‘t that different, Joe.  You got 79 senators.  Virtually every Republican voted to have an exit strategy. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I don‘t know if I would call it exit strategy. 

But, Lawrence O‘Donnell, you can‘t beat something with nothing.  So, if you are advising the next presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, what do you say?

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  This is one of those instance where you can. 

The problem is on the people who are prosecuting the war.  It‘s just like Vietnam.  They beat something with nothing in the Vietnam protest.  The Vietnam protest was just, get out.  And Pat Buchanan lost—was on the losing side of that one with President Nixon. 

BUCHANAN:  Well...

O‘DONNELL:  And that is what is going to happen here. 

Eventually, eventually, the get-out crowd is going to win.  But the Democrats—I disagree with Pat.  I do not believe the Democrats are in favor of a timetable.  I think, if you said, let‘s put a timetable to a vote in the Senate or the House right now, it would lose Democrats also. 

BUCHANAN:  But, in the Senate, they got 39 -- 39 Senate Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  Not a real timetable in the Senate. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me just say this.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Pat Buchanan, Lawrence O‘Donnell, thanks.  I‘m sorry.  We have got to run on.  We appreciate you being with us tonight. 

But I got to tell you, friends, when it comes—I got to say, when it comes to the Democratic Party deciding to step forward and vote to get us out on any timetable, they are not going to do it.  They are not going to present a viable alternative, because Lawrence is right.  They never want to be remembered again as the cut-and-run party. 

Now, I don‘t know if you saw it or not, but the president is in China.  He‘s on a very important trip right now in that country.  And he was having a little trouble opening the door after the press conference.  Now, look at this.  Do you really think this qualifies as big news?  I don‘t. 

But the front page of “The New York Times,” they think so.  This is today‘s edition of “The New York Times.”  And, believe it or not, with everything going on in the world, they devote almost half of the front page to a series of pictures that are a certain attempt to try to make the president of the United States look like a fool. 

Now, if you got problems with the president, that‘s fine.  If you think that he‘s wrong in Iraq, if you don‘t like his trade policies, then criticize it.  But, again, this was just nothing more than a cheap shot from the editors of “The New York Times,” again, to take a moment where they locked the door on him.  Wasn‘t the president‘s fault. 

And something that happened in an instant, we get four pictures of it and it takes up, again, half of the front page of “The New York Times.”

Now, look at “The Times”—actually, if you look at “The Times” characterize the debate on Friday, which, again, I have just got to say, friends—I mean, look how they characterize Friday‘s debate, again on the front page of the paper on Saturday.  It says—quote—“Session Exposes Political Risks Inside Congress, Challenges for the GOP.  Democrats See Opening in the Midterm, But They Face Their Own Hurdles.”

Let me tell you something.  Very few people in Washington, D.C., that I talked to thought that that session did anything but embarrass the Democratic Party.  Again, you are looking at a guy that has been criticizing the Republicans and what they have been doing for the past year, year-and-a-half on the war.  They found their footing on Friday night, but you would never have known that by reading “The New York Times” Saturday morning. 

And you would have never known that this president is engaged in one of the most important diplomatic missions of his presidency right now, because they spent half the time on the president not being able to get through a door.  Come on.  Give me a break, “New York Times.”  Get serious.

Coming up next, a little-known religion facing tough charges.  Up next, a rare look inside a religion that some say is more like a cult—the frightening video that‘s raising tough new questions tonight. 

And, later, a big weekend for the new movie about Johnny Cash.  Does it capture the essence of a legend?  Coming up, we are going to meet the manager who knew Johnny Cash for more than 30 years. 

Stay with us.  That‘s coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Tough new laws putting the clamp down on pit bulls and owners in San Francisco.  The question is, do you need tough bans in your own hometown to protect you and your family?  We will talk about that in a minute. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family needs to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Out of pit bulls, some say that they are natural born killers, that they need to be stopped.  But does one plan go too far and could bans be coming to your hometown? 

And the music life and legend of Johnny Cash, now a hit movie.  The question is, does “Walk the Line” really tell it like it is?  Cash‘s manager for 30 years is here to give us the behind-the-scenes story of Johnny and June. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We are going to be talking about those stories in just a minute. 

But, first, a little known and mysterious religious sect near Seattle, Washington, is under intense scrutiny today by police.  One church member has pled guilty to molesting children.  And relatives of church members are desperately trying to get their loved ones out. 

Chris Ingalls of NBC affiliate King TV in Seattle takes us behind the veil of a group that is called the Tridentine Latin Rite Church. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS INGALLS, KING REPORTER (voice-over):  What you are about to see looks like a crime; 79-years-old Kathleen (ph) Raleigh is forced into a van.  Her captors are none other than her own children, who call this an intervention, a last-ditch effort to save their money from the grip of a mysterious religious sect. 

ROSEMARIE OFFENHAUSER, DAUGHTER:  Her mind is imprisoned.  She‘s been told that if she talks to her children, her own husband, that she‘s damned and going to lose her soul. 

INGALLS:  Ms. Raleigh is a longtime member of the Tridentine Latin Rite Church, led by Francis Conrad Schuckardt, who says he‘s the one true pope, although he‘s not affiliated with the Catholic Church; 100 Tridentines have lived for several years in the suburbs east of Seattle. 

(on camera):  Now the Tridentines are facing a troubling accusation, that they are helping cover up crimes against their most defenseless members, the group‘s own children. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I trusted these people to take care.... 

INGALLS (voice-over):  For 14 years, this mother was a Tridentine, hours of prayer, strict discipline, no contact with the outside world. 

She‘s asked not to be identified to protect her son.  After she left the group, her now 13-year-old son told her he had been raped repeatedly by at least one and possibly several group members. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They were raping him.  And they were telling him that it was OK, that that‘s what everybody does. 

INGALLS:  This home video provided by the accuser‘s family shows what they say are church children being indoctrinated at the earliest age. 

They say, every year on Halloween, children are confronted by church leaders dressed as the devil, who threaten to drag them from the safety of the church to the evils of the world outside if they misbehave. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.  No.  I don‘t like you.

(CRYING AND SCREAMING)

INGALLS:  Since this mother‘s accusation, one Tridentine, 19-year-old Steven Belzak (ph), has confessed to child molestation and will be sentenced in King County juvenile court later this month. 

But detectives accuse church members of blocking efforts to hunt down additional suspects. 

TRAVIS DEFRIES, SPOKESMAN, KING COUNTY SHERIFF‘S DEPARTMENT:  There may be a lot more victims out there.  Because of the walls that are put up around this organization, it‘s hard for people that are inside to get out and to talk and share their story and share what‘s happened. 

INGALLS:  The Tridentines have declined offers to appear on camera for this story.  In an e-mail, one church leader said—quote—“We‘re not trying to obstruct justice.  How individuals who happen to be members of our church conduct themselves regarding this investigation is just that, individuals exercising their own choices.”

Remember Kathleen (ph) Raleigh?  Her family hoped this desperate gamble would bring her back to them.  It didn‘t.  She returned to the Tridentines just one day after their attempted intervention. 

KEVIN RALEIGH, SON:  At that point, I realized that my mother probably died 13 years ago.  This is not the same woman that I saw 13 years ago.  It‘s a different person. 

INGALLS:  Chris Ingalls for NBC News, Seattle. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, that is so sad. 

With more on this group and the investigation right now, I want to welcome Sergeant John Urquhart—he‘s from the King County Sheriff‘s Office—and cult expert Rick Ross. 

Sergeant, let me start with you.

We can talk about child abuse and all these other things that are going on.  And there are charges right now, accusations of sex abuse, of kidnapping, of prescription drug abuse, all these other things.  And, God, it just broke my heart seeing what they were doing to those poor little children.

How dangerous is this church/cult?  And what are your biggest fears right now, as you move this investigation forward? 

SERGEANT JOHN URQUHART, KING COUNTY SHERIFF‘S DEPARTMENT:  Our biggest fears at the moment are that these two rapists that have been charged are out there, haven‘t been arrested.  They are probably being held or at least hidden by the cult, either in this state or in another state. 

And we can‘t get to them to bring them to justice.  So, that‘s our biggest fear right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why can‘t you get them?  Why can‘t you bring them to justice? 

URQUHART:  Well, because we believe that the members of this church are hiding them.  They are certainly obstructing our investigation and finding them, in fact, to point of denying that one of them even exists. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, we see this frightening video.  It‘s the first time that I have seen it, again, not only of this grandmother being taken away from the cult, but also of these young children, again, being terrorized. and you all have actually had to deal with this for quite some time now, right? 

You have known of this cult‘s existence for over a decade.  Is there anything that can be done to save these people, to save these children who are being terrorized? 

URQUHART:  Well, clearly, the video is outrageous.  There‘s no question about that. 

Now, whether any laws are being violated, you know, that‘s open to interpretation.  And, quite frankly at this point, based solely on the video, despite its outrageousness, I doubt it.  And, yes, we have known about the cult. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.  But what about, again, though—they have—again, they hold these people in this group.  And, again, it certainly sounds like a cult to me.

It‘s just like, you know, if you talk about the Branch Davidians and talk about the molestation and all of the other crimes that were going on behind closed doors, the question is, are law enforcement officers for the most part helpless to go in there and try to clean this up? 

URQUHART:  We are helpless. 

These people—and same with the Branch Davidians.  These are—for the most part, the people that are there are adults or the children of the adults that are there.  And they have free will, and they can decide if they want to stay there or not, just like the woman who was taken away by the family. 

All she wanted to do was to go back.  And there‘s nothing the family and there‘s nothing that the police can do about that aspect of it.  We investigate crimes.  We investigate allegations of crimes.  And that‘s clearly what we had in this particular rape case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Rick, let me bring you in here.

Talk about the leader of this group, who has gotten in trouble with other organizations before, and now, of course, is—the spotlight has drawn back on him.  Talk about the type of leaders who lead these organizations. 

RICK ROSS, CULT EXPERT:  Well, Joe, this is a group that is often called a cult, which is a personality-driven group, defined by a leader. 

Schuckardt goes back to the ‘60s.  He peaked around 1980, when he spent over a million dollars on a compound near Spokane.  But then there were revelations that he allegedly had sexually exploited members and also used drugs.  And by the end of the ‘80s, the group was winding down.  There may be only a couple hundred followers of the Tridentine group now.

But Schuckardt, like so many people called cult leaders, is the

defining element of the group.  And his followers believe they can speak to

God through him.  He‘s the hub of a wheel, and they are the spokes.  And,

unfortunately, they will continue to follow him.  And the children of—in

these families have no choice but to be with their parents.  And that‘s

perhaps

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and—and that‘s the question, Rick.  What in the world do you do?  I mean, at what point can the state start intervening?  Obviously, the state didn‘t intervene in time with the Branch Davidians. 

What do you do with a group like this?  It certainly looks like a cult to me.  They terrorize their children.  They break them down.  Can we do nothing to go in and try to save these kids? 

ROSS:  Well, as the officer pointed out, it‘s on a case-by-case basis, Joe. 

And, so, if the children are denied medical care, if they‘re brutally beaten, if there‘s some type of report and corroborating evidence, on a case-by-case basis, child protection or the police can go in.  I worked with one of Schuckardt‘s former followers years ago.  And, as a young child, he was forced to pray on his knees for hours on end until he eventually had permanent damage to his spine and to some of his muscles. 

And there are many, many stories of this type of horrible abuse in the Schuckardt group.  But, again, it depends on disclosure.  How do you get inside the group to witness these abuses and then bring it to the authorities‘ attention? 

SCARBOROUGH:  And they are abuses.  Again, we just have video of things that, again, that, as the sergeant said, were not crimes.  But you look at this.  It just enrages me.  You look at this. 

This has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ or Christianity. 

These people look like they‘re sick.  We are going to follow the story.

Sergeant, thank you for being with us. 

Rick Ross, greatly appropriate your insights.

URQUHART:  Thank you. 

ROSS:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I promise you, we‘re going to stay on this case.  And you are going to be hearing more about it in the comings weeks and months. 

Coming up next, music legend Johnny Cash, I mean, this guy had an incredible life.  I had the honor or meeting him and his wife.  The question, though, tonight is:  Does the story about Johnny Cash tell the real story?  We‘re going to find out from his longtime manager and friend coming up next, when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

And out-of-control dogs that kill, does a new plan to stop them go too far, and should it come to your hometown? 

Stay with us.  You will decide. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “WALK THE LINE”)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  I haven‘t seen the movie, but I can‘t wait.  That is a clip from “Walk the Line,” the new movie based on the life and the love story of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.  It made $22 million this past weekend, even before I go to see it three or four times. 

Here to talk about the man behind the movie is Lou Robin.  He managed and promoted Johnny Cash for more than 30 years.  And now he oversees the estate.

Thank you so much being with us, Lou. 

Let‘s start with the essential question.  Did you see the movie and was it a great portrayal of the man you knew and loved? 

LOU ROBIN, LONGTIME MANAGER OF JOHNNY CASH:  I saw the movie a total of three times so far, Joe, from the early cuts until the premiere last weekend.  And I think it is a terrific portrayal of John and June‘s lives. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about the love story between Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.  That‘s obviously the essence of this thing. 

ROBIN:  It is. 

And I guess you could say they were in the right place, which ultimately was proven, at the wrong time, in the beginning, because they were both married to other people.  And the relationship just developed through the years, because they worked together so much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, obviously, I know you heard Kathy Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash, from his first marriage, critical of the film.  She said this.

She said: “My mom was basically a nonentity in the entire film, except for the mad little psycho who hated his career.  That‘s not true.  She loved his career and was proud of him, until he started taking drugs and stopped coming home.”

Is that a fair criticism of this movie? 

ROBIN:  Well, I think every child looks at a problem in their household in a divorce situation differently, because they just have different memories. 

Some are more vivid than others.  So, I just—I don‘t fault her for what her thoughts were, and I think her sister‘s thoughts were probably different.  But it happened, unfortunately.  And Vivian, John‘s first wife, chose not to be involved with the film. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

Talk about Johnny Cash.  Obviously, this was a guy who was a country star, and he wasn‘t just popular in Tennessee and Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky and—I mean, this guy was known wherever he went. whether it was Europe or Asia or anywhere across the world.  Talk about how popular Johnny Cash was worldwide. 

ROBIN:  It was fun to travel to all these different parts of the world that you just named with John, even behind what was then the Iron Curtain.  The only places we really didn‘t get to were southern Europe and Latin America, where their music really didn‘t tie back to American folk or American country music. 

But John was always known in Europe as a great entertainer, not a country singer.  And, in Germany, which was his biggest European record market, he was known as the man in black. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The man in black, he was.  Thank you so much for being with us, Lou Robin. 

And it‘s interesting, friends.  When I left Congress, obviously set up my office, had pictures of me with presidents and prime ministers and everything else.  Without exception, when people walked past the picture of me between Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, they would always stop, point to it and go, “When did you meet him?”

I mean, this guy, a legend.  Unbelievable. 

Coming up next, we have got a story on dangerous killer dogs.  There‘s a new controversial plan to eliminate them from one major city.  Will it save lives or have activists gone too far?

That and more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pit bull owners are angry, as San Francisco has now passed a law requiring that pit bulls be neutered and restricting their breeding. 

In June, 12-year-old San Francisco boy Nicholas Faibish was mauled to death by his family‘s two unaltered pit bulls. 

With mew now to talk about the ban are Dawn Capp—she‘s the attorney who wants to overturn the pit bull regulations—and also Aurora, Colorado City Councilman Bob FitzGerald, who supports the city‘s similar pit bull legislation. 

Dawn, let‘s begin with you. 

Most Americans believe that these pit bulls, they‘re natural born killers and they can never be trained.  What do you know that most people don‘t? 

DAWN CAPP, ATTORNEY:  Well, I have been raised around them since I was a little kid.

And I can tell you, doing rescue show agility, I have never once been bitten by a pit bull.  It‘s all in how they‘re bred and trained and raised. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, what about this young boy?  It seems that, every time you hear of these attacks, it‘s always pit bulls. 

ROBIN:  Nicholas Faibish was a case of basically an irresponsible owner who knew the dog was aggressive.  It had bitten her own son previously. 

She was trying to breed this dog to produce more pups that would inherit that aggressive temperament.  And she kept it in the house with a female in heat and locked her own son in the basement to give the two dogs a chance to mate.  Now, I ask you, is that obviously not a case of an irresponsible owner? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I ask you, aren‘t there a lot of irresponsible owners out there that specifically have pit bulls because they are aggressive, and, when somebody comes down their street that has absolutely nothing to do with that family, sometimes they‘re mauled by aggressive pit bulls that have been bred?

CAPP:  Yes.  And, sometimes, they‘re mauled by boxers, like the case of Adam Stutzman in Colorado, who was sent to intensive care by three boxers that were in his care, because they had bitten a woman previously out walking her dog. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, you‘re saying there‘s no difference between pit bulls and boxers and poodles and cocker spaniels? 

CAPP:  I‘m saying all dog have the potential to kill.  A dachshund killed an infant. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, all breeds?  So, you‘re saying a poodle could be as dangerous as a pit bull? 

CAPP:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Bob FitzGerald, I will bring you in there. 

BOB FITZGERALD, AURORA, COLORADO, CITY COUNCILMAN:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Your city has ordinances that try to stop this type of activity going on.  You have now heard Dawn say that poodles can be every bit as dangerous as pit bulls.  Respond. 

FITZGERALD:  Well, I don‘t think that‘s true. 

We formulated our ordinance, passed it last week, essentially, in an amended form.  We know that pit bulls are dangerous.  You just have to look at our experience here.  We as a city decided we didn‘t want to become a repository for these animals.  And we do believe they‘re highly dangerous. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Bob, but you just heard Dawn.  Respond to what Dawn said, because, again, listening to Dawn—and, again, I have never been around pit bulls.  I don‘t know, but everything that I have seen, everything I have read suggests, that they‘re a very, very dangerous breed, more dangerous than dachshunds, more dangerous than German shepherds, more dangerous than any other breed.  Am I wrong or is Dawn wrong? 

FITZGERALD:  Dawn is wrong, in my estimation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why? 

FITZGERALD:  We have a population of pit bulls in Colorado that have killed several people, maimed children, killed other animals.  There‘s quite a fear in the community in terms of people who live next to pit bull owners.  And that‘s why we created our ordinance.  And we‘re very pleased with it at this point. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What makes them so dangerous? 

FITZGERALD:  The danger is essentially their crushing power in their jaws, 1,200 pounds of pressure per inch in their jaws.  They‘re bred to be fighters.  They‘re bred to attack without provocation.  They‘re a creation of man, not necessarily a creation of nature.  I guess you could put it that way. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you mean by that? 

FITZGERALD:  Well, I mean they‘re bred specifically to fight.  They aren‘t bred really to herd.  They aren‘t bred to help blind people.  They aren‘t bred to hunt.  They‘re bred for a specific purpose. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s remarkable.  We will be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, that‘s all the time we have for tonight.

Thanks so much for being with me.  As always, greatly appreciate it. 

But don‘t move, because “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” is next.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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